Cystic Acne: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Posted by Jared delbo on

Acne is one of the common skin problems affecting more than 85% of teenagers which starts at puberty and reduces when a person reaches their 20s. However, there are some people who continue to suffer having acne in their mid 30’s and 40s. Cystic acne is different. It is a rare form of acne which can affect only two in every 1,000 people.

There are a number of remedies, therapies available to get rid of these, however, despite available cosmetics and solutions, its effect can go serious and can go deeper than the surface of the skin. A progression of acne can turn into a Cystic Acne. This form of acne is the advanced form of acne and will not disappear on its own, sometimes a week or two.

While Cystic acne is the rarest form and more common among men although it can affect any gender, age or race. The cause of cystic acne remains unknown. It starts with whiteheads (closed comedones) which then progress and turn into blackheads (open comedones). When you pick or pop these, they would only cause scarring.

And as it progresses and left untreated, it will go the final stage called Cystic acne. Cystic acne is a serious type of acne in which infection Once this cystic acne are manipulated and left untreated it can form deep, painful inflamed nodules and worst- scars.


This is seen as red or pinkish nodules on the skin. This happens when a follicle blocks up with sebum, the dead skin cells, and bacteria buildup, the pressure causes the cell wall to break that surrounds it.


This is observed as a yellowish or whitish head at the skin surface. Pustules is similar to a papule without the presence of the white blood cells. Pustules cause to build up and form a pimple or zit. 


An acne cyst referred to as the “cyst acne”, consists of a deep cavity or sac in which fluid and liquid forms.  These are generally softer than nodules. Cystic acne is usually felt deep within the skin before they become visible.


What Causes Cystic Acne? 


Hormones called androgens to play the part in the production of acne. However, some reasons are uncertain. Androgens increase during teenage years. These changes can cause clogged pores and acne in your skin. It is usually women who get affected by this condition, others are due to menstrual cycles, menopause and a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome.


Facts on Cystic Acne


Here are some common facts on cystic acne that you must know. Supporting information and more analysis is found in the rest of this article

  • Cystic acne is common and more severe than acne.
  • Cystic acne inflammation happens when there is an excess oil and dead cells formation.
  • Hormonal changes for teen puberty and adult individuals are the main factors behind cystic acne.
  • It is not caused by eating nuts or greasy food nor poor hygiene. But it is important that you eat healthily and you keep your hands clean.
  • Cystic acne can be extremely painful as well as it gives anxiety and emotional disturbance because of its facial appearance.


Is Cystic Acne Inherited?


There are claims that if your parents or older sibling had severe acne, you are also most likely to develop one yourself. Some experts claim heritability at almost 80 percent in first family degree members. However, there is still a trend that genetics or family history does not apply to all. Increase in production of testosterone, either its intrinsic or extrinsic while taking anabolic steroids may worsen a cystic acne condition.

For women, it is sometimes caused by the hormonal imbalance, which happens around menstruation irregularities and other factors.


What Are The Signs And Symptoms?


A long-standing, painful bud on the face, nape, chest, and back characterize cystic acne. When the swelling decrease, they usually have markings or scars. This is likely to occur often on the cheeks. For some, they think acne is just pimples. But a person with an acne can have any of the following acne signs and symptoms:

  • Blackheads (open comedones)
  • Whiteheads (closed comedones)
  • Pimples or Pustules
  • Cysts
  • Nodules

More than skin blemishes, studies explored on the people who have acne can experience:

Low self-esteem. Women, in particular, say that their acne makes them feel bad about themselves. It lowers their self-confidence and affects their performance at school or at work. Socializing can also become a drag as their skin becomes the center of attention.

Dark spots and blemishes. These appear when the acne gradually heals. Sadly, it can take months or even years for dark spots to eventually heal and disappear.

Permanent scars: People who had cystic acne often see scars when the acne is healed. Luckily, you can get rid of these scars by setting an appointment with a dermatologist. If you get an acne at age, say between 8 to 12 years old, it is best to consult early for prevention and treatment.

Depression: Aside from low self-esteem, a person can also suffer a mental health condition called depression. This is threatening to anyone who is diagnosed to have this is likely to commit suicide. Researchers show that teens are prone to suicidal ideation due to bad acne and other facial problems.


