How to Treat Cystic Acne

Cystic acne if one of the most severe type of acne that anyone can suffer from. It often occurs in teens and young men and women. It causes problems with self esteem and self image. It is when an infection goes deep into the skin causing red bumps and cysts filled with pus. If a pimple bursts it causes more infection. It is often on the face that is why it affects self esteem.  Cystic acne is more likely to develop during your teens and early 20’s. Older adults and younger children can get it too.  It often appears on the face, back, upper arms,and shoulders.

What Causes This Condition?

Often it is caused by too many hormones called androgens that increase when you are a teen. They cause clogged pores and acne. It is often caused by heredity or in women menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause and different illnesses. This is a painful condition to deal with and anyone with this condition should see a dermatologist.

Sometimes greasy cosmetic and crèmes can make this condition worse.  High humidity and those that sweat profusely may get the condition. It is not caused by chocolate, nuts and greasy foods, milk or even poor hygiene. 


Over the counter medications do not work well on cystic acne. Often the doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics usually in pill or capsule form that help fight infections.  Some patients do not respond well to antibiotics. Birth control pills are sometimes prescribed for women to control hormones that cause acne.  Some dermatologists prescribe creams, lotions and gels with Vitamin A. This is because it helps unclog pores and fight infection.

Accutuane is a medication that you take in pill form once or twice daily. It is only supposed to be taken about five months. It is a new drug used to treat cystic acne. It helps to clear up the skin.  It has side effect of dry lips, swelling of lip and eyelids, crusty skin, nosebleeds and upset stomach.  This drug must be prescribed by your dermatologist. Many people using this drug do not get side effects. It has been highly effective in cystic acne treatment.

Blue Light Therapy

Blue light therapy is a form of light therapy that helps kill bacteria that causes cystic acne. It kills the bacteria that get into the oil glands in the skin. The infrared light shrinks the oil glands and causes less oil and bacteria in the skin.  Often several treatments are needed to get good results.

The blue light destroys bacterial in hair follicles beneath the skin. Sometimes they add a chemical to the skin to increase the effectiveness of the treatment. These treatments often result in red skin and flaking.  In office treatments are effective because they can treat larger areas and have more powerful blue light.  

Cortisone Shots

When you have severe cystic acne cortisone shots or injections are often used. It is way to heal a large lesion and prevent scarring. Cortisone is a natural chemical the body releases when we have an infection or inflammation.  This drug is injected into the pimple or large cyst to help heal it more quickly. It is a steroid.  Often healing begins quickly with this treatment. 

This treatment can be painful and often the area is numbed before the injection. It can cause the pimple or cysts to look sunken after it heals. It takes several weeks for skin to return to normal after injections. Only a dermatologist can recommend this treatment.

Don’t suffer with cystic acne there are many treatments available for patients.  One of these treatments will help you get rid of cystic acne and reduce your symptoms.  Contact a dermatologist and get treated today.

By Joan Russell