Hidden acne is swollen, slightly red/pink acne with no head (white or black inside). The medical term for hidden acne is closed acne or papules. X Research Source Hidden acne forms similar to normal acne, but due to clogged pores, acne has no head. X Source of Research Hidden or clogged acne are often painful because they are caused by inflammation deep under the skin. X Research Source Learning how to treat hidden acne can help dispel your obsessions so you can be more confident in your skin.
Use acne treatments
Use an exfoliating cream. Peeling, or the process of removing the outer layer of skin, is an important part of skin rejuvenation. Using a mild exfoliator can help remove dead skin cells from the epidermis, thereby helping to unclog pores and prevent re-clogging.
For normal or oily skin, you should consider exfoliating every 1-2 days. For dry skin and more sensitive skin, you should limit exfoliation to 1-2 times per week.
There are two groups of exfoliants: mechanical exfoliants (e.g., scrubs and cotton pads) and chemical exfoliants (eg, hydroxy acids). Both of these product groups are effective in removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores.
There are many exfoliants on the market today, but some can be harmful, depending on your skin type. If you’re not sure which product to use, talk to your board-certified dermatologist or another skin care professional about the best exfoliant for your skin type.
Use over-the-counter products. There are many over-the-counter products that help fight acne, including hidden acne. When using an over-the-counter product, it’s important to wash the affected area with a gentle cleanser twice daily (unless your skin is too sensitive and can’t be washed more than once per day). Use only the right amount of acne product to cover hidden blemishes and other acne-prone skin. Popular over-the-counter products contain one or more of the following ingredients:
Benzoyl peroxide – kills bacteria, removes dead skin and excess oil, helps unclog pores. May cause skin dryness, peeling and burning; May bleach hair or clothes.
Salicylic Acid – helps prevent clogged pores. May cause mild burning sensation and/or skin irritation.
Alpha hydroxy acids – There are 2 types of alpha hydroxy acids commonly used in over-the-counter products: glycolic acid and lactic acid. Both of these acids are effective in removing dead skin cells, reducing inflammation, and stimulating new skin growth.
Sulfur – removes dead skin cells, excess oil to prevent clogged pores and kill bacteria on the skin. May cause dry skin and unpleasant odors.
Try using over-the-counter products. If an over-the-counter acne product doesn’t significantly treat your skin problem, you may need to talk to your dermatologist about a stronger prescription medication. Topical prescription medications are medications that are applied to the surface of the skin. For best results, wash your face with a mild cleanser and pat dry for about 15 minutes before applying the medication. Strong topical prescription medications typically contain one or more of the following ingredients:
Retinoids – prevent hair follicles from becoming clogged, thereby preventing hidden acne from forming. Retinoids can help reduce inflammation. Start applying Retinoid in the evening, 3 times per week, then increase to daily use as the skin gets used to the medicine.
Antibiotics – kill excess bacteria on the skin, reduce inflammation and redness. Topical antibiotics are often combined with benzoyl peroxide to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance. Some common antibiotic combination products include Clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide (Benzaclin, Duac) and Erythromycin with benzoyl peroxide (Benzamycin).
Dapsone (Aczone) – kills bacteria and prevents clogged pores. May cause skin to be dry and slightly red.
Try home therapy
Apply warm or cold compress. Depending on your skin type and severity of the hidden acne, you should consider warm compresses with cold compresses (ice packs). Warm compresses can help dry up hidden acne and drain it; Meanwhile, cold compress helps reduce swelling and pain at the acne site. Ice should not be applied in the early stages of hidden acne. If the acne is large, the inflammation is more severe, or it is more painful, you should apply a warm compress to drain the fluid in the pimple.
You can create a warm compress simply by dipping a clean washcloth in warm or hot water (be careful not to burn yourself). Apply a warm washcloth to your skin for a few minutes at a time and repeat as often as needed throughout the day.
For the cold method, apply an ice pack or wrap ice cubes in a clean towel. Apply cold packs to your skin for no more than 10 minutes at a time, up to 4 times per day.
