Common questions on pimples  
Dr. Rajan T.D. 


My parents say that they never took treatment for pimples. As a specialist what is your opinion about youngsters seeking treatment for this complaint?

In the past decade several new chemicals have been introduced for treating pimples which were not available when your parents were young. Also, some of the currently available agents help to remove blackheads and thereby minimise the chances of large pimples. In this manner we can minimise marks and scars. Although acne or pimples are a problem related to age, it is better that treatment is promptly taken to prevent ugly-looking scars which are difficult to clear.


Why is squeezing of pimples harmful?

Imagine squeezing a pipe - the contents will move in both the directions! There is no doubt that when the pimple  is squeezed it expels some amount of pus. At the same time it causes aggravation of the inflammation in the deeper part of the skin. Also, if the nails are not kept clean it could add to the bacterial contamination of the oil glands in the skin. Therefore, it  is not advisable to fiddle with the pimples.


I am an 18-year old girl suffering from severe pimples. I have stopped consuming fried and oily foods for the past 6 months, yet my face is not showing any improvement. Please advise.

Although it was believed in the past that the diet is srongly related to the occurrence of acne the current finding do not give much weightage to diet alone. Pimples are caused by several factors interacting with each other. Of these, diet is only a minor factor and hence you are not advised to stop intake of oily foodstuffs completely.

It is also important to remember that boys and girls suffering from severe form of pimples need to take proper oral medicines as well as creams to get good recovery. Simply depriving oneself of the good things of life does not solve the problem!



I have extremely oily skin over my face and I occasionally get  pimples. Which cream or cosmetic should I use to make my skin dry?

You are fortunate not to have too many pimples despite having an oily skin. The amount of oil produced by one's skin cannot be altered by external applications. Wash your face with soap and water at least three to four times a day to remove excess oil. Consult a specialist if your pimples are persistent or if they produce lot of discomfort so that an appropriate medicine can be prescribed.


My face is quite oily but I had a very clear complexion till I underwent a facial 4 months ago. Since then I keep getting large clusters of pimples which cause lot of pain. Could there be a connection between the two?

Pimples develop through two main mechanisms: excess oil (sebum) production in the skin and blockage of the pores (sebaceous ducts) which carry the oil outwards. It is possible that when you underwent facial, the preparation used was massaged deeply into the skin. This may have clogged the already narrowed pores resulting in pimples. You should avoid massaging any oily preparation into your skin or it could further aggravate the condition.



I have several red eruptions and tiny blackheads on my cheeks since few months. How long does the treatment take to clear my face?

By and large an 8-week course of medications help to clear the pimples and blackheads. This does not mean that they clear permanently. After the course of treatment the pimples and blackheads reduce by about 80% and the fresh eruptions can be promptly treated with mild local agents which prevent scarring.


Scars produced in the past will take several months to clear with local gels. Even if no treatment is taken, the scars fade gradually.