When popping zits, you might notice a strange smell burst out of these popped pimples. Many people describe their zit smell quite variously. Some describe it similar to cheese, while some others may notice the smell of garlic, sulfur, and even soap. Most zits smell awful, causing people to wonder whether it is normal for them to have the smell.
Why zit pus smells
Zits commonly occur in men, although women may experience it, too. Although this skin breakout generally occurs on facial skin, zits may also spread all over the skin of the body. Zits are always filled with pus that is usually in solid white or yellow color. The pus is dead white blood cells combating infesting bacteria that are mostly anaerobic. As anaerobic bacteria, these bacteria do not require oxygen to survive. They are, instead, generating their own compounds of sulfur when growing and spreading. When a zit is popped, the drainage—pus mixed with blood, debris, and infesting bacteria oozes out. Strong odor may be noticed, if the zit is infested with anaerobic type of bacteria. On the other hand, bacteria growing and spreading with the role of oxygen do not usually trigger the foul odor. Mild zit problem does not usually lead this foul odor, while severe infection tends to end in the smell, as the body produces more pus contained in the zits. The stronger the smell is, generally the more likely the zit to be contagious. This means that if you are popping an odor zit and the drainage oozes out, the infesting bacteria will land inside other skin pores, causing another zit. Hence, it is important to clean any oozed out pus from a zit in order to prevent further infection and bacterial infestation as this will contribute to reducing the way a zit triggers a foul smell.
What affects zit pus smell?
There are some factors affecting how likely a zit smells, such as:
Types of bacteria infesting the site
There are various kinds of bacteria that can possibly infest the hair follicles, causing clogged pores that may end up in zits. These different types of bacteria give quite different effects on how these zits smell. Aerobic bacteria that depend on oxygen to grow do not usually trigger foul smell in zit pus, while those anaerobic bacteria that produces sulfur may cause the zit pus to have an unpleasant smell.
Severity also plays a significant role of foul odor resulted from a zit. Mild zits are commonly filled with a small amount of pus and are not severely infected. As a result, smelly odor is lighter in this type of zits compared to the severely infected ones. However, mild zits infested with anaerobic, sulfur-producing bacteria might also smell bad, similar to those severely infected zits.
The hygiene of the infection site plays a role in triggering zit pus smell, while personal hygiene does not really affect the possibility of making a zit smelly. People who do not care for the infection site hygiene will likely to have secondary infection by various bacteria. More severe infection, as stated, trigger more severe foul odor of the zit pus. However, unhygienic infection site is not the exact cause of how the zits smell. Instead, it simply contributes the already-existing foul smell. Keeping the site clean, therefore, is essential in that it will reduce the risk of having further infection that may result in larger amount of drainage causing foul odor.
Is zit pus foul odor normal?
Although foul odor occurring with zit pus commonly affects the severely infected skin wherein a large amount of pus presents, this should not be a health concern. Instead of trying to notice how your zits smell, it is more advised to carefully observe the resulted symptoms. Blind zits may be painful for some initial days, that you should be concerned when the pain does not improve for longer period and the inflammation does not decrease. Pus drainage present with zits, especially those with whiteheads is normal and should not be harmful, as long as you keep the site hygienic.