Breakouts that form deep under the skin may be less visible compared to blackheads or your standard angry pimple, but they’re certainly not easier to deal with. Often, they're far more painful. These spots are known as cystic acne, or "blind pimples," and they can stay under the skin and be seriously tricky to get rid of. Keep reading to learn how to avoid the lengthy treatment process and what you should be using on it!
Cystic acne is an inflamed, nodular type of acne that may leave scars. It's often shiny on the surface, tender to touch, and has a hot, throbbing sensation. The main difference between cystic acne and the common pimple is that cystic acne forms well below the surface of the skin and produces what is called a nodule, which is the bumpy, hard, tender cyst that is the hallmark of this type of acne. It’s the most severe, painful form of inflammatory acne. It develops into large, firm, red blemishes that usually have no visible ‘head’ on the surface of the skin.
So what makes cystic acne such a nightmare? It’s all to do with how deeply it forms below the skin's upper layer. Like milder forms of inflammatory acne, cystic acne consists of oils, fluids, and white blood cells. Because they form so deep below the surface of the skin, however, the likelihood of damage and scarring, even if left alone, is much higher. The reason for this is that the pressure from such deep inflammation causes the entire follicle to collapse, trapping the base of the hair follicle under the skin and causing infection.
How do you deal with these breakouts? Keep scrolling to find out.
- Exfoliate Regularly – But Don't Scrub!
When it comes to at-home treatments, the key is all in gentle exfoliation—look to skin-refining acids rather than grainy scrubs, which can aggravate—and giving your skin the clean, healthy environment it needs to heal. There are some good over-the-counter ingredients that help fight acne, including benzoyl peroxide, BHA (salicylic acid), and AHA (glycolic acid, lactic acid, or similar).
It’s recommended you start with one ingredient, and add another only after you know that your skin is tolerating the first without dryness or irritation. When it comes to skin-clearing exfoliation, few do it better than salicylic acid. Dab this on spots to give clogged pores a deep clean.
- When it doubt, honey is the answer.
You might be scratching your head at that one. Honey on a zit? Not just any honey, but manuka honey in particular. This honey that’s only found native to New Zealand has the highest levels of hydrogen peroxide and methylglyoxal, both of which are known to treat and reduce acne! Manuka honey has become a staple in the beauty world for its multitude of benefits, including healing acne scars! Incorporating manuka honey skin care into your routine is the surefire way to keep cystic acne and pimples in general from forming, but also will get rid of them quickest when used regularly!
- Try an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Try adjusting your diet if you frequently experience cystic breakouts, specifically by trying an anti-inflammatory diet rich in healthy fats and greens. Stay away from dairy and processed foods, too, as an anti-inflammatory diet can help ease some of the redness and pain associated with cystic blemishes.
Also cut back on sugars and simple carbohydrates, which can trigger acne flair-ups in some people.
- Leave It Alone
Crucially, don’t squeeze or pick at your skin. The contents of the cyst will most likely rupture under your skin, spreading the infection, and likely inflaming it even more. Popping your pimples can also lead to scarring in the longer term.
- Find a Your Ideal Spot Treatment
Antibacterial and exfoliating topical creams and gels could be just what your breakout needs to kill the underlying bacteria/sweep out pore-clogging debris. Not sure which ingredient to use? Salicylic acid is a staple, but if you also have sensitive skin, apply raw manuka honey instead!
It's important to note that spot treatments might not always be the ticket to relief from cystic breakouts. Once a cyst has developed, it's on 'autopilot,' so topical medications can’t magically eradicate the developed cyst—although, a spot treatment dabbed on with a Q-tip is fine to use if you’d like.
- Pop on an Acne Sticker
If you want to be super trendy, you can try acne stickers—also known as hydrocolloid bandages. You can cover the lesions with a hydrocolloid dressing overnight (or for 24-48 hours!) to help draw out the contents and to speed healing. A hydrocolloid bandage worn for as long as possible will help to prevent you from touching as well!
- Go the Prescription Route
If OTC remedies like bandages and spot treatments aren't doing the trick or your acne is highly persistent, you may need to see a doctor for prescription skin care. Some options include antibiotics for severe inflammation, Spironolactone, and Isotretinoin (aka, Accutane).
- Be Gentle
That being said, acne skin can be super sensitive, which is why you should pay close attention to ingredients and make sure you're not overdoing it. Stripping the skin of oil can actually make matters worse, so you'll want to apply acne-fighting ingredients just a few days a week at first to ease into treatment.
The safest and most natural route is switching out your skin care for one that is both tough on acne, but soothing and healing! Wild Naturals has you covered there. Shop our online store today and get rid of acne once and for all!