What is Cystic Acne ?


What is Cystic Acne ?

If you are suffering from big pimples (diameter 4mm and over), chances are (if one can say) that you are facing cystic acne, also known as nodulocystic acne, one of the most severe form of acne So what is cystic acne ?
Here are the best articles from the net about cystic acne that will help you understand what this skin issue is. Who gets it, its causes and effects :

What is Cystic Acne

Understanding Cystic Acne and Nodulocystic Acne

what is cystic acneCystic acne, or nodulocystic acne, is the most severe form of acne vulgaris. Deep, inflamed breakouts develop on the face and/or other areas of the body. The blemishes themselves can become large; some may measure up to several centimeters across.

Although many people use the term « cystic » to describe any type of severely inflamed acne, only those who develop cysts truly have cystic acne. Cysts are the most serious kind of acne blemish. They feel like soft, fluid-filled lumps under the skin’s surface. Cysts can be painful.

Nodulocystic acne sufferers develop nodules as well as cysts. Nodules are hard, painful lumps under the skin’s surface. Much larger than papules, nodules form deep within the skin and take a long time to heal. Some skin care experts believe acne cysts are not really cysts at all, but rather severely inflamed nodular breakouts.

For those who have nodules, but do not have cystic lesions, the term nodular acne is more accurate. No matter what label you use, a dermatologist must treat acne of this severity.

Who Gets Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne can affect anyone, but it is more common in teenage boys and young men. Acne seems to run in families. If your parents had cystic acne, you are more likely to experience severe acne yourself.

Causes of Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is caused by the same factors as other forms of acne, which are:

*overactive oil glands
*excess dead skin cells within the hair follicle (pore), and
*a large number of acne-causing bacteria, Propionibacteria acnes

Inflamed acne blemishes develop when the follicle wall ruptures, leaking infected material into the dermis. If this break occurs near the skin’s surface, the blemish is usually minor and heals quickly. Deeper breaks in the follicle wall cause more serious lesions. Nodules develop when the contaminated material infects adjoining follicles.

Like nodules, cysts begin as a deep break in the pore wall. A membrane then forms around the infection within the dermis. Some people are more prone to developing these types of serious breakouts than others.

Cystic acne is not caused by a lack of cleansing, drinking soda, or eating sweets. The sufferer has done nothing to cause his skin problems.

Effects of Cystic Acne

what is cystic acneNodulocystic breakouts damage and destroy healthy skin tissue. Because of this, the likelihood of developing scars is extremely high. Picking at the skin and trying to pop cysts or nodules should be avoided at all costs. Doing so can greatly damage the skin, lead to scarring, and worsen acne. Aggressively treating this form of acne can help limit the severity of scarring.

It’s also common for those with severe acne to have feelings of embarrassment, shame, and anger regarding their skin. Some sufferers avoid mirrors, or shy away from social situations. Acne can hurt the self-esteem, and may lead to depression. If you feel acne is greatly affecting the quality of your life, please talk to your doctor. Luckily, with treatment, most people find their self-confidence improves.


A doctor must treat cystic and nodulocystic acne. Powerful systemic medications are usually required. Acne of this severity can be hard to control. Don’t be discouraged if the first treatment attempt fails. It may take several tries to find the treatment or combination of treatments that work for you. Some common treatments for nodulocystic acne include:

*oral antibiotics
*isotretinoin (Accutane)
*oral contraceptives – for women
*surgical excision and drainage (a doctor makes a small incision in the skin and extracts the infected material)
*intralesional corticosteroid injections


Understanding and Treating Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is one the most severe and difficult forms of acne to treat. Causing masses of infection to accumulate underneath the skin, cystic acne cannot be treated simply by opening up pores in the skin—because the pores no longer exist. No over the counter products, natural treatments, or home remedies can cure this severe, painful problem. With the right combination of strong medication and simple skin care, however, cystic acne can be reversed and skin damage repaired.


*An acne cyst is basically a pimple you couldn’t ever pop.
*Cysts are covered with healthy skin.
*Anyone can get cystic acne, but certain groups are more susceptible.
*Treating cystic acne requires surgery or oral medication. You should never try to treat cystic acne on your own.

What Is Cystic Acne ?

what is cystic acneCystic acne is basically a pimple you cannot possibly pop. The bacterium that causes acne, Propionibacterium acnes, grows faster when it is not exposed to the air. A skin pore gets clogged with the skin oil sebum that hardens over a colony of this acne bacteria. The bacteria themselves produce peroxides that help break down the sebum they consume as food. These peroxides are irritating, but they are not the main source of the problem in cystic acne.

The major damage of cystic acne is done by the immune system itself. The body sends white blood cells that release inflammatory chemicals known as interleukin-8, interleukin-12, and tumor necrosis factor. The bacteria send out chemicals that make the skin unusually sensitive to these chemicals, and the walls of the pore dissolve. Since acne bacteria don’t need air, and grow faster when they are not exposed to air, they invade surrounding tissues around the pores. They send out more chemicals to make more skin cells sensitive to inflammation, and the immune system sends out even more inflammatory agents.

As long as the pore is open to the surface, the infection can be treated with topical antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide. In babies who have rapidly growing skin and in certain people whose skin grows faster in response to inflammation (more about those groups in a moment), however, new skin encases the infection. This forms a cyst that can persist for months or years, causing itching, irritation, and embarrassment.

Who Gets Cystic Acne?

