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One of the most severe forms of acne vulgaris is cystic acne, also known as nodulocystic acne. Because of its severity it is advisable that you seek an effectice acne remedy as soon as you are aware of its development. Delays can be costly as this form of acne poses a greater risk of permanent scarring when not treated, as compared to milder forms of acne.
That being said, this article explains appropriate forms of acne medication available with their pros and cons explained. One of recommended treatments is face wash. Be sure to see our guide to the best face wash for cystic acne if you want to learn more about this treatment.
However, before we explore the available treatment options, it is best to first understand what exactly cystic acne is.
What is Cystic Acne ?
Cystic acne can be characterized by deep, inflamed blushes breakouts over facial skin, back or other body parts, commonly the shoulder and back. While the term “cystic” is often used to describe severe acne, it must be noted that only those who develop cysts truly have the acne.
Cysts are skin blemishes generally equal to or larger than pimples and feel like fluid-filled, soft bumps beneath the skin. The acne sufferers may sometimes also develop large nodules on their skin.
These are generally larger and harder lumps that are often times more painful to the touch. These blemishes develop from deep within the skin and have a long recovery time, even with professional help.
It has been observed that cystic acne shows heriditary traits, seemingly more common in families that have a history of this type of acne. Additionally it does seem to mostly affect people going through puberty as well as young adult men under the age of 35.
Cystic Acne Causes
One thing that is important to realize about this acne is that it is not caused by lack of facial cleansing, drinking overtly sweet stuff or even from poor dietary habits. While these things can contribute to the severity of the symptoms, they are not of themselves causes for the cystic acne – it is not self inflicted. What then are its causes?
Well, like other forms of acne, several basic cystic acne causes can be attributed, namely – high density of acne causing bacteria on the skin (P-acne bacteria), overly active sebum glands and excess of dead skin-cells within hair follicles. However, the causes go deeper than those mentioned above.
Inflamed acne blemishes occur when the wall of the follicle burst, causing infected material to leak into the deep skin layers, the dermis. Ruptures occuring near the epidermis layer (surface layer) are minor. However, deeper ruptures in the follicle structure result in more severe lesions. Nodules are the result when infected material seeps into adjoining follicles.
Similarly, cysts result due to deep ruptures in the wall of the pore. When a membrane develops around the infection within the dermis, this starts the formation of a cyst. It will be filled with fluids such as pus, sebum and small amounts of serum.
Best Treatment for Cystic Acne of 2017/2018
Due to the severity of this form of acne, it is highly recommended that you consult a dermatologist to assess your individual requirements. However, as promised earlier, I will provide an overview of treatments available and provide some guiding notes so you are able to make an informed decision. The following are common and effective treatments :-
This orally administered form of treatment normally comes in the form of tablets. Doctors normally prescribe them in 3 monthly prescriptions that must be finished, similar to normal antibiotics. Their primary mechanism of action targets the P-acne bacteria, slowly killing off the numbers to control infection.
While this treatment is effective, it is important that any antibiotic allergies are disclosed to your doctor. Treatments are generally affordable and may induce minor side effects like nausea and some stomach discomfort.
You might recognize these by their commercial brand names, namely RoAccutane, Amnesteem, Isotane or Claravis. Similar to oral antibiotics, these are administered orally in tablet/capsule form albeit with a generally higher price tag.
Isotretinoins are more effective than antibiotics alone due to the fact they target several of acne’s contributing factors. The drug generally reduces sebum production by means of constricting the sebum glands, thus reducing sebum output.
It also has been found to have antimicrobial properties against the P-acne bacteria. However, the downside of isotreinoin is that the side effects are more pronounced.
Common side effects include dryness of skin, lips and eyes; short term acne flare ups as well as skin fragility or peeling. All considered however, this is one of the best courses of the acne remedies and likely to be prescribed by your doctor.
Oral Contraceptives (for women)
While these should not be used in the first instance as a means of acne control, they can be effective for women who were planning on taking oral contraceptives anyway. In short, they work by inhibiting the amount of testosterone within the body, thus reducing the sebum secretions from the sebacious glands.
However, some variants of contraceptives work by elevating levels of testosterone, therefore making your acne worse. In any case, advice your pharmacists if you intend to use contraceptives as acne control so the right type can be prescribed.
Surgical excision and drainage
This is a complementary treatment that seeks to deal with the physical manifestations of the condition. It is normally only performed on very severe cases as it is considered to be a surgical procedure.
In this procedure, the surgeon creates small incisions and drains the fluid from within the cyst cavities. Not recommended unless you are experiencing bad facial deformation. Can be quite costly to have, but the improvements experienced are almost immediate.
In this procedure, medications are injected directly into the lesions in order to reduce inflammation and reduce the size of the blemish. This also deals only with the external manifestations but as a plus point can also help with healing of acne scars.
As per the treatment above, the improvements you observe are quite immediate, but it can be a painful procedure with significant costs.
Go to a Dermatologist
Earlier I mentioned that the acne medication is best sought through a dermatologist, but controlling and reducing the symptoms is something you have a lot of control over. Maintaining good skincare practices (not just cleansing!) can make a world of difference to the condition of your skin after treatment is completed.
It is as important, if not more important as the decision on what treatment above you choose to pursue. The link below provides complete guidance to skin care as well as managing lifestyle choices to reduce acne scarring as much as possible.
It comes highly recommended with many fantastic testimonies from people showing great results after going through acne treatment.
Coping with Severe Cystic Acne and the Problems It Causes
Severe cystic acne is acne that is very severe and goes very deep into the skin. This is the reason this acne problem is so hard to treat. People with this acute cystic acne are usually very concerned about finding a way to treat their condition and also finding out why the condition affects them and not another family member or friend.
The appearance of this cystic acne is very embarrassing for people who have this condition. Acne is caused by the build up of dirt and oil on the skin. This causes the pores to become blocked. The dirt and bacteria get trapped in the pores. The clogged pores result in an acne break out. That is an explanation for why acne occurs.
Acute Cystic Acne is Rare
Not many people develop this acne but those who do develop the condition have a very difficult situation to deal with. This cystic acne is worse than typical acne where the oil, dirt, and bacteria clog pores. This type of acne can affect your skin in a very severe way and you get large outbreaks of pimples all over your face.
The basic treatment for regular acne and cystic acne is similar. You have to remove the dirt, oil, and bacteria from the skin. This is easier with normal acne because with cystic acne, the oil, dirt, and bacteria are not just on the surface of the skin. That means the treatments have to be more serious.
The problem of cystic acne is made worse by the fact that the bacteria below your skin keep growing and breeding and cannot be treated by the medications and creams you can buy at the store.
Bacteria use almost anything for food and when they have food, they can grow and breed. The only way to kill the bacteria is to kill it off or take its food source away.
With cystic acne, the bacteria are in the lower skin layers where there is plenty of food for it to use to grow and breed, which means it only gets worse unless you kill the bacteria or get rid of the food source.
That is why the only treatment that works for the cystic acne is one that locates and kills off the bacteria until they are all gone. Most medications you can buy at the local pharmacy are not going to be able to treat the cystic acne in this manner. You will have to get a doctor’s prescription for an antibiotic that will kill off the bacteria. The only way to treat your cystic acne is to see a dermatologist who can recommend a treatment method that will work.