What Causes Acne Pustules? How to Get Rid of Them?


Don’t you just hate it when you are excited and get all pumped up, looking forward to some occasion only to watch all your hopes shatter to the ground because your pustular acne starts acting up again.


That used to happen to me about twice a month (yes it was miserable).


So... want to know a secret?


You can clear yourself just like I did.


Yes, you can make these ugly, nasty whiteheads go away. 


But before we find a solution, we must thoroughly understand our problem and know what exactly are dealing with here.


So here is what you're dealing with, 


What is a Pustule?


Pustules are tiny, circled lesions that appear inside of pimples or zits. They are quite noticeable since pimple is bright red while the pus inside is yellow/whitish. Although pustular acne is painless, it does make certain areas of your body appear quite nasty.


These pustules appear in your body as a result of inflammation.


Acne is a product of inflammation or infection in the skin’s sebaceous glands.


It occurs when the hair follicle- a layer under your skin is clogged with over production of sebum, dead skin cells or accumulation of bacteria.


Once this builds up, it results in an acne lesion which is known as comedo - forming a giant white pimple.


Areas in your body that carry pilosebaceous units such as your face, shoulders, back, chest or buttocks are typical places for the growth of pustules.


This might sound weird, but here's a great post to read if you're struggling with acne on your butt (which is more common than you think).


Are Papules Acne Too?


They are not acne believe it or not. 


They're known by many different names (subclinical bumps, stress bumps, lie bumps, ect...)


I know it looks like acne, but it's far from it - in face acne treatments will probably make it worse


What is a Papule?


Papules are pimple like bumps that usually appear on the forehead or surrounding your lips. They usually don't have a head, but might have a tiny white tip where they can be popped. Most of the time they're skin colored though. Here's a full article on how to clear them if you need it (it's not very hard).


Anyway let's get back on track, 


What Causes Pustular Acne?


The science behind pustular acne is an excess of oil production in the body. The sebaceous glands are directly connected with the hair follicles under your skin. These glands are responsible for the oil production in your body.  In order to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated, these glands work effectively in oiling up the dry flakes. However, when these glands overproduce the oil in your body, they often become the reason why you experience acne, specifically pustular acne.


Let’s take a look at some of the causes and reasons of why exactly there might be an overproduction of oil in your body:


There are several internal and external factors that result in this condition.


We will first take a look at some of the most basic and externally influenced causes of pustular acne, which typically initiate from overproduction of oil in the body.


Sun Burns


Skin burns occur due to overexposure of the skin to heat.


Sure, heat feels nice.


And the best part is, it gives your body an alluring tan as well.


But UV rays are far more dangerous than you think.

When you remain outdoors for long hours, your delicate skin is directly under the heat.


This causes skin burns, making a certain area on your skin feel irritated.


This provokes the sebaceous glands in your body to overproduce oil.


As a result of excess oil in your body, you experience more pustules.


This is because the oil clogs your pores and results in an oil build-up.


Combined, all the substances cause skin inflammation and result in pus under your skin.


In addition, this blocks the breathability of your skin since your pores become clogged.


The bacteria therefore have no room for exit, resulting in inflammation of your pore filled with sebum.


Tip: Stay indoors, especially during hot weather.



A lack of hydration is one of the greatest causes of pustular acne.


This is because a hydrated body keeps the skin naturally moist.


This may come off as a surprise but your skin is dryer in summers than it is in winters.


Because in winters you are conscious about the dry air and sufficiently apply moisturizers to your skin.


In addition, because there is a lack of heat, your body doesn’t get dehydrated frequently.


However, in summers, the temperature is warmer.


Heat means inflammation of any pustules on your face, that's why ice is so important (I'll get to that next).


This tends to make your body perspire more often than not, resulting in dehydration.


Inadequate consumption of water in such circumstances results in a dehydrated body.


This triggers the sebaceous glands in your body to overproduce oil in order to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.


Tip: Make sure you drink sufficient water. At least 3 liters of water a day is important. 

Toxic Air Affects Your Skin


The air we breathe enters our blood stream to keep us hydrated and alive.


However, this air is often polluted with external toxic elements.


Often times, these toxic impurities can sneak past our lungs and regulate in the bloodstream.


As our bodies recognize these impurities as foreign, unwanted agents, it eliminated these toxic pollutants through the skin.


This your body does by pushing out the toxicity to the surface of your skin in the form of pustular acne.


Tip: Wash your face thoroughly when you go back home. When you are outdoors, try wearing a face mask to prevent the toxicity from entering your bloodstream.



Stress is more or less an underlying cause of acne, particularly pustular acne, breakouts (check out the study here if you'd like).


Mostly, stress induced acne is reported amongst students all over the world.


This is because stress causes the discharge of androgen and cortisol in your body.


Both these hormones, when released in excess, trigger the excretion of more oil in your skin,


This results in a mass scale breakout with pustules of all different sizes.


If you are already experiencing acne problems, they just end up getting worse (as you know already).


For individuals who have more sensitive skins, this could be a huge problem.


Tips: If you are a student, or just anyone going through a particularly stressful period of your life, make sure to follow the idyllic skin care routine to prevent it from occurring in the future.

Hormones and Androgens


Hormonal imbalance and over activity is one of the most significant factors that result in pustular acne.


