If you’ve ever experienced the painful and stubborn breakouts associated with cystic acne, you know how challenging it can be to treat. Cystic acne is a severe form of acne that occurs when the pores become clogged with bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells, leading to painful, inflamed cysts beneath the skin’s surface. While seeking medical treatment from a dermatologist is often recommended, there are also natural remedies that can help alleviate symptoms and promote clearer, healthier skin. In this article, we will explore 12 effective natural remedies for getting rid of cystic acne.
What is Cystic Acne?
Cystic acne is a severe form of acne characterized by deep, inflamed breakouts that occur when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Unlike other types of acne, cystic acne is often accompanied by painful, pus-filled cysts deep within the skin. The root causes of cystic acne are multifactorial and can include hormonal imbalances, genetics, and lifestyle factors.
Cystic acne typically develops when the skin’s oil glands produce excess sebum, leading to the formation of comedones (clogged pores). When these comedones become infected with bacteria, the body’s immune response triggers inflammation, resulting in the formation of painful cysts beneath the skin’s surface.
Common Causes of Cystic Acne
Before delving into the remedies, it’s essential to understand what cystic acne is and what causes it. Cystic acne is the result of blocked oil ducts, leading to infection and inflammation. These blemishes go deep into the skin, causing pain and discomfort.
1. Hormonal Fluctuations
Hormonal imbalances, often triggered by puberty, pregnancy, or menstruation, are one of the leading causes of cystic acne. The surge in hormones can lead to excess oil production, clogging pores, and resulting in painful cystic breakouts.
2. Excessive Sebum Production
Overproduction of sebum, the skin’s natural oil, can be a double-edged sword. While sebum is essential for skin health, too much of it can contribute to acne development by clogging pores and providing a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria.
3. Genetics Play a Role
Family history can predispose individuals to cystic acne. If your parents or grandparents struggled with severe acne, you may be more likely to experience it as well. Genetic factors can influence sebum production and inflammation in the skin.
4. Dietary Choices
The food you consume can impact your skin’s health. High-glycemic diets and excessive dairy consumption have been linked to cystic acne. These dietary choices can trigger inflammation and increase sebum production.
5. Poor Skincare Habits
Neglecting your skincare routine or using harsh, pore-clogging products can contribute to cystic acne. Ensure your skincare regimen is tailored to your skin type, and always remove makeup before bed.
6. Stress and Anxiety
Stress is a silent catalyst for many health issues, including cystic acne. High stress levels prompt the body to produce more androgens, which can lead to increased sebum production and acne flare-ups.
7. Environmental Factors
Environmental pollutants and allergens can irritate the skin, leading to cystic acne. Protect your skin from harmful elements and keep it clean to minimize the risk of breakouts.
Some medications, like corticosteroids and lithium, are known to trigger acne. If you’re on any of these medications, consult with your healthcare provider for potential solutions.
9. Lack of Hydration
Inadequate water intake can affect your skin’s overall health. Staying hydrated ensures your skin remains supple and helps flush out toxins that could contribute to cystic acne.
10. Squeezing and Popping Pimples
Tempting as it may be, squeezing or popping cystic acne can exacerbate the condition. It pushes bacteria deeper into the skin, leading to more significant inflammation and potential scarring.
12 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Cystic Acne
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is well-known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent natural remedy for cystic acne. Its active ingredient, terpinen-4-ol, helps kill the acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.
To use tea tree oil, mix a few drops with a carrier oil like coconut oil and apply it to the affected areas using a cotton swab. Leave it on for a few hours or overnight before rinsing off.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial and exfoliating properties that can help combat cystic acne. It helps balance the skin’s pH levels and reduces inflammation. Dilute apple cider vinegar with water and apply it to the affected areas using a cotton ball. Leave it on for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing off. Make sure to moisturize afterward, as apple cider vinegar can be drying.
3. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a natural astringent that can help reduce inflammation, control oil production, and soothe irritated skin. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help fight acne-causing bacteria. Apply witch hazel to the affected areas using a cotton ball or pad. You can also use it as a toner after cleansing your face to help keep your skin clean and clear.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and inflammation associated with cystic acne. It also promotes healing and moisturizes the skin without clogging pores.
Extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf and apply it directly to the affected areas. Leave it on for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing off. Repeat this process a few times a week for best results.
5. Green Tea
Green tea contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce inflammation and fight acne-causing bacteria. Brew a cup of green tea and let it cool. Apply it to the affected areas using a cotton ball or spray bottle.
Leave it on for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing off. You can also drink green tea regularly to enjoy its overall health benefits.
Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help reduce inflammation and kill acne-causing bacteria. It also helps fade acne scars and promotes even skin tone.
Mix turmeric powder with water or honey to create a paste and apply it to the affected areas. Leave it on for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing off. Be aware that turmeric can stain clothing, so take precautions.
Honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent that can help soothe and heal cystic acne. It also helps moisturize the skin without clogging pores.
Apply raw honey directly to the affected areas and leave it on for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing off. You can also mix it with other natural ingredients like cinnamon or turmeric for added benefits.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health and reduce inflammation, which can indirectly benefit cystic acne. Consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir can help promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and potentially improve skin health. Alternatively, you can take probiotic supplements after consulting with a healthcare professional.
Zinc is an essential mineral that has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it beneficial for treating cystic acne. It helps regulate oil production, reduce inflammation, and promote wound healing.
You can increase your zinc intake by consuming zinc-rich foods like oysters, beef, pumpkin seeds, and spinach. Alternatively, consult with a healthcare professional about taking zinc supplements.
