Have you ever suffered from an infected pimple or do you have a friend who has? Infected pimple can be really nasty sometimes. The pain, the embarrassment, the swollen face, the psychological trauma – they are all things nobody would love to experience. Yet a lot of people have to cope with this ugly condition daily.
An Infected pimple can make you try all sorts of concoctions and potentially harmful topical applications on your skin in the quest to getting a lasting solution. But wait a minute! What happens if you create more facial problems while trying to solve one? We all know how disturbing this situation can be. But not to worry, we have a solution for your recurrent pimples.
A pimple or zit is a small inflammation which arises on any part of the skin as a result of an ingrown hair, excess skin oil, or puberty occurring in teenagers who have a lot of hormonal reactions. While pimples can be mild or grow sparsely on some skin types, it can be quite nasty on others, up to the point of creating a dent on the individual’s self-image or self -esteem. Some pimples stay for a short time and disappear without you doing anything special about them, while others keep recurring from time to time and remain troublesome.
Results from researches show that over 80% of teenagers suffer from pimples at a point in their life. A community sample of 14 to 16-year old’s conducted in the United Kingdom showed that 50% of them had pimples. A sample study conducted on adolescents in New Zealand showed that 91% of boys and 78% of girls had pimples.
Signs of Infected Pimples
Pimples come in different forms and each of these different types has distinguishable signs and symptoms. Let’s quickly take a look at them:
- Whiteheads: These are also referred to as a closed comedo. They are often small and stay under the skin, taking the appearance of a small papule, with the same colour as your skin.
- Blackheads: They are otherwise referred to as open comedo. They are usually dark brown or black in colour as a result of the oxidation of melanin (pigment of the skin), making them clearly noticeable on the skin surface. Blackheads are never caused by dirt. So, don’t over scrub your face and get yourself injured in an attempt to remove supposedly non-existent dirt.
- Pustules: They are pimples that are full of pus. They have a red base with pus on the top. They are obvious on the skin surface.
- Papules: They are small, solid, round bumps which occur on the skin surface. Most often, they are pinkish.
- Nodules: structurally, nodules are similar to a papule, but are quite larger than papules. They remain embedded deep in the skin and can be quite painful.
- Cysts: Cysts are filled with pus and are quite visible on the skin surface. Cysts can be really painful, and most times lead to the formation of a scar on the skin. In addition to those types and the way they manifest, the following obvious signs and symptoms easily tell when you have an infected pimple.
- Swollen lymph nodes: This is one of the signs that can occur when there are pimples on the arms. Infection of such pimples manifests with a swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpits.
- Green or yellow pus drainage: When infection sets into a pimple, it can develop pus and even drain on its own if not treated for a long time. Besides, there could also be an offensive smell from the pus that is formed. Infected pimples not treated for a long time could develop further into large zits or boils and drain pus.
- Painful infected pimples and bumps: One other sign that shows that a pimple is infected is the presence of pain. This is usually due to white blood cells activities as they try to get rid of the infection. The pain comes because the problem is now deeper under the skin, close to blood vessels and nerves. Blind pimples or pimples without heads are known to cause a high level of pain.
- Cystic acnes and stubborn pimples: The fact that some pimples become red, painful and stubborn is a sign that they are infected cystic acnes. They are infected over and over several times, and they keep lingering for years.
- Pimples bleeding and scabbing over: When pimples are popped, they scab and heal fast without bleeding. But with an infection, the pimple would bleed and eventually scab after popping. However, the scabbing refuses to heal.
Causes of Infected Pimple
What exactly causes an infected pimple? There have been different factors responsible for infected zits on the skin. Unfortunately, a lot of people get the wrong information from people who, originally, are not qualified to speak on the subject. Nevertheless, it is our duty to tell you the real thing so that when next you suffer from these skin troubles or your friend does, you will know exactly what the problem is and how to take care of it. Pimples can be found in different parts of the body, such as face, forehead, arms, elbow, back, ear, nose, lips, and groin area. The causes of an infected pimple are:
Blockade of the sebaceous gland
Sebaceous glands responsible for the production of sebum are situated deep inside the skin pores. But the regular shedding of the skin layers leave behind dead skin cells which eventually mix up with the sticky sebum to block the skin pores. This process occurs more during puberty (during the period of transition from a child to adulthood) when the sebaceous glands secrete more sebum. The blocking of the pores by dead skin and sebum eventually creates a favourable environment for the growth of dangerous bacteria like Propionibacterium acnes, the slow-growing bacterium responsible for acne. This bacterium exists as a harmless commensal (normal dweller) on the skin. But when the condition of the place is altered, it can grow rapidly to cause an immune response which gives rise to skin inflammation and spots.
A group of yeasts known as Malassezia has been identified as the cause of pimples. They usually inhabit the skin of the forehead and chest, but hardly on the sides of the face. They also do not live in the same pores with Propionibacterium acnes. This is why fighting against the cause of pimples can be a difficult war, as an attempt to eliminate one can eventually create a favourable environment for the other to thrive.
Staphylococcus can also cause an infected pimple. Staphylococcal infections are commoner with broken pimples, ingrown hairs, and bumps. The grown of the pimples are usually rapid, turning them into large boils or bumps with pus, fever and blister formation around the pimple.
Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone in males and females. But in people prone to acne, the skin is highly sensitive to normal levels of testosterone in the blood. As such, testosterone can easily trigger the excessive production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. This leads to the clogging of the pores of the skin, thereby creating a favourable environment for bacteria to thrive and cause infected pimples.
