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Cystic Acne, one of the severest forms of acne, is a type of abscess that is formed when oil ducts become clogged and infected. Cystic acne tends to affect the deeper skin tissue, as opposed to the more common acne that is more superficial. This acne is generally experienced on the face of a patient and typically occurs during the teen years.
Because cystic acne is a type of skin abscess, also know as a boil, it represents a localized infection deep in the skin. The typical beginning of an abscess is a reddened, tender area of skin. Over time, the area becomes firm and hard.
Eventually, the center of the abscess will soften and become filled with white blood cells. This is the body’s defense against infection. The collection of white blood cells, bacteria, and proteins form a substance known as pus. In the final stage, the pus will force a “head” to form, which can be surgically opened or spontaneously drained through the surface of the skin.
Because this form of acne is serious and may lead to permanent skin damage, individuals with severe nodular or cystic acne should be treated by a dermatologist. For individuals with severe inflammatory acne that doesn’t improve with other acne medications, Accutane (isotretinoin) may be needed. Isotretinoin, or Accutane, is an oral acne medicine that is usually taken for a period of 16 to 20 weeks.
This medication works by dramatically reducing the size of the oil glands, so that much less oil is produced. Due to this oil reduction, the growth of P. acnes is decreased. Also, Isotretinoin will reduce cell shedding and the stickiness of cells in the follicles. This action helps prevent the development of comedones.
- How Effective Is Isotretinoin?
Isotretinoin, sold under the brand name Accutane, is a very effective cystic acne medicine that helps prevent extensive scarring in acne sufferers. During treatment, usually a 16 to 20 week period, acne completely or almost completely goes away in most patients. The statistics show that Isotretinoin has an effective rate of up to 90 percent. However, for some individuals, the acne does return, and will require additional treatment of isotretinoin.
- What are the Disadvantages of Isotretinoin?
There are a number of disadvantages and side effects associated with Isotretinoin, and therefore, individuals should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using this form of acne treatment. To start with, the drug is not only costly but is also linked to some adverse reactions that can be severe.
- Possible Side Effects Include:
- inflammation of the lip and mucous membrane of the eye
- dry mouth, nose, or skin itching
- muscle aches
- decreased night vision (rare)
There are also some other more serious side effects that should be considered – increased blood cholesterol, triglyceride, lipid levels and abnormal liver enzymes. Because of the serious nature of these side effects, your physician will generally monitor a patient’s complete blood count, blood chemistries, cholesterol, triglycerides, and liver enzymes before and during treatment. The good news is that these side effects will usually cease upon stopping the medication.
- Is My Acne Affected By My Diet?
Women should take special note of the potential adverse side effects due to the fact that Isotretinoin is classified as a teratogenic. This means that it can cause birth defects in the developing fetus of pregnant women. So, it is very crucial that women of childbearing age are not pregnant, or do not get pregnant, while taking cystic acne medication.
Also, females are required to use an appropriate birth control method for one month prior to therapy beginning, during the course of the therapy, and for one full month after therapy is completed. Once the cystic acne treatment is completed, women should consult with their physician regarding when it is safe to get pregnant.
Do You What to Know More?
Acne is not fully understood, but we understand a portion of the biology behind it. The principal culprit is the excess output of an oily substance called sebum whose purpose is to keep skin and hair lubricated and soft. During adolescence, the body often creates excess quantities of sebum. The sebum blends with naturally occurring dead skin cells to block hair follicles which prevents the sebum from breaking loose.
The resulting block up of oil under the surface of the skin provides an complete environment for bacteria. The bacteria breed and the skin area becomes red and inflamed making what is usually called a pimple. In severe cases, this can lead to cystic acne.
The excess output of sebum is caused by the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone is witnessed in both men and women, but during early teen years, the body changes how it responds to the presence of testosterone. It is this abnormal reaction, characteristically appearing during the teen years, that induces the skin (especially on the face and upper trunk) to become excessively oily. By the early 20s, the body usually adapts to testosterone and acne disappears.
Most folks associate food like chocolate and fast food with pimples, but there is no statistical grounds to believe that this type of food induces or aggravates acne. Because of the numerous products available for taking care of acne, it can be difficult to decide how to differentiate them.
