Search Encyclopedia:    
List of Topics Print This Page



Pustules are small, inflamed, pus-filled, blister-like sores (lesions) on the skin surface.


Pustules are common in acne. They may occur anywhere on the body, but are most commonly seen in these areas:

  • Back
  • Face
  • Over the breastbone
  • Shoulders
  • Sweaty areas, such as the groin or armpit

Pustules may be a sign of a bacterial infection. They should be checked by a health care provider.


Armstrong CA. Examination of the skin and approach to diagnosing skin diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 444.

Habif TM. Principles of diagnosis and anatomy. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 1.

Review Date: 12/2/2014
Reviewed By: Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, dermatologist in private practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

   View History

Related Links
Request an Appointment Online or call
1-800-789-PENN (7366)


About UPHS   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2015, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania