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Symptoms of Cystic Acne


Signs of cystic acne include large and painful breakouts, redness and tenderness of the affected area and sometimes infection of the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that approximately 40-50 million people suffer from acne, including cystic acne. While more difficult to treat than other common forms of acne, cystic acne can be treated and prevented with the right treatment approach. Knowing the facts about acne and developing an effective course of action is crucial to keeping this skin condition under control.

How Cystic Acne is Different From Ordinary Breakouts

Cystic acne, also referred to as nodular acne, is an inflammatory condition of the skin that causes painful and often puss filled eruptions. Unlike ordinary acne pimples, cystic pimples are much larger, form deeper in the skin and can easily become infected. Cystic breakouts are also much more likely to leave scars on the skin than other forms of acne.

Signs and Symptoms of Cystic Acne

As previously mentioned, cystic acne causes severe, painful acne eruptions on the skin. These eruptions develop into deeper layers of the skin than other types of acne and often cause damage to the surrounding tissue that results in scaring. Cystic breakouts can easily become infected causing them to fill with puss and become red and extremely sore to the touch. Such breakouts typically last much longer than the average acne pimple and a cystic flair-up can last for weeks or even months. Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne and doesn’t usually respond well to traditional acne treatments.

Cystic Acne Treatment

Because cystic acne doesn’t respond well to most common acne treatments, the best course of action is to see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can prescribe oral medications such as Isotretino to suppress cystic acne breakouts. Isotretino works by reducing sebum production that causes clogged pores that result in acne. Such medications are only intended for severe forms of cystic acne and are not approved to use as a treatment for mild acne.

Aside from prescription medications, a dermatologist may also use hydrocortisone injections to reduce the inflammation of cystic pimples. Hydrocortisone injections are injected directly into the pimple by your doctor and can typically reduce the size and severity of the breakout in 24 hours. This treatment may be a better option for those wishing to avoid oral acne medications.



“Acne .” American Academy of Dermatology. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2010.

“What is Acne?.” N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2010.

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