As far as pimples go, those deep, humungous cystic-acne ones are probably the most traumatic. Aside from how much surface area those suckers tend to cover, the pain they cause makes them impossible to ignore.
Most teenagers are familiar with the standard, run-of-the-mill pimple, they say 80% of Americans suffer from acne. But if you have large, red, painful breakouts deep in the layers of your skin, it could mean you’ve developed something called cystic acne.
“What is Cystic Acne?”
Cystic (nodulocystic) acne is the most severe (and least common) type of acne in which the pores in the skin become blocked, leading to infection and inflammation. This skin condition mainly affects the face, but can also affect the chest, neck, back and upper arms.
What Causes It?
Right now, it’s hard to say. No one is sure of the exact cause, but a number of things could be big contributors; genetics, hormones, bacteria, overproduction of either or both skin cells and sebum…
If one of your parents have/had severe cystic acne, you have a greater chance of getting it. It’s in your genetic makeup
All pores have sebaceous glands at their base, that secrete an oily substance known as sebum.
Normal sebum secretions help protect the hair follicles and skin, but overproduction of sebum and overgrowth of skin cells can cause the pores to become clogged. This can create the perfect conditions for the overgrowth of a type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which is normally found on the skin.
Hormones called androgens could play a part. As a teen, androgens increase. This leads to changes in your skin that can result in clogged pores and acne. In women, hormone changes can be brought on by menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, or a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome.
Other contributing factors: greasy or old cosmetics, cleansers, lotions, and clothing; as well as high levels of humidity and sweating can play a part too.
To the point, these factors can all play a part in plugging your pores, which is the main culprit here!
These plugs are also known as comedones (comedo for short) and can have white or black heads. If the comedones are uninfected, the condition is called non-inflammatory acne. If the comedones become infected and inflamed, papules, pustules, nodules, or cysts could develop
- Papules occur when the P. acnes bacteria lead to irritation of the hair follicles.
- Pustules occur when the P. acnes bacteria lead to inflammation of the hair follicles, causing swollen red bumps.
- Cysts occur when the inflammation leads to rupture of the hair follicles, which can also be caused by squeezing the spots, or by harsh scrubbing. Rupture releases compounds that trigger wider inflammation, and deeper, hard, painful cysts. (cited)
Treatment and Prevention of Cystic Acne
Since no one really knows the exact cause, there is no one way to solve it.
Mild-moderate breakouts can be treated at home, while more severe breakouts may need to be treated by a dermatologist or specialist.
The standard DIY-er would tell you to first try Benzoyl Peroxide. This is meant to work by killing bacteria, particularly P. acnes, and breaking up the comedones. But BP could have a drying affect since it contains alcohol (as well as other “not found in nature” ingredients).
But thats not really how we do it over here, is it!?
Here at Honey Love Essentials, we have formulated our
very own Drawing Salve specifically to treat this and other skin problems. The all natural drawing salve pulls out impurities and localized inflammation and as a result, the skin surrounding the area does not become damaged. Yes, the salve can be pretty messy to use and it is very black, however the infection pain can be pretty intense… and this will bring relief. Ultimately, the salve speeds up recovery time. When it comes to acne, getting rid of it as fast as possible is the #1 goal. (cited)
You can also check out our Etsy site for more user reviews!
Practical measures to avoid making acne worse are useful for anyone with acne, especially people with cystic acne:
- Leave pimples alone because picking and squeezing is only going to make things worse
- Do not wash too often! Twice a day is enough, use a mild soap/cleanser and lukewarm water
- Do not scrub harshly when washing! Avoid abrasive soaps, cleansing granules, astringents, or exfoliating agents
- Avoid using heavy makeup, choose water-based, avoid anything oily and ALWAYS make sure to remove makeup before bed
Don’t try to wait for them to go away. Cystic acne can linger for years. It can affect large areas of your skin and leave permanent scarring.
Again, don’t touch cysts or pick at these blemishes. You may push the infection deeper and make it spread.
Try to relax. Stress can cause your body to release hormones, which can make the problem worse.
Follow a healthy lifestyle. Drink plenty of water, eat your vegetables, get plenty of sleep and exercise. Some research suggests that a low-glycemic diet, which limits sugar, can help symptoms.
New studies also suggest cutting dairy from your diet can help to clear your skin as well (cited).