What causes pimples is the same as what causes acne (acne is a skin disease that affects the follicles or pores). You know that our body has follicles that cover most of the body and face. A follicle is a tiny skin duct under the skin that a single hair grows out of. Below the duct is a tiny gland that produces sebum, skin oil. This oil is necessary for healthy skin and hair.
What causes pimples is usually the skin below and around the follicles are constantly shedding and growing new skin. These dead skin cells can become excessive and clog up the pores. Contributing to this may be the overproduction of sebum, clogging the pores even more. Once the pores become clogged bacteria form causing a lesion or pimple.
There are several types of lesions. A comedo is a clogged pore. Excess oil mixed with dead skin cells under the surface form a plug. One type of comedo is a whitehead. A whitehead is formed when the clog plugs up the pore entirely forming a small bump with a white center. A blackhead is a clogged pore with a black center. The black center is not dirt but is cause by oxygen having been exposed to the pore because it had opened up slightly.
Papules or pustules are what people usually call pimples. These are raised red bumps because the clogged pores have become infected. The bacteria also cause swelling and bulging. If the pimple is filled with pus it is called a pustule. The pus can become yellow with infection.
Another of the causes of pimples can be over-washing. Over washing acne infected skin can actually produce more acne and more pimples. The skin will make more sebum, which in turn can make acne worse. Wash your face no more than twice a day using acne medications. Never pick or pop a pimple. This will cause the spread of more bacteria by pushing some bacteria deeper into the skin. This will make the pimple last longer and can also cause it to develop into a cyst. Once the pimple is open it is exposed to even more bacteria from the face and hands causing a bigger infection. This is what causes pimples to spread even more.
Sweating can cause acne to worsen. Pores can become blocked from excess sweat that cannot evaporate. Always take a shower after sweating and wear loose fitting clothing. Athletic equipment such as headbands, chin straps, pads and helmets may all trap sweat and contribute to the causes of pimples. Avoid wearing fabrics that don't breathe well such as nylon or spandex. Instead, wear cotton fabrics that help to wick sweat away from the skin.
What causes pimples in women is also their hormones. Hormones can cause the body to produce more sebum than usual. Women may notice that they have an acne outbreak near the time of their period. Hormones often fluctuate greatly during the teen years and often acne will go away once hormones settle down.
Some medications are also what causes pimples, as they can cause acne to flare up. Anti-depressants, steroids, epilepsy medication and some birth control pills can all contribute to acne. Never stop taking medication because of an acne breakout. Instead, talk with your doctor about it so he can adjust your medication or find other possible causes of pimples and acne.