Ways & How

How to Treat Acne Cysts

How to Treat Acne Cysts

Acne cysts are deep, inflamed breakouts that develop because of severe acne vulgaris. These cysts feel like soft, fluid-filled lumps growing under the surface of the skin and can often be painful.  They are more common in teenagers and young men, but anybody at any age can get them, especially if their parents had them when they were younger. Acne cysts are caused by the same factors that give rise to acne, such as overactive oil glands, excess dead skin cells that clog the hair follicle, and very active colonies of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. What makes acne cysts so much worse than typical pimples and acne is that instead of developing a ‘head,’ which will eventually push the debris and pus out onto the surface of the epidermis, it causes the follicle wall to rupture, and the debris and pus actually go deeper into the dermis, the inner layer of the skin. A membrane forms around this infection, and it eventually turns into necrotic (dead) tissue. It can take a very long time before the bump goes down, giving the skin a lumpy appearance. Acne cysts can cause serious damage to the skin, and individuals who suffer from these often experience significant self-confidence issues.

r those whose quality of life is already being affected by cystic acne, here’s how to treat acne cysts:

  1. Usually, your doctor will prescribe strong oral antibiotics to help your body get rid of the bacteria that is causing your skin to get infected. Antibiotics like doxycycline or tetracycline will help calm the inflammation from inside your body, which is especially helpful if you have cystic acne breakouts, not just on the face, but also on other parts of the body like the chest, back, arms, and buttocks.

  2. Corticosteroid injections are also an option for acne cysts, especially if they are particularly large ones or if they have already begun to infiltrate neighboring follicles. Only a qualified professional should do this procedure, because it actually involves the direct injection of the steroid right into the cyst itself. It’s really not as painful as it may sound (although you should expect some discomfort) because most doctors will apply a topical anesthesia beforehand. Steroid injections can bring swelling down in as early as a couple of days; it encourages the cyst to dry up from the inside, so it dries up with minimal scarring.

  3. For persistent cystic acne, a maintenance prescription of Accutane may be needed. Accutane is actually derived from vitamin A, and it acts by controlling excessive oil production and bacteria. It should be taken at the right dosage every day for at least four to five months. It has a high success rate, but it should only be used under medical supervision because it can cause numerous side effects, some of which can be serious.

  4. In women, acne is often due to high levels of androgens, or male hormones. Taking oral contraceptives can be quite effective in preventing future breakouts and acne cysts. However, not every woman is a good candidate for birth control pills; plus, it will typically take four to six months before any effect becomes noticeable.

It’s important to know how to treat acne cysts in order to prevent further skin damage and infection. The first thing you should realize is that it is a bad idea to attempt to pop an acne cyst; without the proper technique, you will merely be pushing the clog deeper into the dermis because there is no ‘head’ through which the dead tissue can be brought out to the skin surface. The right thing to do here is to have your dermatologist drain it properly so that the swelling will eventually go down without leaving a pitting scar. Cystic acne really needs to be brought to the attention of your doctor because effectively treating it requires a more systemic approach. This advanced form of acne also attacks tissues within the skin, and unless you act as soon as you can, scars and pitted marks are fairly certain.


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