Pimples and zits are two different forms of acne but some people use the two words interchangeably. While most common in teens, acne can also affect adults. Treatment varies depending upon the cause, which is often hormonal.

Comparison chart

Pimple versus Zit comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartPimpleZit
Causes Blocked skin pores Clogged oil and melanin glands
Appearance Raised pustule and sometimes red Raised and pus-filled
Painful No Possibly
Scarring Possibly Possibly
Treatment Spot treatment or time Cortisol, spot treatment, time


Pimples are caused by blocked skin pores. They are caused by hormonal changes undergone by teenagers that lead to over-secretion of melanin.

Zits are caused by clogged oil and melanin glands in the skin. They are commonly caused by stress and a build-up of toxins in the body. They can also be caused by fried or fatty foods, poor quality cosmetics and hormonal imbalance.

In the following video, Dr. Tess Mauricio talks about the root causes of acne and how it can be treated:


Zits on the upper lip
Zits on the upper lip
Close up of a person's back showing pimples and scratches
Close up of a person's back showing pimples and scratches


Pimples usually fade in a few days, but can also be treated using drug store spot treatment like Benzoyl peroxide cream.

Zits can also be treated by drug store spot treatment or by waiting for them to fade naturally. Particularly severe zits can also be treated with cortisol or salicylic acid.


Pimples and zits cannot be completely prevented. However, they can be lessened by using soap-free face cleanser or astringent, oil-free moisturizer and yogurt face masks. Diet can also impact the appearance of pimples and zits, and foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as berries, can improve the situation.


Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Pimple vs Zit." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 13 Dec 2018. < >