One of the most frustrating things to deal with for acne sufferers is that untimely breakout that seems to come out of nowhere. But even worse are the effects of cystic acne, the most severe form of acne, which is characterized by seemingly angry, painful red bumps that are very sensitive to the touch.
While it differs significantly from inflammatory acne, there are still effective techniques that can be used to fight cystic acne.
Characteristics and Causes of Cystic Acne
Caused by hair follicles that become clogged with oil and bacteria, just as with regular acne breakouts, cystic acne signals its onset with a tingling, throbbing sensation in the affected area. The blemishes will typically not come to a head, but are almost always very painful. Cystic acne blemishes happen well below the skin surface with the infection occurring far more deeply under the surface of the skin.
Who Gets Cystic Acne?
Excess male hormones called androgens trigger cystic acne, making it more likely to occur among teenage boys and young men.
Women, however, are not immune to cystic acne breakouts, especially during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy or menopause, times when hormone production is in much greater flux.
There’s also a genetic component that contributes to those who suffer from cystic acne. If one or both of your parents suffered from it, you have a much greater chance of developing the condition as well.
Cystic Acne Treatment
It's even more important with cystic acne that you avoid squeezing or picking at the blemishes. Since the cysts lie so far below the surface, squeezing will serve only to drive the blockage deeper into your skin, interfering with the body's natural healing process. There's also a stronger likelihood that, when squeezed, the infection will spread by spilling over into healthy cells. Most traditional over-the-counter skin care treatments don't penetrate the skin deeply enough to be effective with cystic acne.
Follow these tips to help alleviate those stubborn cystic acne bumps:
- Focus on trying to heal and reduce the inflammation caused by this stubborn form of acne. Cystic acne, in particular, needs to be treated with anti-inflammatory skin care products that can reduce the inflamed areas.
- Avoid products containing ingredients that will over dry, irritate or create even more redness or peeling in the affected areas. Cysts form deeper under the skin and can’t be treated as typical surface acne.
- Stimulate cell growth and promote proper circulation with salicylic acid-based exfoliates. Regenerating cell growth in affected areas is still vital to recovering from any type of acne, moderate to severe.
- Manage your stress levels. High stress levels increase oil and sebum production, so try to maintain a proper work-life balance.
- Consult a dermatologist. She/he will be able to advise you on treatments such as highly recommended acne system products oral antibiotics or prescription-strength products containing retinoid. Birth-control pills may be used to regulate hormones.
Don't allow a case of cystic acne to affect your self-esteem. Use these techniques to control and cure breakouts and, as always, don't be afraid to seek medical help if needed.