Facial pimples form when the sebaceous glands overproduce oil, known as sebum, causing skin inflammation as the pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, according to KidsHealth. The pore wall opens and releases sebum and bacteria under the skin, causing the familiar red, swollen bumps. When the body reacts to a buildup of bacteria, pus may collect inside the pimple.
While oily blockages are the immediate cause of pimples, hormonal changes throughout puberty make teens susceptible to acne formation, explains MedicineNet. Sebum normally lubricates the skin for protection, but an increase in hormone circulation overstimulates the sebaceous glands and causes oil to plug the hair follicles. In addition to pimples, acne may cause whiteheads, blackheads, cysts and pustules to form on the face, depending on whether the sebum stays contained in the follicle or drains deeper under the skin. Some individuals have genetic predispositions to severe acne, but factors such as wearing heavy cosmetics can also trigger breakouts.
Proactive skin hygiene helps prevent and relieve pimples. Gently washing the face one to two times a day with warm water and soap reduces oil buildup, while harsh scrubbing makes the skin more irritated and vulnerable, KidsHealth explains. Dermatologists recommend using non-acnegenic makeup that doesn’t clog pores, and individuals should thoroughly wash off makeup every day. Since hair also contains oil, people with long hair must keep their hair as clean as possible or limit contact between hair and facial skin.