By its very sound, cystic acne seems scary. In the standard grading of acne it is considered the most severe, and it is the type most likely to leave scars. But in simplest terms, cystic acne is inflamed acne.
All acne lesions start with what scientists call “microcomedones” which are microscopic plugs made up of dead skin cells. People who have the inherited tendency for acne shed more skin cells inside their pores than their acne-free counterparts. These dead skin cells are sticky and form these little plugs that grow larger as they work their way to the surface of the skin.
The sebaceous gland secretes oil into the pore, which mixes with the dead skin cells, piling up behind that plug and creating a perfect environment for the rapid growth of the naturally occurring bacteria (p. acnes bacteria) in the pores.
In people who do not have the hereditary tendency for inflammation, these plugs come to the surface in the form of blackheads or whiteheads, what is called non-inflamed acne.
However, sometimes before these plugs reach the surface they grow too large for the pore, and in people who have the inherited tendency for inflammation, they burst the walls of the pore releasing the oil, dead skin cells, the plug, and bacteria into the surrounding tissue. The immune system responds to this by sending white blood cells to fight the infection and you get a classic pustule — a pimple or “zit” to most of us.
When a number of these lesions are clustered together, so that a lot of material is released into the surrounding tissue, the immune system doesn’t just send white blood cells to combat the bacteria, it sends an enzyme to try to dissolve the plugs of dead skin cells. Unfortunately the plugs are too tough for the enzyme, but the surrounding tissue is not. The enzyme eats away at healthy tissue which allows all the pus (dead white blood cells), bacteria, and dead skin cells to pool together in cysts. The enzyme’s destruction of healthy tissue is also what causes the classic pitting of acne scars.
The immune system sends more inflammatory material to the site, resulting in greater and greater inflammation. Classic cystic acne skin is warm or even hot to the touch.
Cystic acne generally clears up quickly with our treatments
The good news is that cystic acne generally clears up quickly with the protocol we use at The Acne Treatment Center. We treat cystic acne with a combination of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory topical products to calm the existing inflammation and to keep it from returning. We also recommend certain supplements to use along with your home care which have been clinically proven to reduce inflammation. These include omega 3 fish oil, vitamin B-5 and zinc monomethionine. We can help get rid of the dark spots left behind and get you looking your best. But it is best to not wait. If you have cystic acne call us today and let’s get started.
©2011 Jane Neville Dudik, The Acne Treatment Center, www.acnetreatmentcenterWA.com