Androgen is a hormone in the body that is triggered by excessive stress and mental pressure.


This hormone is directly connected with the sebum production of the sebaceous glands (as you can see from the chart below).

Progesterone is another hormone that works in a manner where it suppresses the overproduction of androgen in your body.


According to a study, it was discovered that the use of creams with progesterone elements resulted in a decrease in androgen levels in their bodies.


This assisted them in controlling the sebum production in their bodies.


As a result, the excessive oil production was regulated, resulting in not only a decline in the pustular activity but also prevention in the upcoming times.





This is another hormone that is found in both men and women.


In men, this hormone is found in the testes.


While in women, it is found in the ovaries.


Nevertheless, the levels of this hormone are directly connected with the acne production in your body.


Why do I say this?


Let’s find out.


This is because testosterone is connected with the sebaceous glands in your body.


These glands, as discussed earlier, are liable for the oil production in your body.


The alterations in the levels of testosterone result in an increase in the productive activity of sebaceous glands, resulting in excessive oil production in your body.


As mentioned earlier, too much oil clogs the pores of your skin, traps the bacteria and results in inflammation.


All of these, collectively, give birth to unwanted pustules.


Basically, when your body is under stress, it provokes the skin’s sebaceous glands to produce testosterones.

The release of testosterone results in an increased production of the sebum in your body.


This clogs your skin’s pores, inflames the area and triggers a pustule breakout.




PCOS is a condition which is typically experienced by women when their bodies are in transition.

This could be during menstruation cycles or during pregnancy.


The PCOS condition occurs when there is an over activity in the ovaries.


Usually, ovaries are responsible for producing greater amounts of estrogen and lesser amounts of testosterone.


In the PCOS condition, the order is reversed.


So instead, your ovaries produce large amounts of testosterone along with equally large amounts of estrogen.


We have already discussed the impacts of high levels of testosterone in your body.


Testosterone triggers the sebaceous glands and results in excessive sebum production in your body.


This clogs the skin’s pores and traps the bacteria within.


Not only does this cause inflammation in the skin, it also triggers bacteria buildup, resulting in pustular acne.


However, it is unwise to counter the levels of testosterone with estrogen injections since estrogen is already present in high levels in your body.


Tip: In such a case, it is best to control your diets and perhaps even lose a little weight. It is important to eliminate calorie rich ingredients from your diet such as greasy, fried and sugary items since they trigger hyperactivity in your ovaries.
As a result, this triggers the production of high levels of testosterone, provoking a pustular acne breakout.

Genetic Structure


In most cases as you can see from this dermatology journal -  pustular activity is a product of genetic structure.

Although acne itself is not a disease that is passed down from one generation to another, the skin types that are more susceptible to acne are parts of the hereditary structure.


For example, one person’s immune system could be much more different than another one’s.


In this case, the Subject A could have inherited a weak immune system from their parents while Subject B’s immune system could be strong.


This would protect Subject B from being infected as quick as Subject A does.


As a result, it is evident that Subject A is more vulnerable to bacteria buildup than Subject B.


This will make Subject A more likely to experience pustular acne breakouts than it does Subject B.


This could also apply for hormonal structure.


Some individuals have stronger, more regulated hormonal balances, as inherited from their family members and ancestors.


On the other hand, others could experience haywire hormonal levels which make them more inclined and exposed to pustular acne breakouts.


How Can You Tell If You Have It?


Pustular acne is quite prominent - (giant white pimples)


You will notice a bumpy pimple or zit on your face (or any other part of your body) that has turned red or is a little red.


This pimple will also be pointed with whitish/yellowish pus that appears right on the surface.

Treatments for Pustular Acne (Plus What I Used)

Treatments for Pustular Acne (Plus What I Used)


Once you find a treatment strong enough, your pustules will start fading away almost instantly. You'll be able to see a BIG difference within at least 24 hours.


Don’t touch your face: Touching your face results in more acne since it transfers the bacteria on your hand onto your face.


Stay hydrated: Lack of water is one of the greatest causes of breakouts, so make sure to intake a healthy amount of water.


Diet: Improve your diet and make sure to consume the necessary vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Zinc that are effective acne combatants.


Antioxidants (what I did) : Consume antioxidant like these (either from an acne treatment or your diet - I obviously prefer to use a treatment because it's light years faster) 


These antioxidants  play an essential role in eliminating acne and clearing your skin.


Salicylic Acid: Use salicylic acid face washes like these for example, because they remove the dead skin cells’ layer from your skin, which is often one of the greatest reasons why you experience pustular acne in the first place.


Noncomedogenic Products: Switch to noncomedogenic products since they are oil-free - so they don't use any hard core chemicals that damage your skin and result in pustules and more breakouts.


To Conclude


All in all, clearing your skin is not all that hard.


But when it does clear up - it is always better to take measures of prevention than be sorry another time around (I know that from experience)


One of the best feelings in the world is when you try something new and it ends up doing 100 times more than you ever expected. 


That's what happened for me when I started doing things like eating superfoods everyday that are filled antioxidants.


Even washing your face with the right kind of face wash (and massaging gently for 40 seconds) can change things within a day. 


Once you see things start to change, you KEEP DOING it (needless to say).