Pustule vs. Cysts

When you feel that pesky pimple start to form, is your immediate reaction to dry it out?

This might be the number one mistake I hear clients make when they feel or see a pimple forming. I don’t blame anyone for thinking this though because who wasn’t taught to put toothpaste on your zit to “dry it out”?

I sure was.

I’m here to tell you, loud and clear, don’t do that.

When a blemish appears, your body has incredible repair mechanisms (unless you have an immune deficiency disorder) that immediately recognizes an infection and then kicks into high gear to heal it. The problem comes when you, thinking you’re helping, interfere with these natural processes and end up making it worse.

What you must understand is that there is a life cycle to the blemish and it’s important that you’re treating it in sync with the natural healing process.

How to Correct:

When you get a red, painful blemish, one of two things will happen; 1. the infection inside the blemish will work its way up to the surface of the skin resulting in a white head. If your skin could talk, it would say, “There is an infection and I want it out. The way I’ll take care of this is to excrete the infection through the skin’s surface.” This type of blemish is called a pustule.


The infection will NOT come up to the surface. It will stay deep within the skin until the body eventually re-absorbs it. In this scenario, if your skin could talk, it would say, “I’m just going to hang out down here for a bit. Don’t worry, I’ll go away on my own.” This type of blemish is called a cyst.


The best action to take with pustular blemishes is to play the waiting game. Wait 1-3 days before doing anything to it. When you wait you are effectively controlling the blemish without damaging the skin. Once the whitehead is actually visible, gently squeeze out the infection with clean fingers wrapped in tissue, and then apply some type of spot-drying treatment that will go on to eradicate any infection lingering under the skin.

Not a lot of people know that if you apply a drying treatment before the whitehead is on the surface, it will only dry out the surface of the skin. Thus keeping the infection trapped underneath the skin for longer which in turn causes the infection to stretch the surrounding skin tissue and set off a response that creates discoloration and leaves behind an acne scar that will linger for weeks or even months.


Cystic blemishes mostly occur on the chin and jaw areas. It is important to remember that cysts are like submarines; they are meant to stay under the skin. No matter what method you try, cysts will never rise to the surface of the skin. This means no picking whatsoever!

My best advice is to leave it alone, use ice to reduce inflammation, and give yourself grace. Cysts can take a long time to clear so it’s best to let the body work it’s magic than to fuss with it and make matters worse. I knowwww it is so tempting to pick but nothing will come out and you’ll injure the skin and possibly cause scarring. Loading up on leafy green veggies, drinking lots of water, and minimizing inflammation in the body will also support your skin in healing quickly as well.

Remember you are beautiful, no matter what and if someone treats you differently because you have one or one hundred blemishes, that’s on them. So smile on, girlfriend, these little blemishes will depart the premises soon enough and time will march on.

If you feel like your acne will just not go away no matter what you do please book a facial with me I would love to help you out!

Book through this link or call me at (503) 396-2954

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