Difference Between Zit and Pimple

Main Difference – Zit and Pimple

Zits and pimples are two forms of skin condition which are often seen in the community and are often confused by many people due to the lack of knowledge on what exactly each term means and how to identify them individually. The key difference between zit and pimple is that a zit is a very common skin condition which develops as a result of an obstruction of the Sebaceous and Melanin glands whereas a pimple is a small pustule or papule which develops when sebaceous glands get clogged for some reason and get infected causing a swollen, red color lesion filled with pus.

This article discusses, 

1. What is a Zit? 
     – Features, Causes, Management and Treatment

2. What is a Pimple? 
     – Features, Causes, Management and Treatment

3. What is the Difference between Zit and Pimple?Difference Between Zit and Pimple - Comparison Summary

What is a Zit

A Zit is a very common skin condition we encounter nowadays. This develops as a result of an obstruction of the Sebaceous and Melanin glands. It will create bumps with raised edges mostly filled with pus (due to inflammation and infections) and can be painful. Most Zits will result in scarring and are treated with spot treatment, anti-inflammatory drugs (Steroids), soap-free cleansers or astringent and oil-free moisturizers.

Some people use ‘Zit’ as a slang term for pimples and there is no clear cut evidence whether Zit is a completely different skin condition or just another name for pimples. Different sources have different ideas on this and it is advisable to know the usage of this term in both instances, which will help to grab an idea on what it really means.

Difference Between Zit and Pimple

What is a Pimple

A pimple is a small pustule or papule which develops when sebaceous glands get clogged for some reason, mostly due to their own secretions, and infected causing a swollen, red color lesion filled with pus. Major reasons for this type of pimples to develop include,

  • Increased production of sebum
  • Increased cell turnover giving rise to several dead skin cells
  • Clogged pores due to poor hygiene, giving space for bacteria to grow rapidly

Pimples are usually seen on the face, neck, back and shoulder; they might grow up into huge pustules or papules, leaving you in a desperate situation, sometimes urging you to pop it or do home remedies to get it down. Once a pimple gets infected, it needs its own time to heal because disruption of the healing process by poking and trying to break it off will only make things worse.

Pimples developing due to pore clogging and obstruction are more likely during the puberty due to sudden hormonal changes in the body resulting in an increased production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. In some individuals these blocked pores can make a well-nourished environment for micro-organisms to grow, ultimately resulting in infections, making the matters more complicated.

According to latest research studies, more than 80% of adolescents are affected by pimples with a significant female predominance, probably due to the significant relationship between female sex hormones and sebum secretions.

Although pimples are not life threatening it can sometimes cause quite severe complications and therefore it is better to seek medical advice once you notice that pimples are popping up rapidly in an unusual manner and fade away leaving scars which affect you in a psychological manner. Some individuals who get psychologically affected by plenty of pimples and scars on their face might even avoid social interaction and communication due to embarrassment.

Since prevention is always better than cure, let’s see how you can stay away from this common skin condition by practicing few simple steps as follows.

  • Consumption of a healthy balanced diet avoiding fats and oils as much as possible.
  • Washing the face frequently and keeping it well hydrated.
  • Avoid touching or bursting pimples as it can lead to deep scarring.
  • Avoid using makeup and facial creams which contain harsh compounds and acids.
  • Washing off makeup properly, preferably using a cleanser.
  • Maintaining a good self-hygiene

However, it is always advisable to seek medical care, in case you notice a rapid increase of pimples over time associated with possible scarring and facial dryness. Dermatologists will make you aware of what to do next and prescribe you with medication whenever necessary.

As far as the pharmacological management of pimples is considered, chemicals such as Resorcinol and salicylic acid are known to be the best options. These can be found in the form of gels, pads, creams, lotions and soaps.

It is highly important to use these medications strictly with medical guidance since some can result in allergies, skin irritation, dryness, redness or even burning sensation due to the natural mechanism of action or as side effects.Main Difference -  Zit vs  Pimple

Difference Between Zit and Pimple

Cause

Zit is a very common skin condition we encounter nowadays and develops as a result of an obstruction of the Sebaceous and Melanin glands.

Pimple is a small pustule or papule which develops when sebaceous glands get clogged for some reason,  mostly due to their own secretions and infection.

Features

Zit is a bump with raised edges mostly filled with pus.

Pimple is a swollen, red color lesion filled with pus.

Site

Zits can appear anywhere in the body particularly in the places with a significant amount of sebaceous and melanin glands like face.

Pimples are usually seen on the face, neck, back and shoulder.

Pain

Zits can be painful.

Pimples can rarely be painful unless it gets infected by a superimposed bacterial growth.

Scarring

Zits can often cause scarring and pigmentation where prompt treatment is often encouraged.

Mild pimples go down without leaving any significant scarring and therefore, may not require any treatment.

Treatment

Zits are treated with spot treatment, anti-inflammatory drugs (Steroids), soap-free cleansers or astringent and oil-free moisturizers.

Pimples are usually treated with chemicals like Resorcinol and salicylic acid which can be applied directly on the affected area.

Prevention

Both Zits and pimples can be prevented effectively through maintaining a proper skin hygiene and cleanliness, consuming a well-balanced diet – avoiding food with saturated fats and lipids, getting treated for dandruff in the scalp and keeping the face well hydrated.

Some people use ‘Zit’ as a slang term for pimples and there is no clear cut evidence on whether zit is a completely different skin condition or just another name for pimples. Different sources have different ideas on this and it is advisable to know the usage of this term in both instances, which will help to grab an idea on what it really means.

Image Courtesy:

“Zit.” by Caitlin Regan (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

“Papule and Plaque” By Madhero88 – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

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