Over the years, we have worked with countless men and women suffering from a variety of skin issues. One thing we've noticed is that there are many misconceptions about skin conditions. In particular, the distinction between acne and pimples is often overlooked or misunderstood. Below, we will shed some light on the technical distinctions between acne and pimples.
What is acne?
Acne is an umbrella term for most inflammations that develop on the skin. The Wikipedia definition of Acne vulgaris (or acne) is “a common human skin disease, characterized by areas of skin with seborrhea (scaly red skin), comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), papules (pinheads), pustules (pimples), nodules (large papules) and possibly scarring. Acne affects mostly skin with the densest population of sebaceous follicles; these areas include the face, the upper part of the chest, and the back. “ If the inflammation is right near the surface, you get a pustule; if it's deeper, a papule ; deeper still and it's a cyst. If the oil stays under the skins surface, the result is a " whitehead." If the oil becomes oxidized (that is, acted on by oxygen in the air), the oil changes from white to dark , and the result is a "blackhead." In many cases acne can be triggered by hormonal changes, stress and diet.
What are pimples?
Pimples are sebaceous glands (oil glands) that become infected with bacteria and become inflamed. White blood cells target in on the bacteria and pus is created. Pimples form on the surface of the skin and usually have a bacterial base that feeds on sebum. The bacteria is anaerobic (without oxygen), and the build-up stimulates histamine production which leads to increased inflammation. These pimples, although a nuisance, are very superficial and can usually be treated with sulfur or benzoyl peroxide which contain oxygen and cause the bacteria to implode. Pimples are included within the first grades of acne.
So, you can have a few pimples and not actually have "acne". Pimples are a subset of acne, but not the only form.
In the coming weeks, we will cover common causes of acne and pimples, as well as effective treatments to help reduce the severity of both conditions.