ZocdocAnswersWhat are the signs of an infected blackhead?

Question

What are the signs of an infected blackhead?

I'm 31 and I have pretty sensitive skin for someone my age. A few weeks ago, I had what seemed like a small pimple above my eyebrow, but squeezing it out just seemed to make it more tender and sensitive, until eventually it got hard and very painful. Now what should I do?

Answer

First, you absolutely must stop squeezing or picking at the area. In general, squeezing blackheads and pimples is never advised because all that this tends to do is make the area of skin inflamed and potentially infected are scarred. It is possible that the area that you are feeling that is hard and painful is just scar and inflammation from squeezing and that it will heal on its own if you leave it alone. However if there is a lot of redness or warmth, it might have gotten infection. It is probably worth showing the area to your primary care doctor to determine if you need antibiotics. In the meantime, you can apply a topical antibiotic cream, such as neosporin. If the area is not infected, and if you leave it alone, then you can expect it to heal up on its own in a week or two. In the future, to avoid this problem, you shouldn't squeeze you blackheads. Instead you should rely on good facial hygiene, exfoliation, and comedonolytics such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to keep your skin clean and pimple free. If you do not have luck with these methods, then it is time to talk to your primary care doctor or dermatologist about stronger treatments.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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