Pustule – Meaning, Cause And Treatment Options

How To Get Rid Of Pustules – Meaning, And Treatment Options

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Having your skin marred with acne/ pimples or scars is quite common. And sometimes these acne or pimples get filled with pus making it painful as well as unsightly. The small bump filled with certain fluids like pus is called pustule. They are generally white in colour and surrounded by red skin. Read along to understand pustules, their occurrence and how to treat them.

Meaning And Definition Of A Pustule

Pustule is a small bump or sore on the skin that’s filled with pus. In some case pustule may resemble blisters. They are generally white in colour and surrounded by red skin. Appearance-wise, a pustule can either appear as a small and round lesion which is surrounded by red skin and has a white or yellowish center or it may also enlarge and appear as a huge blemish. It can develop on any part of the body like face, hands, back, fingers, legs, feet, soles, chin and more. Every part of the body that is covered with skin is prone to pustules.

What Causes Pustules?

  • Acne – One of the most common causes of pustule is acne, when one of your skin pore gets over-irritated and breaks its wall.
  • Rosacea – Rosacea is a type of skin condition that results in pimples and causes red spots . Pustules on face are formed when your skin is affected by inflamed rosacea.
  • IgA pemphigus – A rare disease known as IgA pemphigus occurs when an individual’s immune system turns on itself. Pustules are one of the symptoms of this disease.
  • Psoriasis – In this skin condition, an individual’s skin becomes red with itchy and scaly patches. Pustules are formed when this skin condition is further triggered because of stress, certain medications, infections or certain chemicals.
  • Smallpox – Smallpox is a dangerous disease which is caused by a deadly virus. Pustules are often formed during this disease.
  • Chickenpox – Skin lesions develop on various parts of the body during an attack of chickenpox. As the disease progresses, these skin lesions become pustules.

What Are Pustule Symptoms?

  • Red and itchy skin
  • Painful outgrowth
  • Tiny blisters which are filled with whitish or yellowish pus

Also Read: Get Safe And  Effective Treatment For Acne

How To Treat Pustules?

The first step is to ensure that you avoid pustule popping as it will worsen your condition. Inflammatory pustules can be treated without popping or picking at them. Below are some of the common pustule treatments

  • Chemical peels – In peels, certain plant extracts are used to exfoliate the dead deformed upper skin layer in controlled conditions. Acids like lactic acid, salicylic  acid,and trichloroacetic acid work well in treating pustules.
  • Comedone extraction – Using a specific instrument, a dermatologist can extract the pustular outgrowth and help in levelling the skin.
  • Small pustules generally do not require any extensive treatments. They can be easily treated by washing the affected area with a mild cleanser and warm water. This will help in getting rid of excess oils.
  • Pustules can also be removed with the help of creams, lotions and soaps which are available over-the-counter. It is best to use topical products which contain salicylic acid, sulphur and benzoyl peroxide.
  • Pustules which are caused due to bacterial infections can be treated by doxycycline and amoxicillin. Both of these are oral antibiotics.

For people suffering from malignant pustules, a stronger treatment needs to be used in order to get rid of them.

  • One such advanced treatment method is known as the Photodynamic therapy. Light and a special solution that is light-activated, are used in this procedure to eliminate the pustules. Along with eliminating the pustules, it will also get rid of the old acne scars.
  • Since there are different causes of pustules, it is best to first determine the underlying cause and then opt for the right treatment. For example, pustules which are caused due to psoriasis can be treated using vitamin D3-derivatives, retinoids, corticosteroids, etc.

Also Read: Chemical Peel – Benefit, Procedure And Side Effects

How To Prevent Pustules?

  • Always wash your skin and keep it clean. Avoid using harsh soaps or dirty washcloth.
  • Keep your skin moisturized by using non-comedogenic products.
  • If you notice breakouts on your skin, then avoid using makeup as much as possible. If you need to use makeup, then opt for oil-free cosmetics.
  • To avoid pustules on forehead, try to keep your hair away from it, especially if you have used any hair oil.
  • Do not touch your skin unnecessarily as it can spread unwanted bacteria.
  • Use a sunscreen before you step out in the sun. Every body part which is exposed to the sun’s UV rays should be covered by a sunscreen.
  • Eat a healthy diet which includes lots of green leafy vegetables, vitamins, proteins, etc. All of this will keep your skin healthy from inside.

What Are Papules And Pustules?

Just like how certain lesions are called pustules, there are other lesions known as papules. There are few minor differences between them. A pustule is a sore filled with pus whereas a papule is a sore but without any pus. In addition, a papule is harder than a pustule.

Skin conditions are definitely a cause of concern that affects not only your body but also your self-esteem. Taking preventive measures and timely action can go a long way in keeping your skin intact and blemish-free. Make sure that you consult an experienced dermatologist as soon as you see any skin condition becoming severe so that you can get it treated timely; in an effective manner.

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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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