Dealing with Cystic Acne: Causes, Treatments & Prevention [2024]

Causes Cystic acne
Cystic acne

Cystic acne, recognised as the most severe form of acne, can present significant challenges for those affected, both physically and emotionally. Characterised by deep, painful cysts and inflammation deep within the skin, managing cystic acne requires a comprehensive approach that addresses its underlying causes and employs effective treatments.

In this guide, we delve into the intricacies of cystic acne, exploring its origins, triggers, and the array of remedies available, ranging from home remedies to medical interventions. By gaining a deeper understanding of cystic acne and its management strategies, individuals can embark on a journey towards clearer, healthier skin.

Understanding Cystic Acne

What is Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne, characterised by deep, inflamed acne cysts that develop beneath the skin's surface. These painful bumps can lead to permanent scarring if not properly treated.

Causes of Cystic Acne

Cystic acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and acne-causing bacteria. Hormonal changes, particularly fluctuations in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle, can also trigger cystic acne flare-ups.

Home Remedies for Cystic Acne Relief

Natural Topical Treatments

Tea Tree Oil for Cystic Acne

Tea tree oil possesses antibacterial properties that can help kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation associated with cystic acne breakouts.

Honey and Cinnamon Mask for Soothing Inflammation

A honey and cinnamon mask can soothe inflamed skin and promote healing. Honey's antibacterial properties help kill bacteria, while cinnamon's anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and swelling.

Dietary Changes for Managing Cystic Acne

Importance of a Low-Glycemic Diet

A low-glycemic diet can help prevent blood sugar spikes, which may exacerbate cystic acne breakouts. Focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Incorporating Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation associated with cystic acne.

Medical Treatments for Severe Cystic Acne

Topical and Oral Medications

Prescription Retinoids for Cystic Acne

Topical retinoids like tretinoin or adapalene help unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and promote skin cell turnover, making them effective treatments for cystic acne.

Oral Antibiotics to Reduce Inflammation

Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline or minocycline can help reduce inflammation and kill acne-causing bacteria, particularly in cases of severe cystic acne.

Procedures and Therapies

Corticosteroid Injections for Rapid Relief

Dermatologists may administer corticosteroid injections directly into cystic acne lesions to quickly reduce inflammation and pain.

Isotretinoin (Accutane) for Severe Cystic Acne

Isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane, is a powerful oral medication reserved for severe, treatment-resistant cystic acne. It works by reducing oil production, preventing clogged pores, and treating acne deep within the skin.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Managing Cystic Acne

Skincare Routine for Cystic Acne-Prone Skin

Gentle Cleansers and Moisturisers

Use gentle, non-comedogenic cleansers and oil-free moisturisers to cleanse and hydrate cystic acne-prone skin without clogging pores or exacerbating breakouts.

Importance of Sun Protection

Apply oil-free sunscreen daily to protect the skin from harmful UV rays, which can exacerbate inflammation and lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in acne-prone skin.

Stress Management Techniques

Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Reduction

Practice mindfulness meditation and relaxation techniques to reduce stress levels, as stress can exacerbate cystic acne breakouts.

Exercise and Its Impact on Cystic Acne

Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to promote overall skin health and reduce stress, which can help treat cystic acne flare-ups.

Professional Treatments for Cystic Acne

Dermatological Procedures

Chemical Peels for Cystic Acne Scars

Chemical peels containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid can help improve the appearance of acne scars by promoting skin cell turnover and exfoliating damaged skin cells.

Laser Therapy for Persistent Cystic Acne

Laser therapy treatments such as fractional laser resurfacing or intense pulsed light therapy can target acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation associated with cystic acne.

Alternative Therapies

Light Therapy for Cystic Acne

Light therapy treatments, including blue light therapy and photodynamic therapy, can help kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation, leading to clearer skin.

Extraction Techniques by Dermatologists

Dermatologists may perform professional extraction techniques to safely remove large, painful cystic acne lesions and prevent scarring.

In conclusion, effective treatments for severe acne, including prescription medications like benzoyl peroxide, aim to target acne vulgaris by addressing oily skin and the overactivity of sebaceous glands. Birth control pills may help regulate hormonal imbalances, a common factor in causing cystic acne treatments. Understanding the underlying causes of cystic acne treatment is crucial for tailoring treatments that effectively treat acne and improve overall skin health.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get rid of cystic acne?

Cystic acne can be challenging to treat, but various options are available, including topical medications, oral medications, and professional treatments like isotretinoin or corticosteroid injections.

What triggers cystic acne?

Cystic acne can be triggered by hormonal changes, excess oil production, clogged pores, and bacterial infections. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during the menstrual cycle, can exacerbate cystic acne breakouts.

Is it OK to squeeze cystic acne?

It is not recommended to squeeze or pop cystic acne lesions, as this can lead to further inflammation, infection, and potential scarring. Manipulating cystic acne can push bacteria and debris deeper into the skin, worsening the condition and prolonging the healing process.

How long does cystic acne usually last?

The duration of cystic acne can vary from person to person and depends on factors such as severity, treatment, and individual skin characteristics. While some cystic acne breakouts may resolve within a few weeks, others may persist for months or even years without proper treatment.