Beauty Skincare

Skincare Sunday – Dealing with Cystic Acne

Today’s (belated) installation of Skincare Sunday is all about dealing with cystic acne. You may have also heard it referred to hormonal acne. It’s painful, deep, and plagues a lot of us. It’s annoying, embarrassing and seems like a never ending cycle. As always, I’m not a doctor, dermatologist, or even a trained professional. I just have tried it all when it comes to this and I have found what works for me.

Skincare Sunday

cysticacne


WHAT IS CYSTIC/HORMONAL ACNE?

  • Deep, painful nodules that aren’t exactly “poppable.” These bumps lie deep within the skin and are painful to the touch.
  • They last for at least a week. Sometimes they don’t ever surface.
  • Sometimes they appear more during/after Aunt Flo’s monthly visit.
  • Usually they appear around the jaw line and chin area (except I just had one in the middle of my cheek that was not fun).
  • When they heal, oftentimes they leave behind red marks and/or hyperpigmentation that takes a while to clear up.

HOW CAN I DEAL WITH IT?

I have found a couple of things that work for me, but obviously there are a lot of different things you can do. I have done a lot of research on this and there are a myriad of things you can do, from prescriptions, to hormone regulation. I prefer to take a gentler and more natural approach to this, and things that are within my control and available easily.

  1. Diet, water, and exercise. The days that I am eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and getting my exercise in reduce the amount of cystic breakouts.  I know this is a fact because now that I am stressed out with school and have days where I am not as good with my intake and exercise, I am breaking out more. When I meal plan and drink tons of water, I am usually clear. I’m still trying to find that balance between work and time to work out, though. Right now I’m running about twice a week and I can definitely see a difference in my skin when I was running 5-6 times a week during the summer.
  2. Exfoliation. Frequent exfoliation of the skin is crucial for cell turnover and great for those that suffer from cystic/hormonal acne. I love my Clarisonic Mia for this, and I use it every single evening. I try to focus using it more on my jaw line and chin area to give it a little extra exfoliation for my skin. That usually seems to help. If you don’t have a Clarisonic, exfoliating 2-3 times a week with a manual scrub (start slowly) is a great idea.
  3. Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion. This stuff has been a life saver for me. I apply it as soon as I feel a bump developing under my skin, and it has drastically reduced the longevity of them. If I catch it right away, the bumps will never surface.
  4. Evening Primrose Oil. I just love this supplement for many reasons. If you are a woman, you basically need to take this. It helps with cramps, hormone regulation, makes your skin look nice, and helps with your hair. I take about 4 capsules a day. I go through it quick, but it’s a great investment.

Have you found anything that helps you deal with your cystic acne? Let me know, as I am always wanting to try new things to help me combat it! One last thing, Subscription Box Share is on Tuesday, October 8! Blog about your subscription box this past month, and come back to link up with me!

24 Comments

  • Reply
    Melissa {Persnickety Plates}
    September 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Mine seem to stick to the forehead/cheeks. So annoying. I use my Mia nightly, too. Do you know if the buffering lotion is safe while preg? I’m about to google it but I keep hearing about it & figure I should probably try it.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      September 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      Yes, totally safe while pregnant! I bought it and started using it when I was pregnant, actually! It’s a life saver!!!

  • Reply
    Darby Hawley
    September 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Meg, I always love these posts! I always learn so much! This is something that I have been struggling with since I was born probably. I’ve been using apple cider vinegar (like a toner- weaning myself on from really diluted with water until 100% ACV) for the past few months and I feel like my skin is finally getting it’s act together. I’ve read a lot of stuff about it balancing out the pH of the skin. Have you heard of this?

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      September 29, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      I actually HAVE heard of using ACV as toner and have done it in the past! I didn’t keep up with it long enough to notice results like I should have, though! I really ought to try it out again. Glad that it’s working for you!!

