You can get a pimple almost anywhere on your skin that you have pores or hair follicles. A pimple on your finger might seem odd, but it’s most likely common acne showing up in an uncommon location.

Bumps on your fingers can be other conditions, as well, so it’s important to pay attention to signs that something more serious may be going on.

Acne pimple

Acne doesn’t frequently show up on the hands, but that doesn’t mean our hands are immune to the causes of acne.

Acne flares happen when our skin’s pores become clogged with dirt, dead skin, or bacteria. We also sometimes transfer bad bacteria into the pores on our hands and fingers by scrubbing away the good bacteria with harsh soaps. These clogged pores will turn red, swell up, and turn into pimples.

The most likely cause of acne on your fingers is poor hygiene — either not washing your hands enough or washing them too often with harsh soaps that blast away the good bacteria that protect our skin.

Other causes

Our hands are our primary tool for interacting with the world. They come into contact with lots of different bacteria and irritants throughout the day. Some bacteria and irritants encourage acne flare ups, and some can cause other conditions.

A pimple on your finger or finger joint isn’t all that common, so it’s possible that bump could be something else. That small bump on your finger might not be a pimple if it:

  • lasts more than a few days
  • is extremely painful
  • oozes pus or another fluid
  • looks or behaves differently than your other pimples

Some skin conditions commonly found on fingers are easily confused with acne. If you think the bump on your finger might be one of the following, you should consult a doctor or dermatologist:

  • Digital myxoid pseudocyst. Also called a mucous cyst, these small, shiny bumps are frequently found at the very end of the fingers and toes. If you think you have a pimple under your fingernail that won’t go away, it could be a myxoid cyst.
  • Ganglion cyst. More commonly found on the hand or wrist, ganglion cysts can also appear on your fingers and mimic the appearance of a pimple. They’re usually very large and painful and should be treated by a doctor.
  • Warts. Warts are rough, dotted growths caused by a virus. They’re extremely common on our fingers. Like pimples, they should eventually go away on their own but may need to be treated if they’re painful or especially persistent.
  • Ingrown hair. If you’ve tried to shave or pluck hair from your fingers or knuckles, you could have an ingrown hair. These are usually harmless, pimple-like bumps that form when a hair curls downward and grows back into the skin.

If the pimple on your finger isn’t a serious cyst or wart, it should fade away over the course of a few days or weeks. Some tweaks to your hygiene and home treatment habits can help it go away faster and can sometimes prevent new outbreaks.

Hygiene

Don’t let oil and dirt sit on your fingers for too long. Wash a few times each day with a mild, fragrance-free hand soap.

Medications

You probably won’t need an arsenal of high-powered medications for the rare finger pimple, but should you get one, a little spot treatment could help it heal quickly.

Look for topical creams and gels that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Both help dry up extra oil on the skin and fight acne-causing bacteria. They should be available at most drug stores or grocery stores.

Pain relief

Sometimes pimples are a little painful or tender, especially on your fingers where they’ll frequently rub against different objects throughout the day. The discomfort from a traditional pimple shouldn’t last very long, nor should the pimple itself.

If it does, have a doctor determine whether the bump might be something else, like a cyst or wart.

To help with the pain in the meantime, you might try a nonprescription pain reliever like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

If you’d rather spot treat your acne using natural products and ingredients instead of over-the-counter medications, you can try direct topical application of products recommended by natural healers such as:

For a natural and delicious-smelling acne treatment, you may also want to experiment with essential oils — highly concentrated oils from a variety of plants or natural sources.

There is some evidence that a dab of the following oils — one drop of oil mixed with nine drops of water — can help fight bacteria and inflammation from acne:

Should you pop the pimple on your finger?

Don’t pop a pimple on your finger, or anywhere else. It won’t help it heal faster and may cause the bacteria inside the swollen skin pore to spread deeper. Popping your pimples might also make the area look more red, irritated, and noticeable. It can even cause scarring.

There aren’t many parts of the body that are off limits for pimples. So, while it might be a little unusual to get a pimple on your finger, you don’t have to treat it any differently than you would facial acne.

It should heal perfectly within a week or so, and better handwashing habits could help you prevent finger pimples from popping up again.

But if the pimple on your finger won’t go away, oozes pus or fluid, or causes you a lot of pain, it may not be a pimple after all. It could be a cyst, a wart, or something else entirely.

Consult with a doctor or dermatologist if you are worried or experiencing symptoms that don’t normally come from acne.