An Overview of Cystic Acne, its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Cystic Acne is a severe acne type that happens as a result of blocked pores. Cystic acne usually leads to skin inflammation and infection. Although acne is a common type of skin condition, cystic acne normally affects very few people.

What Causes of Cystic Acne

young girl with cystic acne face and back

Cystic acne is caused by overproduction of oil i.e. sebum as well as clogging of the skin pores as a result of dirt, dead skin cells or bacteria. A cystic acne is usually inflamed and also ruptured. One of the most common factors that trigger acne is hormonal changes during puberty. It’s because of this that most adolescents end up experiencing acne. However, acne can also be experienced by anybody regardless of their age. Common causes of cystic acne include:

  • Changes in hormones which could be as a result of birth control, menses, stress, pregnancy, and application of hormone therapy.
  • Sweating or humid environment.
  • Genetics which means that some people may inherit acne.
  • Oily lotions, cleansers or makeups.
  • Chemicals and drugs such as lithium, isoniazid, corticosteroids etc.

Symptoms of Cystic Acne

A girl with cystic acne in her face

The symptoms of cystic acne are usually visible because this is a severe type of inflammatory acne. Normally, there are nodules and cysts as well as pustules and papules. The most common symptoms of cystic acne are large pits, small pits which are deep under the skin, red and raised scars. In addition to those, some people may end up with shallow skin depressions.

Cystic acne, just like all acne types can affect mood and the self-esteem of a person. The affected person may end up experiencing psychological stress because of their appearance. Cystic acne, for instance, usually leads to a higher emotional distress and the cysts are usually painful. This is why it’s important to treat this skin condition at the onset in order to reduce the risk of permeant scarring.

Cystic Acne Treatment

young girls shock of her acne

Cystic acne treatment can be in form of pills, injections, creams as well as therapies. The treatment is usually administered depending on the acne type. Besides that, the severity of the acne also plays an important role in determining the best type of cystic acne treatment. Common types of cystic acne treatment include:

Birth Control Pills

They are usually prescribed to people suffering from hormonal acne. Birth control pills help to suppress the overproduction of hormones. They contain progesterone and estrogen which should be used to suppress rapid hormonal changes. Birth control pills inhibit the production of androgens which usually sparks acne.

Steroid Injections

Directly injecting steroids such as corticosteroid helps to reduce acne inflammation. In addition to that, the injections also prevent scarring. Note that a steroid injection is usually administered by a dermatologist and its benefits can last for a long period of time.

Isotretinoin

This prescription drug is an effective cystic acne treatment. Isotretinoin is usually sold as Sotret, Absorica, and Claravis etc. However, this drug can be very dangerous and users should be monitored by a doctor. It’s been observed that this drug can cause birth defects.

Home Remedies

Home Remedies

Apart from prescription drugs, the symptoms of cystic acne can be controlled by various home remedies. These remedies are normally used as self-care techniques and they should be used consistently for better results. Home remedies for cystic acne include:

  • Applying apple cider vinegar on the affected area. Apple cider vinegar is effective because it helps to kill the bacteria that causes acne.
  • Using cinnamon and honey mask. This combination is highly effective thanks to the high amounts of antioxidants which help to fight bacteria.
  • Drinking Green tea is also good as it contains antioxidants which promote good skin health. Applying green tea directly on the affected skin also helps to reduce inflammation.
  • Moisturize the skin with Aloe Vera gel. Note that Aloe Vera is often safe and more effective than most lotions, creams, and soaps designed for cystic acne treatment.

Other Types of Acne

Apart from cystic acne, there are other acne types which are either inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Examples of inflammatory acne include papules, pustules, and nodules. A non-inflammatory acne is either a whitehead or a blackhead and they are usually mild and not painful. There is also hormonal acne that’s caused by hormonal changes.

Difference Between Hormonal and Cystic Acne

what type of acne do i have

Just like other acne, hormonal acne can also be very severe. There is a big difference between cystic acne and hormonal acne. Cystic acne stays throughout while hormonal acne occurs during or before menstruation. While the former can be sudden, the latter usually occurs at least once after every menstrual cycle. In addition to that, hormonal acne is caused by hormones while cystic acne is caused by cysts.

Final Thoughts

Cystic acne can be effectively managed. To prevent its occurrence or to reduce its symptoms, always wash the affected area twice daily. Additionally, try and avoid touching that skin and avoid overexposing yourself to sun rays. Cystic acne can be a chronic skin condition hence it should be observed and treated with a lot of care.

References

  1. https://yabeauty.com/differences-between-hormonal-and-cystic-acne-and-how-to-treat-each/
  2. https://healthunlocked.com/womenshealth/posts/135013537/know-the-difference-between-hormonal-acne-and-cystic-acne
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-acne-remedies#section10

A Detailed Overview of Types of Acne, Causes and Prevention Techniques

What is Acne?

This is a skin condition which normally occurs when the hair follicles get plugged with dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil. Naturally, the skin has very tiny holes which are known as pores. When they are blocked by dirt, oil, dead cells or bacteria, one may develop a pimple. However, if the skin gets affected by zits or pimples repeatedly, then that might be acne.

Acne is among the most commonly experienced skin conditions but it isn’t life-threatening. However, they can be painful and tender to touch. In addition to that, it can also be very severe and the affected person may end up experiencing an emotional distress. In case you have a severe acne on your face, this may negatively impact your self-esteem.

What are the Main Causes of Acne?

Main Causes of Acne

Overall, most people usually experience acne when the skin pores get clogged. Note that each skin pore provides an opening to the hair follicle which also has the sebaceous gland. A clogged pore means that the oil gland will be inhibited from releasing sebum onto the skin (sebum makes the skin supple, soft and lubricated). Some of the factors that can make the skin pores to get clogged include:

  • Excess production of sebum by the follicles
  • Accumulation of dead skin cells in the pores
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • A buildup of bacteria in the pores.

The Risk Factors of Acne

The Risk Factors of Acne

Apart from the above-mentioned causes, there are several risk factors of acne. Some of them can be controlled or prevented while others are uncontrollable. However, all these risk factors can be managed or controlled using self-care methods or prescription drugs. The most common types of acne risk factors are:

  • Hormonal changes: it’s commonly experienced by females especially teens. Hormonal changes might also be caused certain drugs.
  • Stress: it might worsen the symptoms of acne.
  • Genetics: if your family has a history with acne, then you might also be at risk.
  • Friction: when too much pressure or friction is applied to the skin, a person may end up with acne.
  • Age: as much as acne can affect people of all age groups, it’s mainly common in teenagers. During puberty, the body usually undergoes a rapid hormonal change that can trigger excess production of oil.
  • Diet: foods that are carbohydrates or refined sugars in high amounts may contribute to acne.

Types of Acne

Type of Acne

Acne is categorized into two primary groups: inflammatory & noninflammatory. These two types of acne affect the skin differently. Furthermore, their severity is also different as well as the symptoms. The description below offers an overview of what makes them different.

Non-inflammatory Acne

It’s considered the least severe type of acne. Non-inflammatory acne is usually not painful. Additionally, it does not cause skin swellings. This type of acne appears in two forms, whiteheads and blackheads.

Whiteheads

Medically, they are known as the closed comedones. They are usually small in size and they have whitish and sometimes flesh-colored bumps. Whiteheads are circular and they have a white center. However, this type of on-inflammatory ace does not result in scarring.

Blackheads

Clinically, blackheads are known as the open comedones. They have black and small spots which are slightly raised. The center of a blackhead is usually darker compared to the surrounding skin because of dirt. Note that blackheads are sometimes regarded as open and wide whiteheads.

Non-inflammatory Acne Treatment Options

Non-inflammatory Acne Treatment

Non-inflammatory Acne can be effectively treated using self-care techniques. The acne treatment options range from homemade products to prescribed drugs. They include:

  • Over-the-counter drugs: for instance, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur.
  • Gels and toners
  • Moisturizers
  • Creams

In addition to these, a lifestyle change or home remedy may help to reduce the symptoms and effects of white and blackhead. You can do this by avoiding stress, washing the affected area with lukewarm water and mild soap, staying hydrated and eating well-balanced meals. Besides those, ensure that you avoid exposing your skin to strong sun rays. Avoid over-washing the skin and always wear sunscreen when you are outdoors during the day. Avoid popping or picking the whiteheads and blackheads as this could result in scars, pitting and dark spots.

Inflammatory Acne

This is usually a severe type of acne and it normally results in pitting or scarring. Inflammatory acne is lesions which are swollen, inflamed and red in color. Furthermore, they are usually tender to touch. Inflammatory types of acne are pustules, nodules, papules, and cysts.