One of the most popular ingredients in acne treatments is benzoyl peroxide. It is found in gels and ointments and works by combating the bacteria which causes pimples. Benzoyl peroxide has been proven to be safe and effective in combating lesions. It can be used after acne has cleared up to keep the skin free from acne causing bacteria. The only side effect associated with this ingredient is dry skin, and this can be avoided by decreasing the frequency that it is applied on the skin.
What are the Top Acne Treatments for Cystic Acne?
Acne afflictions are usually best handled by topical ointments. More difficult cases may be addressed in a large number of ways including oral antibiotics, ointments, and physical treatments such as chemical peels and drainage.
Physical cures must be dispensed by a dermatologist. Although bursting pimples is a form of physical treatment, it is ill-advised. It can cause acne-causing bacteria to spread and may encourage scarring. Physical procedures performed in controlled troubles limit risk while providing great results.
With a more servere form of acne, like cystic acne, home treatments of epsom salts can be administered but don’t be disappointed if they prove ineffective. These treatments may provide some relief from the discomfort of the acne cysts, though. This condition will generally require the attention of a dermatologist, and may even indicate a strong acne medication, like Accutane.
The top layer of skin can be taken away either chemically or using abrasion. Chemical peels are generally performed with salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These work by destroying a microscopic layer of skin cells to unclog pores and eliminate the buildup of dead cells. The same result can be reached by applying an abrasive cloth or liquid scrub.
Glycolic acid medications can be given every 2 to 4 weeks over a period of about six months. However, salicylic acid medications are less iritating and are often included in over-the-counter medicines. They can be used each day.
- Comedo Extraction
Comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) can be extracted by a dermatologist employing sterile instruments. An aesthetic cream is utilized in the immediate area and then the comedones are drawn out employing a cylindrical instrument which opens up the top to allow removal of the stopped up skin cells and sebum.
The procedure is typically followed by an application of antibiotic cream. It is paramount that you do not to exercise this at home. Picking at pimples can lead to infection and permanent scarring.
Extreme acne can periodically result in cysts to form under the skin. These cysts can be painful and disfiguring. Smaller cysts can be best treated using cortisone injections which flatten out the lesion in the next few days. Larger cysts probably should be drained and surgically hard to reach.
Drainage can help alleviate the pain associated through cysts and also reduce the chance of scarring. It is usually done in the dermatologists office using sterile instruments. It is crucial not to test to drain cysts by yourself because of the risk of infection which could promote unfortunate scarring.
- Light Therapy
Light therapy is sometimes used to fight the acnes bacteria that result in acne. It is very helpful in treating remote areas but may have a short term effect. The processes unfortunately does not do anything about the production of sebum or the build up of dead skin cells.
- Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is of value for caring for the scars resulting from acne. The procedure can be utilized for both surface level scarring as well as deep tissue scarring resulting from severe acne conditions. Research is now being directed on the use of lasers for acne procedures.
Various approaches are being tested – burning away the follical sac which makes the hair; burning away the gland which produces sebum; and developing oxygen in the bacteria to obliterate them. It is not yet known if laser acne coarse of action can lead to long lasting damage to the skin.
What is Severe Cystic Acne and What Can You Do About It?
Acne is a skin problem that almost all of us will have to deal with at some point in our lives. It usually occurs most often during puberty, but other people struggle with acne throughout their entire lives. Still, most people are lucky enough to only ever experience a mild to moderate form of acne, but for others, their acne can become so severe that their pimples actually turn into large cysts, known as severe cystic acne.
Cystic acne is the most serious form of acne that can occur and results in quite large, deep, inflamed cysts forming under the skin as a result. These cystsare typically quite painful and feel like little lumps filled with fluid under the skin. Additionally, many people with severe cystic acne also develop nodules, which are somewhat the same thing except they feel much harder and are usually even more painful than the cysts.
Most people who develop cystic acne will end up with different types of acne scars once their skin is finally able to clear up. This means that not only do these people have to deal with the pain and embarrassment of having such terrible acne, but they will also have to live with the results of it for the rest of their life as it will leave their skin with deep, rolling acne scars.
What are the Causes?
Before we can move on to trying to cure or prevent cystic acne, it is first necessary to understand exactly what causes these acne cysts to form. This condition typically affects males much more so than females, and teenage boys have the highest risk of developing it. Additionally, it seems to be that some people may be genetically predisposed to developing acne cysts, as you will be much more likely to develop this condition if one of your parents or siblings also had it.
