Cystic acne can seriously impact self-esteem. Characterized by inflammation deep in the skin, these large cysts are painful. If ignored, it can take weeks to disappear and may even leave behind scars. If you’re looking for effective cystic acne treatment, read on to find out what dermatologists recommend to target the cause and prevent future breakouts.
What is Cystic Acne?
Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne that causes tender, fluid-filled cysts to form deep under the skin. Unlike pimples that contain a core of dead skin cells and pus, cystic acne cannot be popped, and any picking will usually cause trauma, more inflammation, and scarring.
Cystic acne typically shows up on the face but can also develop on the shoulders, chest, back, and neck. An acne cyst starts as a tender bump under the skin and may resemble a boil. These oil and bacteria-filled cysts will grow bigger and more inflamed over time. Therefore, early treatment is crucial when it comes to helping the skin recover.
What Causes Cystic Acne?
There is no single cause of cystic acne, but like all types of blemishes, the problem starts with a clogged pore. When dead skin cells, bacteria, and oils get trapped in the sebaceous glands, the result is inflammation and a tender, infected lump. In addition, certain cosmetics and skincare products can clog pores, increasing the chances of a flare-up.
Genetics is another factor to consider. If your parents and older siblings had cystic acne at some point, there is a high likelihood that you will also develop it.
Perhaps the biggest culprit for cystic acne breakouts is fluctuating hormones. Surges in testosterone and estrogen during puberty can cause cystic acne, as can hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstrual cycles, and menopause. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) creates excess androgen hormones that can also cause it.
It is not caused by poor dietary choices, though some foods may trigger inflammation more than others. If you notice a link between certain meals and acne breakouts, let your dermatologist know.
How to Treat Cystic Acne?
Home remedies and over-the-counter products are rarely effective for managing cystic acne. So, if you’ve tried everything and are wondering how to get rid of it, it’s time to see a board-certified dermatologist who can prescribe a personalized treatment plan.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for it. Instead, your dermatologist will determine the best course of action after determining the underlying causes of your acne.
A cystic acne treatment plan may incorporate one or several of these therapies:
- Prescription antibiotics such as doxycycline taken orally to address infection and inflammation
- Corticosteroid injections that quickly shrink cysts
- Spironolactone oral medication to clear up hormone-related cystic acne
- Oral retinoids to reduce oil gland secretions
- Birth control pills to regulate hormones that trigger acne cysts
- Topical retinoid creams or gels to encourage skin exfoliation
Acne Dermatologist in Dallas
If you’re suffering from under-the-skin cystic breakouts, an acne treatment dermatologist can prescribe a treatment plan that works. At Dallas Dermatology Partners, we are dedicated to providing quality patient care in a caring and supportive environment. Contact us today for an appointment.