10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and improve overall skin health. Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by consuming foods like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Alternatively, you can take fish oil supplements after consulting with a healthcare professional.
11. Stress Management
Stress can exacerbate cystic acne by triggering hormonal imbalances and inflammation. Managing stress through relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in activities you enjoy can help reduce acne flare-ups. Prioritizing self-care, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also contribute to better skin health.
12. Seek Professional Help
While natural remedies can be effective for managing cystic acne, it’s important to consult with a dermatologist if your acne is severe or persists despite home remedies.
A dermatologist can provide personalized treatment options, such as prescription medications or procedures, to help you effectively manage and clear your cystic acne.
Dealing with Cystic Acne Scars
Cystic acne often leaves behind scars that can be emotionally distressing. Acne scars can take various forms, including ice pick scars, boxcar scars, and rolling scars. While it may not be possible to completely erase these scars, there are several treatment options available to reduce their appearance and improve overall skin texture.
Here are some treatment options for cystic acne scars:
- Chemical Peels: Chemical peels involve applying a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the outermost layer of skin to peel off. This process stimulates collagen production and helps improve the appearance of acne scars. Superficial peels can be done at home with over-the-counter products, while deeper peels should be performed by a dermatologist.
- Microneedling: Microneedling is a procedure that involves using a device with tiny needles to create controlled micro-injuries on the skin’s surface. This stimulates collagen production and promotes skin rejuvenation, resulting in the improvement of acne scars. Microneedling can be done at a dermatologist’s office or with at-home dermarollers, although professional treatments yield better results.
- Laser Resurfacing: Laser resurfacing uses laser technology to remove the top layers of skin, stimulating collagen production and reducing the appearance of acne scars. This procedure can be done with different types of lasers, such as ablative lasers or fractional lasers. It is generally performed by a dermatologist or a skincare professional.
- Dermal Fillers: Dermal fillers can be used to plump up depressed acne scars, particularly those with a sunken appearance. The filler is injected into the scar to raise it to the level of the surrounding skin, creating a smoother appearance. Results are temporary and typically last several months to a year.
- Subcision: Subcision is a minor surgical procedure used to treat rolling acne scars. It involves using a needle to break up the fibrous bands beneath the scar tissue, releasing the tethering effect and allowing the skin to elevate. This promotes the formation of new collagen, which helps improve the appearance of the scar.
It’s important to note that the best treatment option for acne scars depends on various factors, including the type and severity of the scars, skin type, and individual preferences. Consulting with a dermatologist or skincare professional is crucial to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific needs.
Can I pop a cystic acne pimple?
It’s definitely not recommended. Cystic acne pimples are those deep, painful, and stubborn ones that just seem to linger forever. Trust me, I know how tempting it is to want to pop them, especially when they’re causing so much discomfort.
But here’s the thing – popping a cystic acne pimple can actually make things worse. It can lead to more inflammation, scarring, and even infection. Yikes! So as much as it may be satisfying to pop that pimple, it’s best to leave it alone and let it heal naturally.
How to Prevent cystic acne?
Preventing cystic acne requires a holistic approach that addresses both external and internal factors. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate the risk of developing cystic acne, there are steps you can take to minimize its occurrence and severity.
Here are some prevention and lifestyle tips to consider:
- Maintain a Consistent Skincare Routine: Adopting a skincare routine tailored to acne-prone skin is crucial. Opt for gentle cleansers that effectively remove dirt and excess oil without stripping the skin’s natural moisture. Avoid harsh scrubs or abrasive cleansers that can exacerbate inflammation.
- Avoid Touching or Picking at Your Skin: Touching your face and picking at acne lesions can introduce additional bacteria and worsen inflammation. Keep your hands away from your face as much as possible and resist the urge to pick or squeeze pimples.
- Be Mindful of Your Diet: While diet alone may not be the sole cause of cystic acne, certain foods and dietary habits can contribute to its development. Limit your intake of processed foods, refined sugars, and dairy products, as they have been linked to increased inflammation and hormonal imbalances.
- Manage Stress: Chronic stress can contribute to hormonal imbalances and exacerbate acne symptoms. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy. Getting enough sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene can also have a positive impact on your skin.
- Avoid Heavy Makeup: Thick, oil-based makeup can clog your pores and worsen acne breakouts. Opt for lightweight, non-comedogenic makeup products that won’t clog your pores. Look for labels that indicate “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic” to ensure the products are suitable for acne-prone skin.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water helps keep your skin hydrated and promotes overall skin health. Aim for at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day.
Remember, prevention is key when it comes to managing cystic acne. By adopting a consistent skincare routine, making dietary adjustments, managing stress, and avoiding pore-clogging products, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing cystic acne.
When should I consult a dermatologist?
You should consult a dermatologist for cystic acne under various circumstances, including:
- Severe Symptoms: If you have cystic acne with large, painful, and deep cysts that are causing significant pain, inflammation, and scarring.
- Persistent Acne: When over-the-counter acne treatments haven’t provided relief or if your cystic acne keeps returning.
- Risk of Scarring: If you’re concerned about scarring, cystic acne is more likely to leave permanent scars.
- Emotional Impact: If your cystic acne is affecting your self-esteem, causing emotional distress, or impacting your daily life.
- Systemic Symptoms: If you experience unusual symptoms such as fever, fatigue, or a general feeling of being unwell in conjunction with your cystic acne.
- Pregnancy or Nursing: If you are pregnant or nursing, the treatment options for cystic acne may need to be adjusted to ensure safety.
Cystic acne is a serious skin condition that can significantly impact a person’s self-esteem and quality of life. If you suspect you have cystic acne, it’s important to seek the advice of a dermatologist or healthcare professional.