Skin Specialists Online

The Online Skin Clinic

Cystic Acne Treatment

Dear Doctor

I have painful cystic acne on both sides of my cheeks they are filled with pus and I tried all sorts of medications but they won’t work.

Acne has affected my life emotionally I can’t socialize anymore and I keep crying all the time please help me.

cystic acne treatment

Dear Patient

Cystic Acne Treatment

The treatment of cystic acne includes the following:

Taking retinoids by mouth

Retinoids that are taken by mouth like isotretinoin are very effective treatment for cystic acne and acne that does not respond to other treatment. Isotretinoin, which is only available by prescription, has multiple adverse effects such as cheilitis (dry lips), xerosis (dry skin) and should be used with adequate contraception by women of reproductive age since it causes severe birth defects.

This potent medication has many side effects like cheilitis (dry lips), xerosis (dry skin), joint pains and birth defects. It should therefore be used with adequate contraception by women of reproductive age.

Isotretinoin is only available by prescription and you need to consult your nearest doctor.

Adopt an Acne Free Lifestyle

Adopt an acne-free lifestyle by doing the following:

Stop smoking 

*Joining a smoking cessation program if you smoke cigarettes


Avoid high glycemic index foods

Avoid eating foods with a glycemic index (GI) of more than 70 because they make blood glucose sugar levels rise rapidly which leads to the pancreas producing more insulin.

Unfortunately, this also stimulates the oil glands in the skin to produce sebum (oil) which contributes to clogging the skin pores and the development of whiteheads, blackheads and other acne lesions.

Therefore avoid eating white bread, French fries, mashed potatoes, white flour cakes and doughnuts. Instead eat low GI foods like tomatoes, cucumbers and peanuts. To learn more read How to Treat Acne at Home.

Manage stress effectively

Studies have proven that stress is linked to more severe acne. Therefore manage stress by meditation and engaging in aerobic exercises like brisk walking, jogging and playing basketball.

acne stress management


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