Why do pimples hurt

Pimples are not just the problem of teenagers; they can occur in any person between the age of 10 and 40. Pimples usually occur when the sebaceous glands become active during puberty. Male hormones secreted by the adrenal glands play an important role in stimulating the sebaceous glands. These oil glands secrete sebum, a natural oil that lubricates, nourishes and protects the skin and hair.

There are several factors that can lead to the formation of pimples: fried and spicy food, cosmetics, dirt and stress. Hormonal changes, oral contraceptives, industrial pollution and drugs containing lithium, bromides, iodides and steroids can also cause pimples. Often, the problem of pimples is hereditary — it is passed from one generation to another. A majority of times, pimples are caused by a combination of these factors, and not just by one.

Pimples are formed when the cells close to the surface of the skin grow and block the hair follicles or pores. The sebaceous glands are present at the base of these hair follicles. Owing to the blockade of the pores, the oil secreted by the sebaceous glands begins to accumulate under the skin. On the skin, several bacteria are also found. In this blockade, some of these bacteria can also get entrapped. The oil stimulates these bacteria to multiply rapidly. Due to the growth of bacteria, the surrounding tissues become inflamed. These infected and inflamed pimples are quite painful.
The body activates its immune system to counteract this infection. The macrophages and monocytes kill and digest the bacteria and skin cells, and cause the formation of pus, which is a collection of dead cells, fluids and toxins. The pus-filled pustule form 40 percent of the pimple, the remaining 60 percent of it deep down below the skin. The pus can result in secondary infection, which can further aggravate the problem of pimples. For this reason, pimples should never be squeezed or pricked. Under normal circumstances, swelling, redness and soreness remain for 2 to 3 days. Eventually, all the symptoms subside and the pimple withers away.

A good way to deal with the painful pimples is to sleep for at least 8 hours, drink 8-10 glasses of water per day and eat three proper meals. Additionally, by washing the face regularly with mild, antibacterial cleansers and applying topical cream, gel or lotion, the problem of pimples can be controlled to a certain extent. Hot compresses can provide some relief in pain.