Painful Zits
January 17, 2004 3:29 PM   Subscribe

How do you get rid of those invisible, under-the-skin, extremely painful zits that take forever to work themselves out? [more inside]

I just got another one on my chin and it *hurts*. Hot compresses don't get them to come to a head. Usually I suffer for a week until I can't stand it anymore, then I go at it and scar my face. I can't find any reliable method to get rid of them before it gets to that point. Any tried-and-true ways you can suggest would be helpful.
posted by Melinika to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cystic acne won't be rushed
posted by Fupped Duck at 3:37 PM on January 17, 2004

I suggest you go to a doctor. I know one person who has had cystic acne at all since about three months after going on Ortho Tri-cylen (and it's been two years now). Your hormones/causes may vary. And Ortho is just for women.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:06 PM on January 17, 2004

I don' t think it's cystic acne - I only get what I'm describing one at a time, once every couple of months. I don't even really get zits, just these suckers. That's another reason they drive me nuts; my face is clear but there's almost always a zit brewing or a leftover scar on my chin, and it makes me really self-conscious.

crouton, I was on Ortho for four years and it didn't affect these at all. I've been getting them infrequently but regularly since I was a teenager. Ortho has helped a lot of my friends with acne though.
posted by Melinika at 4:22 PM on January 17, 2004

In my experience zits like that feel huge while they're brewing but aren't actually very noticable to the average bystander. Once you start gouging in with your fingernails and other tools, then it becomes a giant bloody eyesore. I recommend keeping your hands off your face as much as possible and just letting nature run its course. It won't feel pretty, but it looks a lot better than the other course of action, and in my experience the pain and swelling subside on their own after a week or so (without ever "coming to a head").
posted by bonheur at 6:00 PM on January 17, 2004

Maybe you can prevent them before they arrive. If they're always in the same area (your chin), try a pore-opening mask every week or so just in that area, and maybe use a Biore strip occasionally. Also wipe off your telephone receiver on a regular basis with a gentle cleansing-type product like Windex. Trying not to touch your skin is hard, but if you become more conscious of it, you might be able to lessen it. Hope this helps!
posted by boomchicka at 6:18 PM on January 17, 2004

We calls those 'submarine zits' although a quick google search shoes that this is apparently not common usage .

Unfortunately, I have no answers, aside from suggesting that they may not be zits at all. Have you heard of Sebaceous cysts? I'm pretty sure you can see on on the left hand side of my jaw in my wedding photos (you can sure as hell see something). Apparently some folks are suspectible to them, and generally speaking there's no real treatment.

The scar's your giving yourself could be the home surgery equivalent of cystectomy.
posted by daver at 6:45 PM on January 17, 2004

Yep. Gotta clean the pores out ... sex is one of the best ways to do that.
posted by SpecialK at 6:51 PM on January 17, 2004

I sometimes get those, and they eventually come out as simple whiteheads--nothing to do about them really, but wait, and then do the really hot washcloth thing. Biore pore strips do help prevent them I find (I get them around my nose)

Sebaceous cysts are different than what Mel means, I think.
posted by amberglow at 7:33 PM on January 17, 2004

Did I say shoes? (shows)
posted by daver at 8:39 PM on January 17, 2004

The Tea tree oil blemish stick from the Body Shop works wonders, at least in my experience. It gets rid of those within 24 hours and soothes while it's doing it.
posted by ifjuly at 8:48 PM on January 17, 2004

I experienced immediate & impressive results by taking Bactrim twice a day for a year which killed much excess bacteria in my body (plus avoiding sugar as much as I could).
posted by dhoyt at 10:36 PM on January 17, 2004

I get these occasionally too (and yes, they're definitely different from other zits). I find that sometimes a dab of Neosporin early on (after careful cleansing/pore opening mask) will help speed the process along -- I assume the antibiotic helps kill whatever nasty little germies are trapped in there (as dhoyt's experience suggests). Tea tree oil definitely helps soothe and bring the red down a bit too. Also, another good trick for minimizing the red is to rub in a drop or two of Visine -- it gets the red out of more than eyes!
posted by scody at 11:02 PM on January 17, 2004

My girlfriend always reccomends applying toothpaste on the spot before going to bed, as it dries out the area.

Doesn't work for me, but she swears by it in these cases - thought it might help to share.
posted by triv at 2:28 AM on January 18, 2004

From my experience, watch out for anything that is kinda like a zit but kinda not. I once had a painful lump on my left arm that after a week grew larger than any acne pimple I'd ever had and kept growing. By the time I saw my doctor, I had developed a 101+ fever and was sent directly to the hospital, where it was found to be a nasty little staph infection (a cousin of the "flesh-eating bacteria") that required two weeks of intravenous antibiotics and two more weeks of Cipro (when everybody was taking it for the anthrax scare) and had to be drained by a surgeon (the infection had no obvious point of entry) and left an ugly scar I was nervously hiding from scody who was sitting to my left at last night's MeetUp...

A very non-typical case, but the reason I advise anybody to see their doctor if they get a 'non-typical' anything.
posted by wendell at 1:34 PM on January 18, 2004

they're called blind pimples, but when i was a teenager we called them "hurties".

The Tea tree oil blemish stick from the Body Shop works wonders, at least in my experience.

i swear by this product as well, it's very effective.
posted by t r a c y at 3:11 PM on January 18, 2004

This may occur as a slightly flaky answer, but here it is. My nutritionist calls these "acid pimples" and says they are from having a highly acid pH body, which is related to eating a lot of junk food, drinking, and generally being a nutrition slug. She gave me a short-term solution which works - sleep overnight with a foam of ivory soap on the zit/hurtie, and then keep it very, very clean without trying to pop it. Do this for several days, make sure you have some kind of detox experience (light fasting, colonic, whatever) and it will go away.
posted by pomegranate at 4:53 PM on January 18, 2004

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