Cystic Acne: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment & Home remedies


Acne is the condition of the skin wherein it has bumps. These bumps are accumulated dirt and bacteria that were trapped in the pores.

The most severe case of acne is the cystic acne or an inflamed and deep breakout of acne on the face or other parts of the body.

This type of acne is large compared to ordinary acne. It is one of the worst kinds of acne is cystic acne.

This type of acne feels like soft, fluid-filled lumps under the skin’s covering.

These big, red lumps can be painful and can cause harm to the skin, and will probably leave scars.

They usually come on your face, chest, back, upper arms, or shoulders.

Taking proper care of your skin and a healthy lifestyle are very important for treating cystic acne.



Cystic acne is also called nodulocystic acne. It is the most serious sort of skin inflammation in Vulgaris.

This deep, inflamed and painful acne can appear on the face, buttocks, groin, and armpit area and other body parts where sweat is usually collected.

Acne cysts feel like soft lumps under the skin’s surface. They are filled with fluids and can be painful and are visible to the eyes.

Nodules may appear at the same time with cysts. Nodules are also painful lumps from deep under the skin, but it is hard.

When both nodules and cysts appear together, it is usually referred to as nodulocystic acne.

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Causes of Cystic Acne

1) Overactive Glands

Cystic acne is due to the extra production of sebum by overactive oil glands.

These glands produce various oils, which proceed to clog the pores of people who are prone to the condition.

2) Hormones

Hormonal activities during menstrual cycles, puberty and sometimes during pregnancy, may contribute to acne outbreaks.

3) Genetics

Genes are also an important caused for cystic acne. The most common inherited acne is cystic acne.

There is a chance for children to have acne in any part of life if their parents had acne once.

This is because parents determine the skin type of children.

4) Stress

Stress is associated with the production of a hormone called cortisol, which triggers the expansion of the skin's oil glands, and the over-production of sebum.

It is the male hormone, testosterone, which stimulates the production of the sebaceous glands in times of stress.

This is the reason individuals regularly create skin break out when under pressure. 

5) Cosmetics

Especially oily or heavy makeup can contribute and even aggravate the acne if the skin is already an oily type.

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Symptoms of cystic acne

The symptoms of acne are different than normal pimples.

Acne can appear on any part of the body, especially where there are a lot of sebaceous glands under the skin, such as the face, neck, back, shoulders and also chest.

The symptoms of cystic acne include:-

1) The presence of large cysts.

2) Redness around the skin eruptions due to inflammation.

3) Swelling and also irritation of the skin.

4) Large and painful lumps inside the skin.

5) Soft lumps with pus in it.

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Prevention of cystic acne

Few self-care steps to reduce the severity of the acne:-

1) Skin cleaning twice a day using mild and non-drying soap to remove dirt and oil is a good practice.

Excessive cleaning will make the skin dry and worsen the acne.

2) Washing hair with shampoo daily is also important as oily hair will have a lot of bacteria.

3) Always keep the hair short or tight up the hair with a rubber band to avoid it having contact with the face.

4) Avoid squeezing or popping your acne, it will make the conditions worse and cause infections and scarring.

5) Avoid frequently touching your face with dirty hands.

6) Always choose cosmetic products with non-comedogenic formulas as these products will not clog the skin pores.

7) You should remove all the make-up and clean up your face before going to bed.

8) Men should not shave over the pimples as it can irritate the skin causing more breakouts, it is best to be gentle and light.

9) Avoid pressing too hard on the shaver.

10) Use an electric shaver rather than a razor blade to minimize skin irritation. If that is also not possible, it is best to use a disposable razor.

11) Make sure the razorblade is always clean and sharp. If not needed, it is best to shave once in 2 -3 days for acne with hair.

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Treatment for cystic acne

It is important to note that the treatment for cystic acne can take some time. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the sufferer is consistent with treatment.

There are different methods of treating cystic acne but because of their delicate nature, the sufferer is advised to seek the advice of a dermatologist.

This is advisable when you need to use different pharmaceutical products because of the different side effects of some of these drugs.

 Common treatments for cystic acne

Antibiotics, either taken orally or applied topically are needed for this kind of severe acne.

Erythromycin and clindamycin are common antibiotics that are usually prescribed for the treatment of cystic acne.

Surgical excision and drainage of cystic acne. with this treatment, a doctor makes a small incision in the skin then he extracts the infected cystic material.

Intralesional corticosteroid injections for cystic acne – medication is injected directly into the acne cysts and lesions to reduce inflammation.

Topical retinoids are also effective in treating cystic acne. Topical retinoids, either in the form of creams, lotions or gels are groups of medicines derived from Vitamin A.

  • They encourage the growth of new cells and reduced keratinization of old cells in the follicle lining. The result is usually noticeable after a few weeks.
  • For those with sensitive skin, retinoids might cause skin irritation when first used. However, this problem will go-off with continued use.
  • Examples of topical retinoids are tretinoin (Retin-A), adapalene (Differin), and tazarotene (Tazorac).

* Tretinoin

The first retinoid for topical use. It works to gradually unclog pores and keep them unplugged.

Numerous patients had seen tretinoin as unreasonably cruel for their skin; however, the newer forms are less disturbing.

Side effects include redness, scaling, dryness, itching, and burning. If these happen, you must talk with the dermatologist who recommended tretinoin.


Adapalene unclogs pores and has moderate to intense calming capacities.

