(Closed) Cystic acne – solutions?

posted 4 years ago in Beauty
Post # 2
182 posts
Blushing bee

Commenting to follow. While I do take an oral antibiotic to wipe out my cystic acne, I am super fair skinned and have a lot of dark spots and scarring. Would love a good Lightening product. 

Post # 3
2120 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Everyone’s body is different, but are you on BC? Oddly enough, combination BC did nothing for my cystic acne (I would get cysts almost monthly), but since I’ve switched to an IUD, I havent had a cyst in over a year.

Post # 4
783 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Everything is a bandaid when you have cystic acne. You said yourself it’s hormonal and admitted to knowing that face wash won’t make a difference. While I understand not wanting to try anything oral, I would still be curious as to what your doc offer. if it’s been accutane, I understand. It’s a short term solution because you can’t stay on it for very long. I developed hormonal cystic acne with my IUD. I had it placed for medical reasons so it was that or a hysterectomy. I suggested to my derm aldactone (spironolactone) and it’s works wonders. You can stay on it long term (until you’re TTC). Just a suggestion.

Since we know hormonal acne doesn’t respond to face washes entirely, it’s more of a trial and error process. When I started to get a small pimple, I thought “cool, pop this and we’re done.” NOPE, turned the smallest thing into cystic acne. Do not touch your face. I’m sure you know that but even though I said I knew, I still tried to pop them. Took me a few years to really let that one sink in. So that’s my tip number 1 (or two if you’re a little open minded to the oral med lol).

Salt water has also been a HUGE help for me. Every night, I wash my face and then I warm up a small mug of water (i only fill the mug with about an inch of water). I prefer spring or filtered (your face is used to your water you shower in). I add a generous amount of salt and nuke it for 25 seconds. Spread on with a cotton ball and leave on for 15 mins. I rinse and do NOT wash my face. Then I do my normal routine. Seriously, 3 years of cystic acne suffering and now the aldactone and salt have resulted in me having NO cystic ance for 6 months now. I had one pimple this summer. One. I usually have 2 or 3 lumps on my face every summer for the whole summer. Can’t hurt to try the salt. Give it a week or two. I love it.

I also used to wash my face with 2 (on some occasions 3) face washes thinking it would help. Not sure if this is something you do, but I was murdering my skin. I weaned down to one and my skin has never been more healthy, supple, and young looking. I have to use benzoly peroxide. Salycitic washes just didn’t do it for me. They worked on the smaller pimples, but didn’t touch my cystic ones. I also attribute that to this Peter Thomas Roth gel. Acne clearing but also exfoliates and lightens dark marks. It isn’t fast acting, but after using it about 3 months my old acne marks are much lighter. I have one above my eyebrow that NO ONE sees. I do because I know what was once there.

I also love the philosophy clear days ahead lotion. I use it during the day and a stonger moisturizer at night as my cheeks can get very dull (combo skin).

I have used different spot treatments, and to be honest I can’t recommend just one. I mix it up every other week as my skin gets used to them for some reason. I use the spot treatment on my chin every day even if I have no acne to prevent them. So far all of this has helped. I like the panoxyl brand and I also have a prescription one.

Sunblock has always broken me out, but peter thomas roth uber dry never does. I only put it on when I’m going to be in the sun. I know with al the stuff I use I should use sun block more often, but I’m not typically in the sun (I’m very fair skinned) and I usually wear a basebell cap (way too lazy to do my hair to go to the grocery store lol). Try not to get your face tanned/burned when you have a cystic acne outbreak, it’ll make the redness stick around.


OK, sorry for my rambling but I have had people comment on how great my skin was for years throughout high school and college. Toward the end of college into my 20s, my skin was terrible. People are complimenting my skin again. Please be open minded to try some of these tips. Everyone’s skin is different but it can’t hurt tot ry. One last thing about the aldactone (I know you aid you don’t want oral stuff but): a lot of cystic acne is caused by high testosterone levels, aldactone realy helps with that.


Good luck!!



Post # 5
45 posts
  • Wedding: September 2015

I just wanted to offer sympathy really. I suffered with bad cystic acne (plus assorted other acne) from the age of 11 through to just recently (I’m in my early 30s). I’m well aware it could flare again at any moment. I’m also interested to hear of anything that will help with lightening red scars as I still have a lot of them. I’m very pale skinned, so they really show. Best of luck. I know from experience how rubbish it can make you feel.


Post # 6
1936 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I suffered from mild-moderate cystic acne for years. I’d have the same blemish for MONTHS. It’s funny because I can flip through old pictures and there they are, in the same spot, picture after picture!

The good news is it will (most likely) eventually go away. For me, it was just like they decided not ot bother me anymore.

I tried topical gels, but they’re useless.

I’m vain, so I took every oral option possible, but there were a few other things that helped.

