How to Get Rid of a Zit That Has Not Surfaced

Often, you'll notice soreness and swelling before a zit actually appears on your face. If left unchecked, it may turn into a big pimple that won't go away for days or weeks. Pimples respond to treatment even before they've surfaced, so by acting fast, you can stop that blemish in its tracks. Home remedies and acne medications ward off unsurfaced pimples by unclogging pores, killing bacteria and reducing swelling.

Woman holding cotton pad on her chin (Image: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Soak a washcloth in hot water, then press it against the unsurfaced pimple for 30 seconds. Rinse the washcloth with more hot water, then hold it against the skin again. The heat opens pores, enabling you to treat under-skin zits more easily.

Step 2

Moisten a cotton ball in white vinegar or lemon juice -- both antiseptics -- then blot the pimple with it a few times.

Step 3

Wrap an ice cube in a paper towel or tissue. Press the ice cube gently against the pimple for one or two minutes to reduce swelling.

Step 4

Steep a teabag in hot water for several minutes. Remove the teabag and let it cool slightly, then wipe the pimple with it. The tannins in tea help ease inflammation. Tea may also draw hidden pimples to the surface of your skin, allowing other treatments to work more effectively. Black tea contains a high amount of tannins, but other types of tea will also work.

Step 5

Combine 1/2 teaspoon of milk and 1 teaspoon of powdered brewer's yeast in a bowl. Mix well. Apply the paste to the blemish before you go to bed, then rinse it off in the morning. Yeast kills acne-causing bacteria, and the lactic acid in milk helps inflammation.

Step 6

Dab a small amount of benzoyl-peroxide acne medication on the pimple to clear up under-skin pimples quickly. Apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer after using the treatment to avoid getting dry skin. Tea tree oil works similarly to benzoyl peroxide -- but it doesn't do the job as fast.

Things You'll Need

  • Washcloth

  • Cotton balls

  • White vinegar or lemon juice

  • Paper towels or tissues

  • Teabags

  • Milk

  • Powdered brewer's yeast

  • Bowl

  • Benzoyl-peroxide treatment

  • Non-comedogenic moisturizer


If you have severe acne, ask your doctor about oral or topical prescription medications.

A blue-light therapy device may help to get rid of pimples that haven't surfaced. The light's wavelength kills bacteria and wards off brewing pimples. Some doctors offer this treatment in their office, but you'll get similar results with an at-home device.

Swap your pillowcase for a clean one every night if you have acne-prone skin. A used pillowcase may harbor acne-causing germs, bacteria and oil.


Never pick at or squeeze a pimple. Doing so will make the zit look worse, and it can also cause scarring or infection.

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