cystic acne treatment clinic in Singapore

Cystic Acne Treatment

Do you have cystic acne? Are your large deep-seated acne causing you pain?

Early cystic acne treatment reduces potential scarring, pain and improves your skin health.

chin cystic acne and acne scars
Cystic Acne

What Causes Cystic Acne?

What causes cystic acne? Genetics, stress, diet and hormones are a variety of factors that may play a role in cystic acne formation. Although the condition is more common in men, it can also affect women and cause significant skin damage.

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne vulgaris that is deep seated within the skin. When your acne feels large and gives you a painful throbbing sensation,  and is located near the jawline and chin, chances are you have Cystic Acne.

Cystic Acne can range in different sizes, from a few millimetres (microcyst) to a few centimetres in diameter, highlighting the importance of proper treatment for cystic acne in Singapore. Cystic acne is commonly found in the cheeks, jawline, neck and upper trunk area.

Acne is one of the most common skin diseases globally. It often affects adolescents and young people; it can also persist into adulthood. Acne can present in various forms, severity and locations. Nodulo-cystic acne is a severe form of acne requiring early acne cyst treatment to relieve discomfort, improve skin health and reduce scarring.




As a clinician with more than 15 years of experience, Dr Ng. understands the impact of how cystic acne can affect an individual. Acne knows no boundaries, afflicting a wide range of age groups and affecting both genders for varying lengths of time. Dr. Ng provides a patient-centric approach that is backed by the latest scientific evidence as well as his own wealth of experience to create a care plan for the best cystic acne treatment that is unique to your skin type. Early intervention can help prevent acne scars, restore your skin and confidence.

Cystic acne is more common in men and in adults

Painful and deeper lesions on jawline and chin areas

Higher risk of atrophic and hypertrophic scarring

How is Cystic Acne Different from Milder Acne?

Acne cysts are located in the deeper layers of the skin unlike milder acne, making off the counter products, medicated acne creams and chemical peels ineffective at treating it.

Cystic acne causes more extensive inflammation and damage within the dermal layer of the skin. They are not ‘poppable’ and often cause pain and distress. Cystic acne have a high risk of scarring if left untreated.

How can i tell if i have cystic acne?

Cystic acne is a variant of inflammatory acne vulgaris that is characterised by painful, swollen bumps under your skin. On the skin surface, they appear red, feel tender to touch and you may notice pus coming out.

The main difference between nodular acne and cystic acne is the presence of pus. Nodular acne, which is deeply embedded within the skin feels hard and painful. When pressure is applied to a cystic acne lesion, you will often notice pus coming out from the skin.

Nodulocystic acne is a combination of both nodular and cystic acne within the skin.

Several features differentiate Nodulocystic acne from other variants of inflammatory acne:

  • Depth: Cystic and nodular acne are located deeper in the dermal layer of the skin. Papules and pustules are mostly epidermal in origin.
  • Size: Nodular and cystic acne can often reach more than 1cm in size.
  • Location: Nodular and cystic acne are common on cheeks and jawline. They can also be uniquely found on eyebrows and in front of your ears and earlobes.
  • Tenderness: They are often painful to touch and may affect sleep and daily activities.
  • Duration: Nodular and cystic acne may lasts for several weeks to months. They may reduce in size after some time, only to flare up again and this pattern continues. We call this the chronic relapsing-remitting pattern.
acne formation diagram
Four main factors leading to acne

What Causes Nodulo-Cystic Acne?

Acne is a disease of the hair follicle and sebaceous gland unit. The interplay between increased sebum gland activity, clogged dead skin cells within the hair follicle, inflammation and colonization by C.acne bacteria triggers an immune response.

While a healthy immune response helps clear infections on a daily basis, a chronic inflammatory response can be harmful. Over time, the build up of inflammation within your hair follicles can increase and potentially rupture into the deeper dermal layers of your skin. When this occurs, the resultant inflammatory response within the dermis can lead to the formation of nodulocystic acne skin lesions.

The dermal layer of the skin is mainly composed and supported by a network of collagen, elastin fibers, macromolecules and proteins. We term this supporting network as the extracellular matrix (ECM). Collagen is akin to glue that holds the individual components of the dermis together. When you get inflammation disrupting the wound healing process within the dermis over a prolonged period, this can lead to acne scars and keloid formation.

woman washing face
Daily skin care regime is essential for acne care

What can I do to Avoid Cystic Acne?

Good question. When it comes to acne cyst treatment, it is important to start treatment early to avoid worsening your acne and acne scarring.

While there is currently no clear and direct evidence linking foods to acne, you may want to slow down on high glycaemic index foods (e.g. white bread, biscuits, glutinous rice) and dairy products.

        Skin Care Tips:

  • Avoid penetrating oils such as Isopropyl myristate and Lanolin
  • Avoid over-exfoliating or over-scrubbing your skin.
  • Use Colour Cosmetics with Caution, especially if it contains Mica and Red dye.
  • Go easy on Eye cream because they have a thicker formulation.
  • Wash Up Before and After Exercising
  • Avoid Wax and Petroleum containing balms and Lipsticks as they cause acne around the mouth.
  • Go Fragrance-Free

Personalized Acne Care:

Personalised care is important in chronic skin conditions such as acne. Importantly, your treatment success depends on how easily you can incorporate your acne treatment into your daily routine. An ongoing acne care plan that is practical and meets your needs reduces acne relapse and potential scarring. There are several factors we consider to customise your acne treatment plan.

