Nodular Acne: Causes and Treatments

what is nodular acne

Acne as we know, is a multifactorial skin condition that most people acquire from genetic causes, stress, androgens and hormones to name a few. 

Just like any other acne type, nodular acne can also have negative effects on an individual - physically, emotionally and mentally.

This article will discuss causes of nodular acne, and ways to treat and prevent nodular acne.

We face or hear many questions about nodular acne such as: "Does nodular acne 

What Is Nodular Acne?

Nodular acne is a type of acne that involves a bacterium known as P. Acne which may turn into an infection if it gets trapped in your pores along with sebum and dead skin cells. It can feel like a hard bump on within the skin. This type of acne is considered to be a severe form of acne.

Nodular acne can’t be cleared up with just standard OTC medications or products alone. This type of acne appears like a small bump under the skin and can turn red as the surrounding area gets more inflamed and painful to touch.

Nodular acne usually occurs on the face, neck, chest and back and can last for months at a time.

There are also cases where nodular acne is not filled with pus and leads to less infection however they are still painful to touch and unsightly to look at. 

Causes Of Nodular Acne

Nodular acne is usually caused by clogged pores due to buildup of oil, dirt, P acne bacteria and dead skin cells. They may also be due to excess androgen hormones.  

Identifying nodular acne

Nodular acne is usually identified by these characteristics:

  • Red, inflamed lesions on the skin’s surface.
  • Doesn’t have any head
  • Painful bumps on the face, chest, neck or back
  • large size


Nodular Acne Versus Cystic Acne, What's The Difference?

People often confuse nodular acne with cystic acne. Though these two types of acne both form deep underneath the surface of the skin, they are still different from each other in some ways.

One big difference between nodular acne and cystic acne is that nodular acne doesn't have any head whereas cystic acne does. A cystic acne is filled with pus and usually shows up as red bumps with white head while nodular acne appears as bumps on your skin's surface.

Bumps of nodular acne are more painful and harder unlike that of a cystic acne. Cystic acne pimples are softer than nodules and they are developed when the contents of blackheads or whiteheads break the pore's walls and spread into surrounding areas of the skin.

Treatment and Prevention of Nodular Acne

Nodular acne may be tough or tricky to treat so it usually requires seeking a dermatologist as the first step for treatment recommendations. Treatment options for nodular acne vary according to a dermatologist’s recommendation based on the severity.

A. Oral Treatments

  • Isotretinoin
  • Antibiotics
  • Birth control pills

B. Topical medications

  • Topical antibiotics
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Salicylic acid
  • Topical retinoids

C. Home Remedies

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Exercise/meditation
  • Ice facial
  • Olive oil
  • Stress reduction

D. Clinical procedures

  • Chemical peels
  • Laser therapy
  • Blue light therapy
  • IV medication
  • Cortisone injections

nodular acne

How do I prevent nodular acne?

Observing and following these skincare tips can help you manage nodular acne breakouts:

  • Wash face twice a day with lukewarm water and gentle cleanser
  • Wash face post work-out
  • Moisturize face when you’re finished taking a shower and before sleeping
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wash hands before applying makeup
  • Applying sunscreen each morning

Nodular acne may seem tough and tricky to treat as they can last for months but with proper treatment and management, symptoms of these acne can be reduced and treated permanently.

Consulting a trusted skin specialist or dermatologist for recommendations first would be a wise start for treating your nodular acne.

How To Deal With Nodular Acne Mentally

I truly believe that nodular cystic acne is one part physical and two parts mental. If you think about it, having a pimple is not always very painful. Sure, there are pimples that are extremely painful, but I truly believe that nodular cystic acne is far more of a mental game than anything else. Why is it that if the pimples or scars on our face are not causing immediate pain they still seem to do a great amount of damage. When you look in the mirror and you see a spot or mark it definitely hurts but inside more than out.

In order to lessen the emotional toll and stress that having acne can put on an individual, one has to learn to truly love the person they are on the inside and bring that mindset to what you see on the outside.

Self-love is so easy to talk about and read inspiring articles on, but it is much harder to carry out in your everyday life. You can read an article on how to love yourself with guaranteed tips and tricks to help you get there but how often to those actually impact how one feels about themselves.

The answer is not often. Self-love does not just magically happen overnight, no matter how many spa nights you have. It also doesn’t just come from “treating yourself” from time to time. Self-love is rooted first in acceptance. Once you accept the way you have been perfectly created self-love falls easily into place. Once again, easy to talk about, hard to practice. 

The ten things you need to do in order to accept yourself cannot be laid out for anyone because the truth is everybody is created uniquely and there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” From trial and error come the greatest lessons. Reading articles about self-acceptance and love are in no way harmful, but just because painting your nails doesn’t make you feel completely better about yourself doesn’t mean that self-acceptance is out of your reach.

To draw back to trial and error, for some looking in the mirror and giving yourself a pep talk is very beneficial, but for others not looking in the mirror at all but still giving that pep talk is more effective. The lesson that is here for you in this is that self-love and acceptance don’t come overnight and are not achieved in the same manner by everyone. You have the most knowledge about you, so it has to be you that finds a way to love all the imperfections that come along with your perfect self.


Reading next

banish best essential oils acne scars
Does soy cause acne

1 comment



Thank you for this. It really did make me feel better.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.