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Deep Pore Acne

By Barb Nefer ; Updated July 18, 2017

Acne involves clogged pores that develop into pimples. Some outbreaks are mild, but deep pore acne can be severe and even cause permanent scars if it is not medically treated. There are ways to differentiate this type of acne from regular outbreaks and to control it so that it won't have lasting effects.


Most skin on the human body has hair follicles, also called pores. Tiny hairs grow from them, and they have glands that make a special oil called sebum. Sometimes dead skin cells are not shed properly, and the glands make too much oil. The cells and sebum mix together, block the pore and develop into acne. Usually the pimple is close to the skin's surface. It is swollen and may contain pus. The Mayo Clinic explains that large lumps called nodules sometimes develop deep in the pore. Bacteria can cause an infection and lead to deep, pus-filled cysts.


Most acne outbreaks are not harmful in the long run. The pimples are unsightly and embarrassing, but they will not scar if you don't scratch, pop or pick at them. They usually respond to readily available over-the-counter medications containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

Deep pore acne is more difficult to treat, and it carries a higher risk of permanently scarring your face. The Mayo Clinic warns this is especially true of cystic acne.


Deep pore acne often needs more aggressive treatment than mild outbreaks. The Mayo Clinic explains that doctors can prescribe stronger creams and give you antibiotics that kill bacteria to prevent infections deep in the pores. Extremely severe cases of deep cystic acne might require a medication called isotretinoin. The Mayo Clinic warns that it can have dangerous side effects, including suicidal thoughts, so it is reserved for acne that does not respond to any conventional remedies. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), isotretinoin is given for a limited period of 20 weeks.


All acne, including the deep pore variety, is difficult to prevent because you cannot completely stop the skin's oil production and cell shedding process. The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting face washing to once or twice daily, as doing it more often irritates the skin. Use a gentle cleansing product, and do not scrub your pimples. Treat the skin with an over-the-counter product that helps dry oil and promote peeling, which removes the substances that clog deep pores. Use noncomedogenic makeup or oil-free cosmetics, and remove them completely at the end of the day so that they won't block hair follicles. According to the UMMC, some doctors may prescribe a low-glycemic diet because blood sugar fluctuations may contribute to acne.


You may be able to minimize scarring caused by deep pore acne, the Mayo Clinic advises. A dermatologist can remove the top layer of your skin with a process called dermabrasion or inject soft tissue fillers like collagen to round out craters left by deep cysts. Skin can also be resurfaced with a laser, and in extreme cases, it can be treated surgically.

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