Icing swollen pimples
Gimme ‘dat ice

Do you ever get those big swollen pimples… the ones that are almost like a red hot swollen egg under your skin?

The first thing you probably think is “HOW DO I MAKE THIS GO AWAY FAST(er)?!”

You can use a spot treatment of choice if you feel it makes a difference, but another question is…. what about applying hot or cold?

Sometimes people like to soak their sore muscles in hot water to help them feel better. But then, people also apply ice to sores and injuries too…..

It seems like one of these options might help with a big painful pimple.

But which one?? The last thing you want to do is the wrong thing and make it worse!

When to Apply Cold

Ice a a pimple to bring down inflammationWhen a pimple swells up like that, it’s because of inflammation. Inflammation is characterized by heat, redness, tenderness, and swelling.

So, much like what you would do if you banged your knee and it swelled up, you would want to apply ice.

The skin will temporarily get a bit red from the ice and you’re still going to have a red pustule type pimple, but it will bring the swelling down a lot quicker.

So get an ice cube, a sack of peas, or a refreezable ice pack, wrap it in some paper towel (it should never be applied straight), and stick ‘er on.

Ice for two minutes, and then remove for 5 minutes. Repeat four or five times or until you get sick of it.

Don’t ice for more than a couple minutes at a time, or you risk damaging the tissue. You don’t want to give yourself frost bite!

When to Apply Heat

Apply heat before popping a pimpleYou can use heat when and if you are planning to pop a big juicy one.

Not that I recommend popping, of course… but… well… I know you’re probably going to do it anyway.

And hey… I ain’t perfect either. I try to avoid it for the most part, but I’ve certainly popped a pimple or two… or three… or four…

So if you’re going to do it regardless, it’s better to accept it, and follow these guidelines instead of going on a spontaneous rampage:

  • Wait until you *know* it’s going to go. There is a large white head and you know that it’s going to give if you give it a little squeeze. Squeezing before it’s ready is a rookie mistake.
  • Apply heat before you do it to open up the pore. This will help it come out easier with minimal squeezing
  • Don’t use your fingernails. Roll up two pieces of tissue, and use the hard edges to gently squeeze from both sides. The edges of a towel work even better.
  • If the pus doesn’t come out with a gentle squeeze, give it up and come back later.

So yes. This is when you would use heat.

The corner of a towel soaked in fairly hot water applied for five minutes before the “surgery” should do it.

After you’re done, applying ice as prescribed above will help minimize damage and quickly close up the wound.

Do you ice your pimples? What about heat ’em before popping?