Everything you need to know about blind pimples

Get the lowdown on unsightly bumps

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / May 25 2017

Getting a big red spot is bad enough, but what do you do when an unsightly and painful lump appears under your skin? We spoke with Emma Hobson, Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica, for her best advice for dealing with an irritating blind pimple.  

Q: Firstly, what is a pimple?

A: “A spot has its own journey, it first starts as what is called a papule, or a ‘blind’ spot,” explains Hobson. “This is when there is a congested ‘plug’ within a pore (follicle) that causes so much pressure it actually causes a break in the follicle wall. The contents of the follicle then empties into the skin (dermis) and our body responds by alerting the immune system and white blood cells to attack the area. The result is a sore, red and often painful spot. At this point they do not have a yellow/white head on the surface. Papules may last 5-10 days, depending on their activity. The spot then develops into a pustule, which is a spot with a white head, resulting from the white blood cells creating a yellow/white cap of pus that is visible on the surface of the skin. Pustules may last for five or six days, depending on how active they are.

Q: What is a blind pimple?

A: Ok… so now you know what an angry red pimple is, but what about a blind one? “If a spot is severe it can continue its journey to become another ‘blind’ lesion called a nodule. A nodule is a solid, dome-shaped or irregularly-shaped lesion. Unlike a papule, a nodule is characterised by a more severe redness and inflammation, which extends into the deeper layers of the skin and may cause tissue destruction that results in scarring. A nodule may be very painful.”

Q: Can blind pimples go away on their own?

A: Magically, they can just disappear as quickly as they appear. “Some never turn into spots as the immune system quickly dispels them, however many do.”

Q: What’s the best way to treat them?

A: Avoid picking at all costs. “Spot-cleaning treatments work well,” says Hobson. “But never squeeze them; you will just make it much worse and you could spread the underlying infraction and end up with even more spots than you started with. Or worse, a scar, which lasts a lot longer than the spot ever would have.”


Dermalogica Concealing Spot Treatment is lightly tinted and contains sulphur and zinc oxide to clear bacteria.

Apply Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2 in 1 Cleanser Mask twice daily to decongest skin with the help of natural clay minerals and salicylic acid.

Regulate oil levels in skin with Garnier Pure Active Daily Cleansing Gel Wash, which features zinc in its formula to help kill pimple-causing bacteria.

Dermalogica Concealing Spot Treatment

Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2 in 1 Cleanser Mask

Garnier Pure Active Daily Cleansing Gel Wash

Want to learn more about skincare? Check out the trick to get rid of acne scars, and the best products to treat adult acne

Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinky-nude nail polish and wispy false lashes, she has a healthy obsession with face masks and skin care ingredients. Her previous work can be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and SHOP Til You Drop.