Cystic Acne: Answering Your Commonly-Asked Questions

Acne remains to be a subject that isn’t completely understood by scientists and medical experts on what exactly causes the condition. As more studies are conducted, and as medicine advances, there will be new approaches to treating acne.

Research done in 2017 suggested that the P.acnes bacteria comes in two strains that have subtle differences at a genetic level. On people without acne, they have genes that are believed to help prevent bacteria from colonising the skin. On the other hand, P.acnes contains higher levels of genes associated with virulence in people who have acne, which can cause inflammation and produce acne.

While there’s more that needs to be done on understanding acne and acne treatments, it is still not a lost cause for you to prevent breakouts or keep them from leaving a lasting mark on your face. In particular, red and swollen pimples – or cystic acne – can be frustrating to deal with constantly.

What is cystic acne?

This inflammatory type of acne causes bumps that occur deep under the skin. They are usually red, tender and painful and appear commonly on the face – though there are instances of appearing on the chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Due to the depth and amount of inflammation, cystic acne is different than the other superficial types of acne (whiteheads and blackheads), and it is more likely to cause severe scarring.

What are the causes of cystic acne?

When your pores get clogged with dead skin and oil, all types of acne risk popping up.  And in cystic acne, bacteria get trapped deep inside your pores and cause inflammation – which leads to swelling, redness and pain.

The overproduction of testosterone may also lead to increased sebum production. These hormones can affect the nature of the skin cells that line hair follicles, making them sticky and more likely to be pore-clogging. As such, there is a higher risk of inflammed sebaceous glands which can trigger an acne outbreak. This is also why acne can get worse around menstrual cycles due the changes in hormone levels. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, or a hormonal imbalance condition like PCOS, are also other common causes related to hormones.

How to care for acne-prone skin?

With the ongoing circuit breaker measure, try to keep your skincare routine consistent. Use a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water when washing your day in the morning and night time. Don’t forget to follow up with hydrating products like essence and moisturiser, before applying the final step – sunscreen every morning to protect against the sun’s harmful rays. Avoid causing your skin to be dehydrated, as this can lead to excess sebum production to make up for the loss in moisture.

If you’re using at-home acne treatments, give it time to work. Generally, a product needs 6 to 8 works for it to show improvement to your skin. Avoid trying a new acne treatment every week or so, and limit the frequency to once a week or whenever needed – especially for spot treatments. Otherwise, they may lead to more redness, dryness and inflammation. Purify your skin with a detoxifying mask weekly to get rid of impurities and excess oil.

How to get rid of cystic acne scars?

Cystic acne can leave lasting scars behind as they heal. Additionally, permanent scarring is more likely to develop if you squeeze or pick at your acne. The type of acne scarring can also vary and range in appearance from shallow to deep and narrow depressions. Atrophic scars are commonly caused by severe cystic acne that can result in ice pick scars, boxcar scars and rolling scars.

There are several acne scar removal treatments around, including micro needling and laser resurfacing, to clear up cystic acne scars. The Infini Fractional RadioFrequency (FRF) Lifting can address the sunken acne scars on your face by stimulating deep collagen production. Radiofrequency (RF) has been known to provide numerous benefits to the skin such as wrinkle reduction, skin tightening and facial rejuvenation. In Fractional RF, the energy is broken into smaller and more focused fractions to deliver more effective RF doses to the skin. The Infini system can help to deliver as deep as 3.5mm below the skin’s surface, where collagen and elastic fibres are present to prevent wrinkles and sagging. With deep collagen stimulation, the skin can produce new collagen fibres to reduce wrinkles, and turn acne scars shallower and less obvious. With Infini, you can see results as early as 1-2 weeks and maximal results after 2-3 months.

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