Make an apple and honey mask. Apples and honey can be helpful in treating acne (including hidden acne) thanks to their properties. Apples contain malic acid, which can help make skin firmer and healthier, and honey has antibacterial properties that help fight bacteria (which can cause clogged pores).
Puree the apples, then slowly add the all-natural honey to thicken until it forms an easy-to-spread mixture.
Apply the mixture on the hidden acne and leave it for at least 10 minutes, then wipe or rinse the mixture and wash your face with a mild cleanser.
Use tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is often used as a natural remedy for many skin problems. Tea tree oil when applied to hidden acne can help remove dead skin, oil, dirt that clog pores and reduce inflammation.
Apply a small amount of essential oil to the hidden acne 3 times daily. This works best when combined with other skin care steps, such as exfoliating or using a gentle cleanser.
Apply aloe. Aloe vera has long been used to treat skin problems, and many people believe it can help treat hidden acne. If you’re using a store-bought aloe vera gel, simply apply it to the pimple. If using aloe leaves, you need to cut along the stem and then squeeze the gel-like juice of the aloe to flow out.
Apply aloe vera directly to the hidden acne and leave it on for at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, wash your face with warm water.
Prevent hidden acne
Practice good hygiene habits. Keeping your face clean is the best way to prevent hidden acne from forming. That’s because most hidden acne is caused by clogged pores from dirt, bacteria, and oil – all of which can be removed with a daily face wash. In addition, you also need to keep your hands clean every time you touch your face because unwashed hands can introduce new bacteria into the skin pores.
Choose a gentle cleanser. Choose a cleanser that is non-abrasive and alcohol-free.
Wet your face with clean warm water, then use your fingers (after washing your hands) to apply the cleanser to your skin. Do not rub on the skin to avoid skin irritation and damage.
Rinse with warm water and then pat dry with a clean, soft towel.
Wash your face twice a day and every time you sweat a lot.
Add enough water. Adding enough water to the body helps improve skin elasticity. While elasticity isn’t actually linked to acne reduction, it can help improve skin as part of an overall skin care routine.
Try to drink about 8 cups of water a day. Avoid consuming sugar, alcohol and too much caffeine to prevent dehydration.
Adopt a healthy diet. Avoid foods high in sugar or fat and reduce processed foods. Eat lots of whole, healthy foods like vegetables. There’s no conclusive evidence, but many studies show an association between acne and foods high in refined sugars, fats, or dairy products.
Foods that raise blood sugar (like sugar and carbohydrates) can cause the body to secrete insulin, which in turn causes the oil glands to produce too much oil. A diet high in foods with a low glycemic index can help prevent acne.
Reduce stress. Stress not only causes new acne, but also makes old acne worse. Reducing daily stress levels can help reduce acne, including hidden acne.
Try spontaneous relaxation. This stress reliever involves repeating soothing words/phrases in your head while focusing on how your body feels. Try focusing on your breathing or repeatedly relaxing each arm/leg, while saying a relaxation mantra.
Use dynamic relaxation therapy, muscle tension and relaxation. This is a technique of continuously stretching, relaxing and relaxing each major muscle group in the body. Start at the top and work your way down or vice versa. Hold the stretch for at least 5 seconds, then relax the stretch for about 30 seconds before moving on to the next muscle group.
Visualize a peaceful place/situation. Close your eyes and sit still in a quiet place. Use your senses while visualizing a relaxing place or scenario. Think of the feeling of sitting on the floor/ground/bed, the sound of the ocean waves (for example) and the scent of salt water filling your surroundings.
Meditation. Sit alone in a quiet place. You can sit with your legs folded under your butt or sit up straight with your feet firmly on the floor, as long as the position is most comfortable. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe through the diaphragm (below, near the stomach) instead of breathing through the chest. Inhale and exhale slowly, deeply, and at the same time say the relaxation mantra (if comfortable). The mantra can be affirmative (I love myself) or relaxing (I find it very peaceful), as long as it helps you to calm down and sit still.