You ask, we get answers! This week’s reader skin question is being fielded by Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in the Dermatology Department at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Q: What’s the best way to treat cystic acne?

A: Cystic acne is a severe form of acne that can be treated with topical medications, but may also require oral medication. Over-the-counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are a good place to start.  If you see no improvement after two weeks of use, make an appointment to see your dermatologist — those types of angry pimples can heal with permanent scars if not treated.  Your dermatologist may give your prescription topicals in combination with pills by mouth.  Some women may be treated with hormonal therapies to normalize any fluctuations in hormones causing cystic eruptions.

A word of caution: Many topical acne medications can be irritating and make you sensitive to the sun.  Choose a good sunscreen for sensitive skin (I like Cetaphil DermaControl Moisturizer SPF 30).

Got a question for us? Leave a comment below and we may answer in the  next post!

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