Sometimes, it gets really hard to achieve healthy skin. Unlucky peeps with cystic acne know this well. Painful cysts forming deep below the skin’s surface become constant sources of discomfort, and they make you feel self-conscious. Tried getting rid of your cystic acne symptoms? Always a struggle! To make matters worse, when the lesions resolve, they often leave behind unsightly cystic acne scars. There is just no saving grace.
While everyone’s experience with cystic acne is different, the one common thread is this: everyone is looking for a solution to their severe acne problem! But cystic acne can be a stubborn and persistent adversary. The only way to overcome this menace is by getting proactive about your skin health and caring for your complexion every day. Perhaps you could start by incorporating some of these tried-and-tested strategies into your daily routine.
Cystic acne treatment at home
People with mild cystic acne symptoms could prevent and manage occasional flares with over-the-counter (OTC) formulas. Choose the right OTC tools and your complexion will thank you for it.
- Cleansers and face washes: Always check that the package says ‘non-comedogenic’ or ‘non-acnegenic’. A good cleanser or face wash for acne-prone skin will eliminate any excess oil, dirt, and dead skin from the pores. Unclogged pores are less likely to become breeding grounds for acne bacteria. Also, steer clear of products that dehydrate or irritate the skin, as that could aggravate your cystic acne flares.
- Acne-fighting formulas: Topical formulas for acne care usually contain ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or sulphur. But you could also try a gentle plant-based formula like Clearica Anti-Acne Cream. With actives like guava leaf extract, eucalyptus leaf extract, green tea, and phragmites kharka, Clearica fights all acne symptoms while being super-gentle on your skin.
- Weekly skincare routines: Prevent the build-up of dead skin that clogs the pores by using exfoliants or masks with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Clay masks can also help balance out oil levels and prevent new acne flares. Just limit your use of these products to no more than once or twice a week.
- Spot treatment: That big red bump on your nose? It could be minimised with a spot treatment formula. Just apply a tiny amount directly on the lesion—less is more, as these products contain high concentrations of acne-fighting ingredients.
- Moisturisers and sun protection: You want oil-free, non-comedogenic products that don’t leave you feeling like a grease slick. Also important is protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. Whether you use a standalone sunscreen or a moisturiser with sun protection, go for products with an SPF of 30 or higher. Remember, too much sun could aggravate cystic acne flares, so if you need to be outside, carry a hat or an umbrella just in case.
- Home remedies: If you have a DIY streak, raid the pantry for acne-fighters like turmeric, lemon juice, and curd. Ingredients like honey and aloe vera gel are known to work well as spot treatments for acne. Tea tree oil is also an effective spot treatment for acne lesions, but you must dilute it in a carrier oil before use. Just remember that cystic acne home remedies could break you out as well. So, make sure to test any new ingredients on a small patch of skin to rule out allergies.
It is fine to try out different OTC formulas or home remedies. But don’t overdo it, please! Whether you have cystic acne on the face, back, chest, or elsewhere, your skin is already compromised. This is no time to overload your skin. Better to be patient and use products sparingly. Remember, even if the products are working, you may notice results only after a few weeks of consistent use.
Involve the dermatologist in your cystic acne treatment
- Where the lesions appear
- If your cystic acne is hormonal
- If other cystic acne causes are at play
- The severity of your cystic acne breakouts
- Your medical history, lifestyle, and any underlying conditions
Having made an assessment, the dermatologist will lay out a roadmap for treating your cystic acne problem. For example, the treatment plan may be different if you have cystic acne on the chin and jawline (which are frequently signs of a hormonal imbalance) than if the cystic acne lesions pepper your back or chest. (Here’s a detailed breakdown of the symptoms and causes of cystic acne.)
Milder cases of cystic acne may be treatable with OTC products which your doctor will suggest. If your acne problem is severe or if one or more lesions look infected, the doctor may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics as well. Cystic acne caused by a hormonal issue is sometimes treated with hormone therapies and even oral contraceptives. The dermatologist may also prescribe medicines to ease the pain and inflammation, as well as products to reduce oil levels. The dermatologist may also recommend chemical peels or light therapy (like photofacials) to clear the pores, minimise oil production, and prevent new breakouts.
Once the doctor makes their recommendations, that is not the end of it. Follow their instructions with care and be sure to turn up at the next follow-up appointment. Regular follow-ups will help the doctor assess if the treatment is working or if course corrections are in order.
The best part about going to the dermatologist? You can finally end the guessing game! Besides prescribing an appropriate course of treatment, the skin specialist can suggest better skincare habits and lifestyle modifications as part of your cystic acne management plan.
Better skin through better daily habits
Let’s get one thing out of the way first: cystic acne is not a hygiene issue. Some
people are just more prone to cystic breakouts than others. Blame it on fluctuating hormones, an underlying health condition, or even plain old genetics.
Most people who suffer from cystic acne will need to consult a doctor at some point. But it is still good practice to optimise your lifestyle and ensure you pick up skin-friendly habits.
- Fix a great skincare routine: Gentle cleansing twice a day is a good place to start. Just don’t scrub too hard or use abrasive exfoliants that might lead to microtears on the skin. Also advisable is patting (not rubbing) your face dry with a soft, clean towel or washcloth. Acne-prone skin also benefits from toning, acne-care formulas like Clearica Anti-Acne Cream, oil-free moisturisers, and sun protection. If you use makeup, be diligent about removing every trace before going to bed at night.
- Go ‘hands-free’ if you have acne: Constantly touching and picking at those pimples? We’ve all been there and done that. But touching the lesions could spread the acne bacteria to other parts of your body. Picking at and popping the lesions could also increase inflammation, delay healing, and worsen your condition. It’s best not to touch your face, especially during the cystic acne healing stages. If you must, use fresh, soft tissues rather than your fingers.
- Eliminate things that trigger your flares: If you get cystic acne along your forehead or cheeks, hair styling products and oils might be to blame. Similarly, make-up might be the culprit behind cystic acne on your face. Play it safe by only using oil-free, non-comedogenic formulas. Pillowcases and towels could also be triggers. Acne bacteria can transfer from your skin to the fabric and back to your skin if bed and bath linen are not replaced often enough. Some people blame carbs and oily food for their breakouts. Maintaining a food tracker could help you identify dietary triggers. (Are grains and carbs triggering your flares?)
- Ease your mind, relax your skin: Stress is a basic feature of modern life, and that’s bad for your complexion. Hormones fluctuate in times of chronic stress, which may lead to cystic acne. Nobody gets to avoid stress altogether, but it is important to get enough sleep, find time to exercise, practice meditation, and do fun things like meeting friends or pursuing a hobby.
By incorporating these simple lifestyle hacks into your everyday routine, you can take that crucial first step towards eliminating cystic acne. Think of these as supportive elements of your acne-care plan.
Begin your journey to happy skin
Cystic acne can be relentless, but you are now armed with tips and resources to defeat those lesions and embrace healthy skin. There will be some trial and error. What works for somebody else might not work for you. But there is light at the end of this tunnel. And if you need guidance, simply schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to tip the balance in your skin’s favour.
Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.