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When a pore clogs and P. acnes bacteria multiply in the pore, the immune system reacts by sending in white blood cells to fight the infection. The surrounding area becomes inflamed, red and swollen. This is called inflammatory acne. It is different from blackheads or whiteheads, which are types of acne that are not characterized by redness and inflammation. The two most common types of inflammatory acne are papules and pustules.
Papules are small pink or red dome-shaped bumps that are easy to see on the skin. They have distinct borders and can appear in a variety of shapes, most often on the face. Sometimes these papules cluster together to form what looks like a rash and feels rough like sandpaper.
A pustule is the medical term for the classic pimple. Pustules are like papules except they are filled with yellowish liquid pus forming a yellow or white center. The pus is composed of dead white blood cells that were sent by the body to fight infection.
Like most forms of acne, papules and pustules are the result of an increase in oil and bacteria trapped inside the pore by dead skin cells. Papules occur when the clogging causes a hair follicle to become inflamed. When this happens, the body’s immune system sends white blood cells to fight the infection. The pus develops when the white blood cells die and collect inside the papule turning it into a pustule.
Getting rid of papules, pustules and all forms of acne begins with a daily skincare regimen that includes an acne active treatment like the ones provided by Proactiv® Solution and the Proactiv+ 3-Step System. Many people can benefit from a daily, consistent acne treatment to help get rid of papules and pustules and prevent future breakouts.
Many Proactiv products include benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, two ingredients that have been shown to be effective for helping treat and prevent mild-to-moderate acne (including papules and pustules). Also sulfur, kaolin or green clay, are some other ingredients that can help draw out impurities and shrink blemishes.
The Proactiv® Solution 3-Step acne treatment system includes benzoyl peroxide (BPO) in the Renewing Cleanser (Step 1) and the Repairing Treatment (Step 3). These two products can help fight and prevent papules and pustules.
The Proactiv+ 3-Step System also addresses papules and pustules. The Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator (Step 1) has the pore-clearing abilities of benzoyl peroxide, which can penetrate the follicle and encourage the shedding of dead skin cells, helping to reduce papules and pustules. BPO is also found in the Pore Targeting Treatment (Step 2)
Papules and pustules are the two most common types of inflammatory acne, or pimples. Both are red, inflamed bumps but pustules are filled with a yellowish liquid pus. Both papules and pustules react well to acne treatments containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.