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How to Treat Cystic Acne

Cystic acne, a severe form of acne, involves painful, deep pimples known as cysts. Treating this stubborn skin condition requires a multifaceted approach, focusing on lifestyle changes, skincare routines, and sometimes medical treatments. It's crucial to treat cystic acne not only to improve skin appearance but also to prevent scarring and emotional distress.

Understanding Cystic Acne

Cystic acne develops when the pores of your skin become blocked, leading to infection and inflammation. These blockages can occur due to various factors such as hormonal changes, genetics, stress, and certain lifestyle habits.


  • Deep, painful cysts under the skin
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Scarring or hyperpigmentation


  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Lifestyle factors (diet, stress)

Cystic Acne on Skin

Effective Treatment Strategies

1. Professional Medical Treatments

  • Prescription Medication: Dermatologists often prescribe oral antibiotics, retinoids, or hormonal treatments like birth control pills.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: For immediate relief from painful cysts, these injections reduce inflammation quickly.

2. Skincare Routine Adjustments

  • Gentle Cleansing: Use a mild cleanser twice a day to remove impurities without irritating your skin.
  • Non-comedogenic Products: Choose skincare products that won't clog pores.
  • Exfoliation: Exfoliate gently to remove dead skin cells, but avoid harsh scrubs that can aggravate cystic acne.

3. Lifestyle Modifications

  • Diet: Reduce intake of dairy and high-glycemic foods, which can trigger acne.
  • Stress Management: Engage in activities like yoga or meditation to manage stress levels.
  • Adequate Sleep: Ensure sufficient sleep as it helps in skin healing and rejuvenation.

Cystic Acne Treatment

Blue Light Therapy for Treating Cystic Acne

Blue light therapy has emerged as a promising treatment for cystic acne. It works by targeting the bacteria that cause acne, reducing inflammation and improving skin clarity.

How It Works

  • Targets Acne-Causing Bacteria: Devices such as the Glowastica, which utilize blue light will penetratee the skin and kills Propionibacterium acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne.
  • Reduces Inflammation: It helps in reducing the redness and swelling associated with acne cysts.


  • Non-Invasive: A gentle treatment option without the harsh effects of chemical treatments.
  • Safe for Regular Use: Can be used regularly without the risk of damaging the skin.
  • Complements Other Treatments: Works well alongside other acne treatments.


  • Not a Standalone Cure: Best used in combination with other acne treatments.
  • Multiple Sessions Required: Consistency is key for effective results.

Natural Remedies and Their Impact

In addition to medical treatments and blue light therapy, natural remedies can also play a supportive role in managing cystic acne.

  • Tea Tree Oil: Known for its antibacterial properties.
  • Green Tea Extract: Offers anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Aloe Vera: Helps in soothing the skin and reducing redness.

Aloe Vera for Face

Preventive Measures

Preventing cystic acne involves maintaining a healthy skincare regimen and making lifestyle adjustments.

Prevention Strategy Description
Regular Skincare Routine Cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize regularly.
Sun Protection Use sunscreen to protect the skin from UV damage.
Avoid Picking or Squeezing Prevents scarring and further inflammation.
Stay Hydrated Keeps the skin hydrated and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Diet Really Affect Cystic Acne?

Certain foods, particularly those high in dairy and glycemic index, can exacerbate cystic acne. A balanced diet with reduced dairy and sugar intake can help manage breakouts.

Can Makeup Worsen Cystic Acne?

Using non-comedogenic makeup is essential as certain makeup products can clog pores, worsening cystic acne. Always choose products labeled as "oil-free" or "non-comedogenic."

Is Sun Exposure Good or Bad for Cystic Acne?

While small amounts of sun exposure can temporarily dry out acne, excessive sun can irritate the skin and lead to more breakouts. Always use a non-comedogenic sunscreen.

How Long Does It Take to See Results from Blue Light Therapy?

Results from blue light therapy can typically be seen after several weeks of consistent treatment. However, this can vary depending on the severity of the acne and skin type.

Can Stress Management Really Help with Cystic Acne?

Stress increases cortisol levels, which can exacerbate acne. Managing stress through techniques like meditation, yoga, or regular exercise can help reduce acne flare-ups.

Cystic Acne on Face


Treating cystic acne effectively requires a comprehensive approach that includes medical treatments, lifestyle changes, and proper skincare practices. Incorporating treatments like blue light therapy can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your acne management plan. Remember, patience and consistency are key in the journey to clearer skin.

Tatiana Danchenko

Tatiana is a certified practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture with more than 15 years of experience in the field. She earned her TCM Diploma from the Canadian College of Holistic Health and is an active member of the CTCMPAO. Tatiana's expertise lies in addressing joint and muscle pain, emotional and digestive issues, insomnia, and stress management. She runs a beauty clinic in Richmond Hill, Ontario, dedicated to providing natural solutions for a youthful appearance.

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