Cystic Acne Treatment: Ashlynn’s Story

Ashlynn started to get cystic acne when she was 15 years old. It was painful and difficult to deal with as some of the cysts appeared directly on her face and around her eyebrows. Her condition hurt her self-confidence and her ability to simply live her life.

“They started really small and would just get bigger and bigger and super painful,” says Ashlynn. “It was horrible, having cysts on my face.”

After trying creams, topicals, and even surgeries, Ashlynn wasn’t seeing results. The cysts and acne just kept coming back.

She was ready for a solution that would work. Though this topical treatment is intimidating at first, it was exactly what Ashlynn needed.

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What Is The Treatment?

There is a medication that treats severe acne. Doctors prescribe it when other treatments or therapies are not working.

It can treat the underlying causes of acne by:

  • Shrinking oil glands.
  • Preventing clogging.
  • Decreasing inflammation.
  • Combating bacteria growth.

Treatment can last for several months. And it is intensive. Ashlynn had to go on a a specific type of birth control, get bloodwork, and take pregnancy tests before even starting.

Symptoms can also prove difficult to handle and include:

  • Dry lips, skin, eyes, and nose.
  • Itchiness.
  • Sun sensitivity.
  • Thinning hair.
  • Nausea.
  • Mental health issues.
  • Joint or muscle pain.
  • Change in vision.

But the results can change your life. “You get a full clear face,” Ashlynn says. “It’s amazing.”

Comprehensive Care at UPMC

Ashlynn saw Ashley VanOrd, PA-C, at the Dermatology clinic at UPMC Specialty Care in Lewisburg. This made all the difference for her treatment as Ashley recognized that they needed to raise Ashlynn’s dosage.

“I feel like she actually listened to me,” says Ashlynn. “She explained things in detail in a way a patient would understand. It was really nice to have her actually understand how I was feeling, instead of just seeing that I had cysts.”

Ashley guided Ashlynn through this complicated treatment and told her what to expect from a higher dose of the medication. Tips included using a lip balm, washing her hair less to prevent dandruff, and always wearing sunscreen.

Ashley let Ashlynn know she was not alone in this. “She was very personable. It felt like she went through it herself in a way,” says Ashlynn. “She knew I was fed up with having all these bumps on my skin.”

After Ashley increased her dosage, Ashlynn saw some real results. Her skin cleared up, and she was gaining confidence. “I’d start taking more selfies and not wear a hat or use filters on photos,” says Ashlynn.

“It was a huge confidence booster and made me feel really good about my skin. Because it had been 10 years dealing with cysts on my face. To see those finally go away and the scars clear up was a breath of fresh air.”

The treatment process is often difficult, and everyone’s experience is different. But for Ashlynn, it was all worth it. “When you get the right provider like Ashley and get put on the right dosage — you’re not going to be on it forever,” says Ashlynn.

Care Close to Home in Lewisburg

Having this comprehensive and expert care close to home was important for Ashlynn. This was especially true for a treatment that required a great deal of monitoring and regular appointments.

She felt like she could go to Ashley if she was having any issues. She didn’t have to dedicate an entire morning or day to her treatment. Ashley was just 25 minutes away.

A Clear Face and More Confident Life

Ashlynn is grateful that she isn’t experiencing acne and cysts anymore. She appreciates the little moments in life that are now easier. These include washing her face without pain and no longer getting nervous every time she is out in the sun.

“No one should ever feel embarrassed for having acne or cysts, but when you are dealing with it, it can be all you think about,” says Ashlynn. “Without looking in a mirror, I would know where they are because you can feel them.”

Today, Ashlynn has no cysts or pimples. She has been on treatment for almost a year.

“If you’re ready to get rid of your acne and want to see clear skin, I just feel like this treatment is the way to go,” says Ashlynn. “To look at yourself and say, ‘That’s me’. My skin is finally clear.”

About Dermatology

The UPMC Department of Dermatology diagnoses, treats, and manages numerous hair, skin, and nail conditions and diseases. We care for common and uncommon conditions, and our treatments include both surgical and nonsurgical options. We operate several specialty centers for various conditions. The UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center is a comprehensive dermatologic laser facility, offering a full range of cosmetic services and procedures. With UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we offer a Skin Cancer Program that provides complete care from screenings, diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. Find a dermatology provider near you.