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Popping Cystic Acne

Everything You Need to Know About Popping Cystic Acne

What’s the best way to get rid of cystic acne? Sadly, the answer to this question is not as straightforward as you might believe. Many people believe that popping cystic acne is one of the best ways to treat it! However, that’s not necessarily true.

Popping Cystic Acne
popping cystic acne

Here are some things you should know about popping cystic acne, including when it’s appropriate and when it could cause more harm than good.

What Is Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne that results in painful, inflamed lumps. This type of acne generally appears on the chest and back and often begins under the skin's surface before becoming more visible. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, cystic acne may be difficult to treat because it becomes embedded deep within the skin. Antibiotics and hormone therapy are typically used as a form of treatment. However, some doctors may choose other methods like laser surgery or drainage and extraction.

Side effects are typically rare but can include scarring or depression. The most common side effect is dryness which may require moisturizer. Antibiotics have also been known to cause allergic reactions such as hives, nausea, and vomiting. Before taking any new medication, always consult your doctor.

Is Cystic Acne Filled With Clear Fluid?

Cystic acne, sometimes called nodular acne, is when a clogged sebaceous gland creates inflammation in the form of either cysts or nodules. These lumps under the skin range from the size of a pea to as large as a golf ball and are filled with pus-like clear fluid (not blood). If you have no idea what kind of acne you have then you should see your dermatologist. 

 How To Tell if It's a Pimple or Cyst

Cysts are a different beast, and can't be identified just by looking. It's not a case of blackheads, which are relatively harmless and should just be popped, as they don't typically cause any damage. There are plenty of cases in which popping cyst acne will only cause more harm.

Cysts sit deeper in the skin than blackheads and may appear even without squeezing them because they're closed up below the surface level. Whereas popping blackheads usually leads to visible relief within 24 hours, these bumps may come back again after 12-24 hours have passed due to the bacteria being released from where it was trapped by squeezing it. For this reason, it's wise to avoid trying this at home if you're unsure.

Should You Pop Cystic Acne?

The internet is home to many debates about whether or not it's ok to pop cystic acne. The simple answer is: you can if you want, but it may make it worse. Unlike regular pimples, cysts are filled with pus and bacteria, which when released on the skin surface create inflammation and swelling. When popped improperly or by the wrong technique, you risk aggravating the cyst and irritating your skin. 

The easiest way to tell if your bump is a comedo vs a cyst is to press on the skin above where the bump appears; if no pus appears, then chances are good that it's just a comedo. If pus does appear, it's more likely that you have a cyst. Comedones usually show up as whiteheads while most types of cysts are red, sore, and puffy in appearance.

Another important difference between the two is how they react to heat: comedones will get irritated and swell while a cyst will typically flatten out or even disappear completely under hot temperatures such as those generated from steam treatments, hot baths, or showers.

The treatment for a cyst boils down to picking at them or leaving them alone, both of which carry risks. The only surefire way to treat an inflamed cyst is popping it, but again, doing so comes with risks.

Why Do People Pop Zits?

As the name suggests, the intent of popping a pimple is to expel the contents that have built up and resulted in a cyst. This will allow pus or fluids to seep out which can make the acne go away quickly. The downside is that popping pimples can result in further skin problems if done improperly so it's important not just to pop any zit but one that you know is ready for removal.

More serious problems like scarring and infection may arise from improper popping. If you feel unsure about popping your pimples, consult with a dermatologist who will be able to help you properly extract the blemish. 

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Infection?

When you feel like your cystic acne is about to erupt, resist the urge to touch it. Popping cystic acne could result in a very serious infection that leads to scars or redness in the surrounding area.

Here are some tips to reduce the risk of infection:

  • Instead, use an all-natural skin remedy such as witch hazel on the infected area which will reduce inflammation and provide relief.
  • An alternative treatment option is using a warm compress on the pimple.
  • Applying pressure will help alleviate pain associated with cysts popping, while also opening up pores and reducing infection risk.
  • One of the more popular remedies for popping cystic acne is toothpaste. Simply take a small amount of toothpaste and apply it directly to the swollen spot before bedtime; repeat this process until symptoms subside.
  • Lastly, steer clear of any products containing benzoyl peroxide if you're suffering from cystic acne because this ingredient can cause dryness and irritation on top of making breakouts worse.
  • In addition, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and following a low-sugar diet.
Keeping these tips in mind should make dealing with cystic acne much easier.

What Should You Do Once You've Popped the Cyst?

Once you have popped a cyst, it is important to clean the wound to prevent infection. Sterilize a needle and let it cool down before dipping it into alcohol. The needle will help your wound heal faster, preventing scarring or acne post-pimple popping. Once the area has been cleaned, apply an antibacterial ointment like Neosporin or Polysporin.

