Pimples occur when a pore in the skin becomes clogged with dirt, dead skin or other material, which allows bacteria to breed. A cystic pimple is like any other pimple but the bacteria is deep in the skin instead of close to the surface. The bacteria cause a red bump on the surface of the skin that’s full of pus. It’s usually tender or itchy. If the pimple bursts, the bacteria can spread and cause more pimples on the skin.
When cystic pimples are persistent, they may be diagnosed as cystic acne. Unfortunately, the exact causes of cystic acne are not known. It is believed that hormones called androgens play a role. Androgens increase during adolescence, which may be why teenagers are prone to acne breakouts.
However, because of the role of hormones in cystic acne, adolescence is not the only potential cause. Any time hormone changes occur, breakouts can occur, too. For example, women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome or who are pregnant may be more likely to have breakouts.
There’s also a connection to cystic acne in genetics. If one or both parents had cystic acne, you’re more likely to have it, as well. Knowing the genetic link to cystic acne can be used to take better care of the skin and watch for warning signs that breakouts are going to occur.
Cystic acne can also be associated with rosacea. Even though rosacea is most often associated with redness of the face, it can cause cystic acne. This acne is directly associated with rosacea. That is, when a patient has a rosacea flare-up, the patient is more likely to have a cystic acne breakout, as well.
Sometimes there’s nothing that can be done to prevent cystic acne because of the way hormones affect the skin. For example, someone with rosacea is unlikely to prevent his or her cystic acne. But in some cases, prevention is the best way to deal with cystic acne.
The most important prevention method is to take good care of your skin. Washing your face regularly with water and gentle soap will help keep bacteria from starting an infection. Along with washing, using toner and moisturizer will keep your skin healthy and help prevent breakouts.
If your breakouts are associated with certain triggers, like dairy or caffeine, you can avoid these triggers to help reduce the chance of breakouts. Since cystic acne is associated with hormonal changes, this may not always be possible, but it can help.
There are a number of ways to treat cystic acne, depending on the cause. Dermatologists often prescribe medications and prescription-strength products to control cystic acne and achieve clearer skin.
Women may be prescribed an oral contraceptive. This helps regulate hormones to prevent cystic acne from occurring. Antibiotics are also frequently used to combat cystic acne. There are many antibiotics available that have success in controlling breakouts. Some medications are also in the form of creams, lotions, ointments or gels. These products work on the surface of the skin to eliminate bacteria and prevent cystic acne from occurring.
The best course of action for treating cystic acne is to take the advice of a dermatologist. However, in addition to medications or other prescription products recommended by a dermatologist, it’s important to continue with a skin care regimen at home to help minimize the chance of breakouts. Washing the skin regularly with gentle soap and using toner and moisturizer regularly will work in cooperation with any medications to keep the skin clearer.
If you’re prone to cystic acne, try to use a facial cleanser that includes salicylic acid. This ingredient will be more effective at deep-cleaning the skin to get rid of the blockage and bacteria under the surface of the skin that causes the cystic acne. You may want to consult your dermatologist before using a new facial cleanser, especially if you are on medications.
Along with a standard, healthy skin care routine and adhering to your dermatologist’s recommendations, there are at-home measures that can be used to shrink a cystic pimple. It is important to note that cystic acne is different for each person, so not every method will work for every person’s cystic pimple.
Many essential oils are beneficial for shrinking acne. Lavender and tea tree oils, in particular, are often used when breakouts occur. Simply add two or three drops of the essential oil directly onto the affected area. Before using an essential oil, it would be beneficial to test the oil on another part of your skin to make sure it won’t cause any redness or irritation. Some people can be sensitive to essential oils.
Ice is another way to shrink a cystic pimple. Applying ice or an icepack to the pimple constricts the blood flow that causes the redness and swelling. This will make the cystic pimple shrink. An added benefit is that the ice and reduced swelling will help ease any pain or tenderness of the area, as well.
Hydrocortisone cream, which is available over-the-counter, can also help reduce redness and swelling of cystic acne. It can be applied to the pimple as you would apply it to a mosquito bite. Hydrocortisone cream works on cystic acne because it contains a low dose of steroids. Spot treat the cystic pimple with a generous amount of cream and let it sit as long as you can before wiping it off.
Whether you have regular breakouts of cystic acne or only occasionally, you can shrink a cystic pimple. Not only can shrinking the pimple ease redness and pain but will make your skin look healthier and clearer, which helps boost your overall health and self-esteem so your outer self will reflect the beauty of your inner self.