How To Reduce Pimple Swelling

Posted 5 months ago by Vani Kambali in

Pimples can be very uncomfortable. For starters it ruins your appearance and bring all eye and attention to it rather than your features. You cannot even use makeup on it as it can further damage the quality of your skin as it can further clog the pores. And well, one can't ignore the pain it causes. There is always this throbbing pain wherever the pimple is taking its full form. That adds on to the agony. I am sure at some point in your life, all of you have slept with a completely healthy skin and woken up with this huge pimple taking away all the attention from your features. Pimples develop deep in the skin due to clogged pores which happens because of dead skin. It causes a red, swelling which is painful and also comes with a bump. The clog can also exist because of an overly oily skin or due to pollution. All of these can be easily treated and taken care off. However, a lot of times, it is body's natural heat or hormones or even genes that can cause pimples. These are a little tougher to deal with. Pimples are mostly painful but when they come with a bump or a swelling, they are for sure cystic, which means they come with infections. In this case the clogged pores became to intense leading to this problem. Cystic pimples need special and fast attention because if they burst, they can cause further breakout and damage. Let's first look at how a pimple becomes cystic.

How To Reduce Pimple Swelling

Causes Of A Cystic Pimple And How It Happens

A cystic acne[1] or an infected pimple happens when the pores are entirely blocked which can cause infection[2], swelling[3] as well as inflammation[4]. While pimples are very common, cystic pimples are not. They unlike normal pimples cannot occur just from your diet or lifestyle. They need a serious cause.


Cystic is most likely to hit someone who has just entered their puberty[5] because hormone is a great inducer of it. It is during puberty that your hormones are all over the place which can disturb everything and cause these painful little blobs of redness all over your face. Apparently it is the androgens[6] that should be blamed for it cause it increases once you hit your puberty. It causes a change in the skin which ultimately leads to clogged pores[7].


Just like puberty, anytime when your hormones fluctuate, you will be able to see these painful little blobs of redness irrupting on your skin like mini volcanoes. Pregnancy[8] is also a phase when you will be able to see a lot of cystic pimples because of hormone fluctuation. It can similarly happen during your menopause[9] or old age as hormones fluctuate majorly during this phase as well.


A bacteria named Propionibacterium[10] naturally lives in the skin and when the pores clog up due to dirt, gunk or dead skin it reproduce and trigger the immune, causing the pimple to become inflamed and grow larger.

Natural Ways to Reduce Pimple Swelling

There are a lot of natural ways to treat your cystic swelled up pimple before getting it treated by a specialist who might recommend medication or even a needle surgery, both synthetic ways of treating it. You can try them and if it fails to do any good then you can take the help of medicines to treat them.

Ice Cubes

Ice cubes are the most simplest way to subdue the pimple swelling. The best way it helps a pimple with swelling is by reducing the inflammation and the redness. It cools the area for starters and also helps with bacteria  that can worsen a cystic, inflamed pimple. Using ice also helps in closing the pores so we recommend washing the skin thoroughly but gently and then using the ice to close the pores. Gently rubbing ice on the inflamed pimple will also increase the blood circulation which will quicken the blood flow and work for the benefit of the pores. It also helps eliminate impurities from the skin.


Using ingredients that contains anti fungal  properties help cystic acne the best. Honey is one of them.  It fights bacteria[11] and help in keeping the pores clean and away from all kinds of clogging. While it might not be the best solution for other acne's but for pimples that are inflamed and have swelling, honey works perfectly. Honey has the power to draw out excess fluid and reduce inflammation. We would recommend using raw honey instead of the processed one as the processed one can take away from the effects of the anti fungal property. Honey will not pull out dirt from pores if that's what you are thinking but it sure can reduce the inflammation and in turn the swelling as well.


Cucumber is yet another ingredient that you can use to reduce the swelling from the pimples. The swelling is mostly cause due to an infection and cucumber[12] can help in waving it off. Infection is most likely to cause inflammation which worsen the situation and it is cucumber that helps in cooling the area down. Cucumber also contains silica which helps in sucking out all the dirt from the pores which clogs it causing the pimple to go infectious. Applying cucumber directly can also help in reducing the skin pores which will also help in protecting the skin from swelling and inflammation caused from pimples. Cucumber also have antioxidants in it which adds a protective layer on the skin, saving it from pimples and other kinds of acne. You can either apply cucumber in the fiber form directly onto your pimple or you can use its juice. You can also opt for certain recipes where you can mix cucumber with other ingredients which will help in reducing the swelling.


