pimple types

Types of Pimples Explained

Pimples, spots, and acne are a typical issue faced by individuals of all ages, and they can be annoying, uncomfortable and embarrassing. Knowing the type of pimple you are dealing with can help you choose the most suitable treatment and ensure the perfect skin.


Whiteheads – also known as closed comedones – form when the pore is completely blocked by oil and dead skin cells, creating a white “head”. They cause the skin to feel hard and raised. Whiteheads are not painful and are mostly found on the cheeks, nose, and forehead.


Blackheads, also known as open comedones, occur when a blocked pore remains open and air oxidizes the oils and dead skin cells trapped in the follicle, resulting in a black “head”. Blackheads are usually found in the “T-zone” of the face – the forehead, nose, and chin.

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Papules are red, inflamed, and raised pimples, often undetectable to the eye but easily felt with the fingertips. Papules tend to appear as clusters, as they form from inflammation of the oil and skin cells in the pore and are often painful to the touch.


Pustules, or commonly known as pimples, are characterized by the presence of a yellow or white head and a red, inflamed base. These appear on the forehead, chin, and cheeks, and tend to turn brow if touched. Pustules often contain a mix of oil and pus, making them the most identifiable type of pimple.

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Nodules are large, solid, and painful pimples that are embedded in the skin. Usually located deep in the skin, these pimples may last for weeks, leaving scars when the infection clears. When these nodules appear, it is strongly recommended to seek medical attention.


Cysts are large, sore, and painful pimples that are filled with pus and last for weeks. These pimples feel hard to the touch and tend to leave scars when the infection clears. Cysts should be treated by a qualified dermatologist, as attempting to pop or squeeze them can result in infection and even further damage to the skin.

FAQs About Pimples

  • What is the best way to treat pimples? The best way to treat pimples is to identify the type of pimple and take the most suitable treatment. It’s also important to include a daily skincare routine of cleansing, moisturizing and protecting the skin from the sun.
  • What are the causes of pimples? The most common causes of pimples are hormonal changes, stress, diet, certain medications and cosmetics, genetics, and environmental factors.
  • Are pimples the same as acne? Yes, pimples and acne are the same condition. ‘Pimples’ is a non-medical term used to refer to the visible spots and lesions that are part of the acne condition.

Knowing the types of pimples, their causes, and how to treat them can be of great help when dealing with this skin condition. Taking preventive and remedial action based on the information provided above can help you minimize the risk of developing the condition and achieve clear, healthy skin.

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