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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Cystic acne: Your advice?

I'm in my 30s and have cystic acne on occasion.  The most frustrating thing I think we'd all agree on is how dang long it takes to make them go away!  I'd love to hear from those of you who've dealt with these.  How do you make them go away?  How long do they stay for you?  What do you use to cover them, especially since they don't break the skin like a pimple but are just raised lumps? Thanks, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

This is an interesting question, and I'm not really sure what did it for me; it could be purely coincidental, or it could be a combination of things. (I just realized this was an older post...oops. I'm glad you found a routine that works!!)


I never had acne as a teen; my skin has always been pretty clear, with the exception of a hormonal breakout. I have used Retin-A Micro for anti-aging for about 7 or 8 years, since I was 25-ish. Despite this, I started getting deep, painful cysts on my chin and jawline when I was 28 or 29. Sometimes they would surface, but most of the time they would not -- and sometimes they were so large that they were clearly visible on my jawline, changing the shape (and no concealer can cover this). I think they lasted about a week from the time they appeared to the time they started to shrink and be less noticeable. At the time, I was using Retin-A, a mild cleanser, etc. -- everything I had always used until that point. I was also using Make Up For Ever HD foundation. Then, all around the same time, I started using the Clarisonic Mia, and I looked at the HD foundation in daylight and discovered that it was actually way too dark for me (I stopped using it and switched to NARS). The cysts went away, and to this day, I have not had another one. (I also used Clindamycin (which I'm sure as a nurse you know is a mild prescription antibiotic lotion, but I'm explaining for those who might not), which may have helped, but I don't use it anymore and the cysts have not come back).


I have no idea what changed -- it could have been a brief hormonal flare up that had nothing to do with the foundation (and was not really improved by using the Clarisonic, either). On the other hand, it could be that the Clarisonic cleaned my skin deeply enough for the Retin-A to penetrate more effectively -- or, maybe the MUFE HD foundation really was at fault. Since then, I have been using the same skincare routine since (a glycolic cleanser + Clarisonic, and always Retin-A) and I can't even tell you the last time I had a pimple. Again, it could be hormonal, too -- because I always used to get a few pimples on my chin (not cysts) every month, but not anymore. Whatever it was, I wouldn't want to change my skincare routine anytime soon. (I realize the Clarisonic gets mixed reactions, but for me, it seems to have really worked. I use it once a day, always with the delicate brush heads.)


In terms of a spot treatment, Kate Somerville EradiKate did seem to help at times, more than any spot treatment ever has!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

I had similar problems my whole life...  I finally broke down and asked my Dermatologist to put me on accutane.  That was literally the only thing that wormed for me; prior to that, I had been on everything topically that was offered, and Doxy made me really sick.  There are a lot of hoops to jump through, and potentially serious side effects, but it was the best decision I ever made.  I occasionally will have a white head, but nothing compared to what I dealt with prior to accutane.  I now use Boscia's detoxifying cleanser, and other than scaring (previous from acne), I couldn't be happier 

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

That should say "see a derm"!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Yay!  I'm a nurse, and, unfortunately, I was hesitant to see a seem about it because I knew their first reaction was going to be an Rx.  Thankful I am not going that route!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Congratulations on finding something that works for you!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Thank you!!  It feels amazing!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Hooray, I've been blemish-free for 2 months now!!  No cysts, no whiteheads.  Skin is only a tiny pink around my nose and where my old blemishes were.  ("Were".  Did you get that?  Past tense!)


this is the best feeling in the world!  So much more confidence.  No hiding behind gobs of concealer.  No more feeling like I was becoming a unicorn with whatever that was growing out of my forehead.  Whew!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

WOOHOO!!  I am still having problems but it's better than it was, and honestly I've sort of come to terms with it, that my skin will never be perfect.


I was looking at my skin the other day and trying to wipe off what ended up being a freckle on my cheek, one of those freckles that has been there since I was a child, I just forgot about it since it's been camoed in the sea of red acne scars on my chin.cheeks now. :/  My skin is better, and the cysts that form don't last as long, but maybe I should just blame this on the pregnancy?  (Who am I kidding, it happened before that too!)

