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How to Reduce Swelling in a Popped Pimple

author image Lauren Whitney
Lauren Whitney covers science, health, fitness, fashion, food and weight loss. She has been writing professionally since 2009 and teaches hatha yoga in a home studio. Whitney holds bachelor's degrees in English and biology from the University of New Orleans.
How to Reduce Swelling in a Popped Pimple
Once a pimple pops, reduce the associated swelling. Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

If you're dealing with a freshly popped pimple, you'll probably notice swelling in the area. Swelling occurs whenever tissues become inflamed. As cells sustain damage, your body's defense mechanism speeds white blood cells to the area to begin healing. Those healing cells require fluid to travel, so injuries, including popped pimples, swell.

Step 1

Wrap an ice cube in paper towels or a clean, soft cloth. If you're sensitive to cold, double-wrap the cube.

Step 2

Press the wrapped ice cube against the site of the popped pimple for 30 to 45 seconds. Apply light pressure to encourage fluid to drain from swollen tissues. Remove the ice before the 30-second mark if you feel uncomfortable.

Step 3

Remove the cold pack and wait at least five minutes before reapplying it. Your goal is to cool the skin, not freeze it, which can create more redness over time.

Step 4

Repeat the process until the swelling goes down or the ice becomes uncomfortable.

Step 5

Take an anti-inflammatory medication if you feel marked discomfort from the swelling. Drug stores sell naproxen sodium, acetaminophen and aspirin over the counter, but heed manufacturers' directions if you take any medication.

Step 6

Dab an antibiotic cream or ointment on the affected area to prevent reinfection of the original pimple's site or the spread of pimples to surrounding skin. Popping a pimple leaves an opening in the skin through which bacteria can gain entry, so cleanliness after popping is vital.

Step 7

Lie down for an hour or two with the swollen area elevated, if possible. Elevation lets gravity do part of the work of draining fluid from edematous skin. Treating the swelling associated with a popped pimple before bedtime is ideal because you'll spend many hours lying down.

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