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Pimple on back,turned purple and hard, tenderness.Remedy ?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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I'm 35 years old, 5' 6 ", male. I had a pimple on my back maybe 8 months ago. It was large and I tried squeezing it, but it didn't pop. It turned purple and then flattened out over time. It never completely healed though and would form a hard scab which I began removing. It has a darker ring where it used to be with newer skin inside it. It's been painless up until recently, but it now feels tender. I've attached a photo. Is there anything I should do?
Posted Mon, 30 Apr 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 15 minutes later

Thanks for posting your query.

Unfortunately, there is no picture attached with the query.

There are two possibilities for this type of lump. These are:

1. Boil or Abscess: It generally starts as a reddened, tender area. Over time, the area becomes firm and hard. Eventually, the center of the abscess softens and becomes filled with pus.

For such a bump, apply warm compresses and keep the area clean with topical antiseptics. Drainage is done only when it becomes soft and forms a head. Till then, you can apply a topical antibiotic cream like Neosporin or Bactroban after consulting your doctor. You can also take some over the counter pain reliever like Ibuprofen and oral antibiotics after a doctor’s prescription.

2. The other possibility is of a sebaceous cyst. It is filled with a soft, whitish brown material that sometimes oozes out onto the skin's surface. This material is called sebum. If this protruding is accompanied by pain as well then there is a possibility of infection.

They may occur anywhere on body but scalp, ears, back, face, and upper arm, are common sites for sebaceous cysts. Blocked sebaceous glands, swollen hair follicles and excessive Testosterone production will cause such cysts.

Treatment includes small surgical opening into the skin and removing the sac and the contents of the cyst. Till that time, you can apply warm compresses on the bump.

Please send me a photo of the lesion at YYYY@YYYY with sub: “ATTN. Dr Jasvinder singh” so that I can have a look at your photo and it will help me in understanding your condition better.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.


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Follow-up: Pimple on back,turned purple and hard, tenderness.Remedy ? 2 hours later
I've emailed the photos for your perusal.


Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 16 hours later

Thanks for writing back and for the photographs.

I have seen the photographs and from the pictures it looks like a cyst or a small benign growth of the skin which has been repeatedly irritated by scratching.

Generally for a cyst no treatment is required but since it has become painful then it means it is infected,then surgical excision by traditional wide excision, minimal excision, and punch biopsy excision may be required.

I suggest you to consult a dermatologist and discuss these treatment options with him.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

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