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Cystic acne is a type of acne characterized by deep, inflamed breakouts on the skin. These breakouts are often painful and can lead to scarring. While it is most common in teenagers and young adults, anyone can get cystic acne.

What does Cystic Acne Look Like?

Cystic acne can appear as large, red bumps on the skin that are often tender to touch. Cysts can occur on the face, chest, back, or anywhere else on the body and are often accompanied by blackheads or whiteheads.

Cystic vs. Normal Acne

woman posing with cystic acne on her faceThe main difference between cystic acne and other types of acne is that cysts are deep under the skin, while other pimples are closer to the surface. Cysts form when there is a build-up of oil and dead skin cells in the pores. This can cause the pores to become blocked, allowing bacteria to grow. The body then tries to fight the infection by sending white blood cells to the area. This causes inflammation and can lead to redness, swelling, and pain.

What is Cystic Acne Cause By?

Several things can contribute to the development of cystic acne. One of the main causes is genetics. If you have a family history of acne, you are more likely to develop it yourself. Hormonal changes can also trigger breakouts, which is why teenagers and women who are pregnant or going through menopause are more prone to developing acne. Diet and stress can also play a role in the development of acne. Foods that are high in sugar and dairy, as well as fried foods, can contribute to breakouts. Finally, certain medications, such as birth control pills or steroids, can also cause your skin to break out.

Can You Prevent Cystic Acne?

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent cystic acne, there are some things you can do to lessen your chances of developing breakouts. It is important to clean your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Avoid scrubbing your skin too harshly, as this can irritate the skin and make breakouts worse. You should also avoid touching your face or picking at your skin, as this can cause the bacteria to spread and lead to more breakouts. Finally, be sure to eat a healthy diet and manage stress levels, as both of these can contribute to the development of acne.

Ways to Treat Cystic Acne

There are a few different ways to treat cystic acne. One option is to use topical treatments like retinoids or benzoyl peroxide. These can help to unclog pores and reduce inflammation. However, they aren’t always effective at treating deep breakouts.

The recommended option is to get oral medication from your dermatologist. This can be antibiotics, birth control pills, or isotretinoin (a powerful acne medication). These options can help to clear up your skin from the inside out and are often more effective than topical treatments. In severe cases, they may also suggest surgery to remove the cysts. With proper treatment, you can get your acne under control and improve your complexion.

Our team at Center for Dermatology can help to diagnose your acne condition and come up with a treatment plan that will work for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.