How To Shrink a Cystic Pimple

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While pimples come in many shapes, sizes, and forms, cystic acne is considered to be the most severe type of acne, and the hardest to treat. And if you’ve ever had them you the question of how to shrink a cystic pimple has probably crossed your mind.

What is cystic acne?

Cystic acne are large, painful bumps on your face rooted deep underneath your skin. These bumps can last for weeks or even months and can sometimes harden. They heal ever so slowly and tend to leave deep scars.

But you can do more than just stress and wait for it to pass. When you feel it forming beneath your skin, here are 9 things you can do to help shrink that pesky cyst.

How to shrink a cystic pimple


1. Begin treatment ASAP (as soon as possible)

As soon as you feel a cyst forming take proactive measures to treat it right away. Fighting it early can lessen the length and severity of your breakout. If you start treating it as soon as you notice the cyst forming, you can cut the life cycle down by days or even weeks.

2. Skip the OTC (over the counter) treatment

When you feel that cyst forming and you’re ready to treat it, your first instinct might be to run to the drugstore. Unfortunately most over the counter acne products just won’t penetrate your skin deep enough to do much good.

3. Don’t try to pop it

As tempting as it may be, or as satisfying as it may feel, don’t try to pop your pimples. Especially if they’re cystic. Cystic acne is so deep under the skin that popping wouldn’t do much good. And picking at it makes it much more likely to scar.

And if you did manage to pop it, there’s the chance that the bacteria would spread and infect the surrounding pores, leading to even more cysts. Really not how to shrink a cystic pimple.

4. Wash away dirt and bacteria

To lessen the chance of even more bacteria getting into your cyst and making it worse, in its early stages, use a gentle cleanser to target bacteria and pore-cloggers like dirt and dead skin cells.

Washing these impurities away can help keep your acne from getting worse.

5. Encourage drainage

To help speed up healing, you want to encourage the gunk to drain away from your cyst. It might be too deep to drain at the surface level, but heat can still help it drain into your lymphatic system.

To do this you’ll need something to use as a compress (like a washcloth or green tea bag, which can also reduce swelling).

Whatever you choose, soak it in warm water, wringing it out then put it over the cyst for 5 to 10 minutes and repeat three times a day.

6. Calm swelling

Icing cystic acne will help bring down the swelling making it less sore and less noticeable. Putting ice directly on your pimple will constrict the small blood vessels feeding the cyst and will help decrease the redness and size.

Put ice in a clean cloth or ziplock bag and ice the cyst 3 times in 1 hour in 10-minute intervals (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off).

7. Spot treat

After you’ve washed, drained and soothed your cyst it’s time to apply a spot treatment to help get rid of bacteria and balance the oil production around your breakout.

You’ll want to avoid using irritating and dehydrating treatments because your skin needs all the help it can get right now. So look for gentle ingredients that won’t disrupt your skin’s natural protective barrier.

8. Consult a dermatologist

If all else fails because your cystic acne is super stubborn and refuses to budge, don’t suffer if you don’t have to. Make an appointment to see your dermatologist.

He or she can recommend effective medical treatments like a cortisone injection, antibiotics or retinoids to help reduce inflammation, kill bacteria and get to the root of the problem.

9. Don’t lose hope

This might be the most important tip but when all else fails, don’t give up. When nothing seems to be working, stick with your skincare routine.

No matter how awful that pimple looks, please don’t pop it. In the end, it’ll only make it worse. Just do your best to stay patient and positive, good things take time and this will too.

Final thoughts

Cystic pimples can be tricky to deal with. They’re the most severe form of acne and even harder to treat. So how do you shrink a cystic pimple? You take the problem right away, you can drain it, wash it and spot treat it.

But if nothing works, then the best way to get rid of cystic pimples is to see a dermatologist. But in the meantime grab a warm compress to help ease the discomfort.