Do You Use a Hot or Cold Compress to Reduce the Size of a Pimple?

Ice is the better option for reducing pimple redness.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Your pimple is there, just staring at you, and it’s time to take action. You know using hot and cold can help to heal your other injuries, so surely it can do the same for your pimple. The truth is that both cold and hot compresses can work for different issues with your pimple. Timing is everything, so when you use the right temperature, you acne can be on the way to saying bye-bye for good.

Warm and Cold Actions

Heat and cold are like medicines you don’t have to pay a lot for. Ice helps to constrict those angry blood vessels that cause your ankle to swell up. The cold temperature makes your blood vessels shrink up so you feel less pain and so your skin is less swollen. Heat does the exact opposite for you. Instead of sending blood away, it brings it to the area where you apply a warm compress. Imagine stimulating blood flow as bringing the presents of skin-healing cells and oxygen to your face.

Go for the Cold

Crisis: Your acne blemish is super-red and you’ve got to go to work/a date/dinner/whatever. If it’s too hideous to think of, you need something that reduces inflammation fast. That’s when it’s time to reach for a cold compress. Since cold constricts blood vessels, it reduces acne redness. If you are using ice for your cold compress, don’t apply it directly to your face. Instead, wrap it in a plastic bag or washcloth. Another option is to dip a washcloth in cold milk and put it in a plastic bag in the freezer for 15 minutes. When you remove the compress, you can apply it directly to your blemish.

The Heat Is on

When you have a huge pimple, it’s tough to resist the urge to pop it. Don’t do it just yet, though -- you’ll increase your risk of acne scarring. That’s where heat can help. Applying a warm compress can open your pore, making it easier to remove the icky contents that are inside. Since warmth brings extra blood flow to your face, the pimple can ideally heal faster.

Time Tips

Warm and cold temperatures will help your pimples, but you don’t need to go overboard regarding the length of time you apply them. A cold or hot compress applied for 15 minutes at a time should be enough to do the trick for healing your blemishes. Leaving the compress on too long can damage your skin. The good news is that you can reapply a cold compress several times during the day to reduce redness. You’ll want to apply the warm compress only when you’ll be extracting a pimple’s contents, however.

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