Small bumps on the surface of your skin are called pimples. They might get red or change color. Pimples usually show up on your face, chest, shoulders, and upper back when you have acne.
Pimples are a common skin problem that can be caused by clogged or swollen oil glands or a higher number of bacteria that cause pimples on your skin.
How are acne and pimples different from each other?
We use the terms “acne” and “pimples” interchangeably to talk about those unpleasant skin problems.
Acne is a medical condition. If you have acne, you might get pimples.
Acne, which is also called acne vulgaris, is a skin condition in which there are many pimples.
Most of the time, a pimple is just one infected bump, while acne is a group of pus-filled bumps all over the skin. If your skin is constantly breaking out, you probably have acne.
They are a sign of acne and come in many forms, such as blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and others.
There are both over-the-counter and prescription pills and gels that can be used as treatments.
Who Can Be Affected By Pimples?
Most teenagers and young adults who are going through hormonal changes get pimples. But even babies can get them, and many adults still get them in their 20s, 30s, and beyond. Some people get zits for the first time when they are adults.
How often does this happen?
A lot of people get pimples. Some researchers think that almost everyone gets pimples at some point in their lives. They happen most often in teens, but adults can also get them.
What do pimples do to my body?
Most pimples show up on your face, especially on your nose, chin, forehead, and sometimes on your cheeks or around your lips. They also tend to show up on your neck, back, chest, and upper arms. But your body has oil glands everywhere. They give off sebum, an oily substance that keeps your skin and hair moist and shiny. Because of this, you may get pimples on your eyelids (styes), butt, ears, scalp, armpits (axilla), and outside of your genitalia, though it doesn’t happen often (penis or labia).
Pimples don’t really hurt your physical health, but they can affect you psychosocially (how society and social groups affect your mind) and psychologically (your self-perception and behavior). They are sometimes linked to anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and thoughts of harming oneself.
How do you know if you have acne?
There are many different kinds of pimples, and the symptoms depend on the type you have. These things are:
Papules are small bumps that can get red and swollen (warm to the touch and painful).
Blackheads are open pores on your skin that are filled with dead skin and extra oil. The bump looks like it has a bit of dirt or a dark spot on it. But the dark spots are caused by the way light bounces off the clogged follicle in an irregular way.
Whiteheads are bumps that stay closed because oil and dead skin keep them sealed. They look either white or yellowish.
Nodules are lumps that are round or have strange shapes. They might go deep into your skin and hurt a lot.
Pustules are pimples that are full of pus and look like whiteheads surrounded by rings of a different color. Scars can form if you pick at or scratch your pimples.
Cysts are pimples that are full of a thick, yellow or white fluid made up of bacteria, dead white blood cells, and small pieces of tissue (pus). Scars can be left by cysts.
What Causes Pimples
Things that touch the skin can sometimes make it irritated, which can lead to pimples. When most people think of pimples, they picture acne. Sebaceous glands, which make oil, are all over your body. Pimples happen when your oil glands get clogged or inflamed. The following things can cause clogs and inflammation:
Sebum (the oily substance made by the sebaceous gland) production went up.
Keratin that grows out of place (the protein that helps make your hair, skin, and nails).
More of the bacteria that cause pimples to grow on your skin.
Are They Contagious?
Pimples aren’t contagious. You can’t give them to someone else by touching their skin.
Diagnosis and tests
Pimples are easy to spot, so you don’t always need a doctor to figure out what’s wrong with them. But your doctor can tell if you have pimples by looking at your skin.
They may ask if you are under a lot of stress or if pimples run in your family, both of which are risk factors. If you have periods, your doctor may ask you about them because pimples can sometimes be caused by your periods. People 50 years old or older who get sudden, severe breakouts of pimples may have another disease that needs medical attention.
If you have cystic acne, you should see a dermatologist for help. Dermatologists are doctors who focus on problems with the skin, hair, and nails.
How to manage and treat it.
Acnes that aren’t too bad can be treated with over-the-counter medicines. Some of the medicines are:
This is a natural acid that can be found in grains like barley, wheat, and rye. It kills germs on your skin and makes it less swollen.
Benzoyl peroxide: You can buy this over-the-counter (like Clearasil®, Stridex®, and PanOxyl®). Your skin is less likely to be bothered by lower concentrations and different kinds of wash. One of the most common side effects is irritation (dryness).
Retinoids are made from vitamin A. Retinoids like Retin-A ®, Tazorac ®, and Differin ® help keep pores from getting clogged. You might see your skin change color or peel. These side effects can be lessened by using retinoids every other day or by using them with a moisturizer.
Salicylic acid can be bought over the counter as a cleanser or lotion for acne scars. It helps get rid of dead skin cells so your hair follicles don’t get clogged up.
If over-the-counter medicines don’t get rid of your pimples, your doctor may suggest prescription drugs like antibiotics and oral hormone replacement.
