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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?

Thank you!!  It feels amazing!

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?

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?

That should say "see a derm"!

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!

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