What Causes Pimples? – Part 1 – Part 2
Pimples are small papules or pustules. They develop when your oil glands – or sebaceous glands – become infected and clogged. This often leads to the development of red swollen lesions, which are filled with pus.
Also referred to as zits or spots, pimples are also categorized as acne. They mostly occur during puberty, although you can get them at any age. This might be because the production of hormones tends to change during puberty.
As a direct result, the sebaceous glands – which are located close to the base of the hair follicles – become more overactive than normal. This is the reason why pimples tend to occur during your teen years – or around menstruation for women.
Sebaceous Glands Defined
Sebaceous glands are small glands in the skin that secrete lubricating oily matter (known as sebum) into hair follicles to lubricate the hair and the skin.
That said, pimples often affect the shoulders, chest, back, and face. This is due to the fact that there are so many sebaceous glands in these parts of your body. Therefore, if you experience pimple breakouts, they will mostly appear in these areas.
Today, it is estimated that more than 80% of teens are affected by acne vulgaris – which happens to be the main cause of pimples. After 25, this particular type of acne affects 12% of women and 3% of men. As you can probably see, acne that leads to pimples affects most teens and a good number of adults.
In the same line, this condition often happens because of the build-up of sebum in the skin’s pores. Sebum is the oily substance that is produced by the sebaceous glands found under your skin.
Once the sebum gets trapped, it forms pimples on the skin’s surface – which appear in the form of small red zits and spots filled with pus. The breakouts of pimples range from the mild and occasional to the severe and ongoing.
The best way to deal with them is through prompt treatment using the right products and home remedies. By so doing, you will be able to effectively overcome the psychological and emotional effects of acne.
Table Of Contents for Causes Of Pimples
- How to Stop Forehead Pimples Like a Boss (10 Ways)
3 Additional Resources For Fighting Acne
- Acne Skin Care Comparison Charts
- Top 10 Home Remedies For Acne You Should Try Today
- How to Get Rid of Puberty Pimples
5 Causes of Acne Listed (Part 1) – InfoGraphic (Free Gift)
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Pimples: Why Do They Happen?
Short Answer: Why do pimples happen?
- Extra Sebum
- Follicle Fallout
In-depth: Why do I have pimples?
Before jumping into the main causes of zits and pimples, consider the following fast facts about the condition:
- Pimples tend to range in severity – from cysts to blackheads
- They occur due to the over-activity in the sebaceous glands and the clogging up of pores by dead skin cells
- At times, pimples can become infected
- The condition is most common during the adolescent years, but it can affect people of any age
- Although no particular foods are responsible for acne, eating a healthy diet might reduce your risk of developing pimples
That said, there are many causes of pimples. Consider the following:
However, the glands might become overstimulated by the androgens. This condition might persist from teenage all through into adulthood. The androgens are additionally responsible for the flare-ups some women experience during pregnancy and during their menstrual cycles.
Androgens are male sex hormones; an example is testosterone.
B: Extra Sebum
When androgens stimulate sebaceous glands, they may cause the production of excess sebum or oil. As the oil makes its way through your follicle lining it arrives at your skin’s surface when it can mix with dead skin cells and common skin bacteria.
Although this process is quite normal, the extra sebum in the skin follicle might increase the chances that your skin will get clogged. This then causes pimples.
C: Follicle Fallout
The dead skin cells in the follicle lining also tend to shed gradually. This means that they may get dislodged on the surface of the skin. If your sebaceous glands are overactive – which is the case for pretty much everyone undergoing puberty – the cells might shed faster than normal.
Dead skin cells may thereafter mix with the excess sebum being produced to plug the follicle. This prevents the skin from going through the natural and normal process of renewal.
All skin types have bacteria – which is a natural part of your skins sebum maintenance system. However, when follicles get plugged, the acne bacteria may multiply fast and create a chemical reaction. This reaction may cause inflammation of the surrounding skin and follicles.
Last but not least, if your body comes into contact with unwanted bacteria, it may send armies of white blood cells to rescue your body and attack the intruders. This is referred to as chemotaxis (or inflammatory response).
Chemotaxis or inflammatory responses might be the reason why your pimples are painful, swollen, and red. However, since the inflammatory response varies from one person to another, you may need different treatments for your pimples than those embraced by other people.