Some other treatments could be:
- Chemical peels: A mild chemical solution is used in a chemical peel to take off layers of skin and reduce acne.
- Laser skin resurfacing: During laser skin resurfacing, your pimples are hit with short, intense, pulsating beams of light. The light beams stop your sebaceous glands from making as much oil.
- In microdermabrasion, a dermatologist or plastic surgeon “sands” your skin with a special tool. When you peel off the top layers of your skin, the blocked pores that cause pimples are freed.
- Talk to your doctor before you try these, because they could be irritating and make your acne worse.
Are there any ways to treat breakouts at home?
There are a few things you can try at home to treat pimples.
Even though most people can use home remedies safely, you should talk to your doctor before trying any of the following. There is a chance that you could have an allergic reaction.
Some home treatments are:
Tea tree oil: Bacteria can’t grow when tea tree oil is around. Use a cotton swab to put a small amount of tea tree oil on your breakouts and rub it in.
Scrubs made of sugar or salt: Both sugar and salt scrubs remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Wet your face, put a salt or sugar scrub on your pimples, and massage your skin for up to 30 seconds in small, circular motions. When you’re done, wash your face with water.
Green tea: Putting wet green tea leaves on your skin can help stop it from making oil. Green tea has antioxidants, too. Mix dry green tea leaves with water, then rub the wet leaves into your skin in small, circular motions for up to 30 seconds. When you’re done, wash your face with water.
Warm compress: A warm compress speeds up the healing of acne by bringing more blood to them. Soak a clean washcloth or small towel in very warm water, about 35 degrees Celsius, and then put it on your pimples. Three or four times a day, put the warm compress on your zits.
Ice: Ice can slow the flow of blood to your acnes, which will make them less painful and inflamed. For at least 10 minutes, put an ice cube or ice pack wrapped in a light towel on your pimples. Two or three times a day, put ice on your zits.
Should I pop or squeeze my breakouts?
It can be very tempting and satisfying to pop pimples. However, it’s best if you don’t squeeze or pop your pimples. Squeezing pimples may lead to a number of issues, such as:
- Bringing bacteria into the opening of the pimple. Bacteria can make someone sick.
- Causing skin irritation. Your nails are much stronger than your skin, which is sensitive. By putting a lot of pressure on your skin with your nails to pop a pimple, you can cause inflammation. Blemish extractors, which are used to pop breakouts, can also hurt your skin. These tools should only be used by a doctor, a medical esthetician, or a dermatologist.
- Your skin can get scars. If you press too hard, you can draw blood and do serious damage to your skin. If you have deep ones, you may not be able to get them out.
How long do pimples last?
Most breakouts last anywhere from three to seven days. Most go away on their own, but it may take a while. Deep ones, which are those that are under the skin and don’t have a head and may feel hard to the touch, may take a few weeks or even longer to go away.
If you start getting acne, it’s best to see a doctor right away and do what they tell you to do.
What foods and drinks should I avoid if I have breakouts?
Healthcare providers and researchers used to think that certain foods, especially skim milk, whey protein, and high-sugar diets, could cause acne (including chocolate). But that might not be true. There isn’t a clear link between what you eat and getting breakouts.
But some vitamins help keep the skin healthy, which may help keep pimples away. These things are:
Vitamin A: Leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomatoes, fruits, fish, and liver are all good sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin D: Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, trout, and tuna, as well as vitamin-fortified foods like milks, cereals, and orange juice, are good sources of vitamin D.
Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and vegetable oils are all good places to get vitamin E.
How should I deal with my breakouts?
If you have acnes, be careful about how you treat them so you don’t irritate your skin. This can be done by:
- Don’t touch your pimples or pick at them.
- Be careful when shaving around your acne scars.
- Clean your face-touching things like your cell phone, sports helmet, sunglasses, clothing, and pillowcases on a regular basis.
- You can also use acne medicines like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid that you can buy over the counter. There are many kinds of these. The least annoying thing to do is a wash.
During normal hormonal changes, it’s hard, if not impossible, to avoid getting breakouts. But these tips might help:
- Use warm water and a gentle facial cleanser to wash your face once or twice a day.
- Always use face moisturizers, but make sure they don’t have perfumes and won’t clog your pores (not acne causing).
- You don’t have to stop wearing makeup, but try to use products that don’t clog pores and always take it off at the end of the day.
- Wash your hair often, making sure to get the hairline along your forehead.
- Don’t put hair gel or other things on your face.
- Try not to use your hands to touch the skin on your face.
Expected Out Come
What should I do if I have breakouts?
Most people’s acne goes away when they are young adults, but some people will have them for the rest of their lives. Your doctor or nurse can help you deal with your breakouts.
When should I go to see a doctor about my breakouts?
If you get a lot of this at once or if you have pimples that get big, change color, or hurt, you should see a doctor.