Bring a Blind Pimple to a Head

A blind pimple is a swollen, pinkish/reddish bump without a head (a localized black or whitish central point). The medical term for a blind pimple is a closed comedone, also known as a papule.[1] A comedo lesion forms the same way a regular pimple does, but the pore is clogged and therefore does not have a head.[2] Blind pimples, or comedones, are often very painful because they are caused by such a deep inflammation below the skin.[3] Learning how to treat comedone acne can help you clear up your complexion and feel more confident in your skin.


Using Acne Treatments

  1. Apply an exfoliator. Desquamation, or the process of shedding outer skin layers, is an important part of skin rejuvenation.[4] Using a gentle exfoliating agent can help get rid of the dead skin cells clinging to your epidermis, which may help unclog pores and prevent them from re-clogging.[5]
    • If you have normal to oily skin, consider exfoliating once every day or two. If you have dryer, more sensitive skin, you may want to limit yourself to exfoliating once or twice each week.[6]
    • There are two categories of exfoliants: mechanical exfoliants, like facial scrubs and cleansing pads, as well as chemical exfoliants, like hydroxy acids. Both are effective at removing dead skin cells and opening up your pores.
    • Many different exfoliating products are available on the market today, but certain types of exfoliants may damage your skin, depending on your skin type. If you're unsure about which products to use, talk to a board-certified dermatologist or another skincare expert about the best exfoliation option for your skin type.
  2. Use over-the-counter products. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) products that will help fight acne, including blind pimples. When using OTC products, it's important that you wash the problem areas with a gentle cleanser twice daily (unless your skin is too sensitive to be washed more than once a day). Use just enough acne product to cover the blind pimple and other problem areas on your skin.[7] OTC products typically include one or more of the following ingredients:[8]
    • benzoyl peroxide - kills bacteria, removes dead skin cells and excess oil, and can help unclog pores. May cause dry skin, scaling, and burning, and can bleach hair or clothing.
    • salicylic acid - helps prevent pores from becoming plugged. May cause mild stinging and/or skin irritation.
    • alpha hydroxy acids - there are two types of alpha hydroxy acids commonly found in OTC products: glycolic acid and lactic acid. Both acids are effective at removing dead skin cells, reducing inflammation, and stimulating new skin growth.
    • sulfur - removes dead skin cells and excess oil to prevent pores from clogging and helps kill bacteria on your skin. May cause dry skin and carry an unpleasant odor.
  3. Try prescription-strength topicals. If OTC acne products do not adequately treat your skin problems, you may need to talk to a dermatologist about prescription-strength medications. Topical prescriptions are medications that are applied topically (to the external surface of your skin). For best results, wash your skin with a gentle cleanser and dry your face about 15 minutes before using a topical medication.[9] Common prescription-strength topicals include one or more of the following ingredients:
    • retinoids - prevent hair follicles from becoming plugged, which can help prevent pimples from forming. Retinoids also reduce inflammation. Start by applying retinoids in the evening three times each week, working your way up to daily use as your skin becomes accustomed to the medicine.
    • antibiotics - kill excess bacteria on your skin and reduce redness and inflammation. Topical antibiotics are often combined with benzoyl peroxide to reduce the chances of becoming resistant to the antibiotics. Common antibiotic combinations include clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide (Benzaclin, Duac) and erythromycin with benzoyl peroxide (Benzamycin).
    • dapsone (Aczone) - kills bacteria and prevents skin pores from becoming clogged.[10] May cause dry or reddish skin.

