Nodular Acne – Treatment, Causes and Prevention

Nodular acne is one of the most severe cases of acne and is surpassed only by cysts. When acne occurs, it often first emerges as a non-inflammatory condition called whitehead or blackhead. As it gets more severe, it may form inflammatory lesions that appear as papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. Papules and pustules are generally small and not very painful, but nodules and cysts are painful and ugly.

People with nodular cystic acne mostly want to remove it fast even if it doesn’t occur on obvious parts like face because of the pain and extreme discomfort that it causes.

Nodular Acne

What Causes Nodular Acne

Nodular acne occurs when the oily secretion of the skin called sebum mixes with dirt and dead skin cells, causing pore blockage. Because it is caused primarily by sebum, this acne as well as milder or more severe cases of acne generally occurs on areas of the skin where there are plenty of sebaceous follicles. These areas include face, neck, back, and chest.

In the beginning, the blockage may not trigger infection and inflammation, but if there are bacteria involved in the formation of acne or if the acne is treated improperly (such as by picking it), infection may occur and the bump may become larger and redder. When there is a large amount of pus accumulates underneath the affected area of the skin, pustules and nodules will occur. At this stage, the acne will appear ugly and feel itchy and painful.

The production of sebum is also affected by hormonal changes. Therefore, hormones also play a part in the development of acne. Especially during adolescence and menstruation, the body may start to produce a larger amount of acne-triggering hormones called androgens. Androgenic hormones, including testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) may cause the enlargement of sebaceous glands when they reach the skin, thereby triggering excessive production of sebum. What happens next is already explained above. When sebum mixes with blockage-triggering particles, acne will start to occur.

There are other causes of nodular acne that you should beware. Genetic factor may play a role in the development of acne. If acne runs in your family, there is a bigger chance for you to develop acne. Anything that causes pressure to your skin, such as tight clothes, helmet and cellphones, may also trigger acne. Emotional problems, including stress, may not be direct causes, but if you already have acne, stress may make it worse.

Nodular Acne Treatment

You don’t actually have to leave your home to get the right treatment for your nodular acne because most of them are already available in your kitchen. However, you must remember that both dermatologists and naturalists recommend that you consult a professional if your acne has become severe. Because this acne is considered a severe case of acne, you may want to consult a professional before you the following two home remedies.

1. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is one of the most frequently used essential oils for treating acne and other skin conditions. This antiseptic oil can effectively kill bacteria, heal the wound and gradually reduce the size of the bump after it completely disappears. For some people, tea tree oil can be an allergen, so experimenting with few drops of it or consulting a doctor before using it as a regular remedy is recommended. Here are several ways to use tea tree oil in nodular acne treatment.

  • Apply tea tree oil to the affected area regularly. To speed up the healing process, you may also want to take zinc supplement while using the oil topically.
  • Tea tree oil can be mixed with other essential oils, such as olive and lavender oils, and fixed oils like coconut oil. You should consult your doctor if you want to use it on your children.

2. Azelaic acid

If you are allergic to tea tree oil, azelaic acid which you can get from cereals is a good alternative. Azelaic acid is a potent bacterium killer. By using it as a home remedy, the accumulating pus should gradually disappear and your acne will become dry sooner than you expect. If you cannot find it in its natural form, you can buy it as a prescription drug from a drugstore. Here are two effective ways to use this remedy.

  • Apply azelaic acid cream on the affected area until the nodules disappear.
  • Mix azelaic acid cream with erythromycin and use the mixture to treat the nodular acne.


Whether you have never got this acne or have just got rid of it, you need to make sure that acne will neither occur nor recur. You already know that the accumulation of pus inside the acne, which triggers the formation of pustules and nodules, is primarily caused by infection. Infection occurs if you recklessly treat your whitehead or blackhead by picking it or if bacteria play a part in clogging your pores.

Proper treatment of acne and keeping the affected area as hygienic as possible is the best way to prevent acne from occurring. Even if you have successfully removed your acne using any remedies that we have mentioned above, you should remember that the wound might still be open and if you are not cautious enough, acne may recur on the same spot. So keep the affected area clean even after the nodules disappear. You may also want to avoid stress because, as mentioned above, it may worsen the condition.

Nodular acne is a severe form of acne. Before you have it, your body may already warn you with milder non-inflammatory forms of acne, especially whitehead and blackhead. If you respond to the warning properly, you may be able to prevent the ugly and painful nodules from appearing, but if they already appear, you can use any of the aforementioned remedies to get rid of them. Just remember to keep the affected area as hygienic as possible even after you remove the nodules to make sure that they will not reappear on the same spot.

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