cystic acne

Cystic Acne: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention


Acne, a prevalent skin ailment, impacts countless individuals across the globe. Among the various types of acne, cystic acne is one of the most severe and persistent forms. It can be emotionally distressing and leave behind long-lasting scars. In this article, we will delve into the world of cystic acne, exploring its causes, treatment options, prevention tips, and more.

What is cystic acne?

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne that occurs when pores become clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Cystic acne stands apart from other forms of acne due to the presence of substantial and distressing nodules beneath the surface of the skin. These deep, inflamed breakouts can cause significant discomfort and leave behind deep scars.

cystic acne
cystic acne


Hormonal imbalances

Hormonal imbalances, particularly an increase in androgen levels, can trigger the overproduction of oil in the skin. This excess oil, combined with the shedding of dead skin cells, creates an ideal environment for cystic acne to develop.


If your parents or close relatives have a history of cystic acne, there is a higher likelihood that you may also experience this condition. Genetic factors can contribute to the skin’s tendency to produce excess oil and inflammation.

Poor skincare routine

Inadequate skincare practices, such as infrequent cleansing or using harsh products, can aggravate acne and increase the risk of developing cystic acne. Proper cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing are essential steps in maintaining clear skin.


While diet alone does not cause cystic acne, certain foods high in refined carbohydrates and dairy products may worsen acne symptoms in some individuals. It is recommended to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and observe if specific foods trigger breakouts.



Cystic acne is characterized by red, swollen, and inflamed lesions. The inflammation is caused by the body’s immune response to the bacteria trapped within the pores.

Painful nodules

The deep cysts associated with this type of acne can be extremely painful to touch. They often linger beneath the skin for weeks, making them difficult to treat with conventional topical solutions.


Cystic acne can leave behind deep, permanent scars that can significantly impact a person’s self-esteem. Proper treatment and early intervention can help minimize the risk of scarring.


To diagnose cystic acne, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist. The dermatologist will evaluate your medical history, examine your skin, and determine the severity of your condition. They may also inquire about any underlying medical conditions or medications that could contribute to your acne.

Treatment options

Cystic acne requires a comprehensive treatment approach to effectively manage the condition. Below are several commonly employed treatment choices:

Topical treatments

Topical treatments containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, or salicylic acid can help reduce inflammation and control the formation of new breakouts. However, they may not be sufficient on their own for severe cases of cystic acne.

Oral medications

In more severe cases, oral medications such as antibiotics, hormonal birth control pills, or isotretinoin may be prescribed. These medications target the underlying causes of acne, reducing inflammation and preventing new breakouts.

Lifestyle changes

Making certain lifestyle modifications can also contribute to managing cystic acne. These include maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress levels, getting regular exercise, and ensuring sufficient sleep and hydration.

Skincare routine

In addition to medical treatments, establishing a proper skincare routine can help manage cystic acne and prevent further breakouts. Here are a few essential measures to incorporate into your everyday schedule:


Gently cleanse your face twice a day using a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser to remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities from the skin.


Consistent exfoliation aids in the clearance of pores and elimination of lifeless skin cells. However, it is important to use gentle exfoliants to avoid irritating the skin further.


Hydrating the skin is essential, even for acne-prone skin. Choose oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizers to provide hydration without clogging the pores.

Spot treatment

Using targeted spot treatments containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process for individual blemishes.

Home remedies

While home remedies may not replace medical treatments, they can complement your skincare routine. Here are some home remedies that might provide relief:

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil possesses antibacterial properties and can help reduce inflammation. Dilute it with a carrier oil and apply it to affected areas using a cotton swab.

Honey and cinnamon mask

A mixture of honey and cinnamon can help soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. Administer the blend onto the facial area, allowing it to remain undisturbed for a duration of 10 to 15 minutes, prior to washing it away.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera gel has calming and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply pure aloe vera gel to the affected areas and leave it on overnight for best results.

Professional treatments

For severe and persistent cases of cystic acne, professional treatments may be necessary. Here are some options to consider:

Corticosteroid injections

Dermatologists may administer corticosteroid injections directly into the cysts to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Chemical peels

Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin, exfoliating the top layer and promoting the growth of new, healthier skin.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy can target and destroy the bacteria that cause acne, reducing inflammation and stimulating collagen production.

Prevention tips

While cystic acne may not always be preventable, certain measures can reduce the likelihood of developing this severe form of acne. Consider the following tips:

Gentle skincare products

Use gentle, non-comedogenic skincare products that do not clog the pores or irritate the skin.

Healthy diet

Ensure a well-rounded nutrition by incorporating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein into your diet. Limit the consumption of refined carbohydrates and dairy products if they worsen your acne symptoms.

Stress management

Stress can aggravate acne symptoms. Engage in stress-relieving activities such as meditation, exercise, or hobbies to manage stress levels.

Lifestyle modifications

In addition to skincare and diet, certain lifestyle modifications can contribute to healthier skin:

Regular exercise

Regular physical activity improves blood circulation, reduces stress, and promotes overall well-being, which can benefit the skin.

Sufficient sleep

Adequate sleep allows the body to repair and regenerate, supporting healthy skin. Strive to achieve a duration of 7-9 hours of restful slumber every night.


Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated and maintain its natural moisture balance.

Overcoming emotional impact

Living with cystic acne can take an emotional toll on individuals. Below are a few self-care techniques that can be beneficial:

Self-care practices

Engage in activities that promote self-confidence and self-esteem, such as practicing good hygiene, dressing comfortably, and pursuing hobbies.

Seeking professional help

If the emotional impact of cystic acne becomes overwhelming, consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and coping strategies.


Cystic acne can be a challenging condition to deal with, but with the right treatment approach, skincare routine, and lifestyle modifications, it is possible to manage and improve the symptoms. Remember to consult with a dermatologist to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific needs. By taking proactive steps, you can regain control of your skin health and boost your self-confidence.

Q: What causes cystic acne?

Cystic acne is primarily caused by hormonal imbalances, genetics, poor skincare routines, and dietary factors. It is often a combination of these factors that contribute to the development of cystic acne.

Q: Can diet affect cystic acne?

While diet alone does not cause cystic acne, certain foods high in refined carbohydrates and dairy products may worsen acne symptoms in some individuals. It is recommended to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and observe if specific foods trigger breakouts.

Q: How long does cystic acne last?

The duration of cystic acne can vary from person to person. In general, cystic acne breakouts can last for several weeks or even months. However, with appropriate treatment and skincare practices, the severity and duration of breakouts can be minimized.

Q: Is cystic acne contagious?

No, cystic acne is not contagious. It is a skin condition caused by internal factors such as hormones, genetics, and lifestyle choices, rather than external contagions.

Q: Can cystic acne be cured naturally?

While natural remedies and lifestyle modifications can help manage cystic acne, severe cases often require medical intervention. Consultation with a dermatologist is recommended to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation.

Also Read...

1 thought on “Cystic Acne: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention”

Leave a comment

Most Popular