If there's one thing I know, it's cystic acne. I have it and it 100% sucks. Cystic acne isn't something you can treat with a great skincare routine, a dab of spot cream or even a clay mask, you need patience... and a lifestyle overhaul. But aside from the mammoth task of changing your diet, going to the doctor, maybe taking medication and vitamins, and finding the time to become a stress-free yoga goddess, there are some products I've found that honestly help.
What is cystic acne?
Quite different from any other blemish, cystic acne forms when an oil gland erupts deep beneath the surface of the skin and has no way to escape. A large painful lump of oil, puss and bacteria forms causing inflammation and redness. The spot has nowhere to go and just sits under the skin, often for weeks at a time, healing incredibly (& infuriatingly) slowly. Once your body has finally healed and taken care of the inflammation, you're left with a deep scar as the spot damaged the area so badly. Lovely.
It sounds near enough untreatable, and it can often feel this way when staring in the mirror, but there are little things you can do, great products you can use, to make the best out of a bad situation.
1. Mario Badescu Silver Powder. I purchased this a long, long time ago to help with blackheads like it's marketed to do so - but my favourite way of using this is on blemishes. I mix a small amount in my hand with water to make a paste and apply it to any active blemishes (It's amazing for drying up whiteheads in literally 20 minutes flat). It's incredibly drying and draws out everything, good and bad, so you can't slather your face in this and must only use it to spot treat. When I have a new cystic acne blemish forming I apply this to it every day and sometimes, just sometimes, if I'm lucky and it was close enough to the surface it actually draws the spot out to the surface, helping it heal 10 times quicker. I wouldn't usually purchase anything from Mario Badescu as it's not natural, but this only has 3 ingredients and I would never be without it for spot emergencies.
2. Evolve Organic Beauty Hyaluronic Serum 200. This is a relatively new serum for me, but one I like already. After using the Silver Powder it's so important to hydrate the area and this watery serum is lovely and light. It calms and soothes redness and stops any flaky dry skin.
3. Moss Zen Physic. This is one of the only spot treatments I've found specifically for cystic acne. I mix one drop with the evolve serum when I'm using that in the morning, dab it on neat during the day and use two drops at night either mixed with my other skincare or applied on its own after my moisturiser. Zen is 40% essential oils and the oil is the most incredible deep green/blue because of these, as well as acne busting andiroba, pracaxi and neem oils. It doesn't cure my cystic acne over night or even prevent new ones from forming, but it helps heal the area faster and the scar left behind is less angry and easier to treat.
4. Dr. Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel. This potent aloe vera and witch hazel gel is infused with an incredible concoction of healing herbs. The gel immediately soothes any heated, itchy areas and has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Perfect for cystic acne. Oily skin types can use this as a moisturiser if they like, I sometimes do, but more often that not I mix it with a few drops of oil (Zen, or something else) to help that absorb easier into the skin and then occasionally apply a thin layer of moisturiser on top too. I reach for this often because it works, but never give it the credit it actually deserves, it's like the Leo and I'm the Oscars of skincare.
I know when you have acne you just want to scrub and scrub the spots away and use every drying, chemical-filled treatment you can to kill them off, but trust me that will only make everything worse. Treat your skin with kindness, hydrate, nourish and use natural ingredients to do the least amount of long term damage possible. Even if you end up taking medication to eventually rid yourself of acne, you're still left with the aftermath on display on your skin, so go easy, okay hun?
Look out for more posts on helping cystic acne soon! including a focus on exfoliating and using acids, healing scars and the little things you can do to help from the inside out. In the meantime you can check out the 'acne help' category in the sidebar for more posts!