Fast Facts On pimples

Here are some key points about pimples. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Pimples are developed by the majority of teenagers and a significant number of adults.
  • Pimples can cause anxiety and embarrassment, particularly when situated on the face.
  • Prompt treatment of pimples often helps with overcoming their emotional and psychological effects.
  • People with regular breakouts of pimples are more likely to experience depression.
  • The risk of developing pimples is increased by a diet high in dairy products and high glycemic index foods.
  • To reduce the risk of pimples, it is recommended that people wash their faces about twice each day – not more often.
  • Popping (bursting) pimples can make the skin infection worse.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pimple treatments often contain active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and sulfur.
  • Prescription medication for pimples includes topical treatment, antibiotics and laser and light therapy.
  • Breakouts of pimples can be made worse by the stress and anxiety, makeup and greasy hair.

Self-help treatments



Researchers from New York University reported in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that a diet high in dairy products and high glycemic index foods increases the risk of developing pimples. The scientists also suggest that using medical nutrition therapy may help reduce the number and severity of acne outbreaks.

There is a risk you may push the infection further down, causing more serious blockage and worse swelling and redness if you try to burst the pimple.

Washing your face

Wash your face about twice each day – not more often. Make sure you have a mild soap. Use warm water. Wash gently; do not scrub the skin. Experts advise the use of an OTC lotion which contains benzoyl peroxide.

Do not pop (burst) the pimple

There is a risk you may push the infection further down, causing more serious blockage and worse swelling and redness. Popping pimples also increases the risk of scarring.

If you need to get rid of it

If you have an important event, such as a public-speaking engagement or wedding and it is important to get rid of a sightly pimple, get a specialist to treat it for you.

Touching your face

Even though this may require some willpower, try to refrain from touching your face with your hands. If you are using a telephone, do not let receiver touch the skin of your face – it may have skin residue or sebum on it. Before touching your face make sure you always wash your hands with soap.

Hand hygiene

Keep your hands and nails as clean as you can by washing them regularly with soap. Keep your nails short.

Glasses (spectacles)

Glasses collect sebum and skin residue; clean them regularly.

Loose clothing

If the pimples are on parts of your body covered by clothing, such as your back, shoulders or chest, wear loose clothing. Whenever possible, avoid wearing headbands, caps and scarves – if you have to wear them, wash them regularly. In short – allow your skin to breathe.


Make sure you have taken all your makeup off when you go to sleep. Only use makeup that is nonceomedogenic or nonacnegenic – you should be able to read this on the label.


Sebum and skin collects in hair. Keep your hair clean. Try to keep your hair away from your face.

Sun exposure

Overexposure to sunlight may sometimes result in the production of more sebum. Some medications used by people with acne may make your skin more prone to sunburn.

Shaving your face

Be careful when you shave. Either use safety razors (make sure blade is sharp) or an electric shaver. Before shaving, soften the skin with warm, soapy water before applying the shaving cream – the skin is softer straight after a warm shower.