We all get stressed out when even a single pimple appears. They're generally filled with pus and quite unsightly. This is why the knee-jerk reaction is always to get rid of it as soon as possible. Plenty of spot-treating and popping happens almost immediately. However, it's always good to understand a problem in full to best address it.

What's a Pimple?

The term 'pimple' is a pretty general term, actually. That's because it does not have a 100 percent uniform look. Basically, it's an acne lesion, both the inflammatory and non-inflammatory type. It includes:

  • Blackheads (open comedones)
  • Deeper cysts
  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • Whiteheads (closed comedones)

How Do Pimples Form?

The very beginning can be traced back to months or weeks before any obvious signs manifest on a person's skin. Infected blemishes are usually the byproduct of blackheads and whiteheads that have pores deeply containing hardened, blocked sebum (oil). Bacteria ends up created when it's inflamed from the hair follicle gets lined with dead cells. While pores and follicles naturally have bacteria, it won't create issues as long as the follicle has oxygen flowing freely through it.

How Long Does It Take Before Pimples Go Away?

The life cycle of a pimple that's inflammatory essentially comes in three waves. Pores get blockage forms when sebum is hardened as previously mentioned. Bacteria is brewing underneath the blemish, which leads the skin's surface to develop papules: tiny bumps. Redness happens as well and, in certain cases, pain and tenderness.

Bacteria is broken down by a rush of white blood cells. When that's done, the papule becomes a pustule. During the healing of the infection, the bump ends up scabbing and possibly scarring. This is where post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (or, simply put, dark spots) comes in. Eventually, the darkened cells will be naturally expelled by the natural renewal cycle of the skin. If there's a scar, time will lead it to fade away as well.

What's the Best Way to Treat a Pimple?

Assuming a person is in good health with a working immune system, a pimple that's left alone should heal by itself. If a whitehead is squeezed or popped, the effect is a lot like draining an infected wound or similar. While it's able to remove bacteria, it can also lead the infection to go deeper into the pore instead. The latter has the awful side effect of triggering further inflammation. As a result, a blemish will last much longer.

A key way to get treatment done is:

  1. Wait for two days at most when it feels like a zit is incoming.
  2. Wrap fingers in a tissue when the whitehead becomes visible; squeeze gently.
  3. Apply a spot treatment for the follicle to be cleared out.


Pimples immediately bring people into varying states of panic. They're essentially an acne lesion from inflammatory and non-inflammatory causes. It's best to treat them with timing, squeezing the whitehead gently, and clearing out the follicle through a spot treatment.

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