How To Treat Nodular Acne: Top 3 Home Remedies

Acne nodules that are hard and painful and that are deep under the skin are a sign of nodular acne. Usually, it shows up on the face, chest, or back. In this article you'll learn how to treat nodular acne.
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how to treat nodular acne
Acne nodules are larger than regular pimples and affect the skin’s deeper layers.

Acne nodules can last for weeks or months, while most regular pimples heal in a few days. They usually don’t get a white head, and they might stay as hard knots under the skin.

Acne nodules can hurt, and the way they look can hurt a person’s self-esteem. This article talks about how to treat nodular acne and what you can do at home to help.

What is nodular acne?

The acne nodules start below the skin’s surface and show up as red bumps on the skin. Most of the time, there isn’t a whitehead or blackhead in the middle of these bumps.

The bumps can stick around for weeks or even months. They hurt very much. Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes), a type of bacteria, gets stuck under your skin in these nodules. This causes infection and inflammation.

Nodular acne requires treatment from a dermatologist (a healthcare provider who specializes in caring for your skin). If you don’t treat this kind of pimple, it can leave a deep and permanent scar. Scarring can be less likely if you get treatment as soon as possible.

What causes nodular acne?

This severe form of acne comes on the same way as other pimples. It happens when dead skin cells, hair, and sebum get stuck in your clogged pores (an oil your body makes to keep skin moist). The C. acnes bacteria, which live on the skin naturally, get stuck inside. This leads to infection, swelling, and pain.

If your body makes too much sebum or you don’t clean your skin well enough, your pores can get clogged. They can also be caused by:

  • Excessive sweating: Acne nodules are more likely to form on skin that is sweaty, especially if you wear clothes that keep sweat on your skin. People who have hyperhidrosis, a condition that makes them sweat a lot, may be more likely to get nodular acne. 
  • If you have a family history of nodular acne, you are more likely to get it yourself. 
  • Hormones: Because their hormone levels are changing during puberty, adolescents are more likely to develop acne. When you have more of the hormone androgen in your body, the oil in your skin can thicken, which can block your pores. More of this hormone is found in teenagers and young adults who were born male. Nodular acne can also happen to women who are pregnant, have their periods, or are going through menopause. 
  • Medication: Some medicines, like corticosteroids, can make nodule acne worse. 
  • Some lotions, creams, and makeup can clog pores and make acne nodules worse. 
  • Anxiety and stress: When your anxiety and stress levels go up, your body may make more sebum because cortisol levels are going up. Cortisol is the “stress hormone” in your body.

What are the symptoms of nodule acne?

You might have one pimple that shows up on its own. Or you may have more than one at the same time. Doctors sometimes refer to them as “blind pimples” because they start under the skin. Acne with nodules has these signs:

  • Acne nodules are hard bumps under the skin that you can feel. Most often, they show up on the faces, backs, or chests of people who were born male. Acne nodules usually show up on the jawline or chin of people who were born female. 
  • When the nodules are touched, they can cause pain or sensitivity. 
  • red or the same color as your skin bumps that stick out of your skin. 
  • Your doctor may talk about nodule acne and cystic acne at the same time. It might even be called nodulocystic acne. Cystic acne, which is similar to nodular acne, causes bumps called cysts to form under the surface of your skin. Nodules are harder than cystic acne bumps. Nodules are much harder and hurt a lot. They feel like knots under the skin. Some people have cysts and nodules at the same time.

How can I treat nodular acne?

Nodular acne requires treatment from a dermatologist. Nodular acne can’t be treated with acne creams you can buy at the store. Never try to squeeze or “pop” a pimple. This can make them worse and cause scars that are hard to get rid of.

Your dermatologist may suggest the following ways to treat nodular acne:

  • If you have severe acne, your doctor may prescribe a skin care product like isotretinoin. Due to the risk of serious birth defects, people who were born female must use birth control while taking this medicine. Other pills you can take by mouth, like the antibiotic tetracycline and birth control pills called oral contraceptives, can reduce inflammation and treat nodular acne. A hormone that causes acne can be stopped or slowed down by a drug called spironolactone. 
  • Prescription treatments include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids that are strong enough to need a prescription. This medicine will come in a cream, gel, or foam that your doctor will tell you to put on your skin. 
  • Your doctor may suggest cortisone shots to shrink them if you have acne nodules that are very big, hurt, or don’t go away. Your dermatologist will inject a steroid medicine into the nodule with a thin needle. This medicine reduces swelling and helps the body heal faster.

What can I expect if I have nodular acne?

Acne nodules can be very bad if they are not treated. Many people feel better after seeing a dermatologist for their nodular acne. But the nodules may not go away right away.

Keep in mind that you may need to try different treatments or combinations of medications to get better. Your doctor will probably give you a mix of treatments that you put on the skin and take by mouth. If you take isotretinoin, you might need to take it twice before your skin clears up.

Nodular acne home remedies and prevention

It’s best to use home remedies in addition to treatments prescribed by a doctor, not instead of them.

Some home treatments for nodular acne are:

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is used as a home remedy by many people because it kills bacteria. Some people think that apple cider vinegar could kill the bacteria that causes acne and help the skin heal.

To try this remedy, mix some warm water with apple cider vinegar and put it on the skin.

Olive oil

Some people say that using olive oil to clean the skin can help get rid of acne. People think that when the olive oil mixes with the extra oil on the skin, it helps lift the oil out of the pores. This is thought to keep pores from getting clogged and cut down on acne.

According to a study from 2010, olive oil has antioxidant properties when applied to the skin. Aside from that, there isn’t much evidence that it helps skin health or stops acne.

Reducing stress

Acne can be caused by stress hormones in the body. Because of this, mindfulness, meditation, or yoga might help you get less acne. These things are known to lower stress and make people feel better.

In Conclusion

Acne nodules are a very painful form of acne that can leave scars. Acne nodules can happen to anyone, but they tend to run in families.

Nodular acne may be caused by a number of things, such as overactive oil glands, an increase in androgen hormones, a buildup of dead skin cells, and a lot of bacteria that cause acne on the skin.

A dermatologist is the best person to diagnose nodular acne and suggest treatments, such as medication, for nodular acne. Even though these options may work, it may take a few months for them to do so.

Try not to pick at or pop acne bumps at home. Instead, use an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to help ease the pain of nodular acne while you wait for treatment to start helping your skin.


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