Yes, we know that just listening to lemon juice[13] being used on your acne can give you the Heebie-jeebies but it actually works. We are not saying that it won't sting or cause a little irritation. Well, it will but when compared to its benefits, they are for sure worth every sting. Lemon also contains antioxidant[14] properties that help in keeping the pores clean and away from any sort of clogging. If you have developed the swelling from pimple due to excess oil, then you can get rid of it through lemon as it secretes the oil from the sebaceous gland and keep the pores clog free. It also has antiseptic properties that work on bacteria which is one of the most strongest reason for a swelling  caused due to pimple. The antioxidants and antibacterial properties both combined together helps in treating inflammation and swelling caused due to pimple.  Just apply the juice directly or dilute it a little.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil[15] is also a great ingredient when you want to treat the swelling caused by infectious pimple. It contains antibacterial property that help keep the pores healthy and avoid any sort of clogging. Tea tree might sting in the beginning but it will reduce the inflammation and also the redness which initially causes the swelling. It will also help in eliminating the dark spots that is caused after the infectious pimples fades off. You can mix the tea tree oil with some light oil or other ingredients which will help treat the swelling without causing much damage.  If you think tea tree oil is very stingy then you can mix it with cooling agents like cucumber or Aloe Vera to treat it in the most subtle way possible.

Some Other Home Remedies

Taking medicine to treat your acne like pimples and its swelling seems easier and also quicker but why opt for that when you can in fact go all natural. Certain ingredients directly target the swelling of the pimple and help reduce it as well as the pimple from the very roots. When you can treat it that way why opt for anything else at all? Here is a list of recipes that you can use to treat the swelling of your pimples and get rid of the discomfort it comes packed with. Follow them and you will lose the swelling, the inflammation as well as the bump within no time.

  1. Baking Soda
  2. Cucumber
  3. Orange Peel
  4. Peppermint Oil
  5. Toothpaste
  6. Aspirin
  7. Green Tea
  8. Steam
  9. Garlic
  10. Cinnamon and Honey
  11. Apple Cider Vinegar
  12. Apple
  13. Aloe Vera Gel
  14. Epsom Salt
  15. Rubbing Alcohol
  16. Milk

Baking Soda

Things you will need:

Baking Soda1 Tsp
WaterA few drops


  1. Take a bowl and add 1 Tsp of baking soda into it. Add a couple of water drops to it to make a paste.
  2. Apply it onto your pimple swells and let it sit till it dries.
  3. Rinse it off using lukewarm water and pat dry.
  4. Make sure not to leave it for more than 30-40 minutes.

Baking soda is perfect if you are looking to reduce the inflammation and redness. It has both anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help keep the pores clean and away from clogging. It also keeps bacteria at bay which is the main reason how pimples grow inflamed and swelled up.


Things you will need:

Yoghurt1 tbsp


  1. Take half a cucumber and peel its skin off. Cut it into pieces and blend them well to make a fine paste.
  2. Take a fresh a bowl and add the blended cucumber into it. Add 1 tbsp of yoghurt to it and mix both of them really well.
  3. Apply it to the pimple's swelling and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Rinse it off using warm water and then splash some cold water onto it to close the pores.

Cucumber mixed with yoghurt is a great way to treat the swelling caused by pimples. The yoghurt sucks the excess oil out from the skin which clogs up the pores. Cucumber on the other hand is quite hydrating and also reduces swelling and inflammation.

Orange Peel

Things you will need:

Orange Peel1 oranges
Orange Juice2 Tbsp
Cotton1 Ball


  1. Rinse your face off thoroughly but gently and rub some orange peel on the pimple. Make sure you don't use the same peel on all pimples as it can transmit infection from one to another.
  2. Once you are done with that, squeeze some orange juice out and apply it directly onto the pimple.
  3. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then rinse it off using warm water. Splash some cold water to close the pores.

Orange peel contains acid with high vitamin C content that makes them the perfect cures for pimple and its swelling. It is also a safer alternative to lemon as it can sting less and treat the problem without causing much discomfort.

Peppermint Oil

Things you will need:

Peppermint leaves7-8 leaves
WaterA few drops


  1. Take a pestle and mortar and add 7-8 peppermint leaves into it.
  2. Crush it very well and add a couple of water drops to it to make a paste out of it.
  3. Apply the paste directly onto the swelling and let it subdue.
  4. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse it off using cold water so that you can close the pores after treating the problem.

Peppermint is a great ingredient if you are looking to reduce the swelling caused due to pimples. It hs soothing and cooling properties that help soothe the inflammation as well as the swell. It also contains antibacterial and antiviral properties that keep the bacteria at bay and protect the pores from clogging up.


Things you will need:

Toothpaste1 Tsp
Cool WaterAs required


  1. Rinse your face thoroughly and clean it.
  2. Apply the 1 Tsp worth toothpaste directly on the pimple and the swelling.
  3. Let it sit till it dries and then rinse it off using cold water. You can also decide to leave it overnight.

