One of the most common reasons that patients come to the Advanced Acne Institute is for treatment of acne cysts. Acne cysts are pimples that are very large, like cysts, containing pus and can be painful and inflamed.
Acne cysts are very noticeable and can cause patients to be very frustrated and uncomfortable. Acne cysts can also cause patients to become self-conscious and socially withdrawn. Patients will often attempt to cover-up acne cysts with a lot of thick makeup in order to hide the obvious eruptions. If the acne cysts are too large or obvious to cover up effectively, many patients will simply avoid placing themselves in social circumstances. Patients at the Advanced Acne Institute commonly confide that they even stay home from work when acne cysts erupt.
Because acne cysts are large and very inflamed, they usually require more intensive and aggressive treatment than many other forms of acne breakouts. An important treatment strategy for acne cysts that is often used at the Advanced Acne Institute is called an acne injection. Acne injections are tiny shots of cortisone that are delivered directly into acne cysts. After acne cysts are injected in this way, they shrink and disappear within a day or two. These acne injections are so effective that patients rely on them to treat acne cysts the day before a big social event such as a wedding. In fact, many brides-to-be set up appointments for acne injections the day before their big event just in case they develop unexpected acne cysts. We also get our share of emergency calls by patients who want same-day appointments for injections.
Although acne injections are nearly magical in their rapid effects, longer term control of acne cysts requires a more aggressive treatment plan. The most effective medication for treating acne cysts is Isotretinoin. Isotretinoin, also known by its brand name, Accutane, is the most effective way to treat severe acne and acne cysts. Isotretinoin will be discussed in more detail in a future post. Many patients receive isotretinoin treatment for acne cysts at the Advanced Acne Institute. It is often a last resort for many patients who have come to the Institute after having been treated elsewhere with a variety of other therapies that just didn’t work.
Another treatment that can be very effective in treating acne cysts is called spironolactone. Spironolactone, which works by blocking androgenic hormones, also referred to as male hormones, is only used to treat acne in women. It effectively blocks the ability of androgenic hormones to stimulate acne-prone oil glands and can help control even very severe acne with numerous acne cysts.
It is important for patients with acne cysts to begin treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment can help to prevent acne scarring which can occur commonly as a consequence of acne cysts. The goal in treatment is to prevent scarring, so early intervention is important.