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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.

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Update Date 12/2/2014