Adult Cyst Acne
Most people assume only teenagers get acne, so you might feel it's unfair for you to get acne as an adult. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s often get acne. Unfortunately, adult acne often stubbornly resists treatment, although dermatologists can clear it up using a combination of different therapies. If you have cystic acne, which is severe acne with large bumps or cysts below the surface of the skin, it's particularly important to seek treatment so you can avoid scarring.
Hormones--specifically male hormones known as androgens--cause acne, according to the Cleveland Clinic. When androgens circulate in the body, they drive the skin's sebaceous glands to produce sebum, a thick oil the body uses to lubricate the skin. If the sebaceous glands make too much sebum, the sebum can combine with dead skin cells and clog pores. In cystic acne, the blockages form deep within the pores, and bacteria grow out-of-control in the sebum and pus trapped behind the blockages.
Adults with bad acne cysts risk scars forming once their acne lesions clear, according to the AAD, which urges prompt attention from a dermatologist for this type of acne. To bring your acne under control, your dermatologist may prescribe a high-dose oral antibiotic such as doxycycline, which can kill bacteria and begin to control the cystic infection. Isotretinoin, another oral medication, also works extremely well to control cystic acne, but patients on isotretinoin risk some severe side effects, including serious depression and fetal defects in pregnant women.
If you're a woman who suffers from adult acne with cysts, your dermatologist may recommend birth control pills. Because hormones drive acne, oral contraceptives can help to moderate your hormonal swings, causing your sebaceous glands to make less sebum and eventually bringing your acne under control, according to MayoClinic.com. Birth control pills work best for acne when they're combined with other acne treatments, such as prescription topical medications.
If your cystic acne looks bad enough, your dermatologist may take immediate steps to clear individual cysts and reduce the potential for scarring. Some larger acne cysts don't budge, even with medication, and need to be surgically drained and removed, according to the AAD. If you have a severely inflamed acne cyst, your dermatologist might inject it with a mild solution containing corticosteroids, which fight inflammation. The cyst literally melts away over the next week.
If you have cystic acne, you have a very severe and stubborn form of the common skin disease. You'll almost certainly need to seek help from a dermatologist in order to clear your skin and avoid bad scarring, and you'll very likely need to try several combinations of treatments before you find therapy that works on your skin, according to the AAD. Since almost every case can be treated, persistence is key to eventually clearing your skin.
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