Infected Pimple

If bacteria is able to access the patient’s system via an open spot, an infected pimple can occur. In addition to this, patients may suffer from infected pimples if they have cystic acne or boils.

What is an infected pimple?

When a pimple is formed, it’s usually caused by various factors. Excess oil production can clog the pores, which may result in a zit forming. In addition to this, dry skin, skin debris, and bacteria can get lodged in the skin’s pores and this can cause spots to occur.

If additional bacteria is brought to the site, an infected pimple may occur. This is when a subsequent infection occurs at the site of the pimple and causes an increase in the patient’s symptoms.

As well as forming at the site of an existing spot, an infected pimple may develop in other ways. Cystic acne, for example, is typically comprised of infected pimples deep within the skin. Due to the level of infection, these spots can be extremely painful and may take some time to heal.

In addition to this, individuals may experience an infected pimple if they suffer from a boil. Common on the back, chest, and groin, boils are pockets of infection and can cause a visible lump on the skin.

What are the symptoms of an infected pimple?

When a pimple occurs, it may be considered a very small infection. The term ‘infected pimple’ usually refers to a spot which has been subject to a subsequent infection, or larger infections, such as boils or cystic acne. When an infected pimple forms, patients may experience various symptoms, such as:

  • Pain at the site of infection
  • Itching around the infection
  • Feeling of warmth
  • Skin irritation
  • A general feeling of illness
  • Pus at the site of the infection
  • High temperature or fever

An infected pimple can be particularly painful, although the pain and discomfort is usually limited to the pimple itself and the surrounding area. Similarly, the infected pimple may itch and the skin around the area may become irritated. A key sign of infection is a feeling of warmth on the skin and this can certainly occur if the patient has an infected pimple.

It’s very common for both pimples and infected pimples to fill with pus. Infected pimples may contain a more significant amount of pus and, in some cases, pus may drain from the site.

Although people can feel unwell or exhibit a fever when they have an infected pimple, this is not a particularly common symptom. Patients are more likely to experience these symptoms if they have a boil or if a secondary infection has started to spread to other areas.

What causes an infected pimple?

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions and most people develop pimples or zits at some point in their life. Regardless of whether the patient has whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, nodules or cysts, interfering with them can lead to further infection.

Often, attempts to reduce or remove an existing pimple can result in infection occurring. If the individual touches their skin, for example, they are likely to transfer bacteria to the area, and a subsequent infection may occur.

Alternatively, an infected pimple may develop as a result of hormonal issues and skin problems, combined with bacteria. If patients have cystic acne, for example, the condition may be caused by a hormonal imbalance and/or an excessive production of oil or sebum. If bacteria is also present, the pimple is likely to become infected and will be much larger than usual. As cystic acne usually causes pimples to occur under the skin, patients may find that they take some time to resolve.

Boils can also appear under the skin, but a raised lump may be present. Also known as an abscess, a boil is a pimple which is infected with Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria. If the immune system is unable to contain the bacteria immediately, a boil may form. As the body responds to the presence of bacteria, pus will form and should prevent the bacteria from spreading any further. While boils can cause a significant amount of discomfort, they are a relatively minor type of infection and do not result in complications for most patients.

How is an infected pimple treated?

When patients have an infected pimple, there are a range of treatment options available to them. These may include:

  • Allowing the body to heal the infection
  • Topical antibiotics
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Removal of the infection

In the vast majority of cases, the body’s immune system will heal an infected pimple and further treatment may not be required. Although the patient may experience some pain during the healing process, painkillers are not usually required for small skin infections, such as an infected pimple.

In some instances, it may be appropriate for individuals to use antibiotics in order to treat an infected pimple. When numerous pimples become infected or when the patient experiences recurrent infected pimples, treatment with antibiotics may be the only way to reduce the patient’s symptoms and resolve their condition. Patients with cystic acne may be prescribed topical antibiotic ointments or oral antibiotics, for example.

Alternatively, some forms of infected pimples can be surgically removed, although this isn’t usually necessary. If a boil or abscess has not responded to other forms of treatment and is causing significant symptoms, surgical removal may be the only way to prevent the infection from worsening.

Can you prevent an infected pimple?

Although it can be difficult to prevent boils and cystic acne, there are specific treatments aimed at patients who are prone to these conditions. Patients with cystic acne may benefit from hormonal treatment, for example. Alternatively, patients may be advised to wash and cleanse their body with antibacterial soap if they are prone to boils or abscesses.

It is far easier, however, to prevent an existing spot from turning into an infected pimple. Rather than trying to squeeze, pop or minimize existing spots, patients should avoid touching their skin, particularly when a pimple is present. This stops additional bacteria from being introduced to the area and can help to prevent an infected pimple from forming.