4 Steps to Get Rid of Cystic Acne

Image of Rachel Sheldon
Rachel Sheldon

Anybody who suffers from acne can agree that cystic acne is just the worst. It's painful, it's long-lasting, and it leaves scars that take forever to fade.

To make it worse, cystic acne doesn't respond to regular treatments recommended for acne. It takes a strategic approach to tackle cystic acne, which is what I'm going to cover in this post. 

Here are the four steps you can take to get rid of your cystic acne.

Step 1: Exfoliate with salicylic acid

The first step in the process is to exfoliate the skin with a gentle salicylic acid product. I use a cleanser just on the area that's suffering from cystic acne, since I don't want to dry out the rest of my face, but you could use a salicylic acid toner instead.

Step 2:  Ice to reduce inflammation

Ice, ice baby! Wrap an ice cube in a towel and apply to the cysts in 10 second intervals: 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Do this for a few minutes. It will help reduce the inflammation, which will reduce the inflamed look (and pain) of the cystic acne.

Step 3: Treat with benzoyl peroxide

Apply a small amount of a benzoyl peroxide treatment to the cystic acne, avoiding the rest of the skin around it to prevent unnecessary drying. I like using Neutrogena's On the Spot treatment and apply with a Q-tip for maximum cleanliness.

Step 4: Soothe with hydrocortisone cream

Once the benzoyl peroxide treatment has fully tried, apply a small amount of hydrocortisone cream. The longer you let this sink in the better - I tend to leave mine on overnight. Hydrocortisone cream has a small amount of steroids which will do wonders for reducing the size and inflammation of the cystic acne. 

Repeat these steps nightly for 3-4 days to see a massive improvement in your cystic acne. 

Recommended products:

  • CeraVe Renewing Salicylic acid cleanser (Amazon) - a great option for sensitive skin
    • Alternative: Burts Bees Natural Acne Solutions Clarifying toner (Dermstore)
  • Neutrogena On the Spot Acne treatment (Amazon)
  • Aveeno 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream (Walgreens)

Have any other tried-and-true methods of healing stubborn cystic acne? Leave them in the comments below!

Leave a Comment

Image of Rachel Sheldon
Rachel Sheldon

My Acne Story: How I Cured My Hormonal Cystic Acne

Here it is:my acne story.First things first, there's a caveat to the title of this post: I am by...
Read more
Image of Rachel Sheldon
Rachel Sheldon

My Favorite Concealers for Pale Skin

If there's one makeup product I purchase more than anything else, it's concealer.At any given time,...

Read more