How to treat cystic acne and get rid of it for good using, safe natural solutions at home.
Most of us have probably dealt with pimples at some point in our lives. These blemishes might have been frustrating or embarrassing, for sure. But for people with cystic acne, run-of-the-mill pimples would be a welcome change compared to the realities of this condition.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne around, and it can provoke painful, long-lasting skin issues that may interfere with a person’s physical comfort and emotional self-esteem.
Now here’s the good news:Several home remedies, lifestyle changes, and natural products may prove effective in the battle against cystic acne. Here’s what we know so far about what cystic acne is, what causes it, how to treat it (the natural way), and some of the best ingredients for cystic acne relief.
As the term implies, cyst acne is a type of acne. But the condition doesn’t just produce your average whitehead.Instead, cystic acne is characterized by painful breakouts that form deep underneath the surface of the skin and produce large, red bumps. Cystic acne may appear on the face, back, chest, arms, and/or shoulders.
Just as with regular acne, cystic acne forms when a pore becomes clogged, bacteria gets trapped inside, and an infection develops—only with cyst acne, the infection travels down beneath the surface of the skin. (With run-of-the-mill acne, the infection stays on the surface and produces a superficial pimple.) This creates a red, pus-filled bump (or “cyst”) that forms just underneath the surface of the skin. These bumps may be itchy and/or painful. If one of these cysts pops open, it can spread the infection and produce more cysts.
Cystic acne typically crops up in a person’s teens or early twenties, but it’s not confined to this age group. The condition has been observed in everyone from children to middle-aged folks. It’s most common in men, but people of all genders may develop this type of acne.
Many folks with cystic acne endure the condition for years. Others find they’re left with permanent scars when the condition clears up. For these reasons, most people with cystic acne do everything they can to manage their condition and treat it.
Experts still aren’t completely sure what causes cyst acne, but they have a few theories. Here are some potential explanations:
- Genetics. People whose parents developed cyst acne at any point in their lives are more likely to experience the condition themselves.
- Overproduction of sebum and skin cells. The skin’s pores have particular glands (dubbed “sebaceous glands”) that produce a substance called sebum. This oily substance is important for protecting the skin and hair follicles, but too much of it can clog pores. Likewise, when skin cells grow too quickly, they can also clog up pores. There’s speculation that some people with cyst acne experience both the overproduction of sebum (aka oily skin) and the overgrowth of skin cells.
- Certain skin care products. There’s some evidence that oily or greasy cleansers, lotions, and other cosmetic products may increase the chances of developing cystic acne.
- Certain drugs or medications. Some medications—such as corticosteroids and lithium—may contribute to cystic acne.
- Dietary factors. Some sources maintain that certain dietary factors may play a role in the development of cyst acne. Potential culprits include high-glycemic foods, dairy, sugar, and caffeine.
- Hormonal cystic acne. Of all the theories about cystic acne’s causes, this is one of the most validated. Hormonal changes—such as the ones that occur during puberty, stress, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and so on—may increase the likelihood of developing clogged pores, which then increases the risk of cystic acne.
There are several prescription medications that may assist with cystic acne treatment. These include oral antibiotics, birth control pills, topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, Isotretinoin (aka Accutane), and Spironolactone.While these options may help relieve cystic acne to smaller or larger degrees, they’re not without their downsides.
For example, the overuse of oral antibiotics may contribute to bacterial resistance; retinoids can cause the skin to become red and peel; Isotretinoin may provoke mood disorders, muscle and joint pain, headaches, inflammatory bowel disease, and other serious side effects; and Spironolactone may cause birth defects and side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and menstrual issues.
Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies for cystic acne—no nasty side effects required. Here’s an overview of some of the habits and lifestyle changes that may help with both the treatment and prevention of cystic acne.
Home Remedy Ideas for Cystic Acne
- Never pick at or pop cysts. This can exacerbate the condition, because (as noted above) popped cysts may spread the infection to other areas of the face or body. It also increases the risk of scarring.
- Practice good skin care habits. This includes several practices:
- Wash your face every day to remove excess oils. (Avoid using harsh products, as these can cause irritation.)
- Exfoliate on a regular basis with a gentle (non-alcohol-based) product like Revive+.
- Use oil-free and noncomedogenic cosmetic products, which are less likely to clog pores.
- Wash off makeup before falling asleep with aplant-based makeup remover.
- Gently pat skin care products onto your skin instead of scrubbing aggressively.
- Always use plant-based and gentle skin care products. Evidence suggests that certain natural ingredients—namely tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, cinnamon, aloe vera, and witch hazel—may help soothe and combat cyst acne.
