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what causes pimples

Pimples on face are like unwanted guests; they come home and stay for as much time as they please. They appear when you have that one exciting date (the one you have been dreaming about since the day you were born) or the morning of an uber important presentation, and sync their time of entry with those monumental life events. You would never hear any sane person say, ‘I adore pimples’, and there’s a reason behind it. Not only do these stubborn skin intruders refuse to budge sooner until you take measures for pimple cure to drive them out, they also dwindle your self-esteem each time you notice someone with flawless skin and question your karma meter. Sigh.

So, what are Pimples? Pimples are pustules resulting from excess production of sebum and build-up of bacteria or dead skin cells trapped under skin pores. Skin pimples are vexatious upshots of oil glands gone crazy on an over-drive.

As if they are not complicated enough, the family of pimples have diverse members.


There Exists Six Different Types Of Pimples:

  • Whiteheads – Whiteheads are identified as small round white-topped bumps on skin.
  • Blackheads – Blackheads are identified as dark bumps which are plugs of sebum on skin.
  • Papules – Papules are identified as inflamed and infected pores with a pinkish appearance.
  • Pustules – Pustules are identified as a white or yellow bump usually with a red ring around it on the skin.
  • Cysts – Cysts are identified as large pus-filled lesions that appear as boils and usually indicate severe forms of infection.
  • Nodules – Nodules are identified as inflamed yet firm bumps that develop within the skin.

If you are a teenager, don’t blame yourself for your skin troubles; instead, learn ways to tame the oil glands and show them who the boss is!

All of us have a skin profile that varies dramatically. Though, they cannot be changed, learning what causes pimples can help you decrypt their vile game better and figure out the relevant pimple cure.


What Causes Pimples?

1. Raging Hormones

The excitement of hitting puberty is clearly contagious as androgens galvanize the sebaceous glands into flaring-up. During menstruation and pregnancy, pimple problems sometimes get worsened with the hormones on a rampage.

2. Excess Sebum

The stimulated sebaceous glands then release more sebum or oil. The excess oil, in the follicles presents on the surface of the skin, merges with bacteria or any dead skin cells that have remained in the pores to clog the pores eventually.

3. Plugged Follicles

Within a follicle, dead skin cells ideally shed gradually and are ousted from within to the skin’s surface. When the sebaceous glands are highly active, these dead skin cells tend to shed faster than usual and in the process mix with the excess oil to block the follicle, thus halting the natural skin renewal process.

4. Multiplying Bacteria

Bacteria which is naturally present in all skin types becomes fast multiplying acne-bacteria in trapped follicles— resulting in inflammation.

5. Fiery Inflammation

In response, the body sends its troops of white blood cells to tackle the unwanted bacteria which is what makes the pimples red and painful.

At this point, the scales must have peaked on worry-meter, wondering if any of these hair-raising activities are in progress in your body. We would say do not panic, lest the stress invites another vexing pimple! A pimple caused by stress would typically mean a LED pop-up on your forehead! Let us observe more of the probable locations of pimple occurrences on your body and watch the secrets of your lifestyle unfold on skin.


Pimples Found On Different Body Parts

1. Pimples on Scalp

Cause: Pimples on scalp can be caused by friction due to headgear or hat, buildup of hair products and inadequate hair cleansing regime. Using oily hair products can also encourage pimples on head.

Cure: Invest in clarifying shampoos, wash your hair regularly and avoid extremely hot water. Tea tree oil is one of the best ingredients to suppress bacteria on scalp and thus reduce pimples on head.

2. Pimples on Forehead

Cause: Pimples on forehead generally indicate spiraling stress, lack of sleep and poor diet habits. They show a digestive system care alert! Pimples on forehead are the most evident of all the pimples on face as they are clearly visible on the front profile. And if you have a huge forehead, let’s not even go there!

Cure: Ditch the mindless social media browsing and get your 8 hours of beauty sleep. Keep the unwashed hair bangs away from your forehead. Take care of your food intake, as your forehead doesn’t lie.

3. Pimples on Eyelid

Cause: Pimples on eyelid are caused due to inflamed oil glands and entry of bacteria from external sources.

Cure: Avoid using eye-makeup from low credibility brands as they tend to be harsh on the eyes.

4. Pimples on Nose

Cause: Pimples on nose are linked to poor circulatory system and heart conditions. It could also be due to constipation and bloating.

Cure: Avoid constantly scratching the nose and use nose pore strips on a regularly.

5. Pimples on Lip

Cause: Pimples on lip indicate irregular bowel movements, bad toothpaste or over-consumption of spicy food.

Cure: Use OTC soother benzoyl peroxide and reduce intake of fried and spicy foods.

6. Pimples on Tongue

Cause: Pimples on tongue are caused by consumption of acidic foods, smoking or accidental biting.

Cure: Rinse mouth with salt water or anti-bacterial mouthwash at least twice a day.

7. Pimples on Chin

Cause: Pimples on chin indicate hormonal imbalance and gynecological issues.

Cure: Avoid resting your hands on chin to avoid direct contact with bacteria, use an anti-acne cream and don’t let stress provoke your resting hormones.

8. Pimples in Mouth

Cause: Painful pimples or blisters in mouth could be caused due to hypersensitivity, mucus buildup in glands and poor digestion.

Cure: Follow a healthy food diet and take care of dental health.

9. Pimples in Ear

Cause: Pimples in ear can be caused by accumulation of oils due to tight unclean headphones or headgear or even bacterial infection from piercings.

