Cystic acne, sometimes referred to as modular acne, is one of the more severe forms of the common skin infection. Cystic acne occurs when the oil ducts deep in the skin's surface (deeper than in common acne) become clogged and infected with bacteria, leading to inflammation and the formation of pus-filled cysts. The condition, according to the Medicine Net website, is commonly seen on the face and tends to affect mostly teenagers. Ultimately, the best approach to treating your cystic acne will depend on the severity of your case, but it is usually best to start with milder approaches and progress to more invasive procedures if you do not see results.
Explore the milder home and herbal remedies if your case of cystic acne is not too severe. The Cystic Acne website recommends to mix some dried green tea leaves and/or calendula with aloe vera gel, and apply to the skin. This mixture will moisturize and nourish the skin while protecting vulnerable pores from getting infected and forming additional cysts. Another option recommended by the website is to gulp a shot of apple cider vinegar at bedtime.
Make sure to wash your skin on a daily basis. Avoid over-washing--once or twice a day and after exercise--using mild and non-drying soap. Never squeeze or touch the cysts to avoid scarring and spreading the bacteria.
If home remedies do not offer any relief after a few months, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about prescription remedies, such as gels or creams, containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur or resorcinol. These substance soak up the skin's extra oils and add oxygen to the skin's environment (bacteria don't like oxygen). The Medline Plus website states that oral antibiotics (amoxicillin, doxycycline, tetracycline, minocycline or erythromycin) and topical antibiotics (erythromycin, dapsone or clindamycin) can kill the acne-causing bacteria and clear up your skin. Retin-A (retinoic acid) and Accutane (isotretinoin) may also offer some relief, though according to the MedlinePlus website, pregnant women and sexually active female teens should avoid Accutane as it can lead to birth defects.
In truly severe cases, your doctor may perform a chemical skin peel that will open up the skin pores, bring the excess oils and bacteria up to the surface and eliminate them. Dermabrasion accomplishes a similar goal, but through a mechanical procedure rather than a chemical one--a small device literally "sands" your skin smooth, eliminating the damaged skin and also removing any scars left over from cystic acne. Dermatologist can also remove individual cysts by injecting medicine directly into them, zapping them with lasers, or opening them up and draining the pus inside (never do this yourself as it can lead to scarring if done incorrectly).