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Tonight is Murad Mask Night.  Skin feels incredible now!!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Can I just say...thank the lawd that this last cyst is gone and only a few flakes of the skin on top remain?  This is honestly the best my skin has looked in 2 months.  Crazy!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Woo Hoo! So what's your current skin care routine to keep it so nice (besides the remnants of the last cyst?) 

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Renee Rouleau's line for her Type 2 skin.  I'm finishing up this latest rounit of it, so ill probably head back to Clique's Mild liquid cleanser, #2 or 3 toner, and Dramatically Diff Gel for daytime.  At night, I'm going to use Philosophy's new Hope in a Jar Night.  That, and keep using Murad's Pomegranate Mask twice weekly.  The only reason I'm going back to Clinique is the cost factor Of RR's line.  But, I'm keeping her Daily Protection moisturizer for days I'm going to be outside more and need SPF.

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

I'm so sorry to hear you're struggling with cystic acne. It's painful and I completely understand. Picking it never helps either...

Here are my fave products for managing acne:

1) Benzoyl peroxide topical cream is the best. You have to be super careful with handwashing, and if your cystic acne is persistent and painful, you can have it prescribed by your doctor for a stronger ointment. You can also get this at any drugstore at a lower concentration that still works great. 

2) A sulfur based spot treatment for night. I've been using this one, which I got at a CVS, but it looks like you could get it at Ulta!:


3) See if you can find a concealer that won't clog pores, and that has some salicylic acid in it.

Right now, for you, it's all about drying agents. Benzoyl peroxide, sulfur and salicylic acid are the top. 

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Ugh!  Thank you for your thoughts and post.  I really appreciate it!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Oh! And I forgot!


Whta I find is that at some point, drying agents have done the trick but there's still something there and what that something needs is to heal, and not to dry. So once you can evaluate when the drying agents have done their trick (probalby after a day or two), start using polysporin or neosporin on the spot at night, and perhaps a bit under concealer during the day, to speed up healing!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Great advice!  Funny thing...I do that to the letter when I do have a cyst.  Peroxide, then Neosporin.  Thank you for reaffirming me that I'm normal!!

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

And, here we go again with a whopper right on the side of my nose, near the bridge of it.  If it was Halloween, I'd make an excellent witch with this thing swelling up.


This time, though, I'm not touching it.  I've already taken my makeup off (only worked 1/2 day today) and have lined up my peroxide, Neosporin, and hydrocortisone cream like little soldiers.  Oh, what fun tonight and tomorrow will be!  = (

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

One more thing i forgot to mention, a dermatologist told me that you can only control acne since it is part of your genes sort of. She also said only use mineral based makeup that would not penetrate through pores, NO foundation or any oily makeup. 


On the weekend at night I use Dr Dennis Gross peals extra strength for my skin , those have helped in great amount with scars. 


I use Bare Minerals Matte foundation covers very well too. I also use their blush as well. Smiley Happy 

Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

Hey, I have honestly tried it all. Murad, PTR (Kit & Face Pads), Boscia, Clairsonic (didnt do a thing, all it does is further irritates your skin), Mario Badescu, Soap&Glory, Ole Heriksen. 


So I did my research through the american dermatological association. I read benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria causing acne. With that being said this was 1 month ago. 


I decided to stick to a

mild cleanser: LUSH fresh farmacy (leaves my skin soft, not oily, but enough moisture, super clean feeling and its vegan) 

treatment: neutrogena on the spot benzoyl peroxide 3.7

moisturizer: (something moisturizing since BP is drying) LUSH enzymion moisturizer vegan also/ Bobbi brown hydrating gel moisturizer. 


After the years of battle i found something that works for me, i did research on my skin type and came up with this routine. It has been months of research and sleepless nights but I found some products that work. Trial and error, but according to the American Association benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria causing acne although some poeple it may not work and because its not used properly.


But this was my exprience and my opinion. Hope this helps. Smiley Happy 



Re: Cystic acne: Your advice?

So the BB Hydrating Gel Mtzr wasn't too heavy or greasy?

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