Papules are a form of acne vulgaris that has small red bumps measuring between 0.5 centimeters and 1.5 centimeters in diameter. It rise above the skin, with the contained inflammation causing the red coloring and making the lesion tender to touch. It may appear alone or in groups.

Technically, the bumps reveal no visible pores as in blackheads, and they are not white like whiteheads. Instead, they are closed, red and surrounded by skin inflammation. Typically it appear on the face, but may appear on other parts of the body. It occurs when the wall of a hair follicle break and cave in. The visible inflammation is due to white blood cells rushing in, however; they contain no pus.


Although it is not caused by "dirty" pores, acne papules are caused by clogged pores. This type of acne forms when a follicular wall breaks and white blood cells rush in to confront bacteria, leading to inflammation. Overproduction of sebum, an oily substance manufactured to lubricate the hair and skin, or an excess of dead skin cells may clog hair follicles and lead to papule acne. Hormones, heredity, bacteria, certain medications and even restrictive clothing may be responsible for increased sebum production.

Formation of papules

It occurs when a hair follicle becomes inflamed--this is different from other acne occurrences such as whiteheads or blackheads, as these are caused by sebum blockages. This inflammation can come as the result of sweating and friction to the skin; as a reaction to extreme heat or medications; or even due to a genetic predisposition toward forming papules. These bumps are often raised above the skin, but may be flesh-colored and only noticeable by touch.


  • It can be differentiated from pustules by the fact that it contain no pus.
  • They usually present themselves in clusters, most frequently with rashes.
  • They often itch. The scratching this incites makes the elevations red and crusty.
  • It may accompany a variety of conditions, some chronic and others acute.
  • have round shapes, appear in red color.
  • They are barely visible and measures 1to5 mm in diameter.


  • The key to preventing such acne is a clean face.  Make sure you are washing twice a day with an acne-targeted cleanser followed by moisturizer.
  • Wear sunscreen. Research has shown that reducing sun exposure can also reduce inflammation, which can lead to developing such acne.


This type of acne may be treated with over-the-counter topical creams and lotions, prescription drugs, antibiotics, laser and light therapy, or cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Topical acne treatments all attempt to kill bacteria, dry up excessive oil and slough dead skin cells, thereby reducing the risk of clogged follicles. For more severe cases of such acne, individuals may require antibiotics to eliminate bacteria and fight inflammation.

› Papules


acne vulgaris, blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, over-the-counter, topical, prescription drugs, laser and light therapy    

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