For grownups, acne often appears as deeply inflamed, red cysts on the face. While deep cysts are unsightly and painful, treatment for adult acne can help to clear them up. Medications and certain skin procedures can treat and prevent the troublesome blemishes, but learn about potential side effects to protect your health.
Women are more often afflicted with adult acne than men because of the effect of fluctuating hormones on the skin. Adult acne typically appears as cysts or nodules, rather than the whiteheads or blackheads associated with teenagers. Acne cysts are filled with dead skin cells, oil and bacteria that can expand deeply into the skin, resulting in a painful, swollen spot. Such large blemishes can leave visible scars after they heal.
Oral Antibiotic Treatments
Seek help from a dermatologist for cysts that don't respond to over-the-counter treatments. Made to clear your body of bacteria from the inside out, prescription oral antibiotics kill bacteria in your system and reduce inflammation of cysts that are already on the skin. While oral antibiotics are an effective treatment for adult acne, women must be aware that they can decrease the effectiveness of birth control.
Topical Antibiotic Treatments
As a gel or a cream, prescription topical antibiotics help to shrink and prevent acne cysts as they kill bacteria on the skin's surface. Topical medications include retinoids, salyclic acid, antibiotics or prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide. A potential side effect of topical treatments is that they can make your face more prone to sunburn, so apply only a thin layer on your face. Other common side effects include dry, red or flaking skin.
For specifically troublesome acne cysts that do not respond to medication, seek the help of a dermatologist for professional removal. You may undergo a procedure called "drainage and extraction," during which a doctor carefully cuts into the cyst to clear the infection and remove the blemish. In addition, a dermatologist can also inject medicine directly into the cyst to clear up the painful spot.