Cystic Acne, otherwise known as Nodulocystic Acne, is not your typical pimple or ‘zit’. This type of acne is often painful as cyst form that are rooted deep within the follicles of the skin causing pores to become swollen and inflamed.

The root cause of this cyst stems from a buildup of sebum, an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous gland or hair follicle.  Sebum can also be made up of dead skin cells, naturally occurring skin oils and in addition to bacteria (in particular bacterium P. acnes).

Acne Cysts can appear anywhere on the body, though it typically and most frequently appears on sites where there are the most active sebaceous glands (the face, back, chest, shoulders and upper arms).

Women and men suffer equally from this condition at any age.

Prevention of acne cysts start with a good skin-care and face-cleansing routine; however, it may not remove all contributing or sole underlying causative factors (like hormones, stress or environmental pollution).  By simply washing your face with a gentle or mild face wash, this will remove bacteria, dead-skin cells and a build-up of naturally occurring oils, thereby significantly reducing the risk of a Cystic Acne breakout.

Cystic Acne Treatment Tips:

  1. Develop a Healthy Skin-care Routine
    That means a consistent, gentle, daily washing and exfoliating regime. Clinically tested glycolic acid based products are very helpful for removing the accumulation of oils, dead skin and bacteria.
  2. Don’t Squeeze or Pop!
    Cystic Acne is very different then your typical white head that is easily extractable. In fact, in can be very damaging to the skin to try and extract the buildup of sebum.  This is a much deeper skin issue that is not just on the surface.  These cysts can also take longer to heal and are at greater risk of scarring.
  3. Ice It
    Cystic Acne is kept active by tiny blood vessels.  By constricting those blood vessels with a cold compress, this safely minimizes the Cystic Acne food source. Without an active blood supply, the painful bump is promptly reduced and minimizes swelling.
  4. Get Fresh and Clean
    While Cystic Acne is not fundamentally caused by dirt or poor hygiene alone, these factors certainly can aid or detract from successful Cystic Acne Treatment.  Be sure that you are minimizing anything that touches your face or where the active cystic acne site is.  Oils and dirt or residue from your hands or other objects can cause a breakout.
    Cystic Acne Treatment is only truly effective in a supportive environment, and that environment has to be free of dirt and oils.
  1. Make an appointment with a board certified dermatologist
    Visit your local dermatologist in order to provide the best course of action and treatment regarding your cystic acne.

By following these Treatment Tips, you’re sure to reduce your Cystic Acne outbreaks.   Always consult a dermatologist!

-Dr. Craig Austin

Board Certified Dermatologist in New York City

Founder of Cane + Austin