What Causes Blind Pimples?

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Most of us aren’t strangers to how sneaky blind pimples are. One minute, your face is bump-free and clean. The next, there is a blind pimple comfortably lodging somewhere on your face. They are of varying sizes, and the pain they cause is real.

Blind pimples, also called cystic acne, are deep bumps formed underneath the skin.

This article will look at what causes blind pimples and how to get them under control.


What is a Blind Pimple?

Blind pimples are the most common skin condition in the United States. These sneaky buggers develop under the skin’s surface and are mostly invisible from a distance.

A blind pimple forms when a pore becomes inflamed and deeply clogged by dead skin cells, sebum, and other debris.

Blind pimples are technically called papules, and they differ from whiteheads and blackheads, which are called pustules.

The main difference between a papule and a pustule is that a papule lacks a head that you can pop.

Blind pimples are often painful, especially when rooted deep in the skin’s layers. The pimple may not be visible, but you can always feel it. 

Blind pimples are often painful, especially when rooted deep in the skin’s layers. The pimple may not be visible, but you can always feel it. 

What Causes a Blind Pimple to Form?

Cystic acne develops when a pore is deeply clogged by dead skin cells or other debris. The clog prevents sebum, which moisturizes the skin, from reaching the surface.

Cystic acne develops when a pore is deeply clogged by dead skin cells or other debris. The clog prevents sebum, which moisturizes the skin, from reaching the surface.

If your skin produces excess sebum or you have a habit of not properly cleaning your skin, the oil (sebum) and skin cells accumulate under your skin to form pus. 

The pus is trapped and has no way of escaping to the skin’s surface. Consequently, a blind pimple is formed, causing inflammation and pain.

Some factors increase the chances of blind pimples forming on a person’s face. They include:

1. Hormones

Androgens are hormones responsible for the enlargement of sebaceous glands during puberty and more sebum production. Teenagers undergoing puberty are prone to having blind pimples as their hormone levels fluctuate.

Women are prone to get blind pimples during pregnancy or their menstrual cycle. During these times, the body produces more androgens, increasing sebum production. 

2. Medications

Certain medications can increase the chances of developing blind pimples. They can increase sebum production and influence the skin’s ability to shed. Such drugs include oral corticosteroids, antidepressants, and some contraceptives.

3. Family history

Acne, including cystic acne, tends to run in the family. So, if your parents have cystic acne, you have a higher chance of developing it as well. Boo.

4. Sweat

Activities such as running, cycling, and yoga can easily make you sweet. Engaging in such activities especially wearing a helmet or hat can result in acne when the sweat traps bacteria and other debris in your pores.

Sweat can also worsen existing cystic acne. 

5. Stress levels

Stress and anxiety can result in a rise in cortisol levels and more sebum production.

How to Tackle Blind Pimples

Once a blind pimple takes root in your skin, it can be quite tricky to get rid of it. Fortunately, there are several therapies you can try on your own. However, it’s important to ensure that your hands are always clean before using these treatments.

1. Warm compress

Applying a warm compress is one of the best ways to treat cystic acne. The warmth will soften the blockage and open up the pore.

This will draw the pimple closer to the surface while creating a head. The head serves as an exit for the accumulated bacteria, sebum, and dead skin cells to leave the skin.

The heat also eases the pain and discomfort that accompanies cystic acne. To treat a blind pimple using a warm compress, follow these steps:

  • Soak a clean cloth in warm water. Ensure the water isn’t too hot so that you can’t touch it.
  • Hold the cloth against the affected area for about 15 minutes.
  • Repeat this three to four times daily until the acne heals or a head forms and the pus is released.
  • Avoid using makeup until the pimple heals, and always keep the area clean.

2. Tea tree oil

The antibacterial properties of tea tree oil make it a suitable alternative to over-the-counter drugs. For effective treatment, use a product that contains at least five percent tea tree oil. To treat cystic acne with tea tree oil, take the following steps: 

  • Dilute the tea tree oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Add two drops of tea tree oil to ten drops of the carrier oil. You may also use a product containing diluted tea tree oil. It should have nothing less than five percent tea tree oil.
  • Apply twice a day until the cystic acne heals. 

3. Raw honey

Raw honey has natural antimicrobial properties that make it a natural alternative to over-the-counter products. Apply raw honey to the affected area and leave it overnight. Doing this twice a day will reduce the swelling and the bacteria. It’s essential you use raw, natural honey, and not one bought from the grocery store.  

4. Acne patch

An acne patch or sticker is a medicated bandage containing acne-fighting agents such as salicylic acid. Place the sticker directly on the blind spot, making sure to follow the instructions that come with it.

5. Topical treatment

There are several topical treatments available in pharmacies and online, and they will help with mild outbreaks. These products include anti-acne masks, creams, gels, and others that contain:

  • Benzoyl peroxide. This reduces bacteria.
  • Sulfur. This reduces bacteria, unclogs pores, and reduces the amount of oil on the skin.
  • Salicylic acid. It is an anti-inflammatory alpha hydroxy acid. It unclogs pores and reduces inflammation.
  • Retinoids. They reduce oil and unclog pores
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). They help in exfoliating the skin.

Add a second product to your treatment strategy if you don’t see any improvement while using a product. When choosing a second product, choose one that tackles another cause of acne.

For example, if the first product contains salicylic acid, the second one should include another acne-fighting ingredient. Just be aware that generally benzoyl peroxide and retinoids don’t mix.

Will Your Blind Pimple Get Worse if Left Alone? 

Blind pimples often disappear on their own when left alone. Many people feel a blind pimple will worsen if left untreated, but this isn’t true. If you’ve decided to leave the cystic acne untreated, avoid touching it till it fades.

Final Thoughts

Blind pimples often appear at the most inconvenient times, but they can be treated at home. Applying a warm compress and using acne patches will help bring out a head and allow the sebum and other debris to exit. Avoid touching the blind pimple, and always keep your skin clean.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).