Cystic Acne: Definition, Causes, Treatment and How to Prevent


You will find this page is very useful to know more about cystic acne starting from the definition to know how the effective treatment can help you to get rid of it. You know, you may have known the dozens of pages tell about this skin problem even some commercial skin products are also claimed to get rid of it instantly including some home remedies that will work significantly. Well, it is better to know the truth about this acne since it is categorized as severe acne and only by a help of a doctor will help.

Cystic acne is truly embarrassing even it is also emotionally distressing problem moreover if they occur on your face. Medical treatments as well as help of doctor are the recommended treatment to try since you need to prevent the worst effects of this acne. If this acne is not rightly cared, then the more serious effects may occur. You will find more detailed information about this acne right here. Let’s we start with some fast facts about this acne before we learn about definition and other essential discussion.

Facts of Cystic Acne

Here is the list of facts of this acne that you need to know first before you learn about this acne in deeper information. The facts include;

  • Cystic acne is considered as the most severe acne form.
  • Cystic acne is uncommon skin problem while acne (general one) is more common.
  • This acne doesn’t occur caused by greasy foods, nuts or chocolate including poor hygiene as well as masturbation.
  • The main cause behind this acne is a hormonal change in the puberty, but older age groups may experience this acne.
  • This acne can be very painful, distressing and embarrassing since the effects are on facial appearance.
    This acne doesn’t need any special tests as it is easy to diagnose.
  • Specific oral medication where it can take a very long time, by number of months, can be successful in dealing with this acne but there are severe side effects may occur so registered specialists’ advices must be performed.
  • Practical self-care tips can be helpful to any types of acne including for cystic acne.

Cystic Acne Definition and Information

cystic acne information in detail

So, you have known some facts about this acne. It is the time to learn more about the truth of this kind of acne. First question is what is cystic acne? This acne can be defined as a skin condition where the pores of the skin then become blocked and it leads to the inflammation and infection. This acne mainly affects face and often time affects upper arm and upper trunk. Medical treatment for the skin pores is pilosebacous units. This includes hair follicles as well as the accompanying sebaceous glands.

The accompanying sebaceous glands can secrete oily substance. It is called by sebum. Normal sebum secretions can help to protect hair follicles as well as skin. However, overproduction of the sebum including overgrowth of the skin cells cause the skin pores to be plugged with the sebum as well as epidermal cells shed from our skin. Then, this condition creates optional conditions of overgrowth of the anaerobic bacterium that normally found on our skin, called as Propionibacterium acnes.

Read also : Acne Free Reviews and How It Makes Your Skin Better

Then, these plugs are better known as comedones. They can be black or white headed. These comedones may be uninfected or non-inflammatory acne and they can be infected as well as inflamed too where it then leads to papules, nodules and pustules including cysts. Cystic acne is considered as the worst of the lesions or also called as pimples, zits or spots. Papules may occur when Propionibacterium acnes bacteria then lead to the irritation of hair follicles. Remember the following words;

Pustules can occur as Propionibacterium acnes bacteria then lead to the inflammation of hair follicles that can cause swollen red bumps. Cysts can occur when inflammation then lead to the rupture of hair follicles where it can be caused by harsh scrubbing or squeezing the spots, releasing matter that can trigger deeper, painful and hard cysts and wider inflammation.

General acne can affect young adults and adolescents. It is about 80{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46} of people with age between 11 and also 30 years. For cystic acne, it can affect fewer people since it is the most severe form of acne. Based on US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, it is estimated that 2 from 1000 people affected this most severe form acne comparing with almost 70 people from 1000 who have acne in general. CDC also found in 2009, acne is also the top reason for patients to visit a dermatologist.

What Causes Cystic Acne?

As has been mentioned above, acne is a condition of a blockage of our skin pores that can be caused by overproduction of skin cells or sebum, combined with inflammation that can be triggered by Propionibacterium acnes bacterium. Cysts are considered as the most inflamed as well as ruptured form of comedones.For the biggest factor that can cause acne is hormonal change in teenage years. It is during the puberty since the levels of the circulating androgen hormones then dramatically increase.

The increase of the circulating androgen hormones then lead to the increased production of sebum as well as greater proliferation of the skin cells. Besides that, acne is not only limited for teenagers since there are some factors that involved. So, what causes cystic acne? The factors can be;

  • Hormonal changes, it relates to the puberty, pregnancy, the menstrual cycle, birth control, stress as well as hormone therapy use.
  • Occlusive, cleansers, greasy cosmetics, lotions as well as clothing
  • Some chemicals and drugs such as corticosteroids, isoniazid, phenytoin and lithium can cause or worsen the eruptions where they are same to acne.
  • High levels of sweating and humidity

Those are the main causes of acne including cystic acne. Well, there are some myths that are popular as causes of acne. These myths are dismissed by proven scientific research. So, you should not believe about these myths. The myths say that acne is caused by greasy foods, nuts or chocolates, masturbation or sex, inadequate face washing or poor hygiene including dietary choices. You can ask to your doctor or dermatologist about these myths or look further information.