  • Reply
    Nichole C
    September 29, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I have taken acutane, and then had regular facials, but lately in the last year at twenty-nine it has come back full force! It’s seriously awful, and yes super embarrassing. The facials still slightly help, but I agree that diet and exercise has also helped. I will definitely have to look into primrose oil! Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      September 29, 2013 at 11:32 pm

      You’re so welcome! I haven’t had a facial in a while and I wonder if I should get one! Adult acne is no joke, huh?! This crap is not fair. DEFINITELY check out the evening primrose oil. That stuff is amazing!!!

  • Reply
    Rebekah
    September 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    That buffering lotion is amazing! By far the best thing to help with cystic acne. An oddly enough? My skin has looked the best it’s ever looked in years since being pregnant. I still get a few breakouts here and there but no cystic acne whatsoever. It’s been wonderful!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      September 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      Glad you love the buffering lotion too!! And I totally need to get pregnant with a boy next time because my skin was TERRIBLE when pregnant with Kennedy!!

  • Reply
    Jenn @ Party Of One
    September 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing these products! I’ve been suffering from cystic breakouts lately- I never have before & it’s awful! I’m going to have to try the buffering lotion (love that brand!) & the primrose oil!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      September 30, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Glad that you find it helpful! It’s crazy how many people suffer from this and how little research is out about it. I hope that some of these remedies work for you!

  • Reply
    Kristyn
    September 30, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Oh man…I have struggled with hormonal acne for so long. I am finally on a dermatologist recommended path, but I will need to check out the primrose oil. I am not big on taking supplements. Might as well start now!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      September 30, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Yes, definitely check out evening primrose oil. It helps with so many different things!! Hope your dermatologist recommended plan is helping!

  • Reply
    Alicia
    September 30, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I have really enjoyed your skincare posts!

  • Reply
    Rachelle
    September 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    At 31 I still struggle with this! Except it has gotten worse in the past couple years. The Clarisonic works wonders. Thanks for the tips on the buffering lotion and supplements. I’m going to try those. Something I’ve found recently that also helps a lot is tea tree essential oil. I use the Trader Joes tea tree face soap and a couple drops of the essential oil on a wet cotton ball for a toner. I’m trying to take care of this naturally and not go back on harsh meds!

  • Reply
    Heather
    September 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I have the same cystic acne and it is SO painful! I’m going to try these tips!

  • Reply
    susan
    October 1, 2013 at 5:21 am

    That buffering lotion works great! The best tips I have discovered are all about avoiding breakouts:
    1- Avoid cheese..I used to never eat cheese but for several weeks, I ate a couple of slices everyday and ended up with 3 cystic zits on my cheeks and 1 on my chin.
    2- Avoid cleansers (body washes, soaps, face washes, shampoo) containing sulfates
    3- Avoid make up containing silicones (a few years back I noticed every time I would wear foundation for an event I would break out). I wear MAC’s powder foundation. Most foundations, primers, and tinted moisturizers are loaded with silicones because it makes your skin look smooth.

  • Reply
    Anne
    October 1, 2013 at 8:01 am

    My Clarisonic Mia died last year, and I haven’t replaced it yet. I’ll get around to it sooner or later, if I see a sale. I liked the buffering lotion. Since being on prescription meds for my face again, though, I haven’t replaced it, either.

  • Reply
    Georgina
    October 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I did not know anything about Cystic Acne so it was nice to become more informed!
    I think your tips can also be utilized by others for occasional flareups – thank you for sharing xo

  • Reply
    pimple on lip
    November 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm

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  • Reply
    Lauri
    December 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Staying away from milk completely stopped my breakouts. It was something I suspected, and when I layed off milk for 2 months, my skin cleared right up.

  • Reply
    mayora
    February 25, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I get the occasional painful cyst-type acne (I am in my mid 20’s and this is a recent development).I have pretty sensitive dry/normal combo skin and other treatments I have tried have just made me peely and flaky.

    I have been using Citrus Clear Control products for a month. At first the treatment was a little drying so I went to using it every other night and now I am applying it every night following it up with the moisturizer. My skin is DEFINITELY clearer. It is still a little irritating every once in awhile but I have not had any peeling/redness. It definitely stops the cyst-type acne from coming back.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 26, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      That’s so good to hear! I’m glad you’ve been able to tackle your cystic acne. It feels like such a vicious circle when you’re fighting it.

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