Minor or mild Inflammatory Acne

Papules

These are small bumps that are found under the surface of the skin. Papules are usually pink in color. In addition to that, they are usually solid and raised above the skin surface. This acne is tender and makes the surrounding skin red and swollen.

Pustules

These are pimples that have a circular center that’s well-defined. Pustules are tender, bigger and filled with pus. They are more inflamed and larger than whiteheads.

Treatment and Remedies

Treatment and Remedies

These are mild types of inflammatory acne and they can be treated using self-care techniques or OTC drugs. Some of their treatment options include:

  • Using warm water and soap to wash the affected area twice daily.
  • Using OTC drugs such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide
  • Warm compressing the affected area for a couple of minutes.

Moderate-Severe Inflammatory Acne

Nodules

They are painful and hard inflamed bumps found deep under the ski. This type of inflammatory acne doesn’t have a visible head and it appears a deeper and larger version of papules. A server nodule can cause scarring, dark spots or acne blemish.

Cystic Acne

This is a severe type of inflammatory acne. Cystic acne is soft, large and very painful. Because the lumps are usually located deep underneath the skin and filled with pus, cystic acne can result in serious complications like scarring.

Hormonal Acne

This type of acne is caused by changes in hormone levels. Note that hormonal acne normally occurs during puberty as the body changes. Hormonal acne can be mild or severe and cause blemishes.

Treatment Options

Treatment of acne

A moderate or severe acne can’t be effectively treated from home. These lesions are usually dangerous and need the services of a dermatologist. They can be treated using Hormonal contraceptives for hormonal acne, Antibiotics like amoxicillin, doxycycline, and tetracycline, Chemical peels, Retinoids like isotretinoin, Photodynamic therapy, Steroid injections, Extraction or drainage as in cystic acne among others.

What are the Symptoms of Acne?

The symptoms and signs of acne depend on the type of acne. In addition to that, the severity of the acne also influences the symptoms. Different people usually experienced different types of acne but hormonal acne is usually common in teenagers. The most common symptoms of acne include:

  • Small pimples which are filled with pus at the tips and red in color i.e. pustules.
  • Large, painful lumps beneath the skin that contain pus i.e. cystic acne.
  • Hard and painful bumps beneath the skin i.e. nodules
  • Small, raised bumps that are red in color i.e. papules.

When to Seek Acne Treatment

Acne should be treated from the on-set. This helps to effectively limit its spread and makes the treatment process faster and easier. A mild type of acne can be treated using home remedies and OTC drugs for four to eight weeks. However, a severe type of acne needs immediate medical attention. If the cane is causing you emotional distress, has pus, bleeds a lot, painful and covers a big portion of your body or face, seek medical attention as soon as you can.

How Acne Can Be Prevented

How Acne Can Be Prevented

Acne can be managed successfully and also prevented. There are various home remedies which can be used to prevent acne and they include:

  • Avoiding oily makeups
  • Washing the affected area twice daily with a mild cleanser.
  • Removing makeup and washing your face before bed.
  • Avoid clothes that are tight.
  • Ensure that you shower after exercising.
  • Eat healthy and well-balanced meals with less refined sugars.
  • Avoiding stress.

If you already have acne, you can effectively reduce its severity by:

  • Regularly shampooing the hair and keeping it away from your face.
  • Using non-comedogenic makeup or water-based makeup to prevent clogging of the pores.
  • Avoid picking or popping the pimples as this promotes the spread of bacteria on the skin.
  • Void touching the affected area with dirty hands.
  • Sleeping on clean bed sheets and pillow. Ensure that you change your pillow covers and bed sheets every other day. This helps to prevent dirt from clogging in your skin pores.

Final Thoughts

Acne is a condition that can be managed and also treated. Hormonal acne, for instance, can be treated using hormonal contraceptives which cystic acne can be drained. Papules and pustules are usually mild and they can be treated using home remedies such as aloe Vera juice, green tea among others. Additionally, lifestyle change is vital for acne treatment. Ensure that you get enough sleep, avoid sugary foods and drink lots of water. Acne is a condition that requires a lot of care as well as patience. While you are under treatment, ensure that you use the remedies consistently in order to attain the best results.

References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/symptom/acne
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322322.php