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How to get rid of Cystic Acne? Treatment and Home Remedies

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Skin Care

What is Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne (nodulocystic acne) is one of the most severe forms of acne vulgaris characterized by deep, inflamed breakouts, large bumps, cysts & nodules deeply rooted to the skin surface. They can occur anywhere on the skin with the cheeks, chin and back being commonly affected. These cysts are often filled with fluid containing white blood cells, dead cells, pus and bacteria which can spread the infection to a larger area if not treated early. Repeatedly touching or squeezing the acne might worsen the condition, leaving ugly deep scars on the skin.

Causes of Cystic Acne

  • Hormonal imbalance – Hyper secretion of androgen hormone stimulates the sebaceous glands which triggers overproduction of sebum, thereby increasing the inflammation of hair follicles. Menstruation, Pregnancy & use of oral contraceptives often increase the chances of cystic acne in women.
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Hot, humid climate & heavy exercise can lead to excessive perspiration, which can clog the skin pores resulting in acne breakouts.
  • Stress & Anxiety
  • Applying mineral oil based make up or using harsh cosmetic products.

Cystic Acne Picture

Home Remedies for Getting rid of Cystic Acne

Warm Compress

Warm compress can cure less serious cases of cystic acne within a short time if not overnight without medication. It relieves the inflammation by killing the bacteria responsible for acne. Heat also helps in dissolving & lowering the trapped sebum inside the clogged pore, so the cyst comes to a head faster.

Warm Water: Make sure that the water is not too hot to feel comfortable on your skin. Dampen a towel, a cotton ball, or sponge in the warm water & apply it frequently on the cysts until it loses heat. Again re-soak in warm water & repeat the same process. This method accelerates the healing process.

Rice Soak: You can use also “rice soak” warm compress as it retains heat for a longer duration & is a cheap, easy & low risk spot treatment to try. As the rice sock attains a comfortable temperature, put the compress onto your cystic acne. Repeat the procedure after reheating the compress once it gets cold. Use this remedy frequently to prevent the pimple from getting bigger and turning into a full-blown zit. Successful results are seen within 2-3 days.

Cabbage Poultice: Cabbage poultice prepared from heated cabbage leaves is another effective option used as a hot compress in cystic acne cures. It helps in evacuating the pus out of the cysts & reduces the swelling thereby shrinking cystic acne.

Baking Soda and Sea Salt

Mix some water, baking soda & sea salt together in a bowl to make a paste & apply this mixture evenly over the affected cystic acne region with a brush or clean fingertips. Allow it to dry for about 2 hours rinse it off with cold water. Repeat this process once or twice a week.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Green Tea

Mix water (one can use green tea also) & apple cider vinegar & apply it on the affected region. Apple cider vinegar serves as a skin toner which maintains a healthy skin pH, hence reducing future acne flare-ups. In addition, taking a glass of water with two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar could heal Cystic Acne internally as well.

Aloe Vera, Honey, Apple, Cinnamon Powder, Lemon juice & Turmeric

There are four combinations in which Honey can be used in Cystic Acne Healing.

  1. Aloe Vera & honey (1 teaspoon each)
  2. Honey (3-4 tablespoons) & cinnamon powder (1 teaspoon)
  3. Lemon juice, honey & turmeric
  4. Apple (1 & grated) & Honey (4-5 teaspoons)

Mix the ingredients mentioned in the combinations and you will get a thick paste in each of them. Apply the paste on the cyst affected skin, leaving it on for about 15-20 minutes. Then rinse the mask off with normal water.

Aloe Vera serves as an excellent hydrating and soothing agent for the skin while Glycolic acid from apple exfoliates the superficial dead skin layer. Honey refreshes the skin by unclogging the skin pores & fastens the cystic acne healing process.

Strawberry & Egg White

Strawberries are natural alkaline and serve as an effective remedy for nodular cystic acne. The method of application involves two patterns. For the first method, make a paste of uniform consistency by blending 5-8 strawberries and some egg white for about 10 seconds. Another method involves blending half a cup of strawberries with cream (1 tablespoon) & rice flour (1 teaspoon). In both the cases, apply the paste onto the nodular cystic acne. Allow it to dry for 30 minutes & then rinse it off. Strawberry leaves play an active role in acne healing as well. Take a handful of the leaves & steep them in hot water for about five minutes. Wash the leaves after soaking and apply them on acne zone for reducing the cyst size.

Photos of Cystic Acne


Almost all yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are good for refreshing the skin and maintaining its glow. Blend some mango pulp to make a thick paste or puree & apply it to get smooth, soft and glowing skin.

Potato Juice

Potato juice is rich in vitamins and minerals responsible for growth & restoration of healthy skin.  It is an excellent way to get rid of the problem naturally at home. Take a thick potato slice & rub it gently onto the cystic acne region for 7-10 minutes. Dry the wet juicy part of the skin for 30 minutes & then wash it with lukewarm water.


