Pinterest tag Stages of a Pimple: The Complete Guide – Rael
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Pimple Stages: How They Form & How Long They Last

Pimple Stages: How They Form & How Long They Last

You woke up to a beautiful sunrise...and a bright, red, painful reminder that you’re about to start your period. Pimples happen, we all know it, and when you’re dealing with one, it seems like nothing else matters. 

If you didn’t know, pimples happen in stages, and you can take steps during each stage to help clear them. We’re about to go through the life cycle of a pimple, learning how it forms, what happens when it reaches ahead, and how long you can expect it to hang out on your face. 

We’ll also give you some great tips and tricks for getting rid of your pimples, no matter what stage you find them in, and talk about what’s causing you to get them in the first place. 

What’s Causing Your Pimples?

There’s so much research on what causes pimples it can be overwhelming. While you may be getting pimples from your diet, the more likely causes are hormones, genetics, and your own self-sabotaging skincare practices. 


Anytime you look at the research to find out the cause of your acne, you’ll find a connection to your genes. Family history is the largest predictor of whether or not you’ll have acne yourself. 

If your mom, dad, or siblings have acne, you might develop it, too. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to deal with it as long as they did or that you’ll have it as severely. There are always solutions to dealing with your pimples. 


It seems like you always develop a breakout when you’re about to start your period, and that makes sense. Your hormones change before your period, which can affect your skin. 

When your estrogen and progesterone levels change before your period, they can increase the amount of sebum your skin produces. Hormones can also change the substance of your sebum, making it thicker and stickier and more likely to clog your pores. 

Improper Skin Care

Your skincare routine (or lack of one) can be the cause of your breakouts. If you don’t take proper care of your skin, you can end up with breakouts that seem consistent. 

If you do have a skincare routine, you could be using the wrong products. The wrong products can strip your skin of moisture, leaving it dehydrated. As a response, your skin will automatically produce more oil, which can lead to more breakouts. 

They all have a similar life cycle, no matter what kind of acne you are dealing with and what is causing your breakouts (cysts, whiteheads, or blackheads).

The Life Cycle of a Pimple

Pimples often form days before we ever notice them. By the time they rear their ugly heads, they’ve been brewing under the surface of our skin for days. 

Other times, we know a pimple is forthcoming. We can feel a hard, painful lump under the skin that we know is ready to erupt. No matter how they present, pimples usually follow a three step life cycle. 

1. A Pimple is Born

We talk a lot about clogged pores, but the pore is actually just the opening of the hair follicle. Our hair follicles all have sebaceous glands that produce the skin’s natural oil, sebum. Ideally, the sebum flows from the sebaceous gland, into the hair follicle and out to the surface of your skin. 

At the same time, this oil is being made; your skin is continually renewing itself, creating new skin cells and pushing dead skin cells to your epidermis. Once dead skin cells reach the epidermis, they are removed by sloughing them away with exfoliation or natural skin shedding. 

In a perfect skin scenario, dead skin cells naturally fall off, and your skin produces just the right amount of sebum to keep your skin lubricated and protected. Unfortunately, perfect skin scenarios don’t usually exist. 

Instead, dead skin cells can attach to the living skin cells on your face, mix with sebum, and create a pimple deep inside the hair follicle. Whether or not you feel it, it’s there, and it’s waiting to pop out of your skin and create a skin situation. 

It can take an entire week for a pimple to form from the bottom of the hair follicle to the point visible at the pore. 

2. Coming To a Head

Once your skin gets the message that there’s a clogged pore, it immediately creates an inflammatory response to deal with the intruder. White blood cells are sent to the clogged pore, which creates swelling and pus. 

Once there is enough swelling and pus, the hair follicle fills and becomes visible on the surface of the skin. There are three different ways a pimple can present itself. 

  1. Whitehead. These bumps have a whitish or yellowish head that is closed and raised above the skin’s surface. 
  2. Blackhead. These bumps have an open-top, which allows the dirt, oil, and bacteria in the bump to become oxidized. This creates a black color in the pore, and it is usually red and swollen around the center. 
  3. Cysts. Cysts are large and red and sometimes have no head. They are usually painful and can even feel warm to the touch. 

No matter which stage you see, the pimple has about a week to live in this phase of its life cycle. That’s a long time, especially if you find it hard to keep your hands off your skin. 

3.  Healing

The third and final stage of a pimple’s life cycle is the healing stage. When your pimple has lived out its life on your skin for about a week, it will naturally begin to shrink and heal. During this time, a scab may form, especially if you’ve picked at the bump.

The healing phase can take about two to three days, but you still aren’t out of the woods. Pimples, especially cysts, can leave behind a dark, hyperpigmented area that can serve as a semi-permanent reminder of your unwanted guest. 

What To Do For Each Stage

The quicker you get to a pimple, the better. While the pimple may still form, treating it early will usually make it go away faster. Here’s how to deal with pimples during each phase of their life cycle.

Early Stage Pimples

Early-stage pimples can sneak up on you, and sometimes it is impossible to tell they’re on their way. The second you feel a pimple coming on, grab a solution that gets to work fast. 

Rael’s Microcrystal Spot Cover helps dig into your pores and break up the pimple before it can reach a head. With natural ingredients like white willow bark extract, Totarol, which works to eliminate bacteria, and hyaluronic acid for hydration, our spot cover goes to work immediately so your pimple has less of a chance of making it to round two.  

2. Developed Pimples

Once you have a pimple that has reached the surface of your skin, your solution can be to squeeze them, but that’s a bad idea. No matter how bad they look, you’ll only make them look worse by picking and prodding. 

Rael’s Spot Control Cover is your go-to solution for pimples you don’t want to look at and can’t leave alone. If you’ve got a hot spot with more than one or two pimples, the spot control cover can keep them all safe from your fingers and go to work, shrinking them fast. 

Using hydrocolloid technology, each patch helps gently draw out pus and oil, shrinking your pimple and making it barely visible in a matter of hours—kind of like hitting the delete button on your bumps. 

Healing Stage

When your pimples begin to disappear, make sure they take all their skin-harming effects with them. Rael’s Microcrystal Dark Spot Cover keeps your late-stage pimples protected while they heal and help fade dark spots with healing niacinamide, tranexamic acid, and broccoli extract.

Our dark spot covers also keep the area hydrated which is crucial for effective skin healing and ensuring the pimple goes away completely. 

Get Rael

Pimples happen to literally everyone, but today we have readily available solutions over-the-counter and seriously easy to use. Rael’s pimple patches are effective, natural, and holistic, so you can treat your blemishes without irritating your skin or harming your body. 

No matter what stage of your pimple’s life cycle you’re dealing with, don’t ever pick or squeeze your skin. Picking can lead to scarring and even push dirt and oil deeper into the pore, making the pimple reform. 

Get rid of your pimples and get back to living your best life with easy pimple solutions from Rael. 


Acne - Symptoms and causes | 

How long does it take for a pimple to develop? | 

Acne: Tips for managing | 

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