  • Acne severity
  • Acne location e.g. facial vs. truncal
  • Presence of Acne scarring or potential for scarring
  • Skin phototype: Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is more common in those with darker skin types.
  • Family history
  • Duration of acne
  • Duration of previous acne treatments
medication for acne
Cystic Acne Treatment Options

What Treatment Options are Available for Acne Cyst?

Procedural Treatments:

Acne cyst treatment in Singapore will depend on the severity of your acne, your medical history, allergies, skin type and sensitivity.

  • Intralesional Anti-inflammatory Injections

This procedure is suitable for large, painful and inflamed acne cysts. The acne cyst is directly injected with anti-inflammatory medication, and you will find quick relief in the symptoms over the next few days. Repeated treatments may be necessary at intervals of 4 weeks if the cysts are stubborn.

  • Drainage of Cyst

When pus accumulates from a large cyst, it may be necessary to drain it out. It brings quick relief of pain and discomfort. A small slit under local anaesthesia allows us to tackle pus-filled cysts; recovery is excellent, and scarring is minimal.

Medical Treatments:

  • Topical Retinoids

Topical retinoids such as topical tretinoin are an effective prescription-only medication to reduce inflammation, comedomes and hyperpigmentation associated with acne. They are more potent than retinols found off the shelves in stores.

  • Oral Antibiotic

Oral antibiotics work by reducing inflammation and C. acne bacteria within the hair follicle. It is often combined with topical therapy for its synergistic effect. However, you should be aware that the emerging incidence of antibiotic resistance can lead to treatment failure and relapse.

  • Oral Retinoids

Oral retinoids are a Vitamin A-based medication and are currently the most effective oral treatment for severe forms of acne, including multiple cystic acne. According to studies, patients who are on oral isotretinoin for nodulocystic acne show more than 95% improvement. After completing a cycle of oral isotretinoin therapy, most patients remain clear of the condition. This is due to the profound inhibition of the sebaceous gland size and function. The details of the medication, its side effects and its suitability will be discussed during consultation.

Takeaway Message

The best treatment for cystic acne is one that takes into account the severity of your acne, your skin type, and your unique individual condition. While many people struggle with acne, the good news is that most individuals will be able to manage their skin better with a clinically effective skincare regime and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Studies have shown that suffering from acne is associated with a poorer quality of life, lower self-esteem and feelings of distress.

Prompt and effective treatment for cystic acne reduces inflammation, discomfort and scarring potential. Moreover, studies show reduced anxiety and depression in individuals after successful treatment with oral isotretinoin.

Nowadays, clinically effective treatments are there to help improve your acne and thereby reducing the potential for acne scarring.

Every individual is different and may suffer from acne at different stages if life. Certain factors increase their likelihood of developing cystic acne, such as hormonal changes, genetics, medications, or lifestyle factors.

The duration of cystic acne varies depending on its severity, treatment approach, and individual factors. In some cases, cystic acne may persist for weeks, months, or even years without proper treatment.

While some home remedies and over-the-counter treatments may provide temporary relief or help reduce inflammation, cystic acne often requires medical intervention for effective treatment and prevention of scarring. It’s essential to consult a dermatologist for personalized advice and treatment options.

Some of the potential complications associated with cystic acne, include scarring, emotional distress, or secondary infections.

It is appropriate to seek professional medical advice for cystic acne, such as when home treatments are ineffective, symptoms worsen, or if there are concerns about scarring or other complications.

The first important step towards your recovery is to make an appointment.

A consultation is arranged to understand your unique condition, examine your skin and discuss about the treatment options.

Please get in touch with us using the form below , call us at 6769 6007 or you can simply whatsapp us +65 9855 3022.

This would vary depending on the type of treatment, acne severity and duration of therapy.

  • Active acne treatments with topicals and/or medications: fr $90 onwards per month
  • Injection Steroids aka cortisone injections. fr $90-120 onwards
  • Incision and drainage of cyst. from $150-300 onwards.
Dr Moses Ng dermatologist

Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne characterized by large, painful cysts that develop deep within the skin. This condition can cause significant physical discomfort and emotional distress, often leading to permanent scarring if not properly treated. Our approach to managing cystic acne is comprehensive and personalized, aiming to alleviate symptoms, prevent scarring, and improve overall skin health.. A course of oral isotretinoin is clinically effective for this severe form of acne. Most clear with one course of treatment, with more than 80% maintaining good acne control with only topical creams after treatment.

schedule a consultation for cystic acne treatment in singapore

We treat a range of acne and acne scars at both our clinics in Woodlands and Kovan. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, so that Dr. Ng can develop a individualized treatment approach for resolving your skin care concerns and helping you to achieve long-term improvements in the health and appearance of your skin.

Request a CallBack

Get in touch with us with any questions, pricing, or bookings.

Or give us a call at +65 6769 6007 | WhatsApp us +65 9855 3022

Related Information:

  1. Lee JW, Yoo KH, Park KY, Han TY, Li K, Seo SJ, et al. Effectiveness of Conventional, Low-dose and Intermittent Oral Isotretinoin in the Treatment of Acne: A Randomized, Controlled Comparative study. Br J Dermatol. 2010 Nov 29.
  2. Davis EC, Callender VD. A review of acne in ethnic skin: pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and management strategies. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Apr. 3(4):24-38.
  3. Peck GL, Olsen TG, Butkus D, Pandya M, Arnaud-Battandier J, Gross EG, Windhorst DB, Cheripko J. Isotretinoin versus placebo in the treatment of cystic acne: a randomized double-blind study. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1982 Apr 1;6(4):735-45.
  4. Rubinow DR, Peck GL, Squillace KM, Gantt GG. Reduced anxiety and depression in cystic acne patients after successful treatment with oral isotretinoin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1987 Jul 1;17(1):25-32.