Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is caused when your pores become clogged and your immune system springs into action by sending an army of white blood cells to battle the infection. This leads to the surrounding area becoming red and swollen - which is often referred to as inflammatory acne.

This type of acne occurs when the wall of the hair follicle or pore splits, with bacteria and oil seeping out into the surrounding skin. If this happens close to the surface of the skin, the breakout  will be less noticeable.

If it happens deep inside the pore, however, you may experience a cyst, which is a large, firm bump buried inside the skin. You may experience pain with this type of acne, as blood flow increases to the area, sending white blood cells to fight the infection.


Characterised by pink or red dome-shaped bumps, these blemishes will vary in size, this can be anything from a pinhead to around half an inch. Typically, there'll be no visible fluid and no pus. Whilst they're usually painless, it's important not to scratch or pick. Papules, like the majority of spots, occur when oil and bacteria inside the pore is trapped by dead skin cells. Your body's response is to battle the infection with white blood cells, which can lead to papules being slightly inflamed.




This type of acne is formed when a plug inside a pore ensnares oil and bacteria, pustules will again prompt white blood cells to fight the infection.  The pus you see is nothing more than a collection of dead white blood cells. You'll know it's a pustule as it has a yellow or white pus-filled centre with a red base. 

Nodules and Cystic Acne

Nodules and cysts are large, deep and painful bumps, at first filled with blood, then with pus. They can potentially leave deep scars, often lingering under the surface of your skin for weeks and months at a time.

More often than not, nodules are larger than papules and pustules, typically forming deeper within the skin. Solid to the touch and normally quite painful, they begin to develop when bacteria and oil inside your pore spreads, which then infects neighbouring follicles. 

Cystic nodular acne is the most severe form of acne, with deep and painful pus-filled bumps that can measure up to an inch or more. You'll normally find that cystic acne is genetic and can sometimes result in permanent scarring.

Typically, this type of acne is most common in teenage boys and young men. In order to treat it, as with all severe acne, it's vital to seek the advice of your doctor or a dermatologist, as these trained professionals will offer the best course of treatment for your acne.