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What is the Main Cause of Spots?

Spots or pimples or zits refer to papule/pustule of small size or simply small lesions found on human skin. Spots develop when oil glands or sebaceous glands become infected and clogged, resulting in swollen red lesions comprised of pus.

Development or formation of spots primarily connects with dead skin cells, oil production, clogged pores and infection from bacteria. However, yeast infection may sometimes result in development of spots. Sebaceous glands, which remain present at base on various hair follicles, may become overactive because of irregularity of hormones. This is because the acne formation has close association with puberty, and particularly, women face breakouts of spots during the menstrual cycle.

Spots or pimples mainly affect in few of the likely body parts, such as back, face, shoulders and chest. Reason for this is sebaceous glands’ proliferation in such areas present in human skin. Pimples indicate signs of acne, particularly, at the time of breakout.

What is the Main Cause of Spots?

What is the Main Cause of Spots?

  • Sebaceous glands produce sebum and exist within the pores present in individuals’ skin. This results in consistent shedding of outer layers of the human skin and causing spots.
  • Many times, dead skin cells remain behind and stuck together via a sticky sebum to cause blockage within the pore of the skin and leads to spots.
  • Pore blockage usually takes place at the time of puberty (procedure involved in physical changes of humans i.e. when a person becomes an adult and develops the ability to reproduce). This is because the sebaceous glands produce sebum in relatively higher amount during this time causing spots.
  • Accumulation of dead skin cells and sebum leads to blockage of skin pore and thereby, encourages growth of harmful bacteria, including a slow-growing bacterium named propionibacterium related to the spots.
  • Propionibacterium acnes are harmless to human skin. However, with specific conditions, such bacterium may reproduce itself rapidly and create a big problem. Bacterium is responsible for feeding the sebum and production of a substance, which leads to an immune response in the skin. In this way, the bacterium causes inflammation of the skin and spots.

You will find many reasons behind various forms of spots or pimples and each of them incorporate different symptoms:

  • Blackheads are a type of spots which are visible clearly on the skin surface and they appear as either dark brown or black because of the melanin’s oxidation i.e. a pigment remains present in the skin of humans. Few people mistakenly think that they are caused because of dirt. Thus, they scrub the faces in vigorous manner, which fail to give any positive result and even may sometimes, cause irritation to the skin and other similar types of problems.
  • Whiteheads are a type of spots which remain present below the skin as small and flesh colored types of papules.
  • Papules are of small size, round shape and solid bumps, which mainly form from the human skins. These are usually remaining present in pink color.
  • Pustules refer to pimples filled completely with pus. You may view this clearly on your skin surface. Base of these spots are red color, which their positions are on the top.
  • Nodules incorporate more or less similar type of structure, as you may find in case of papules. However, these are of relatively large size and result in severe pain to humans. In addition, nodules embed deeply in the skin of humans.
  • Lastly, we will know about cysts types of spots or pimples, which you may view clearly on your skin surface. They comprise of pus and often result in severe pain. Other than this, cysts usually cause the problem of scars.


  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (n.d.). Acne. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Acne. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/symptoms-causes/syc-20368047
  3. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2020). Acne. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/acne
  4. Zaenglein, A. L., Pathy, A. L., Schlosser, B. J., Alikhan, A., Baldwin, H. E., Berson, D. S., … & Bhushan, R. (2016). Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 74(5), 945-973.
  5. Dawson, A. L., Dellavalle, R. P., & Fergus, A. S. (2013). Acne vulgaris. BMJ, 346, f2634.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 18, 2023

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