You’ve got a recurring cystic pimple, same spot. Not in the same area of your skin but in the exact same spot. And it keeps coming back. Why?
Why, oh why are you doing this to me skin?
It seems like dark magic. You get why you might have acne coming back over and over again in the same area. Your T-zone’s oilier. You get that. But why is your cystic acne recurring in the same spot?
Do not worry my friend. You’re not imagining this. The same exact pimple or acne cyst coming back in the exact same spot is a thing and I’ve experienced it first-hand myself.
I’m here because I want you to start feeling back in control of your skin health – that’s when acne healing happens. Hoorah. And today I’m talking you through exactly why recurring cystic pimples keep coming back in the same exact spot.
It’s happening to you for one or more of these 5 key reasons. Let’s get to this eh.
1. Your Cystic Acne Pimple Hasn’t Fully Healed
This is the #1 reason why you’ve got recurring cystic pimples in the same spot.
Here’s the deal. You’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg as your stare at your skin in the mirror.
Icebergs have humungous foundations. And acne pimples do too.
As your acne pimple heals, redness and inflammation are getting reduced and the pus it contains is either exploding to the surface like Vesuvius or is neutralised and reabsorbed by your body.
Usually, a bit of both is happening.
This can happen enough to give the visual appearance that your cystic pimple has healed itself.
Yes, it’s gone, it’s gone, it’s gone!
Then one week later it blows up again.
That’s because the boiling pot of pus and dead skin cells and acne bacteria are still alive and kicking.
Your cystic pimples acne foundations aren’t gone… yet.
Take a peek at this science finding;
“The same comedo may experience focal blowups many times… The comedonal core is often not discharged to the surface and remains within the tissue as a foreign body.”Plewig G., Melnik B., Chen W. (2019) Acne Clinic: Morphogenesis
Psst – quick debrief.
Comedo is like the foundations of an acne spot.
And you can think of the comedonal core as patient #1. It’s the beginning of your cystic pimple.
So this study is telling us – yes your cystic pimple might look like it’s healed at the surface, but underneath there’s still a boiling pot of acne biology here. If you turn the heat back up even by a notch (more about what can do this soon), that boiling pot is ready to explode again.
Question; why does my acne keep coming back in the same spot?
Answer; because your acne has deep foundations, a cystic pimple might look like its healed at the surface of your skin but underneath it can still be brewing.
2. A Previous Cystic Pimple Caused Tissue Damage
Fact. All pimples start in your pores and that’s because, at the bottom of every pore you have, there’s a gland which pumps out oil. This is your sebum gland.
When your pore is healthy and normal the route of this sebum gland to the surface of your skin is straight and clear. Imagine it like a motorway at midnight. No other cars around and it’s an easy-peasy-speedy-but-not-speeding 😉 drive.
But, when your pore gets involved in an intimate relationship with cystic acne things get complicated.
There’s traffic on the highway.
Oil movement slows down and so your sebum gland starts to expand. It has nowhere to go. There’s a bottleneck. And your skin starts to create diversions, a ring road all of its own.
Said in more sciency terms it sounds like this;
“The violent inflammatory response extends widely in all directions… may lap against neighboring sebaceous follicles and down into the subcutaneous fat as well. It may break into nearby follicles.”Plewig G., Melnik B., Chen W. (2019) Acne Clinic: Morphogenesis
Yea, I prefer the motorway analogy too 🙂
Now your skin structure has changed (don’t worry your skin’s renewing itself all the time, so it’s likely not forever permanent), it means there’s an active overflow here now.
As you trigger your acne again and again, this easy to drive down overflow is first to fill up.
You see the same recurring cystic pimple same spot.
Question; why does my pimple keep coming back in the same spot?
Answer; because damage from the first cystic acne spot you had here caused a splurge of tissue damage that created a large ‘pocket’ inside of this pore. This new larger pocket easily fills up again and again and again.
3. Your Sebum Glands/Skin Cells Are Hyper Activated
Ever wondered why you don’t grow Rapunzel like long hair from your arms or chest or hands?
