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When a pore becomes clogged with oil and dead skin cells, a blackhead or whitehead may result. If bacteria infect the clog, the skin can become red and inflamed, causing a pimple. Outbreaks of pimples may be triggered by hormonal changes that stimulate the oil-producing (sebaceous) skin glands. These changes can result from puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, and the use of birth control pills. External triggers include facial creams, makeup, greasy hair ointments, clothing that irritates the skin, and sweat. Even stress is known to trigger pimple outbreaks.
Build up of oil and dead skin cells in a hair follicle opening can cause local bacteria to reproduce, which prompts a response by the immune system. The visible result is a pimple. This animation shows how this process occurs.
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