Acne is the most common skin condition treated by dermatologists. Acne isn’t age-dependent, either. While typically acne clears up after adolescence, adult acne is all-too-common, especially in women. Approximately 75% of people suffering from adult acne are women, with outbreaks often tied to hormonal fluctuations.
Cystic acne is one of the most extreme forms of severe acne. It’s most commonly found in adolescents, but it’s not unheard of in adults. Severe skin problems do not necessarily require harsh chemicals for effective treatment, luckily.
We’re going to take a look at ten DIY acne treatments that have proven to be effective against cystic acne.
What Is Cystic Acne?
Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne someone can suffer from. It can become quite painful as the affected becomes inflamed and irritated. Also known as nodulocystic acne, it spreads across your chest, back, upper arms, and shoulders. Hormonally-induced cystic acne frequently follows the chin and jawline on the face.
While there are acne treatments that can be effective against cystic acne, some of those treatments can have severe side effects and need to be evaluated for risk factors, particularly during pregnancy (and even if you are only in the planning stages).
Like most health issues, natural acne treatments begin with lifestyle. A healthy diet is particularly effective against cystic acne. In one trial of 300 patients suffering from acne, 80% saw a marked improvement in their skin condition from eating simple probiotics. Eliminating inflammatory foods (the usual suspects being sugar, gluten, dairy), as well as increasing your intake of vitamins and healthy fats, can have a positive effect on your skin.
Rule #1: Don’t Pop
Resist the urge to pop cystic acne. First of all, cystic acne rarely produces poppable pimples. Considering how deep cystic acne goes, picking or popping can extend the healing time from days to weeks, all the while increasing the likelihood of unsightly scarring and hyperpigmentation.
Rule #2: Use Ice For Relief
If you’re experiencing an uncomfortable cystic acne outbreak, ice can be a huge relief. Gently patting an ice pack ON & OFF the affected area constricts the blood flow to the cyst and can help decrease tenderness.
DO NOT apply ice directly to your skin — use the on-off technique we described.
Rule #3: Follow A Good Skincare Routine
A healthy skincare routine is the centrepiece of any natural acne treatment. Maintain a regular, thorough skincare routine that avoids heavy and scented moisturizers. Use moisturizer regularly, but make sure that your skin is clean and exfoliated before application. Look for oil-free and unscented acne treatment formulations, if at all possible.
DO NOT use products that contain benzoyl peroxide, which is associated with numerous long term detrimental effects — including premature ageing. Look for products that can kill P Acne bacteria while also providing powerful anti-inflammatory and healing benefits.
When it comes to sunscreen, look for products indicated for acne and/or sensitive skin that will also provide UVA & UVB protection. Physical sunscreens provide anti-ageing benefits by forming a physical barrier and help eliminate much of the secondary free radical damage that is caused by the sun. Sunscreen minimizes the risk of pigmented acne scarring.
Rule #4: Clean items that touch your skin — including your phone
Remember to launder towels, pillowcases, headbands, and hats regularly, changing them every 2-3 days. If you are a sports enthusiast, disinfect your helmets after each use, as this will minimize the proliferation of bacteria. When you wash your pillowcases, towels, and linens, you should look for natural, non-caustic detergents and fabric softeners. Look for natural and unscented soaps and cleaning agents.
Rule #5: Relax and De-Stress
There is a strong correlation between stress and acne. Studies have shown that stress can make existing acne worse as the body produces hormonal steroids like cortisol. As with other hormonal steroids (testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, estrogen, progesterone), these can fuel acne flare-ups. Additionally, cortisol may increase the amount of oil produced by your sebaceous glands.
The key is to recognize when one is in a stressful situation and have ready the tools to decompress. Reducing stress is a crucial component of any holistic health plan.
Rule #6: Eat The Right Foods
Every organ relies upon the same vitamins, minerals and nutrients to function. Since the skin is at the end of the food line, it often suffers disproportionately from a poor diet. A good diet is an effective tool in controlling acne, especially fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants, combined with adequate protein. A healthy and well-balanced diet powerfully impacts the health of the body — including the skin.
A small segment of the acne population might react to milk and/or dairy products. These patients have often tried numerous prescription and non-prescriptive treatments without success. Milk contains hormones that can potentially promote acne flare-ups. If milk is a factor in your acne, reducing all dairy products may be a simple way to reduce your acne.
Rule #7: Get Proper Sleep & Exercise
A proper sleep routine is also a cornerstone of any holistic health practice. Getting enough sleep balances your hormone levels, which, in turn, can reduce cystic acne inflammations. It also gives an outbreak an unbroken opportunity to heal.
Exercise is also an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It boosts your lymphatic system as well as detoxifies your body. It’s also good for the self-esteem, which can suffer when you’re suffering from cystic acne.
Rule #8: Try An Epsom Salt Compress
For more severe and painful acne, daily Epsom salt and warm water compresses can provide soothing relief.
Dilute 1/4 cup of Epsom salts into 2 cups of very warm water. Soak a thin face cloth (face cloths for babies are perfect) in the solution and then press it lightly against the affected area, dabbing rather than holding it against the skin. Continue dabbing the salty cloth for 3-5 minutes, re-wetting the cloth as it dries out. This will most likely soften the pimples; they may even begin to drain after a few days.
Always follow the soak with a thorough cleanse to remove all debris, and then apply a light moisturizer.
Rule #9: Use Essential Oils (Carefully)
Many herbs & essential oils contain properties that are effective in treating cystic acne. Try to source oils indicated for the face, with ingredients such as ylang ylang (which balances oil secretion), lavender & cedarwood (which have antiseptic properties), and wheat germ oil (which is rich in linoleic acid, an essential fatty aside often lacking in acneic skin).
If you’re using essential oils to treat cystic acne, be sure to avoid direct sunlight. Essential oils can make your skin more light-sensitive.
Rule #10: Try An Aspirin Mask
It’s nice to have a topical that you can apply when an outbreak gets bad. Dermatologists recommend a simple solution that has proven to be remarkably effective. It’s called an aspirin mask.
Aspirin is related to salicylic acid, which is also used to treat acne outbreaks. To make a mask, simply crush up one aspirin tablet and add water to make a paste. Then apply that paste as a topical mask to the affected area. This will help soothe any irritation and pain.
An aspirin mask won’t remove excessive oil, however, so you’ll need to use this technique in conjunction with other natural cystic acne treatments.
DO NOT do this is you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you have an aspirin allergy.
Are You Looking For Acne Treatment In Toronto?
At Clarity MedSpa and Laser, we know everybody’s skin is unique. We love providing specialized, individualized care for your unique skin conditions, coming up with a solution that will restore your natural glow.
Whether you’re looking for natural cystic acne treatments or a whole line of beauty products, we’ve got everything you need to help you look and feel your absolute best.