Signs and Symptoms of Cystic Acne

main signs and symtomps of cystic acne

Well, most of us, it is about 70{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46} to 80{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46} may have experienced with acne. For cystic acne, it is even more visible since it is the most severe form where it produces nodules and cysts. As the result, you can see numerous inflammatory pustules and papules will appear even this acne can cause a visible scarring. This acne including acne in general will affect self mood and self esteem as well. But, the risk of cystic acne for the psychological distress can be higher since this severe acne has greater impacts.

The greater impacts of cystic acne can be seen clearly on face and it will make those who are affected to be more sensitive socially. Besides that, this acne including other acnes in general may not produce symptoms physically that is felt by those who are affected but it is the skin appearance where it can lead to the emotional distress. In this cystic acne, the distress can be higher and this acne has more painful feeling. The right treatment is crucial since this acne can create long term effects.

Indeed, the cystic acne cure and treatment must be performed immediately since there is a risk of scarring for the long term effect of cystic acne. So, this acne can produce longer term even permanent damage that can be seen in the form of ice pick scars in small and deep pits, large pits, hypertrophic scarring such as red and raised scars, as well as shallow depressions. But, before you take any cystic acne treatment, it is advised to take test and diagnosis first to know the level of the severity.

Tests and Diagnosis of Cystic Acne

In general acne, the diagnosis can by simple examination. It is clear enough for your doctor to see. Sure, closer examination may be performed to differentiate the type of acne including other conditions like rosacea. Your doctor may ask some questions like a history before to conform. It is like the problem that is not caused by the use of drugs like corticosteroids. Your doctor may assess the psychosocial impact too especially for the severe acne such as how the acne can affect your mood and activity.

Cystic acne is diagnosed when there are five or even more cysts that are visible on the skin including over 100 comedones. Ensure to go to your doctor or dermatologist first to know the level of the severity of acne you have to know the right treatment and prevention. Wrong treatment can cause more severe level even can worsen the condition. Besides that, the right treatment must be performed immediately after you are diagnosed with cystic acne since it needs quite long time to deal with.

Treatment of Cystic Acne

the best home treatment of cystic acne

Here, your question about how to treat cystic acne will be clearly answered. Remember this word, any treatments of severe acne including cystic acne absolutely requires the help of a registered and specialist doctor or dermatologist including the right self-care measures. Then, drug treatment is required since it is effective in preventing both cysts and scarring. This is what you need to always remember since primary care physician will not work for severe acne moreover for cystic acne.

Read also : Know These Surprising Do’s and Don’ts for Acne Treatments That Work

Well, moderate or mild acne can be well managed by asking a primary care physician’s help. But, for severe acne moreover it is for cystic acne where it is characterized by cysts and nodules where it has risks for scarring needs only a registered skin specialist. It is because it needs the main drug treatment that is tightly controlled. There are some common drug treatments that will be given by a doctor. It depends on the latest condition of the severe acne you have. They include;

• Benzoyl peroxide

This kind of drug treatment can be used by anyone with cystic acne and other severe acnes. This treatment is also as a treatment option that is offered to those who are still waiting the specialist treatment. This drug is available in pharmacies. This drug has become a mainstay for the severe acne treatment for more than 50 years. This drug works impressively as it will kill bacteria especially Propionibacterium acnes. It can break up the comedones since it has mild comedolytic inside.

This drug consists of water based as well as alcohol based formulations that work effectively also available. But, to get the most appropriate form, it depends on your skin type. Alcohol based may be good for those who have oily skin as it has properties with drying effect. Other products of benzoyl peroxide include lotions, cleansing bars and liquids, gels and creams. It is used once or twice in a day. There is a side effect like irritation as well as allergies although rarely.

• Isotretinoin

This kind of drug treatment is considered as a prescription drug that is used for cystic acne specially. There are some brands sell this drug. In the US, there are Sotret, Myorisan, Claravis, Amnesteem, Absorica and Accutane (but it is no longer sold). This drug is also very effective since it has the strong and active properties to deal with cystic acne. But, it has several side effects where the most dangerous one of them is for unborn child. So, it is advised to take this drug under a specialist’s advice.

