Pimple Pus: What It Is, How to Treat and Prevent?

Pimple Pus: What It Is, How to Treat and Prevent?

Pimples are the cutaneous lesions that develop when excess natural oil, dead skin cells, and pimple-causing bacteria trap in the skin pore. These are the symptoms of acne that most commonly develop on the face and upper body, specifically the chest, upper back, and shoulders. Usually, pimples affect adolescents and young adults because of hormonal changes.

If you have pimples on your face that are pus-filled and leave dark scars, then this blog by Dr. Rasya Dixit, the best dermatologist in Bangalore, is for you. It will help you learn more about this skin condition in detail and ways to manage it effectively.

Are pimples of different types?

Yes, pimples or acne lesions can be non-inflammatory kinds like blackheads and whiteheads or inflammatory kinds like papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules. The pimples' appearance depends on their type.

What are pus-filled pimples?

Pus-filled pimples, which dermatologists refer to as pustules, are small, inflammatory kind of cutaneous lesions filled with pus. They can develop anywhere on the body either in isolation or in groups and may be localised in a single area or present all over the body. Usually, they are seen on the face, chest, and back.

Pus-filled pimples commonly affect teenagers and typically are manifestations of underlying skin disorders, such as acne and folliculitis.

What does a pus-filled pimple look like?

Pus-filled pimples are red bumps on the skin, of up to one centimetre in diameter, with white or yellow centres. If they affect an individual severely, they may be accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, swelling, tenderness, soreness, and warmth. Sometimes, an affected individual may suffer from pain  and have redness and itching around the pimples.

Watch this video to learn more on acne or pimples treatment in Bangalore with Dr. Rasya Dixit-

What causes pus-filled pimples?

Pus-filled pimples can either develop because of underlying bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infection or due to non-infectious skin diseases such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis.

In case of an infection, the white blood cells (inflammatory immune cells) multiply in an attempt to fight against infection. This leads to the development of pus-filled pimples which contain inflammatory cells and dead microorganisms.

Do pus-filled pimples indicate an infection?

Often, the presence of pus-filled pimples indicates an underlying infection. Pus-filled pimples are typically an outcome of bacterial infections, usually caused by Gram-positive bacteria- Streptococcus pyogenes or Staphylococcus aureus.

The potential bacterial infections causing pimples include impetigo, furuncles, folliculitis, and carbuncles. Some viral infections like chicken pox and smallpox can also cause pus-filled pimples to develop. Pus-filled pimples can even develop due to fungal infections like tinea and thrush and also because of parasitic infections such as scabies.

How do dermatologists diagnose pus-filled pimples?

Acne doctors in Bangalore start the diagnosis of pus-filled pimples with a careful thorough physical examination and review of the patient’s personal and family medical history. They gather information about the patient’s age, current intake of medications, presence of comorbidities, and family history so that they can identify the cause of the pimples.

They also carry out skin examinations to assess the size, depth, shape, location, distribution, and duration of the pus-filled pimples. To closely examine the pimples under a magnifying glass, dermatologists perform dermoscopy.

In case an infection is suspected to be the underlying cause of pus-filled pimples, dermatologists recommend further diagnostic tests to identify the causative microorganism.

If the diagnosis of pustular lesions is not confirmed, dermatologists perform a biopsy of the lesion to rule out other potential conditions.

How to treat pus-filled pimples?

The treatment or management of pus-filled pimples depends upon their underlying cause and their severity. Most of the pus-filled pimples resolve on their own in a few days.

At a personal level, individuals having pus-filled pimples can start using salicylic acid-based face wash and applying topical antibiotics only on their pimples to manage them.

But pus-filled pimples tend to heal with red marks as well as scars, so they need to be well-treated with the help of a dermatologist. Dermatologists can provide long-term and safe solutions to get rid of pus-filled pimples.

Dermatologists usually prescribe oral antibiotics for treating pus-filled pimples. Antibiotics work in reducing the inflammatory process that can further lead to skin redness and scarring. If the underlying cause of pus-filled pimples is fungal, viral, or parasitic; dermatologists recommend anti-fungal, anti-viral, or anti-parasitic medications.

Other dermatologist-recommended treatments for pus-filled pimples are corti-sone cream. If pus-filled pimples are the symptoms of acne, topical medications containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are commonly recommended.

For rosacea, the inflammation and redness of the skin can be reduced with the help of antibiotic and antiprotozoal medication. Treatment of underlying psoriasis depends upon the severity of the skin condition. The options include the use of moisturisers and emollients; topical or systemic immunosuppressive therapies; UV light therapy; and systemic medications like vitamin A derivatives, antimetabolites, or biological agents to get rid of psoriatic plaques and reduce skin itchiness.

What measures are recommended to manage pus-filled pimples?

Some measures can be taken to reduce the symptoms, facilitate healing, and prevent further infection or scarring caused by pus-filled pimples. The measures include regular washing of the affected or prone area with gentle soap and lukewarm water; avoiding the use of skin irritants; and avoiding touching or popping the pustules.

How can I get rid of my pus-filled pimples quickly?

Dermatologists can help you quickly get clear, pimple-free skin with intralesional steroid injections in combination with hyaluronidase. These injections are administered to your pus-filled pimples. Within 12-24 hours, these pimples disappear.

What to avoid when having pus-filled pimples?

If having pus-filled pimples, dermatologists recommend the following :

  • Do not pick or scratch the pus-filled pimples as their contents can spill out on healthy skin and cause more pimples. Moreover, this will force the cell debris and bacteria very deep into the skin. This can cause the pimples to become more infected and inflamed and may even lead to scarring.
  • Do not apply ice on the pus-filled pimples as it will not help consolidate the pus.  
  • Avoid scrubbing the skin with pimples.
  • Avoid intake of oily foods.
  • Avoid touching the pimples with dirty hands.
  • Avoid the use of any comedogenic skin care products.
  • Avoid applying make-up.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Avoid the skin’s direct exposure to sunlight.
  • Do not put garlic on the pus-filled pimples as it heats them and increases inflammation.

 If you have severe acne or pimples, then do not ignore them. Seek the help of a dermatologist in Bangalore in the initial stages to achieve smoother, acne-free skin.