How to Treat Pustule Acne

Acne can appear in many forms, including pustules. According to, pustules are painful, red bumps that contain white pus at the head. These unpleasant pimples occur when the oil that normally travels up a hair shaft becomes blocked beneath the skin along with dead skin cells. This blockage causes the follicle to bulge, resulting in a pustule. Because acne can be painful and embarrassing, it is important to understand ways to treat it.

Dealing with pustule acne can be an embarrassing experience. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Wash your face using warm water and a mild facial cleanser. According to the KidsHealth website this will help remove any oil buildup, which can cause acne. Be sure not to irritate your skin by scrubbing at it with a washcloth—instead use your fingertips.

Step 2

Apply an acne cream or lotion that contains sulfur, lactic acid, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to dry up extra oil and encourage skin sloughing. Or, suggests speaking to a dermatologist about prescription topical treatments such as tretinoin or tazarotene.

Step 3

Refrain from picking or squeezing your pustules. Doing so may cause scarring, spread bacteria or even lead to infection. Consult a dermatologist if you require aggressive treatment. He can safely drain your pustule or prescribe a medication to dry it up.

Step 4

Apply facial products that are noncomedogenic, oil-free or nonacnegenic, meaning they will not clog your pores and cause additional acne. This includes sunscreen, cosmetics and moisturizers.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild facial cleanser

  • Acne cream or lotion

  • Noncomedogenic, oil-free or nonacnegenic facial products


The KidsHealth website suggests keeping hair products, such as mousse and hairspray away from your face. These often contain oil and other ingredients that can clog your pores and lead to pustule acne.

Wash your hair regularly and try to keep it away from your face, especially if it is long.

Hats and baseball caps can trap dirt, sweat and oil against your skin. Discontinue wearing them if you suffer from pimples around your hairline.


The MedlinePlus website warns that acne, when left untreated, can have serious consequences. Among them include permanent scarring, skin pigmentation changes, damage to your social life and self-esteem, and the development of cysts.

Certain prescription medications, such as Accutane, can cause damage to the liver, extremely dry skin and even birth defects in an unborn baby.

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