Blind Pimples: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

We have all experienced them at one time another—those pesky red bumps that start out inconspicuously enough under your skin before they become the seat of a godawful throbbing pain that will plague the area it occupies.

I am talking about the highly aggravating blight on humankind called blind pimples.

You might wonder what these blind pimples are, where they come from, and how do you stop the annoying throbbing pain they seem to implant wherever they sprout. You might also wonder how to prevent them from cropping up and how to ultimately deal with them when they come out.

What is a blind pimple?

A blind pimple, also known as closed comedones, is usually described as a painful lump deep within the skin. Like regular pimples, they can develop when your sebaceous glands, commonly known as oil glands, get clogged up by excess sebum or oil. Unlike regular pimples, however, a blind pimple has no opening or head. Instead, they will continue to get inflamed and expand under your skin. This inflammatory reaction often results in scarring.

Why are blind pimples painful?

You might wonder why blind pimples are more irritating than your run-of-the-mill pimples. The cause of that is the distinct lack of an opening or head in blind pimples. As they get more inflamed, they continue to grow underneath your skin. This will then cause pressure to build up underneath, causing the pain that is usually associated with these pesky lumps.

Another thing that contributes to the pain is the location of blind pimples itself. Because they are located deeper in your skin than regular pimples, they are closer to nerves and most likely to impinge them and activate that godawful throbbing sensation that could terrorize your whole chin.

Where are blind pimples often found?

Blind pimples are often found on your nose, chin, and behind the ears but they can occur anywhere in the body where there are sebaceous glands to be clogged. I usually find them in the chin area and on my chest and back.

What causes blind pimples to form?

​Blind pimples develop when oil glands are blocked with excess sebum or oil.

  •  Conditions that block the sebaceous glands or increase sebum production.

Any conditions that block these glands or increase the production of sebum more than the usual can cause them to crop up. Among the most common causes are a lack of sleep and exercise, hormonal changes (hello, monthly visitors!), and certain foods.

  • Use of thick cosmetics.

Your sebaceous glands can also be blocked by the use of thick cosmetics. These cosmetics like some moisturizers and sunscreens can block the opening of the sebaceous glands, trapping the sebum inside and allowing them to accumulate and grow into pimples.

  • Poor shedding of dead skin cells.

Poor shedding of dead skin cells can also block the opening of oil glands and cause blind pimples to grow, so it is a good idea to exfoliate your blind pimple-prone areas maybe two times a week to slough off the icky layer of dead skin before they can accumulate.

  • Meet Propionibacterium acnes.

The proliferation of normal bacteria on the skin can also cause blind pimples to form. The usual culprit, in this case, is known as Propionibacterium acnes. While this bacteria is part of the normal flora of the skin and helps to protect it from the invasion of less friendly bacteria, poor hygiene can also cause them to grow out of their normal bounds and boom! You will wake up with a pulsatile mass on your chin!

How do you prevent blind pimples from forming?

Good habits are the foundation of skin care and prevention of blind pimples is are not exempt from this rule.

1. Cleanse regularly.

Always remember to cleanse your face properly to get rid of the excess dirt and sebum, which could clog your pores and sebaceous glands.

2. Remove makeup before bed.

If you wear makeup, you should know by now that it is a mortal sin to fall asleep with your makeup on. It just isn’t done!

Sometimes, I get so tired after a long day of hard work that I literally just stumble into bed when I get home. But then, the thought of all that junk piled on my face plus the added dirt I managed to accumulate through the day is enough to wrench my eyes open long enough for me to at least swipe a makeup remover and follow up with a nice cleanser that will allow my pores to breathe.

Trust me, not only will your skin thank you for it, you will also sleep a little better with a clean face.

3. Healthy habits make for clearer skin.

Also, get a good night’s rest, exercise regularly, and eat the right kind of food. You will be amazed by the rewards you reap when you treat your body well. Avoid junk foods and oily foods as they can increase your sebum production and cause you to break out. Also, take a nice shower after a sweat session at the gym as the sweat can also cause bacteria to proliferate on your skin and add to your pimple problems.

4. Hormonal? See your friendly gynecologist!

Lastly, for blind pimples caused about by hormonal changes, ladies will usually notice that pimples, blind and ordinary, can crop up before your period—and any other inopportune time like just before an important event like a wedding or a big party. If you notice that they seem to be appearing more and more, you might want to check with your dermatologist and gynecologist, too.

​Some conditions, like polycystic ovarian syndrome, can cause a hormonal imbalance which can result in breakouts. If you think you have a hormonal problem, consult your gynecologist. He or she might want to run a few tests before giving you something to get your hormones under control.

But what should you do when a blind pimple does appear?

1. Absolutely NO pimple popping!

Whatever you do, do not pop it! Popping a pimple, blind or otherwise, can result in scarring so you will not only have to deal with the pain and inconvenience but its aftereffects as well.

2. Cleanse, cleanse, CLEANSE!

If you have the misfortune to find a blind pimple coming up, the best thing you can do is to cleanse the area regularly. Refrain from touching the pimple too much as dirty hands contain bacteria that can aggravate the situation.

3. Use a warm compress.

You can apply a warm compress to reduce the inflammation and hasten the process of pointing. As an added tip, you can also use a hot tea bag and gently press it on your pimple for a few minutes. Tea bags contain tannins, which can reduce the inflammation further.

4. Cold compress for pain.

If the pain is bothering you, you can also apply a cold compress to reduce the swelling and soreness.

5. Use a topical antibacterial.

A good topical antibacterial can also take care of the bacterial infection in pimples. Tea tree oil is well-known for its antibacterial properties but can be very harsh on the skin so don’t forget to dilute it in water at a 1:9 ratio before applying to your pimples.

The antibacterial properties inherent in the oil will kill the pimple-causing germs and reduce existing pimples. In this study, it was found to relieve both open and closed comedones in patients and with fewer side effects compared to benzoyl peroxide.

Did you find this article helpful? Do you have other tips on how to prevent and treat blind pimples? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to share this with your family and friends.

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