There are several causes of cystic acne, and determining each is vital to ensuring proper treatment. Cystic acne effects men and women equally and is prevalent during adolescence when hormones begin to fluctuate. Hormonal causes are the number one reason for cystic acne; however, this is not the condition’s only source. Several other factors have been attributed to cystic acne. These include diet, stress, medications, too much oil on the skin, and irritation from makeup as well as other chemicals. Though some have mistakenly believed that cystic acne is the result of dirt on the skin, or means someone is not washing enough, this is a myth. Other factors that have been mistakenly believed to cause acne include eating foods rich in oil and chocolate. Studies have shown, however, that a diet rich in sugar can make acne worse.
Hormonal changes are the most common cause of cystic acne. As hormones fluctuate in women and men, both sexes are equally impacted. Puberty is often accompanied by acne flare-ups and for some, these may clear up on their own as the teenager’s hormone levels begin to normalize. Though acne by itself is not a major health concern, the damage that adolescents suffer to their self-esteem is often cause to seek out effective treatment methods. Though adolescent cystic acne may resolve on its own, the damage to self-esteem combined with the potential for permanent scarring often leads sufferers to seek treatment.
Sometimes cystic acne is genetic and there is a hereditary link. Many people who have cystic acne have family members that also had the condition. Self-care remedies are often the first step sufferers use to treat acne. It is important that those with acne not use harsh chemicals to try to cleanse the skin. Instead, it is better to use a gentle, cleansing formula and wash the face without harsh, irritating chemicals. Additionally, people with cystic acne should ensure their hair does not become oily and transmit more oil to the skin. It is a good idea for those with cystic acne to choose hairstyles that keep the hair away from the face. Over-the-counter treatments that use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are a good choice as they help promote skin peeling and exposing the healthy layer of new skin beneath.
Topical creams are often used to help treat cystic acne by drying out the pimples. When over-the-counter remedies fail to work, sufferers may seek the help of a professional dermatologist or other health care professional.
Several prescription medications are known to cause acne. These include lithium, corticosteroids, barbiturates, bromides, and iodides. Androgenic steroids may cause acne in men, while hormone-replacement-therapy may cause acne in women. When acne is caused by drugs, the pimples tend to appear the same in size and shape. In addition, treating drug-related acne is often simpler than with other causes as once the drug is stopped, the acne clears up. In some cases, a person may need to take long-term doses of medication that results in acne flare-ups. When a patient cannot stop taking their medication, a health care provider may decide to treat the acne with another prescription such as Accutane (Isotretinoin).
Regardless of acne’s cause, it is important that sufferers find effective treatments and remedies to ensure their health and to clear up and prevent future outbreaks.