The result is seen within 8 to 12 weeks. Side effects such a minor skin irritation and dryness.

* Tazarotene

A synthetic retinoid, in the form of gel or cream, helps to keep the skin's pores clear and effecting in treating skin break out.

This prescription ought not to be utilized by ladies who are pregnant, and effective contraception is required while taking tazarotene because the drug has produced birth defects in animals.

May cause skin irritation.

Side effects include redness, scaling, dryness, itching, and burning. If these happen, you must talk with the dermatologist who recommended tretinoin.

Retinoids can also be taken by orally

Taking oral retinoid isotretinoin (usually marketed in different names such as Accutane, Roaccutane, etc.)
Isotretinoin will reduce the production of oil by the sebaceous glands.

It gives better results than anti-bacterial treatments and helps in clearing out acne.

However, oral retinoid treatments have many known side-effects such as:-
Dryness of the lips, mouth, and eyes, hair loss and pruritus and should only be done under close medical supervision.

Less common but more severe, probably idiosyncratic, reactions (which may occur after weeks or months of therapy) include:-
Altered vision, headache, joint and muscle pain, abnormally raised serum transaminase levels.

Rare reactions include mental depression, severe hepatitis, diffuse hyperostosis of the spine and benign intracranial hypertension.

There are reports of liver damage and severe acne flare-up due to oral retinoid treatments.

This drug may also cause birth defects and therefore pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should not take it.

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Home Remedies for Cystic Acne


    Another great cure for cystic acne is baking soda. This is because it kills germs and brings down swelling.
      Baking soda can pull extra oil out of blocked pores and clean away dead skin cells.

      It also evens out the acid level of your skin, leaving it healthy and glowing.
      • Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with enough cucumber juice to make a thin paste. 
      • If you do not have cucumber juice, you can use plain water.
      • Put it on the hurt area.
      • Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then
      • Wash it off with warm water.
      • Do this one or two times a week.
              Note: Make sure to moisturize your skin after using baking soda.

                2) TURMERIC

                To get rid of cystic acne, you can use turmeric. This spice has curcumin, which naturally brings down swelling and eases pain.

                Also, it kills bad germs and fights the infection.

                • Take 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric powder 
                • Add a little water or unrefined sesame oil
                • Make a paste
                • Put this paste on the hurt area
                • leave it on for about 1 hour before washing it off
                • Do this one or two times a day for a few days.

                3) APPLE CIDER VINEGAR 

                Apple cider vinegar is another great cure for cystic acne.

                Because it’s an astringent, it helps get rid of extra oil to cure acne and ease pain and swelling.

                It also helps clean the skin and balance the skin’s acid level.
                • Mix equal amounts of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and water. 
                • Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and
                • Put it on the hurt skin.
                • Let it sit for about 15 minutes, 
                • Then wash it off with water. 
                • Do this two times a day for a few days.

                4) TEA TREE OIL

                Tea tree oil goes into the skin easily to help unblock the sebaceous glands, clean pores, and dry out the acne.

                • Put 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil onto a cotton ball and 
                • Pat, it gently onto the hurt area.
                • Leave it on for a few hours or overnight
                • Use this once a day for a week.

                People with sensitive skin should mix 1 part tea tree oil with 3 parts water before putting it on.

                Note: Some people are allergic to tea tree oil, so test it on a little bit of skin before using it.

                5) FULLER'S EARTH 

                Fuller’s earth is a type of clay that is good for curing cystic acne.

                It helps get rid of extra oil and dead skin cells, leaving clean and smooth skin.

                It even lowers the chance of scars forming.

                • Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of fuller’s earth with enough water to make a paste.
                • Mix in a ½ teaspoon of honey.
                • Put it on your face.
                • Let it dry on its own, then
                • Wash it off with water.
                • Do this one or two times a week.

                6) INDIAN LILAC 

                Indian lilac, also called neem or margosa, is a popular Ayurvedic cure for cystic acne.

                It kills germs and bacteria to help fight the cause of the problem. It also eases signs like pain and swelling.

                Taking neem into the body even helps wash out poisons and cleans your blood.

                • Put the paste of neem leaves on the hurt area of the skin. 
                • Let it dry on its own before
                • washing it off with warm water.
                • Do this two times a day for a few days.

                7) DIETARY CHANGES 

                By making some changes to your diet you can stop any type of acne, including cystic acne.

                Here are some things you should change.

                • Follow a low-glycemic diet with whole grains, beans, fresh fruits, and green vegetables.
                • Eat nuts and seeds that are full of vitamins A and E.
                • Drink a lot of water throughout the day to flush harmful poisons out of your body.
                • Eat little or no dairy, like milk and cheese, until the acne is gone.
                • Don’t eat oily, fatty foods and spicy foods that can make the acne worse.
                • Don’t eat junk foods and foods full of sugar.

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                8) ICE

                • Apply ice to the pimples a few times in a day. 
                • This will reduce swelling and make it less noticeable.

                Since the way to remove cystic acne is by drying the skin, you should not apply any creams or lotions to your face until the problem subsides.

                You should also wash your face with a very gentle cleanser because you should not do anything to aggravate your skin condition.

                The best thing is to control and manage cystic acne with effective acne treatment and preventative regimen.

                Cystic acne can affect anyone and every one, our fundamental genetic building blocks are different from each other and how our skin reacts to each treatment or product can reflect that.

                So what works for one individual, probably won't work for another. Therefore it is very important to seek medical help from a doctor or skin specialist.