When was the last time you enjoyed a good night’s sleep, only to wake up to a stubborn, bulbous pimple? Talk about rough! Every time this happens to us, we always ask ourselves the same question: “What the HECK is in that bump—and how do I get rid of it?”

You wouldn’t believe it, but there is a whole host of stomach-turning substances safely ensconced inside your unsightly blemish, the most prominent of them being bacteria.

This bacteria, called Propionibacterium acnes, is actually much less aggressive than it sounds. You see, it’s found in and on your skin, but most of the time, it doesn’t cause any harm, UNLESS…

pimple forming under the skinTech Insider

…your sebaceous glands are working overtime and end up producing too much sebum. When this happens, both the bacteria and the sebum join together to make what your body thinks is an infection.

When the bacteria-sebum party gets a little too out of control, white blood cells cluster and work to bring harmony to the area. Although the appearance of the white blood cells means that your body is having a healthy reaction, it does come with one aggravating side effect—inflammation.

Yikes. The process of getting a zit may just be more disturbing than the result!

The obvious—and not so obvious reasons—you get pimples

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are four factors that cause acne: hormones, medications, diet, and stress.

Hormones, quite possibly the most notable culprit of zits, can contribute to acne because they create more sebum in the skin.

As we already mentioned, just the “right” amount of sebum and bacteria is good, but if your levels are off, then your chances of developing pimples are higher than normal. The androgen count is usually at its maximum during puberty, pregnancy, and when a woman is taking oral contraceptives.

In terms of drugs, the Pill is usually blamed for worsening acne, but medications containing steroids and lithium are known to wreak even more havoc on the skin.

orange pills against a black backgroundTaubin via Flickr

Not the healthiest of eaters? If so, your late night fast food trips may be showing themselves on your skin. Studies have indicated that people who regularly indulge in high-carb or high-sugar snacks, like chips and chocolate, are more likely to develop acne.

Now, it may not be news to some, but stress does nothing to help your skin. Although scientists are not entirely sure about why this happens, they think it might have something to do with how the body’s changing hormone levels react to trying situations. Yet another reason to chill out!

Although the subject certainly isn’t the most pleasant of topics, we do have to admit that we are quite intrigued. To learn even more about the icky substances found in pimples—and why you should skip popping your zits—be sure to watch Business Insider’s video below. It’s amazing what the human body can do!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this one! Are you surprised by how pimples are formed? Are you a “pimple popper”? If so, what would make you stop?