Ladies if you are past 25 and still breaking out especially around the jaw-line, you’re akin to the sisterhood of adult/cystic acne. According to multiple statistical studies conducted over the last decade or so adult acne has been seen as a fait accompli on the rise and research has linked its prevalence with modern day living, lifestyle, stress and eating habits. Unlike teenage zits, acne cysts are a type of infection that forms deeper under the skin and doesn't heal easily with over-the-counter medicaments. For most women, cystic acne is linked to a hormonal imbalance. That’s why you're likely to experience cystic acne around your menstrual cycles targeting the lower portion of face and neck.
The Course Of Cystic Acne
I hate to break it to you, but cystic acne and its sequelae - post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and scars can linger for weeks/months even years. In some cases the inflammation subsides but a brown discoloration persists of ever and annoying more. The darker your complexion, the longer it usually takes to subside since dark skin tones have a lot of melanin and a tendency to scar easy.
Victual Alert - Does Diet Affect Cystic Acne?
Studies have shown that it does - Starches/refined carbs, sugars and dairy have been implicated as acne and inflammation aggravators. You may want to slow down on eating too much chocolate, cheese or ice cream, as they may be the instigating culprits behind your cystic breakouts. To determine if your acne cysts are directly related to what you eat, cut dairy out of your diet for two weeks. If you don't develop any new cysts and you normally would have by now, then this might solve your problem. Slowly introduce dairy back into your diet, and if you start breaking out again, that's your body's tolerance level. Repeat the same experiment with other implicated food groups.
The Importance Of Skincare In Cystic Acne Prone Skin
Maintaining a healthy skincare routine is paramount in treating cystic acne. Heavy moisturizers or makeup applied to dirty skin can trap in the oils and dirt blocking pores, you need to make sure your skin is thoroughly exfoliated and cleaned before moisturizing or putting on any makeup. People with oily acne-prone skin should also be more diligent about keeping their skin well hydrated as the oily skin specific cleansers and scrubs strip skin of its natural oils making skin overtly dry, logic dictates you need to replace the moisture back into skin with oil free moisturizers to keep skin hydrated, calm and healthy. While treating oily skin I put my faith in oil-free moisturizers with Amino Acids or Hyaluronic Acid as they are gentle on skin don’t cause pore blockage and give naturally subtle hydration. Another on-point skincare tip is applying regular oil free sunscreen to avoid any PIH sunburns or UV related skin damage.
Mild to moderate acne can be controlled with hormone balancing, diet control and proper skincare. Using retinoid creams, glycolic acid products and BPO helps to prevent pore blockage and bacterial proliferation.
People who suffer from aggressive acne I’d advice them to see a dermatologist ASAP to avoid long term skin damage and scarring. They need medical treatment focused on balancing hormones and reducing the size of oil glands e.g, Yasmin or Diane 35 pills along with Isotretinoin (Curacne) or cyproterone acetate (Androcur).
Last bit of preventative practical tips:
· Don’t touch your skin unnecessarily or pick on the cysts.
· While sitting don’t rest or cradle your face with your hands as mechanical rubbing promotes cystic acne too.
· Clean your phone frequently and while having it pressed against your face.
Pay attention, take care and your skin will respond.