Cystic (Inflamed) Acne

Cystic Acne, is also known as Inflamed Acne.

There are three main types of Cystic Acne.

  1. Papule - red/inflamed pimple without white blood cells.

  2. Pustule - liquid puss filled blister that contains white blood cells.

  3. Cyst/Nodule - below surface lesions of the follicle that can cause scarring.


Inflamed acne is a combination of Retention Hyperkeratosis and bacteria that gets trapped in that “sticky skin” which results in the little infection that shows up as a pimple.

The outer most layer of our skin is called the “Stratum Corneum” which has tightly packed dead skin cells that also extend down in to the pore. Acne-prone pores shed up to five layers of dead skin cells per day and the body just can’t keep up. This forms congestion under the skin. When these cells stick together they can form a mass (impaction) within the follicle. When bacteria is present you will get papules, pustules and/or cysts.

Papules and Pustules typically come-and-go within 5-7 days. They are often uncomfortable and leave a “spot” behind afterward called hyperpigmentation.

Cysts/Nodules are much bigger infections that often rupture the hair follicle and get trapped deeper in the skin. As a result these cysts can take 2-3 weeks to heal, are often quite painful, can look, and feel like a proverbial “iceberg” because they are in the deeper layers of the skin.

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Mild Inflamed

These clients still had to be patient and had to walk through 4-6 months of skincare strategies using the right combination of products for their skin types/sensitivities. They were able to get clear skin using only skincare strategies at home under our guidance.

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Moderate Inflamed

One of these clients were able to get their skin clear using only skincare strategies using the right combination of products for their skin type/sensitivities. The other also had to follow skincare strategies at home with the right products but also included facials to help their skin respond faster.


Severe Inflamed

Severely inflamed skin can be very distressing. For some clients it can change the texture of their skin, which is considered scarring. Many of these clients have very sensitive skin. With so much inflammation, products can penetrate the skin more deeply. These clients can be really hard on their skin by over scrubbing and using strong products. Doing so adds more inflammation to their already inflamed skin. 

Most of our clients with severely inflamed skin are able to get their skin clear with well matched products and a slow-but-steady skincare routine over 4-6 months and with no facials!

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Spot treatment can be helpful in getting pimples to heal a bit faster but the key to getting clear skin is to prevent Retention Hyperkeratosis from building up in the hair follicle. Without prevention there is no benefit to a spot-treatment approach for acne.

  1. Cysts/Nodules can not be extracted! The infection is often too deep in the skin.

  2. They can be “injected” by a dermatologist with a cortisone to help create an immediate reduction in the inflammation.

  3. Spot treatment can be a combination of 20-30 seconds of “icing” or using ice on these inflamed areas to reduce inflammation.

  4. Spot treatment can sometimes include Benzoyl Peroxide, sulfur, or hydroxy-acids to help reduce inflammation.

  5. The best strategy is prevention! Using the right products with organized strategy over 4-6 months (for most clients) will give the very best results!