We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Recognize Pimples as an Allergic Reaction?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Many times, the only way to know the difference between normal acne and an allergic reaction is by noting any other symptoms you may be having and by the duration of the bumps. You may find it very difficult to recognize pimples as an allergic reaction, especially if you have acne to begin with, because the conditions can look very similar. The appearance of the bumps may also indicate one or the other, since pimples are more likely to have a whitehead at the tip. Hives may be lighter in color around the edges, and they often protrude from the skin less than pimples.

An allergic reaction will not typically cause actual pimples, but allergies can lead to hives and similar skin irritation.Pimples are usually caused by clogged pores or bacterial infection. They are red and often have a white center, or "whitehead." This whitehead is actually pus inside the pimple and is created as part of the body's immune response. Hives don't typically have a white center, and they are often flat on the top whereas acne pimples can sometimes be pointed in shape.

What most people mistake as pimples from an allergic reaction are usually actually hives. One way to tell the difference between the two is the duration the bumps last. Hives usually appear quite suddenly and then disappear within a day. Sometimes hives may clear up within just a few hours. Pimples, on the other hand, will usually appear slowly and may begin as a feeling or soreness under the skin. The length of time a pimple will last depends on how large it is and whether or not anything is done to get rid of it, but acne pimples can last for several days at a time.

You may also be able to diagnose pimples as an allergic reaction by the way they feel. Allergy-related bumps are often itchy and they may be accompanied by swelling. Acne is often painful or sore, although sometimes you may not feel anything other than the bump itself. An allergic reaction may also be accompanied by other symptoms, whereas acne usually isn't. Other allergy symptoms may include coughing, stuffy nose, sneezing,watery and itchy eyes, wheezing, phlegm production, swelling, and trouble breathing.

If you have been around something commonly associated with allergies, this may explain your pimples as an allergic reaction. Most times you can treat your allergy symptoms using over the counter medication. If you are experiencing swelling or shortness of breath, you should seek medical attention right away.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon335089 — On May 17, 2013

I had an allergic reaction to cipro; my chin and just above the corners of my mouth got swollen and really red. I discovered it at noon and soon it was itchy. I went to check on it and along with my swollen chin, I had white pimples in nearly every single pore! It's been a few days now and they're just starting to heal. They refilled about seven times despite the acne products I was using. Sometimes stuff would come out without there being any sign of a pimple (but you couldn't really tell because of the swelling anyway).

By seag47 — On Jan 03, 2013

I've never had an allergic rash that looked like pimples. The rash is usually only slightly raised, and the bumps are bright red, instead of pink like pimples.

By cloudel — On Jan 02, 2013

@DylanB – It couldn't hurt to take an antihistamine. Using a topical antihistamine cream might be even more effective.

I am allergic to hay, so I know how you feel. I break out in a red rash whenever I come in contact with it, but the cream always helps.

I would say that you probably aren't developing pimples this time. Even if you are, antihistamine cream won't hurt them. It will get rid of the bumps if they are caused by an allergy.

If the bumps remain, then maybe they really are pimples. I suppose you'll know in a few days.

By DylanB — On Jan 02, 2013

I am trying to determine whether I am having a reaction to the grass that I just mowed or whether I'm getting pimples. Some of the grass flew up and stuck to my face, and I see that I have three red bumps in that area now.

The reason I'm unsure is because I am prone to acne on my jawline, and this is where the bumps are developing. Should I go ahead and take an antihistamine just in case?

By feasting — On Jan 01, 2013

It is highly unlikely that anyone would develop a bunch of pimples in a single day. So, if you see a line or a circle of bumps that have just sprang up suddenly, you are having an allergic reaction to something.

I have had this reaction to certain perfumes before. It is very itchy.

Regular old pimples don't itch at all. That's another good way to tell the difference.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.