Tanning. I know that creates other problems, but you can tan relatively safely. Hot presses or ice presses.

Also, pro active. I hate suggesting it because it is so expensive and you have to use it rigourously but it works.

Good luck chun up 🙂

Post # 7
1831 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I had a dark brown sun spot on my face and I am very fair skinned. I purchased Black & White Bleaching Cream on Amazon for about $7. After applying the tiniest amount only on the spot, it was visibly lighter after only 2 weeks. I got pregnant and the active ingredient (hydroquinone 2%) isn’t recommended for pregnant women, but I imagine it would have been more effective with longer use. It won’t do anything for the texture of scarring, but if you just want some pigmented areas lightened, I’d give it a try.

Post # 8
248 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Bar Harbor Inn

Aldactone really does work wonders. My acne was due to my pcos so the doctor prescribed the Aldactone to counter the hormone imbalance. Also, if you suffer from pcos and are overweight, losing weight can help with all the affects of pcos including the acne. 

Post # 9
399 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

I’ve followed Liz Wolfe and Diane Sanfilippo for years on their ‘Balanced Bites’ podcast, and use their dietary recommendations pretty strictly, and that, along with a skin regimen I adhere to religiously, has 99.9% cleared up my cystic acne.

I eliminated all grains and dairy, but have since added in a little cheese now and then, and eat some gluten-free grains. I’m convinced that dairy is the #1 exacerbator of hormonal acne and grains are right up there behind dairy.

I bought Liz’ ebook back when it was a lot more expensive…haha! http://purelyprimalskincare.com

I swear by my Clarisonic to keep my skin clear! I use Mario Badescu enzyme cleanser with the Clarisonic every morning in the shower, and wash my minimal makeup off with St Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub from Target. My skin responds extremely well to gentle, daily exfoliation. If I skip washing my face ONCE, I wake up with zits on my chin the next morning. Same thing with dairy… If I put cream in my coffee or have some other type of dairy, I have 1-2 huge acne cysts on my chin/jaw/lower cheek area the next day! Diane Sanfilippo says it can take up to 2 weeks for these triggors to exit your system.

I also love using Mario Badescu’s Whitening Mask on cysts and just to help with my scarring. I definitely feel like it calms the inflammation and helps me get back on track.

Now that I’m engaged I’ll be doing all of the above but stay on track 100%! Good luck!

Post # 10
831 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

happygirl2016:  I don’t like taking oral mess either. Started using Exposed Skincare products last year and it’s made a HUGE difference. I would get cystic and clusters of acne on my chin and around my mouth, it was horrible. The products can be somewhat drying at first but your skin settles down after 2-4 weeks and you can actually cut back to using the products once a day. 

Post # 11
9089 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Pocketderm is a relatively cheap dermetologist that you talk to through an app. They can prescribe things for cystic acne, but it’s only available in some states. May be worthwhile.

Post # 13
22 posts

Apple cider vinegar is a natural product I use that cleared up my skin and lightened my acne scars. I watched a lot of YouTube videos about it and have been doing it for 3 months and have seen a huge difference. I use it as a toner and take 2 teaspoons of it in the morning orally. If you use it on your face make sure to dilute it with water at least 50/50 of not more water than vingegar because it will burn your face. Once your skin can tolerate it you can increase the amount of vinegar for more effectiveness. I actually went to the derm and got creams and pill and I feel like the did more damage, but the ACV has helped clean up the damage from that too. 

Post # 14
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I havent read the other comments but I am almost 30 and have delt with acne since I was 21. Mild but cystic and yucky and mostly hormonal… My esthatician recommended I take probiotics, omega 3, and zinc…I have not had one issue since I started this 3 weeks ago….

Post # 15
58 posts
Worker bee

I had acne for many, many years. I tried multiple medications in the past, some more effective than others, but most of them do not get to the root of the problem, so it never truly goes away with the meds.

My skin is now clear and the #1 thing that made a HUGE difference for me was changing my diet, exercising more, and losing weight. In college, I frequently ate pizza, fast food, candy, etc because it was quick and easy while balancing classes and work. I never worked out. My skin was awful! Over the past ~3 years, I have very slowly lost about 30 pounds as I’ve made healthier choices. My skin almost completely cleared. I’m not saying that I think you need to lose weight by any means, but I wanted to mention my experience and say that if you can figure out what might be causing the problem and working to resolve it, you will have better luck than putting an band-aid on it. 🙂

Other things that I found helpful:
1) I didn’t completely cut out dairy, but I have significantly reduced my dairy intake 
2) Daily multivitamins and staying hydrated
3) I do use two medications – clindamycin solution (topical antibiotic that I will apply as a spot treatment if I do get a breakout) and tretinoin cream (which honestly I use more around my forehead/eyes to prevent lines and keep my skin looking fresh than for acne).

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