Cystic acneis an alarming skin condition that comprises a severe acne form where skin pores become blocked, resulting in infection and inflammation. This skin condition usually affects the face but often occurs on the upper trunk and upper arms. Most often, acne affects adolescents and young adults and is considered a sign of puberty.
According to reports, an estimated 80 percent of people between the age group of 11 to 30 years experience acne at some point. Also, 50 percent of women ages 20 to 29 years experience acne. This blog will help you know about cystic acne, hormonal cystic acne, treatment options, and more.
What is cystic acne?
Cystic acne is a skin condition characterized by extensive, red, painful breakouts in the deep of your skin. The acne or pimple formation usually starts when your skin pore gets clogged with dead skin cells. Due to the trapping of bacteria, the specific area becomes red and swollen.
Cystic acne happens when the infection gets into the deep pores of your skin, creating a bump full of pus that may hurt or itch. If a cyst burst, the disease spread and create more breakouts. Cystic acne can last for an extended period of more than a year and affect larger skin areas together with leaving scars.
Usually, this skin condition can improve with age. However, these painful and stubborn bumps won’t vanish on their own. So, you may need to consult a dermatologist who can give you a solution depending upon your skin type and cystic acne cause.
Cystic acne on chin
Chin and the skin area near the jaws are the most common places to get cystic acne, especially in adults. The usual reason behind the appearance of cystic acne on the chin is hormonal shifts and specific imbalances in the body.
This skin condition on the chin is usually the result of high androgen hormones. To get rid of this skin condition on the chin, you may try topical creams, gentle facial cleanser and consider changes in your diet.
Hormonal Cystic acne
Hormonal acne is linked to fluctuations in your hormones that are typically associated with hormone fluctuations during puberty, and it can affect adults of any age. Hormonal cystic acne is common in women, and a number of factors that may contribute to it, include menstruation and menopause.
During puberty, acne often appears in the T-zone, including the forehead, nose, and chin. While in adults, it typically forms on the lower part of the face, including the bottom areas of the cheeks and around the jawline.
In some individuals, hormonal cystic acne takes the form of whiteheads, blackheads, and small pimples with a head or cysts. These acnes may be occurred because of the influx of hormones from menstruation, menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or increased androgen levels.
Cystic acne treatment
Severe cystic acne requires treatment with the help of a medical healthcare specialist or dermatologist and some self-care measures. Drug treatment can be beneficial in preventing cysts and scarring. At the same time, one can manage moderate or mild acne with the help of a doctor. Severe acne needs referral to a specialist because the nodules and cysts it contains might leave scars or show signs of scarring. It happens partly due to the tightly controlled main drugs used to treat cystic acne.
Benzoyl peroxide is an available treatment option for people with severe cystic acne. It is the best option for people with severe acne awaiting specialist treatment. This drug is available directly from local pharmacies over the counter (OTC) and online drug stores in several formulations to apply on the skin.
It has been one of the most prominent acne treatments for over 50 years and helps by killing bacteria, especially Propionibacterium acnes (P.acnes). It also helps in breaking up comedones, including whiteheads and blackheads.
There are two formulations of benzoyl peroxide: water-based and alcohol-based, which one is appropriate for you depending upon your skin type. The alcohol-based formulation has a drying effect that makes it more suitable for individuals with oily skin. Benzoyl peroxide products such as cleansing liquids and bars, creams, lotions, and gels, can be used once or twice a day. It is rare to have allergies from these products, although skin irritation can be a common side effect.
Drug treatment with isotretinoin
Isotretinoin is an effective prescription medicine for cystic acne, available under various brand name drugs in the United States, including Amnesteem, Absorica, Myorisan, Claravis, and Sotret. This drug is efficient in cystic acne treatment, but it can be dangerous to an unborn child as it has significant side effects. The usual dosage is 1 mg for every kilogram of body weight, once per day for 16 to 20 weeks.
Isotretinoin is not under the recommendation for moderate acne treatment until standard measures with oral antibiotics have not been applied and found to be ineffective. For severe cystic acne, this drug is recommended as a first-line treatment.
Potential isotretinoin side effects include chapped lips, eye, and genital dryness, joint pains, liver damage, depression, or elevated lipid levels. Also, isotretinoin is a teratogenic medicine, meaning the administration of this drug during pregnancy, even for a short duration, can result in congenital deformities.
Isotretinoin and pregnancy
Isotretinoin can cause premature birth or loss of the pregnancy. Premature birth can lead to the death of the newborn infant. Therefore, women who are likely to become pregnant need to use two contraception methods for one month before, during medication, and one month after treatment with this drug. A pregnancy test is required before starting treatment with isotretinoin and then every month until stopping this medicine. A woman needs to have two negative pregnancy tests to get prescribed isotretinoin.
This method can be applied to you only by a dermatologist as it is not suitable for you to pop cystic acne independently. It contains an injection of a corticosteroid medication, namely triamcinolone, directly into the cyst that can help reduce inflammation and prevent scarring. There may be short-term common side effects of the injection.
Your dermatologist may offer you incision and drainage of specific large cysts. Still, it is advised that people do not try this method themselves as it is most likely to worsen the skin problems and lead to severe scarring and deeper infection.
Long-term acne treatment in women can include the birth control pill that suppresses sebum production, where required and appropriate, an oral drug containing estrogen and progesterone can be prescribed for six months or more. A synthetic steroid called spironolactone may be recommended with the pill as it inhibits androgens.
Some practical measures that can help you avoid acne and are useful if you have acne include:
- Do not wash too often. Washing twice a day with mild soap or cleanser is sufficient.
- Avoid picking and squeezing pimples as it is most likely to worsen acne.
- Do not scrub harshly and avoid using cleansing granules, abrasive soaps, exfoliating agents, or astringents.
- Avoid putting on heavy makeup, choose water-based, non-oily, non-comedogenic formulations, and ensure to remove makeup before bed.