Treatment > Cortisone Acne Injection

Cortisone Acne Injection 

A quick fix acne treatment to get rid of painful cystic acne

Can cortisone acne injection help to get rid of large pesky pimples fast? Cortisone acne injectables also commonly known as corticosteroid injections, pimple injection, cortisone jab, steroid shots, etc contains anti-inflammatory properties that is designed to reduce acne inflammation and flattens large acne cysts. A cortisone shot does not work on regular pimples, nor does it reduce swollen pustules filled with pus. Their primary function is to shrink tissues that are encrusted with large and/or deep acne nodules or cysts.

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What is Cystic Acne? 

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne that develops beneath the skin in the form of large, painful cysts or nodules. Cysts are formed deep within the pores of the skin when dead skin cells, excess oil (sebum), and bacteria get stuck inside the hair follicles, clogging the pores. A cystic acne lesion differs from a regular pimple or blackhead that typically appears on the surface of the skin; cystic acne lesions tend to occur deeper in the skin and can be extremely painful and inflamed.

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How does cortisone acne injection work? 

The medical term for this procedure is known as intralesional corticosteroid injection. It works by injecting a diluted solution of corticosteroid / cortisone directly into the active acne cysts. Most people notice a significant improvement in their acne lesion within 24-48 hours after receiving the injection. The injected cortisone begins to exert its anti-inflammatory effects almost immediately, reducing swelling, redness, and discomfort associated with the acne lesion. While it does help to provide rapid relief from inflammation and pain, it may not completely resolve the acne lesion over night as it might take a few days to weeks for the acne lesion to be fully heal.

Are there any side effects associated with cortisone acne injections?

While cortisone acne injections are generally considered safe and effective for the treatment of cystic or nodular acne lesions, there are potential side effects and risks associated with this procedure.

#1. Skin Discolouration

There is a possibility that cortisone injections may cause temporary discoloration or pigmentation changes at the injection site in some cases. Individuals with darker skin tones are more likely to experience this.

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#2. Skin Atrophy 

Cortisone injections can cause thinning of the skin (atrophy) at the injection site if they are administered frequently or for a prolonged period of time. With repeated injections in the same area, the skin may appear sunken or indented. Pitting and depression of the skin may also happen if there is a high concentrate or dose of cortisone injected into the area. Fortunately, these depressions are temporary and may resolve in a couple of months. But if it is the loss of tissue, the indention scar may be permanent.

There are some instances of permanent pitting and atrophic scarring that are not caused by injections, but rather by severe breakouts that result in depressed or pitted scars. It is possible to reduce the appearance of acne scars using a combination of energy-based devices such as lasers, ablative radiofrequency (RF) microneedling treatments. Consult with your doctor for more information on this. 

#3 Hypopigmentation or Depigmentation 

  • Some rare cases may result in hypopigmentation or depigmentation (lightening or loss of skin colour) after cortisone injections. Individuals with dark skin tones may be more likely to experience this. 

How long do the effects of a cortisone acne injection last?

The effects of a cortisone acne injection can last for several weeks to months, depending on the individual and the severity of the acne lesion. Some individuals may require multiple injections or additional treatments for optimal results. While you can get multiple injections in one session in different areas, it is recommend to wait at least 6 weeks between injections for the same spot. 

Pros and Cons of Cortisone Acne Injection



Cortisone Injections provide quick pain relief and help to reduce inflammation, swelling and redness.

It does not prevent new acne from forming

They are not meant to be regular acne treatment

As prolonged use may cause thinning of the skin and indentation.

Minimize acne scarring

Not suitable for all types of acne

Targeted treatment with minimal downtime

Temporary Relief 

Overall, while cortisone acne injections can be highly effective for treating severe or stubborn cystic acne lesions, it's essential to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and consider them as part of a comprehensive acne management plan tailored to individual skincare needs. For an effective acne treatment and prevention, there are also other treatments available to better control your acne breakouts. Such as oral medication, topical medication, medical-grade facials, lasers and ablative RF microneedling. Consulting with an experience doctor can help determine if cortisone injections are the right treatment option for you and what other treatments you can consider.