How to deal with undergound spots

We all know of the grim satisfaction of popping a whitehead or squeezing out the contents of a blackhead.

But when a spot doesn’t have a head of any sort, and is instead just a sore red bump, squeezing and prodding provides no satisfaction – only pain and more redness.

How should you deal with these underground spots that you can feel but not properly see? Is there a way to get rid of them quickly? Or do we have to wait for them to grow into a proper pimple so we can go ahead and pop?

We’re sorry to say that the officially recommended solution won’t give you a Dr Pimple Popper worthy squeeze.

Dr Zoya Diwan, the co-founder of Trikwan Aesthetics, says that rather than seeing underground spots as annoyances you can’t get a good grip on, you should be happy to have spotted them before they erupt.

‘Underground spots or blind pimples are those annoying spots that you know are coming on but they don’t quite have the pus-filled head,’ Dr Zoya tells ‘They can be very tender, inflamed and red.

‘This is the perfect time to catch the spot before it surfaces.’

So no, you don’t have to wait for the spot to emerge into a head. You can tackle it at this early stage before it becomes more obvious.

Reasons for spots are wide-ranging, but they’re often caused by bacteria, dirt, and sweat clogging up the skin’s pores.

The solution for that, says Zoya, is an antimicrobial treatment applied directly to the area, such as benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid. You can either pick up special gels made up of a percentage of benzyl peroxide, or check the ingredients list of spot treatments to ensure they have both. Origins’ Blemish Treatment Gel, for example, contains both, while the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion contains high amounts of salycylic acid.

It’s also worth drawing out the underlying pus – without attacking your skin with your fingers or other tools.

A warm compress held on an underground pimple will help, opening up the pore and softening the area.

While you’re treating your spot, make sure to prevent any other dirt or bacteria from getting lodged in pores by keeping the skin cleansed, washing all your makeup palettes, and washing your towels and pillows – these are all ‘basics that can prevent unnecessary spots from forming in the first place,’ says Zoya.

Whatever you do, don’t try to pop, poke, squeeze, or prod an underground spot that doesn’t have a head.

We know it’s tempting. You know, from previous experience, that it won’t go well. And yet you’ll still think about doing it.

Don’t do it.

Not only will squeezing not work to get rid of the spot, it’ll make it far worse.

‘The worst thing you can do is to poke, pop or irritate the area,’ says Zoya. ‘This can lead to something called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), where the skin darkens and blemishes appear that are difficult to get rid of.

‘Furthermore, it can also cause more long-term scarring and even worsen the spot by increasing the risk of exacerbating the infection.’

Stay strong, resist temptation, and load up on the compresses and salycylic acid instead. Your glorious skin is your reward.

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