Friday, May 11, 2012

Acne Attack: How to get rid of cystic acne fast

I hate cystic acne! You know those type that are are embedded way deep in the skin, swell up in three dimensions, throb painfully as if some alien is growing inside and take forever to go away? Yes, I hate those with a passion and I think pretty much everyone hates them too.

I'm generally blessed with decent skin with minimal problems *touch wood* but when I get zits every now and then, they're almost always in the form of monstrous cystic acne the size of a 10 cent coin in the most prominent three dimensions. The worst thing is, whenever it happens, they come one after another and popcorned their way on my T zone.

Recently, I had the misfortune of having two enormous cystic acnes that had proven to be the most stubborn to date. Both in prominent spots no less, one between my eyebrows (I call those the "bindi zits" for obvious reason) and the other on my chin. As if the throbbing pain and the facial marring weren't bad enough, they had to happen while I was in Japan. Yes, Japan. That country where most women have flawless smooth skin and acne suffering women probably get shipped off to some remote island. So it was intensive "Operation rid the acne" daily while I was there and it seems like after more than a decade of dealing with these "zits of a bitch", I seem to have figured out a way to make them go away faster.

Many friends told me their cystic acnes normally stay with them for about two to three weeks minimum and some lasting for months! Many had to go to a dermatologist to get cortisone shots for relief and one girl friend even had to have hers removed progressively over two months by drawing out all the gunk with micro-needle. I was close to going for the cortisone shot when they finally went down thank god. Thus far, with my anti-cystic acne "programme" I've devised through years of trial and error, I seem to have managed to reduce the healing time to about 10 days without a visit to a dermatologist. 

But before I give you a low-down on how to attack those cystic acnes, I must make a disclaimer that it probably works well only on people who don't scar with pock marks when they squeeze their zits. People who tend to scar badly with depressions or holes on the skin are better off going to the dermatologist for a jab of cortisone to bring it down. So try this at your own risk.

Here's a list of ammunition and tools you'll need:

  • pimple/blackhead needle and squeezer
  • a pair of tweezers 
  • good strong pimple cream with salicylic acid (I really like the Shiseido Pimplit acne cream but it's only available in Japan unfortunately)
  • tea tree oil
  • 3M pimple patch
  • Nixoderm cream
Now here's my step-by-step guide, in two phases no less:

Phase One
  1. When a brand new one pops out, apply a drop or two of tea tree oil  after cleansing your face at night and massage the zit with firm pressure. Yes it hurts, but it'll pay off, for me at least. Then, apply a thick layer of Nixoderm cream, massaging further with firm pressure. It will tingle quite a bit and that's normal. Leave it on overnight. Repeat this for another two days. 
  2. Normally, by day three, there'll be some tiny bit of pus forming. Now it sounds gross but accumulate the pus and resist draining them until there's more cos extracting it when it's more "mature" makes extracting the oil plug off the blocked pore easier. Once there's some or substantial pus, drain them by carefully and lightly puncturing the affected pore with the pimple needle disinfected with rubbing alcohol. Lightly squeeze to see if the blocked oil plug comes out but with cystic acne, they mostly don't really "pus up" too much cos it's way too deep. 
  3. If your acne has matured and risen up, then make sure you clean out the pore by draining out all the blood and pus and try to remove the oil plug. The key to cleaning out the pore is to make sure the oil plug is removed cos if it's not, it'll just be there. If you can only manage to drain a wee bit or not at all, don't force it by brute force or you'll risk pushing it further down (according to a dermatologist). 
  4. After you're done squeezing, apply pimple cream with salicylic acid. If you manage to remove everything and extract the oil plug, congratulations, you zit is now healing and it probably isn't that bad a cystic acne to begin with. However, 90% of the time, these bloody cystic acne doesn't "mature" and I can normally get out just a tiny amount of pus without the chance of extracting the oil plug. So here's phase two. 
Phase Two
  1. So you've squeezed out a wee bit of pus and blood and there's still more brewing underneath with the oil plug still blocking the pore. Now, once you're done with your first attempt to drain the acne, apply a thin layer of acne cream with salicylic acid. Then, wait for the wound to dry up a bit. Once it's dried up, stick on a 3M acne sticker and leave it over night. I've tried sticking on the 3M acne sticker on newly formed cystic acne before any attempt to drain out the pus but it doesn't do anything since all the secretion and oil are embedded way too deep for the sticker to be effective. Thus, I only use it after I'm done some bit of draining.
  2. The next day, the 3M sticker should have drawn out quite a bit of oil and secretion (the sticker turns white) and normally, my acne would have gone down by a bit. For the day, just apply the pimple cream. At night, after cleansing, check if there's any newly formed pus and drain out if necessary and again, apply a thin layer of salicylic acid, let it dry up before sticking on the 3M acne sticker.
  3. Repeat this every night and your acne should deflate over a couple of days. Now one very important point to note; you need to exfoliate and remove any dead skin on the zit and around it once the pus stops forming. The key is to get rid of any dry flakes of skin covering the zit and you'll need to make sure the surrounding area is rid of dry skin to make sure the pores don't get blocked.
  4. When there's no pus, never attempt to squeeze the zit cos it would do nothing but cause trauma. Instead, when the acne deflating progress is stagnant, exfoliate the zit area a little with a gentle scrub. Next, remove all the dry flaking skin using a pair of tweezers and lightly lifting off those skin layers. Please don't rip your skin off by force cos it'll bleed. Never overdo this and remove only those that can be easily lifted off without any pain. Once you're done, stick on the 3M acne sticker overnight. The objective here is to make sure that the sticker is in contact with the fresh layer of skin that has just surfaced and not dead skin because it won't draw out secretion when you put it on dried up skin. 
  5. Do this for a few nights and by the time it's close to being completely deflated, switch to using just the pimple cream only, making sure you remove any dried up dead skin every night.
  6. Usually by now, some of the deeply embedded oil plug would have surfaced and you can easily prick the skin open lightly and remove them. If not, you just have to be patient and keep applying salicylic acid and it would go away but at least you can now cover it effectively with some concealer in the day and that it is no longer three dimensional. 
Again, I need to stress that this works for me and a few of my friends whose skin doesn't scar too badly or leave a depression when they extract zits. So don't try this if your skin has a tendency to scar badly since this trial-and-error "programme" of mine involves squeeze the zit. Hope this helps and I'm gonna say this one more time, I fucking hate cystic acne. Die you cystic acnes, die!


