Cystic acne is an aggressive form of acne that can be difficult to treat. It’s far less common than the typical sorts of acne that most people experience. So, what exactly is it, and how can you treat cystic acne?
Cystic Acne: An Introduction
Cystic acne is caused by hormonal changes and bacteria that get trapped below the skin’s surface. It typically affects the face, upper back, and upper chest. Many people who struggle with the skin condition find that it’s difficult to treat themselves and require the help of a dermatologist.
What Does Cystic Acne Look Like?
When you get a pimple or breakout, it usually appears on top of your skin, where you can see the head and pop it. With cystic acne, the pimples form as cysts below the skin. The cysts can appear as boils, white or red bumps that are painful to touch, and are often much larger than the typical pimple.
If you’re struggling with cystic acne, you may find that over-the-counter acne products don’t seem to help. This is also extremely common. Don’t worry, though, cystic acne can be treated.
How Can You Treat Cystic Acne?
Since over-the-counter medications are not typically strong enough to treat cystic acne, finding a doctor or dermatologist you trust may be the best course of action. They will be able to evaluate your skin, ask questions about your lifestyle, and determine how to address the frustrating problem.
As cystic acne can result from a build-up of bacteria under the skin, doctors may recommend antibiotics as a first line of short-term treatment. Antibiotics are best when the cysts are widespread. They help fight the bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Prescription Topical Medication
Another common type of treatment for cystic acne is topical medication. Usually containing retinoids, a compound of vitamin A. Sometimes, a doctor may also recommend a topical medical that contains antibiotics as well.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills are a common form of treatment for cystic acne in women, as hormones are a common cause of the skin condition. It is usually recommended as a form of combination treatment, in conjunction with other approaches. Birth control pills are effective at treating cystic acne as they can help lower women’s androgen levels, the hormone associated with cystic acne.
Isotretinoin, commonly known by the brand name Accutane, is usually a doctor’s last line of defense against cystic acne after other options have been ineffective. While the medication is known for having great results, there are serious risks and side effects associated with its use.
These risks include congenital disabilities, suicidal ideation, low white blood cell count, high blood sugar, problems with vision, stroke, and more. It’s essential to have a serious and thorough discussion with your doctor before going on an isotretinoin regimen.
Cystic Acne Tips to Remember
Cystic acne can be frustrating, damaging to self-esteem, and can lower your confidence level. It’s a severe skin condition, though it can be effectively treated. If you have cystic acne, you mustn’t pick at it. This can lead to increased scarring and the spread of infection, such as staph.
Don’t lose hope. While the road to treating cystic acne may be difficult, it’s something that can be overcome.