What is the difference between acne and pimples?

In this post we talk about how to understand your skin more by discovering the key differences between acne and pimples. And also advice on how to help with your skincare routine.

What Is Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects most people at some point in their life. It causes spots, oily skin and sometimes skin that’s hot and painful to touch. Acne can start at any age but is most commonly linked to the changes in hormone levels during puberty. It is also known to run in families, so if your parents had acne, it’s likely you will too.

Lady with Acne

What Causes Acne?

Acne occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Oil production (sebum) becomes larger and as a result causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of such problems.

What Are The Symptoms Of Acne?

Acne presents itself as small to large, red bumps on the skin, which may be painful and puss-filled in some cases. Acne blemishes very often appear on the face, but acne can also develop on other areas of the body, like the neck, chest, shoulders and back.

There are 6 main types of spot caused by acne:


Small black or yellowish bumps that develop on the skin; they're not filled with dirt, but are black because the inner lining of the hair follicle produces colour.


Whiteheads have a similar appearance to blackheads, but may be firmer and will not empty when squeezed.


Papules are small red bumps that may feel tender or sore.


Similar to papules, but have a white tip in the centre, caused by a build-up of pus.


Large hard lumps that build up beneath the surface of the skin and can be painful


Cysts are the most severe type of spot caused by acne; they're large pus-filled lumps that look similar to boils and carry the greatest risk of causing permanent scarring.

Moderate to severe acne is seen in 14% of high school students.

Acne Treatments

For acne prone skin, we recommend using DermaQuest DermaClear Serum, as a starting point, to help provide anti-bacterial and healing properties to the skin. The DermaQuest DermaClear Serum helps reduce surface buildup and helps reduce the pore from clogging up as we as preventing any future breakouts.

What Are Pimples?

Pimples are a symptom of a condition whereas acne is the condition itself. These are small, non-inflamed blemishes that occur when a pore becomes blocked. Blemishes of this kind occur close to the surface of the skin in the epidermal layer.

What Causes Pimples?

As acne is the skin condition responsible for pimples, they have the same causes i.e. overproduction of oil (sebum) as a result of clogged hair follicles. Pimples aren’t inflamed as there usually isn’t much bacteria present.

What Are The Symptoms Of Pimples?

What does a pimple look like? Key symptoms of a pimple include a shallow blemish with a white or black head, with no inflammation. The blemish will be either flat or minimally raised and there should be only minimal presence of swelling, redness or tenderness.

For pimples, we recommend using the DermaQuest Mini Pumpkin Mask, to really help decongest the skin on a weekly basis. The DermaQuest Mini Pumpkin Mask is packed rich in enzymes that actively digest excess skin cells.

It’s important to understand the symptoms of both acne and pimples so you can tailor your skincare routine accordingly.

For a common skin condition, acne can be very complex from its causes to its symptoms as everyone’s skin is different and acne also has different stages and types. It’s best to speak to a skincare professional about this who can find you the perfect skincare products and treatments tailored to your specific needs. Visit here to book a consultation with a GlowBay skincare expert to get your skin feeling and looking great again!


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