Your doctor usually will advise to take this drug by 1mg dosage for every kilogram of your body weight and take only one a day for 16 even up to 20 weeks. It is about four to five months. A higher dosage such as 2 mg per kg may be used including lower dosage such as 0.5 mg per kg. It depends on what your doctor advice as well as the latest diagnosis of the condition of the acne. Just remember if this acne is not recommended to take for moderate acne level except by the standard treatment.

The standard treatment performed by a doctor will advise to take oral antibiotic first. When it will not work, then isotretinoin may be given. It is because this drug is only recommended to take as the first line of treatment for severe acne level. Sure, this drug also has some side effects like; elevated lipid levels, depression, joint pains, chapped lips, eye and genital dryness. That is why; taking this drug is only allowed when you have asked your specialists. This drug is not for pregnant women.

This drug is actually a tertogenic drug. So, it is not allowed for pregnant women. Taking this drug, at any dose, during pregnancy, even for the short time is dangerous since it can lead to the congenital malformations or birth defects at offspring. This drug can lead to the loss of pregnancy and premature birth. Even, it can cause death for the newborn. For women who will pregnant therefore advised strongly to take this drug under a specialist since there can be a method for taking this drug.

Due to the dangerous effects of this drug during the pregnancy, this drug is restricted and only available in registered prescribers or pharmacies as well as specialists. This drug needs a registration for the patients too before they take it. That is because of the dangerous effect. So, the patients may be required to be tested with pregnancy tests to ensure they are not pregnant before they take this drug. Well, this drug is effective but sure with a strong caution for pregnant women.

• Steroid injections

This kind of treatment uses an injection of corticosteroid. This injection can help reduce the inflammation and prevent scarring. This treatment is usually performed by dermatologist. The injection itself is dilute. It is 0.1 milliliters of the triamcinolone suspension that is reduced to 2.5 milligrams/milliliter. This injection may have short side effects. A dermatologist may offer the patients incision as well as drainage of the large cysts. It is strongly recommended not to do this by your own.

• Birth control pills

For the long treatment for acne especially for women, they can take birth control pill too where it can suppresses the sebum production. When it is possible, oral contraceptive that contains estrogen as well as progesterone can be used for about six months even more. Drug that is called with spironolactone can be also prescribed with these pills. It is a synthetic steroid that can inhibit the androgens.

• Self-care advice

There are also some self-care advices that can be performed to avoid a worse condition of the acne. You can ask your doctor. But generally, you will be asked not to wash the face or area with acne too often. It is enough to wash twice in a day and use a cleanser or mild soap and also lukewarm water. You will be asked not to scrub harshly when you are washing as it is to avoid the abrasive soap, astringents and cleansing granules even exfoliating agents. You should leave pimples alone without squeezing.

It is because squeezing or picking the pimples can worsen the condition of the acne. Then, you will be advised to avoid using a heavy makeup and to choose water-based makeup as well as without comedogenic formulation. It is suggested to avoid oily formulations too and make sure to remove your makeup before you go to bed. There can be other self-care advices you can find out there or from your doctor, but generally, the advices above will be included to perform.

So, how to get rid of cystic acne? You have known the answers since some treatments above will help you to deal with cystic or other severe acnes although it may take several months to see the significant change. Patience on treating the acne becomes a struggling thing that you need to do since this is considered as the most severe acne. Well, besides those treatments above, there are home remedies that can work tool. But, still, ask your doctor first before taking these remedies.

Home Remedies for Cystic Acne

home remedies for cystic acne that works effectively

Just like has been stated before that taking cystic acne home remedy including other severe acnes may work effectively. But, you need to make sure to ask your doctor first since some medical treatments may not be allowed to take together with the following home remedies.

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda has antiseptic as well as anti-inflammatory properties that can heal cystic acne as well as balances your pH level including make the skin healthier as it can absorb excess oil including exfoliating your skin. Just make thin pasta made of 1 or tbsp. of baking soda and water. Then, apply it to the affected are. Next, leave it for about 15 to 20 minutes. After that, rinse it with lukewarm water. Repeat this treatment for 1 to 2 times in a day until you see the positive change on the affected area.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar or ACV can also stabilize your skin’s natural pH levels as well as prevents the future outbreaks. You can take a cotton ball or with Q-tip to apply AVC to the skin that is affected with cystic acne right before you are going to sleep. Then, leave it for overnight as well as rinse it with water in the next morning. Just repeat this treatment until you see the progress. AVC is one of the effective home remedies due to the properties inside. This can help but sure needs some couple times.

3. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil also has active natural antibacterial properties. They can treat cystic acne naturally. They can penetrate your skin to unblock the sebaceous glands and disinfect pores including dry out blemishes. The process to apply this oil is same with using AVC above. You can also make a solution made of 1 tbsp. of tea tree oil with 9 tbsp. of water. Stir it will until it becomes a fine solution. Then, apply it to the affected area. Just leave it for about 3 to 5 min. and rinse with water. Repeat it regularly.