Apricots possess anti-inflammatory properties due to which they serve as effective natural remedies against cystic acne. Make some fresh apricot juice and dab a cotton ball in it to rub it on the nodular cystic acne for about 10 minutes. Leave it on for 2-3 hours; then rinse it off. Next, apply a cold compress onto the cystic acne to reduce the swelling to a great extent.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils regulate sebum production, possess antioxidant properties & promote essential fatty acid synthesis that prevents future acne breakouts. Additionally, they are rich in essential vitamins and minerals that promote the health of your skin.

Oil extractions of rosemary, lavender and rosewood possess anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties while oil extracted from lemon, grapefruit and clove retains anti-aging properties.

The best essential oils for curing cystic acne permanently include lavender oil, clove oil and tea tree Oil. For the application of any essential oil, you need to soak a cotton ball in the oil and rub it gently on the affected area for 15-20 minutes. Mixing these three essential oils is one of the best ways to get rid of cystic acne. However, it is important to consult your doctor if you suspect any allergic reactions.

Regular Sanitizing

Gently rinse and sanitize the affected area a couple of times per day to remove bacteria, sweat, oil and dirt that clogs skin pores & worsen the cystic acne. Keep the skin moist to avoid irritation.

Other Ways to Treat Cystic Acne

Some of the best options for getting rid of cystic acne fast are listed below:

Anti Acne Masks

Aspirin Mask: Take an aspirin tablet, crush & mix it with water to make a paste. Apply this paste on your face or the affected skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes for a face mask or overnight for the nodular cyst. Then rinse it off with normal water. Aspirin peels off the dead skin layer to reduce acne. Now apply honey to give a soothing & cooling effect to the inflamed cystic acne.

Clay Mask: Clay mask in combination with sulfur is also effective in cystic acne cures. Dab it on the face or acne cysts and leave it overnight. It shrinks acne size.

Topical Vitamin A Derivatives

Retinoid Acid Cream Application: It is a derivative acid of Vitamin A & is available by the name Tretinoin or Topical Isotretinoin. It softens skin & clear black heads too. The cream acts by making the skin thick & plumping up any pitting, so the acne becomes less visible.

Ketsugo Cream: This is available in Health Food Shops with its main ingredient being ‘Isolutrol’, an enzyme extracted from sharks possessing antimicrobial property.

Pictures of Cystic Acne

Cortisone shot for immediate shrinkage

It is one of the expensive treatment options for the problem. Cortisone or Steroid therapy works by shrinking the cyst and reducing any signs of redness. Dermatologists can also recommend the application of cortisone or steroid creams for home treatment of cystic acne & advice you to cover the affected area with a bandage. Cortisone shots can cause skin indentations so make sure to take proper precautions.

Cystic Acne Scar Removal Therapy

1. Chemical peels

Chemical peels can be used for getting rid of cystic acne scar, removing skin hyper pigmentation and dark spots as well as to even skin tone. They are available as glycolic, lactic, Mandelic & salicylic acid chemical peels.

2. Antibiotic & Hormone Therapy

Antibiotic therapy involves intake of erythromycin, clindamycin and tetracyclines. Women are sometimes given oral contraceptives as a remedy for severe acne breakouts. The oral contraceptive pill “Dianette” involves Oestrogen hormone that curbs cystic acne & the drug cyproterone acetate that reduces Testosterone levels.  These remedies are used for the duration of 6 months. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Alavil are also useful for this purpose.

3. Microdermabrasion

It is an expensive method that costs $100/session. The technique involves abrasion of the top skin layers using a machine that removes the deep seated acne scars.

4. Bioskinals (Laser Therapy)

It involves cold therapy, which removes deep acne scarring by increasing blood circulation in that region, hence improving skin texture. This painless technique uses low energy laser therapy (LLLT), involving anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic agents along with bio stimulants which strengthens the immune system & helps in skin regeneration. It accelerates the healing process by producing an inhibitory effect on overactive sebaceous gland, clears the trapped sebum thereby removing bacteria’s causing cystic acne.

How to Prevent Cystic Acne?

Having said all about the most effective treatment options, it is still best to take measures for preventing the acne from developing. Here are some of the best preventive measures:

Images of Cystic Acne

  • Following a healthy diet consisting of all essential vitamins and minerals can help you avoid this problem. Make sure to eat plenty of fibrous vegetables and fruits, whole grains as well as ample amounts of nuts and seeds like flaxseeds walnuts etc. Foods rich in vitamins A and E, such as cabbage, carrots, lemons and spinach, are also highly beneficial for skin.
  • Avoid fat-rich dairy products rich in cow hormones as they stimulate your sebaceous glands to secrete excessive sebum, which clogs the skin pores & produces acne. Do prefer skimmed milk only.
  • Drinking plenty of water is vital for keeping your body hydrated and your skin glowing. But, it is advisable to avoid sugary beverages as they may trigger an acne outbreak.
  • Keep your hands clean to prevent any dirt on the hands from reaching your face to cause acne.
  • Wash your bed sheets and pillowcases regularly to avoid any contamination of dirt & bacteria when you use them.
  • Always take a shower after an exercise session to remove sweat & bacteria that might clog the skin pores.

By  June 4th 2013

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