How To Treat Cystic Acne

Acne is a normal part of life, and most individuals experience it at some point or another. While adolescence tends to be when acne is most common, individuals can also have acne well into adulthood. Some types of acne aren't common, though, and they require dermatological treatment. Cystic acne is one of them. Instead of being small pimples, cystic acne is made up of red, large, painful breakouts that form deep inside the skin. The condition can often recur and may linger for multiple years. While it's most common on the face, it can also affect other areas of the skin like the shoulders, chest, back, and arms. Cystic acne is much more likely to cause permanent scarring than average acne.

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Apply Topical Benzoyl Peroxide


Cystic acne typically requires treatment methods other than those used on mild acne. The condition won't be affected by cleansers and over-the-counter medication, so consulting a dermatologist is important. Patients can apply topical benzoyl peroxide to treat both mild and moderate acne. It won't work on the underlying causes of cystic acne, but it may make breakouts less severe. The medicine reduces the number of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. It also dries the skin out and makes it peel. Patients should make sure they always check the ingredients list before using benzoyl peroxide, and follow the instructions. Some topical benzoyl peroxide products are available without a prescription, but prescription-strength medications are more likely to work on cystic acne. Lotions, cleansers, and foams containing benzoyl peroxide tend to require prescriptions. Patients should only apply the medicine to the areas suffering breakouts. They should also make sure they don't get it in their mouth, nose, or eyes.

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Steroid Injections


Steroid injections are a potential treatment for cystic acne. Cortisone shots use substances that mimic cortisol, the stress hormone released by the adrenal gland. Other terms for this treatment include cyst injection, steroid shot, and intralesional corticosteroid injection. During this treatment, the dermatologist injects diluted corticosteroids into the cyst itself. Patients will notice the pimple is shrinking in size within a few hours. It takes less than twenty-four hours for the pimple to disappear or almost disappear. Some doctors prefer to numb the area before the injection, but it's relatively painless regardless. Before the injection, the dermatologist might drain the sebum in the pimple. It only takes about fifteen seconds for the procedure to be over. Cortisone shots are usually used after other methods of treatment haven't worked, and they tend to be prioritized for stubborn and long-lasting cysts rather than normal breakouts. Some patients also use steroid injections to get rid of cystic acne if it develops right before an important event like a wedding. They should be aware, though, the shots can cause pitted scars if the dose of cortisone is too strong.

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Avoid Abrasive Skincare Products


Cystic acne isn't caused by abrasive products alone, but many individuals with cystic acne buy skincare products that can do more harm than good. Using abrasive skincare products can cause mild to moderate acne breakouts, worsen existing breakouts, and otherwise mess with the health of an individual's skin. Individuals with acne-prone skin often use exfoliating cleansers to try to remove dead skin cells, but abrasive and harsh products have a harmful effect. When individuals exfoliate, they're removing skin cells that can clog pores. Not all exfoliants are bad, but some contain chemicals and harsh ingredients that can damage and irritate skin. Individuals should avoid roughened cleansing cloths and gritty scrubs. When exfoliating, individuals should get chemical exfoliants instead, which include chemical peels, beta hydroxy acids, and alpha-hydroxy acids. This helps eliminate dead skin cells without the irritation and friction that physical exfoliants cause. Since different skin types require different exfoliants, patients should talk to a dermatologist when choosing skincare products.

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Wash Face Twice A Day


Most doctors and dermatologists recommend individuals wash their face twice a day whether they have cystic acne or not. Though this won't address the underlying cause, it can help prevent breakouts or make breakouts milder. Individuals should remove any makeup before washing their face, since the average cleanser can't clean their face and remove makeup at the same time. The type of cleanser they use is also important. Individuals shouldn't use hand soaps on their face, as these aren't formulated for the delicate tissues. The skin on the face is much more easily irritated than the skin on hands. Some individuals also shouldn't wash twice a day. It depends on skin type. If an individual's skin is very sensitive or dry, they should only wash once daily. Meanwhile, individuals with oily skin should wash in the morning and evening. It's also recommended for individuals to wash their face after a workout to get rid of the sweat, grime, and debris. When picking a cleanser, individuals should make sure it doesn't include fragrances, parabens, or harsh soaps.

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Avoid Heavy Makeup


Individuals should avoid heavy makeup if they're prone to cystic acne and other forms of acne. Makeup can clog pores and lead to breakouts and skin irritation. If individuals prefer a full face of makeup every day, they should be aware of the ingredients you're using. Some cosmetics are formulated specifically for individuals with acne and sensitive skin, while others can cause damage. All the makeup should be hypoallergenic, free of oils, non-irritating, free of grease, and none-comedogenic. When reading the ingredients list, the main one should be water. For those using mineral-based makeup, some added ingredients to look for are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and silica, as these hide redness and absorb oil without causing breakouts or skin irritation. Individuals should also look for products with dimethicone, an ingredient that smooths uneven skin and conceals redness.


    Katherine MacAulay