How to Treat Cystic Acne

Treating cystic acne is similar in many ways to treating other forms of acne. Cystic acne is a more severe form of the more popular acne vulgaris but is characterised by painful and often very large nodules deep within the skin. The glands that produce oil in the skin overproduce and become blocked and infected causing them to burst and produce inflammation of the surrounding skin. If you have cystic acne you will have soft lumps underneath the skin that are filled with fluid. Another form is called nodulocycstic acne in which hard nodules form that are very slow to heal and is caused by infections invading the hair follicle.

As well as treating cystic acne to clear up the infection and reduce the inflammation it is important that you know how to look after your skin properly. The first thing to be careful of is to avoid squeezing or picking at the cysts as this will cause the bacteria to spread underneath the skin and cause further infections. It can also lead to more damage to the skin resulting in scarring.

keeping Your Face Clean

You should wash your face with a mild soap no more than twice a day.Benzoyl peroxide soap, a mild soap with no perfume or Oxy-5 can be used. Shampoo your hair regularly to prevent oil from your hair being transferred to your face. For men try to avoid shaving if at all possible but if you so use a new blade everytime so that you do not spread infection. For women it is best to avoid make up or use products that do not contain perfumes or are labeled as hypoallergenic.

Treating Cystic Acne

You should always consult a doctor or dermatologist to treat cystic acne. A range of treatments can be used including the use of benzoyl peroxide, oral antibiotics and isotretanoin. Although isotretanoin, commercially called Accutane, is a very effective treatment it does have some drawbacks so the first approach is usually to treat with benzoyl peroxide first and only use isotretanoin if this does not work. Benzoyl peroxide can be purchased in a range of forms including gels, lotions, creams and washes. If this approach fails to clear up the problem more drastic treatments may be needed. Oral antibiotics will kill the bacteria that cause the acne but the problem often returns when the antibiotics are stopped.

Isotretanoin - Accutane

Isotretanoin is very effective and works by reducing the glands that produce oil and minimises skin cell shedding. However it has a range of side effects, some of them severe such as nose bleeds, problems with vision, muscle aches, inflammation of the eye and lip membranes as well as changes to the functioning of the liver and increases in blood cholesterol. Some mental problems related to depression have also been reported by the users of Accutane and it is not to be used by anyone who is pregnant or who could become pregnant as it has a high risk of birth defects. It is not therefore to be taken lightly and is best used when all other methods have failed and must be carefully monitored by a medical practitioner.

Other Methods

A dermatologist can remove the infected material which is causing the problem in a surgical procedure. A final method is the use of injections of cortisone into the cyst which is a fast treatment that relives the pain and quickly clears up the cyst. It is does not however prevent any recurrence and is not a long term solution.


How you treat cystic acne will depend on it's severity and other factors and your dermatologist will help you to decide on the best treatment.


Information in this hub is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. If you think you have cystic acne please consult a doctor, dermatologist or other medical practitioner.

More by this Author

Comments 3 comments

mzoghori 7 years ago

As prevention is always better than cure, all i would like to advice you is;

You should avoid garments made exclusively of Lycra and nylon if you are prone to body acne since some synthetic fabrics can strap the heat and moisture against your skin. This creates a fertile breeding ground for the bacteria that contribute to acne.

Don’t be sweaty or wet. Shower off immediately after sports and change into dry clothes before you proceed with other chores

jason caney acne 7 years ago

Accutane should be use just as a last resort and only after consulting a doctor.

Emilyfv profile image

Emilyfv 6 years ago

I would also advise that if one knows about the dangers of taking Accutane, there are natural alternatives to reduce inflammation and swelling caused by cystic acne. One is a homemade mask using avocado & honey. Very easy to make and soothing.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article