Best products for Cystic Acne?

Greetings all.   I come before you with hope that someone will have a suggestion as to what over the counter treatment may work well for cystic acne?  I have seen a dermatologist for this, and they prescribed Retin-A as treatment.  However, it dried my skin out so bad that I had to discontinue after a month's use.  To get that prescription was like pulling teeth from the dermatologist, because she flat out told me that I should just go on birth control and that will solve all of my cystic acne issues. However, at this point - birth control as a form of acne treatment is not an option due to the fact that my gynecologist wants me off of it as an experiment to see if I can rid myself of other female symptoms. make a very long story short, I am at my wits end.


I understand the fact that nothing is truly going to rid me of my cystic acne, but I would be so happy to find a product that would at least shrink the ones I have a little faster, that way they aren't as painful for so long.  I spend most of my day on the phone, and nearly 10 times a day, I'm banging the receiver into my jaw and it hits a cyst and it makes me want to cry! 


As it stands now, I'm using Philosophy's Purity Made Simple, and their new On A Clear Day acne face wash.   For moisturizer, I've been using Fresh's Umbrian Clay Oil Free moisturizer.   As for spot treatment, I have PTR Acne Spot Treatment.  However, I don't feel as though this combination is aiding in riding myself of my usual acne, nor aiding in the healing of my cystic acne.


I'd be ever so happy for any suggestions ya'll might have!  Thank you!


- Jessica

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Answers: 8
[ Edited ]

Ouch! ok, warning, do NOT ever Google image "cystic acne" because it will give you the super severe cases that are horrifying.


Anyways, I wanted to confirm what it was before giving advice since I'm not sure my acne were that type. First of all, as the other poster said, have you tried retinol? If you haven't and is hesitating to spend the money, Sephora online promo code "ptrserum" will get you a free .4oz sample of PTR retinol PM. A less irritating alternative to retinol would by glycolic acid, so try cleansers or toners with glycolic or AHA/BHA in it. Lastly, do you use any masks? clay/charcoal/mud kind for acne? about once a month, I would get a giant angry pimple with pus inside and it stubbornly stayed there for weeks, and sometimes I get bumps under the skin that you can't see but can feel and when it comes out it's red and it hurts. I use either Murad clarifying mask or Origins Charcoal mask as continuous spot application and it went away in ~3 days. Murad mask dries it up so they become hardened tiny balls of oil that falls out of your pores when I wipe with toner. Origin charcoal mask is less drying and it draws the liquid up to the surface without hardening it so it doesn't stretch the pores and the area looks the same afterward with no scarring (for me). I highly recommend trying either one of those. Murad is a bit drying, but if you want to try it, promo code "forall" have the deluxe sample of Murad mask + acne spot treatment available with your online purchase. On days when you are not using the treatment, I hope you are using a toner?


I searched for "cystic" on Sephora and got these 2 result:

I know you say you already use the Fresh moisturizer, but if you like how it feels, I suggest giving that kit a shot. When I first brought Clinique Moisturizing gel, it was blah and didn't live up to the hype, but when I used it with their 7 day scrub, cleanser and toner 2, the bumps on my skin miraculously disappeared.


Lastly, make sure to clean your phone or anything you put near your face of course. Have you noticed if it's worse when you eat certain food? If it's partly caused by inflammation (junk food or spicy food etc), it might help if you cut those out and eat anti-inflammatory food like blueberries (I think it's similar to what Chinese people do. When I lived in China, or any of your friend who's raised by Chinese parents prob knows too, it's common knowledge that food with "hot properties" like any kind of chili or pepper, lamb, spearmint, lychee and orange will cause acne when eaten in great amount (everybody's tolerance is different), they are best eaten in winter since the cold cancels out the effect, and food with "cooling properties" like duck, watermelon, pear, yogurt, lotus seed/roots, and mung beans will bring the balance back down and thus ease the acne and best eaten in the summer).


That's all I know about acne from personal experiences. Good luck with your skincare! I know it annoy the hell out of me when I get the monthly giant painful acne. Oh, err, for temporary relief, I wrap an ice cube in 2 layers of paper towel or a facial towel and the cold helps shrink the big ones a bit.