Cystic acne is the worst of the worst – deep, tender icebergs under the skin that are seemingly impervious to traditionally effective acne treatments. You feel them coming before you see them, they make it painful to move your face and can stick around for weeks, and they often leave behind a marring scar.
Some people just head to the dermatologist for a cortisone injection to take care of cystic acne – but not everyone wants to or can afford that option. While true cystic acne treatment options are scarce, there are some cult secrets that can make clearing your skin that much easier.
ORIGINS OUT OF TROUBLE MASK
This Origins mask is a classic beauty favorite, made with bentonite clay, zinc, sulfur, camphor, salicylic acid and other ingredients that work to help fight cysts on every level. It works especially well at reducing the painful inflammation associated with cystic acne.
Use it a few times a week to keep cysts and other acne away.
ENESSA CLOVE OIL
This clove oil was one of the first cystic acne products I was introduced to and is probably one of the most popular ones on the market. Reducing redness and swelling sometimes overnight, this really is amazing stuff, and one of the skincare industry’s best-kept secrets.
THE ORDINARY NIACINAMIDE 10% + ZINC 1%
Some people’s skin responds well to topical niacinamide, and some don’t. For those it works for, this product can soothe painful and itchy cystic acne when applied daily.
TREEACTIV CYSTIC ACNE SPOT TREATMENT
I like this one especially since it’s suitable even for sensitive skin – it’s difficult to walk the fine line between treating a stubborn cyst and not irritating the skin, but this does it well. You can feel its essential oils getting to work as soon as it’s applied, and you’ll wake up with a smaller, less inflamed cyst.
Apply a thin layer to your problem areas, and you’ll start seeing results right away!
THE TRIPLE WHAMMY
If you’re really in a pinch or have a particularly stubborn cyst, you can hit it with a triple whammy combination of hydrocortisone, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid. This is a potent and potentially irritating combination, but when you need it, you need it – and the A-list skin specialists swear by it. The hydrocortisone cream reduces the inflammation while the salicylic acid dissolves excess oil and skin cells. Then the benzoyl peroxide comes in to kill acne-causing bacteria.
This powerful combo is super effective when applied twice daily to cystic acne.
If all of these fail you and you’re looking for something a little more permanent, experts love photodynamic therapy. It involves a professional using pulses of controlled red or blue LED lights to shrink the sebaceous glands, which reduces the amount of oil that can accumulate inside pores, as well as kills bacteria trapped deep within the pore. Although the treatment is pricey, it can be worth the results.
Whatever you do, don’t pop them – cystic acne is not just trapped neatly within the follicle, it’s a deep pocket of dead and live white blood cells, bacteria, debris and skin cells. You don’t want to push that further down or irritate it more.
And while these cystic acne hacks are great, they’re no match for severe nodulocystic acne. Severe acne shouldn’t be left to progress and should be treated by a doctor if it’s causing scarring or emotional distress.
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