Cystic acne is not that different from your average zit, save for the fact that they form underneath the skin. "[It forms] when our oil glands produce a lot of sebum, and the pore gets clogged with dead skin cells and bacteria known as propionibacterium acne, which accumulate and get trapped inside [the skin]," explains Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas of BeautiqueMD.
This results in inflammation, then it eventually becomes that painful, under-the-skin pimple that seems impossible to treat. But despite being literally untouchable, cystic acne is curable. Below, Dr. Gaile runs down two of her recommended methods that can yield quick results:
1. Steroid Injection
Your first frontier to a cystic breakout should be getting professional help. The moment you feel a cyst forming, Dr. Gaile suggests going straight to your dermatologist to get an intralesional steroid injection. "This will control the inflammation, and usually gets rid of the pimple in 24 to 48 hours," she says. The injection will also reduce the risk of scarring, which usually happens after a cyst pops.
2. Spot Treatment Massage
"Topical creams usually don't work in controlling or stopping an already existing cystic acne from growing," the derm admits. However, if you can't visit your doctor for a steroid injection, she says that using over-the-counter spot treatments would be better than attempting to pop the pimple yourself.
According to Dr. Gaile, you may give the lesion a quick massage with spot treatments containing either clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid. Gently work the product in for five to 10 seconds and leave it on your skin to dry. The massage should help your skin absorb the anti-acne ingredients and hopefully calm the breakout.
Try these next time one sneaks up on you!