Pimples – what are they?

From a dermatologist’s point of view the term pimple are meaningless. Some people use the term as a synonym for Acne. Other people use the term to refer to any red bump with a superimposed pussy area (pustule) or without a superimposed pussy area (papule).

What are Pimples

Pimples can be found in a long list of skin conditions. To confirm the diagnosis of Acne in someone presenting with “pimples” one or more of the following additional findings are required:

  • Black heads (open comedones)
  • White heads (closed comedones)
  • Scarring
  • Distribution of the pimples on the face, chest and back

So, if you have pimples, but none of the above findings, you probably do not have Acne!

35 thoughts on “Pimples – what are they?

  1. Hi there,

    I have four random small white heads on each cheek of my face and I don’t know how to get rid of them? not sure what products to use on the market for them.

    Please help

    Thank you

    1. Dear Whitney. If the white bumps are milia, they must be opened and removed surgically. If they are closed comedones then a retinoid containing cream will be a good place to start.

  2. Dear Dr janne Louw
    It has been quiet along time since i have bee battling with what i can call the pimples according to my little knolledge. They come and go and if ever there is one thing that seams to eliminate theem is when i pop the out. To me its just a huge emberussement as i have passed my youth stage long time ago. There are those painful ones that ocassional grows on my ches and the back one after some time.

    I will really like to see you as this proves to be the weight that i cannot bear to handle…

    Justice Mpati

  3. Dear Dr janne Louw
    It has been quiet along time since i have bee battling with what i can call the pimples according to my little knolledge. They come and go and if ever there is one thing that seams to eliminate theem is when i pop the out. To me its just a huge emberussement as i have passed my youth stage long time ago. There are those painful ones that ocassional grows on my ches and the back one after some time.

    I will really like to see you as this proves to be the weight that i cannot bear to handle…

    Justice Mpati

  4. Dear Dr Louw

    I have these unsighlty skintags on my neck area and under the arms they are not painful just irritating can I remove
    this myself or do I have to see a dematologist is it painful to remove ,and do you accept medical Aid?

    1. Dear Clive. You should see a dermatologist to remove the skin tags. It is a very simply, slightly uncomfortable, procedure to remove skin tags. Regarding medical aid, please read here.

  5. Dear Dr Louw

    I have these unsighlty skintags on my neck area and under the arms they are not painful just irritating can I remove
    this myself or do I have to see a dematologist is it painful to remove ,and do you accept medical Aid?

    1. Dear Clive. You should see a dermatologist to remove the skin tags. It is a very simply, slightly uncomfortable, procedure to remove skin tags. Regarding medical aid, please read here.

  6. hey
    I ahd pimples in high school and i used to kinda pop them and now they have left me with bad marks on my face. i have been trying all this expensive products but none of them seem to work cos the scars are still there.
    how do fix this?

    1. Dear Charity. I assume you have a dark skin colour. The treatment depends on if the “scar” is an actual scar or pigment change. If it is a pigment change then certain creams can help. If it is an actual scar then the treatment depends on the type of scar. You will have to see a dermatologist to advise you properly.

  7. hey
    I ahd pimples in high school and i used to kinda pop them and now they have left me with bad marks on my face. i have been trying all this expensive products but none of them seem to work cos the scars are still there.
    how do fix this?

    1. Dear Charity. I assume you have a dark skin colour. The treatment depends on if the “scar” is an actual scar or pigment change. If it is a pigment change then certain creams can help. If it is an actual scar then the treatment depends on the type of scar. You will have to see a dermatologist to advise you properly.

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