White Heads on Red Bumps
Pustules, sore red bumps with white tips, form on the skin of the face, neck, chest, shoulders and back in a common skin condition called acne. Approximately eight out of every 10 teenagers and preteens experience acne breakouts, according to the Kids Health website. Adults can experience acne breakouts as well.
Acne, the most common skin condition in the U.S., affects nearly 50 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In addition to embarrassment and skin blemishes, acne can cause permanent scarring and pitting of the skin, secondary skin infections and self-esteem issues. Several successful treatments for acne exist, but the condition typically persists among teenagers and adults.
Pustules may appear along with blackheads, whiteheads, nodules and cysts on the areas of skin most commonly affected by acne. However, each symptom appears individually. Some acne sufferers never develop deep cysts. Others may only develop pustules and a few blackheads. When pustules form, a tender, red bump appears. Eventually, a white tip appears at the top of the bump. When squeezed, puss oozes from the pustule.
Pustules and the other symptoms associated with acne form when an excessive amount of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria clog skin pores, according to Kids Health. When the blockage stays within the pore, whiteheads and blackheads, also called comedones form. In some cases, the walls of the pore bulges and breaks under the pressure of the blockage, allowing the sebum, skin cells and bacteria to enter the surrounding skin. When this occurs, pustules and pimples form.
The risk of developing pustules increases along with the risks for acne. Acne most commonly appears in preteens and teenagers, but it can occur in adults as well. Both males and females are affected by acne equally among the teen years. However, that trend changes in adulthood. Women are more likely to suffer from adult acne than men are, especially during times of hormonal upheaval such as during pregnancy or menstruation. Other risk factors include the use of greasy or oily substances on the skin, a genetic predisposition toward acne and developing pustules and the use of certain medications, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Treatment options include developing a good skin-care routine that involves cleansing the skin in the morning and at night, over-the-counter acne medications and face scrubs, prescription medications, oral antibiotics, laser therapy, chemical peels and microdermabrasion.
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