Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Vesicles and Papules

Vesicles are clear, fluid-filled blisters that form on the skin. Papules are raised bumps that are solid and not filled with clear liquid.

What are Vesicles?


Vesicles are blisters; they are fluid-filled bumps that develop on the skin.


There are various factors that can cause vesicles to develop. Viral infections, like herpes, can cause vesicles to form. Other reasons you can have vesicles forming include genetic conditions like hereditary hypotrichosis and skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema. Dermatitis herpetiformis is another skin condition that can occur, which is actually due to an autoimmune problem. Burns to the skin produces vesicles as well.


Vesicles can be diagnosed by their physical appearance but sometimes a sample of the fluid inside can be taken for further testing.


Treatment may depend on the cause of the vesicle and may include using antivirals, antifungals, antibiotics, antihistamines, and corticosteroid creams.

What are Papules?


Papules are raised bumps that form on the skin. These are usually less than 1 cm in size.


There are multiple reasons why you may develop papules. Some of the causes include having psoriasis, lichen planus, contact dermatitis, acne, skin allergy, and seborrheic dermatitis. Papules due to acne occur due to an inflammatory reaction from bacteria entering pores of the skin.


The appearance of the lesions is often enough to identify them as papules. It is important for the doctor to diagnose the underlying cause in order to decide on the correct treatment for your papules. A biopsy can be done of the papule if there is concern that there could be a fungal or bacterial infection causing the bumps.


It depends what type of papule the person has as to which treatment is best. For acne papules, the treatment is using a combination of retinoid creams, salicylic acid washes and benzoyl peroxide washes. Papules that develop due to allergies can be treated using antihistamines corticosteroids, and topical steroids.

Difference between Vesicles and Papules?


Vesicles are clear raised bumps on the skin. Papules are solid bumps on the skin.

Lesion appearance

In the case of vesicles, the bumps are clear, elevated and contain clear fluid. In the case of papules, the bumps are sold and elevated.

Lesion size

Vesicles are smaller than 5 mm. Papules are smaller than 10 mm.

Lesions break apart easily

In the case of vesicles, lesions do break apart easily. In the case of papules, the lesions do not easily break apart.

Fluid Contents of lesion

Vesicles contain clear fluid. Papules either have no fluid or contain pus. 


The causes of vesicles include the following: herpes virus, dermatitis, eczema and hereditary hypotrichosis. The causes of papules include the following: skin irritation, allergic reaction, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, lichen planus, contact dermatitis, and acne.


Treatment of vesicles can be done with antivirals, antifungals, antihistamines, antibiotics, and corticosteroid creams. Treatment of papules can be done with steroids, corticosteroids, antihistamines, retinoid creams, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide washes.

Table comparing Vesicles and Papules

Summary of Vesicles Vs. Papules

  • Vesicles and papules are both types of lesions that can be found on the skin at times.
  • Vesicles are due to various conditions like herpes, and are fluid-filled structures. These do break apart quite easily.
  • Papules are solid bumps that can form for various reasons including contact dermatitis or acne.
  • In the case of acne, the papules can become blocked with oil and pus.
  • Treatment of vesicles and papules depends on the cause of the particular condition and may include the use of various creams, washes, and anti-microbial agents.


Can a pustule be a vesicle?

Yes, a pustule can be a vesicle. It is simply a vesicle that contains infected material.

What is the difference between a vesicle and a pustule?

A vesicle contains clear liquid while a pustule contains purulent material.

What are the differences between vesicles, bullae, macules, and pustules?

Vesicles are small blisters (< 5 mm), while bullae are large blisters (greater than 5 mm in size). Macules are patches of skin that are discolored; they are flat areas. Pustules are a form of pimple that has yellow pus inside it.

What is considered a papule?

A papule is a small bump on the skin that is smaller than 1 cm and does not contain clear fluid but is solid or contains pus. 

What is a vesicle on the skin?

A vesicle on the skin is a fluid-filled sac that appears, often after an infection with herpes.

What causes vesicles on skin?

Vesicles occur due to certain viral infections, but also if you have dermatitis, eczema or hereditary hypotrichosis. Viruses like Herpes zoster, which causes shingles, results in painful vesicles developing along a nerve root. Other vesicles are more from skin irritation and not from a virus.

Sharing is caring!

Search DifferenceBetween.net :

Email This Post Email This Post : If you like this article or our site. Please spread the word. Share it with your friends/family.

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

References :

[0]Bello-Morales, Raquel, and José Antonio López-Guerrero. "Extracellular vesicles in herpes viral spread and immune evasion." Frontiers in microbiology 9 (2018): 2572.

[1]Benedetti, Julia. “Description of skin lesions”. Merckmanuals. Merck & Co., 2022, https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/approach-to-the-dermatologic-patient/description-of-skin-lesions#v958358

[2]Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Vesicles””. Mount Sinai, 2023, https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/symptoms/vesicles

[3]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAFotyYaEmA-papules-after-beauty-injections-on-the-face-closeup-photo/

[4]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAFotyJRqI4-papules-after-beauty-injections-on-the-face-closeup-photo/

Articles on DifferenceBetween.net are general information, and are not intended to substitute for professional advice. The information is "AS IS", "WITH ALL FAULTS". User assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages.

See more about : ,
Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder