Pimples vs Boils – The difference and treatment

Young man squeezing pimple on nose, standing over yellow background. Concept of skin care and acne.

In the discussion of pimples vs boils, the difference is far easier to tell, but people usually mix both of them. In this article, you will find out the major differences between pimples and boils; also, you will get to know how to treat them.
The human skin consists of pores that are responsible for seeping the oil out into the skin to keep it soft. When these pores get clogged, pimples are formed. In contrast, boils are caused by bacterial infection. The boil is pus-filled. It may get serious to cause carbuncle infection if not treated appropriately.

Causes of Pimple

People experience pimples on the skin when there is excessive oil production or a buildup of bacteria and dead skin cells. Most teenagers who hit puberty go through such conditions. It is because the body makes more hormones that produce more oil in the body.
It is not always the case, but pimples usually appear on the face. On the other hand, they can also appear on the neck and the back. You may suffer from pimples in various ways. They may emerge as Whiteheads, blackheads, and papules. Some of the pimples might contain pus, and that is the reason people may mix it with boils.
There are also different kinds of foods that trigger acne and pimples. They are listed as

  • Dairy Products
  • Greasy Food
  • Fast food
  • Chocolate
  • Refined white sugars, including sodas, honey, etc.
  • Whey Protein Powder

Causes of Boils

Boils are usually caused by a bacteria called staphylococcus. This bacteria lives on the surface of the skin. The bacteria can get into the inner part of the skin by a cut, damaged follicles of hair, or an insect bite. Such infiltration can form a boil on the skin.
Boils mostly occur in the places where the body gets most sweats. These body parts of a human body include

  • Armpits
  • Face
  • Neck
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs

The boils are usually small and round at the beginning. They began to grow and get filled with pus as the days passed. The boil grows further, and the skin pressure increases and causes the boil to rupture. It eventually drains in the end.

Pimples vs Boils – what is more dangerous?

In the debate of pimples vs boils, the main question arises if they both are serious skin conditions that cause skin damage? The answer is yes. Though both of them are bumps on the body, it is a fact that boils are larger in size and cause more pain and even fever to ones having them. On the contrary, pimples are smaller in size and are localized.
There is no doubt that both the pimple and boil cause pain for the one going through it. The main reasons for pain in a pimple are because of inflammation, redness, and swelling.

Are boils and pimples contagious?

Talking about pimples being contagious, then no, they are not. There is no restriction on not touching them for a valid reason. You will not get acne if you hug or touch a person with acne or pimples.
Talking about the boils, then they are also not contagious, but the pus they carry in themselves may infect you or any other person. It is because that pus can consist of the bacteria staphylococcus, which causes this skin condition in the first place. It is why you should be aware of not sharing your personal stuff with any other person if you have a boil in your body.
Doctors usually diagnose pimples and boil with visual analysis. In such an examination, the doctors may ask for symptoms. Also, the body parts and the condition of the bumps assist doctors in figuring out what the patient is going through.

Treatment of Pimples

There are tons of ways in which you can heal pimples. The easiest way to reduce their occurrence is to follow a skincare routine. The pimples may usually take 6 to 8 weeks to completely disappear or heal.
There are a few steps to follow that can aid you in getting rid of pimples. The skincare routine you follow should involve

  • Avoiding the popping and squeezing of pimples. It will actually invite more bacteria to the skin resulting in skin scars.
  • Make sure to use a product that consists of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. It will help to lessen the dead skin and oil buildup on the skin.
  • Washing your face every morning with a mild cleanser and warm water may help to protect your skin from pimples.
  • Moisturize the skin with a soothing moisturizer to get rid of the dry skin that happened due to the pimple treatment.
  • If your pimples aren’t going away even after applying such a skincare routine, it will be adequate to visit a dermatologist (skin specialist) who can guide the causes and can provide you with the treatment.

Treatment of boils

Boils are not easy to tackle; they need proper care, or else the results can be drastic. If you are going through a boil, make sure to follow the following points.

  • Applying a warm compress on the boil may aid you in getting rid of the pain. Doing such a thing may also enable the boil to drain out. If your boil is in an area of your body that is hard to reach, you can then rely on the hot bath that has similar benefits.
  • In a few cases, the doctors may surgically remove or drain the boils and apply some antibiotics in the specific area in order to fight the infection.
  • The doctors may suggest the infected person apply antibiotic ointment to combat the bacteria inside the boil. They may also advise some oral antibiotics to stop the infection from spreading into the bloodstream.
  • It is better to keep your skin around the boil clean and dry to keep your skin safe, i. Once touched, the person should wash their hands before using it anywhere else. You should not share personal stuff such as makeup brushes, razors, and towels in order to prevent the spread.


In the discussion of pimples vs boils, it is now confirmed that they both are different types of skin conditions. Furthermore, treatments should be followed to cure them as soon as possible, or their condition may worsen.

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