Chemotaxis refers to the movement of motile organisms or cells (or part of one) in a direction that corresponds to a gradient of decreasing or increasing concentration of a given substance.
What Causes Pimples on Scalp?
Short Answer: What organisms can cause scalp pimples?
- Propionibacterium acnes (or P. acnes)
- Staphylococcus epidermidis
In-Depth: Why do I have acne on my scalp?
Scalp acne – as pimples on scalp are referred to as – is less common than back and face acne. However, it still developed in pretty much the same way.
The skin naturally produces protective layers of oil around it – referred to as sebum. This oil may find its way to the surface of the skin through the skin’s pores. Dead skin cells, excess oil, and other substances may clog pores.
After that, bacteria will start multiplying inside the trapped sebum and form a microcomedone or pre-pimple. As the pre-pimple starts becoming visible and enlarges, it may turn into a comedone – which is a blackhead or whitehead.
The comedone, on the other hand, may become red and inflamed and fill up with pus. This is how a zit or a pimple is born on the scalp. Therefore, at the most basic level, scalp pimples occur due to the blocking of the pores.
However, the exact causes of these blockages might be difficult to point out. The suspects include hormones as well as the amount of oil or sebum produced by the skin. Others include hair products – from styling gels to conditioners – that might contain ingredients which lead to clogged pores.
The organisms that might also cause pimples on scalp include, but are not limited to:
- Propionibacterium acnes (or P. acnes)
- Staphylococcus epidermidis
Clogged pores that lead to scalp acne also include:
- Failing to wash your hair frequently enough or cleaning your scalp properly
- Product buildup from hair products like shampoos, hairsprays, and gels
- Waiting too long to wash your head after a sweaty workout session
- Wearing equipment, headgear, and hats which causes friction on the scalp
Pimples on the scalp may also be caused by seborrheic dermatitis. This condition occurs due to the excess oil production on the scalp as well as due to malassezia, a type of yeast on the scalp. This type of acne also has triggers, which include obesity, alcohol-containing lotions, infrequent bathing, and stress.
The red bumps on your scalp might also be as a result of folliculitis, a kind of scalp infection. It occurs when hair follicles get infected by a bacteria, virus, or fungus after getting damaged.
What Causes Pimples on Forehead?
Short Answer: Why do I have forehead pimples?
- Clogged Pores
- Oily Scalp
- Certain Medications
- Digestive Problems
- Excess Stress
- Hair Products
- Caps and Helmets
- Hormones and Genetic Factors
Long answer: How do I get rid of pimples on my forehead?
As mentioned above, pimples and acne are mostly formed when skin pores get clogged. The clogging might be a result of impurities, grime, dirt, excess oil, and/or dead skin cells.
All of these form zits inside the pores of the skin. They also provide an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria – which often leads to the formation of pimples on the forehead.
There are many causes of pimples on the forehead. These include:
A: Clogged Pores
This is the universal and main cause of forehead acne. Since the forehead is in the T-zone, a part of the face particularly known for the production of excess oils, it follows that the pores on the forehead tend to clog up easily. This leads to the development of pimples.
Dandruff in your hair might also trigger forehead acne. This is because dandruff is a type of skin infection that is caused by a fungus that can irritate the skin on and around your forehead and lead to the development of pimples.
C: Oily Scalp
In case your scalp is oily, this oil might run down and clog up the skin pores on your forehead – invariably leading to the development of forehead pimples.
D: Certain Medications
Medications, including birth control pills, might also trigger this type of acne for some people. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor about the medicine they prescribe in case it may lead to the development of acne on your forehead.
E: Digestive Problems
In case none of the issues we described above are responsible for pimples on your forehead, then the culprit might be digestive problems. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) actually points to the fact that digestive issues are often the cause of forehead acne.
F: Excess Stress
Stress is a factor that contributes to the development of many illnesses and ailments in one way or the other. Where forehead pimples are concerned, stress may disrupt normal hormonal balance and the regular production of oil by the skin. This may lead to acne forming on your forehead.
G: Hair Products
Different hair styling products – including but not limited to serum, heat protectant, and hairspray – may trigger acne if they get into contact with your forehead.
