Filipino woman with gray hair looks at mirror while touching face.

The only thing more annoying than a pimple is a blind pimple: a type of cystic acne found under the skin. Unlike pustules – small, inflamed, pus-filled zits – blind pimples are nearly invisible. You won’t find them just by looking, but there’s no mistaking that painful feeling and persistent soreness. These pimples can give away their hiding spot with a red or purple mark or even a tiny bump in some cases. But usually, there’s little else to indicate that clear-looking skin is developing acne underneath the surface.

What is a Blind Pimple?

The term refers to inflamed cysts that develop underneath the skin and have no connection to its surface. Like other forms of cystic acne, these pimples can form when bacteria and excess sebum clog your pores and cause inflammation. Since they form at the subcutaneous level, they’re impossible to treat or pop immediately. They also take a longer time to heal.

What Causes Blind Pimples?

Hormones trigger these pimples, so they often appear during periods of hormonal fluctuation, i.e., while you’re PMS-ing. But even if you don’t have hormonal irregularities, genetics can play a role, too. If you’re constantly experiencing flare-ups, you may have hypersensitive hormone receptors that trigger breakouts. This predisposition can cause your skin to overproduce oil, become inflamed, and encourage bacterial growth – a recipe for disaster, a.k.a. zits.

How to Treat a Blind Pimple

There’s no overnight treatment for this type of . If you feel one developing the night before a big date or event, you’re out of luck: no acne remedy can make it disappear in time.

But on the bright side, you won’t need makeup to cover it up. It’ll be better, too, since spackling makeup on can aggravate the problem. You’ll feel it (ouch!) but no one will see it, so it can be your little secret. On the dark side, though, these “invisible” pimples can take up to a few months to fully heal. That’s because the inflammation is trapped under the skin.

Despite their stubbornness, these pimples will eventually go away on their own. Don’t stress – let your skin work its magic! But if you’re desperate to do something about the situation now, keep these reminders and tips in mind. They may not be as satisfying as slapping a pimple patch over the area and calling it a day, but they will help you manage a bad situation.

1. Resist the urge to pop it.

, especially a blind one, only makes things worse. You can end up pushing the inflammation deeper into your skin and further aggravating the area. Attempting to pop a pimple yourself may also bring bacteria from your fingers or tools into your zit, which hinders its healing. And no matter how careful you are, you still risk scarring your face big time.

Since these pimples are embedded in the deeper layers of skin, collagen and scar tissue can help with the healing process. Trying to pop the pimple “from the inside” might make the bump feel smoother, but it could come back even worse than before.

In short, avoid touching the pimple at all costs. You’ll thank yourself later.

2. Apply a cold compress.

If your cystic acne throbs with pain and swelling, a cold compress can be an easy, accessible remedy that reduces inflammation. Wrap an ice cube in a clean towel and place it over the affected area in 30-minute intervals. This can help constrict your blood vessels and calm swelling down.

3. Book an appointment with your dermatologist.

If your heart is set on a quick fix, turn to a professional for help. Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist and seek their advice. They can tell you exactly how you should care for your skin since they best understand your skin’s history with acne. Your derma could even administer a cortisone shot to treat the inflammation or prescribe retinoids to fight acne-causing bacteria.

4. Adopt an acne-fighting skincare routine.

Your usual at-home treatments may not be effective at totally zapping this type of zit, but they can still help manage the pain and inflammation. They can also help your skin heal when it's finally in recovery. with acne-fighting products can decongest your pores, clear your skin of bacteria, and prevent future breakouts.

Try the Eskinol Pimple Relief Facial Wash, formulated for acne-prone and inflamed skin. This cleanser is infused with Korean cica and green tea extracts to help calm acne. You should also occasionally exfoliate your face. Try POND'S Bright Miracle Ultimate Acne Control Facial Foam. It has scrub beads that remove 99% of pimple-causing germs.

When treating a blind pimple, you don’t have to come in blind. Keep these tips in your skincare playbook so you can face cystic acne head-on.