- Adopt healthy lifestyle habits. As with healthy skin care habits, this involves several behaviors:
- Exercise on a regular basis. (Just be sure to wash your skin after working out.)
- Take steps to reduce stress.
- Prioritize getting adequate amounts of sleep every night.
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in sugar, processed foods, dairy, and fast foods and high in probiotics, fiber, vitamin A, zinc, and high-quality proteins.
- Spend time outside. Exposure to the UV rays in sunlight can help kill bacteria. So slather on your (oil-free!) sunscreen and spend some time outdoors every day.
- Mind your linens. Your skin regularly comes in contact with towels, pillowcases, and sheets, so it’s important to consider how these linens are affecting your skin’s health. Make sure to wash towels and sheets frequently so as to limit the chance of spreading the infection from your skin to the linens and then back to your skin. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleaches and choose natural, unscented laundry products to protect your skin from potentially irritating substances.
- Keep it cool. Washing your skin with cold water or even gently gliding an ice cube over your skin for a few seconds can help soothe pain and inflammation brought on by cystic acne.
How to Treat Cystic Acne on Your Back and Neck
If your skin issues are concentrated on your back and/or neck, then home remedy options will vary just a bit. Here are a few at-home strategies for getting rid of cystic acne on the back and neck:
- Wash your back and neck with cool or warm (not hot) water and a gentle, non-abrasive soap every day.
- If you apply lotions, creams, or sunscreen to your back and/or neck, make sure to use oil-free, noncomedogenic options (which are less likely to clog pores).
- Choose botanical and gentle skin care products. Avoid harsh or abrasive ingredients, which might provoke more inflammation.
- Never pop, squeeze, or pick at the cysts on your back or neck, as this can increase the risk of scarring and cause more breakouts.
- Wash your back and neck after you’ve been sweating (such as after a workout or after spending time in a hot, humid environment).
- Wear loose clothes as much as possible to prevent irritation and buildup on your skin.
Cleanser and Creams
As you can see, your skin care products play a big role in relieving or exacerbating cyst acne. Two of the most important products in your skin care arsenal are cleansers and creams—but not all of these products are created equal.
To review, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing skin care products for cystic acne:
- Choose food-grade options, which are more likely to be gentle on the skin and to be free from harsh, irritating, or potentially harmful ingredients.
- Opt for oil-free and noncomedogenic products.
- Look for products that feature natural ingredients that have been shown to assist in the treatment of cystic acne, such as tea tree oil, aloe vera, salicylic acid, and so on.
Our Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser and Body Wash and Tea Tree Face Cream are both specially formulated to meet all of the criteria above. Each of these products features plant-based gentle,andeffective ingredients in the form of:
- Tea Tree Oil, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps reduce redness and irritation and effectively treats acne.
- Salicylic Acid, which helps clear out clogged pores, remove dead skin cells, and improve skin texture. Together, these features help explain why salicylic acid is one of the most effective acne treatments around.
- St. John’s Wort, which helps soothe inflammation, tone the skin, and fight off the bacteria that can provoke acne.
- Aloe Vera, which is loaded with vitamins and minerals (including vitamins A, B, C, and E and calcium, magnesium, and zinc) that help nourish the skin. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent that’s been shown to speed up skin healing and promote a glowing complexion.
- Pomegranate Seed Oil, which helps heal skin damage and improve skin texture.
- Burdock Root, which can improve skin tone and help with the treatment of chronic skin conditions including acne.
- Goldenseal, which has been shown to speed up skin healing, soothe inflammation, and prevent acne.
- Dandelion Root, which helps balance out oily, acne-prone skin, reduce inflammation, improve skin tone, and fight off the bacteria that contribute to cystic acne.
Just as important as what we put in these products? What we leave out. All of these benefits come without the use of harsh chemicals, toxins, perfumes, sulfates, and other potentially harmful ingredients. These products are also cruelty-free (just like all of our products!).
No matter whether you’re dealing with cystic acne on the face, back, or neck, the ingredients in our Tea Tree cleanser and cream can help you effectively manage your condition.
There’s no way around it: Cystic acne can be a frustrating and sometimes embarrassing condition. But the good news is there are several home remedies and natural ingredients that may speed up your treatment.
So if you’re not keen on risking the side effects that come along with prescription meds—or if you’re looking to improve your skin care routine in order to better manage your condition—consider our Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser and Body Wash and Tea Tree Face Cream to be your secret weapons in the battle against cystic acne.