Pimples Versus Blackheads

Are they pimples? Or, are they blackheads? Or, are they both pimples and blackheads? In other words, are pimples and blackheads one and the same? In order to answer these questions, there needs to be knowledge of what pimples and blackheads are. This article aims to supply some information.

What are Pimples?

Another name for a pimple is zit, or spot. A pimple is a small skin lesion that can appear as a pustule or a papule. Skin lesions are inflammation of the skin. They are infected oil glands, due to the presence of bacteria in the glands. The glands fill up with pus, and become inflamed.

What are Blackheads?

Another name for a blackhead is an open comedo, and may appear as a yellow, brown, or blackish bump on the skin. It is a kind of acne, and is therefore caused by excess oil blocking the pores. The contents of these bumps consist of keratin and sebum, which becomes dark when it is mixed with air, hence the black appearance.

The Answer

The answer to the last question in the first paragraph is, simply, ‘NO’. Pimples and blackheads are not one and the same, even though they are both a type of acne.


Let’s Compare

The contents of pimples can be spilt, spreading infection to the surrounding tissue. The contents of blackheads are usually hard and cannot be spilt.
Contain pus. Contain no pus.
Inflammatory Non-Inflammatory
Found mainly on the face, back, and chest. Found mainly on the forehead and nose.
A type of acne. A type of acne.



When oil and dead skin cells, as well as bacteria, become trapped in a hair follicle, the follicle swells and later bursts. This causes the infection to spread to the tissues nearby, resulting in the redness and swelling that are characteristic of inflammation, which is a distinguishing feature of pimples. When dirt, oil, and dead skin cells block the pores on the surface of the skin, little bumps appear. They do not become inflamed, but because their contents are oxidized, that is, mixed with air, the bumps appear as little black dots, which some persons mistake for dirt and treat harshly.


Care and Treatment


Even though they have different properties, both pimples and blackheads can be removed from the skin without the use of acne treatments. Simple home remedies are thought to be very effective and fast acting. Dedication and disciplined care seem to do the trick. Certain instructions need to be followed. The suggestions are –

  • The face should be cleansed two times per day, since pimples and blackheads are likely to appear more on dirty skin. A mild facial soap or suitable cleanser may be used to take off excess oil, makeup, debris, and bacteria from the skin.
  • Witch hazel is recommended for the skin, as it can be naturally substituted for toner or even astringent. It is said to be able to dry up pimples and blackheads as it assists in the balancing of the oil levels of the skin. Daily use of witch hazel promotes clear skin.
  • The skin should be steamed. A bowl should be filled with boiled water, the head covered with a towel, and the face held over the bowl. This would allow the steam to enter the pores, drawing the impurities from deep inside the skin, thereby promoting a clear complexion. If steaming of the skin is done one or two times per week, fewer pimples and blackheads would be experienced.
  • Equal parts of baking soda and water can be mixed to form a paste. This paste should be applied to the pimples and blackheads, and allowed to remain for 20 minutes before rinsing it off. Baking soda effectively kills bacteria and absorbs excess oil, and this helps to rid the skin of pimples and blackheads.
  • Lemon juice may be rubbed on the blackheads and pimples. Because lemon juice is naturally acid, it effectively absorbs the oil that causes blackheads and pimples. The skin is dried out only to the point of promoting an even complexion, which helps the skin look healthier and smoother.
  • The skin should be exfoliated. This can be accomplished by creating a scrub with a mixture of equal parts of water and granulated sugar. The scrub should be applied to the skin, and circular motions employed in exfoliating the area. Since acne is partially caused by dead skin cells on the skin surface blocking pores, exfoliating the skin can remove, and may even prevent, blackheads and pimples. This activity can be employed twice or thrice weekly.


There is even an eight-step treatment for removing pimples and blackheads overnight. The instructions go like this –

  • With clean hands, wash face with a gentle cleanser and warm water. Dry off with a clean towel, to avoid adding acne-causing bacteria to the face, which would only result in more pimples and blackheads.
  • Apply a warm compress to the affected area, opening up the pores. This will make it easier for dirt and bacteria that are trapped under the skin to be removed.
  • Using a Q-tip or cotton ball, apply a little raw apple cider vinegar to the pimples or blackheads. Apple cider vinegar effectively deals with any extra oil and bacteria on the skin.
  • A clean cold compress may then be applied to tighten the pores and reduce swelling. This can be done several times.
  • Before going to bed, prepare a mixture of baking soda and fresh lemon juice. A thick paste should result, and this should be put on the pimples and blackheads and left overnight, then rinsed off in the morning.
  • Drink a lot of water. Eight glasses daily is the recommended amount.
  • Use clean pillowcases, as dirty ones may be a source of bacteria reaching the face.
  • Get a lot of sleep. Similar to water, the skin needs sleep in order to revitalize itself. At least seven hours are recommended.



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