Like all other forms of acne, severe cystic acne develops as a result of clogged pores and overactive oil glands. Our pores are constantly full of dead skin cells which usually try to rise to the surface. However, when a person has overactive oil glands, the oil can cause these dead skin cells to stick together and clog the pore. When the pore is clogged, it will eventually rupture, releasing acne causing bacteria into the surrounding area, thus resulting in a blemish such as a pimple or zit.
In most cases, the pore ruptures near the surface, resulting in only a minor spot which will heal itself quite quickly. However, when the pores are severely clogged, they can rupture much deeper in the skin, and it is these deep ruptures that are responsible for cysts and nodules, although the nodules usually result when the bacteria flows into other pores.
All research has shown that the causes of cystic acne are exactly the same as with all other, milder forms of acne. Basically, it just seems that some people, males especially, are just more prone to developing cysts than other people.
What are the Top Treatment Options for Severe Cystic Acne?
If you are suffering from severe cystic acne, you know just how painful and embarrassing this problem can be, and you’re probably looking for solution to help cure it. The first thing you need to know about treating acne cysts is that you should never pop them, dig at them, or otherwise disturb them in any way. Doing so will only make them get more infected and will also cause much worse scarring.
Another thing you need to know is that this condition will never go away on its own, so you will need to be treated by a doctor. Your doctor may try many different treatment methods, or even a combination of several methods, before the cysts begin to go away, so it’s important to follow their instructions carefully and remain patient.
Some of the most common methods used to treat severe cystic acne include both oral and topical antibiotics, cortisone steroid injections into the cysts themselves, and even surgery to remove or drain the infection. While these treatment options may sound extreme, they are the only way to fully treat this condition, so unfortunately, they are also necessary. Still, with any luck, your doctor will soon be able to control your severe cystic acne and you will be able to get on with your life.
Do Acne and Depression Have to Go Together?
Studies carried out on the link between acne and depression. Scientists have discovered a disturbing link between acne and depression. If your teenager has acne they could suffer from depression. Warning signs are loss of appetite, lethargy, spontaneous crying and behavioral problems.
There’s been reports of teens suffering from acne attempting and committing suicide. If you or someone close to you has this problem, talk with your doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible. Most acne can be cured or controlled with medication and the right diet. And, depression can be treatable with medication and therapy.
Doctors say acne patients are prone to have problems in the following areas: self esteemyoung women depressed by acne and body image, social withdrawal/relationship building and education/work certain suffers can develop acne dysmorphia.
California psychiatrist Bobbie McDonald says anything that makes a teen stand out, makes them see themselves in a negative light. Dr. McDonald finds that most of these problems go away after graduation. She says youths start to redefine themselves in ways that boost their self esteem, when they go to college or get a job. Dr. Jessica Krant believes depression can make acne worse. That’s because people who suffer from depression may not want to follow a prescribed skin care routine.
A Norwegian study takes acne and depression a step further. The study indicates there’s a linear relationship between mood and pimples. The worse the mental-illness symptoms, the worse the acne. This study attempted to question every teen who was finishing high school in Oslo. The teens answered questions about the severity of their acne, and how much anxiety and depression they were having. Results show that the level of mental distress reported by the kids was strongly associated with how much acne they had.
Scientists started looking for a reason for these results. One suggestion-people eat more junk food when they’re in mental distress. Scientists found that this is mostly a myth. However, girls in the study who ate fewer vegetables had more zits than girls who ate lots of greens.
Diet was not a relevant factor for boys. There was no link with other lifestyle factors like smoking and alcohol. One hypothesis is that stress stimulates the growth of nerve fibers near sebaceous glands, which contributes to increased sebum production. Sebum causes most blackheads and acne. Other scientists say this study is flawed because it relies on information that’s self-reported.
Need Help for Acne and Depression?
There are some things that can be done to relieve acne and stress. Eating a healthy diet is good for your body, mind and spirit. A few studies show that acne sufferers should limit their sugar intake. It’s important to get enough sleep. When you’re well rested it’s easier to keep things in perspective. Just make sure to follow your skin routine before hitting the sheets.
Exercise is a great way to improve your mood, whether you have acne or not. When you feel fit and strong, you’ll likely pay less attention to your skin. Make sure you’re treating your acne. It’s easy to feel stressed out if your skin is breaking out and not getting any better. Finally, if acne is negatively affecting your self-esteem, it’s time to get help. Don’t ignore your feelings.