How long does it take for a pimple to develop? This would be a good game show question because the answer is tricky…
While it might seem that pimples form overnight, it actually takes between 1 – 2 weeks for an acne spot to fully develop.
And it’s quite a process… Spots start as microscopic, tiny bumps called “microcomedos” which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
How did these tiny bumps begin? Oil glands within the skin, stimulated by hormones, enlarge and become overactive, pumping out excess oil. This oily substance combines with dead skin cells to clog skin pores, creating microcomedos.
Over time, the earliest acne spots appear – blackheads, clogged but open pores and whiteheads, plugged, closed pores.
Bacteria naturally present in the skin, P. acnes, thrive in these blocked, oily skin pores. The plugged pores may expand and break, and the bacteria may then add to the inflammatory reaction seen as redness and swelling.
When inflammation happens below the surface of the skin, papules – many, small red bumps with or without pus inside appear. When inflammation happens above the skin, pustules (known as pimples), pus-filled spots can be seen.
Check out this illustrated guide to How the different types of acne spots develop.
Treatment Tip: To prevent future spots from developing, you need to treat the entire area where your acne appears – not just the spots you can see today.