HealthCareMagic is now Ask A Doctor - 24x7 |

Get your health question answered instantly from our pool of 18000+ doctors from over 80 specialties
159 Doctors Online

By proceeding, I accept the Terms and Conditions

Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

HCM Blog Instant Access to Doctors
HCM BlogQuestions Answered
HCM Blog Satisfaction
Article Home Skin Disorders Cystic acne

Cystic acne

By :
Cystic acne, also known as nodulocystic acne, is a severe form of acne wherein acne develops into small cysts, nodules of inflammation. They are seen as soft fluid filled lumps under the skin usually several millimeters in diameter and can be painful. A common treatment for cystic acne is Isotretinoin, which cures most acne in about 90% of patients. Cystic acne can affect the face, chest, back, shoulders and, occasionally, upper arms.


Cystic acne, or nodulocystic acne, is the most severe form of acne vulgaris. Deep, inflamed breakouts develop on the face and/or other areas of the body. Cysts are the most serious kind of acne blemish. They feel like soft, fluid-filled lumps under the skin's surface. Cysts can be painful. Nodulocystic acne sufferers develop nodules as well as cysts. Nodules are hard, painful lumps under the skin's surface.


  • Cystic acne can affect anyone, but it is more common in teenage boys and young men.
  • Acne seems to run in families transferring from parents to children most of the times.
  • Overactive oil glands
  • Excess dead skin cells within the hair follicle (pore), and
  • A large number of acne-causing bacteria, Propionibacteria acnes

Inflamed acne blemishes develop when the follicle wall ruptures, leaking infected material into the dermis. If this break occurs near the skin's surface, the blemish is usually minor and heals quickly. Deeper breaks in the follicle wall cause more serious lesions. Nodules develop when the contaminated material infects adjoining follicles.


  • Developing scars is very high
  • It damages and destroys healthy skin tissue
  • Feelings of embarrassment, shame, and anger regarding their skin.
  • Acne can hurt the self-esteem, and may lead to depression.

  • Acne and Your Self-Esteem


Powerful systemic medications are usually required. Acne of this severity can be hard to control. Don't be discouraged if the first treatment attempt fails. It may take several tries to find the treatment or combination of treatments that work for you. Some common treatments for nodulocystic acne include:

  • Oral antibiotics
  • Oral contraceptives - for women
  • Surgical excision and drainage - A small incision is made in the skin and the infected material is extracted.
  • Intralesional corticosteroid injections - Medication is injected directly into the lesion to reduce inflammation and shrink the blemish.