How to Treat Infected Pimples
Infected pimples can be dangerous as they easily cause severe inflammation, massive swelling, airway obstruction (if in the nostrils), severe pain, and other symptoms. Infected pimples can as well be difficult to handle sometimes. However, it is not a totally helpless situation. There are a lot of things you can do to remedy the situation and control the infection and the inflammation process.
You must avoid popping pimples because doing so is dangerous. This is because after popping a pimple, it could lead to a situation where the offending bacteria are released from the pustule into the surrounding pores thereby leading to further spread of the infection. Popping can also drive the bacteria deeper into the skin where they cause more damage.
If you also try to pop the zit and it is done wrongly, the skin may react to it and get further inflamed thereby causing you more swelling and severe pains. So, in the light of the foregoing, we would advise you to do the following:
When pimples refuse to go away on their own (which they should normally do), then the doctor can prescribe some antibiotics medications you can take to cure the infection. Such antibiotic medications include Neosporin and Polysporin. Neosporin is usually considered the best choice because of its combination of antibiotics like bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B.
Benzoyl peroxide and Salicylic acid
You can easily get Benzoyl peroxide and Salicylic acid over the counter. They help to exfoliate the skin and remove the clogs that are blocking the skin pores. Once they clear off the dirt, the infection is put under control and that can cure the pimple fast. When using the medication, always be sure to abide by the manufacturer’s advice in order to prevent making the situation worse.
Use tea tree oil
The use of tea tree oil can assist in getting your skin rid of infected pimples. Tea tree oil is a home remedy that proved to be quite helpful. Its antibacterial property helps it to get rid of bacterial infections and also prevent re-infections. They should not be used on sensitive skins. To prepare the oil, put the oil in a small container and mix with water in the ratio of 1:9. Soak a cotton wool ball in the solution and apply it on the area containing the infected pimple. Leave it for about 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Apply a moisturizer that does not clog on the skin. Repeat the treatment every day. But if it burns on your skin, stop the treatment.
See the doctor
If the above steps fail to address the problem, see a physician or a dermatologist for further advice and management.
How to Reduce Swelling on Face from Infected Pimple
If you have a swollen face as a result of an infected pimple, you can do something practical to help to reduce the pain and the swelling, and also improve your look. Here are a few things you do to help yourself.
- Apply ice pack: This is quite helpful in controlling pains and reducing inflammation and swelling.
- Cleanse your face: This can be achieved by scrubbing the affected areas gently with a washed cloth soaked with a mild cleanser. At the end, rinse off with warm water and then dry your face with a clean piece of towel. This can be done at least twice every day in order to help minimize the oil and dirt on the skin.
- Rub with anti-bacterial cream: There are stipulated anti-bacterial creams that can assist in eliminating the bacteria and also in reducing the fatty acid responsible for the irritation of the pores. Get the anti-bacterial cream from over the counter and use according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- Apply Aloe Vera gel: It is mild on your skin and yet, contains some natural antibiotics and antiseptic properties that can easily control the infection and reduce the inflammation.
- See a dermatologist: Should the above-listed measures fail to address your problem, book an appointment with a dermatology. You may need further medical investigations or a total change of prescriptions.
Infected pimple on leg
Infected pimples on legs may look red sometimes. They can be inflamed and cause itching of the skin. They are usually not too serious. You must always be cautious to be sure you are not harbouring a serious infection. The red bumps that are on the skin of your leg may be caused by insect bites, allergies, other skin conditions, or infection. They could be keratosis pilaris, folliculitis, eczema, or hives.
Infected pimple on the face
These are the most common and most embarrassing pimples. Pimples in the face are common during puberty, pregnancy, etc. For signs and causes, look at the signs and symptoms of infected pimples mentioned earlier in this post.
Infected pimple on lip
When infected pimples are on the lips, they can be confused with fever blisters (herpes, cold sore), or other conditions that come with swollen blisters, such as zit, pimple or acne around the lips. However, cold sores (herpes or fever blisters) are caused by viral infections, and the symptoms include pain, tingling, burning, painful blisters, bumps, itching at the site of infection, and vesicles with yellowish fluid. On the other hand, pimples on the lips are caused by a hormonal imbalance which usually occurs at the various stages of life. Pimples on the lips are quite common during teenage as a result of their hyperactive glands as well as hormonal changes.
Other causes of pimples on the lips include allergic reaction, poor diet, some medications with harmful elements, poor personal hygiene, and expired or contaminated lip care products.
Infected pimple in the Nose
Infected pimple in the nose can come from blocked nasal pores, picking of the nose, excessive use of antibiotics, hair removal, or environmental irritants. Pimples in the nose can be by the base of the nose, tip of the nose, bridge of the nose, or right inside the nose. They are quite painful due to the sensitive nerve supply the area.
Infected pimple on the arm
Pimples are not commonly found on the arms. However, they can still occur in few individuals. And when they do, they are mostly caused by other conditions like keratosis pilaris. Some of its symptoms include bumps or boils on the affected arm, pain and swelling in the armpit as a result of the inflammation of the lymph nodes in the armpits. They can be treated with Bezoyl peroxide or with solutions containing Salicylic acid.
Infected pimple in the ear
Pimples in the ear usually result from infections from unwashed hands, unclean earphones, toothpicks, ballpoint pen, nails, pencils, pins, etc. The pimples are quite painful and could come in multiples. They could appear inside the ear canal (auricle) or behind the earlobes.
Other causes include wrong nutrition, hormonal disorder, serious chronic disease, stress, allergic reaction to cosmetics, vitamin complexes, clothes, and medicines.
Infected pimple is a nasty situation to face. It comes with pain, swelling, pus discharge, and emotional distress. But following the few steps we have highlighted in this post can help you take care of the problem.