A pimple is a type of acne. It is a small pustule or papule which develops when sebaceous glands, or oil glands, become clogged and infected, leading to swollen, red lesions filled with pus. Pimples are also known as spots or zits.
You are most likely to suffer the worst set of facial pimples around puberty age, but they can happen at any age. The hormonal changes during puberty cause the sebaceous glands, located at the base of hair follicles, to become overactive. In addition, women tend to also develop facial pimples around the time of menstruation or pregnancy due to hormonal changes.
Pimples can develop on the face, back, chest, and shoulders. This is because there are many sebaceous glands in these areas of skin. Acne vulgaris, the main cause of pimples, affects over 80 percent of teenagers. After the age of 25 years, it affects 3 percent of men and 12 percent of women.
What is Responsible For My Pimples?
There is not enough evidence to confirm that any particular food causes pimple, but following a healthful diet may reduce the risk. Many different elements influence the development and growth of a pimple, including:
- Excess oil on the skin – When the body produces lots of facial oil or sebum, dead skin cells can stick together and block up the pores. This increases the chances of developing a hard pimple.
- Changes in hormone levels – Increased levels of testosterone in men and women can trigger an increased production of sebum. This is common during puberty.
- Bacteria – Once a pore becomes blocked by a combination of sebum and dead skin cells, it is easier for bacteria to enter and create a pimple.
- Family history – Pimples may have a genetic link.
- Medications – Some medications cause pimples or acne as a side effect.
The following can make outbreaks worse for individuals who already have pimples :
- Rubbing and chafing across affected areas.
- Trying to pop or squeeze out existing pimples,
- Rough scrubbing of affected areas.
Best Ways To Treat Pimples
Acne pimples is a common problem. It can cause severe embarrassment, but treatment is available, and it is effective in many cases. Only three types of drugs have proven to be effective for the treatment of acne pimples. Most people require at least one or two agents, depending on the severity of their acne pimples.
- Benzoyl peroxide : This is available as an over-the-counter product (for example, Clearasil, Stridex) and by prescription (for example, Benoxyl, PanOxyl, Persagel). It works by targetting surface bacteria, which often aggravate acne. Irritation (dryness) is a common side effect.
- Retinoids : These are vitamin A derivatives. Examples include Differin, Retin-A, and Tazorac. The most common side effect also is irritation. While most are prescription only, there is an over-the-counter version of Differin now available.
- Antibiotics : They can either be topically applied to the skin (clindamycin, erythromycin), or taken orally (tetracycline and its derivatives, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole). Antibiotics control surface bacteria and reduce inflammation in the skin. Actually, they are more effective when combined with benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. Side effects can include dry skin, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and birth defects.
Hormone therapy may be helpful for some women with acne, especially for those with signs and symptoms like irregular periods, thinning hair or hyperandrogenism. The hormone therapy consists of low-dose estrogen and progesterone (birth control pills) or anti-androgen medications. There are also a number of home remedies you can apply to clear mild cases of pimples.
How You Can Prevent Pimples
- Wash your face no more than twice each day with warm water and mild soap made especially for acne.
- Do not scrub the skin or burst the pimples, as this may push the infection further down, causing more blocking, swelling, and redness.
- Avoid popping pimples, as this makes scarring likelier.
- If acne is on the back, shoulders, or chest, try wearing loose clothing to let the skin breathe. Avoid tight garments, such as headbands, caps, and scarves, or wash them regularly if used.
- Choose makeup for sensitive skin and avoid oil-based products. Remove makeup before sleeping.
- Use an electric shaver or sharp safety razors when shaving. Soften the skin and beard with warm soapy water before applying shaving cream.
- Keep hair clean, as it collects sebum and skin residue. Avoid greasy hair products, such as those containing cocoa butter.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure, as it can cause the skin to produce more sebum. Several acne medications increase the risk of sunburn.
- Avoid anxiety and stress, as it can increase production of cortisol and adrenaline, which exacerbate acne.
- Try to keep cool and dry in hot and humid climates, to prevent sweating.
- Health line – Acne
- WebMd – 10 tips of preventing acne
- Medicalnewstoday – what you to know about acne