If you have large, deep, solid and painful lumps or cysts under your skin, you may have severe acne.
The breakouts cover large areas of the face or body and last longer than in moderate acne, often not going away for months or years. It can have a huge impact on self-confidence and self-esteem, leading to anxiety and depression.
Severe cystic acne will not usually respond to over the counter skincare products available at pharmacies or from supermarket shelves. However, people with severe cystic acne should still follow general advice for managing acne.
Untreated, severe acne can cause permanent and disfiguring scars.
If you have severe acne, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist for assessment and further treatment.
Severe acne can prevent a person from doing many things they usually enjoy because of a concern about their appearance and the opinion of others.
The treatment of severe acne
If severe acne is concerning you, you need to take these necessary and important steps:
Get a referral from your GP for a dermatologist as soon as possible.
Visit a dermatologist. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have. If you think of a question after the visit, ring back their office.
You may be prescribed antibiotics or isotretinoin.
It is important that if you are prescribed antibiotics or isotretinoin that you follow the dermatologist’s instructions completely.
If you have severe acne, you should still follow a skin care routine of cleanse, treat and protect.
If you are prescribed isotretinoin in the first few weeks your skin will become much drier than before. To help protect your skin, try and keep your showers shorter than two minutes and use lukewarm water rather than hot.
Using a moisturiser on your face regularly will help keep the dryness under control. The best type of moisturiser is an oil-free face moisturiser for sensitive skin.
Men with severe acne who shave should try both an electric and safety razor to see which is more comfortable. If you use a razor, soften your beard thoroughly with soap and warm water. To avoid nicking pimples, shave as lightly as possible. Shave only when necessary and always use a sharp blade.