Papules Acne: Causes, Treatments And Prevention Tips
Facts Checked

Acne Papules – Causes, Treatments and Prevention Tips

Facts Checked
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Our skin is often an indicator to the state of our health or as a first line of defense against the external elements. Acne usually is the commonest skin condition manifesting as papules. A papule is an inflamed lesion that appears in mild to severe grades of acne. It appears in different areas of the body such as the face, upper neck, shoulders, and back. Dermatologists often advise medication and chemical peels to treat acne. Read on to know more about this skin concern.

What Is A Papule?

A papule is a small, raised bump. It is a moderate skin lesion of a lower intensity when compared to other types. A dermatologist can identify papules and diagnose the underlying condition depending on their appearance. Papules can occur anywhere on the face and upper body and may appear in isolation or groups. They tend to leave behind hyperpigmentation marks on the skin.

Also Read: Get The Best Treatment For Papule Acne

What Are The Causes Of Papules?

Papules in acne condition form due to the clogging of pores because of the accumulation of excess oil, dead skin cells, dirt, and debris. A clogged pore initially forms a comedone, and when this progresses to the next stage, it becomes a papule.

Here are some of the secondary causes of papules in acne–

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Excess sebum production by the oil glands
  • Exposure to pollution
  • Improper skin cleansing and exfoliating techniques
  • Puberty

There are many other causes of papules such as viral infections like chicken pox, allergic reactions, bacterial infections, drug allergies, insect bites, eczemas, etc. Here we have explained a few:

  • Skin Conditions like Dermatitis and Eczema –Dermatitis is a condition, which results in skin irritation due to friction caused by tight clothing or other elements like make-up, soap, any topical application or environmental allergens, etc. It is one of the most common causes of papules. Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become irritated, inflamed, flaky, itchy, dry, and rough. It also makes your skin prone to develop papules.
  • Viral Infections like Chickenpox – The contagious varicella-zoster virus causes chickenpox. In this condition, papules, vesicles, and pustules develop all over the body. Though chickenpox is common in children, some people do get it in adulthood. The papules that develop due to chickenpox are a form of an itchy rash on the skin.

Also Read: Causes, Symptoms, And Types of Acne

Which Areas Of The Body Do Papules Affect?

Papules commonly appear on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. They also do appear on shoulders, arms, upper neck and back.

How To Treat Papules Acne?

The presence of papules indicates that your skin is prone to acne and pus-filled pimples. Papules may ultimately cause scarring if you do not seek medical attention to treat them. Here are a few treatment options for papules:

  1. Skin Care Routine – Keep your skin clean and apply a moisturizer and sunscreen every day. Pick a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen that suit your skin type. Using products that do not suit your skin type can aggravate papules and lead to the development of nodules and pustules, which are pus-filled pimples.
  2. Chemical Peels –Certain chemical peels are meant specifically for reducing excess oil production and removing dead skin cells. They help to unclog pores and reduce papules. The two best chemical peels for treating papules are:
  • Salicylic acid – The Salicylic acid peel is a superficial peeling agent which is effective in treating acne. It helps in exfoliating the damaged upper layer of the skin. This peel is suitable for both men and women of all skin types.
  • Mandelic acid – Derived from bitter almonds, this is an alpha hydroxy acid that effectively treats acne papules in sensitive skin. Dermatologists use this peel to treat papules as it involves a lower risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  1. Medications –Dermatologists may prescribe either topical creams or oral medicines or both, depending on the severity of your papules. These medications work towards controlling the papule outbreak. Dermatologists often prescribe antibiotics like tetracycline and retinoids like isotretinoin. Some of the popular OTC medications include:
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Retinoids
  • Clindamycin
  • Nadifloxacin

What Is The Cost Of Acne Papule Treatment In India?

Different papule treatments have different prices.

  • Acne control peel cost – The average price is Rs. 1,800 for each session.
  • Medication cost – The average price is Rs. 150.
  • OTC product cost – The average price is Rs. 100.

The total price of treatment varies from individual to individual as it depends on several factors like the size of papules, skin type, underlying health condition and the experience of the dermatologist.

Also Read: How To Remove Acne From Oily Skin?

Tips To Prevent Papules:

A papule is just the beginning stage of a full-blown pimple, and it can be brought under control fairly easily. You can prevent the formation of papules by following the below tips.

(A) Determine Your Skin Type – The first step is to determine your skin type. The primary types are normal, dry, oily, and combination skin.

 (B) Stay Hydrated – Increase your intake of water to detoxify your body and prevent papules. Also, use a suitable moisturiser to hydrate your skin externally.

 (C) Avoid The Sun – Avoid going out during peak hours of sunlight. When you do step outdoors, apply a good sunscreen with SPF 30 and above at least 20 minutes beforehand.

(D) Consume A Healthy Diet – Eat a diet that is full of healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat. Omega-3 fatty acids are great for keeping the skin healthy.

 (E) Take Gentle Care Of Your Skin – While exfoliating your skin, ensure that you do not scrub too hard as it can damage the skin. Be gentle with your skin during each step of your skincare routine.

(F) Use Non-Comedogenic Products – Always use non-comedogenic products. These do not clog the pores and help in protecting the skin and keeping it healthy.

What Is The Difference Between Macule, Papule and Nodule?

At first glance, a macule, papule, and nodule may appear similar; however, they are a little different from each other.

  • A macule is generally skin discolouration that is less than one centimetre in size. It does not have any elevation or depression.
  • A papule is also less than one centimetre in size but has a slight elevation.
  • A nodule is more than one centimetre in size. It can either be on the skin, above it or below it. A nodule extends deeper than a papule.

Remember, papules are pimples in their initial inflammatory stages, and you should seek immediate medical treatment to prevent pus-filled acne, marks and scars in the future. If you think you are suffering from papules, it is time to consult a dermatologist and find out the best treatment option for you.

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About The Author

Kushneet Kukreja

Kushneet Kukreja

A postgraduate in Biotechnology from Kingston University and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition, Kushneet Kukreja is a passionate writer who works in close association with the dermatologists at our head office to generate valuable and scientifically accurate content for our blog.


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