Waking up with a face full of painful pimples on your chin, under skin, forehead or even a painful blind pimple is something a lot of us are familiar with. Other than the incessant urge to pop them, they come with this searing pain that’s just maddening.
Although, getting this form of acne is a common occurrence, waking up with painful pimple breakouts whether, on the scalp, chin, cheek, neck, back or forehead is another story on its own.
A painful pimple is typically a blind one or rather acne that forms and develops under the skin’s surface. While a pimple may not be very noticeable from a distance, the lump can easily be felt. This type of acne is usually a result of cysts or nodule.
Cysts and nodules are considered are considered to be the most severe kind of acne breakouts that develop beneath the skin surface, are really painful, huge and red.
Causes of painful pimples
Pimples technically develop when pores in the skin become plugged usually with dead skin cells. Sometimes bacteria could also get trapped in the area hence causing the area to become red and inflamed.
Normally, blind pimples are more prevalent in areas of the skin with excess oil glands such as the face, neck, shoulders, back, and chest.
The skin is composed of oil glands (sebaceous glands) which are connected to pores through hair follicles. The sebaceous gland secretes sebum through the hair follicles which moisturizes and protects the skin.
However, if the pores become clogged by dead skin cells, the sebum is inhibited from reaching the surface of the skin with nowhere to go, the sebum accumulates in the sebaceous glands and develops into a pimple.
In severe cases, the dead skin cells and sebum promote the growth of bacteria (P.acnes) on the skin which accumulates in the blocked follicles. The bacteria hence produces enzymes and chemicals that cause the body’s immune system to respond by signaling the white blood cells to the affected area. This results in inflammation (swelling, pain, redness, and heat).
Simply, pimples hurt or become painful because the body is working towards reverting the body to normalcy. The white blood cells therefore in their attempt to fight off or get rid of the zits infection causes the affected area to become more sensitive to pain.
How to treat painful pimples
First things first, never pop or squeeze a pimple even if your life depended on it. while popping them, they may cause a further breakout, popping a blind pimple can result in permanent scars, infection, more-noticeable pimples and causing them to become more painful.
Popping a blind pimple increases the risk of pushing its contents (oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria) deeper into the skin surface which can lead to increased inflammation.
a). Warm compress
The heat from warm compresses cause the pores on the skin to open which could possibly draw the pimples upwards and closer to the skin’s surface and form a head as well as relieve pain.
The development of the head will, therefore, enable sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria to exit the skin.
You can easily create a warm compress by soaking a clean washcloth in hot (but not too hot) water. Hold the hot compress on the pimple for about 10-20minutes. Repeat the procedure at least 3-4 times in a day until it develops a head and the contents are dispelled.
Afterward, ensure the affected area remains clean. Avoid touching or applying makeup until the pimple heals completely.
b). Pimple stickers/acne dot
These are usually small stickers that contain an acne treating agent such as salicylic acid that is placed over painful pimples.
The stickers work by absorbing excess oil and sebum, reducing inflammation and significantly reducing the size of blemishes.
The stickers are easily available in drug stores, discreet and can be worn throughout the night or day. Although the length of time the sticker may be worn varies, it usually requires being changed at least once after every 24hours.
c). Tea tree oil
For decades tea tree oil has been used to treat a variety of skin conditions as well as wounds due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
According to a study carried out in 1990, topical application of gels containing the same concentration of tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide proved that both preparations decreased inflamed and noninflamed acne breakouts. Although tea tree treatment took longer, it was associated with few side effects (redness, irritation, itching, and dryness).
Gels containing 5% concentration of tea tree oil, according to another study, significantly reduced mild to moderate acne when applied twice on a daily basis for a period of 12weeks.
While some people find using tea tree oil effective in treating painful, blind pimples, the American Academy of Dermatology states that there is no adequate evidence supporting this as a treatment option.
d). Topical treatments
There are numerous over-the-counter topical creams, gels, facial scrubs or anti-acne washes, lotions, and serums for treating painful pimples. Majority of the topical treatments contain a variety of ingredients which target specific causes of pimples such as;
- Salicylic acid: gets rid of the layer of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin thus unclogging the pores as well as relieve inflammation.
- Benzoyl peroxide: decreases the acne bacteria.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids(AHAs): exfoliate the skin.
- Retinoids: decrease oil as well as unplugs pores.
- Sulfur: unblocks pores as well as suppress bacteria ( acnes).
How to prevent painful pimples
Although pimples tend to appear out of nowhere, at the least expected moment, there are a few tips and tricks that can be used to at least decrease the risks of getting them:
- Proper hygiene: constantly washing your pillowcases and other materials that constantly come into contact with your face is very important. This is because dead skin cells present in the bacteria can easily be transferred to your skin as you sleep hence blocking your pores.
- Use mild skin care products: products that are non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic or oil-free products are the best.
- Avoid over scrubbing: though pimple-prone skin tends to feel dirty or greasy, it shouldn’t be exfoliated constantly, since, this can further irritate the skin and exacerbate the problem.
- Wash your face at least twice a day or if sweaty: cleaning pimple prone skin excessively can aggravate the skin further.
- Consult a dermatology: if the condition doesn’t seem to get better or become severe.
Additionally, if the pimples fail to respond to any home remedies, consider another treatment option such as the use of cortisone shots which reduces swelling and enhances the healing process.