Although exfoliation is useful in removing dead cells and keeping your skin fresh, if you overdo it you may irritate your skin and cause acne.
I: Caps and Helmets
If you drive a two-wheeler, then you obviously need to wear a helmet. However, the helmet might not be easy to clean inside and few riders even consider cleaning this part. Sweating regularly may create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that may cause acne if they come into contact with your forehead.
J: Hormones and Genetic Factors
Last but not least, your forehead pimples might be as a result of genetic and hormonal factors. This is particularly so if your skin is more prone to developing acne or if the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy or menstrual cycles disrupt the skin’s normal functioning.
What Causes Pimples on Cheeks?
Short Answer: Why do I have acne on my cheeks?
- Phone Usage
- Dental Hygiene
In-Depth: What causes acne on cheeks
If you have been getting pimples on your cheeks, there might be imbalances in your lungs or liver. This might mean that you have been doing things that result in these imbalances. Therefore, the only way to treat this type of acne is to avoid these things.
That said, there are many different causes of pimples on the cheeks. These causes include:
Although skipping that glass of might not sound like a good idea, it might be the reason why you have cheek acne. Binge drinking, in particular, tends to cause imbalances in the liver. Therefore, you might want to practice moderation or tee-total altogether if you want the pimples to disappear.
B: Phone Usage
You would probably be disgusted by the number of bacteria on phones. Phones tend to attract bugs, bacteria and pick up germs from just about everywhere. Therefore, if you put your phone close to your cheek, it is not surprising that you may develop pimples.
The best way to deal with this problem is to switch to a Bluetooth headset or use anti-bacterial wipes to clean your phone’s screen at least once every day.
Most people never wash their pillowcases. If you fall into this category, you should not be too surprised when you develop pimples on your cheeks. This is because pimples are great breeding grounds for bacteria and germs.
The best way to eliminate this problem is to wash your pillowcases as often as you can. Alternatively, reach out for skin-friendly pillowcases – particularly if your skin type is delicate.
D: Dental Hygiene
Poor dental hygiene might also cause zits on your cheeks – especially on the lower cheeks. Oral problems, infections, and cavities often result in pimples developing on the cheeks.
How to Prevent Pimples on Your Cheek
- Avoid touching your cheeks/face
- Avoid using gels, pomades, oils, and fragrances on your hair
- Exercise daily
- Relax and de-stress yourself
- Stay away from the sun
What Causes Pimples on Nose?
Short Answer: How do I stop a pimple from forming on my nose?
- Clogged Pores
- Facial Cosmetics
- Cystic Acne
- Vitamin Deficiency
In-Depth: Why do I keep getting pimples in my nose?
The nose is among the most common areas where pimples tend to develop. This is because the pores on the nose are larger, meaning that they easily get clogged leading to the development of cyst-like red bumps and pimples.
Still, not all types of nose pimples are the same. Therefore, before you try treating your acne, you should first try and find out what could be the cause of it – acne rosacea or acne vulgaris. After identifying the cause, you will be in a better place to get the best treatment.
Some of the main causes of pimples on the nose include:
A: Clogged Pores
Human skin naturally and normally releases sebum – or oil – to protect against dehydration and drying out. However, when your body overproduces sebum, it might clog up the nose pores.
Among women and adolescents, in particular, this excessive sebum production might be a result of hormonal fluctuations. When teens develop pimples, it could be as a result of changes in the concentration of hormones. Therefore, hormonal fluctuations might lead to the development of acne on the face and body – particularly on and around the nose.
If you are typically ignorant about the importance of proper hygiene or if you are generally dirty and unhygienic, you will quadruple your risk of developing nose zits and getting bacterial infections.
Stress might also trigger nose pimples. Psychologists, in particular, suggest that excess stress may interfere with the normal functioning of such bodily systems as the brain, the nervous system, and the excretion system. Stress sometimes results in hormonal fluctuations that increase the amount of sebum produced and secreted by the skin.
Acne on the nose can strike anyone regardless of complexion, gender, or age. If you have experienced an outbreak and you get stressed, this may worsen the condition of your pimples.
C: Facial Cosmetics
Using bad cosmetic products or using them poorly sometimes causes pimples to form on your nose – as well as on the chin, cheeks, and face.
