Your ultimate guide to that PIMPLE

The ESK blog

Your ultimate guide to that PIMPLE

24 June 2022

Not all pimples are equal! There are many kinds of pimples that come in all size and shapes. Let's breakdown the different kind:

Superficial pimples

These are the most common and many of us will only ever have these kinds of pimples. They often resolve in a matter of days, disappearing without a scar and usually don’t throb.


Open comedones are blackheads where the top of the pimple is black because of surface pigmentation (not dirt!)

Closed comedones are whiteheads where the follicle is completely blocked and skin has grown over the top.


Papules are small, tender red bumps without obvious visible pus.


Pustules are pimples that have pus in them.

Deeper pimples

These signify more severe acne and often sit in skin already affected by superficial pimples. If you look at them under a microscope, they extend beyond the dermis into the subcutaneous layer below the dermis. They last for weeks often leaving a scar.

Nodules and Cysts

Nodules are deeper pimples that may involve > 1 follicle. They feel harder, are painful and red.

They tend to come packaged up with cysts which are large fluid (pus) containing nodules, and are usually >5mm in diameter- although the 2 terms tend to be used interchangeable.

Every single pimple forms from the same issue where you get a build up of oil plus excessive skin and debris that blocks the pore and causes inflammation. This makes a perfect breeding ground for bad actor bacteria like Cutebacterium Acnes (or C. Acnes)

How do I fix that pimple;

If you have nodules or cysts, you need a dermatologist.

If you just have superficial pimple, look for cosmeceutical skincare with:

1. Cleanse with a mild skin cleanser. Look for a pH-balanced, soap free cleanser and cleanse twice daily to remove sebum, dirt, and microorganisms

2. Use a non-comedogenic sunscreen every day

3. Alpha hydroxy acids which cleave the bonds between clumped skin cells allowing them to be effectively but gently removed

4. Vitamin A (retinoids) are the absolute best topicals for treating acne. Retinoids help increase skin cell turnover, to prevent excessive build-up of dead skin cells, they are comedolytic (pimple busting) plus they are anti-inflammatory. Of the over the counter retinoids, retinal (AKA retinaldehyde) is the most effective and the least irritating form of Vitamin A. Prescription retinoids often cause irritation, redness, dryness and even peeling.

5. Salicylic acid. It’s an exfoliator, with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-comedogenic (pimple busting) properties which all give it a really good role when tackling acne.

6. Vitamin B3 AKA Niacinamide. This is another ingredient that has evidence for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, as well as reduced sebum or oil production. It can also improve that all important skin barrier function by preventing water loss through the epidermis (the outer skin layer). Given that many people with acne have dry skin underlying their overproduction of oil, this too can be helpful for acne.

If this doesn’t work, go to your GP for some stronger prescription medication or a dermatologist referral.

But you have a major presentation or a big night out and you have a pimple, what do you do?

Nodules and Cysts

For a throbbing nodule or cyst, do not squeeze.

Some ice or a cold compress might help reduce pain, redness and swelling for some symptom relief. Ice can be wrapped in a cloth and used for 30 seconds at a time onto clean skin.

You can try a topical Salicylic Acid leave on mask, such as the Hydroxy Overnight Mask or a dissolving microneedle patch, like Spotless but most will need medical intervention.

Inflamed Pustules (red pus-filled pimples)

No squeezing! Instead try using the Hydroxy Overnight Mask. With 5% salicylic acid, this anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial product can help reduce inflammation and settle down the pimple overnight.

Hydroxy Overnight Mask

Hydroxy Overnight Mask

Salicylic Acid 5% and Urea 10% based exfoliating and hydrating leave-on night mask, for acne-prone, oily, sun-damaged or sensitive skin. 


Our Spotless dissolving microneedle patch. Packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, green tea and resveratrol, that are delivered to where they’re needed, in the dermis itself.

Spotless: Microneedle Patches

Spotless: Microneedle Patches

Banish and fade early stage pimples with 300 dissolving Hyaluronic Acid microneedles tipped with Salicylic Acid, Vitamin B3, Tea Tree Oil and Green Tea.

  • Reduce the size & severity of early-stage pimples
  • Manage acne and acne scars
  • No irritation, redness or rebound pigmentation
Each pack contains 8 patches. 

    Blackheads and non-inflamed pustules

    If your blackhead, whitehead or pustule is not hurting or inflamed, you CAN squeeze them. But be careful. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands and use a blackhead extractor, gently. If it doesn’t work straight away, abandon ship!