Toothpaste is known to irritate the skin and when you apply it directly onto the pimple and the swelling, it tends to dry them up which would eventually help fade it to nothingness. Toothpaste contains certain ingredients like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, menthol, essential oils, triclosan all known for drying the pimple till it falls off. The process is also not painful at all.


Things you will need:

WaterAs required


  1. Take a pestle and mortar and crush 4-5 aspirin into it.
  2. Take a small bowl and transfer the crushed aspirin into it and add a couple of water drops in it.
  3. Mix both the ingredients really well and apply it onto the swelling. Leave it on till it dries totally.
  4. Rinse it off using cold water so that the pores are well shut.

Aspirin is a great ingredient if you are looking to treat your pimple and the swelling as well. It is very effective and also very efficient. It has anti-inflammatory properties that helps keep the bacteria at bay which can cause the problem of infectious pimple and the swelling.

Green Tea

Things you will need:

Green Tea1 tbsp
Water1/2 cup
Cotton Ball1


  1. Take a vessel and heat half a cup of water. Add 1 tbsp worth green tea leaves into it.
  2. Let it boil and after its first boil, turn it off.
  3. Take 1 tbsp of the freshly brewed green tea into a bowl and dip 1 cotton ball into it.
  4. Squeeze the cotton ball to release excess concoction and apply it directly onto the swelling.
  5. Let it sit overnight and rinse it off the next morning in your normal wash routine.

Green tea isn't just great for the body or the metabolism but also for the skin. Consuming it helps in better cell regeneration which leads to a healthier skin. It is a great ingredient to treat acne as well. And especially if you have pimple's that are infectious, you can treat it using this. The swelling in a pimple happens because of the inflammation and that can be easily worked on by dabbing some green tea on the pimple. It also contains antioxidants which help in keeping the swelling down by working on bacteria and keeping the pores clean.


Things you will need:

WaterAs required
Steep Vessel1


  1. Take a vessel and fill it half with water.
  2. Put it on a flame and bring it to boil. Switch the flame off once the water gets its first boil.
  3. Take it off the flame and let it cool down for about a minute.
  4. Take a cloth and take steam from it. Cover your head with the towel while go close to the vessel so that the steam can easily come in contact with your face and the pimple.
  5. Repeat this till the water goes cold or even lukewarm.

Steams helps in opening the pores and cleansing it. When you take it multiple times it also helps in sucking out dirt and excess oil to the layer of the skin which you can easily wash off using cold water. This is the simplest way to treat your pores which gets inflamed cause of the dirt and gunk. It is the same problem which cause the pimples to swell up too.


Things you will need:

Garlic Cloves6
WaterAs required
Aloe Vera Gel1 Tsp


  1. Take a pestle and mortar and add 5-6 garlic cloves in it. Add some water.
  2. Mash it till it forms a paste. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp worth aloe Vera gel into and mix well.
  4. Apply it onto the pimple directly and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Make sure you have cleansed your face before doing this. Rinse it off with cold water and pat dry.

Garlic cloves contain antibacterial properties that protect the pores from clogging up from bacteria. They are the ones which cause the inflammation and swelling the easiest. And by any chance if bacteria manages to clog up, cloves can suck them out with excess oil and dirt. Aloe Vera gel also contains antibacterial properties that further intensify the process and speed it up. And it is its anti inflammatory properties that work on the swelling and fade them out.

Cinnamon and Honey

Things you will need:

Cinnamon1 tbsp
Honey1 tbsp


  1. Take a bowl, add 1 tbsp of cinnamon and 1 tbsp of honey into it.
  2. Mix both the ingredients really well till they form a paste.
  3. Rinse your face thoroughly and apply it directly onto the pimple, covering the swelling as well.
  4. Let it sit over night and rinse it off in the morning. Pat dry.

Cinnamon might be a great replacement to sugar but it sure helps the skin a swell. It contains anti inflammatory properties which when one combines with honey's anti fungal properties, works wonderfully for the pimple as well as the swelling. Honey can mild the sting cause from the inflammation which in turn causes the swelling and wave it off. The antibacterial property of cinnamon also helps in keeping bacteria quite far away from the pores which protects them from staying healthy.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Things you will need:

Apple Cider Vinegar1 tbsp
Water1 tbsp
Cotton Ball1


  1. Take a bowl, add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp of water into it.
  2. Mix both the ingredients really well.
  3. Rinse your face throughly and pat it dry.
  4. Dip a cotton ball into it, squeeze the excess concoction out and apply it directly onto your pimple. Dab it gently on the swollen area as well.
  5. Leave it till it dries and then rinse it off using cold water. Pat dry.

