Cystic acne is a form of acne that causes the skin to erupt into large cyst-like pustules. It is the most severe and painful form of acne, and differs from other forms in that it is an actual infection. The cystic lumps underneath the pimples are filled with pus, in addition to dirt and oils. It ordinarily attacks your face but can also be found on your back.
Sometimes choosing the right cleanser will help prevent and treat cystic acne breakouts. If you have oily skin, choose a cleanser that eliminates excess oils from your skin. After you cleanse your skin, use acne astringent pads on the affected area. There are also home kits available that specifically treat cystic acne. Sometimes cystic acne is so severe that home treatment and over-the-counter products are not effective.
Your dermatologist may prescribe Accutane to control your cystic acne. Accutane is a strong drug made from a form of vitamin A. It can cause other side effects such as muscle pain and weakness and is harmful if taken while pregnant. If your case of cystic acne is severe enough, your dermatologist might want to consider laser surgery. The lasers are used to kill the cells that are causing the cystic outbreaks.
A little known fact about cystic acne is that it can be contagious. The pus inside of the cystic boils contain bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus, or Staph infection. The infectious ooze can spread if it comes into contact with other parts of your body. It can even spread from person to person. Doctors will prescribe antibiotics if it appears that your acne is spreading due to Staph. If your pimples appear to stay red for longer than five days at a time, it may be staph that is causing it. Go to your doctor immediately if you suspect your cystic acne is infectious.