A definitive ranking of the most painful places to get a spot

Posted by
Gary Ogden

Look, we’ve all had spots at some point in our lives – some more than others – but we’ve all had at least one. I personally went through a pretty tough time around the 15-years-old mark, and I know many of you lot will have too. Even now, in my old age, I’ll have the odd one pop up to ruin everything; usually before a date, a job interview or immediately preceding my appearance on Dragon’s Den, on which I was peddling my miracle acne cure.

All spots are shit, too – there aren’t any good ones – but some are much, much shitter than others. So, in honour of that fact, here is every area on your body (that I reckon it’s likely to get a spot on) ranked in order of how painful, annoying and/or embarrassing it is to have a spot there. Starting with the least painful:


Have you ever had a spot on your chest? They do not hurt in the slightest. It’s really strange, you can almost brush them off – they’re non-spots. Really, they only become a problem if you’re going swimming, or to the beach; any place where you might take your top off. They’re gross, but they are an extremely minor inconvenience.

Show me someone with a chest full of spots and I’ll painlessly flick them all off in under a minute. You just watch.

Pain: 0
Inconvenience: 0
Embarrassment: 4


An arse with a big spot on is pretty funny, but you wouldn’t really want one yourself. They also come with a problem, and this is the reason they are so low on the pain spectrum – you often don’t know you have spots on your arse.

They’re not painful at all, and you can happily go through the week, blissfully unaware, then on Friday plop your cheeks out at the pub for some “banter”, only to sully the atmosphere with an indecent cluster of prime-rib bum spots. Still, at least your arse won’t hurt on the bus home. On your own. Immediately.

Pain: 0
Inconvenience: 1
Embarrassment: Not many people will see your arse, if you’re sensible, so 3


Ah, Old Faithful – there’s nowt better than the classics, is there? When you think of spots, which part of the body do you think of? You think of your own greasy forehead, don’t you?

Your forehead isn’t known for its sensitivity, which is why Scottish people use them to kiss with, so having a big old popper on your noggin isn’t the most painful of experiences. Find a spot on your head and you don’t think twice about squeezing your skin together until it literally breaks and bleeds – that’s not really normal behaviour is it? But you do it on your forehead on the regular – who cares, doesn’t even hurt. Hard-man, you’re a hulking hard-man.

Only annoying thing is, the spots that are there are ON YOUR FACE.

Pain: 2
Inconvenience: 5
Embarrassment: 7


Very rare, these ones. Not often you see a spot on your arm, but now and again, once in a blue pimple, one will appear. And it is always just one – nobody has ever had more than one. These lone rangers are easy to pop, and aren’t painful when you do, but they do bleed a lot more than your average juice bubble. Still, they’re inconspicuous, altogether rather numb and they don’t limit arm usability in the slightest. Very easily manageable.

Pain: 2
Inconvenience: 0
Embarrassment: 2


Back to the OGs now – a cheek spot is about as common as a forehead joint, we’ve all had them. Only thing is, your lovely, soft, slightly furry cheeks are a lot more sensitive than your wizened, frown-battered forehead, so getting rid of them is a bit tougher. The only acceptable pinching-of-cheeks is when your grandmother does it to you because you’ve “grown” – soiling them with pus after splitting your skin on purpose, with your own hands: that’s not cricket. It hurts, and it’s not something that anybody is keen on repeating.

Also, YOUR FACE, again.

Pain: 5
Inconvenience: 5
Embarrassment: 7


BACNE – it has its own special name, this strain. In a way, that’s a good thing because it means enough people have had it that they had to give it its own exclusive title – you’re not alone. Still, it doesn’t mean that you actively want a sloppy old boil gluing your t-shirt to your back, does it? Backs are sensitive, too, so dealing with outbreaks is altogether unpleasant – that is, if you can even get at them. They’re on the opposite side to your face and eyes.

If you’ve got a particularly understanding and not-at-all squeamish partner, then you can always get them to sort it out for you, but most people aren’t really about that life, yo. All in all, not an ideal homestead for a spot – grab your polo neck until it dies down, I rate.

Pain: 5
Inconvenience: 3
Embarrassment: 6

Head (underneath your hair, that is)

These little fuckers will go completely unnoticed (unless you’re bald) for ages, that is, until you either accidentally scratch one off, or you simply lean your head against the wall and are greeted with a skull-vibrating wave of head-pain. 

For some reason, they are able to lay dormant for ages, causing no discomfort whatsoever, but once disturbed, they make themselves known, big time. They’re like the landmines of integumentary pustules.

Pain: 5
Inconvenience: 4
Embarrassment: Only embarrassing if you’re going to the hairdressers, 2

Pubic region

Really, you’re only gonna get these little wastemen if you’re going too deep on the whole “clean-shaven” thing. Wet shaving that pubis of yours is only going to lead to a bumpy mess of ingrowing hairs, rashy skin and ripe, engorged pores. Not to mention a couple of funny looks by whoever’s unlucky enough to see your pubeless dick-forehead.

If you are unfortunate enough to bag a couple of these downstairs candies, then you’re not gonna have the easiest of rides (literally). Pain is on the up, and embarrassment is nigh, as is the constant friction in your gross boxers at even the slightest fidget.

