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Quels sont les différents types de boutons sur le visage ?

What Are the Different Types of Pimples?

Pimples on forehead, chin, and nose or on other body parts can appear on both teenagers and adults. They can be a source of discomfort. Discover the different types of pimples in this article.

Published February 29, 2024, by Sandrine, Scientific Editor — 9 min read

The Different Causes of Pimples.

Before listing the different types of pimples, it's important to know that there are several causes of pimple formation. These include: 

  • Acne:

Acne is one of the main causes of pimples. Millions of people in France are affected by acne. Because of the psychological suffering it causes, it is the number-one reason for dermatological consultations.

Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the pilosebaceous follicle.

A reminder of the pilosebaceous follicle: this is the structure where the hair originates. The upper part of the pilosebaceous follicle contains the sebaceous glands, which secrete sebum.

In acne, the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum: this is known as hyperseborrhea. The sebum thus clogs the orifice of the pilosebaceous follicle, leading to the appearance of blemishes. What's more, in this grease-rich environment, Cutibacterium acnes, a bacterium usually present in small quantities on the skin, proliferates, triggering an inflammatory response on the skin's surface. This bacterium is also responsible for hyperkeratinization of the skin (thickening of the skin), leading to the appearance of pimples on forehead, chin, nose, and other body parts.

As acne is a multifactorial disease, many factors, such as diet and hormonal fluctuations, contribute to its appearance. Furthermore, there are different types of acne (retentional, inflammatory etc.).

  • Boils:

A boil is a bacterial infection of the pilosebaceous follicle by Staphylococcus aureus. It can develop on the face, thighs, back or buttocks.

A boil appears as a red, painful pimple on a hair. It soon fills with pus and resembles a pustule. In the final stage, the boil punctures spontaneously or not, and the pus runs out. Healing usually takes 2 weeks.

  • Chickenpox:

Chickenpox is a very common infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which belongs to the herpes virus group. This disease is responsible for the appearance of pimples associated with pruritus and extra-cutaneous signs (fever).

  • Allergies :

Allergies can manifest themselves on the skin through the appearance of pimples. They can occur following an allergy to a food, textile or cosmetic product (acne cosmetics).

The Different Types of Pimples.

  • Closed comedones (Whiteheads): 

These are the most frequent manifestations of retentional acne.

Closed comedones, whiteheads or microcysts result from a change in sebum quality (dysseborrhea) and excessive sebum production by the sebaceous glands (hyperseborrhea). As a result, the sebum blocks the pores, forming a white microlesion.

In the case of acne, microcysts can either disappear spontaneously or become inflamed. So, it's important to act quickly.

Note: There are also open comedones, but these are not considered pimples. Open comedones or blackheads result from the same process as whiteheads. When these clogged pores are opened, oxidation occurs on contact with air and the impurities trapped inside the pore turn brown, forming a blackhead. 

  • Papules and pustules:

These are signs of superficial skin inflammation.

Papules are inflammatory red pus-free pimples less than 5 mm in size. They may be round or oval, and are often painful. They may disappear or evolve into a pustule.

Unlike papules, pustules are characterized by the presence of pus. They are red pimples with white heads containing pus.

Both papules and pustules are possible manifestations of inflammatory acne. Papules can also occur in cases of allergy, and are accompanied by a sensation of itching. Pustules are seen in the case of boils. However, a pustule caused by a boil can be recognized by the presence of a red pimple with a white head and a hair in the center of the pimple (the hair is not present in the case of acne).

  • Nodules pimples and cysts:

Nodules and microcysts are the result of deep cutaneous inflammation.

Nodules pimples are painful balls of solid tissue larger than 5 mm.

Cysts are deep, painful subcutaneous lesions. Unlike nodules, cysts are filled with fluid.

Nodules and cysts are seen in severe forms of inflammatory acne, as well as in acne conglobata also known as nodulocystic acne.

  • Vesicles:

Vesicles are fluid-filled detachments of the skin.

Chickenpox is characterized by the appearance of red pimples on which vesicles filled with clear fluid rapidly develop. These lesions are accompanied by severe pruritus and high fever.

Visually, a milium grain can be 

mistaken for a pimple. These grains are small, 

raised skin lesions that appear 

as small, relatively hard, white 

or yellowish pimples under 

the superficial layers of the epidermis. 

Also known as “oil seeds”

they generally appear on the face, 

mainly around the eyes, 

around the nose, in front of the ears 

and on the cheeks.

Often mistaken for whiteheads, 

they are in fact microcysts formed 

by an accumulation of dead cells 

that obstruct the pores of the epidermis.


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