There are many types of acne blemishes, and few are as painful or troubling as cysts. There are a lot of myths surrounding cysts: where they come from, what causes them, why they keep occurring. Pressure on a cyst will cause your entire face to radiate with pain.

What are Cysts?

Cysts, also referred to as cystic acne, are the result of the most serious form of acne producing larger lesions. These painful bumps form underneath the layers of the epidermis as a result of bacteria, sebum production, dead skin cells, and hormonal fluctuations. Although anyone can develop cystic acne, it is most common in those with oily skin types, teens, women, and adults who are have a hormonal imbalance.

Why You Shouldn’t Try to Pop Cystic Acne on Your Own

Cystic acne, however, produces deep, painful spots that occur in the deeper layers of your dermis. While it may be tempting to try to pop these blemishes, this causes far more harm than good. When you do this, the oil and bacteria in the cyst can spread to other areas causing new breakouts to form, wreaking havoc on your skin.

How are Cysts Treated?

While you can treat the occasional pimple at home using over-the-counter remedies, persistent cysts should be treated by the experts. Treatment for cystic acne typically includes one of the following:

  • Retinol. When applied topically, retinol works by speeding cell-turnover, preventing pores from becoming clogged. Topical retinoids that may be prescribed include Differin, Retin-A, and Tazorac.
  • Antibiotics. If the cysts are caused by bacteria and inflammation and cover a large area of your skin, an antibiotic can help kill off the presence of this bacteria, clearing your skin in the process.
  • Oral contraceptives. Since cysts are often caused by intense hormone fluctuations in adolescent girls and women, oral contraceptives can normalize hormone levels and prevent further cysts from appearing.
  • Accutane. A powerful form of vitamin A which is taken in pill form, Accutane, or Isotretinoin, is effective in improving or even removing the appearance of cysts in 85 percent of people who take it.