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What is cystic acne?

ANSWER

You get a pimple when a pore in your skin gets clogged, usually with dead skin cells. Sometimes bacteria get trapped inside the pore, too, causing the area to become red and swollen.

Cystic acne happens when this infection goes deep into your skin, creating a red, tender bump that's full of pus. It may hurt or itch. If a cyst bursts, the infection can spread, causing more breakouts.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: “Acne.”

Laura Ferris, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Physicians Department of Dermatology.

Sharon Raimer, MD, chair, department of dermatology, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Diane Berson, MD, FAAD, associate professor, department of dermatology, Weill Medical College of  Cornell University; assistant attending dermatologist, New York Presbyterian Hospital.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Questions and Answers about Acne.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on March 2, 2020

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: “Acne.”

Laura Ferris, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Physicians Department of Dermatology.

Sharon Raimer, MD, chair, department of dermatology, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Diane Berson, MD, FAAD, associate professor, department of dermatology, Weill Medical College of  Cornell University; assistant attending dermatologist, New York Presbyterian Hospital.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Questions and Answers about Acne.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on March 2, 2020

NEXT QUESTION:

How can I treat cystic acne at home?

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