Cystic acne or what you call nodulocystic acne is the most serious form of acne vulgaris. Its main characteristics are swollen red pustules with pus and sore nodules that can be really painful. Acne scars are very common results of this type of acne once they are not treated properly through pricking and use of ineffective medications. It also requires a longer length of time to heal as compared to milder types of acne.
It is usually mistaken as acne rosacea because of their similarity in appearance. Acne Rosacea is pimples and skin blemishes seen on the forehead, chin, cheeks and nose and is very distinguishable because of its reddish color and nodules. The difference between rosacea and cystic acne is that the former do not result from blackheads or whiteheads which the latter result from. Rosacea pimples are not extractable as well unlike blackheads and whiteheads.
With cystic acne, there are three things to consider that when altogether may result to cystic acne. First are agitated oil glands that most acne-prone individuals have. Their sebaceous glands produce more oil than usual and soon enough clog pores, hence resulting to outbreaks when infected. Research shows that the sebum produced through oil glands of people with bad acne breakouts have high compositions of squalene and wax esters, and low composition of free fatty acid and linoleic acid. This setting allows the P. acnes bacteria (or Propionibacterium acnes) to proliferate fast.
Second is increased production and reduced shedding of skin cells. Acne-prone individuals create more skin cells than the average person. However, when too many skin cells die, they need to be removed by the skin but this does not happen regularly. The result, dead skin cells block the follicles and result to clogged pores.
Third is the increased amount of acne bacteria that happens when a pore gets blocked and oxygen is zapped out. This is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Although the skin has a certain number of P. acnes, once the bacteria explodes in number, pimples break out and the infection can spread to other pores through frequent touching of the face. P. acnes live on sebum and they create a substance that can damage the pore’s lining which result to redness and inflammation.
Acne bacteria cannot be destroyed with regular face washing. Certain chemicals are recommended to be included in your skin care product to kill acne bacteria. Benzoyl Peroxide is on the top of the list. Others are tetracycline and antibiotics.
Retinoids such as Accutane is also considered an effective treatment for severe acne like this one. It prevents scarring and is proven to treat ninety percent of serious problems of the skin. Also known as Isotretinoin, it is a doctor prescribed oral medicine that is advised to be continuously used for a period of five months and to be taken twice daily. What Accutane does is that it reduces the oil glands’ size thus making it produce smaller amounts of oil and lesser growth of bacteria.
Another option in treating cystic acne is a cortisone shot. Steroidal cortisone shots are commonly used to treat severe skin conditions since it can successfully halt inflammation, expedite healing and stop the condition from resulting to unsightly acne scars. The hormone cortisone is produced by the body and works by reducing inflammation, but the amount released by the body is not sufficient when it comes to severe swelling of the skin because of nodulocystic acne. This is where steroid hormone shots come in.
As explained earlier, cystic acne is not primarily caused by having poor hygiene but it is a condition caused by internal factors such as abnormal oil production and hormonal imbalance). This fact makes topical acne treatments futile when it comes to addressing this type of acne. Aside from the abovementioned acne treatments, another possible cure that may help improve the condition is multivitamins. Vitamin B5 and Zinc capsules for acne are vitamins that can help break down oil by limiting sebum production while improving the system’s metabolism of skin oil. Compared to Accutane, results may not be seen as fast and may not be as effective for others.
Of course, do not fail to visit a licensed dermatologist who can give the right assessment and medication for your situation. Having patience and a good attitude can also help a person suffering from cystic acne build up their self-confidence as they wait for their skin to finally clear up.