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At Long Last: The Cystic Acne Management Guide You've Been Waiting For

Monday, January 4, 2021


While some people associate acne with their teenage years, roughly 50 million Americans suffer from it. Most humans will agree that pimples and red spots are annoying, but making these problems disappear is not always easy—especially if you suffer from cystic acne.

Cystic acne is the most severe kind of acne, as it sinks deep into the interior dermis layer. You'll want to visit a specialist who can determine whether you have this type of acne. If you know that you suffer from cystic acne, continue reading to learn about the different ways you can go out managing it.

What is Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne occurs when oils, dead skin cells, and bacteria seep deep into your pores or hair follicles. When this happens, large, red, painful bumps will start to form on your body. While it is common for cystic acne to pop up on your face, specifically around your jawline, it can also occur on your chest, shoulders, and back.

What Causes Cystic Acne?

There are many possible causes of cystic acne. Dermatologists see many teenagers who have it because of hormone imbalance during puberty. When your hormones are out of whack, they send a signal to oil-producing glands that tells them to overproduce oil.

This hormone imbalance happens during pregnancy too, which is why sometimes expecting mothers will get cystic acne. Stress and lack of sleep (which is usually influenced by stress levels) will affect your skin. Finding activities that release stress and produce endorphins will help prevent further breakouts.

Some studies have linked dairy consumption, refined sugars, and processed foods to cystic acne. Avoid consuming any foods that fall under these categories for a few weeks to see if they contribute to your breakouts.

How to Treat Cystic Acne

There are many ways that you can try to minimize the effects of cystic acne. Below are some steps you can take on your own if you are unable to see a dermatologist. There is also some information about what services a dermatologist will offer if you have one.

Skincare Routine

Use a gentle cleanser that contains salicylic acid to wash your face. Cleansing helps remove any excess oils and dead skin cells that could be causing build-up.

The more severe your acne is, the more salicylic acid you'll want in your product. Research your cleanser to see how much salicylic acid it contains.

While it may seem like scrubbing your face is the most effective method for getting your skin clean, it is not. Scrubbing will irritate your skin even further and cause your cystic acne to flare up even more. Instead, rub the cleanser into your face lightly in circular motions.

It is best to wash your face two times a day, when you wake up or before you go to bed and after sweating. Perspiration collects all the dirt and bacteria on your face and seeps into the pores.

Stick to two times a day to avoid overwashing, as it strips the face of its natural oils. Your glands will then overproduce oil.

Speaking of stripping skin of its oils, you should also steer clear of harsh exfoliants. They'll aggravate your acne and increase inflammation.

Instead, use an oil-free moisturizer. This product restores your moisture barrier, counteracting the work your cleanser and treatments are doing to dry out your pores. Both niacinamide and hyaluronic acid will help seal that moisture in your face, so look for moisturizers with those ingredients.

Home Remedies

Because cystic acne can be painful for so many, try putting pain-relieving medication right on your spots. You can create a homemade spot treatment by crushing up an aspirin and mixing it with water.

Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory products, which makes it an effective mask ingredient. Just mix turmeric powder with water. Be warned, though, that turmeric stains pretty easily, so it could leave its yellow-orangish color on your face if you leave it on for too long.

Lastly, you can put tea-tree oil on your face to reduce inflammation. You'll want to be careful about how much you use because you don't want the oil to contribute to your clogged pores.

Before you try any of these methods, keep in mind that they do not work for everyone. Additionally, using the correct amount of each ingredient is essential in avoiding making your acne worse.

Dos and Do Nots

Treat a pimple as soon as you feel it coming on by wrapping an ice cube in a paper towel and putting it on your face. Similar to dealing with an injury, the ice will reduce any swelling that the pimple causes. Put the ice on your face a few times throughout the day.

Always remove your makeup or sunscreen at the end of the day. Having a fresh face will allow your skin to breathe.

You can purchase sunscreen that has low traces of oil in it to keep your pores from clogging even more. It is still an essential part of your skincare routine because it prevents your spots from turning red or darkening.

Refrain from popping your pimples. Unlike regular acne, cystic acne contains white blood cells, which you cannot pop. Touching your face will bother the skin and can cause scarring.

Last but not least, make sure to wash or change your pillowcase frequently. When you lay your head down, the oils on your face transfer to the pillow. Every time you use your pillow after that, your skin touches dirty oils and bacteria. They will then seep back into your pores, causing those red spots to pop up.

Dermatologist Recommended

One of the perks of going to a dermatologist is that they consider your lifestyle and the medications you take before prescribing medicine or suggesting a treatment. If your acne is excruciatingly painful, they can give you a cortisol shot to relieve that discomfort.

This treatment can be a bit pricey, so but you can find hydrocortisone at your local drugstore. It is a cost-effective way to relieve some of that pain.

Since hormones immensely affect your skin, your dermatologist might recommend that you go on birth control to level them out. They should contact your OBGYN to prescribe you one that is best for you.

Dermatologists may also recommend that you undergo isotretinoin, most widely known as Accutane. This oral medication shrinks your oil glands to prevent them from producing too much oil. Isotretinoin is often the treatment that you turn to if nothing else has worked.

If you've had cystic acne for a while, you might have scarring on your face. The good news is that there are treatments that will help remove these scars.

One noninvasive process called Endymed Intensif goes deep into the skin to smooth it out. Although it uses microneedles and gradually heats your skin to get the job done, it's pretty painless. Using products with salicylic acid or retinoids will also help undo some of the damage that cystic acne does to the skin.

Start Managing Your Acne

Now that you understand how to tackle cystic acne, you can read up on any other acne you might be experiencing—like body acne. It is always better to know more about your condition, so you know why it occurs and how to treat it.

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