This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


What are Papules and Pustules?

Acne is a common skin problem that can occur in all age groups and all sexes. It is more common in the case of teenagers as their body goes through numerous hormonal changes. The hormonal fluctuations in the body can also increase the production of sebum which is one of the main reasons for acne. Sebum results into clogging of skin pores that become the site for dirt accumulation. Bacterial growth into the blocked pores turns them into the site of infections resulting into acne. The papules and pustules are moderate type of acne.

There can be numerous forms of acne depending on the type of pimples. There are mainly five types of acne pimples: whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules and cystic acne. Whiteheads and the blackheads are the mild form of acne that is painful at all. They are categorized as non-inflammatory acne. Papules and pustules are the moderately severe form of acne in which the pimples are painful. In the case of pustules, the pimples are filled with liquid pus. It takes some efforts to treat this form of acne. They are also termed as inflammatory acne. Cystic acne is the most severe forms of acne in which the pimples are accompanied with cyst formation. These pimples are big and deep and often leave marks on the skin.

What are Papules?

In some cases of acne such as papules, the pores can become highly irritated leading to the weakening of the walls of the pores. The walls eventually break off resulting into pimples that larger than the common pimples. This type acne pimple is termed as papules and this form of acne is referred as papular acne. The surface of papules feels hard when touched. In fact, the bunch of papules can feel like sandpaper.

The pimples in the case of papules, they usually appear like red bumps, raised over the surface of the skin. The bacterial growth inside the pimples makes them infectious, making them painful. There is specific specie of bacteria called as Propionibacterium acnes that is responsible for causing this form of acne. The severity of popular acne depends upon the density of papules on the skin. High density of pimples results into severe form of papules.

What are Pustules?

Papules and pustules usually occur together. It is actually the papules that gradually turn into pustules. When papules get filled with liquid pus, they take the form of blisters termed as pustules. The specific form of acne where the pimples are in the form of pustules is known as pustular acne. Pustules can be easily differentiated from the papules by their appearance. They appear to be small raised spots having whitish or yellowish appearance. It results due to the inflammation that can occur at the hair follicles filled with sebum.

Both the papules and pustules are caused due to high degree of inflammation in the skin pores or follicles. However, the papules are smaller and free from any type of pus. Pustules on the other hand are filled with lots of pus. If you are suffering from pustules or pustural acne, you would be tempted to touch them. However, you need to avoid touching them as much as possible as it can further spread the infections and make acne worse.

The causes and treatment options for papules and pustules are not much different from the normal causes and treatment options for acne. You can prevent papules and pustules by managing the symptoms of acne early. If you identify the signs and symptoms early and start treatment, you can reduce the chances of papular and pustular acne. Keeping your skin in good condition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle keep you away from all forms of acne.

What are Pustules?


  1. Mayo Clinic. “Acne: Overview.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/symptoms-causes/syc-20368047
  2. Healthline. “Types of Acne: Causes and Treatments.” https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/types-of-acne
  3. Medical News Today. “What you need to know about acne.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/107146
  4. WebMD. “Acne: Understanding and Treating Acne.” https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/understanding-acne-basics

Also Read:

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 22, 2023

Recent Posts

Related Posts