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8 Causes of Cystic Acne: And What to Do About It

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

You're not alone if you are greeted by acne when you look in the mirror. Acne plagues 50 million people each year, making it one of the most common skin ailments people suffer from.

Acne can range from mild to severe, with one of the most stubborn forms being cystic acne. This type of acne happens deep under the skin, causing painful swelling.

Cystic acne looks like a large, painful lump and can be anywhere oil glands are. Most people suffer from acne on their face, back, chest, and shoulders.

There are many different reasons why these unsightly bumps pop up on your face. We go over the top causes of cystic acne and what you can do to keep your bumps at bay.

1. Family History

There is a genetic component to cystic acne. If your parents suffered from acne, there is an excellent chance you'll end up with it too.

2. Age

People who are most likely to get cystic acne are in their teens or early 20s. Although this is the most likely age range, children as young as eight and adults up to 50 can suffer from this condition.

3. Hormone Changes

Changes in hormones make up a large part of cystic acne. During puberty, androgen hormones increase and cause the skin to produce more sebum. This increase in sebum can lead to cystic acne.

It's not just puberty that can cause cystic acne. Other hormonal changes during someone's life can lead to this skin condition.

Hormone changes in pregnancy is an example of something that can lead to cystic acne. The hormones from menopause is another event that can lead to cystic acne.

4. Diet

The food that you eat can directly impact how your skin looks. Certain foods rich in carbohydrates can be a cause of cystic acne. That means if things like bagels, chips, and bread make up a large part of your diet, they could be contributing to your skin problems.

5. Medication

Are you using a medication that uses testosterone or lithium in it? If so, it could be contributing to your cystic acne.

6. High Humidity

When the weather gets hot, you're more likely to sweat. This sweat can lead to acne on your face, especially if your hair is down. Next time you're hitting the gym, make sure to wear your hair up and wash your face immediately afterward.

7. Tight Clothing

Tight clothing or things that rub on your face can cause cystic acne. This includes items like cellphones, collars, and backpacks.

8. Stress

Although stress doesn't necessarily cause cystic acne, it can worsen if you do have a breakout.

Treating Cystic Acne

Although this type of acne is more difficult to treat, there are steps you can take to help clear your skin up. The most effective treatment for cystic acne will come from a dermatologist. They will evaluate your skin and point you in the right direction towards healing it.

When you visit a dermatologist, they will usually put you on antibiotic cream or gel. This treatment will keep inflammation down and kill the bacteria in your skin.

Salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide are other treatments that can keep bacteria at bay while removing dead skin cells. This will keep your face clear from impurities that can cause the initial clogs.

If you have a particularly large cystic acne bump, your dermatologist may choose to use a corticosteroid injection. This injection will shrink your cyst rapidly but can only be done in a doctor's office.

A similar practice is to drain the cyst. Pus can get trapped deep in a cystic acne bump, and draining it can help speed the healing process. This is another practice that a dermatologist should only do.

Birth control pills are another treatment for cystic acne. Birth control keeps hormone levels low, which, in turn, can keep acne from forming.

You'll need to practice patience when it comes to clearing your cystic acne. Most treatments take several months of use before you'll have full results.

Cystic Acne Complications

Most people want to get rid of their cystic acne because it can cause scarring if it is not taken care of. This is particularly common if you pick or try to pop cystic bumps. In severe cases, cystic acne can cause bacterial skin infections like cellulitis.

Preventing Cystic Acne

Although many cystic acne is caused by factors out of your control, there are a few things you can do to keep your risk for acne lower.

Make sure to practice good skin hygiene every day. Use a mild cleanser each morning and night and wash with your fingers. Also, make sure to wash your face well after you sweat or exercise.

Oil-free moisturizer is another must-have step in your skincare routine. Keeping your face moisturized will keep your skin from overproducing oil.

Make sure that all the makeup that you use is labeled non-comedogenic. This means it is water-based and won't clog your pores.

Touching your face is a big no-no if you want to keep your skin acne-free. Your hands transfer oil that can cause breakouts. Keeping your hands away from your face will also help you stop picking and poking your skin.

Your hair can hold a lot of oil, even if you wash it every day. Keep your hair off of your face so that this oil doesn't transfer to your skin.

Know the Causes of Cystic Acne to Help Keep Your Skin Clear

Having cystic acne can cause deep self-esteem issues if it isn't treated. Knowing the causes of cystic acne can help you understand the steps you need to leave your acne behind.

If you suffer from cystic acne, By Youthful Co will work with you to get to the root of your acne. Schedule your free 15-minute consultation today and get on your way to clearer skin.

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