What Causes Blind Pimples (And How to Get Rid of Them!)

Certain types of acne, like blackheads and pimples, are easy to spot. Then there are those small, swollen bumps that aren’t quite as noticeable, but feel tender to the touch, which are commonly known as blind pimples. We turned to New York dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD to get the scoop on this painful skin care problem and how to fix it.

Blind pimples, or closed comedones, are unlike other types of pimples because of how they form on skin. “Because they are deeper in the skin and closer to the nerves, they can be more tender than traditional pimples and don't have the typical white head that common pimples have,” says Dr. Engelman. “They may definitely feel different, but what causes them to pop up is the same as other forms of acne: clogged pores, bacteria, inflammation and the overproduction of sebum. 

To get your skin back to its normal, pimple-free self, there are a few things you can do. Topical treatments that have benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help, as well as applying a warm compress. If the pain is really bad, a trip to the dermatologist may be in order, where he or she may inject an anti-inflammatory medication into your skin. 

Now that the bump is gone, how can you keep it that way? “Retinols and prescription retinoids are great for preventing pores from clogging, as well as decreasing sebum production, which subsequently decreases the chance of blind pimple formation,” explains Dr. Engelman. “Also, avoiding high intake of dairy and high-glycemic index foods will also help diminish their occurrence."