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Cystic Acne

Acne is a common skin problem and one that can be disfiguring. It’s most common in adolescents and teens, but adults can get it too. In some cases, the bumps and papules that are so common with this skin problem become inflamed, leading to a diagnosis of cystic acne, the most serious form of the disease and the one that’s most likely to lead to scarring.

What Causes It?

As the name implies, people with cystic acne don’t just have blackheads and red bumps. They also develop cysts that can become quite large and painful and be felt as tender, swollen nodules on the surface of the skin. Needless to say, these tender inflamed nodules that fill with puss are uncomfortable and embarrassing from a cosmetic standpoint.

Like non-cystic acne, acne with cysts begins within the hair follicle. Skin cells inside the follicle are constantly being shed. Alongside the hair follicle is a sebaceous gland that produces an oily substance called sebum. People with acne produce too much sticky sebum. This causes the skin cells being continuously shed to clump together and block the opening of the hair follicle called the pore. Bacteria feed on the sebum and dead skin cell. This leads to an inflammatory response as they body tries to destroy the bacteria. In people with cystic acne, the inflammatory response is so great that it breaks the wall of the pore and a membrane forms around it leading to a cyst. Multiple cysts can form, and cysts can fuse together to form larger cysts that are filled with pus and bacteria.

It’s not clear why some people develop cystic acne, while others don’t, but those who do are at greater risk for scarring since the cysts damage healthy skin tissue. Scarring is more likely to happen to people who pop the cysts or pick at them.

Treatment

Never try to open up the cysts since this increases the risk of scarring. Twice-daily cleansing with an oil-free cleanser helps to remove excess oil and bacteria that clog pores and make the problem worse. Choose a product that is oil-free and contains salicylic acid, an ingredient that helps to slough off dead skin cells and clean up clogged pores. After cleansing, follow up by applying a treatment containing benzoyl peroxide. This is an ingredient proven to fight bacteria that contribute to cystic acne. Used daily, it helps to prevent new acne lesions and cysts from forming.

Dermatologists sometimes prescribe antibiotics for people with severe cases of cystic acne. Antibiotics are effective for killing bacteria and controlling inflammation, but they have side effects. In many cases, the symptoms can be controlled without using them. There’s also the risk that the bacteria will become resistant to the antibiotic. Another medication that doctors sometimes prescribe for women with cystic forms of acne is an oral contraceptive. Sebum production is driven by hormones and regulating hormone levels with these pills helps to reduce acne outbreaks.

In many cases, dermatologists recommend retinoids found in products like Retin-A to treat cystic forms of acne. They work well, but the majority of people experience significant redness, flaking and skin irritation with these products. In the most severe cases, doctors prescribe an oral form of retinoid called Accutane. This treatment is effective but carries with it the risk of serious side effects including liver injury and an elevation in cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Women who take it must have a negative pregnancy test and agree to use birth control since Accutane causes birth defects. That’s why it should be an option only when other treatments have failed. Fortunately, most people can treat acne without using this medication.

The Bottom Line?

Cystic acne is one of the most disfiguring forms of acne and can lead to permanent scarring. That’s why it’s important to treat the problem as early as possible. Fortunately, there are treatments to help control the cysts and inflammation and prevent scarring.

