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A pimple is a small pustule or papule. Pimples are small skin lesions or inflammations of the skin – they are sebaceous glands (oil glands) which are infected with bacteria, swell up, and then fill up with pus.
Pimples are also known as spots or zits
Pimples occur when the sebaceous glands, which are located at the base of hair follicles, become overactive. The most vulnerable parts of the body are the face, back, chest and shoulders. Pimples are palpable signs of acne, especially when a breakout occurs.
There are several different types of pimples and they have different signs and symptoms:
- Whiteheads – also known as a closed comedo. These are very small and remain under the skin, appearing as a small, flesh-colored papules.
- Blackheads – also known as an open comedo. These are clearly visible; they are black and appear on the surface of the skin. Some people mistakenly believe they are caused by dirt, because of their color, and scrub their faces vigorously – this does not help and may irritate the skin and cause other problems.
- Papules – these are small, solid, rounded bumps that rise from the skin. The bumps are often pink.
- Pustules – these are pimples full of pus. They are clearly visible on the surface of the skin. The base is red and the pus is on the top.
- Nodules – these are morphologically similar (similar structure) to papules, but larger. They can be painful and are embedded deep in the skin.
- Cysts – these are clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are filled with pus and are usually painful. Cysts commonly cause scars.
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