Cysts are very large, soft, painful, red or white lumps situated deep in the skin. They are filled with pus. Cysts are the most severe type of acne blemish and they can also cause skin complications, such as scarring.


Cysts develop when pores are clogged by a combination of bacteria, sebum, and dead skin cells.

Normal sebum secretions help protect the hair follicles and skin, but overproduction of sebum and overgrowth of skin cells can cause the pores to become plugged. This can create the perfect conditions for the overgrowth of P. acnes.

Cysts are the most inflamed, ruptured type of acne. Other factors causing cystic acne are include:

  • hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, birth control, the use of hormone therapy, and stress.
  • genetics, as some people are naturally more susceptible



Blue light therapy

Depending on your exact situation, the might also suggest blue-light therapy which is incorporated in the Hydrafacial, which works by killing bacteria within the pores. This treatment can be more effective than topical treatments, because it works to eliminate acne at the source (the bacteria), as opposed to treating the symptoms (inflammation and redness).

Oral antibiotics

Oral antibiotics are also an option because they can kill the P. acnes bacteria that contributes to acne.


Your doctor may want to start you on a more long-term treatment plan that could include a prescription topical treatment, like a retinoid.  That will help treat any other active acne you have and will help prevent future breakouts. Retinoids are beneficial for exfoliating the skin and purging your pores of dirt and oil.