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Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is one of the most severe forms of acne which is characterized by deep breakouts that develop on the face and/or other parts of the body.  These blemishes can extend to over several centimeters in diameter.   The major defining difference in cystic acne is the development of cysts; soft, fluid filled lumps under the skins surface that can be painful.

In addition to the cysts, nodules form as well.  These nodules are hard, painful lumps that can be felt but are just under the skins surface.

Causes

The causes of cystic acne are similar to other forms of acne which stem from overactive oil glands, excess dead skin and an excessive amount of acne causing bacteria.  Nodules are formed when there is a deep break in the pore wall followed by a membrane then encapsulates the infection.

The steps to the formation of cysts are synonymous to other forms of acne.  You start with overactive oil glands which clog a follicle.  The clogged follicle has a buildup of dead skin cells and bacteria find their way in.  Finally, the infection of bacteria gives rise to a puss-like liquid that fills the follicle.  We refer to this buildup as a ‘whitehead.’

Problems

One of the major side effects of cystic acne is scaring.  The breakouts damage and destroy health skin tissue.  People often pick at or attempt to pop cysts which can leave even more damage to the skin.

Additionally, people with acne tend to be quite embarrassed about their complexion.  As this is an unfortunate consequence, people with acne tend to be less social and sometimes enter depression.

Treatment

As this is a severe form of acne, a doctor must prescribe medication to combat the repetitive formation of cysts.  Not all treatment will for everyone, therefore do not be discouraged if it does not work on the first try.  Medical treatments include:

–          Isotretinion

–          Corticosteroid injections

–          Surgical release and drainage

–          Oral contraceptives (women only)

–          Antiseptics

–          Antibiotics

Self-Care

Ways to minimize the rate of cyst or nodule formation include:

–          Cleansing your skin with a nondrying soap.  Remove all dirt and make up and wash twice daily

–          Shampooing your hair regularly; decreases the amount of oil residue on your scalp and face

–          Do not attempt to remove ANY cysts

–          Avoid abrasive or tight clothing

–          Avoid greasy cosmetics

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