Are People Still Getting Their Pimples Injected?

Are People Still Getting Their Pimples Injected? featured image
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Is there anything worse than waking up the day of a big event and having a gigantic pimple on your face? I know I’m not the only one who has been there. But, what I didn’t know at the time was that I could pop into my dermatologist’s office for a quick steroid injection to expedite my pimple’s healing.

A couple years later, I worked with a beauty editor who was a super fan of “pimple injections.” She’d rush out of the office anytime a bad one popped up to have her derm “make it disappear.” I quickly learned these injections are commonplace in the beauty industry, and especially popular for celebs and other A-listers who need a quick fix while filming a movie or before a red-carpet event, etc. But then, I didn’t hear about them for quite a while. So is the “pimple injection” still a thing today? We find out.

Featured Experts:

What is a pimple injection?

“The injection consists of a very dilute solution of a very specific concentration of a particular corticosteroid, like triamcinolone (Kenalog),” explains Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD. “It is precisely placed right into the center of the acne cyst, or intralesionally.” New York dermatologist Jody Levine, MD adds that the steroid solution decreases inflammation. It helps the pimple heal quicker than it would otherwise.

Who should consider injections for pimples?

Cystic pimples are the ones that benefit most from injections,” says Dr. Levine. “Many patients have these types of pimples injected regularly.” Dr. Honet adds that the pimple has to be relatively sizable—bigger than a pinhead. “I do acne cyst injections in the office almost every day because they are quick and well-tolerated. They’re also amazingly effective. You can imagine how popular of a procedure it is because nearly anyone, at any age, may get a pimple that needs, and is ideal for, injection.” In Miami dermatologist Anna Chacon, MD’s office, she typically only injects pimples that are painful, swollen acne nodules or cysts that aren’t improving with standard acne treatments.

When should you not get injections for pimples?

Thankfully, a properly trained and qualified dermatologist will never an inject a pimple that isn’t a “candidate” for this type of treatment. However, Dr. Honet notes that pimples should not be flat or relatively new in onset, as the injection will not be effective. “Old pimples and blackheads or whiteheads that can be extracted easily are not good candidates either,” she adds. “Before any injection, your doctor will make sure there are no underlying sensitivities or recent cosmetic procedures that could interfere with the corticosteroid as well.

How fast do pimple injections work?

“It’s the pimple quick-fix and can literally reduce the pimple to half its size or better overnight,” says Dr. Honet. “Some of my patients swear that the pimple will improve within just a few hours of the injection. This is why it’s often a great treatment for those who have a social event the same evening or next day. The procedure is quick, highly effective and quite gratifying for the patient. I even inject my own acne cysts before I go to bed because my pimples will be nearly gone by morning. In fact, my staff will have a syringe in hand at the end of a workday to have me inject their acne cyst.”

“A pimple that would otherwise take more than a week to heal will decrease in size by the next day. And, it often goes away entirely in two to three days,” Dr. Levine adds. In some cases, patients are prone to acne cysts that can take weeks to clear up on their own. “A few days after receiving a steroid injection, the discomfort, redness and swelling can be reduced,” Dr. Chacon notes.

Are pimple injections safe?

Yes. Although the injection seems relatively simple and straightforward, Dr. Honet says it should be done by someone quite experienced and knowledgable about the procedure and about skin anatomy. “An acne cyst injection is a medical procedure, so it is found in a dermatology office setting and not usually available in a medispa,” she explains. “Complications can occur involving dermal atrophy and/or lipoatrophy occuring at the injection site if done by inexperienced hands. This means there can be a significant, persistent, unsightly dimpling of the skin after the pimple heals, and it may not be apparent right away. If the injection is done by an expert, like a board-certified dermatologist, this side effect is a very rare occurrence.”

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