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Doctor insights on: Painful Cystic Acne

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Dr. Ed Friedlander
2,095 doctors shared insights

Acne (Definition)

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions. It affects about 80% of adolescents. Acne starts as a blockage of the sebaceous glands followed by inflammation. It occurs in areas where there are lots of sebaceous glands, such as the face back and chest. The hallmarks of the condition are blackheads, whiteheads (closed comedones), papules, pustules, cysts, nodules, and sometimes scarring. There are numerous treatments available, both topical and systemic. The most commonly used are benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, and antibiotics ...Read more


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My son has severe painful cystic acne. He taking accutane. I heard that sometimes oral antibiotic is also added on some patients. Is this a good idea?

My son has severe painful cystic acne. He taking accutane. I heard that sometimes oral antibiotic is also added  on some patients. Is this a good idea?

Probably: Since junior is on accutane, he's under a dermatologist's care and the decision should be made by him/her. Sometimes the rapid death of the bacteria from antibiotics in cystic acne can itself be troublesome. I'm very glad junior's getting effective treatment; thanks for making it possible. ...Read more

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I recently discontinued isotretinoin for painful cystic acne. Now i'm breaking out on my forehead with little itchy bumps with long whiteheads. ?

I recently discontinued isotretinoin for painful cystic acne. Now i'm breaking out on my forehead with little itchy bumps with long whiteheads.  ?

See Your Derm: See your dermatologist. You may need a mild retinoid (tretinoin) to keep you from breaking out, at least for a few months. This will likley pass uneventfully. However, there could be another cause for this type of breakout. Your dermatologist can help you with this frustrating flare. ...Read more

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I get cystic acne every month before my period. Other than taking birth control pills, what is the best treatment for painful cystic acne due hormone

I get cystic acne every month before my period. Other than taking birth control pills, what is the best treatment for painful cystic acne due  hormone

"Aggravated by": Hello, The reason your skin loses control during your period is because the fire is smoldering under the radar all month. When the hormones kick up, it's like gasoline on the fire. This video may help you get organized with this very emotional situation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjdCSMnjqlY hope it helps. -Dr. Neal Schwartz ...Read more

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Subsequent to having clear skin my whole life i'm suddenly getting painful, bad cystic acne?

Subsequent to having clear skin my whole life i'm suddenly getting painful, bad cystic acne?

Get it managed: I'm going to assume that the diagnosis is substantiated. There's no explaining this curious disease. It's unrelated to lifestyle or hygiene. Cystic acne requires prescription medication and possibly a dermatology referral. ...Read more

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Is cystic acne related to hpv? I just developed painful and itchy cystic acne. I've never had this problem before

Is cystic acne related to hpv? I just developed painful and itchy cystic acne. I've never had this problem before

It is not related: Cystic acne is not related to HPV. It is a severe form of acne - u shd consult a dermatologist. Many forms of treatment exist and if ur dermatologist recommends isotretinoin or intra lesion steroid injections - he wld be the best judge to make the right choice for u. ...Read more

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I tried to popped a painful pimple or cystic type acne on the bridge of my nose. I wasn't aware of the term "triangle of death". Should I be worried?

I tried to popped a painful pimple or cystic type acne on the bridge of my nose. I wasn't aware of the term "triangle of death". Should I be worried?

No: I actually got all worked up over this as a first year med student, and it helped me understand others' concerns today. The danger of a cavernous sinus thrombosis as a result of a pimple here is an exaggerated "pop" claim. If you do have acne lesions that are troublesome like this, get / stay on benzoyl peroxide and add what prescription Rx may work. Best wishes ...Read more

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Yesterday I received a cortisone shot for what I thought was cystic acne above eyebrow. Today the area is larger and red and painful. Dime size. Help!

Possible infection: Pain and redness might indicate infection. Call the clinic and seek urgent medical opinion to see if antibiotics are needed ...Read more

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Dr. Neal Schwartz
160 doctors shared insights

Cystic Acne (Definition)

Acne cysts are large nodules developing deep within the dermis, or second layer of skin. They are painful, disfiguring, and may cause deep scars. There is often a genetic predisposition to cystic acne. Treatment usually requires systemic medication including oral isotretinoin, and should be started early, before ...Read more


Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
2,402 doctors shared insights

Pimples (Definition)

Pimples are a kind of acne, and are a condition where oil gets trapped in a pore of the skin resulting in small area of ...Read more