How To Effectively Treat Painful Breakouts

It's safe to say that nobody's a fan of having breakouts. But when it happens, the notion not to pick, prod, or poke sometimes goes out the window as we want to get the breakout under control. However, pimples can sometimes become painful whether we touch them or not. 

According to Mayo Clinic, there are four main causes of those red raised bumps: oily skin, bacteria, inflammation, and clogged hair follicles due to both dead skin cells and excessive oil. Acne can appear anywhere on the body, but common areas are on the forehead, chest, and upper back area.

When there's a big blockage in the hair follicle from bacteria, oil, or other gunk, it often leads to discomfort (per LiveStrong). A whitehead forms, indicating there's pus underneath, or an acne nodule forms, showing a bump with no fluid (via Cleveland Clinic). Both can be irritating.

Soreness is the result of the body fighting an infection, which explains why breakouts can be painful to touch, explains Tashara Lester, a certified family nurse practitioner who specializes in dermatology at U.S. Dermatology Partners in Dallas (via LiveStrong). So, skip picking your pimple and try using these steps instead.

How to calm the acne pain

Avoid touching your face as the area is already sensitive. Instead, grab an ice pack. According to LiveStrong, you should ice your pimple for five to ten minutes, then remove the ice. While ice is a common treatment plan for sports injuries, ice therapy also has a numbing effect on pimples, decreasing pain, redness, and inflammation (via Healthline).

Afterward, you'll want to apply an acne spot cream. Look for one that contains benzoyl peroxide to further reduce inflammation and kill unwanted bacteria, Lester advises LiveStrong. If the pimple starts to form a white center, this is when you'll want to add a warm compress for up to ten minutes at a time, up to three times per day, according to Lester.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, having a good skincare regimen can also help manage acne and make the most of acne treatments. They recommend washing your face at least twice a day, especially after sweating. Be gentle with your skin, and use a non-abrasive cleaner so you don't irritate it. If the painful breakouts seem to persist or if you feel concerned, schedule a visit to your dermatologist.