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Cystic Acne - Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Remedies

Updated on November 29, 2013

Cystic Acne Pictures

What is Cystic acne?

Cystic acne is a form of skin disease that is common in western countries. About sixty to seventy percent of Americans can acquire this condition at a certain time of their life. According to studies, men are more likely to develop such condition. This is a very common skin condition that would affect the face and even the upper part of the chest and the back. This occurs during the adolescent phase or puberty at most times but can also continue up to adulthood. No one can say that this condition is surely to happen at a certain age, varying factors are rooted for this condition and not just age.


This condition is said to be triggered by many factors. It is believed that if a person’s parents had acne, it would predispose him or her to acquire such condition. Therefore, the skin condition can be genetically acquired. Apart from genetics is concerned, these are the following causes and triggering factors for cystic acne:

Hyperkeratinization - the retention of keratin in the skin is initially recognized in the development cystic acne.

Increased androgen hormones - this is another triggering factor for this skin condition. Increased hormone such as testosterone is also blamed for the sprouting of acne.

Excessive sebum - this factor truly can result to cystic acne. Normally, sebum production is controlled and that it is excreted from our skin. This can also be referred as overactive oil glands.

Excessive dead skin cells within the pores - this can result to clogging of the area and house dirt thus causing for a flare up of cystic acne.

Propionibacteria acne - an acne-causing bacterium that can result to inflammation and severe outbreaks of acne. This said to be an infectious agent and should be treated right away.

Increased stress levels can trigger for the development of cystic acne. It is true according to some statistical data that stress would indeed induce acne flare up.

Others would say that diet cannot induce acne breakouts. But it has been stated that a high glycemic diet or high sugar diet can worsen acne.

The mechanism of this skin disorder starts when acne blemishes develop and becomes inflamed. This then infects the dermis of our skin (the layer just below the top most part of our skin) causing for break outs. As the acne affects deeply, the more serious the lesions can be. Nodules may even develop and contaminate more the skin. These nodules are what we refer as the cysts. As unfortunate as it is for the affected, cysts may cause for the ruptures thus breaking the pore wall. Because of this, our healthy skin has become damaged and destroyed. A common complication may develop and that is permanent scarring. This is highly possible and can be a cause for a person to be physically uncomfortable. Additional problems may arise such as emotional changes such as embarrassment, shame or low self esteem and anger. Depression can also develop.


This skin condition is characterized by the break out of comedone, papules, pustules and nodules. These can show up on the person’s face but can also affect the chest, back and upper arms.

  • Comedone flares up and can be in a form of white head or blackhead but does not present as inflamed. This is the earliest sign of acne.
  • Papules and pustules are said to be raised bumps with inflammation.

As discussed earlier, the condition can lead to scarring. They can be characterized as deep pits of scars, angular scar the can be similar to chickenpox, rolling scars that is said to be wave-like ad can be keloid scars- worst type of scar anyone can imagine. Another form of skin complication is either hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. These can take months, even years for the skin color to subside or return to its normal state.


Medical treatment for this condition would usually involve systemic medications. The ultimate goal for the treatment course is to reduce the occurrence and complications. These are very helpful agents in controlling and managing the condition. There are specific treatments for those who have cystic acne which is better combined or in conjunction to help in decreasing the time of recovery. Here are the common treatments for cystic acne:

Retinoids - this drug classification action is to reduce the worsening of the skin condition. These can be in topical forms but other oral forms are said to be much more effective for this skin condition. The drugs for this class would include isotretinoin, tretinoin topical, adapalene, and tazarotene.

Antibiotics - topical forms are also pharmaceutically prepared for this condition and other are systemic antibiotics. These have anti-inflammatory properties thus helping the person in reducing the acne flare ups. These drugs include minocycline, doxycycline, tetracycline, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole.

As the doctor has prescribed these medications, it is very much anticipated that one follows the treatment regimen religiously to attain good and favorable results. The prognosis shall be good if the person is very much compliant with the treatment course.


Home remedies are truly beneficial especially when a person has not developed to extensive cystic acne. Compliance is again required for this course so that great results are attained in the end. Here are some of the home remedies that should be followed easily and accordingly:

  • Have a healthy lifestyle. Live a stress-free life as much as possible. Make sure you have a healthy diet. If one is used to high sugar foods, cut down for it may cause acne flare ups.
  • Usual cleansing of the area is suggested. The use of antibacterial soap is recommended. Gentle care should be practiced so not to break the nodules and cause possible scarring. Wash make up off after use.
  • Protect the skin. Use sunscreens for sensitive skin and photo-protective agent.
  • Do regular exercise. This facilitates maintenance of good skin cells by taking up enough oxygen and removing waste by sweating.
  • To avoid scars, make sure you do not squeeze the acne cyst. This can be painful and can cause other infections.
  • Application of honey on the face is said to be cause for the condition to be reduced. This can clear the skin off and is best used in conjunction with aspirin.
  • Lemon juice applied on the face can also reduce the inflammation and reduce pigmentation.
  • Apply apple cider vinegar on the face. This is believed to be good in stabilizing the acidity of the skin.
  • Avoid excessive sweating. The pores tend to be clogged when one sweats profusely.


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