My PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome) and cystic acne are in a long term relationship and they don’t seem to want to break up. Every two weeks I usually get a giant red lump somewhere along my chin or on the high part of my cheekbones as a reminder that my insides are always watching. Cystic acne, in my experience, is when a giant, hard, red lump appears along your hormone sections of your face and never really surface. They usually last quite a long time and can be extremely painful and uncomfortable!
As Paula’s Choice puts it:
Cystic acne lesions actually rupture beneath the surface of the skin, pushing the blockage and swollen contents beyond the reach of traditional, topically-applied anti-acne products. Many dermatologists regard cystic as the most severe type of acne, and, many admit that traditional acne treatments are largely ineffective. Due to the slow healing time of cystic acne lesions, the potential for scarring and the extent of damage is something to take seriously. It's especially important to be informed about potential triggers and treatment options—otherwise, you're likely to make matters worse and even more painful
There are lots of different ways to treat it, but I haven’t heard of someone completely getting rid of them, only managing them to a certain extent. I’ve read about people getting shots, having them surgically opened and drained, intensive creams, etc… I think the number one thing one could do it try to manage your stress levels, and drink a lot of water. Easier said than done, and I’m right there with you!
I’ve also tried a million and one cleansers, masks, routines etc.. and I think I’ve finally landed on at least ONE decent product! Murad’s Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser!
Now, before we talk about this product, let’s talk about using acids to clean your face. I used to use hydrogen peroxide to clean my face on the regular...PLEASE DON’T DO THIS. It’s awful. It’s just as as bad as that St. Ives Peach creamy sand paper that just rips your skin apart. These are major no-nos.
So, A few acids that are great for the face in small amounts: glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid. In the Murad’s cleanser we have AHA, which is alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic/lactic acids) and BHA which is beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid). In layman's terms (and as far as I understand it), glycolic exfoliates the dead skin away, and salicylic is like the broom that sweeps up after the dead stuff is pushed out.
It’s important to note at this point, this not an everyday thing, however, it might be a different story if you have mature skin and how strong the acid is.
I use the Murad cleanser three times a week, sometimes four if I know it’s coming to my time of the month, and I also use glycolic acid exfoliating pads from Nip + Fab (review on this soon), three times a week at night. I’ll also say that I do a double cleanse in the morning and at night (I use a cream or oil cleanser before the Murad cleanser). On the days that I don’t use the Murad cleanser and Nip + Fab pads I only use an oil-based face wash with a rosehip toner and thick moisturizer. After about a month and a half of doing this I can say this method has worked. I haven’t had a bad breakout in about a month and no cystic acne lesions on my chin, or cheekbones!
Now, price wise the Murad cleanser is not cheap. At Sephora it’s $36.00 and it’s technically part of a two-step program, but I didn’t find the serum necessary for what I was trying to achieve. I will say, I think it’s worth the price for how well it’s worked for me and how little I have to tend to my skin since I’ve started using it.
Give it a go and let me know if it works for you! I’d give it a good three to four weeks before seeing results, but it’ll be worth it!