This Redditor Shared Her Cystic Acne Transformation and the Products She Swears By
She broke down her exact morning and nighttime skin-care routines.
Navigating the dos and don'ts of treating cystic acne can be a cruel game of trial and error. Luckily though, resources like Reddit can help guide you in the right direction and discover other acne-sufferers' tried and trusted products.
For example, in a post on r/SkincareAddiction, user breadprincess shared before and after pictures of her experience with cystic acne over the course of two years, highlighting the skin-care staples she claims helped clear her complexion. (Related: This Woman Transformed Her Skin In a Month Using All Drugstore Products)
But before jumping into her skin-care routine, it's worth noting that this Redditor's struggle with cystic acne involved more than just testing and tossing certain products. She explained that in 2016, she was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis—a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus—and adenomyosis—a condition that causes uterine tissue to grow in the muscular walls of the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic—which led her to have a hysterectomy.
"After my hysterectomy my incredibly oily skin slowly has turned into combo skin (normal-dry with a slightly oily t-zone)," the OP wrote. "This is because one of my ovaries had been completely consumed by endometriosis and it was completely throwing my hormones out of whack...[which] really did a number on my skin."
Another possible contributing factor to her cystic acne: a vitamin D deficiency she'd apparently been experiencing for years. While the correlation between vitamin D and skin conditions like cystic acne is still unclear, researchers believe that because vitamin D helps to regulate the immune system, and acne is an inflammatory skin condition, the two could be connected. When the Redditor's allergist suggested taking vitamin D supplements, it ended up making "an immediate difference" in her cystic acne, she said. (Related: 7 Surprising Acne Facts That Can Help Clear Your Skin for Good)
But the OP's "hardest" obstacle was resisting the urge to touch/scratch her face. She says she was diagnosed with dermatillomania, a condition related to obsessive-compulsive disorder that involves chronic skin-picking, according to Mental Health America. ICYDK, picking at cystic acne can cause scarring or lingering redness that lasts for weeks, Austin-based celebrity aesthetician and skin expert Renée Rouleau, founder of Renée Rouleau Skincare, previously told us.
Fortunately, in addition to resisting the urge to pick/scratch, the OP found that covering her blemishes with hydrocolloid bandages (transparent bandages that can help treat acne and prevent bacteria build-up) has been "a lifesaver" for her skin.
After introducing vitamin supplements into her routine and working through her skin-picking issues, the OP reevaluated and switched up her skin-care products. In her Reddit post, she listed her go-to's for both her morning and nighttime skin-care routines. The best part? All of the products listed below are affordable, ranging from as little as $6 to just $42.
Morning Skin-Care Routine
She uses Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($10, amazon.com) before applying Neutrogena On-the-Spot 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Cream ($6, amazon.com) all over her face. She also applies CeraVe Moisturizer ($11, amazon.com), followed by Biore Aqua Rich Watery Gel Sunscreen ($18, amazon.com) and Bite Agave Lip Mask ($26, sephora.com).
Nighttime Skin-Care Routine
If she's wearing makeup, she'll start with Clinique Take The Day Off Balm ($26, amazon.com). Otherwise, she'll begin by cleansing with Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask ($7, walmart.com) and cover problem areas with Stridex Medicated Acne Pads ($4, walmart.com) every other day. Similar to her morning routine, she'll also apply Neutrogena On-the-Spot 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Cream ($6, amazon.com) all over her face, followed by Jules and Esther Pink Rose Facial Oil ($42, julesandesther.com), CeraVe Moisturizer ($11, amazon.com), and Bite Agave Lip Mask ($26, sephora.com).
While every case of cystic acne is unique and requires guidance from a dermatologist, there are some key ingredients across the OP's routine that are particularly helpful for the condition. Benzoyl peroxide, for example, kills acne-causing bacteria and delivers anti-inflammatory benefits, Rouleau told us in a previous interview. And because the Neutrogena spot treatment only contains 2.5 percent of the ingredient, it typically doesn't dry out the skin too much. (Related: 6 Surprising Things Making Your Acne Flare Up—and What to Do About It)
Stridex pads, on the other hand, contain salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that unclogs sebum build-up deep inside pores and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It's especially helpful for oily skin types, but it can also make skin dry and thin over time, so it's best to manage the dosage and days of use to prevent this, Paul Dean, M.D., a dermatologist from Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic in San Diego and founder of Skin Resource MD, previously told us.
As far as moisturizers go, CeraVe's lotion is a favorite among acne-prone skin types. Papri Sarkar, M.D., a dermatologist in Brookline, MA., told us that CeraVe is one of her favorite brands to recommend to patients with open pimples on their skin because it contains ceramides, aka lipids that form the outer layer of the skin and help to retain moisture.
Just remember: While these products helped this Redditor navigate her cystic acne struggles, it's best to touch base with your doctor about what might work best for you.