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Cystic Acne Products

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A lightweight, mattifying serum that treats existing break outs and helps prevent future blemishes.
$48.00
1 oz | QB003
In Stock ADD TO BAG
A refreshing toner to remove surface residue, excess oil and promote cell turnover.
$39.00
6 oz | QB005
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Blemish banishing acne treatment conveniently packaged in individually-wrapped, pre-treated swabs.
$40.00
30 ct | KS088
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A 10% aromatic sulfur mask to clarify and prevent new blemishes.
$48.00
2.3 oz | QB002
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A unique gel cream oil-free moisturizer leaves skin feeling noticeably soft, with renewed resilience and vibrancy.
$32.00
1.7 oz | BE972
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An oil-free acne cleanser formulated to treat existing blemishes and help prevent future breakouts.
$20.00
4.2 oz | BE967
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A lightweight gel that glides on effortlessly, prepping skin for a beautifully smooth makeup application.
$24.00
1 oz | BE993
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An ultra-light pH balanced lotion that hydrates, exfoliates and purifies.
$77.00
1.75 oz | UC018
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An emergency spot treatment that works to reduce pimple size and appearance overnight.
$25.00
0.5 oz | UC019
In Stock ADD TO BAG
A daily acne serum to soothe the skin and control break outs.
$42.00
1 oz | UC022
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A weekly treatment cleanser to rescue oily skin from build up and pollutants.
$49.00
3 oz | UC016
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A lightweight gel packed to provide a shine-free complexion and reduce the appearance of pores and acne scars.
$48.00
0.5 oz | UC023
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A lightweight, matte finish toning fluid for oily, blemish prone skin formulated with marine extracts.
$61.00
1.69 oz | PM130
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A nourishing 100% botanical complex to restore skin's natural moisture level.
$42.00
0.5 oz | UC017
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A calming yet purifying sheet mask to help clear blemished skin.
$60.00 $72.00 value
6 ct | WE033
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A calming yet purifying sheet mask to help clear blemished skin.
$12.00
1 ct | WE032
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Fights body acne fast and prevents new breakouts from forming.
$23.00
4 oz | PN072
Out of Stock ADD TO BAG
Complete acne treatment specifically formulated for normal to oily skin to help treat acne where it starts.
$124.95 $159.00 value
OB101
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Innovative, clear acne patches help to eliminate blemishes as they contain the affected area to minimize the spread of bacteria.
$30.00
6 ct | PT269
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Hydrating yet mattifying anti-blemish treatment helps reduce inflammation and smooth skin texture.
$26.00
1.35 oz | AE098
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Thoroughly cleanses skin without causing any irritation to acne prone skin.
$48.40
6.7 oz | SY178
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Clear acne blemishes, reduce inflammation and prevent reoccurrence of acne imperfections.
$64.50 $67.95 value
LPPK08
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Adult Anti-Acne System is a clinically proven three-step regimen to reduce sebum and improve fine lines.
$130.00 $164.00 value
SK103
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Absorbs impurities, tightens the appearance of pores and reduces breakouts.
$39.00
2.5 oz | CP175
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A pure facial wash that leaves skin clear and refined, without over-drying.
$42.00 $44.00 value
13 oz | BCPK05
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A fast-acting, medical grade and dermatologist recommended 3-in-1 Benzoyl Peroxide 5% acne treatment.
$19.95
2 oz | KW001
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This duo helps improve the appearance and condition of oily, acneic skin.
$38.95 $41.00 value
TPPK02
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Skin Accumax® is a scientifically advanced nutritional supplement.
$115.00
120 ct | JI582
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Regimen of anti-aging solutions uniquely formulated for oily and acne-prone skin.
$49.00 $88.00 value
EX128
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Skin Accumax® is a scientifically advanced nutritional supplement.
$65.80
60 ct | JI583
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A multi-functioning hydrator that regulates oil production while minimizing the appearance of pores.
$30.00
2 oz | FC042
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An on the spot concealing powder that soothes, calms and helps clear skin.
$29.00
3 g | JB127
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An acne treatment that helps to reduce blemishes and inflammation.
$70.00 $73.90 value
2.7 oz | LPPK07
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An on-the-go clinical strength, oil-free spot treatment.
$27.55
0.06 oz | VB026
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Use after cleansing to help clarify and deeply clean large pores to help reduce blemishes.
$29.00
50 ct | JB130
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Four replacement brush heads for acne-prone skin.
$88.00 $108.00 value
4 ct | CSPK70
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Deeply cleanse, exfoliate and renew pores in 1 easy step.
$15.00
30 ct | OL099
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Unique daily treatment is ideal for those struggling with wrinkles and breakouts.
$30.00
3 oz | PN050
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Manage breakouts and put your best face forward.
$29.50 $39.00 value
BC052
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Oil-free, fragrance-free deep pore clearing gel.
$54.00
3.4 oz | PT251
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A 3-step system inspired by dermatologists' treatment protocols.
$29.99 $48.00 value
LP110
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Improve skin tone and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
$130.00
1 oz | AZ029
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Gentle treatment pads keep the complexion clear, refined and well-balanced.
$30.00
60 ct | FC030
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Clears pores and diminishes imperfections associated with acne and more oily skin types.
$56.00
1.7oz | ED009
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A value priced acne clearing system with clinically proven results.
$34.00 $48.00 value
MR207
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Moisturizer with sunscreen keeps excess oil in check while minimizing enlarged pores.
$29.00
2 oz | PN051
In Stock ADD TO BAG
A treatment mask formulated to combat and help prevent breakouts.
$45.00
1.69 oz | PQ019
In Stock ADD TO BAG
Reveal healthy skin and help create a flawless complexion.
$46.00
60 ct | AZ028
In Stock ADD TO BAG
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