Difference Between Pimple and Cyst

Acne is a skin condition that generally affects young adults as well as teenagers. If someone is suffering from acne, then it is important to recognize from which type of acne person is suffering.


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Specific symptoms target particular acne, and by recognizing it, its actual treatment can be done.  

If someone has acne then it may have skin blemishes like pimples, nodules, whiteheads, papules, blackheads, or cysts.

Skin blemishes commonly appear on the shoulder, face, chest, neck, and upper back. In this article, differences between pimples and cysts are highlighted. 

Pimple vs Cyst 

The difference between the pimple and the cyst is that a pimple is a small papule or pustule. On the other hand, the cyst is a sac or closed capsule-like structure which is filled with semisolid, air, or fluid material.  

Pimple vs Cyst

The build-up of bacteria and overproduction of oil can lead to pimples. Face, shoulder, back, neck and chest are the areas of the skin with functional oil glands of are the largest number.

It can have causes that do not come from underlying disease. They are generally self-diagnosable and self-treatable.  

The cyst can vary in size and can occur anywhere in the body. The cyst wall is the capsular or outer portion of the cysts.

They develop when the sebaceous gland clogs due to acne or form around something when stuck in the skin. They are not cancer, but changes in appearance and cause pain. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPimpleCyst
InterpretationIt is a small papule or pustule.It is a sac or closed capsule-like structure that is filled with gaseous, semisolid, or liquid material.
Frequently foundOn the chest, face, back, and shoulders.In the skin.
Risk factorsAge, family history, and hormonal changes.Infections and tumors.
TypesBlackheads, papules, whiteheads, nodules, and pustules.Breast, colloid, dermoid, ovarian, kidney, pilar, and many more.
DiagnosisBy examining the skin.By ultrasound, CTs scans, MRI scans, needle biopsies, and palpation.

What is Pimple? 

A pimple is a type of comedo that results from dead skin cells and excess sebum getting trapped in the skin pores. It may evolve into papules or pustules in its aggravated state.

It can be treated by antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and acne medication prescribed by a physician or at a pharmacy purchased several over-the-counter remedies.  

Inside the skin pore, there is a gland namely, the sebaceous gland is present which produces sebum.

When the skin’s outer layer sheds, oily sebum, and dead skin are left behind and might bond together to form a blockage at the skin base of the sebaceous gland.  

At puberty, skin started becoming thick, and that’s why it is most common. The production of sebum continues from the sebaceous gland and builds behind the blockage.

In the area, bacteria grow and cause infection as well as inflammation.  

Other causes include stress, family history, medication side effects, and hormone levels fluctuations. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, oil-free, non-comedogenic, won’t clog pores, and non-acnegenic labeling acne products users are least likely to suffer skin acne or irritation. 

What is Cyst? 

A closed sac is a cyst that has a distinct division and envelope compared with the nearby tissue. So, it is a cell’s cluster grouped and forms a sac.

It might contain semisolid, air, or fluid material. Cysts are that cell that forms the shell of a sac that is distinctly abnormal.  

An abscess is known as a collection of pus, not a cyst. The cyst may resolve itself once form. If a cyst fails to resolve then it may require surgery, but that would depend upon cyst location and type.

Microcyst are small cysts and can be seen through magnification.  

Cancer-related cysts are generally formed as a mechanism of defense for the body following the development of the mutation that leads to an uncontrolled cellular division.

If that mutation occurred once, then the affected cells incessantly divide and become cancerous.  

Cystic tumors are cysts with neoplastic. Several types of cysts are not neoplastic and are considered metaplastic or dysplastic.

The pseudocyst is quite similar to cysts which have a fluid sac filling but lacks an epithelial lining. Treatment ranges from cyst’s simple enucleation to resection to curettage. 

Main Differences Between Pimple and Cyst 

  1. Pimples develop when oil glands, or sebaceous glands, become infected and clogged which leads to red lesions and swollen filled with pus. But the natural drainage system of the body gets blocked can develop a cyst.  
  2. Moisturizer and warm compress are two of the self-care pimple treatment options. When it comes to the cyst, applying a warm compress daily until it drains is the best option for self-treatment.  
  3. Symptoms of pimples range from uninflamed blackheads to red, tender, and large bumps or pus-filled pimples. The symptoms included in a cyst are abnormal lump if beneath the skin and headache if a cyst is in the brain.  
  4. The main cause behind pimples is dead skin and sebum who clogs the pores. On the other hand, parasites, genetic conditions, and defects in the cells are a few of the symptoms of cyst.  
  5. If symptoms of pimple get worse and get painful as well as large enough then it’s time to see a doctor. On the flip side, painful cyst, redness, fever, and warmth cause in case of cyst then make an appointment to doctor. 
Difference Between Pimple and Cyst


  1. https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=search_authors&mauthors=pimple&hl=en&oi=ao
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0034666776900105
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