Pus-filled bumps--commonly called pimples, papules or pustules--typically show up during the teen years, but pimples can also become a problem later in life. Pimples come and they go, and they often leave a mark on the skin that can be difficult to erase.
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When a pimple is small, it is considered a papule, but papules do not always contain pus. A pustule is larger than a papule. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, androgens, which are sex hormones, encourage the development of pimples associated with acne. Pus-filled bumps on the skin are sometimes caused by a skin condition called rosacea, which can be kept under control, but not cured.
Pus-filled bumps on the skin can become a major problem if they are not treated properly. Treating these lesions without adequate knowledge about them often makes matters worse. Pimples are upsetting to see on the skin, and they are notorious for ruining beautiful complexions.
Pimples can be a sign of acne. Lesions associated with this skin condition often appear on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. Pimples have an inflamed base with a white pus-filled cap. Pus-filled bumps on the skin caused by rosacea may affect the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, inflammatory rosacea produces pus-filled bumps on the skin and redness.
Pimples can be large or small, but a pimple is usually no larger than a pencil eraser. The larger area of the pus-filled bump is the red area that surrounds the pus-filled head. Pimples rise up on the surface of the skin, and some sit higher up on the skin than others.
Washing your skin two times a day may help lessen the development of pimples. Keeping your hair off your face is also helpful, as is using a light touch on your skin to avoid stimulating the oil glands. Going to an esthetician once a month for deep pore cleansing is helpful in the treatment and prevention of pus-filled bumps. Pus-filled bumps on the skin caused by mild acne may be controlled with the help of over-the-counter skin care products than contain benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid or sulfur. Severe acne lesions and rosacea lesions need to be treated by a dermatologist who may prescribe topical creams or oral medications.
- Womenshealth.gov: Acne Frequently Asked Questions
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Rosacea
- United States Food and Drug Administration: Facing Facts About Acne
- Girlshealth.gov: Acne
- “Milady’s Standard Textbook for Professional Estheticians:” Joel Gerson; 1999