Pain: 6
Inconvenience: 8
Embarrassment: 8


Unfortunately, if you get a spot on your nose, it means you’re a witch, so that’s annoying. Also, regardless of the fact that it shares the same type of skin as your forehead, it’s somehow way more painful. A spot on the nose is a banger, and a real toughy to dispose of quickly and/or calmly.

Also, get your hands on a nasal balloon and you can say goodbye to an inconspicuous nose – prepare to spend the next few hours in Rudolph’s hooves as you outwardly display your accurate location with a flashing safety beacon broadcasting worldwide from the middle of your face.

Pain: 7
Inconvenience: 5
Embarrassment: 7


If we’re talking inconvenience here, then this one comes out pretty high. You really don’t realise how much you rest your goddamn elbows on everything, all the time, until you’ve got yourself a perfectly round, unfeasibly giant, cock-blocking red Statham’s head on your arm-knee. Always big, always obvious, and always ultra-sensitive – these wild arseholes are a day-ruining body-abomination, and I’ll be happy when they’re booted off the face of the planet.

Thankfully, they only come along about once every three years, so for the most part, they won’t affect your life too much.

Pain: 7
Inconvenience: 9
Embarrassment: 6


The skin on your ears is stretched pretty thin, right, so when you get a bastard spot on one of them, you know about it. Delicate little buggers, your lugs – not designed to have spots on, designed to capture sound and direct it to your ear drum. Spots probably disrupt this, if anything.

Of course, knowing this, you’ll want to get rid of the blighters – only thing is, touch one and your head’s a screeching, jack-hammered mess. Annoyingly, regardless of how gross they are, or how much they disrupt airwaves, your best bet is to leave ear-spots alone.

Of course, you’re not going to do that (nor would I), so I recommend whiskey, I guess.

Pain: 7
Inconvenience: 5
Embarrassment: 7


Cold sores. Nobody wants to kiss you with a cold sore on the corner of your mouth. And a spot on your mouth is basically a cold sore – that’s what it looks like anyway. Either way, you ain’t getting any snogs. No tonguing for you.

So before you go out, you’re going to want to pop it – you don’t want anyone seeing that beige mound in da club, but whoops, popping it is the most painful thing ever. And if you do manage to pop it, don’t you worry because it’s coming back – it’ll be there the next morning with a vengeance, bigger and badder. 

If you’ve got a spot on your lip, the only cure is to stay indoors. Take the day off work, don’t turn up to your birthday party, stay face down in bed for the foreseeable future. It’s for your own good.

Pain: 8
Inconvenience: 10
Embarrassment: 10


Wow, OK, you’ve got one on your eye, that’s bad, isn’t it. Is it a cyst? A chalazion? No, it’s just a normal spot, but it’s still bad, because it’s on your EYE. People reckon you’ve got conjunctivitis, mate, and nobody wants that.

As such, you don’t have conjunctivitis, thank god, but it’s still a contentious matter: you don’t want a spot on your eye, but it’s far, far too painful to even attempt to pop. Try it and your brain will shrink with the force and speed of a rapidly retreating octopus; an octopus that has its tentacles wrapped around your optic nerve and is currently tugging it away from the socket, back into your skull.

If you find a spot on your eye – leave it. You’ll likely be quarantined – suspected infection by the Rage virus – but at least it won’t hurt. Apart from every time you blink.

Pain: 8
Inconvenience: 6
Embarrassment: 10


OK, this won’t actively stop you from getting your snog on, because it’s not immediately visible, but to go ahead with it is deeply deceitful move. To put that throbbing, damaged muscle into someone else’s mouth, knowing that it’s fit to burst, is insidious in the extreme. You’re a fraud.

Anyone else with a modicum of decency, and currently refraining from “pulling”, well, you’ve got a wide spread of other problems on your table. Good luck enjoying eating anything – each time a normally tasty morsel hits that glowing red button it’s pain time for Mr. You. And spicy food? Back of the cupboard, as far away from your mouth as possible.

ADDED WARNING: Do not try to pop these. It will spell disaster for you and anyone in your immediate proximity.

Pain: 9
Inconvenience: 10
Embarrassment: 7

Inside the nostril

Woah, you’ve hit the motherload here, bud. How did it get in there? How are you going to get at it?

Answers: No idea X2.

Regardless of its confusing and somewhat inexplicable placement, it still fucks, hard. It still hurts 100% of the time, even when you’re not even fiddling with it. And it still – remember it’s inside your nose, so should be invisible – it still makes your whole nose glow with 1000 Watts of pure Red Light District sleaze. It’s Hell In A Cell, only it’s you that’s being thrown through the announcer’s table, and The Undertaker is the spot.

Pain: 10
Inconvenience: 7
Embarrassment: 3

Inside the ear canal

Jackpot, baby – spot in your ear? That’s gonna smart, sir. Impossible to reach, impossible to ignore – this is perhaps the most violent and day-ruining of all places to find a spot. It doesn’t just affect your ear, it affects your skull, your brain, your eyes and even your arms, for some reason. 

It is also the one spot that gives you one option and one option only: you’ve gotta grit your teeth and wait this one out, tough guy. You’ve got a good two days’ worth of mind-numbing pain ahead of you, best to just suck it up and admit defeat. Godspeed, sweet child.

Pain: 10
Inconvenience: 10
Embarrassment: 3

I dunno, your dick?


Inconvenience: GO TO THE DOCTOR
Embarrassment: GO TO THE DOCTOR


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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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