Cystic Acne Treatment That Can Work For You


Cystic acne is not as simple as your pimple. This humungous acne is probably the most severe and traumatic. Aside from concealing it, the pain they cause makes it impossible to pay no attention to. But whatever you do, don’t pop or prick it.


Here Are Simple Ways You Can Get Rid Of Cystic Acne Without Popping:

  1. Salicylic acid

Gently exfoliate your skin with salicylic cleanser. This gets rid of the excess oil and leaves a smooth finish.

  1. Cold Compress

Ice helps constrict blood vessels, wrapping the ice cube in a piece of cloth and press it against the nodules to lessen the redness and irritation. It will also bring down the swelling a little bit. (You can do this right after washing your face).

  1. Benzoyl peroxide

Kill the bacteria with benzoyl peroxide. This soothes through the skin and kills the bacteria trapped within that are causing the redness and inflammation around the follicle. Make sure to use a light moisturizer first then apply a super thin amount of benzoyl peroxide. Wash it off immediately if the burning or stinging comes too strong.

  1. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream

Reduce the redness and inflammation with hydrocortisone cream that contains a low amount of steroid just enough to shrink pimples and ease redness.


Cystic Acne: Prevention


As with any type and form of acne, the best way to get a real result is to prevent it. Normally, diet factors play a minor role in the prognosis of acne. Stick to a diet that does not aggravate the condition. Some usual misconception that particular food such as fried food, fatty food, chocolate, and nuts make acne worse. There is still no factual evidence to prove these relationships. However, if a person relates a worsening effect to a certain food, that it can be avoided.

Acne is not caused by poor hygiene, so frequent washing of the face will not prevent or lessen the acne. Scrubbing with soap obsessively may actually make the condition worst. However, washing the face whenever it is oily and approximately twice a day with mild soaps are preferred.

Taking unprescribed medication can aggravate the severity of cystic acne, including birth control methods (brands that composed of progesterone only), lithium, phenytoin and other drugs. It is recommended to talk to a doctor or dermatologists about any acne skin issues before taking any medication.

Today, trends in cosmetics are capable of agitating acne. Make-up can be avoided. If you are a frequent make-up user, select water-based products instead of occlusive. Try oil-based cosmetics but use it in moderation.




There is a new and latest trend in the management of acne. It is primary that the mechanism of the acne formation and treatment plans must be explained well to the patient. Every individual has its own severity of the inflammation of acne and scarring.

The goals of the acne treatment are to provide the best possible treatment, minimize scarring and to come out with the best appearance.

The aim of the skin therapy is to limit follicular hyperkeratosis, lessen acne production, prevent sebum secretion and fatty acid buildup and terminate comedones.

There are many products available, some of them are the over-the-counter treatment of cystic acne, but many of them do not claim any scientific-proven effect. Some are complicated and expensive and sometimes lead to more skin irritation and swelling. Patients should consult their dermatologists first before using or applying any treatment.


Most skin experts recommend going deep within the skin to treat the cystic acne from mild to severe form. Most topical treatments are used to treat the problem, however, they do little compare to intensive treatments leaving the sufferers helpless and feeling frustrated as the skin condition will keep on recurring.  Those with severe cystic acne who have undergone treatments from dermatologist have even resorted to treating the problem by taking oral antibiotics, birth control pills, prescription pills and cortisone shots.


In summation, a healthy diet and a systemic treatment combined is the best deal for a long lasting relief. There are now available organic cystic acne treatment that works from within the layers of the skin, directly affecting the hormones and sebaceous glands. These preventative measures can bring positive effect and reduce the production of sebum while it is safe, effective and you can have a peace of mind. So take a deep breath and don’t stress yourself. Do whatever measures you can to keep hormones level. Remember that cystic acne is the result of having a hormonal imbalance.

Cystic acne affects anyone with slightly different symptoms. Cystic acne must be treated at its source as it is the result of a hormonal imbalance that will not go away on its own. Resist the urge to pick or pop to prevent scar and spread of contamination.  Contaminated pores can extract the other surrounding pores which can lead to a more serious acne problem.



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