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Post in Skincare Aware

Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

This is a place to discuss everything skincare.


- Have a question about a product (Or type of product)

- Need recommendations

- Learned a new tip or trick you want to share with fellow skincare junkies

- New to skincare and lost about where to start

- Have a skincare emergency ( Bad reaction, broken dropper, lost lid of a jar)


Images From top left to clockwise (Essencz, Garnier, Men's Fitness, Harper Bazaar)


We have some great thread about skincare but I feel we don't have a general place to discuss skincare which is open for everything from lowend products to luxury skincare. 


Other skincare threads you may like to explore




Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

@fatimamummy as others have mentioned, your reaction to retinoids is fairly common.


They tend to make the skin worse for a time before it gets "better".  Speaking from my own experience (on both prescription and non) it was about 6 weeks of my acneic outbreaks getting worse than they'd been before I started, before the retinoid started to clear everything up.  So, it's up to you whether you feel like toughing it out for the long term anti-aging benefits that it could provide.  


Personally, I stopped using retinoids/retinols last year because while my skin stopped showing these congested pores eventually, it never stopped feeling stripped and dry - no matter how many moisturizing products I used or how I buffered it.  I also noticed after 9 months of using these products (6 on prescription retinoid, 3 on OTC retinol) my cheek pores became larger and more visible than they were prior to my treatment. 


I definitely wouldn't start using the Azelaic Acid until your skin heals.  It's supposed to be targeted for redness and rosacea but with your skin already in a bit of an irritated condition, it's not the best idea to introduce another new thing into the mix.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

Thank you @Mochapj Hmm let's see maybe I use it once a week for a few more weeks and then decide if I am comfortable with continuing it. 

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

Just when I'm at the 1 month mark of going foundation free and getting comfortable with it, my face decides to let this monster freeload and hang around...


I hope I can ask this here. It's kind of? skincare related.


It seems like nowadays these are the types of zits I get, makes the regular pimple that eventually turns into a white head feel like a walk in the park. These tend to be larger than usual, fairly red, but also relatively flat (my whiteheads/pustules tend to look a little "pointy" from the infection rising to the surface)


I'm curious as to what you think these types of pimples are. I want to say they're a cyst, but apparently if it were a cyst it should be larger...much larger. This one's about 1/3-1/2 the size of my pinky nail.


The rounded surface gets really shiny, and the skin around the "dome" tends to start flaking off even when I'm not attacking it with harsh products. What you see here is a pimple pampered this morning with moisturizing serum, facial oil and a dab of Tigergrass cream. Still, the flaky edges are the result of skin lifting off from the edge of the "dome" to where you see the new outline just beyond the redness.


The area within the inner "circle" outline is the surface which seems to be the shiniest. There is no head, but if I move my jaw so that the skin is pressing up against my jaw, I can faintly see the center turn a bit yellowish in addition to the red. Is that pus?


I can conceal that part as long as I gently dab concealer in. If I blend too aggressively, it'll rub off the shiny surface.


My experience with the last few of these types of zits is that it shrinks as it peels off in layers. It never comes to a head, but the last one I had, once I got to a certain point where it was just a tiny bump, a gentle squeeze did result in a little plug with a tiny bit of pus being expelled. Amazing how such small amount of material can generate such a large bump.


Any thoughts? Oh dear, brace yourself for this....


Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

As has been established below, that is most definitely a nodule or cyst. :/ I've gotten them on and off since I was a teen and to be very honest, the only thing that has helped is Biacna (canadian trade name). I have also learned to never attempt to pop these unless I see a very obvious whitehead. 


Most people use retina-A daily, or on a regular basis, but it's actually not bad for spot treating. I use Biacna every other night and when I feel one of those coming on (usually my skin there gets pink or feels a tingly pain) I spot treat that area nightly. *Usually* this results in the thing getting flaky and peeling a bit but never really swelling up into a lump.


My derm has also prescribed Aczone, an spot-treating antibiotic gel which I apply on the lump in the morning. The combo of these two drugs cuts the swollen-lump/ugly phase down to a couple days for me.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

Happy to report my cyst has gone down to a regular sized pimple. I think it's possible it could have been a large papule. Whatever it was, I'm glad it's 60% improved. 


The first week, lots of hot and cold compresses throughout the day. I got creative with everyday items which made it less of a chore: a thick tissue over a hot cup of coffee, freshly boiled egg in face towel, tissue over metal water bottle with ice water. At night before bed, Pixi glow mud mask, Herbivore Blue Tansy mask, and a new mask from Eminence called Eight Greens.


After the mask, AHA or retinol as usual all over my face (I alternate nights), and whatever the other product used as spot treatment on the zit only.  Yesterday it shrunk noticeably and the surface felt squishier vs. One hard lump. Today I applied some Epsom salt and Mario Badescu buffering lotion (one of the first drying products I've used on this sucker these past 10 days), took a short nap and finally it's looking much flatter and less red. 



Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

@k617 I know we've talked about this before, but I believe you and I are in the same boat and it's a terrible one Smiley Sad


I'm pretty sure it's a cyst. It's not a major one that you see when you search up images, but unfortunately the characteristics are there. 


I just had a small cyst disappear on my chin, but a new one appeared. Mine don't get "shiny" as you put it, but skin does flake off from the centre. I believe the cause is either hormones or something lifestyle related. My skin has been changing in the last year, so that might be the reason.


Generally, I use a mud mask and exfoliating products to bring the cyst closer to the surface so I can attempt to expel it. I know it's not great to pop a cyst like a normal pimple since there's more than just pus in there. But once I get them close enough to the surface, they behave like a normal pimple with more gunk coming out. However, my cysts are pretty small (a couple mm in diameter). Based on your picture, mine appear smaller and I have been seeing results with my tactic.


Once everything gets out, they flatten out and disappear. It's not hard anymore since the gunk is gone, but it leaves a terrible scar. Most likely since this method is rather rough. I can deal with scars since I do like to wear concealer and foundation. I have freckles and beauty marks on my face, so I'm used to darker spots on my face. With your goal of going foundation-free I don't recommend it as your top defense because the scars are tough.


And my derm process sucks! I have to get a referral to my derm from my family doctor before attempting an appointment. My mom and sisters go to him, but their skin is worse (oily and acne prone), so there's never a rush for me. Our family doc knows my skin isn't as problematic, so he sees no use giving a referral Smiley Mad

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

I feel your pain @Melissa136! Smiley Sad 

The first cyst I ever got last summer, I tried everything to bring it to the surface so I could pop it... ice, heat, aloe, lemon juice, sulphur masks, mud masks, you name did shrink over the course of a few weeks, but was still leaving a very unsightly bump in the middle of my face. I got annoyed, and tried to poke it to drain it. It drained, eventually, but barely anything came out. Big mistake. It left a huge crater and very red mark. It was easier to conceal that way, BUT I have rarely scarred (texture; I have plenty of hyperpigmentation) and this left a nasty one. Since then, I've learned not to handle these cysts too much. Thankfully, the mark has faded significantly 8 months's till there, but way easier to conceal now (foundation-free but still spot concealing Smiley Happy)


An epsom salt rub/mask has been the most effective treatment for me. I actually had one drain on its own while I was GENTLY massaging dissolving salt crystals into my skin. 


I hear ya on the derm. My doctor looked at me and I could imagine him rolling his eyes in his mind when I was basically freaking out about the cyst on my nose. He didn't see it as a priority. All I wanted was for him to prescribe me something to tide me over, but nope. Cortisone injection.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All



Definitely a cyst.  The bump is mostly inflammation of tissue, even if the pus is very little.  


Popping a cyst is a challenge.  Unlike a whitehead that just contains pus, a cyst is a capsule that holds all the gunk.  To prevent it from recurring, it is helpful to get that capsule out.  A reason why we may see it pop up at the same place again.


Cysts are often hormonal, especially around the chin.  If you were older (late 30s), I would definitely chalk it up to that.  I suggest seeing a derm.  They might propose something to address it long term instead of just treating it each time.


Worth a try.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

Thanks @greenchilli Smiley Happy


This is actually a new place for a cyst to show up, I've had another on my chin before but no in the exact spot. That other one, however, I was able to stop in its tracks so in hindsight it probably wasn't a cyst!


I'll try a derm if I can but for the derms here I have to go through my doctor, who simply looked at my cyst and told me last time that he's referring me in to get a cortisone shot. This is after I said I'd like to go in to talk to a dermatologist about these new phenomenon I'm having on my face rather than just a quick fix. I'm concerned about atrophy so I think I would avoid a shot if at all possible--would very much have a bump on my face than an indentation. It also took them 5 months to give me an appointment LOL! By the time my doctor's office called to say they got me an appointment with the dermatologist, I declined the appointment and they responded, "Are you sure?" well...yes! I'm sure, because the cyst that was supposed to be injected disappeared 4 months ago!


I've successfully treated my last few, although they did take patience, and they're all gone with only one having left a visible mark (the one I messed with) so I'm just going to continue to try to treat it. I'm worried about taking drugs for acne that I'd have to get off of when DH and I try to have a baby anyway!


Thanks again Smiley Happy Always good to get confirmation from out resident skincare gurus!

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All



I also suggested a spot treatment (not a cure, but helps some) to fairlywell...scroll up.


Renee Rouleau anti-cyst treatment.  It is a lactic acid based gel.  If you use it when you first feel something might be brewing, it can be more effective.  Use it twice a day until you know you are out of the woods.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

Thanks @greenchilli Smiley Happy 

I have eyed that product for a few months but can't justify the $20 shipping fee to Canada! Can't justify the little 1/2 oz jar that would cost me close to $100 CAD Smiley Sad

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

I agree, that's a cyst. Those are the worst, so frustrating! Mine have tended to be hormonal, but I have a friend who quit dairy and stopped getting them. Are you experiementing at all with hormone imbalance or diet changes? 