Trying Home Remedies

  1. Use heat or ice therapy. Depending on your skin and the severity of your blind pimple, you may want to consider using heat therapy or ice therapy. A warm compress can dry out a blind pimple and help it drain, while an ice pack can help reduce pain and swelling at the site of the pimple.[1] You may want to use ice for the early stages of a blind pimple. If the pimple gets larger, more inflamed, or more painful, then you may want to use more warm compresses to try to draw out the fluid.
    • You can make a simple warm compress by soaking a clean wash cloth in warm to hot water (but be careful not to burn yourself). Apply a warm compress for just a few minutes at a time, but you can repeat the process as often as necessary throughout the day.[1]
    • For ice therapy, apply an ice pack, or wrap ice cubes in a clean towel or wash cloth. Apply the cold compress for no more than 10 minutes at a time, up to four times each day.
  2. Make an apple and honey mask. Apples and honey are thought to be helpful for treating acne (including blind pimples) due to the properties of both ingredients. Apples contain malic acid, which can help make skin firmer and stronger, while honey has antimicrobial properties that can help fight bacteria (which may be the cause of your clogged pores).[1]
    • Blend an apple into a pulp. Then gradually add all-natural honey to thicken the pulp until it forms an easily-spreadable paste.
    • Apply the paste to your blind pimple and let it stay on for at least ten minutes. Then wipe or rinse the paste away and wash your skin with a gentle facial wash.
  3. Try tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is often used in natural remedies to treat a variety of skin conditions. Applying tea tree oil to a blind pimple may help remove dead skin cells, oil, and dirt that has clogged your pores and reduce inflammation.[1]
    • Use a small amount of oil on the blind pimple three times each day. This may work best when combined with other skin care routines, like using exfoliators or a gentle face wash.
  4. Apply aloe vera. Aloe vera has long been used to remedy skin ailments, and many people believe that aloe vera may help treat blind pimples. If you're using a store-bought gel, simply apply the aloe vera gel to the affected site. If using your own aloe leaves, break the leaf along the stem and squeeze out some of the plant's gel-like juice.[1]
    • Apply aloe vera directly to the site of the blind pimple, and leave it on for at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, rinse your face with warm water to clear away your skin.

Preventing Blind Pimples

  1. Practice good hygiene. Keeping your face clean is one of the best things you can do to prevent blind pimples from forming. That's because most pimples are caused by pores clogged with dirt, bacteria, and oil, all of which can be removed by using a daily facial wash. It's also important to properly wash your hands any time you will be touching your face, as unwashed hands could introduce new bacteria to your skin's pores.[1]
    • Choose a gentle cleanser. Opt for facial cleansers that are non-abrasive and do not contain alcohol.[11]
    • Wet your face with clean lukewarm water. Then use your fingertips (after washing your hands) to apply the cleanser. Do not scrub your skin, as this can cause irritation and damage.
    • Rinse with clean lukewarm water and pat your face dry with a clean, soft towel.
    • Wash twice daily and any time you sweat excessively.
  2. Stay hydrated. Properly hydrating your body can help improve your skin's elasticity.[1] Though elasticity is not necessarily correlative with reduced acne, it can help improve your skin as part of an overall skin-care regimen.
    • Aim for eight glasses of water daily. Avoid consuming sugar, alcohol, and excess caffeine to help prevent dehydration.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. Avoid foods with high in sugar or fat, and reduce processed foods. Eat more healthy, whole foods like fruits and vegetables. There is no conclusive evidence, but studies have show links between acne and foods containing high levels of refined sugar, fat, or dairy.[12]
    • Foods that cause your blood sugar to rise (like sugar and carbohydrates) cause your body to release insulin, which may cause your oil glands to overproduce.[13] A low-glycemic diet may help prevent acne.[12]
  4. Reduce your stress. Stress is not likely to create new cases of acne, but if you're already prone to acne, stress can induce a bad flare up.[14] Reducing your daily stress levels can help reduce acne outbreaks, including blind pimples.[1]
    • Try autogenic relaxation. This method of stress relief involves repeating calming words/phrases in your mind while focusing on your body's sensations. Try concentrating on your breathing or relaxing each limb in succession while reciting your calming mantra.
    • Use progressive muscle relaxation. This technique involves tensing, holding, and then relaxing each major muscle group in your body in succession. Start at your head and work your way down, or vice versa. Hold your tensed muscles for at least five seconds, then release the tenseness and let your muscles relax for 30 seconds before moving to the next muscle group.
    • Visualize a peaceful place/situation. Close your eyes and sit alone in a quiet spot. While picturing a relaxing scenario or place, try to engage your senses. Think about the feeling of sitting on the floor/ground/bed, the sounds of ocean waves (for example), and the smell of salt water wafting over you.
    • Meditate. Sit alone in a quiet place. You can sit with your legs folded under you, or you can sit upright with your feet firmly planted on the floor (whatever is most comfortable). Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe through your diaphragm (down near your stomach) rather than your chest. Take slow, deep breaths in and out, and try incorporating a mantra (if you're comfortable with it). Your mantra can be affirming (I love myself) or relaxing (I feel completely peaceful) - whatever will help you relax and sit in peace.[15]


  • If you have tried some of these steps and the blind pimple gets worse or does not go away, talk to your dermatologist about treatments in the office, such as a cortisone injection into the pimple, to help it go away.
  • Over washing or using harsher, stronger chemicals will only aggravate acne and irritate your skin.
  • Use a gentle cleanser and avoiding greasy or oily cosmetics.


  • Avoid squeezing the pimple. This will only aggravate the inflammation and increase the amount of pain you experience. Unlike a whitehead/blackhead pimple, a blind pimple cannot be popped.

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