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My Acne Story

Cystic Facial Acne

Cystic acne is an advanced and often times painful type of acne that many teenagers and adults can suffer from. I’ll be sharing with you some tips and tricks for fighting Cystic Acne.

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The LEFT June 10th 2016 and the RIGHT is December 10th 2015 exactly 7 months apart…

First off, you get a pimple when a pore in your skin gets clogged, usually with dead skin cells. Sometimes bacteria can get trapped inside the pore, too, causing the area to become red and swollen. Any type of friction on the skin can also cause acne (my glasses do that to me on my nose). Cystic acne happens when this infection goes deep into your skin, creating a red, tender bump that’s full of pus & blood. It may hurt or itch. If a cyst bursts, the infection can spread, causing more breakouts. That’s why we don’t pick and squeeze at a pimple.

Unfortunately, I was a victim of cystic acne for many many years and I had tried everything from topical creams and cleansers (benzoyl peroxide, tetracycline, salicylic acid) to over-the-counter pills. Sadly, none of them worked for me! I never tried the pills long enough for them to work due to my stomach issues. The creams and cleansers dried my skin up SO much that I started to look like a shedding snake. Aside from the fact that my face looked like a volcano about to erupt, now I had the pleasure of scaly and shedding skin. No Thank You!

I became so interested in fixing my acne problem that I went to school to become aesthetician to learn more about the skin. That’s where I met an amazing acne specialist who helped me figure out stubborn acne! Everyone’s acne journey could be different not all acne can be treated the same! I’m just going to be sharing about cystic acne today! No one should have to live with cystic acne.

Tips & tricks for fighting Cystic Acne, things I changed and now avoid!

  • Only OIL FREE products touch my face.
  • OIL FREE make up
  • OIL FREE moisturizers
  • Change your pillowcase every other night (I flip the pillow the night in between)
  • When talking on the phone don’t let it rest on your face. (Friction and bacteria will cause acne to appear)
  • Birth control…it can help your acne or make it worse so pay close attention to your body ( I use Sprintec I think its a good birth control all around)
  • You have to cut back on sugars! Even sugars in your carbs.
  • Dairy Free is great! It helps with a lot! (I do eat hard block cheeses every now and then)
  • Sulfate-Free in your shampoo and conditioner
  • Change toothpaste if you’re always breaking out around your mouth. (Sensodyne toothpaste is what I use)
  • Also, chapsticks clog a lot of pores around the mouth. (100% pure petroleum jelly I swear by it for chapstick now)
  • Don’t pick at anything on your face let everything come out naturally.
  • If you can get professional acne facials done once a month or every other anything’s better then nothing.

Morning Routine 

  • Wake up, and wash your face with a gentle, mild cleanser that is free of alcohol and parabens. I use a purifying foaming cleanser by Believe that is sulfate and paraben free, but you can use any type of gentle cleanser that is already working for you. Using harsh anti-acne cleansers that contain salicylic acid or other strong ingredients can draw more oil in also dry out your skin too much.
  • Pat your skin dry with a clean towel. I made sure to buy a big stack of face towels so I’m always using a clean one. If you have some pimples that have come to a yellow head, after a hot steamy shower you may press on the pimple and drag the towel lightly across if its ready the pimple will extract its self if don’t force it.
  • Using a cotton pad, dab a good toner all over your face and/or wherever you may have cystic acne. I like to make my own with some Georges Liquid Aloe Vera Drink and ¼ witch hazel. This stuff is SO good; I like to keep it in the fridge when I was really inflamed! (ICE really inflamed areas to bring swelling down) It helped soothe my skin. I now use a balancing toner by Believe which is an aloe based. Toner is great to rebalance the skins ph. levels also to clean up anything that was left behind but makes sure not to get anything too harsh and to striping (just plain witch hazel, way to harsh). Another good toner is Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera.
  • Once the toner has dried, I apply my 2.5% face reality acne med. which is benzoyl peroxide.
  • Last, if you need it put an oil-free moisturizer on. (I only used moisturizer once a day in the winter when I was going through this processes) I now use moisturizer every morning some nights if I feel it’s needed.

Night Routine

  • Remove any makeup! (You may use an oil free make up remover just watch for irritation if your skin is sensitive)
  • Wash your face with a gentle, mild cleanser that is free of alcohol and paraben. I use the same one I use in the morning.
  • If you’re like me and sweat a lot when you work out you need something to help draw out impurities. I use charcoal detox soap only when I need it. It can be drying but it is great!!! (Old Fort Soap Company in Fort Wayne has a good one).
  • Toner just like the morning.
  • Then put on 5% face reality acne med. which is benzoyl peroxide. (I also use Believes Acne PM-5 same thing as the face reality’s acne med.)
  • Let acne med dry for at least 10 minutes then put on an oil-free moisturizer.

June 21st, 2017 No Make Up!!!

I didn’t talk much about exfoliation because your skin is in a sensitive state right now. I highly suggest going to a professional once a month to get an acne treatment facial. Where they will give you the exfoliation you need. Once you have most of your breakouts under control then you can start doing an antioxidant scrub once or twice a week for your exfoliation.

Again this is what worked for ME, so it may not necessarily work for you. This didn’t happen overnight either! My acne got worse for a couple months before it got better. ( Also, keep in mind skin allergies; sometimes we don’t know we are allergic to something. You know your body best. Watch for rashes, red bumps that are not pimples, and too much dryness a little is okay at first.

I am not a dermatologist just a regular girl who has suffered from cystic acne, but I do hope this helps you!

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