A pimple is a clogged skin pore that gets infected with bacteria. Pimples look red and often are raised above the level of the skin.

  • A pimple that bursts under the skin and releases bacteria into the surrounding tissue is called a papule. The skin around the area of a papule looks red.
  • A papule that is deeper under the skin is called a pustule. A pustule may not look as red as other pimples and may have a white cap in its center. It may be very sore.

Cleaning facial skin gently once or twice a day with a mild, non-drying soap and shampooing hair daily may help prevent new pimples. Over-the-counter medicine may help to dry up pimples. Squeezing or picking pimples may cause a skin infection.

Current as of: March 12, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine