Pimples are the most annoying little things. It is always when you have an important date or when you want to look like your best self that they pop up. Let us not even get started on how incredibly difficult it is to resist the urge to pop them. Pimples develop when a pore in the skin gets clogged with dead skin cells and bacteria, causing the region to become very swollen and congested. Acne, in whatever shape or form it manifests, is truly a pain.
One of the most severe forms of acne is Cystic Acne.
Cystic Acne occurs when an individual has large painful breakouts deep within the skin.
The infection within the skin causes a bump full of pus to develop. If this bump ruptures, the infection will spread and cause breakouts in other areas. The area may itch or hurt but the key is to not entertain the idea of popping these pimples or scratching them. Acne scars would be your next problem.
There is no singular cause of acne, but hormones called androgens play a major role in its development. Androgen levels tend to rise during the teen years and are what help males develop the “characteristics” that transform them to having more adult features. These Androgen levels rise and fluctuate in men and cause changes within the skin. This usually results in a higher likelihood of pores being clogged and acne developing.
Usually, your face, back, shoulders, chest and upper arms are the areas most affected by acne. Additionally, severe cystic acne is more common in men while women who are affected usually see localized breakouts in the lower half of their faces.
Cystic acne in men can also be caused by the following:
Hormonal causes are most common. It begins in the pre-pubescent stage and can carry through men into their late twenties and for some even older.
High humidity and sweating- This causes excess liquid to be produced on the skin which can trap acne-causing bacteria in place. As a result, the bacteria, along with heat and friction can work together to clog the pores.
Medication- A variety of medications has acne as a side effect. Antidepressants, B vitamins and anabolic steroids are known causes or triggers of acne.
Unfortunately, cystic acne can persist for years and even get worse if it goes untreated. These bumps can leave permanent scars within the skin. The type of scar that would remain is dependent on how the skin was damaged.
There are two major categories of acne scars
1. Atrophic scars-
which are as a result of tissue loss. They are caused when the wounds within the skin heal below the epidermis and present as flat, shallow depressions. These can be further divided into ice pick scars, rolling scars and boxcar scars.
Ice pick scar- This type usually develops after an infection from a deep inflamed acne lesion. As the body attempts to repair the damage within the skin, it produces too little collagen to fill the gap leaving noticeable depressions or tiny holes in the skin.
Rolling scar- This type of scarring develops when some fibrous bands of tissue grow between the skin and the subcutaneous tissue below it. As these bands form, they cause the epidermis of the individual to bind to the deeper structures within the skin resulting in a rolling, wave-like appearance.
Boxcar scar- After an inflammatory acne breakout, this type is most likely to develop. This is due to the collagen in the skin being destroyed, but the skin is unable to replenish all the tissue that was lost. As a result, dents and depressions can be seen in the surface of the skin.
2. Hypertrophic scars-
develop as a result of the body producing too much collagen for wounds to repair. While healing the damaged area, the body sends signals for collagen to be produced to replace what was lost. However, in this case, signals were still being sent for collagen production even after the scar had been healed. This results in a raised area.
Hyperpigmentation (dark spots)- may also develop after an acne breakout. This skin darkening is due to the overproduction of melanin at the wound sites. As a result, the skin in that area looks darker than your normal complexion.
Despite all this, there is good news. Cystic acne and its possible scarring are very treatable. Many dermatologists can help you find a treatment plan that works for you, or you could try these at home remedies that have been approved by dermatologists and estheticians.
Cystic Acne Home Remedies
Resist the urge to pick them- This has to be mentioned again. It is time to stop picking your cysts or pimples. Here you will have to exercise extreme self-discipline as it will be extremely difficult- but not impossible. Picking or squeezing your pimples will actually cause the infection to worsen and spread to other areas.
Try a turmeric mask- Turmeric is a form of ginger native to Southeast Asia. It has many excellent properties and benefits for the skin and body. Turmeric is most commonly found in its powdered state where it can be used in foods, drinks or to make masks, in this case. One of the main ingredients is curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. When added to cystic acne, turmeric will reduce the redness and size of the cysts. Similarly, turmeric has antiseptic and antioxidant properties to help heal and improve your skin. It is also known to help lighten hyperpigmentation and reduce acne scarring.
How to make a turmeric mask: Add ½ teaspoon ground turmeric powder to a bowl, then add 1 tablespoon of raw, organic honey to make a thick paste. Apply this paste to your face using your clean hands or a mask brush, avoiding your eyes and mouth. Let the mask sit for 15-20 minutes to prevent staining, then rinse with warm water. This mask can be repeated twice a week for optimal results.(In the event that staining occurs, dip a clean cotton ball in some milk and apply to the affected areas for removal.)
Aspirin mask- Aspirin is a widely known pain reliever but it is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Why? Aspirin is a part of a family of compounds known as salicylates, of which Salicylic acid is also a member. Salicylic acid is well known for reducing acne and keeping the skin clear through exfoliation. Aspirin shares similar properties with salicylic acid; therefore, it is believed that aspirin may help reduce pain and inflammation caused by cystic acne.
(Disclaimer: Although very popular as a DIY mask, it is not scientifically proven to treat acne. Talk to your dermatologist if you may have sensitivity to this kind of treatment.)
How to make an aspirin mask: Crush an aspirin tablet in a container, then add a little water to make a paste. Apply this mixture to affected cystic acne areas, leave on for a few minutes then rinse, to avoid irritation. If you notice excessive dryness after, a good moisturizer is recommended to have at hand. Products like Abor Mens Day and Night Moisturizing Cream works for all skin types and will replenish dry and irritated skin.
Use a cleanser- Cleansing is very important. Cleansers help to eliminate dirt, bacteria, excess oils, dead skin cells, and other pollutants from the skin. This helps to keep pores clean and prevent or reduce acne breakouts. Eliminating these acne causing pollutants will be excellent for your skin as the infection no longer has fuel to continue the breakout.
The ideal cleanser is one which targets bacteria and removes the other gunk from the skin without causing excessive drying or irritation. The best option to go with is a cleanser that is filled with natural ingredients and avoids the chemical heavy brands. Products like our Daily Botanical Face Wash clarifies and nourishes your skin without stripping away its natural moisture. This helps to maintain your skin’s healthy, hydrated glow.
The Daily Botanical Face Wash contains Vitamins A and C, which are important ingredients for skin repair and suppleness. It also contains glycerin which acts as a humectant, pulling moisture from the air to ensure that the skin does not dry out when cleansing. Additionally, this face wash contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredients as well as antioxidants which are very beneficial for the skin and useful to reduce cystic acne.
Tea tree oil- Adding a little tea tree oil to your cystic pimples is a quick and easy way to soothe your skin. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties which are very useful in any remedy for cystic acne. This oil can decrease the amount of bacteria on the skin that can cause or worsen acne, whilst reducing inflammation in the area. It’s no wonder skin care companies add this to so many of their products.
Apply a warm compress- In order to speed up the healing process of your most recent acne breakout, you must encourage drainage. One way to do this is by applying a warm compress after cleansing. But what does this do? Heat can reduce the thickness of the liquid inside your cysts and release it into your lymphatic system. Through the lymphatic system, your body will properly dispose of the gunk and your breakout will ease.
However, it is important to note that the compress should be WARM, not HOT, so you won’t burn your face. Also, the material used should be something soft and clean like a washcloth or rag. The item can be soaked in warm or hot water and the excess wrung out. Then it should be applied to the affected area of the face for 5 to 10 minutes. This process can be repeated up to three times a day to help shrink those cysts quicker.
Using a cold compress- Inflammation of a cystic pimple can be so uncomfortable but it can be reduced- with a cold compress. This is the second step in reducing that appearance or your acne breakout. Applying ice to the affected area will help to reduce swelling and make your pimples less sore and noticeable.
To do this safely, place a piece of ice in a clean cloth or ziplock bag then apply to the affected areas for about 30 to 60 seconds at a time, for 5 minutes. You should feel a gentle numbing effect.
Do not apply the ice directly to your skin as that can cause further complications like frost bite or cold-exposure hives.
Check your diet- We all know the importance of eating healthy and how much it benefits the body. A simple change of what you ingest can work miracles in the progress seen in cystic acne breakouts. Dairy, processed foods and sugar are some of the foods that can be eliminated for better skin health. Dairy is a mucus-forming food that can be difficult for the body to digest, hence why so many persons are lactose intolerant. Consuming dairy on a regular basis can spark cystic flare ups. If it is too difficult to cut out all at once, try removing dairy from your diet for three weeks and document the results.
Similarly, processed foods and sugar help to increase inflammation and make cystic acne worse. Reducing your intake of these foods can also reduce the frequency in which you have cystic flares.
Check with your dermatologist- If all else fails, set an appointment with your dermatologist for an in-depth check-up. You will be provided with medications that can help to reduce inflammation, reducing scarring amongst other things.
Last but not least, make sure to maintain a consistent skin care routine! Just like a healthy diet, it’s all about what you put in and what you put on your body. A clean, safe, and effective skin care routine will help lower acne and better control cystic acne and inflammation levels. Not sure where to start? Abor Mens Daily Advanced Care Routine will have you covered.
No matter the method you choose to treat your cystic acne, ensure it is safe and done properly. That way, you will be back to feeling like your best self, sooner than ever.
*Disclaimer: Abor Mens is a passionate skin care brand that promotes healthy skin care routine options. We are not Licensed Estheticians or Dermatologists and do not claim to be. We recommend always speaking to a professional if you are unsure about anything you read.