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, then wondering how to shrink a cystic pimple has probably crossed your mind.
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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.
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How to shrink a cystic pimple in steps
Dealing with cystic pimples can be frustrating because they’re stubborn, painful, and hard to get rid of. But here are some tips on how to shrink a cystic pimple in four easy steps. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Cleanse your face gently
The first thing you need to do is to wash your face with a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser. This will help remove any dirt, oil, or makeup that could clog your pores and worsen the inflammation. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing your skin, because this can irritate the pimple and cause more redness. Use lukewarm water and pat your face dry with a clean towel.
Step 2: Apply ice to reduce swelling and pain
Next, you want to apply some ice to the pimple to bring down the swelling and ease the pain. Ice can constrict the blood vessels that feed the pimple, making it smaller and less noticeable. Wrap an ice cube or a cool pack in a cloth and press it gently against the pimple for 5 to 10 minutes. Take a 10-minute break and repeat. You can do this several times a day until the pimple subsides.
Step 3: Use a topical treatment with benzoyl peroxide
One of the best ingredients to treat cystic pimples is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial agent that can kill the bacteria that cause acne and reduce inflammation. You can find it in many over-the-counter acne products, such as creams, gels, or patches. Look for a product that contains 2% benzoyl peroxide and apply it sparingly to the pimple once or twice a day. Be careful not to overuse it, as it can dry out your skin and make it more sensitive.
Step 4: Use a warm compress to encourage drainage
Once you see a white spot or a whitehead forming in the center of the pimple, you can use a warm compress to help it drain naturally. A warm compress can soften the skin and open up the pore, allowing the pus and bacteria to come out. To make a warm compress, soak a clean cloth in hot water (not too hot) and wring out the excess. Place the cloth over the pimple for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this three or four times a day until the pimple heals.
And that’s it! These are the four steps you can follow to shrink a cystic pimple at home. Remember, do not try to pop, squeeze, or pick at the pimple, as this can make it worse and leave scars. Be gentle with your skin and give it time to heal. If you have severe or persistent cystic acne, you may want to consult a dermatologist for more effective treatments.
9 Tips for 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.
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, 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.