10 Things to Know About Treating Acne with Cortisone Shots

Acne 101

If you’re dealing with annoying pimples, you’re likely slathering on acne creams to try and treat them. Although there are lots of effective creams out there to treat spots, sometimes they’re not enough. That’s normally when a trip to the dermatologist is in order. A derm can give you multiple treatment options from medications to light treatments to cortisone shots. Although the thought of injecting a pimple might seem intense and a little scary, it can actually be an effective treatment for certain types of acne. Read on to find out more.

1. Cortisone shots aren’t meant to completely replace your creams.

Think of a cortisone shot as an emergency treatment for a massive pimple. The shot may make the pimple go away, but it doesn’t actually kill acne bacteria so you’ll still need your acne creams. Besides, you probably wouldn’t want to be going to your derm every day for injections, even if you could.

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2. They’re not for ALL types of breakouts.

If you’re dealing with blackheads or whiteheads, sticking with acne creamsmasks, and other forms of therapy is the way to go. Cortisone shots are generally used for cystic acne, aka those painful under-the-skin pimples. 

Try: Murad Acne Spot Treatment ($22, Sephora)



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3. You get results. Fast.

The shot works by reducing the inflammation in that big cyst. Once injected, you will notice results that day. Within 24 hours, you can expect to see some pimples noticeably flattened.  

4. They’re good for eruptions before big events.

Do you have a honking pimple and it’s days before a big event? If you’re able to book an appointment with your derm, that sucker can be reduced before the event thanks to cortisone’s anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Cortisone shots can help prevent scarring.

If you’re prone to acne scars, getting a cortisone shot can help reduce the likelihood of you ending up with a dark brown mark where that cyst was. The shots are even more effective if you get them before the zit has time to really grow.

6. However, you can still be left with a mark.

Dr. George Sun, creator MDSun Skincare, states, “Over dosage or deep injection can lead to atrophy of dermal or subcutaneous tissue and leads to a depression at the injected site. While superficial depressions tend to recover, large depressions may last much longer and they may require fillers to refill the area.”

Try: Mederma Scar Gel ($17, Amazon)

7. It’s actually not that painful.

Do you have a fear of needles? You don’t have to be scared of cortisone shots. In fact, they can actually help your skin feel better because they provide relief for that swollen pimple that’s probably causing you some discomfort.

8. There is no blood and pus exploding. Whew.

If you’re guilty of popping pimples like most of us are, you might be expecting the cortisone shot to be like a popped pimple. However, the whole thing is very clean. There is no blood, pus, or other gunk.

9. The needles aren’t that big.

Here’s another reason not to be scared of cortisone shots: The needles are small. Most dermatologists use what are called “micro needles.”

10. You can get shots on your body too.

If you’re struggling with cystic acne on your chest or back, you can usually get cortisone shots to help treat those painful pimples. 

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Do you have experience with cortisone injections? Tell us in the comments below!