5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cystic Acne That Will Help You Get Rid of It

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cystic Acne That Will Help You Get Rid of It

When most people think of acne, those little red dots on the surface of the skin come to mind, and the most practiced solution for dealing with them is to zap those suckers dry until they disappear completely. But did you know that there’s a certain type of acne that exists below the surface? It’s called cystic acne, and it’s not your average pimple!

What Is Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne is the most rare form of acne. While more common among men than women, cystic acne has the potential to affect anyone, regardless of sex, age, race, or other identifiers. While the cause of cystic acne is unknown, an imbalance involving the androgen hormones are believed to play a large part in its formation. Cystic acne can be especially hard to treat as symptoms develop below the surface of the skin, resulting in swollen, often painful red bumps resembling boils. Although many topical solutions are simply marketed to “fight acne,” not all are created to combat cysts, and because acne comes in a variety of types, some requiring a different course of treatment than others, it is important to learn your acne type to ensure the best results.

If you have cystic acne, read on to learn more about your specific acne type, with a few surprising facts you may not have heard before!

5 Facts You May Not Know About Cystic Acne

  1. Cystic acne is a form of inflammatory acne. Inflammation is a natural response of the body. When a pore becomes clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells, bacteria forms, which alerts the body to send in white blood cells to “attack” the foreign agent. A clogged pore becomes inflamed either on top of, or in the case of cysts, underneath the surface of the skin, resulting in acne symptoms known as pimples. Although cysts don’t result in whiteheads as some pimples do, the redness and swelling that comes with them are a form of an inflammatory response, and should be treated as such.
  2. Cysts occur when inflamed pores become ruptured. All acne can be traced back to a clogged hair follicle, or pore. In the case of cystic acne, breakouts occur when the inflamed pore becomes ruptured, releasing bacteria which leads to a wider spread of inflammation underneath the surface of the skin. This rupturing can be caused by squeezing or harsh scrubbing of the affected area, so if you deal with cysts it’s important to remember to be gentle - wash gently twice daily and absolutely NO picking or popping! It may be tempting, but it will likely only lead to more breakouts for even longer (and worse yet, acne scarring which is irreversible!).
  3. Cysts begin forming days before symptoms become apparent. Many people look to treat their acne as soon as it's formed on their skin, but for anyone with cystic acne, that’s easier said than done. What most people don’t realize is that acne actually begins forming internally days before symptoms reach the surface of the skin, in a process known as the acne cascade. Topical washes are an essential part of any acne-prone skincare regimen, but that’s only half the battle. In order to truly target acne, and prevent it from returning, the cascade must be addressed in far earlier stages of the cycle.
  4. Cystic acne is NOT caused by greasy food or chocolate. While the foods we eat can cause our bodies to react in different ways, there is no one food the formation of acne can be pinned on. If there were that easy, wouldn’t we all just eliminate those items from our diets and enjoy living out our days entirely acne free? The myth of grease and sugar, while more of a scare tactic, can be used for good if we can be encouraged to exercise mindfulness when it comes to witnessing our bodies’ reaction to certain foods. If you find yourself breaking out around your mouth after enjoying a slice of greasy pizza, try rinsing that excess oil away ASAP, to help ensure unclogged pores on the surface of your skin. If sweet treats containing refined sugar can be linked to your acne-prone skin, try swapping it out for a natural sweetener, such as honey.  Some people even go to their doctor to get an allergy test, since, some inflammatory ingredients (ex. gluten, dairy) can contribute to inflammation.  There may be no scientific cure for acne, but we can learn to listen to our bodies, and make changes to work with it!
  5. Most doctors recommend going within to treat cystic acne, and most forms of moderate to severe acne. Because cysts form below the surface of the skin, most topical treatments do little to treat the problem, leaving many cystic acne sufferers feeling frustrated and helpless. Those with severe cystic acne who have consulted a dermatologist are steered toward treating the problem internally, either with oral antibiotics, hormonal birth control, prescription creams, cortisone shots, or prescription acne medications such as Accutane, the latter of which can come with some hefty, and potentially devastating side effects (generics are still on the market, but Accutane has been removed from the market due to a class action suite). As experts in the field, we especially agree with this systemic approach, though advise anyone with acne to consider the side effects that may come with any of these solutions, and encourage all to research less damaging solutions to address your skincare concerns (our AcnEase users have already done this and are on their way to clear skin for good!).

What’s The Best Way To Treat Cystic Acne?

As with any type of acne, the only way to experience real results in terms of treatment is to approach the problem with preventative measures. Because cystic acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance, which triggers sebaceous gland to produce more sebum than needed, a topical treatment will be too late in getting to the problem, making the case for cystic acne an inside job. Sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet can go a long way in treating the problem. For anyone with severe cystic acne, a systemic treatment in combination with a healthy diet can be just what your skin needs to find real, lasting relief. AcnEase, an herbal acne treatment that works from within, targets the relationship between the hormones and sebaceous glands by creating a buffer between the two, preventing any imbalance from negatively affecting the production of sebum. Safe, effective, and designed with the severity of your acne in mind, AcnEase delivers results without the harmful side effects, making this one skincare solution both your face, and body, can live with in peace!

We want to hear from you! Are there any facts about cystic acne you were surprised to learn? Have any treatment tips for anyone with cystic acne, or scarring? Tell us in the comments!