Apple cider vinegar contains antiseptic properties that is known to heal problematic areas like pimple and the swelling and even the after marks. However, applying apple cider vinegar directly onto the pimple can cause a terrible irritation so it is better to dilute it with water. This way it will still work but wouldn't be too harsh on the skin. Apple cider vinegar also kills  bacteria that clogs the pores and cause the cystic pimple in the first place.


Things you will need:

Apple1 no.
Bowl1 no.
Cotton Ball1 Ball


  1. Take an apple and cut them into cubes or small pieces.
  2. Take a mixer or a blender and toss them into it. Make a paste out of it.
  3. Using preferably a cotton, apply it onto your pimple and the swelling.
  4. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse it off. Pat dry.

An apple a day keeps a doctor away. Well, whoever said that was 100% correct. Apple apart from the overall health is great even for the skin. It protects it from UV ray damage and also work immensely well on acne including pimples. It is also one of the lightest ingredient to work on pimple so if you are some one who has a sensitive skin, you can definitely opt for this. Apart from treating the swelling and pimple problem, it can also leave your skin feeling soft and supple.

Aloe Vera Gel

Things you will need:

Aloe Vera Gel1 tbsp
Bowl1 no.


  1. Take a bowl and take out 1 tbsp of aloe Vera gel into it.
  2. The fresh aloe Vera gel extracted from the plant is preferred. If you don't have it then opt for something organic.
  3. Take a little either on a Q-tip or on your thoroughly washed fingers and apply it on the swollen pimple's area.
  4. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse it off using cold water.

Aloe Vera gel's importance in the skin care is not hidden. It has been protecting, treating and nourishing the skin since a very long time now. It is because its cooling properties that it actually helps calm the inflammation down which causes the swelling in the first place. The cooling properties also works on the redness and provides relief to that too. It also contains antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties that keeps infection causing bacteria at bay and hence protect the pores from clogging up in the first place.

Epsom Salt

Things you will need:

Epsom Salt1 Tsp
Lukewarm Water1/2 cup


  1. Take a vessel and add 1/2 a cup of water into it. Bring it to a boil and switch the flame off after its first boil.
  2. Take a fresh bowl and pour the water into it. Let it sit till it turns to lukewarm.
  3. Add 1 Tsp of Epsom salt to it and mix both the ingredients well. Make sure to not dilute it entirely.
  4. Take a cotton ball or a Q-tip and apply this concoction onto your pimple and on the swollen area.
  5. Once dried, rinse it off using cold water and pat dry.
  6. You can repeat this a multiple times in a day. However don't use it more than 4 times.

A lot of times, it is the dead skin that cause clogged pores which in turn causes the pimple to pop up. Most of the time, dead skin clogging is never notices and when you leave it on for a long time, it can lead it to become cystic. The Epsom salt is known to gently scrub that dead skin off and keep the pores unclogged. This way you can prevent the pimple and in turn the swelling as well. It also work great with blackheads.

Rubbing Alcohol

Things you will need:

Rubbing alcohol1 Tsp
Cotton ball1 Ball


  1. Take a bowl and add 1 Tsp worth rubbing alcohol in it.
  2. Dip a cotton ball, squeeze out the excess and apply it directly onto the pimple.
  3. Leave it on for about 30 minutes till it entirely dries up and then rinse it off using water. Pat dry.

Rubbing alcohol might be a little harsh but it will sure help you out with your pimple and the inflammation. Rubbing alcohol is known to disinfects the skin and prevents bacterial growth in the pores. Using even a little of it can help clear the pores and keep it infection free. It can be quite strong so if it stings a lot, mix it with a little water to dilute it. This way it will do its job but will also be mild and won't irritate your skin.


Things you will need:

Milk1 Tbsp
Cotton ball1 Ball


  1. Take a fresh bowl and add 1 tbsp of milk into it.
  2. Soak in 1 cotton ball, squeeze out the excess and apply it directly onto your pimple and the swelling.
  3. Let it sit till it dries entirely and rinse it off using warm water. Splash some cold water after it to close the pores. Pat dry.
  4. Repeat this after every 5-6 hours too see visible changes.
  5. You can also opt to use cold milk for better relief.

Milk is great for the body and we all know it. It is also great for the skin and that is also not a hidden fact anymore. However, the one fact that a lot of people don't know is how great milk is when it comes to treating the pimples as well as the inflammation. For starters, milk can actually help in sucking out the oil and dirts from the pores leaving it clean. A clean pore ensures that there is no clogging which can avoid problems like pimples that are cystic. It also removes dead skin from the top most layer of the skin which tends to clog the pores up and attract bacteria which can cause the infectious pimple which causes inflammation, redness as well as the swelling. Using a little bit of milk for a couple of times can help keep all of those problems at bay.

This article has been medically reviewed by Dr.Nagakeerthana S, MD (Dermatology) on 27/05/2019 

How To Reduce Pimple Swelling

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