Apply a small amount of hydrocortisone cream to the open wound for inflammation and pain relief. The cream will help with redness and will reduce the likelihood of swelling at the site of the zit/pimple.

Make sure not to apply hydrocortisone directly onto sensitive skin; put it on sparingly instead! In addition, try to avoid touching the area as much as possible, but if you must touch it be sure to wash your hands afterward.

What Are Some Methods People Use to Pop Their Cysts?

There are many ways that people use to pop their cysts, and if you find a technique that works for you, then there is no need to keep looking for other methods. Common techniques include: squeezing the pimple, leaving it alone and washing it with soap and water, or placing it in a warm compress. However, be careful when doing any of these because they can cause scars.

If you have more than one cyst on your face, don't squeeze them all at once because this will just push the contents from one cyst into another. For example, if you have a cyst on your forehead and a cyst on your chin, don't squeeze both at the same time. Squeeze one slowly until it's empty, then move on to the next.

The Exact Method I Use When Popping My Cysts

My cystic acne has been the bane of my existence for years now. And that's because popping them never fixed the issue and just led to scarring. But I've found a way that does work! After slathering pure cocoa butter on a new cyst for about 24 hours, you can gently squeeze it out with minimal pain.

I try to squeeze as many pus pockets out as possible then put hydrocortisone cream on it, which helps stop any potential infection. Then I use aloe vera gel for soothing and make sure to keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.

What's The Best Way to Prevent Getting Scars From Cysts?

The best way to prevent scars from pimples is through the prevention of acne, this can be done by moisturizing the skin and washing it twice a day. Try not to pop or pick at your pimples because the scar will be harder for them to go away. If you are going out try using makeup and face powder, these will make your acne less noticeable but only if you have a medium-to-full coverage that is. 

One of the worst things you can do when you have an inflamed pimple is touching it, this makes it much worse and also tends to make it swell more. Lastly, one of the most important things is not allowing your acne cream to be put on continuously without cleaning off first so the pores don't clog up with cream product buildup.

Best Practices For After-care After Popping Your Cysts

It's important to cleanse your skin after popping cystic acne and it is recommended that you use a mild soap instead of a cleanser or scrub. For example, Dove soap or Neutrogena Visibly Clear Oil-Free Cleansing Foam are good choices. These products have gentle, non-drying ingredients that will get the cyst and bacteria off your skin without irritating it further. 

Once you've cleansed your skin and removed the whitehead with sterilized equipment, dab on some antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin or Bacitracin. This will help reduce irritation from the pimple and provide an additional layer of protection for any cuts/breakouts.

How Do You Drain Cystic Acne?

To drain a cyst that is under the skin, inject it with a needle or pick at it with a lancet (sterilized needle or sterilized sewing needle) until the pressure of pus and liquid within the lump is released. The released pus should be squeezed out into a cotton ball and then disposed of. 

If the cyst is on top of the skin, try applying an acne medication such as benzoyl peroxide, sulfur lotion, salicylic acid, or tea tree oil as a topical treatment. Next, you can use warm compresses for about 20 minutes which will help draw out excess fluids from deep within the pores. 

To kill bacteria in your pores you can also try using hydrogen peroxide combined with salt water (2 teaspoons) mixed. Once applied, allow the mixture to sit on your face for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off. 

For cysts that are below the surface and cannot be seen, try using apple cider vinegar mixed with some turmeric powder which has anti-inflammatory properties that can speed up healing time. Apply this paste directly onto the cyst twice daily until it begins to heal; this may take anywhere from two days to three weeks depending on how big the lump is and how long it's been there.

When To See a Dermatologist for Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne occurs when the pores get clogged. It's different from other types of acne because it is painful and stays in one place rather than spreading like a traditional pimple. While most acne can be cured through over-the-counter products, cystic acne should be seen by a dermatologist to ensure there are no underlying issues or infections present.

If you see these lesions all over your body, see a doctor immediately, as this could be seborrheic dermatitis, an infectious skin disease that can lead to liver and kidney damage if left untreated. This type of cystic acne often needs prescription medication and antibiotics to clear up the lesions on the body. Left untreated, cystic acne could cause other health complications.


Cystic acne is one of the worst types of acne. With cyst-like lumps and bumps, often linger and can cause a lot of scarring, irritation, and discomfort. Thankfully there are steps you can take to shrink cysts quickly without much effort on your part, don't pick or squeeze at them, hydrate your skin with water (or a gentle astringent if the bumps are irritated), and use a toner after washing your face to close up pores that may be open and drink plenty of water (aim for eight glasses per day).

If those measures fail then visit your dermatologist who may prescribe antibiotics or other medications.

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