Cure: Use a heat pad and cleansers to prevent infection and clean your ears regularly.

10. Pimples on Breast

Cause: Pimples on breast could be genetic, side-effects of medications and poor post-exercise hygiene.

Cure: Apply tea-tree oil, shower post work-out to get rid of accumulated sweat on breasts and wear breathable cotton clothes.

11. Pimples on Back

Cause: Bacne highlights your sweaty lifestyle using the back as a landscape portrait. It can be caused by clogging of impurities and excessive oil due to dandruff, tight backpacks resulting in friction and improper wash regime post-workout or any physically intense activity.

Cure: Diligently shower after you play, run or work-out and slip into fresh clothes to let your skin breathe. Keep gentle wet wipes handy for regular use to keep sweat at bay. Restrain from fried foods and dairy that can aggravate.


Products That Prevent Skin Pimples

Albeit, the pimple scars on face are reminiscent of the annoying zit days, don’t let the pimples sing ‘See You Again’. Although, there is no direct God-sent pimple solution, a combination of these products can lead you to the entry of a pimple-free zone.



The best face wash for pimples should help cleanse your skin while preventing future breakouts. Investing in a good facewash to fight pimples lets you escape from your perpetual cycle of disappointments a.k.a. pimple problems. Prefer a facewash that is gentle on skin and contains an alcohol formula with salicylic acid. Choose a complementing face wash that favors your skin type – dry, oily or combination – to avoid additional skin troubles.

Recommended Favourites: Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleanser, Biotique Bio Neem Purifying Face Wash

best face wash for pimples
best cleanser for pimples



Cleansing on a daily basis, strips off the impurities or any accumulated surface debris from the skin keeping it effectively clean. A good cleanser dissolves excess grime, dirt and make-up on the skin and deep-cleanses the pores. A cleanser can be used to remove make-up as it is gentle and non-foaming.

Recommended Favourites: Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser, The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser, SeaSoul Phytogel Mineral Foaming Cleanser



Applying a toner, post cleansing and prior to moisturizing, gets rid of excess pollutants, dirt, oil and traces of makeup while correcting the pH balance of your skin. It removes the build-of dead skin cells on surface of skin which if left unattended could lead to formation of unwanted pimples. Toners are especially beneficial for oily skin. Toner containing glycolic acid can prevent ingrown hair and add a layer of protection. Moreover, they help shrink pores. Simply blot a cotton pad with some toner and wipe your face with it. You can leave it to dry and follow it up with a hydrating moisturizer.

Recommended Favourites: Kaya Purifying Toner, Lotus Herbal Basiltone Cucumber & Basil Clarifying & Balancing Toner, Cheryls Cosmetics Breakout Control System Save Rs. 201

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best pimple creams


Creams and Gels

Pimple creams or gels contain ingredients that help kill bacteria causing pimples on the skin. They may cause dryness for a while but you can apply a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. Pimple creams penetrate deep into the skin to act as an effective defense against future breakouts while also working as an efficient pimple remover. Consult a dermatologist to understand the kind of products suitable for your skin type and create a skin-care regime. Also, different types of pimples respond well to different kinds of pimple gels or pimple creams. Most creams and gels need to be applied overnight before sleep so that they can work the best when skin cells rejuvenate. Since certain gels tend to leave the skin sensitive post application, ensure you apply a sunscreen before any exposure to daylight.

Recommended Favourites: O3+ Dermal Zone Zitderm Acne & Pimple Cream(50ml), Khadi Natural Acne Pimple Cream, Lotus Professional Phyto-Rx Clarifying Pimples & Acne Creme, Oshea Herbals Neempure Anti Pimple & Acne Gel


Frequently Asked Questions About Pimples

1. How long does it take for a pimple to leave naturally without any popping or treatments?

The formation of pimples begin underneath the skin for a good two weeks before it shows on the surface of the skin. Depending on its size, it can take another week for the fully formed pimple to go away. Popping the pimple with impatient fingers could result in pimple scars that would be more haunting than the pimple itself. So, do not mess with a pimple to avoid pimple marks.

2. Should I avoid wearing make-up if I notice pimples on my face?

You don’t need to compromise on make-up because of some threatening pimples. Follow a good skin-care regime, apply creams to ameliorate the specific pimples and avoid pimple marks. But, if you notice area specific breakouts after trying a specific brand of make-up, consider switching brands and go for non-comedogenic products.

3. Does regular washing help reduce pimples on skin?

It is a common myth that excessive washing can help prevent pimples and keep the skin clean. Overdoing the face wash process can dry out your skin and scrubbing it too hard can result in flaky and irritated skin. Washing your face twice on a regular day would suffice. You may make changes in other steps of your skin care-regime, such as applying anti-pimple gels and toners.

4. Are there any pimple inducing habits that one should avoid?

There are quite a few common actions that should be avoided as they encourage the spread of bacteria and cause pimples.

  • Avoid direct contact of your cellphone with cheeks while talking, since the surface of mobiles attracts bacteria and spreads it to your cheeks. Use earphones to talk on mobile whenever possible.
  • Regularly wash your yoga mats as they come in contact with your body surface. Also, do not share yoga mats or towels.
  • Dead skin cells that shed at night tend to get accumulated on pillowcases. Keep your pillow covers clean.
  • Although there is no proven evidence that spicy food or chocolates result in pimples, staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet can minimize breakouts.
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