The worst part of these is being able to feel them at all times. Ugh/sorry/commiseration!

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

I know I'm sensitive to dairy from blood tests at a lab (more digestion than anything), but I eat very little dairy in the first place ever since I found out I'm dairy intolerant--I do have it from time to time, maybe it's time I cut it out completely. Very difficult when I just LOVE baked goods and really, dairy is in so many things!


My diet has been fairly consistent. I wouldn't say I've had more dairy than usual these past few weeks. If anything I've actually started eating healthier in conjunction with my new workout plan. I did recently found out I might be "overdosing" on canned tuna, it's been my go-to snack of choice (I even ensured it's low cal, low fat and no additives) but maybe the mercury is a bit too much for my body to bear? I don't know.


Since this showed up ~1 week before my cycle, I'm going to say this is probably hormonal as well. I haven't had a breakout on my chin for a few months, but I vaguely recall a breakout living here back in September!


It's comforting to know I'm not alone on this @fairlywell Smiley Very Happy You could've knocked me down with a feather if you told me 10 years ago that I was going to start getting more acne as an adult. Like many, I believed the myth that if I don't breakout in my teen years, I'm in the clear!

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

@k617 ugh I feel your pain! When I break out it's always cystic pimples on my chin or cheeks. they are so painful and take forever to go away, I hate them!

I am sensitive to dairy as well and after I cut it out my skin cleared up a lot, but I do eat it sometimes as a treat. My skin breaks out when I eat a lot of sugar or junk food too, which is annoying because those are the first things I go for when I'm stressed. 

 It's quite frustrating that I still have acne well into my 30s. my skin is a lot better than it was 10 years ago but I still feel like I shouldn't be breaking out at this point!

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

I know right @unfungirl? Sorry I meant to tag fairlywell but tagged you instead! No idea why, I guess you were on my mind! Smiley Wink


Seems like this is just something that I'm going to have to deal with going forward. I'm *almost* 30, and my skin has never broken out so much even though I feel like I'm taking better care of myself now.


An aging body is just going to get more and more demanding, I guess!!

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

@k617 I was wondering why you tagged me!  But I thought I had maybe commented earlier, I pop in and out these days :-) 

I'm flattered you thought of me 😂😂


Taking care of yourself definitely helps!

drinking lots of water, eating healthy, etc.  but I do feel like no matter what you do, if you are prone to hormonal breakouts there's no way around it.  I'm a bit older than you are, but I hope you have better luck than me! Thankfully It's not a constant thing Amy more but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

@k617 yeah definitely a cystic pimple. this is a normal size for a cystic pimple, too. 


it's not so regular for me anymore, but when i get a zit on my chin, it is almost always this kind (and certainly related to hormones). as you likely know, my fave way to treat is applying an acid directly on it (helps with bacteria) and then treating with light but regular layers of oil (i find these spots absorb oil very quickly, so as soon as i realized it's all 'soaked up' i apply a dab more). the oil will definitely help with preventing scarring (i'm not an advocate of drying zits out if it can be helped, as i find that while it can help with minimizing the zit at first, heal time is much longer). additionally, for whatever it is worth, ever since i started using a serum targeted for dehydration, i have not had a single zit on my chin, even around my period (i can't quite explain that, but i have noticed a correlation and would feel remiss not to mention it).


so ! it more or less seems like this is exactly what you are doing anyway, but i figured i'd emphasize i think you're doing good ! if you're worried about inflammation you can apply ice to it, the results may be minimal though. 

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

Thanks @jemly Yes I learned the hard way that nourishing is better than attacking! I see a huge difference when I nourish though like you mentioned, the hyperpigmentation fades WAY faster. 


I just did an epsom salt spot mask and a warm compress for 30, maybe I'll do the ice tonight!



Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

Anyone know any products or treatments to reduce the production of sebum? I drink a lot of water and have added a probiotic supplement (which has helped my skin a lot) but I'm still producing lot of oil in my t zone area. I'm combo oily skin in my t zone and normal to dry on the other parts of my face. 

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

It's counterintuitive, but you might look into the oil-for-oil method. Just to summarize, you apply oil to your face at night, cleanse gently in the AM, and trick your skin into thinking it already has plenty of oil available. It's not a quick fix - weeks to months? Any oil your skin can handle well is suitable, but if you don't have one I suggest trying squalane. It's similar to human sebum, and (in my experience) sinks in quickly so you don't get that slick filmy feeling. 

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

I'm oily skinned, acne prone, and just generally greasy. For many many years, I thought stronger cleansers/products were needed and was generally very harsh in my skin care routine. I finally realized that I was likely just making the problem worse, and am currently working on finding my kinder, gentler products. One thing that has helped me immensely: Tarte maracuja oil. Three drops mixed in with my moisturizer has worked so so well. It took me a few days to adjust to it, but now my skin is soft without being greasy, and I don't get nearly as oily throughout the day as I used to. 

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