Cystic Acne – My Experience

As a teenager I had pretty good skin, apart from the odd tiny spot, eczema was more of a problem, but in general my skin was blemish free. Spots didn’t really become a problem until well into my twenties. But most of them weren’t just normal spots, they were hard swollen lumps under the skin that caused areas of my face and back to swell and become infected. For various reasons I ended up on the pill and my skin improved greatly. Apart from the odd cyst type blemish my skin was smooth and clear.

Around eighteen months ago I had to change the type of pill I took due to migraines and high blood pressure and my skin slowly deteriorated. By last summer I had up to six swollen, very painful, and very big blemishes on my chin at one time, cyst type spots in and around my nose and around my hairline and spots that appeared in hours on my back which were usually infected.  Each of these spots typically has little whiteheads around it as if the infection is branching out. Red wheels and lines also spread out from the centre of my spot across the infected area. The ones on my back can be so painful it’s uncomfortable for me to lie on my back, they required having dressings on that need changing regularly too. All of these spots leave dark pigmentation marks and in some cases long term scarring or recurring cysts in the same place. Each time one springs up the glands in my neck also swell and become painful making me feel even more unwell with cold sweats and mild fevers.

By last June the issue was so bad, so painful, that I called the doctors. At that point my bottom lip and cheek were swollen so I was actually seen within a few hours. I was officially diagnosed with adult onset cystic acne and had the options explained to me. Reluctant to go on yet more daily medication I went for the topical solution and it did help a little. But it didn’t stop them from cropping up. By August the glands in my neck were so swollen I couldn’t turn my neck and ended up on a seven day course of very strong antibiotics. It helped the glands but not my spots. In October I was back at the doctors and a nurse practitioner put me straight on daily antibiotics. Within a couple of weeks my skin started to clear and it was wonderful. No pain to constantly remind me of them, no ulcers inside my mouth, no swellings or redness and no patches of eczema cropping up on top the affected area.  It felt like such a treat!

Hoping a bit of sea air would clear my skin up. 

Almost six months later the count down to my last few tablets began, over the moon I threw my finally empty packet in the bin with joy, hoping that the nausea, heartburn and god awful taste of the tablets were behind me. Just two days later it had all gone wrong. Hard lumps were appearing under the skin on my back, chin and nose, as well as inside my nose and a lot of sore painful whiteheads in the area too. Thinking the doctors would want me off the tablets longer to see if they had worked I lasted nine days until my face was so red and swollen a quick chat with a doctor left me with another twelve month prescription for the antibiotics. She informed me it was rare but not impossible for them to work after six months so I had to come off them to see.

One of my main concerns used to be how I looked, what people thought of me walking along the street or going to work with a swollen lip and red crusty chin, but I’m long past that now. Granted, there are few photos of me with bad skin as I am more self conscious. and I am trying to improve my make-up skills which proves to be very hard when the skin around the spot repeatedly peels off and dries out. If people don’t like how it looks then that’s their problem. Ultimately it’s the pain which gets me down most, it’s a constant reminder of what my skin is doing, the infection it’s causing. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable for me to eat, drink, and even talk (much to a few people’s delight I would imagine!).

Last summer a sun tan, some expensive make up, antibiotic lotion and poor lighting stopped my chin from looking too bad. 

I’ve been back on my antibiotics for two weeks and am dealing with two of the worst spots I’ve ever had. Today they have finally started going down and I’m no longer referring to my chin as a mountain range but they are still very painful and I’m constantly aware they are there. So while people may think it’s funny to ask if they can pop my spots, it’s grown old and tired, and besides you can’t actually pop a cyst without some form of surgical intervention until it decides to explode of it’s own accord (too much info I know but I’m trying to be real here).

The current state of my chin which is vastly improved from the weekend.  There are scabs on the other side of my chin from older lesions. 

2 thoughts on “Cystic Acne – My Experience

  1. Hey my friend as you know skin afflictions are something that follow me around too and like you I’m also very self-conscious about it. My skin interupted my hydro again too!

    Hope it starts to heal and settle-away soon Xx healing fluffie hugs

    Liked by 1 person

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