how to distinguish a chancre from a pimple photo

When it comes to skin conditions, distinguishing between similar-looking symptoms can be challenging. One such confusion arises between chancres and pimples. Identifying whether you have a pimple or a chancre is crucial, as the underlying causes and required treatments differ significantly. In this article, we will discuss how to differentiate a chancre from a pimple, provide photo examples, and answer frequently asked questions to help you gain a better understanding of these skin conditions.

Understanding Chancres and Pimples

Chancres and pimples are dermatological conditions that have distinct causes and appearances. A chancre is typically associated with syphilis, while pimples are a common result of acne or skin inflammation. Consequently, differentiating between these two conditions is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What Causes a Chancre?

Chancres are primarily caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum, which is responsible for syphilis. This sexually transmitted infection (STI) spreads through direct contact with a syphilis sore during sexual activity. Chancres usually develop within 3 weeks after exposure to the bacteria.

What Causes Pimples?

Pimples, on the other hand, are caused by a variety of factors. Acne, the most common cause of pimples, occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. Hormonal changes, stress, certain medications, and genetics can also contribute to the development of pimples.

Distinguishing Characteristics of Chancres and Pimples:

To distinguish between chancres and pimples, there are certain key characteristics to consider:


Chancres are typically painless, firm, and often characterized by a deep, round ulcer with a clean base. They may have a raised edge and can appear singularly or in a cluster. Pimples, on the other hand, are generally smaller, tender to touch, and may have yellow or white pus at the center.

Surrounding Skin

Chancres usually do not exhibit significant inflammation and are not accompanied by redness or swelling in the surrounding skin. Pimples, on the contrary, often have swollen, red bumps surrounding them.

Itching or Pain

Chancres are often painless and do not cause itching. Pimples, however, can be painful or tender, and may also cause itching.


Chancres typically last for 3 to 6 weeks without treatment, whereas pimples can come and go relatively quickly, with individual lesions lasting a few days to a week.

Cause and Transmission

Chancres are a result of syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection, and can be transmitted to others through sexual contact. Pimples are not contagious and are not associated with any specific infection.

How to Differentiate a Chancre from a Pimple

Photo Comparisons

To facilitate a visual understanding, below are photo comparisons of a chancre and a pimple:


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

(a) Can a chancre appear as a pimple?
No, chancres have distinct characteristics and appearance, and they do not resemble common pimples.

(b) Can a pimple turn into a chancre?
No, pimples cannot transform into chancres. They are two separate conditions with different causes.

(c) What are the common symptoms of a chancre?
Common symptoms of a chancre include the presence of a painless, round ulcer with a clean base, often accompanied by a raised edge.

(d) How long does it take for a chancre to heal?
Without treatment, chancres can take 3 to 6 weeks to heal. However, with appropriate medical care, they can resolve within a few days to weeks.

(e) How to treat a chancre?
Chancres require treatment by a healthcare professional. Antibiotics, such as penicillin, can effectively treat syphilis and its associated chancres.


Differentiating between a chancre and a pimple is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment. By understanding the distinct characteristics and appearances of these two conditions, as well as referring to photo comparisons, individuals can make informed decisions and seek appropriate medical guidance. If you are unsure about any skin condition, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Leave a Comment