Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition that occurs when there is blockage and/or inflammation of pilosebaceous units (hair follicles and their accompanying sebaceous gland). At some point, most of us would have experienced this problem. While many would associate acne with the red swelling, it actually is more than that. Acne present as noninflammatory lesions, inflammatory lesions, or a mixture of both, affecting mostly the face but also the back and chest.
Acne can present as:
Some of the recognized causes include changes in hormonal levels, stress, environmental pollutants, cosmetic products, diet (especially foods that are high in sugar) and mask usage.
Most of us are concerned with acne as it can lead to scarring. It is however crucial to treat the active acne breakouts first before treating the acne scars, as new breakouts can lead to new acne scars. Active acne breakouts can be treated with topical creams (Benzyl peroxide, antibiotic cream, retinoid cream or combination treatment), oral medications (Antibiotics, hormonal agents or isotretenoin) and lasers. Speak to our doctor for an individualized treatment plan for your acne breakouts.
What is acne cortisone injection?
Acne cortisone injection, also known as intralesional corticosteroid injection, is one of the treatment options that we have for cystic acne. It is a procedure where a doctor injects diluted corticosteroids directly into the cystic acne. It is done to reduce the inflammation, swelling and pain of the swelling. Of note, this treatment choice is not for all types of acne. It is usually done for tender, swollen acne nodules or cysts.
How does it work and how long do results take to show?
Corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory properties which work to reduce swelling, redness and pain. By introducing it directly into acne cyst, it can reduce the recovery time for acne cyst/nodules to resolve from weeks to a few days. At times, there can even be visible results after just 24 hours. Having said so, it may still take a few days for the swelling to flatten completely.
What are the risks of acne cortisone injections?
This is a very safe procedure with minimal side effects. There could be very mild pain during the procedure. To minimize this, a very small gauge needle is used for this procedure. Uncommonly, there could be a depression where the cyst was after recovery. This is due to atrophy of the fatty tissues around the injection site. This is usually temporary but, in some cases, may take a few months to resolve. In extremely rare cases, this could be permanent. There is also a small risk of hypopigmentation which is an area of lighter coloured skin after the procedure. This is more common in dark skinned individuals, and also tends to resolve spontaneously, should it occur.
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