Acne pustules are also known as pimples, zits, and spots. They are a common type of acne lesion, and are very easy to treat.
When you think about acne, you normally picture a pustule, which is what most people call a “zit” or a “pimple”. Pustules are pus-filled, prominent bumps, and they are unfortunately a very common part of acne vulgaris, which afflicts almost everyone at some point in their lives. The incidence of these unattractive, often painful bumps can be reduced and even prevented altogether by using the proper treatment methods.
How Acne Pustules Form
Pustules form when a hair follicle becomes infected with the p. acnes bacteria, causing it to become inflamed; the body’s immune system kicks into gear, sending white blood cells to battle the bacteria, which results in the accumulation of pus. The pus then erupts from the follicle and swells up at the head, forming the pustule. Pustules are common on the face, but they also form on the back, chest, and shoulders, as well as anywhere that is sweaty, such as the underarms.
Take Care of Your Skin
Everyone should wash their face daily, but people with acne need to be especially vigilant about their skin care. You should wash your face twice daily (with your hands, not a washcloth), using a cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide, a very effective topical acne treatment, and use a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as needed.
Do not touch your face all the time, and try to resist the urge to squeeze pustules. Dermatologists warn against squeezing any kind of acne lesions yourself, since squeezing increases the chances of the lesion becoming infected or causing further skin damage. If you do, wait until it is fully mature, make sure your hands are very clean, and do not keep picking at the pustule once the pus has been ejected.
Treatments for Pustules
- Antibiotics. If you have moderate to severe acne, you may need prescription acne treatment; usually, this involves oral antibiotics or topical antibiotics. Since acne vulgaris is caused by bacteria, antibiotics often help clear up the infection, thus reducing the pustules and other lesions. Oral antibiotics used in acne vulgaris treatment include tetracycline and doxycycline; topical antibiotics typically prescribed for acne include erythromycin and clindamycin. Antibiotics are especially effective when used in combination with benzoyl peroxide.
- Retinoid Products. Retinoic acid is derived from vitamin A. This substance has proved exceptionally beneficial as an acne vulgaris treatment, as well as helping resolve other, more severe types of acne. Tretinoin is a specific formulation of retinoic acid, usually marketed under the name of Retin-A, and is used in various preparations in cleanser, cream, and treatment forms. Tretinoin products prevent pustules and other kinds of acne lesions from forming, and they promote the speeding-up of the skin’s growth and healing processes. Tretinoin products are available by prescription in higher concentrations, but lower-dose tretinoin products are available over the counter.
Acne treatment for pustules is best done using a combination approach, where you use several different techniques. Consult your dermatologist to determine what might be the best course of action regarding your acne.