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How to Best Treat an Underground Pimple

By Wendy Rose Gould ; Updated February 05, 2019

Underground pimples, aptly named because they develop deeply under the skin's surface, are medically referred to as cystic acne. They occur when the pore ruptures underneath the skin, causing inflammation around the surrounding tissue. Underground pimples are different from standard pimples because they're so deep within the skin and, as a result, should not be treated the same way. Squeezing an underground pimple can result in extreme pain, pimple bruising and even permanent scars once the pimple heals.

  1. Wash the affected area with a gentle acne cleanser and warm water. Massage the cleanser into the skin for roughly three minutes, rinse and then pat dry with a clean towel. Repeat no more than twice daily.

  2. Place a hot compress or washcloth soaked in hot water over the underground pimple, and let it set for roughly 30 minutes.

  3. Apply a small dab of topical acne treatment to spot-treat the underground pimple. Use a treatment that contains acne-fighting benzoyl peroxide.

  4. Repeat daily until the underground pimple is gone. Refrain from squeezing, touching or applying heavy cosmetics to the area for a faster heal time.

  5. Tip

    Underground pimples look similar to bug bites — large, slightly raised, red bumps — and have a longer life span than standard pimples.


    Speak to a dermatologist about a prescription for a more potent acne treatment if cystic acne is a persistent issue.

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