The treatment for nodules and cysts, or nodular acne and cystic acne, should begin as soon as possible to reduce the risk of scarring. This is especially important if you have a history of scarring easily.
For those with nodules only, the term nodular acne is more accurate. Nodules are larger and more serious than typical pustules or pimples. They affect deeper layers of the skin and can be painful.
Cystic Acne is the most severe form of acne. Deep, inflamed lesions can develop on the face or on other parts of the body such as the back or chest areas. Cystic breakouts damage and destroy healthy skin tissue. Picking at the skin and trying to pop cysts or nodules should be avoided at all costs. Doing so can greatly damage the skin, lead to scarring, and worsen acne. Aggressively treating this form of acne can help limit the severity of scarring.
Treatment for Nodules and Cysts:
A doctor must treat nodules and cysts, or cystic and nodulocystic acne. Acne of this severity can be hard to control. It may take several tries to find a treatment or combination of treatments that work for you. Powerful systemic medications are usually required – systemic medications include Isotretinoin, oral antibiotics, and oral contraceptives.
- Antibiotics – can reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria on the skin as well as inflammation caused by acne. Antibiotic treatments can be systemic, as in oral medications, or topical, such as creams or ointments.
- Isotretinoin – commonly referred to as Accutane – this is a powerful medication used to treat severe acne. It is an oral medication that is taken once or twice daily. Isotretinoin works by shrinking the oil glands in the skin. By controlling the oil, breakouts are also controlled. Unlike most acne medications, you don’t have to continuously use Isotretinoin to keep breakouts at bay. Most people only need one (16 to 20 week) course of treatment to get good results. After treatment is finished, pimples rarely come back.
- Oral contraceptives for women such as birth control pills, can effectively treat acne in some cases. For years doctors have used oral contraceptives as a method of controlling and treating acne. Today, a handful of oral contraceptives are FDA approved as acne treatments. Oral contraceptives are not used as a first line of defense against acne, they are often prescribed after other treatment options have been tried, or if a woman needs a form of birth control anyway. For best results, oral contraceptives are used in conjunction with other acne treatments, such as topical retinoids, or benzoyl peroxide.
- Surgical excision and drainage – A doctor will make a small incision in the skin and remove the infected material.
- Intralesional corticosteroid injections – Medication is injected into the blemish to reduce inflammation and shrink the lesion.
A Final Word About Acne Suffers
Society places great emphasis on outward appearance. Acne sufferers often feel uncomfortable or embarrassed and many feel a sense of guilt or shame, as if they are somehow responsible for their acne. These feelings can prevent a sufferer from interacting socially.
Many studies have been done on the effects of acne on quality of life. Depression and anxiety are more common in those with acne than the general population. The severity of the acne does not seem to be a factor in the level of depression or anxiety. Those with mild acne are just as likely to suffer from these conditions as those with more severe cases. Adults are more likely than their younger counterparts to feel that acne negatively affects their lives — regardless of how severe their acne is. This may be because their acne has been longer-lasting or resistant to treatment, or because there is a greater social stigma for adults with acne.
For best results, acne should be treated early. Seek professional treatment for severe acne and find a support system if self-esteem is at risk. Having a compassionate person, or group of people, who understand what you are going through can help dispel feelings of isolation and hopelessness that are common among acne sufferers. Taking steps to nurture yourself, while treating your skin, can help bolster your self-image and improve your self-esteem.
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