Or even why men grow beards but we as women don’t – well bar a potential few pesky chin hairs – which by the way are a signal to us of what’s causing your acne.
The secret is simple.
First, there’s the stark obvious hormone balance.
And then second there’s this under known about, hidden fact.
Cells in your body have volume buttons.
Some are deaf to the cry of hormones which trigger your skin’s oil production/your body’s hair growth.
Others have superwomen hearing.
Same signal. Same noise. Different reaction.
There are 2 signals which are beacons for calling in acne;
- Signalling which tells your skin to make more oil/hyperactivation of sebocytes – the cells which make sebum, leading to increased sebum production – psst – this sebum is usually deficient in essential fatty acids and is therefore sticky and pore-clogging
- Hyperkeratosis – aka an overgrowth and thickening of skin cells inside your pore – it makes pore-clogging more likely
Both of these signals can have their volume turned to a shout by super-specific foods in your diet. To get a head start on what a good acne diet looks I’ve made this free 1-page yes, no, sometimes acne diet cheatsheet for you. Just click here to below to download yours now.
Question; why do I keep getting a spot in the same place?
Answer; because the cells in this area of your skin have become hyperactivated and hyper excited. Their volume is turned to high. They’re over making sebum and skin cells meaning your pore is getting clogged easily and quickly over and over again.
4. Inflammation Levels Are Still High
Cystic pimples are inflammatory beasts. What you’re seeing as a recurring cystic pimple same spot is extremely similar in biology to what happens when your skin gets attacked by a rocketing tennis ball.
Your immune system is triggering and you’re getting a huge red, raised lump.
And this doesn’t go away overnight.
In fact, even when you can’t see it, it’s still not gone away.
Invisible to the naked eye but still there.
Take a read of this study finding;
“Inflammatory cells remain on the spot for an extraordinarily long time, at least several weeks after clinical healing.”Plewig G., Melnik B., Chen W. (2019) Acne Clinic: Morphogenesis
It’s similar to reason #1 why you’re getting a recurring cystic pimple same spot. But it’s subtly different.
In reason #1 you still have a boiling pot of pus, dead skin cells and acne bacteria brewing under the surface.
Here, your recurring cystic pimple has healed but your skin’s immune system – yes your skin has it’s very own – has left little flags out.
Like when you want an area of grass to recover. Say your dog keeps scuffing it up (my dog loves to do this). And you pop something on the grass as an alert. As a beware, keep off.
These flags are keen to stop any further infections or chewing up of your garden’s grass.
So when they sense even the beginnings of an explosion of acne bacteria aka an infection, these flags (aka inflammatory cells) mean your skin’s on hyper-alert and it swells up quick and fast.
Boom you see the same recurring cystic pimple same spot.
Question; I always get the same cystic acne in the same spot. Why?
Answer; As a cystic pimple is healed, inflammatory cells get left behind to give special protection to the area. These inflammatory cells are on hyperalert for new acne infections.
5. You Haven’t Identified Key Acne Triggers
When the same thing happens again and again and again – it’s for a reason.
Keep knocking your shin on the corner of your bed?
Bed needs moving 🙂
Keep getting heartburn after eating a sweat-inducing spicy curry?
You might need to give the spice a break.
Keep seeing that super cute fallen shoulder cami from ASOS everywhere on the internet?
You need to buy it. Okay, ok maybe that one doesn’t work 😉
But you get the gist eh? When you keep getting the same recurring cystic pimple in the same spot, your skin’s trying to tell you something.
Something in your body’s biology is being whacked out of balance. And your skin’s screaming about it visually instead of verbally.
Don’t ignore it my friend, while it’s so, so normal to get the occasional spot or pimples, recurring cystic pimples in the same spot could be a signal there’s an unidentified, underlying trigger at play here for you.
Diet is a key trigger for many people, so I recommend grabbing your free copy of my 1-page acne diet cheatsheet – just click here to get it. However, you should also know diet is not the complete, entire picture, so if you’re interested in working with me to help heal your cystic acne, head here to find out more about how I can help.
Now I’d love to hear from you, will you tell me in the comments below where is it you’re getting the same recurring cystic pimple same spot, multiple times?
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.