Acne in its most severe state is referred to as cystic acne and is characterized by break outs on the skin which are deep,  inflamed and painful. The most common part of the body that cystic acne can be found is on the face. Although it’s also common on the back and neck. The lesions are a result of the acne actually rupturing underneath the skin pushing the contents of the blocked skin pores much further into the skin. This is opposed to normal acne which predominately causes problems just on the surface of the skin.

When the blockage goes deeper it results in the formation of pimples that have puss or blackheads. The pimples on the affected area are painful to touch and are referred to as cysts. But how do they come about in the first place?

The Clogging of Pores

Essentially acne all comes down to blocked pores caused by a variety of reasons. However, when asking what causes acne in a certain person it’s harder to say. It could be a wide range of factors. A dermatologist may be able to help you with these factors. Everyone is different. The best thing you can do for prevention is to maintain a strict but simple skin cleaning routine. So use a face wash and maybe moisturizer if your skin looks dry.

Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is a result of the overproduction of sebum in the skin to the point where the oil glands become swollen and hard. When the oil gland is not able to push any excess oil to the surface of the skin it bursts forming a cyst that results in cystic acne. The cause of the overproduction of sebum is unknown with many theories still being debated by scientists and experts. However we do know that the sebum can mix with dead skin cells which further add to the clogging up of the pores. Once this happens there’s only one place the contents of the pores can go – further into the skin.

Once the black/whiteheads from the skin is open and it’s more likely bacteria will be able to enter the body, making the acne worse & causing infection. This is where the potential for acne scars increases.

Do Genetics Matter?

Genetic reasons have been tied to the cause of cystic acne. This is especially true if a family member has ever experienced this type of severe acne. Since there are hormonal components involved in the development of the problem some situations that may trigger it include puberty, pregnancy, menstrual cycles, menopause and disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome. In teenagers too much testosterone (in both men and women) can cause acne. The sebaceous glands sometimes produce too much sebum because of the testosterone.


An increase in the bacteria that causes acne is another cause because the skin pores are inflamed when the oil gland bursts thus encouraging the formation of pus in the pimples. Obviously by keeping the face clean by frequently washing it can help reduce bacteria levels and keep the pores clean. This is good because too many dead skin cells clogging the pore is going to make acne much worse by creating blockages.


Fortunately, cystic acne can be treated using conventional medicines. Injections may be used that contain medication which destroy bacteria, reduces inflammation while shrinking the cysts in the affected area over a period of time. Oral antibiotics, contraceptives (for women), creams and laser treatments may also be used. In serious rare cases surgery may be needed.

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