Anyone can get cystic acne, but the condition is most common in:

*Babies of all races who have compromised immune systems,
*Teenage and adult Hispanic men and women,
*Teenage and young adult African-American men and women, and
*Women of all races who have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome, of PCOS.

Babies can be born with blackheads. These blemishes are distressing to the new parents, but they usually go away in a few weeks. When the baby has been exposed to some chemical that alters the immune system, however, the blackhead can trap bacteria inside the skin and cause a cyst to form.

Hispanic teens and adults of both sexes are much more likely to get cystic acne than people of northern European descent. Actually, one does not have to have a Hispanic surname or Hispanic ancestors to have an elevated risk of acne. Dermatologists term the type of skin that gets “Hispanic” acne Fitzpatrick Skin Types IV and V. This is skin that is beige to dark brown that takes a tan but very seldom burns.

By “African” skin, dermatologists really mean Fitzpatrick Skin Type VI. This is black skin that never burns. Most people who have black skin only get cystic acne on the face. When cystic acne occurs elsewhere on the body, it is a telltale sign of another condition that is most common among people of African heritage, sarcoidosis. Blacks and Whites get acne about the same rate, although Blacks typically develop acne in response to changes in sex hormones, while Whites typically develop acne in response to stress hormones.

White people can get cystic acne, too. Unlike people of African heritage, people of European heritage usually develop cystic acne on the back and chest, not on the face. In Whites, cystic acne on the face is a sign of immune deficiency disease.

Women of all races can develop persistent acne with polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. In PCOS, acne is due to overproduction of testosterone by the ovaries, but it is not exclusively due to the overproduction of testosterone by the ovaries. Growth hormone also affects the condition of the skin. Ironically, the women who are working hardest to control their PCOS by natural means are the women who are most likely to develop cystic acne. This is due to the fact that fasting diets are used to bring down blood sugar levels to bring down testosterone levels, and growth hormone levels increase during fasting.

What Can Be Done About Cystic Acne?

what is cystic acneNothing you put on your skin heals cystic acne. Microdermabrasion won’t work, because the skin over the cysts is still healthy. Laser therapies won’t work because they don’t penetrate deep enough. Natural therapies just don’t work, either. This form of acne has to be treated from the inside out with heavy duty acne medication, or treated with surgery. Most people prefer medication to lancing or surgery.

The drug most commonly prescribed for cystic acne is isotretinoin, also known as Accutane. This drug is taken by mouth, not spread over the skin. It gradually shrinks the tissues encasing the cyst, and it stimulates the growth of the skin over the cyst so it eventually opens to the surface without lancing. But that’s when your daily acne skin care routine has to begin in earnest.

Stimulating the growth of the skin opens cysts, but it also closes pores. If you do not follow an effective daily skin care routine, preferably with the help of a treatment kit such as Exposed Skin Care so you take care of every aspect of mild to moderate acne care, your underlying condition can cause your skin to form new cysts about as fast as the old cysts heal. It is essential to do the same cleansing, moisturizing, and exfoliating routine anyone does for non-cystic acne, probably for the rest of your life. But if you keep up your skin care, cysts will be gone for good. Then you can turn your attention to acne scar removal.

Never try to treat cystic acne on your own.

There are conditions that look like cystic acne that are not really cystic acne, especially acne keloidalis nuchae, which occurs most frequently in Black and Hispanic teenaged males. Never take someone else’s acne treatment. Work with your dermatologist to find your own acne solutions to get the best results.


Huge Acne Cysts

If you are suffering from a very painful pimple with a diameter of 5 mm or more, you probably have nodulocystic acne, also known as cystic acne. This type of acne forms deep within the skin and is one of the most severe forms of acne vulgaris. A relatively uncommon problem, cystic acne can be a one-pimple incident or widespread over your face, neck, chest, back or shoulders.


Nodulocystic acne can form from a variety of causes. It might develop from a popular or nodular lesion, or possibly from a non-acne cyst that develops in the outer layer of the skin. It can also be the result of personal choices, such as using harsh soap on your face or not using clean hands to apply cosmetics or cleansers to the face. Additionally, a diet deficient in fruits and vegetables, particularly those with vitamin A, can result in cystic acne. The antioxidants in vitamin A curb the creation of chemicals that develop into cystic acne.


It is tempting to attempt to extract the pus in cystic acne; however, squeezing a pimple can cause an infection deeper within the skin coupled with painful inflammation that will last a longer period of time than if you had let the acne be. Even picking at the cyst could result in scarring and permanent skin damage.


Because nodulocystic acne is considered severe, it requires aggressive treatment. This might include isotretinoin and antibiotics, or your dermatologist might try to « melt » the cyst with intralesional corticosteriods. This takes three to five days to work and reduces swelling. If these options do not work, the cyst might need to be drained and surgically excised by a dermatologist, who will make a small incision into the skin to remove the cyst.


Nodulocystic acne, while severe, could actually get worse by developing into acne conglobata. This occurs when cysts that are close together combine and produce soft areas under the skin with tunnels, cell destruction and inflammation. This is a chronic form of acne vulgaris, and you might experience deep abscesses, scarring and severe damage to the skin.


Preventing cystic acne is very similar to general skin care–wash your face twice a day with gentle cleansers and use noncomedogenic skin care products. If you have developed a cyst, keep the affected area clean and avoid using makeup. Keep your hands away from the cyst, being sure not to squeeze or pop it.


Hope you get good informations about what is cystic acne and that it will help you.

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