What Is Cystic Acne – Causes, Symptoms and Best Treatments

What is cystic acne? This page will help you understand what it is, what may be causing it – and most importantly, how you can treat it

What is cystic acne

What is Cystic Acne? – and why the answer is important

Finding a successful treatment for cystic acne often seems like a never ending, all-consuming search

But by understanding your condition better, you have the power to make smart treatment choices.

Let’s start with the symptoms and causes of cystic acne, before getting into exactly what you can do about it.

Symptoms Of Cystic Acne

  • Deep, inflamed cysts – sometimes 1 inch or more in diameter and these can stay for weeks or months
  • Red, flaky, scaly skin
  • Excess oil production, a greasy complexion
  • Papules – small hard lumps or pimples
  • Blackheads
  • Nodules – similar to cysts but these are hard and often deeper

So you’re not just dealing with one type of blemish or pimple, but a whole range of uncomfortable and often painful “manifestations” or symptoms.

But take heart – all these conditions can be seen as the complete acne condition and don’t have to be treated separately.

What Causes Cystic Acne?

You have probably read or even been told by your dermatologist that cystic acne is caused by the following:

  • an excess in oil production (which can be controlled with a good salicylic acid product)
  • an overproduction of dead skin cells, which get trapped in pores and mix with oil, leading to blockages
  • an excess of acne-causing bacteria on the skins surface

And while these things are what cause the visible symptoms (pimples, cysts, nodules, inflammation etc)…

What is much more helpful is knowing the ROOT CAUSES. 

  • What makes the sebaceous glands over produce oil, the skin cells increase their turnover, and the acne bacteria to proliferate.
  • Why you, and not your best friend?
  • Some people have the “right” conditions in their body that when certain effects are triggered (unbalanced hormones, compromised immune system, blood toxicity) the symptom they experience is cystic acne.

Other people may experience irritable bowel syndrome or psoriasis – everyone is different

What Is Cystic Acne? And How To Treat It

So the underlying causes of cystic acne are what we need to treat.

Anything that merely deals with the surface only is unsuccessful, at least in the long run (this includes products such as benzoyl peroxide, which only dry out the oil glands – the root cause is still there and it will often return).

NEXT FOR YOU: How To Treat Cystic Acne (Step by Step)


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