Tiffany said...

hey bmuses,
hope your cystic acne came down by now, i seldom have acne but i do have dull skin tone, making me look tired and unattractive! :P

from my understanding you can get some pretty effective kill-acne gel from watsons/guardian like the BP 2.5%. they have 5%, 10% but just really start with 2.5% and see how it react before ramping up to 5%

just to show you the box:

also exfoliate with st ives apricot scrub to cleanse and keep the inflammation at bay.

not sure if organic skincare offers better solution? still, keep to what works for you!

B said...

Oh yes those little f@&kers are gone but it's still a little mark that'll take another 2 weeks to fade off. Haha, those BP 2.5% or even 10% won't work on cystic acne cos they're just embedded too deep.

I think right now, I'll probably just stick to Suki Skincare for the organic options and I'm using some non-organic ones. Back sliding I know but better those than skin problems!

Anonymous said...

I have mild acne as well (about a new pimple every few days). However, for a period of 4 months I almost had NO new pimples, I thought it was a miracle! It wasn't until recently that I started getting those HUGE CYSTS on my chin and more breakouts. I have really tried to found out what had changed and I think I have. During those 4 months I was in school, and because I'm not a coffee drinker I would end up drinking 3 or 4 cups of green tea every day for a caffeine boost. I'm back on my green tea and not a single pimple has popped up! Maybe give this a go, but you will need to keep drinking it for at least a few weeks before seeing major results. Hope this helps someone!!

John Smith said...

I like your article and it is helpful for me. It is better to prevent acne before it appears. Baking soda, aloe vera,honey mask, egg white mask, lemon juice are some of the good home remedies against cystic acne. My source:Best Home Remedies For Cystic Acne

Hiasd Asd said...

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Brad Hogg said...

I’m flattened for your blogs writings and blogs as well. remove acne scars

Anonymous said...

Acne or Pimple is a BIG Problem that crosses the borders of age, gender, race and social status. Benzac AC is a topical water-based gel wiyh its active ingredient benzoyl peroxide perfect for the treatment of acne. Benzac AC aparts from its acne-treatment counterparts is that it does not contain alcohol and it is fragrance free. Read more at:

Nancy Jhon said...

Spotted skin, scars and acne marks make you feel embarrassed and hurt self-esteem as well. Many of us opt for cosmetics and other products to get rid of acne residues. There are many home remedies which have proven their effects on lightening these skin marks. Tomato and Lemon Juice: Take a “fresh tomato” and make its paste. Mix it well with one tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply the paste on face for around 20 minutes and rinse it off gently with water after 20 minutes. Pulp of Aloe Vera: Let the pulp from Aloe Vera dry for 5 minutes in sun. Add 6-8 drops of lemon juice to it and apply on the affected area and face for 15 minutes. Onions: Cut the onion into small pieces. Grind those pieces and separate the juice from the residue. Apply the juice for few minutes on the affected skin and rinse after 10 minutes. Cucumber and Milk: Make a paste out of cucumber, milk and a bit of lime extract. It will serve as a face mask. Apply thoroughly and wash it with warm water after 10 minutes. You must consider a visit to dermatologist in severity of the condition. But, these home remedies are proven effective in getting rid of acne marks, black spots, pimples and dark spots.

mickey said...

Acne is very familiar among teeenagers.It usually appears on back, shoulders and

forehead. Excesive amount of oil production by sebacious glands can cause acne, But

sometime your horomone can be blamed for this infection of skin. we usually don't like

any marks or pimples on our face but still most of us typically face acne related

problems. And if you are thinking that how can you get rid of acne scars,i have an

amazing site which can give you the best ways to get rid of acne scar . some of us also have the problem of cystic acne
,i can only suggest you to visit this site at-least for once you will find answers of all

your questions.

jhofinerwilliams said...

Acne is common and usually treatable. Cystic acne is skin condition in which the pores in the skin become blocked, leading to infection and inflammation in some cases. This condition mainly affects the face but sometimes it can affect upper arms. When I was suffering from this condition first question that was striking in my mind every now and then was how I can get rid of this condition. It was very irritating and painful. One fine day my friends suggested me to use acne treatment. It was very effective, now my face is much better than it was before the treatment.

KendraKimberlin said...

Dermalmd Blemish Serum has done well to help me quickly move past my monthly acne. I usually get deep cystic acne during aunt flo and ovulation. However, treating it quickly with this serum has helped it significantly.

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