D: Cystic Acne
The other potential explanation for the painful zits on your nose might be cystic acne. This is one of the most severe types of acne that you might develop. It is normally caused by hormonal changes – particularly those that occur during puberty, periods, and pregnancy.
Cystic acne tends to be quite painful although it is relatively easy to diagnose in spite of its appearance right on the tip of the nose. If you have a bad history of severe or mild cases of this type of acne, you may develop cysts and pimples on your nose.
Cysts are sometimes attributed to genetic makeup due to the variations in the traits you might have inherited from your family. In these situations, pimples develop and grow into cysts.
E: Vitamin Deficiency
What Causes Pimples around the Mouth?
Short Answer: Why do I keep getting pimples on my mouth?
- Oral Care Products
- Overuse or Wrong Use of Cosmetics
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Hormonal Changes
- Lifestyle and Diet
In-Depth: What does it mean when you have acne around your mouth?
Many people today – both male and female – suffer from adult acne. The hormonal acne that mostly affects women tends to occur around the mouth, as well as on the jawline and in the region around the chin.
To get rid of this type of acne, there is no single, definitive, or universal cure. This is because what might work for one person will not necessarily work for another. Therefore, you need to know the exact causes of the pimples around your mouth to know the best way to deal with it.
Consider the following:
The residue from most acidic foods – including vinegar-based dressings and lemon – tends to irritate the skin around the mouth. In the process, it causes inflammation. Greasy fried foods – such as fries and chips – might also block the pores in the skin around your mouth. This may lead to the formation of pimples.
The best way to prevent zits from occurring due to dietary causes is by using facial cleansing wipes after you eat.
B: Oral Care Products
Even if the skin on your face is clear, you might still develop acne around the mouth. This could be as a result of using certain oral care products and lip balms. Once you stop using it, the acne should clear on its own.
C: Overuse or Wrong Use of Cosmetics
The pimples around the mouth might also be as a result of overusing or wrongly using lip balms. Since you will be adding extra oil to the area.
Therefore, it is essential that you apply cosmetics based on your skin type. In case you already have acne, using oily and greasy creams and other cosmetics will only aggravate the problem.
That said, most cosmetics contain so many different compounds – compounds that might be responsible for the breakout of acne around your mouth and lips. If you reapply lip balms, in particular, on a regular basis, your lips will even lose their natural ability to self-moisturize. Therefore, when you don’t use the balm, your skins may get chapped and dry.
D: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Otherwise referred to as SLS, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is another cause of mouth acne breakouts. This substance is mostly found in toothpaste, where it is used to create foam. Some harmful detergents also contain SLS.
As you shop for toothpaste, check the ingredients to see if it has sodium lauryl sulfate. In case it does, choose another brand that lacks this ingredient. SLS appears to also be responsible for causing ulcers and mouth sores.
E: Hormonal Changes
Hormonal changes might be responsible for the acne around your mouth. These changes often occur during puberty, pregnancy, and periods.
F: Lifestyle and Diet
Diet and lifestyle also play a vital role in determining whether or not you get pimples around the mouth. For instance, drinking unhealthy drinks and processed foods – most of which are lacking in nutritional value – may lead to acne breakouts around your mouth and on the face.
The breakout might, however, also be as a result of other factors. These include poor hygiene and sleeping patterns. Lack of sleep changes the hormonal balance and provokes acne around the mouth.
If you are unhygienic, your skin might be in a poor condition. This means that it will easily let dirt into its pores. As a result, your skin will not receive adequate levels of oxygen, which will cause pimples to breakout around your mouth.
If some members of your family have acne around the mouth, then it might also mean that you will develop the same condition.
Stress is another one of the factors that are responsible for causing acne to breakout around the mouth. In some situations, your pimples might be due to one cause and only worsen when you get stressed.
Stress, in particular, tends to stimulate the adrenal glands. This leads to the production of even more hormones than normal while also decelerating the rate at which existing acne heals.
How to Reduce Stress
- Always do some light physical exercise, or be physically active
- Avoid nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine
- Keep a diary to document stressful episodes
- Manage your time
- Sleep more
- Take greater control over your life
- Talk with people
- Try some relaxation techniques