For those of you that don’t know, cystic acne really sucks. I’ve had spots on my face so swollen and tender that I could not sleep on that side of my face for a month. It always seems to happen at the worst possible time, and unlike most other kinds of acne, it seems to last forever and is much more painful. If you also suffer from cystic acne, you could be wasting your time with certain practices, and there may be some solutions that you’re missing out on. 

Lucky Magazine recently sat down with New York dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler and New York/Miami dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brant to discuss cystic acne, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon some of this information:

There’s a good chance that it has absolutely nothing to do with your hygiene — or what products you’re using.

The reason most women get cystic acne is a hormonal imbalance. There’s nothing you can apply topically to fix it, you really need to seek the help of a dermatologist. It’s something happening internally, brought on by anything from genetics to stress to poor sleeping habits.

Depending on your mental and physical health, accutane may be an option.

Depending on her diagnosis, Dr. Wechsler prescribes oral medication; she’s a big fan of Accutane for very severe cases. While Accutane has certainly received a bad reputation from the media, Dr. Wechsler explains: “I think [Accutane] has been vilified by the media, but it’s only a problem taken if you’re pregnant — it causes birth defects. So long as you’re off it for one full menstrual period before conceiving, it’s fine.

My boyfriend and a few of my friends in high school had taken Accutane for their severe acne, and most of them responded very well. All of them reported having incredibly dry and cracked lips and skin, and one of them was on anti-depressents and the combination of the medications gave him a very hard time. However, all of them had clearer skin after taking it.

We all know not to pop pimples, but never EVER try to pick or pop cystic acne. Ever.

Real talk: I’ve done this before, and I ended up going to the dermatologist over three months later to get shots into my very infected chin and I still have a scar from this experience. While I was in the patient’s chair (almost in tears because my face hurt so badly), my dermatologist explained to me that since cystic acne is so deep, trying to extract the blemish can only push the bacteria further into the skin. It will become almost impossible to get rid of, and can lead to more cystic acne in the same area. Seriously, just pinky swear that you’ll never do it.

There are natural solutions out there.

One Lucky staffer suffers from cystic acne, and she’s going to all-natural route and seeing an ayurvedic doctor. “It goes a lot slower [than prescription medicine], but it’s working,” she says. Ayurvedic, if you don’t know, means “traditional medicine” in India, and focuses on creating balance within the body. That means eating totally organic with a heavy emphasis on produce, although sugar, dairy and other treats are still allowed. “It’s not about totally cutting things out, but living a balanced life. My doctor keeps saying that it sucks that I have to pay him for such simple advice, but modern day people have forgotten how to eat and that’s why we break out!” [via Lucky Magazine]

You can read more about cystic acne here.

Do you suffer from cystic acne, Lovelies?

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