What’s the Difference Between Acne and Pimples?

Acne is a disease, while pimples are one of its symptoms. Acne affects the hair follicles and oil glands on the skin. Inflammatory acne is the milder version of pimples.

Causes | Symptoms | Treatments | Prevention

Some people occasionally have a pimple or two, while others get frequent outbreaks with numerous pus-filled pimples. If the second describes you more accurately, you may have acne — a chronic or long-term skin issue that affects a huge number of adolescents and adults.

The distinction between acne and pimples is that acne is a disease, whereas pimples are a sign of it.

Acne is a skin ailment that affects the hair follicles and oil glands of the skin.

Your pores are related to glands that produce an oily material called sebum beneath your skin. The glands and pores are connected by a canal called a follicle, which is lined with a fine hair that extends to the skin’s surface.

When sebum and dead skin cells congregate in the follicle, they produce a clog. Bacteria in the plug creates inflammation, which results in red acne pimples.

Disclosure: This post, is intended for informational purposes only. It does not provide medical advice. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, We may earn a small commission when you buy through links on our site.

What is a Pimple?

Pimples are non-inflamed blemishes that form when a pore becomes clogged. This type of blemish appears close to the skin’s surface in the epidermal layer.

Whiteheads have a core that is covered by a thin layer of skin. Blackheads, on the other hand, have an exposed core, which accounts for their black, oxidized appearance.

What is Acne?

Acne is much more serious, persistent, and uncomfortable than just the occasional pimple.

Acne-prone skin is characterized by recurrent, persistent pimples, which occur mostly beneath the skin’s surface. Deep within the skin, there are also larger, deeper lesions that include papules, pustules, cysts, or nodules.

Acne is divided into two types: Acne Vulgaris, which occurs during puberty, and Acne Rosacea, which occurs later in life after puberty.

These types affect the face, but they can also affect the neck, shoulder, chest, back, and arms. Depending on the severity of the involvement, the presentation may vary.

Acne: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

What causes Acne?

Pimples and acne are simply the results of blocked pores. Oil-producing glands, known as sebaceous glands, are related to your pores and release oil that moisturizes your skin naturally.

When your sebaceous glands generate an excessive amount of oil, dead skin cells and dirt can combine with the oil and cause buildup. [1]

This environment fosters the growth of germs, resulting in the redness and swelling associated with breakouts. When most people reach adolescence, they start getting acne and pimples.

Acne can be triggered or worsened by a variety of factors, including:

  • Hormonal changes during adolescence, pregnancy, and the menstrual cycle
  • Washing or scrubbing your skin too aggressively
  • Squeezing or scratching at existing pimples
  • Oil-based cosmetics, sunscreen, and hair care items
  • High relative humidity in weather

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Acne Symptoms

Frequent, recurring red spots or swelling on the skin, commonly referred to as pimples; the swelling may become irritated and fill with pus.

They usually arise on the face, chest, shoulders, neck, or upper back.

There are six main types of acne spot:

  • Blackheads – Dark spots with open pores at the center.
  • Whiteheads – Tiny white bumps under the skin that have no obvious opening.
  • Papules – Red swellings or lumps that are visibly filled with pus
  • pustules – Same like papules, but have a little white point in the centre, caused by a pus build-up
  • nodules – Large, firm lumps that develop beneath the skin’s surface and can be uncomfortable
  • cysts – This is the most severe sort of acne spot; they are enormous pus-filled masses that resemble boils and pose the highest risk of permanent scarring.

When to consult a Doctor:

When your acne doesn’t respond to your selfcare remedies or you have severe acne, which may produce nodules under the skin and persistent pimples. Else you may experience the following conditions

  • Your acne is producing scars
  • Acne is causing dark patches to appear
  • Your acne makes you unhappy or uncomfortable

A qualified dermatologist may recommend prescription drugs to control the condition and prevent permanent scars.


Organic or Natural medication:

Numerous herbal, organic, and natural products are sold for the treatment and prevention of acne.

Home remedies for acne: 11 most effective remedies you can safely try at home

Nonprescription Treatment for Acne:

Soap and water: Acne can be helped by gently cleaning the face with soap and water no more than twice a day. This, however, does not cure existing acne.

Scrubbing too vigorously might cause skin damage and other skin concerns.

Peroxide of benzoyl. You could try for minor acne. This chemical is supposed to work by eliminating the germs involved with acne. It typically takes at least four weeks to begin working and must be used consistently to keep acne at bay.

Salicylic acid. On the skin, salicylic acid helps to correct the abnormal shedding of cells. For milder acne, salicylic acid helps unclog pores to resolve and prevent lesions. It does not have any effect on sebum production and does not kill bacteria.

Sodium salicylate. Salicylic acid prevents abnormal cell shedding on the skin. Salicylic acid helps cleanse pores in milder acne, thereby avoiding an outbreak of acne. It neither controls sebum production nor is it effective against bacteria.

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Prescription Treatments for Acne

Antibiotics. Antibiotics may be used topically or ingested. Antibiotics operate by removing acne-causing germs from the skin and lowering inflammation.

Retinoids or vitamin A derivatives. These medications are available in topical and oral formulations. By altering the way the skin grows and sheds, topical retinoids effectively treat moderate-to-severe acne.


10 skin care habits that can help clear Acne

Are you adequately treating your acne but still getting new breakouts? Perhaps you have a terrible skincare routine. Here are some skincare habits recommended by experts to help you get the most out of your acne treatment:

  • Wash your hands twice a day and after sweating. Perspiration, particularly when wearing a cap or helmet, can aggravate acne, so wash your skin as soon as you can after sweating.
  • Apply a soft, non-abrasive cleanser with your fingertips. Using a washcloth, mesh sponge, or anything else can cause skin irritation.
  • Take care of your skin. Use gentle products, such as alcohol-free ones. Avoid using products that irritate your skin, such as astringents, toners, and exfoliants. Acne appears worse on dry, red skin.
  • Scrubbing your skin might aggravate acne. Avoid the need to scour your skin.
  • Rinse well with lukewarm water.
  • Shampoo regularly. Shampoo your hair daily if you have oily hair.
  • Allow your skin to heal naturally. If you pick, pop, or squeeze your acne, it will take longer to heal, and you will be more likely to develop acne scars.
  • Keep your hands away from your face. Throughout the day, touching your skin might produce flare-ups.

Disclaimer: This post does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your dermatologist or your primary care physician before applying any of the methods described here.

Eliza Miller

Hi! I am Eliza Miller, a nutritionist turned holistic health content writer who specializes in health and wellness, mental health, and nutrition. Other than content writing I am very passionate about reading fictional books.