Pustule Acne and Papule Acne

By: Dzhingarov

Pustule acne refers to red, inflamed bumps with pus-filled heads. Similar to other forms of acne, pustules form when oil and dead skin cells clog a pore and cause blockages within it.

Pus is a thick fluid-like mass made up of infected white blood cells and dead skin, commonly found in conditions such as acne, folliculitis and smallpox.

Acne pustules differ visually from blackheads and whiteheads in appearance, and also from papules which do not contain pus-filled tips.


Papules are red, inflamed bumps that form when oil and dead skin cells clog a hair follicle and cause inflammation, the body sends white blood cells to fight infection and create pustules or pimples filled with yellow or white pus. Popping papules could make matters worse and result in scarring – it is best not to attempt this at any cost!

Pustules are smaller and firmer compared to papules. Pustules are one of the most prevalent forms of acne and usually form when one or more pores become irritated and their walls break open, leading to bacteria, dead white blood cells and fluid accumulation under their red, inflamed surface. Pustules can also be found in conditions like folliculitis, psoriasis or diseases like chicken pox and smallpox.

Pustular acne is typically caused by Propionibacterium acnes bacteria becoming overactive and leading to an overcrowding of pores, leading to blockages that produce extra oil and dead skin cells, making the pore inflamed and irritating; then further bacteria enter and infiltrate, eventually leading to papules and pustules forming on top.

Over-the-counter medications, like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, may help treat pustular acne by drying out the skin and soaking up any excess oil to decrease inflammation and swelling. Oral medications, like isotretinoin, may help treat severe cystic and nodular acne by targeting its source – bacteria.

Rare causes of pustular acne may include Gram-negative folliculitis, which occurs when patients use long-term antibiotics like tetracyclines for acne treatment and can lead to pustules on the scalp or face as well as red, watery eyes with swollen lids that necessitate emergency medical intervention and require medical treatment immediately. Periorbital cellulitis resembles shingles in its symptoms and requires immediate emergency attention for diagnosis and treatment.


Papules are inflamed lesions that resemble small red or pink bumps on the skin, usually appearing on the face or neck but also sometimes found on chest shoulders and backs. Papules are the initial stage of acne inflammation and usually form when hair follicles become infected by clogged pores, producing sebum (skin oil), bacteria, dead skin cells and other substances which combine with sebum to form pus-filled pimples that become visible. Your immune system responds by sending white blood cells against this infection which forms pus-filled pimples as an immune response resulting in pus-filled pimples that form pus-filled pus-filled pimples.

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Nodules form when pores become infected and clogged with sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells in an excessively oily environment, becoming inflamed and becoming filled with sebum, bacteria and dead cells that clog them further. They differ from papules in that they are hard and painful when touched; often described as looking similar to cysts or boils. They require professional treatment because of the potential scarring they can cause.

Pustules resemble pimples in that they have yellow or white centers with an added characteristic: pus. While blackheads contain oil and dead skin cells, pustules contain sebum, bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) and other substances produced when an inflamed follicle becomes infected. While these acne blemishes affect virtually everyone at some point during life, papules and pustules typically appear more frequently during adolescence or when experiencing hormonal shifts.

Not only should you use an antibacterial cleanser twice daily to clean your affected area, but applying topicals containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid could help reduce inflammation and prevent acne scarring. Another option may be taking prescription-strength oral medication like isotretinoin which has proven successful at treating severe nodular acne as well as stopping overproduction of oil production by the glands. Avoid picking or squeezing acne to make matters worse or cause scarring; try soothing creams like calamine lotion or cortisone or even clay masks which draw out excess oil and dirt to draw out extra oil and dirt from pores.


Acne treatments aim to both diminish and prevent further flare-ups of skin lesions, while simultaneously relieving their severity and recurrences. They may include topical or oral medication – or both – from over-the-counter and prescription sources; topicals might include antibacterials (e.g. clindamycin or erythromycin), comedolytic agents to clear sebum-clogged pores (such as Azelaic Acid, benzoyl Peroxide or sodium Sulfacetamide), or sulfur used against bacterial growth to dry out lesions (such as 1% or 2% topical sulfur).

Papules are solid, inflamed bumps without pustules at their tips that result from blocked pores breaking down and filling with sebum, Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, and dead skin cells from your pores. Papules can appear anywhere on the face, neck and scalp as well as back chest hands where pustular acne may then form nodules and cysts.

Whiteheads are tiny acne bumps caused when excess oil combines with dead skin to block one of your pores, effectively isolating trapped sebum from oxygen and leaving behind its flesh-colored or white appearance on oily skin types. Meanwhile, blackheads are noninflammatory forms of acne that occur when an open pore allows sebum into air resulting in dark dot shaped breakouts on the skin surface.

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Papules can be treated using an over-the-counter cleanser containing salicylic acid to loosen buildup of damaged skin and avoid hair follicle clogging. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic, typically tetracycline or macrolide. Topical application of dapsone, an anti-androgen that blocks the effects of sex hormones and reduces sebum production, may also be effective against papules. Popping or scrubbing them, however, could lead to infected lesions which become scars. A healthy diet, adequate hydration, sufficient sleep and regular exercise will all help manage acne symptoms more efficiently; additionally choosing non-comedogenic skin products will minimize how much dirt and oil gets trapped within pores.


Papules are red, swollen lesions that form when an affected pore breaks open, filling it with pus (white or yellowish fluid that fills an acne blemish). Pus is created by white blood cells fighting an infection caused by Propionibacterium acnes bacteria and excess oil; typically these pimples have mild to moderate severity levels.

Acne pimples develop when pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. Of all of the various kinds of pimples that form when this happens, inflamatory acne pimples (including papules) produce the most visible and often painful pus – composed of sebum from skin oil production, some Propionibacterium acnes bacteria as well as dead cell material from your body – for which people suffer.

While its exact causes remain unknown, researchers suspect hormone fluctuations and genetics play a part. Certain strains of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria appear more likely than others to cause inflammation and acne breakouts.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications are both effective treatments for acne blemishes, including pimples. When treating such blemishes, remember not to pop or squeeze them as this could lead to further infections and scarring.

As part of your daily regimen, it’s also recommended to wash affected areas twice a day with warm water and a gentle cleanser or soap, avoiding scrubs that may irritate skin further. When going outdoors it may also be beneficial to use light moisturizer with sunscreen protection for added peace of mind.

If your blemish is resistant to over-the-counter treatments, visit a dermatologist for assistance. They can prescribe stronger medicines to address them quickly and efficiently.

Home remedies that may help reduce the appearance of pimples include applying ice to your face, taking a cool shower over the affected area and applying lemon juice. Lemon juice contains citric acid which prevents bacteria from growing on skin cells while at the same time soothing redness and swelling. Diluting it first with water before applying directly on to skin can be helpful.