Small Acne Cyst
Most people make it through a bout with teenage acne with their skin scar-free. But certain types of acne can cause scars, which can sometimes be very deep and noticeable. Cystic acne, a severe form of the disease involving infected pockets below the skin's surface, often leaves scars behind. If you have even one small acne cyst, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you consider seeing a dermatologist for treatment in an effort to avoid scarring.
Cystic Acne Causes
Cystic acne normally develops from common acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In cystic acne, blockages in your pores occur deep below your skin's surface, allowing bacterial infection to build up inside the pore itself. Cysts feel like hard bumps under your skin, and likely will show some swelling on the surface. You can get acne cysts one at a time, or you can have multiple cysts simultaneously.
Although only one small acne cyst might not seem that serious, the AAD warns that people with just one run a very high risk of developing additional cysts. Acne cysts that occur in close proximity to each other can spread until they join together, producing large areas of infection and inflammation in the skin. In addition, even small acne cysts can hurt, due to the inflammation that's present inside them.
If you have cystic acne, you'll need prescription medicines to fight it, according to MayoClinic.com. Although less serious acne cases often respond to topical antibiotics or to benzoyl peroxide-based medications, your physician likely will give you oral antibiotics to fight the infection. In addition, some cysts fail to respond to medications, even powerful ones. If this happens to you, your dermatologist likely will remove the cyst surgically, notes the AAD.
Acne cysts that don't clear with oral antibiotic treatment need something even stronger to treat them. Accutane, a prescription acne medication known by the generic name isotretinoin, often can treat acne when other medications fail, according to MayoClinic.com. If you take Accutane, though, you'll need to be monitored closely by your dermatologist because of the risk of very severe side effects, including birth defects. In addition, Accutane may cause an increased risk of depression and suicide, although researchers aren't certain there's a definite link.
You should never attempt to pop or drain an acne cyst at home, since doing so can cause the infection to spread and deepen, and you'll likely endure more pain before it clears up, according to Acne.org. Instead of trying to drain the cyst yourself, you should see a dermatologist, who may administer a shot of corticosteroids directly into the cyst. Corticosteroids can reduce the infection, make the cyst less painful and lower the chances of a scar developing.
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