cystic acne

How to Get Rid of Cystic Acne: Treatments Explained

Acne is one of the banes of every teenager’s existence. And cystic acne is the most severe form of acne and can be unpleasant to look at and painful.

Do you have a bad case of acne and are worried that you might have cystic acne

We’ll look at cystic acne, its causes, and ways to prevent it. We’ll also look at different treatments so you can get rid of it quickly.

Related:  How Do Pimples Actually Form? The Types and Causes of Acne

What is Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne is severe inflammatory acne that causes pus-filled cysts to form deep underneath the skin. With cystic acne, it’s common for bacteria to get into the pores, which can cause painful swelling, inflammation, and sometimes scarring.

What Does an Acne Cyst Look Like

Cystic acne looks similar to boils and may feel like:

  • A red bump or lump under the skin
  • A crusty scab
  • Tender or painful to touch
  • A whitish or yellow head that oozes puss
  • From pea to dime-sized

The Difference Between Acne Cysts and Acne Nodules

While acne cysts and acne nodules are similar because they both cause painful bumps deep under the skin and scars, they are different.

  • Acne cysts are filled with fluid, as well as pus
  • Acne nodules are firmer and more solid than acne cysts but don’t contain any fluid.

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What Causes Cystic Acne?

Acne is caused by pores in the skin clogging with dead skin cells and excess oil. Bacteria can then enter the skin’s pores and get trapped along with dead skin cells and oil, which can cause swelling deep in the middle layer of the skin. This red, infected, swollen lump is cystic acne.

Common causes of cystic acne include:

  • Genetics: some people are more likely to develop acne than others
  • Medications: like lithium, steroids, or oral contraception
  • Stress: causes a release of androgens which are hormones that lead to the development of acne
  • Hormonal Fluctuations: caused by puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
  • Skin’s Microbiome: certain species of bacteria are associated with acne and can cause inflammation

Where Does Cystic Acne Develop?

Cystic acne outbreaks can cover a large patch of skin. Cystic acne typically develops on the face because of the number of oil glands.

However, you can also find cystic acne on your:

  • Upper Arms
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Butt
  • Neck
  • Chest

Ways to Prevent Cystic Acne

There are many steps you can take to lower your risk of getting acne, including:

  • Don’t go to sleep wearing makeup.
  • Avoid diets high in simple sugars and dairy or a high glycemic index diet.
  • Wash your face with a mild foaming facial cleanser multiple times daily.
  • Wash your hair regularly and keep it away from your face.
  • Don’t touch your face with your hands.
  • Use only non-comedogenic (water-based) makeup.
  • Don’t pop pimples or pick at scabs.
  • Use an oil-free moisturizer for dry skin.

Related: 13 Sneaky Causes of Acne

How To Treat Cystic Acne

Depending on the severity of your case of cystic acne, you may be able to treat it at home using some basic self-care tips.

Treating Mild Cystic Acne

It’s essential to bring the swelling down of the pimple and to keep it clean to help reduce the spread of acne.

Here are some tips from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) for mild home care cases:

  1. Wash your face with a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser to remove dirt, makeup, or oil.
  1. Apply ice to the pimple using a cool pack or in a cloth for 5 to 10 minutes. Then rest for 10 minutes and repeat the process.
  1. Use a topical treatment that contains at least 2% benzoyl peroxide, as it is antibacterial and available in many over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments.
  1. After a white spot has appeared in the middle of a cyst, apply a warm compress and gently press it onto the pimple for 10-15 minutes.

Topical Treatments

There are several topical products that dermatologists recommend for treating cystic acne, including:

  • Retinoids - The topical products include forms of vitamin A including retinol, adapalene, and tretinoin. 
  • Topical Antibiotics: Topical antibiotics kill the types of bacteria that can cause or worsen severe and help prevent new acne from forming.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: This ingredient is found in many acne treatments as it kills bacteria and keeps pores from becoming blocked.
  • Salicylic Acid Gel Peels: Gel peels with salicylic acid not only kill bacteria. But they also help eliminate excess dead skin cells that can clog pores. 

Oral Medications

Oral medications, or systemic treatments, have a more widespread effect on the boy than topical treatments.

Oral medications used to treat cystic acne include:

  • Oral Contraceptives - Oral contraceptives with a small amount of estrogen may help females reduce cystic acne.
  • Antibiotics - Oral antibiotics like doxycycline or minocycline can be used to treat severe cystic acne.
  • Spironolactone - Spironolactone works by reducing the amount of androgen hormones in the body, like testosterone. It should not be used by people who are pregnant.
  • Retinoids - Isotretinoin and other potent retinoids can significantly reduce severe acne. It is not to be used by someone pregnant or nursing.  

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Preventing Cystic Acne Is The First Step in Getting Rid of It

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne that produces large, often painful, pus-filled pimples deep under the skin. In addition, because bacteria gets into the pores with cystic acne, there’s often swelling and inflammation.

Taking steps like washing your face regularly, not sleeping with makeup on, keeping your hands away from your face, and not popping or scratching pimples can help reduce the spread of cystic acne. And, often, slow the formation of new pimples.

A salicylic acid gel peel like one from Perfect Image is a great way to get rid of acne as it is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and can penetrate deep into the skin.

It’s crucial that you find the proper treatment for your skin type and not something that works for someone else’s. Your skin will look better, and you’ll get rid of your cystic acne more quickly.  

Related: Face Mapping Your Acne

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