Cystic Acne is also known as Acne Vulgaris and is a very common disease of the skin. It is characterized by patches of skin that may be scaly, red, with black heads or white heads, pimples and usually large nodules that are raised and painful. Often times skin scarring also occurs.
Cystic acne is most often inflammatory and occurs on those areas of skin that have the most sebaceous glands. That is where oil is created and excreted onto the skin. The sebaceous glands are located within the hair follicle and usually the acne occurs in these areas due to changes in the gland itself. These changes can often be related to hormonal changes.
Early teenage years is when cystic acne usually first appears and many times it can continue into our adult years. The hormonal changes that occur during puberty include increases in testosterone and as well the sebaceous glands begin to secrete oil thus we see an increase in the clogging of our pores with oil and of course cystic acne. A lot of times this is a temporary change and people see it start to diminish with age, however some people are plagued with cystic acne well into their forties and fifties even.
Cystic acne’s main feature is the large nodes that people refer to as cysts. Cystic acne can develop anywhere on the body but mostly it is seen on the buttocks, groin and armpits – basically anywhere there are hair follicles and sweat or oil that can collect and combine and form the large cysts. Another hallmark of cystic acne is that is attacks much deeper layers of skin that regular acne and it can cause deep scarring. Even though there are some serious physical consequences of this cystic acne, its emotional consequences can be pretty severe. Since it occurs during adolescence when people are just starting to come into their own and self-conscious feelings tend to develop cystic acne can affect ones self-esteem possibly leading to significant shyness or even depression. Therefore it is suggested that in order to help minimize the impact and negative consequences one should get treatment as soon as possible and in an aggressive manner.
Cystic Acne Diagnosis
How is cystic acne diagnosed? Cystic acne is diagnosed based on a grading scale to determine the severity of the disease. There are over twenty five different grading systems for acne that exists today, but I will discuss 2 of them in this article.
- Leeds Acne Grading Technique – With this technique which was developed in 1998 it is based on a photographic standard for grading acne that occurs on the face, back and chest. Basically there are 15 grades based on photographs that were taken of people with acne
- Global Acne Grading Scale – this is a more quantitative scoring system that is based on separating regions of the body that have acne, giving each on a score and then a multiplication of these factors by the severity to determine the overall score.
Symptoms of Cystic Acne
If you are concerned that you may have cystic acne but aren’t sure, you can head to your doctor and set up an appointment with a dermatologist. This is a person who specializes in skin diseases. Cystic acne is characterized by red and scaly skin and mainly large nodular like boils or cysts that appear to be right under the skin and they are quite painful. Scars usually exist because the skin gets very inflamed due to the acne and it tries to heal itself. When the skin tries to heal itself it brings collagen to the area and often times with acne, the skin puts too much collagen in the area to fix it. The scarring is quite unique and can sometimes disfigure the person who is suffering from the disorder. There are different types of scarring that occurs with cystic acne.
- Rolling Scars – rolling scars are scars that tend to look like waves that are rolling across the skin
- Box Car Scars – these scars look like chicken pox scars and are pretty deep occurring in the cheeks and sides of the forehead.
- Ice Pick Scars – These are the most common kind of acne scarring and they are deep pit like scars
- Hypertrophic Scars – these are scars that have a thickened appearance and result from too much collogen.
Causes of Cystic Acne
Cystic acne is due to severe blockage of the hair follicles. As the sebaceous glands secrete more and more oil the skin and the oil form a sort of plug which blocks the opening of the pore. Once the pore becomes blocked nothing can escape from it and more and more oil (sebum) is produced by the glands. At this point it begins to swell and get inflamed much like an infection would and what results is a cyst or the classic nodes and redness that occur with cystic acne.
Cystic Acne Treatments
There are numerous treatments existing today to treat cystic acne, ranging from cleansers all the way to surgery.
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Topical Retinoids
- Oral Retinoids
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Laser Treatment
There are some dermatologists who will conduct surgical lancing on some of the more stubborn and large nodules or cysts.
- Egg Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Aloe Vera
- Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Acne is a very common disease in people in our world. More than 40 – 50 million people in the United States Alone struggle with acne, it does not discriminate and affects people of all races, religions and sexes. There are many ways of treating acne from medicines to surgery so you do not have to suffer any longer with it. Most people usually outgrow acne by the age of 20 however it can persist. So don’t wait, get aggressive treatment early so there is not any emotional or psychological damage done that can impact you later in life.
Nodular acne is exactly the same as Cystic Acne. Both of these diseases are known as Acne Vulgaris and sometimes are referred to as Nodulocystic Acne. If you suffer from scaly red patches of skin with black heads, white heads, maybe pimples and large, raised, painful cysts you are more than likely suffering from nodular acne.read more
Acne Vulgaris or cystic acne is a common skin disease usually seen more in teenage boys and men. Often the worst breakouts that can occur in the skin, these nodules or lesions are quite painful and raised and can often leave disfiguring scars. Usually it causes red, scaly patches on the skin that have can also contain black heads or white heads and pimples. It also occurs more in areas of the skin that have the most oil secreting or sebaceous glands. Maybe this was handed down from your family or perhaps you are just unlucky but this...read more