4. Egg White

As we have known that egg whites also have proteins as well as riboflavin that can clear acne including leave your skin healthy and smooth. It is easy to apply it to your skin. Just take 2 or 3 egg yolks then apply it to the affected area. Then, leave it for about 5 or 8 minutes. Rinse it with lukewarm water. You can repeat this regularly until you see the positive results. It may need some couple times but work significantly. You will be surprised too. Remember to ask your doctor first before taking this treatment.

5. Coconut Oil

This home remedy is also considered as an affective hydrating agent that has anti-bacterial properties. These properties can work very well in treating acne. You can use fingers or cotton swab to apply about 5 to 10 drops of the unrefined coconut oil to the skin that is affected by cystic acne before you are going to sleep. Then leave it for overnight. Rinse it in the morning. Just repeat this treatment regularly until you see the significant change. It can treat cystic acne better and without side effects.

6. Clay Mask

You know, clay can clean as well as exfoliate while it can remove the excess oil as well as able to eliminate the dead skin cells. It can speed the healing process too including lessens the chance of scars to form. Mix natural clay such as fuller’s earth together with water. This is to make a paste. Then, apply it to the skin that is affected. Leave it dry and then rinse it with water. Just repeat this treatment for 1 to 2 times. You can also do it until the results are visible. This treatment is also effective.

7. Aloe Vera

All of us have known that this miracle herb is a great healer. It contains anti-inflammatory as well as soothing properties that work amazingly. You just need to squeeze the gel that you take from a fresh Aloe Vera leaf. You can simply use an Aloe Vera juice too. Then, apply it to the affected area carefully and gently massage for about 2 to 3 minutes. Just leave it for about 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse it with the water. Repeat this treatment for daily treatment until you see the results are visible.

8. Honey Mask

This amazing home remedy is a source of a natural antiseptic as well as antibacterial and also exfoliate agent. This agent can clears your skin including reduce the redness and inflammation. It can remove the dead skin cells too since it is able to kill the bacteria. Then, it can leave your skin soft and fresh. Just simply apply 1 to 2 tbsp. of honey to the affected skin. Then, leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse it with warm water. You can repeat this treatment regularly until you see the results are visible.

9. Aspirin Mask

It has been known that aspirin can be a great exfoliant. This is why many people find this treatment is very effective in dealing with acne. Take and mix 1 or 2 aspirin pills that have been crushed with water. This is to make a thin paste. If desired, you can replace the water with honey. Then, apply it to the affected skin. Leave it for about 15 minutes. Then, rinse it with lukewarm water. Just repeat this treatment regularly until the positive results are visible. You will be surprised too.

10. Mango

This sweet fruit can also help open the clogged pores. It can leave your skin soft as well as glowing. It is simple to use this treatment. Mix water with ripe mango juice or with orange juice. Then, apply it to the affected skin. Next, leave it for about 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse it with water. You can easily repeat this treatment regularly until you see the positive results on the affected area. Cystic acne may be slowly removed and your skin will be healthier and fresher.

Cystic Acne Removal

Well, if you are not interested in taking those home remedies, and you love more cystic acne removal or products, you need to be more careful. Just remember that the treatment of severe acne requires the advice on a registered specialist. You may take this removal product but if it is based on the suggestion of your doctor. Besides, you need to read the labels. Not all removals may work even they can lead to the opposite, make the cystic acne worse since it may not be suitable with your skin condition.

Preventing Cystic Acne

how to prevent cystic acne

How to prevent cystic acne? Well, this can be the last question you ask if you want to prevent this severe acne. There is no an effective treatments that will work to prevent this acne except you will change your lifestyle too. It is because the causes of this acne that has been mentioned in the earlier page are about causes that related to the lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle becomes an emergency treatment you need to do. Here is the list of the treatments to prevent this severe acne.

  • You need to take healthy diet programs since what you eat can affect how much the acne that you have  including how it can be severe. Try to eat low glycemic diet and cut back on diary.
  • Cut down all stimulants such as smoking and alcohol.
  • You must reduce your stress.
  • Try to always have time to exercise.
  • Get enough sleep, and
  • Drink more water

Those treatments are taken from some studies. So, they have been proven effectively can prevent you from any kinds of acne including for the severe level like cystic acne. You may also get some tips when you visit your doctor or a dermatologist. Ensure to follow their suggestions and be patient during the treatment since you are dealing with the most severe acne.


© 2016, Start For Health. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You Might Also Like