What is inflammatory acne – or cystic acne – and how is it caused? When the pore is clogged and your immune system reacts by sending in white blood cells to fight the infection, the surrounding area becomes red and swollen, or inflamed. This is called inflammatory acne.
Inflammatory acne results from the rupture of the wall of the hair follicle or pore, leaking bacteria and oil into the surrounding skin. The closer to the skin’s surface these events happen, the smaller and more minor the breakout will be. If the rupture occurs deep inside the pore, you may experience a cyst - a large, firm, bump deep inside the skin. Inflammatory acne is often throbbing and painful as the blood flow increases to the area delivering white blood cells to contain and fight the infection.
There are different types of inflammatory acne depending on the size, redness, tenderness and potential to scar.