As I write this, I’m doing my best not to spot a cystic pimple lurking under the skin on my chin, just waiting to come out. If you’re like me and also suffer from acne, you know that your breakouts seem to completely clear up on their own, guaranteed to show up at parties, important work functions, and other events that you might not want to know. want clean skin. Cystic acne can also take several weeks to disappear, feeling as if it’s permanent when you have a large and painful bump residing on your face.
What exactly is cystic acne, how is it linked to endometriosis, and how do I make these stubborn pimples go away? Here are some answers to the most common questions about the link between these two conditions, direct from board-certified dermatologists.
What exactly is cystic acne?
As the name suggests, cystic acne is when you develop inflamed, deep cysts beneath the skin. These pimples can lead to scarring if not treated properly, says Dr. Scott Paviol of Paviol Dermatology.
Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne (fortunately us) and usually appears along the chin and jawline. The size and viability of cystic acne makes it more difficult, such as the small pimples that pop up if you forget to wash your face properly for a night or two.
What causes cystic acne?
“Acne is multifactorial in nature, but is often a combination of excess oil, clogged pores, inflammation, and a buildup of bacteria,” says Dr.
Also, you may notice cystic acne flare up in the days or weeks before your period.
What role do hormones and endometriosis play in the development of cystic acne?
Short answer? Usually, a factor is quite important for hormones, and about 1% of patients with endometriosis also battle cystic acne.
For a more scientific basis, Dr. Paviol explains it this way, “Typically androgens (testosterone, DHEA, and dihydrotestosterone) make acne worse and estrogen makes acne worse. Women are more prone to acne later in life as estrogen levels lower with age, and women lose some of the protective effects of estrogen over time. Because women with endometriosis often have hormonal imbalances, hormonal acne is common.”
Dr. Emily McLean of Novant Health Dermatology SouthPark adds on this by saying, “Hormones are known to regulate sebum production, and an excess of sebum can lead to acne. There are studies that indicate that patients with severe acne during their teenage years may be at higher risk for endometriosis.”
According to a study published in the journal Human Reproduction, 0.5% of patients had endometriosis and cystic acne, while 0.4% of patients had cystic acne but not endometriosis. The study concluded that endometriosis was positively associated with severe teenage acne, but 0.38 versus 0.49% was too low to use it as a diagnostic criterion.
How do you treat cystic acne?
Step one is to see a dermatologist experienced in treating this specific type of stubborn acne.
“Make an appointment with a dermatologist for a comprehensive plan that addresses issues like diet, like dairy and processed carbs, lifestyle, and health conditions like endometriosis,” says Dr. Paviol. uterus, PCOS, or medication.
Your exercise regimen may also play a role, as sports and sweating can lead to flare-ups, so should also be included in your treatment plan.
Unfortunately, cystic acne tends not to respond to similar treatments that are effective in controlling other acne breakouts, like oral antibiotics. Instead, your doctor may prescribe a medication called spironolactone to control flares of cystic acne.
Seriously, don’t keep your hands off your skin
If you can’t resist trying to pop a pimple in the hope it will go away, you’re not alone. Even dermatologists are tempted from time to time.
“I can’t say I’ve never taken a pimple,” says Dr. Paviol. “That being said, when you pick up or pop a pimple, although gratifying, you are increasing the likelihood of a permanent scar on your face. It’s like choosing to detonate a bomb and cause mortgage damage, rather than destroy it peacefully.”
Sorry. So, there. It is important to leave acne alone.
Act quickly if you feel a large pimple forming
If you struggle with cystic acne, you’ve certainly had that experience where you can feel a bump forming under the surface of your skin. You are hoping for it to go away and start to panic as it continues to grow. What is your job?
“The most important thing is to keep your hands clear of pimples and avoid picking. “Warm compresses, hydrocolloid dressings, and benzoyl peroxide products can also be helpful at home to aid in wound healing,” says Dr. McLean.
If the bump is swollen or draining, she recommends making an appointment with a dermatologist to see if a small injection of steroids helps. These injections calm inflammation, helping acne heal faster. The pain is minimal, so even those of us who are afraid of needles should consider trying them out.
If a pimple pops up, take action to shorten its life
Although cystic acne tends to last for weeks at a time, you can take steps to shrink it. First of all, Dr. Paviol recommends focusing on your cleansing regimen.
“Over-the-counter acne cleansers, gels, and creams with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can help calm flare-ups. Additionally, Differin is an over-the-counter retinoid and works like Draino for your pores,” he says.
If you have time to stop by your dermatologist’s office, he or she also recommends trying laser treatments or acne-targeted facials to quickly clear up problematic breakouts.
Pay attention to what you’re wearing on your face
Also, the products you put on your face directly affect how your skin looks, so it’s important to be mindful of what you’re choosing. Dr. McLean recommends looking for makeup products that are labeled non-comedogenic, which means they won’t clog your pores or worsen breakouts.
Unfortunately, cystic acne is very stubborn and difficult to get rid of permanently. But taking good care of your skin, paying attention to your diet and lifestyle, and choosing your makeup and skincare products carefully can help ensure you don’t have an unwanted plus when attending the event. next.