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difference between a pimple and a boil

A 55-year-old member asked:
Dr. Michael Bryan
31 years experience Dermatology
Boil: In layman's terms, a boil is just a huge, infected pimple. Sometimes they require lancing, or draining. It is usually caused by a staph infection an ... Read More

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A 20-year-old male asked:
Dr. Philip Miller
46 years experience Family Medicine
Boil/abscess: usually filled with infected debris or pus. Pimples ( comedones) are clogged oil glans, often contaminated with certain bacteria.
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A 38-year-old member asked:
Dr. Heidi Gilchrist
15 years experience Dermatology
Size mostly: A zit/pimple is a hair follicle filled with oil and dead skin cells and bacteria. But it is just one hair follicle. An abscess (a boil) is usually muc ... Read More
A male asked:
Dr. Inaam Schneider
43 years experience Internal Medicine
Pimple VS Boil: Boile is usually larger & ready to burst & express fluid & pus . At any rate , don't try to express it yourself . Go see a doctor . Anythi ... Read More
A 44-year-old member asked:
Dr. Morris Westfried
45 years experience Dermatology
Same: A zit is slang for pimple. Larger pimples are called cysts.
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A 55-year-old member asked:
Dr. Donald Shenenberger
24 years experience Dermatology
A pimple: Is due to obstruction of a pore (such as in acne) or due to a superficial infection (as in folliculitis). A bite is an actual injury to the skin from ... Read More
A 28-year-old female asked:
Dr. Ziad Akl
Dr. Ziad Akl answered
30 years experience Infectious Disease
Germs: A cyst is a collection of fluid that is not infected. Boil is a common term for an abscess in the skin, that means bacteria penetrated the skin and ca ... Read More
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A 47-year-old member asked:
Dr. Jennifer Tighe De Soto
14 years experience Cosmetic Surgery
Infection vs not: A pimple is a tiny infection in a pore. The white stuff inside is pus. It's basically a very small abscess. There are many different kinds of cyst, ... Read More
A 40-year-old member asked:
Dr. Tsu-Yi Chuang
49 years experience Dermatology
Color: Certainly, blackhead looks black and whitehead look white, but it's not that simple. Blackhead and white head both are mild/early forms of pimple/acne ... Read More
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A 42-year-old member asked:
Dr. Heidi Fowler
24 years experience Psychiatry
Two very different: things. A blister contains clear fluid (sometimes blood) & is found in separated layers of epidermis or between epidermis & dermis. A boil i ... Read More
A 44-year-old member asked:
Dr. Keira Barr
21 years experience Dermatology
Single vs multiples: Boils and carbuncles are painful, pus-filled bumps that form under your skin when hair follicles become inflammed and infected by bacteria. Boils (fur ... Read More
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A 38-year-old member asked:
Dr. Farhad Rafizadeh
Specializes in Plastic Surgery
Pimple and sebaceous: A pimple is an infected oil gland in the shin. A sebaceous cyst is an accumulation of oil gland material in a membrane that forms the cyst. It usually ... Read More
A 52-year-old member asked:
Dr. Joseph Bouvier
24 years experience Pediatrics
See below: Simply speaking, size and depth of penetration into the skin.
A 25-year-old female asked:
Dr. Larry Xanthopoulos
21 years experience Pediatrics
Same: pimple is a single pimple but acne may mean many pimples
A 51-year-old member asked:
Dr. Otto Placik
33 years experience Plastic Surgery
If Pilonidal, yes: If this is due to a pilonidal cyst, successful treatment may require surgery in order to excise the cyst contents. If not this could recur. Other stan ... Read More
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A 39-year-old member asked:
Dr. Dhaval Shah
13 years experience Internal Medicine
Difference: A carbuncle is skin infection cuased by bacteria and involve hair follicles. It usually drains purulent material. Cyst is a closed sac which may co ... Read More
A 48-year-old member asked:
Dr. Otto Placik
33 years experience Plastic Surgery
Big difference: A sebaceous cyst may occur anywhere sebaceous glands (skin oil glands) are located. These cysts have a lining that sheds cells into the central cavity ... Read More
A 49-year-old member asked:
Dr. David Voron
50 years experience Dermatology
See below: A cyst is a sac with an outer membrane and material within it. A skin tag is an outgrowth of normal skin attached with a thin stalk.
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A 36-year-old female asked:
Dr. Melissa Young
8 years experience Internal Medicine
Less/more specific: A lump can be anything - solid or fluid filled, scar tissue, just a prominent area. It is a very non-specific term. A cyst means a fluid filled struct ... Read More
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A 27-year-old male asked:
Dr. Jane Eason
32 years experience Infectious Disease
Abscess, pustule: A pustule is a small swelling/elevation of skin that contains pus and cellular debris. An abscess is a collection of pus, either close to the skin, w ... Read More
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A 48-year-old member asked:
Dr. Antoanella Calame
18 years experience Dermatology
Boil vs Acne: Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells.A boil is a skin infection that starts in a ... Read More
A 43-year-old member asked:
Dr. Leonard Grossman
35 years experience Plastic Surgery
Can be similar: Brown recluse bite usually doesn't hurt while the zit does. Also there is bulls eye in the center of the bite. If not sure see a doctor. Either way, ... Read More
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3 thanks

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