Causes of Cystic Acne

What Are the Causes of Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne is one of the most acute forms of acne, as well as one of the most painful forms.  Its symptoms are different from other forms of acne in that it doesn’t erupt as common pimples.  Instead, the infection is deep beneath the skin and presents as cyst-like swellings.  Unlike most forms of acne, the infection never comes to the surface of the skin.  However, just like other acne forms, cystic acne can lead to permanent scarring if you break the skin.

Unfortunately, there are many misunderstandings about the causes of cystic acne.

A long-standing belief is that cystic acne is caused by improper hygiene.  This is simply not true, and even a person with the best hygiene can develop any form of acne.  Though it is important to properly clean your face to keep your skin healthy, good hygiene does not guarantee that you won’t develop cystic acne.  The causes of cystic acne are much deeper than a surface-level cleaning.

A main cause of cystic acne is something that you have no control over—your heredity.  If either of your parents suffered from severe acne, you’re much more likely to develop cystic acne.  Even if your parents have not had a problem with acne, if severe acne has affected other family members, such as grandparents or aunts, you may be more likely to develop cystic acne.

There are other causes of cystic acne, as well, that you have no control over—such as hormonal influence.  If you’re male and prone towards cystic acne, you’re likely to develop it during your teen years.  If you’re female, the fluctuating hormones of menstruation and pregnancy can lead to an outbreak.  However, even if you may not be able to control whether you develop cystic acne, you can control the symptoms if you understand other contributing causes of cystic acne.

Because stress can cause hormonal changes akin to those experienced in adolescence, a high stress level is one of the causes of cystic acne that you have at least some control over.  Though you may not be able to completely cut stress from your life, finding a way to deal with it in a healthy manner can keep your hormones in balance.  For example, some people find stress relief in fitness activities, while others may find stress relief by spending time with family or close friends.

For some, a diet high in sugar can create outbreaks, especially if the sugar is consumed in concentrated forms, such as in sugary drinks, cakes and candy.  Though it may take some planning and willpower, changing to a diet that includes naturally sweet foods like fruits rather than concentrated sugar may help you bypass cystic acne, or at least lessen the symptoms.

Greasy or oily facial products are a major contributing cause of cystic acne over which you have full control, and men aren’t immune to this cause.  Not only can oily moisturizers and cosmetics lead to an outbreak, but products such as sunscreen can as well—even if you use a sunscreen developed for use on facial skin.  Choosing products labeled as nonacnegenic or noncomedogenic can help you avoid worsening your symptoms, even if it may not be able to prevent cystic acne from developing.

Pollutants or allergens in your environment—or even just a humid environment—are another of the causes of cystic acne.  Though you can’t control this cause, washing your face with a gentle cleanser both morning and night can minimize the effect of your environment.

Causes of Cystic Acne Summary:

If you do develop cystic acne, realize that one of the major causes of cystic acne becoming more inflamed is touching or otherwise irritating your inflamed skin. Even excessive washing can irritate your skin, leading the skin to break.  Not only does irritating the skin increase the pain associated with cystic acne, but additional bacteria can be introduced into your skin when you touch it.  Once bacteria enters your skin, the cystic acne can get larger, creating more discomfort and a more pronounced case of acne.

Because cystic acne is a serious form of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist if you develop it.  The two of you can then work together to determine the causes of cystic acne and work out a comprehensive cystic acne treatment plan so your discomfort is minimized and your skin eventually regains its health.