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Pustules

Pustules are small, inflamed, pus-filled, blister-like sores (lesions) on the skin surface.

Images

Pustules - superficial on the arm
Acne - close-up of pustular lesions
Acne - cystic on the face
Dermatitis - pustular contact

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Considerations

Pustules are common in acne and folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle). They may occur anywhere on the body, but are most commonly seen in these areas:

Pustules may be a sign of an infection. In some cases, they are non-infectious and associated with inflammation in the skin or medicines. They should be checked by a health care provider and may need to be tested (cultured) for bacteria or fungus.

Related Information

Acne

References

Dinulos JGH. Principles of diagnosis and anatomy. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 1.

Marks JG, Miller JJ. Pustules. In: Marks JG, Miller JJ, eds. Lookingbill and Marks' Principles of Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 12.

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Review Date: 11/4/2020  

Reviewed By: Elika Hoss, MD, Senior Associate Consultant, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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