I am not a gynecologist or a specialist in skin care. No, I can't provide scientific citations for anything I say here. I have done a lot of research throughout my life, and much of what I know has been picked up through books, being a hormonal teenager prone ONLY to huge cysts, and articles. Nothing I write here is intended to be medical advice.
Pimples can occur anywhere on the external part of the body, including the anus and the internal and external vulva. You should never pop a pimple. I'll explain why below. You should never attempt to pop a lesion of unknown origin, especially if you believe you're at risk for a sexually transmitted illness.
- How can I tell if this is a pimple or something else?:
That's the tough part. Deciding whether to visit a doctor is a big deal. Who has the time or the money to go to a doctor only to be told, "Yep, that's a pimple." However, only a doctor can give you a proper diagnosis. When you make a post, we can help you distinguish between a pimple and a contagious lesion, but we can't diagnose you. You'll have to visit your doctor for a swab and blood work. That's why we're happy to help. Visiting Google Images to see what various lesions may look may help. I'm uncomfortable giving general guidelines for how to distinguish between the two, as this post is meant for generic, broad information.
- Why and how do pimples form? Why should I not pop them?:
Pimples, otherwise known as cysts, are basically infections of the sebaceous glands. The follicles release oils, but the oils turn rancid and waxen. They can't come out, and the follicle can't clean itself. An infection begins. When a follicle gets infected, our skin stupidly begins to reproduce cells, which traps the infection. Think about all the differences between black heads, white heads, and cysts (big and small). In that order, the reason for their appearance and demeanor is due to how much skin can be reproduced to cover them. The cysts develop the most skin cells, and, as the infection grows, it pushes out on the cell walls, causing expansion and death. The more you squeeze a cyst, the deeper into the skin you're pushing the infection, thereby making it worse. Really, the only pimples you should attempt to extract yourself are blackheads, because they're not usually infected. An infected black head turns into a whitehead.
- What can I do to clear this pimple up?
The healing time for cysts is dependent upon a number of variables. They can take anywhere from a week to half a year to clear up. Sometimes the pus never goes away, so the infection dies, but a pimple is prone to coming back in the same area. It's not uncommon for a cyst to recur in the same place. It's always a good idea to try to verify what your lesion could be. If it could, indeed, be a sexually transmitted illness, and you'd like a diagnosis, waiting to see if "the pimple" goes away could reduce your chances of a proper diagnosis. Always ask your doctor if they check the blood for viruses. I've heard of some doctors doing swabs. Even though I know my fair share about STIs, I do not know how to treat them or take care of them.
This advice is designed to interfere with a possibly contagious lesion as little as possible until the possibility of an STI can be eliminated.
1. Wear breathable cotton underwear.
2. Do not apply warm compresses. Yes, the people who tell you that it will pull the infection to the surface are right. This is unnecessary, however, because you shouldn't pop the pimple.
3. Do not apply any topical treatments, especially ones intended to dehydrate the skin tissue such as benzoyl peroxide, unless it has been cleared by a doctor.
4. Epsom salts may provide pain relief.
5. Avoid touching the pimple.
- Wait! You didn't answer my question!:
I apologize. Since I have no formal training in the treatment of pimples, I don't know everything. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. I can't guarantee that I'll have an answer, but I will try my best to find an answer for you.
(I'm in a rush now, so sorry for any errors!)