There is nothing more terrible than waking up to discover you have a giant pimple deep under your skin. Of all the types of acne, cystic acne is the most frustrating and severe form of acne. It also tends to be the deepest underneath your skin. These under-the-skin pimples are sometimes also known as "blind pimples” or “cysts”.
Cystic acne is painful to touch and often arises as a result of dirt, germs, oil, and dead skin cells becoming entrapped in a hair follicle or pore. These annoying pimples present as large, red bumps filled with pus and are incredibly hard to treat. It looks like an inflammatory lump under the skin and is different from the normal pimples you get.
It is usually larger than normal acne. Because of cysts’ size, inflammation, and proximity to the nerves, they are generally more sensitive and painful than normal pimples. Press on one pus-filled acne and it reverberates throughout the entire face. Although anyone can get cystic acne, persons with oily skin are more likely to get it.
It is also more prevalent in teenagers, women, and those with hormonal imbalances. While cystic acne is obstinate, you don’t have to live with it! There are several home remedies and advanced treatment choices to help you get rid of it.
What Is Cystic Acne And How Does It Develop?
It is a severe form of inflammatory acne that occurs when the skin's pores clog, causing infection and irritation. Painful, pus-filled pimples form deep under your skin and can linger for weeks, months, or even years. Our skin consists of sebaceous glands that generate sebum. Overproduction of sebum causes clogged pores that creates an environment for bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) to thrive.
This, in turn, triggers tender, inflammatory nodules in the skin's deepest layers. If you are someone with severe cystic acne, here’s what the inflammatory response looks like: Your follicle becomes clogged, trapping the germs and oil deep inside your pore and triggering severe inflammation. This inflammation then causes the pore's sides to break, allowing bacteria to leak into the nearby skin. The result is a huge, excruciatingly painful cystic zit.
The infection becomes worse when the cyst bursts, causing a chain of pus-filled breakouts over a greater area of skin. This damages your skin deeply and results in big red outbreaks that can appear on your face, chest, back, upper arms, shoulders, neck or any combination of these places. It can become a major cause of acne scarring if left untreated.
Cystic Acne Causes
Reasons for cystic acne are many! Hormonal cystic acne is mostly triggered by hormonal fluctuations that arise during puberty. Androgens play a critical role in it. Your androgen levels rise as you get older. Your skin changes as a result, which may escalate excess oil production, and cause clogged pores.
Additional factors that could trigger include:
- Age (teenagers are more prone to cystic acne)
- Pregnancy, menstrual cycle, and menopause hormonal changes
- Family history of cystic acne
- Certain substances in cosmetics
- Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Unhealthy diet
Cystic Acne Home Remedy
Waiting for the cyst to go away naturally could backfire because cystic acne is known to stick around on the skin for months or even years due to its contagious nature. Those painful bumps won’t go away on their own. If you want to avoid reaching the stage of acne scarring, just follow the below cystic acne home treatment tips:
Tea tree oil
Owing to its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, tea tree oil can soothe inflamed skin and relieve pesky acne flare-ups. It may also aid in reducing the cluster of acne-causing bacteria that accumulate on the skin's surface. Just dilute tea tree oil in warm water and directly apply the mixture to your face.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Just like tea tree oil, another wonderful natural remedy Apple Cider Vinegar shows promising anti-bacterial effects. Acetic acid present in it is effective to treat those stubborn acne.
This yellow-hued ingredient found in every home has curcumin that may minimize acne-triggered redness and inflammation on your skin. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties!
A turmeric mask can be beneficial. For preparing it, mix little water with turmeric powder and create a thick paste. Apply the paste directly to obstinate acne lesions and leave it for about 45 minutes. Rinse it off with water.
The astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties of witch hazel can tighten your pores, soothe acne, and decrease inflammation.
Ice can reduce redness when applied to acne that is inflamed, making it less noticeable. Owing to the short-term numbing effect that ice creates, it might ease cystic acne-triggered discomfort and pain. Wrap an ice cube in a towel or napkin (no direct-to-skin contact) and hold it against the pimple for 5-10 minutes.
Skincare Tips For Cystic Acne Prevention
Struggling with those giant, red, and unsightly breakouts on your skin? You don't have to settle for living with those pesky bumps. Taking good care of your skin is the best way to prevent cystic acne popping. The good news? Making some modifications to your lifestyle and skin care regimen can get you on the path to healthier skin. Say goodbye to cystic acne with the below tips!
#1 Wash your face twice a day
#2 Don’t exfoliate: Avoid using rough scrubs, exfoliants, and strong cleansers, as they may irritate the already inflamed skin. Ensure to use a gentle cleanser in the morning and prior to sleeping. Rinse your face with lukewarm water.
#3 Don’t touch your cysts: Do not touch, scratch, or rub the acne lesions. Trying to burst the cyst will only push the infection deeper, stimulating more severe scarring and chances of infection. To lessen the chance of cystic acne scars, you should let blemishes heal naturally rather than popping or pressing them.
#4: Moisturize: Use a good moisturizer to hydrate your skin and help oily skin restore its natural barrier. To prevent further pore clogging, make sure it is oil-free and non-comedogenic.
#5 Less make-up: Do not layer up heaps of makeup products on your skin. When wearing makeup, select water-based, oil-free, and non-comedogenic formulations; oily formulations must be strictly avoided. No matter how exhausted you are, properly cleanse your skin and take off your makeup before going to sleep.
#6 Clean scalp and hair: If you have an oily and greasy scalp, shampoo your hair regularly.
#7 De-stress: Stress may trigger your body to produce a higher amount of the hormone cortisol, which could intensify cystic acne. So, just relax your mind and keep stress at bay!
#8 Sunscreen: To shield your skin from sunburns, apply sunscreen before stepping out. Several medicines for cystic acne tend to make your skin more sensitive to sunburn. So, use sunscreen if you are suffering from cystic acne to prevent it from becoming worse.
#9 Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Get enough sleep. Do yoga and meditation. Increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Milk and other byproducts of milk, encompassing whey protein supplements can aggravate acne. So, eliminating dairy products like yogurt, milk, cheese from your diet may help to control new breakouts. Cut out as much refined sugar and processed foods as you can.
Incorporating low-glycemic, sugar-restricted diet can aid to improve cystic acne. Minimize intake of food with a high glycemic index, like white rice, whole wheat bread, cereals, pastas, fries, and starchy potatoes.
Cystic Acne Treatment Options
Having recurring acne can be one of the most exasperating experiences. Although there are many different types, sizes, and shapes of pimples, cystic acne is thought to be the most serious type. It is problematic and requires immediate attention and care. For treating cystic acne, your doctor might recommend the following:
- Topical Benzoyl Peroxide
- Retinoids like Isotretinoin, Adapalene, Tazarotene
- Hormone regulator such as Spironolactone
- Oral Antibiotics such as tetracyclines (minocycline and doxycycline) and macrolides (erythromycin and azithromycin)
- Azelaic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Cyst Drainage and Intralesional Injections
- Chemical Peels
- Birth Control Pills/ Oral Contraceptives
Consult your dermatologist to explore which of the above treatment options may work for you according to your skin type!
Cystic acne is frustrating and challenging to treat. Rooted deep within the skin tissue, cystic acne may leave permanent scars if you do not treat it on time. Opening up acne cysts – by squeezing, popping, or bursting them puts you at a higher risk of scarring and developing bacterial skin infections such as cellulitis. So, as soon as you feel those bumps under your skin, immediately consult a dermatologist. Though it is best to visit a board-certified dermatologist, you can also try some home remedies. So, get rid of cystic acne before it scars your skin!
1. Does stress cause cystic acne?
Ans. Yes, Stress may stimulate your oil glands and trigger an acne flare-up. It can also make your body release more hormones, and thus increase the likelihood of developing cystic acne.
2. Where does cystic acne appear?
Ans. Cystic acne breakouts tend to appear anywhere on your face. Unfortunately, those pesky bumps can also appear on your upper arms, back, chest, neck, buttocks, shoulders, and even on your scalp.