Identifying a Spot – What’s Causing Your Breakout


Breakouts are a nightmare. One or two spots you can cover up with makeup, but when it’s more serious, you probably don’t want to be seen out in public. Unfortunately, we all suffer from lumps and bumps on our skin – even celebrities are not immune to embarrassing breakouts, so be grateful you don’t have to hit the red carpet with an enormous zit on your nose.

Not all spots are equal, and some are not even zits. Here is a quick guide to the many different lumps, bumps, and spots you are likely to experience in your lifetime. Here’s how you can reduce your risks of a breakout.


Everyone knows what a zit looks like. It’s that angry looking red bump on your face, shoulders, chest or back. Zits begin life as a blocked pore, but infection can set in, and pus builds up to create the yellow tipped, swollen zit we all know and hate. Zits typically appear when it’s around your period or right before a hot date. Life sucks, but until your spot calms down and fades away, there isn’t a lot you can do about it.

One thing you shouldn’t do is squeeze your zits. Squeezing a spot can push the infection deeper and make things a whole lot worse. As tempting as it is to start squeezing a zit, leave it alone or you will end up with scarring.

Ingrowing Hairs

Ingrowing hairs are painful, but if you shave, they can be common. Red bumps in your bikini line are symptomatic of an in-growing hair. They are infected hair follicles, so they look exactly like spots, but with a hair in the middle. The best way to avoid in-growing hairs is to wax rather than shave. Alternatively, try the au-naturel look.


Boils are very painful. They start life as an infected hair follicle or oil gland, with pus building up over the course of several days. Some boils are large and angry, and your doctor may lance your boil to release the pus and relieve your pain, but a hot compress can also do the trick. Boils can appear anywhere, but they are most common on the face, shoulders, neck, armpit or back. A crop of boils is known as a carbuncle. If you suspect you have this affliction, consult your doctor, as it could be symptomatic of an underlying health problem.

Insect Bites

Insect bites are itchy rather than painful, so if you come out in itchy red lumps, they are likely to be insect bites rather than zits or boils. Fleas and mosquitoes are the most common culprits; therefore, look for the best flea treatment for dogs to put fleas at bay, If you are traveling to a mosquito zone, use insect repellent and watch out for malaria.

Swollen Glands

Glands swell up when we have an infection, but if you notice a small painless lump in your neck that doesn’t disappear after a few weeks, consult your doctor as it could be a sign of something more serious such as tonsillitis.


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