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Do germs cause pimples?

Germs do not cause pimples or acne. Pimples are formed when excess skin oil, called sebum, mixes with dead skin cells and clog pores. Once a pore is clogged, bacteria (called P. acnes) that normally live on your skin thrive in the trapped oil and rapidly increase in number. When bacteria multiply in a clogged pore, the pore becomes inflamed. Inflammation causes a pimple to look red and swollen.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Germs alone do not cause pimples.  Instead, germs contribute to formation of pimples when they become trapped beneath the skin’s surface, within stagnant oil inside a blocked hair follicle.  Watch the animation to see how this happens.




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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.