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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Hiya missconduct - I feel your pain, I have been battling a particular bad case of re-occuring cystic acne since about March.  Last week I finally switched to a benzyl peroxide based product (Clinique Emergency Gel Lotion) for spot treatment and added a retinol product (PTR Retinol Fusion PM) as a treatment for the entire face. Before, all the products I was using, regardless of the brand, were salicylic acid or sulfur based (for spot treatment).  The new combo has been helping and some of the particular bad cystic acne on my jaw area is starting to shrink away.  I also wanted to say, since you said that you were using a Retin-A that you had to discontinue due to dryness, that retinol is a gentler formulation than retin-a.  I have mild rosacea and using the PTR over the past week hasn't caused any dryness or increased redness.  The product also doubles as a moisturizer.  To be on the safe side though, I don't use the PTR on my the area of skin around the apple of my cheeks because that area is prone to redness but I do use the PTR on my forehead, chin, and jawline area.  I then put moisturizer on the areas that need it, i.e. cheeks and after about ten minutes to let those products absorb, I use the Clinique spot treatment directly on the spots, only need a tiny bit.


I think different products work differently for everyone and its sometimes a matter of trial and error.  I also think your skins gets use to stuff and with acne treatments you may find yourself having to change it up every few months.  Last year I had been using Kate Somerville's EradiKate (sulfur based) with some success, but then that stop working as well.  Good luck!

Hello Elizabeth!
Sorry you're going through the cystic acne trauma. It really is horrid to have to deal with. Thank you so much for your suggestions. You're the second person to mention retinol as treatment, which I never would have thought of since I see it labeled for anti-aging products. But using that would totally make sense. A light bulb just went off on my head! I'm definitely going to be headed to Sephora today to get a sample of some products to try, that's for sure. :-)
When it comes to the sulphur based products, I feel like they do nothing for me! I have the PTR Acne Treatment with sulphur and it doesn't really do much but smell. But I keep using it in hopes that one day it will miraculously work. Plus, it's too late for me to return it.
I'm definitely going to put the PTR Retinol Fusion PM on my list of things to sample today, as well as the Clinique Emergency Gel lotion. I'm so glad you mentioned that the retinol doesn't cause redness, because my skin is always pink-hued to begin with. Pair that with acne redness, and you've got yourself a really pinky red girl. No good. There is no amount of Smashbox green primer to counteract what I've got going on. Haha.
You're very welcome hun. I see you got some other suggestions as well. Goodluck! Oh and I forgt to tell you, as beautytester said you can get a .4 oz of the PTR Retinol Fusion PM with the offer code PTRSerum. Its quite a huge bottle, a little less than half the size of the regular full-sized bottle.
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I decided to go with the Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiaging Antiwrinkle & Firming Face Serum because it's the all natural version of retinol. It may take more time to turn over cells, but I'd rather use a more natural product for long term use. So far though, this serum paired with using the Oxygen Peel for three days has made a big difference in skin texture. The left side of my chin is already starting to clear up! Hopefully the right side, and my forehead will catch up soon enough. :-)
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