I've been battling with cystic acne for as long as I can remember, namely around my chin and jaw area. These type of spots tend to make their appearance in large, angry-looking, raised bumps which are painful to touch, and never come to a head. They linger forever and once they finally subside, they often leave dark marks just to make them that little bit more deserving of my hatred. I've been trying to work out a magic formula to banish these blemishes for years, but no matter what I try they always reappear. Although I haven't managed to completely eradicate their presence, I have discovered a little trio of products which help to clear the blemishes, soothe any irritation and finally fade the red marks.
First up is the Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion. This stuff is pure genius, and I cannot praise it enough. I've tried my fair share of spot treatments, but my little cystic friends seemed completely immune to every offering, even the infamous Origins Super Spot Remover. This is a really runny, liquid lotion which you have to shake up first as the sediment tends to settle at the bottle of the bottle. It's a little tricky to use as it's so fluid, but I find that pouring a little on a cotton pad and then dabbing on to the affected areas is the easiest way to use it. This works wonders on under the skin spots. I don't know how it does it, but somehow it can turn the angriest, most painful lump into a little pimple half its size after a couple of uses. I swear by this lotion when I have a cystic breakout, and I haven't found anything that even begins to compare with this. Pricey for such a small bottle, but a little goes a long way. The only downside is its seriously strong smell of sulphur, but that's something I'm more than willing to put up with when it works this good.
Once I've dosed the breakout with some buffering lotion, I follow up with a soothing lotion which helps with the redness and irritation. My favourite is HealGel Face* which I've mentioned before. This is a lovely product for those of us with sensitive skin and really helps to infuse some moisture back into the skin whilst leaving it glowing and smooth. I use one pump for my whole face, and it leaves my skin feeling soft and nourished. I find this step crucial when dealing with cystic breakouts, as often spot lotions and treatments can dry out the area and leave the affected spots flaky and dry, often drawing more attention to them. Following up any spot treatment with a light, hydrating lotion really helps my skin, especially with the healing process.
Finally, a radiance serum. My current favourite is Elemental Herbology Cell Food. I got this after Christmas as part of a set in the sales, so it was a proper bargain. I use a pump of this after HealGel, and again it leaves my skin feeling so nourished and revitalized. A good radiance serum is essential to me for helping with the marks left after a breakout, and this one really helps to speed up that process and fades marks really nicely. It doesn't completely erase them of course, but it certainly gives them a little hand along the way. This also smells really herbal and it's completely non-greasy, so I can use it in the morning as well as in the evening, and it sits really well under my makeup.
Using these products seems to help clear up any active breakouts I have, until the next bout of little buggers come along a few weeks later. So until I find a permanent solution to a suspected hormone imbalance, I'll continue dousing my face with these lotions and potions.
If any of you suffer from under the skin spots or cystic breakouts, I'd love to hear what your hero products are for battling them!