Most of us suffered with acne as teens, and many of us continue to cope with this unsightly and embarrassing skin problem as adults. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne affects an estimated 50 million Americans annually, including a whopping 85% of individuals between the ages of 12 and 24.
However, you may find yourself dealing with a much more serious issue: cystic acne. Acne symptoms may include blackheads, white heads, and pimples, but deeper lumps, or cysts, are not as common.
Acne occurs when bacteria becomes trapped inside pores because they are clogged by oil and dead skin cells. With cystic acne, the infection goes deep into the skin to cause painful, red bumps. If these cysts burst, they can cause further infection, as well as permanent scarring.
Cystic acne may appear in a variety of areas, mainly the face, neck, back, and chest. If you happen to suffer from cystic chest acne, it could stop you from living your life to the fullest, especially during the summer months when you avoid wearing tank tops or swimsuits that expose a portion of your chest.
What can you do to get rid of these cysts? For starters, do not “pop” them. This is a great way to spread infection, prolong symptoms, and cause scarring.
What you should do instead is consider the many home remedies that can not only shorten the life of your breakouts, but potentially prevent future problems. If cystic chest acne is ruining your life, here are a few home remedies to implement post haste.
How you treat your skin is important when it comes to acne, and especially cystic acne. You can't do much about hormonal fluctuations that tend to prompt breakouts, but you can work to keep your skin in ship shape.
There are three main contributing factors where acne is concerned: oil production, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Your regimen should include gentle cleansers that reduce oil, gentle exfoliants (used with a spinning face brush) that slough off dead skin cells, antibacterial treatments, and an appropriate moisturizer for your skin type.
You may also want to include products with salicylic acid, which helps with skin turnover, as well as regular mud masks to help reduce oil and pull impurities from pores. Kaolin clay is a great option to unclog pores.
These ministrations should help to reduce the onset of acne, but the truth is that fluctuating hormones could derail your best efforts at ongoing skin care. In this case, there are several treatments you can turn to for relief of cystic acne symptoms.
Tea Tree Oil
I know what you're thinking: won't putting oil on acne make it worse? In most cases you would be correct, especially if you already have oily skin. Tea tree oil is different, though.
It has properties that make it ideal for treating acne of all kinds, and particularly cystic acne. The main benefit is that it is antibacterial, which means it can disinfect your pores. All you have to do is put a few drops on a cotton swab and dab it on affected areas.
Because of the strong smell, it's best to do this right before you go to bed. You'll likely see a major improvement when you wake up in the morning. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to bath water to treat acne all over your body, or mix a couple of drops into some aloe vera, honey, or even your daily moisturizer to spread all over affected areas.
Just be aware that tea tree oil can dry your skin. For this reason, your best bet may be to apply it directly to acne. Remember that dry skin produces more oil to compensate, leading to further breakouts. So try not to over-dry your skin and moisturize appropriately.
The antibacterial properties of honey are well known. If you want to take advantage of them when treating cystic acne, you'll find the process quite easy. You can, for example, apply honey directly to breakouts, leave it for 15 minutes, and then rinse it away with warm water.
You can also use crystallized honey as a scrub, but this may be too harsh on some skin, especially if you're experiencing a breakout.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This simple, inexpensive product is not just for salads. Its antibacterial and pH properties make it ideal for both household cleaning and treating all kinds of health issues. When applied to acne breakouts at night, it could result in reduced inflammation by morning.