Blackheads & Cysts
Acne is a common skin condition responsible for blackheads and cysts. Comedones, whiteheads and blackheads form when pores become clogged with oil and debris, according to the American Academy of Dermatology website AcneNet. Blackheads and whiteheads commonly become irritated and inflamed. When inflammation occurs deep within the skin, cysts may form. They can be painful and often leave scars.
Blackheads and cysts occur when excessive oil production, usually hormone-related, causes pores to become blocked, resulting in the accumulation of bacteria, skin cells and other debris in the pores. Because oil production is higher in teenagers than adults, this age group is at most risk of developing acne.
Blackheads and cysts most commonly appear on the face, shoulders and upper back, but they can appear on other areas of the body, as well. While blackheads are usually a minor inconvenience, cysts are commonly swollen, inflamed, sore and pussy.
Treat blackheads and cysts by following an anti-acne regimen. Gently cleanse twice a day. Avoid touching the affected area with your fingers, and pull your hair away from your face. Do not pick at or squeeze blemishes. Topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, sulfur and salicylic acid can be purchased over the counter.
If over-the-counter treatments fail to work, see a dermatologist. He may advise the same medication in a prescription strength. Oral medications such as antibiotics, spironolactone and isotretinoin may be prescribed, as well, according to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Always use your skin treatments as directed. Do not skip days or use them excessively. Do not use multiple treatments unless advised to do so by a medical professional. Avoid excessive cleansing. Stay away from oily skin and hair products. Continue treatment after acne disappears. Talk to your doctor if treatments are not working.
A rare condition caused by exposure to hydrocarbons found in fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and wood preservatives can cause blackheads and cysts in people who come into contact with them. Severe blackheads and cysts are the most common skin symptoms associated with this type of poisoning, called dioxin poisoning, according to DermNet NZ, a website sponsored by the New Zealand Dermatological Society. The blemishes appear approximately three months after exposure.
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