Blemishes, Pigmentation & Skin Patches

What are blemishes?

A blemish is any type of mark, spot, discoloration, or flaw that appears on the skin.
Blemishes on the face may be unsightly and emotionally upsetting, but most are benign and not life-threatening. Some blemishes, however, can signal skin cancer.

Types of blemishes

  • Acne
  • Papules
  • Nodules
  • Age spots(liver spots)
  • Pustules
  • Ingrown air
  • Birth marks
  • Melasma
  • Skin cancer
  • Cysts
  • Scars
  • Cold sores
  • Hyperpigmentation

“Blemish” is a broad term that refers to any type of skin mark.


Acne a common condition. Acne can appear as- pimples, blackheads, Whiteheads.

Acne is caused when sebum (oil), bacteria, or dirt clogs hair follicles.
Acne can sometimes leave dark spots, pockmarks, or scarring on the skin.
Hormonal changes play a role in the formation of acne.
Stress may also make acne worse by increasing sebum production, although it’s not considered to be a root cause of this condition.


Papules are small skin lesions.
They can range in color from pink and to brown.
Pimples are sometimes referred to as papules.
Papules can occur individually or in clusters and can be any shape.
Examples of papules include:
Chickenpox rashes
Psoriasis and shingles may also cause papules to form.


Nodules are a collection of tissue.
They’re hard to the touch larger than papules, usually 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter.
Nodules can occur at any level of the skin.
They can vary in color from flesh-toned to red. 
Examples of nodules-
Skin tags 

Age spots (liver spots)

These small, dark spots can form on any area of the body that’s been exposed to the sun.
They’re most common in people over 50, but they can also occur in younger people. 
Age spots are a type of hyperpigmentation.


Pustules are fluid- or pus-filled bumps.
Whiteheads and chickenpox blisters are types of pustules.
Other conditions that might cause pustules to form include scabies and rosacea, a common skin condition marked by blisters and visible blood vessels.

Ingrown hair

These are hairs that grow back into the skin and become trapped.
This can cause a red bump to form.
Ingrown hairs can also turn into large, fluid-filled ingrown hair cysts.
These can be red, yellow, or white in appearance. They may be uncomfortable or painful to the touch.


Birthmarks typically occur either at birth or shortly afterward.
They can range in appearance, size, shape, and color.
Moles and port-wine stains are types of birthmarks that typically last for life.
Other types, such as hemangiomas and salmon patches, tend to fade over time.


Melasma is very common during pregnancy.
It’s a skin condition identified by brownish patches.
It can be brought about by sun exposure and hormonal changes.

Skin cancer

There are several types of skin cancers, including:
basal cell carcinoma
squamous cell carcinoma
malignant melanoma
Skin cancers can range in appearance and in color.
Some forms of skin cancer look like dark moles with irregular borders.
Others look like yellow scabs or raised red bumps.


There are several different types of cysts. They include:
Epidermoid cysts
Ganglion cysts
Sebaceous cysts
Cysts are benign (noncancerous) sacs that contain a substance, such as fluid.
They may appear as bumps of varying sizes on or under the skin.


Scarring of the skin occurs when the dermis layer becomes damaged.
The dermis is the deep layer of skin where small blood vessels (capillaries), sweat glands, hair follicles, and nerve endings are located.
Anything that causes the skin to open can lead to scarring, such as a wound or popped pimples.

Cold sores

The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) causes cold sores.
They’re fluid-filled blisters which are found on or near the mouth.
They may itch or cause a tingling sensation.
When the blisters open and drain, a red or yellow scab forms until they heal.


An overproduction of melanin can cause uneven skin tone or dark patches.
The causes of hyperpigmentation include:
sun exposure
acne scarring
hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy

What causes blemishes?


Some blemishes, like cold sores, are caused by viruses, such as HSV-1.
The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes chickenpox.

Other Infections

These include malassezia folliculitis (fungal acne), an infection in the hair follicles.
This condition is caused by an overgrowth of yeast and causes pustules to form.

Genetic Cause

Acne may have a genetic link. Certain hereditary conditions can also cause blemishes to occur. These include:
Darier disease: Wart like blemishes form on the skin that are oily, smelly, and hard to the touch.
Adult type 3 GM1 gangliosidosis. This is a rare, hereditary condition that causes non cancerous blemishes to form on the lower torso.
Fabry disease: This is an inherited disorder that involves a gene mutation. Small groupings of dark, red spots are a symptom.

Sun exposure

Overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) A and B rays can cause skin cancer, hyperpigmentation, and other forms of skin damage.

Clogged pores

An overproduction of oil by the sebaceous glands can cause blemishes.
Hormonal changes often trigger this overproduction, such as puberty.
Excess oil can mingle with dead skin cells, dirt, or bacteria.
This results in pimples, pustules, blackheads, and whiteheads to form.


Food allergies and contact dermatitis can both cause skin irritation and bumps.
Dairy products, such as milk, may cause acne in some people.
Diets high in sugar and simple carbohydrates may also lead to blemishes.


Some prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications may cause acne as a side effect. These include:
Androgenic steroids
Antiseizure drugs


Acne medications
These include facial scrubs, astringents, and topical gels.
Oral antibiotics or topical medication can be taken if OTC solutions doesn’t cure.

Salicylic acid

Products containing salicylic acid can help unclog pores.

Hydrocortisone cream

Topical creams can reduce allergic reactions and irritations. 
They may also be beneficial for alleviating ingrown hairs.

Sun protection

Sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats reduce your exposure to UVA and UVB rays.
Creams for hyperpigmentation
Prescription creams containing hydroquinone may help lighten age spots, acne scarring, and melasma.
They work by slowing down the production of melanin.

Natural solutions

Blemishes not caused by underlying medical conditions can be treated with home remedies. These can include:

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