Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne in which a cyst forms underneath the pimple or zit. The primary difference between cystic acne and regular acne is that this cyst is permanent – it will not go away on its own accord and heal up.
Cystic acne is not necessarily associated with the number of pimples. You can have 100 pimples on your face and all of them be part of the less severe pustule variety. Alternatively, you could have 1 big pimple on your back and it be of the cystic variety. Cystic acne can occur anywhere that regular acne occurs, but it is typically associated with larger pores, like those found on the back, chest, and parts of the face.
What is Cystic Acne
As mentioned earlier, cystic acne involves the formation of a cyst that develops in the soft tissue underneath the skin. A cyst is an infection that has been “sealed off” by the body with fat and connective tissue.
Cysts are used by the body to contain infections. In a severe acne infection, the immune system will create these cysts through inflammation, walling off the bacterial infection with fat and connective tissue. This cyst controls the bacterial infection from taking over the body. The immune system will then fight off the rest of the infection and the acne will heal.
The problem is that with cystic acne, the cysts that form do not go away even after the infection has been fought off. These cysts are literally lumps of fat that have been bound into ball-like shapes by connective tissue. They can be felt under the skin as hard lumps (but not so hard they feel like rocks) and can often make the skin look lumpy.
Why Natural Remedies Are Not Enough
Natural remedies are not considered strong enough to make a major impact on cystic acne. While natural remedies may improve skin quality and help fight acne, they are unlikely to be a major difference maker for cystic acne. Cystic acne is associated with hormonal changes as well as a side effect of various medications and natural acne remedies may not be able to counter these root causes.
With that said, consider remedies that reduce inflammation as a supplement to your acne treatment regimen. This does not mean to skip traditional acne treatments, but rather add in a few natural remedies to see if they help. Sage extract and green tea are known anti-inflammatories, so using either of these may help reduce the swelling and redness associated with cystic acne.
When to See a Doctor
No matter what you decide to do for cystic acne, you should see a doctor right away. Even if natural remedies to help cystic acne, you do not want to limit yourself to these options. The longer you let cystic acne go unchecked, the more cysts will develop.
Cysts last for a lifetime and once they form they cannot be easily or effectively removed. If you let your cystic acne go untouched for months, you may develop dozens of cysts of varying sizes that may make your skin appear lumpy and cause discomfort for the rest of your life. Prevention is the best option here.
Once cysts form, there is little that can be done to remove them. The only current option for cyst removal is extraction via surgery. This means that the skin is cut open a pincer-like tool is used to grab the skin and pull it out of the person’s body. The problem with this is that cutting into the skin to get access to the skin often creates a large scar, which is worse in both physiological appearance and dysfunction than the original cyst was itself.
Home Treatments to Consider
A standard regimen for home acne treatment can be beneficial for cystic acne. This includes using a cleanser to remove dirt and oil from the skin, a face wash with salicylic acid that can remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, and a benzoyl peroxide treatment to penetrate deep into the freshly cleaned skin to destroy acne-causing bacteria.
At the end of the day, the P. acnes bacteria is what causes the acne infection. Anything you can do to destroy this bacteria will reduce the severity of acne. See your doctor if cystic acne persists and talk about more aggressive treatment options as you want to prevent cysts from forming when possible.
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