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Facial Cleanser

Ultimate clean, no over-drying

Clearing Tonic

Instant skin rebalancing

Acne Treatment Serum

All-day Protection

Clear Pore Serum

All night pore clearing

Derm-X Cloth

Skin renewing exfoliation

Moisture Complex

Weightless oil-free moisture

Microderm Scrub

Instantly Smoother Skin

Clarifying Mask

Deep down skin detox

Probiotic Complex

Clearer skin from the inside


Cystic Acne: Treatment, Causes, and Prevention

Cystic acne is painful, severe, and capable of causing deep scarring, which makes it a real challenge to manage. The best treatment is multi-faceted.

To manage and treat cystic acne, it's best to target all of the main causes of acne, including inflammation, excess oil production, and acne-causing bacteria like P. acnes. By using products for cystic acne that manage each of these concerns, you can reduce the severity of your cystic acne and improve your overall skin health.

Everyone's cystic acne is a little different, but most breakouts respond to the same sort of acne treatment. That means it's very possible and approachable to improve your cystic acne, even if you've struggled with acne treatment options in the past.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Young woman touching her face.

What is Cystic Acne? How is it Different From Other Acne?

Cystic acne is inflammatory acne that causes deep, pus-filled blemishes to form under the skin.

Cystic acne is generally considered to be one of the most severe types of acne, as it is likely to cause deep acne scarring, pain, and high levels of inflammation. Dealing with acne cysts also tends to be a more long-term effort over other types of acne due to these factors.

Different triggers, like imbalanced hormone levels, genetics, and even age can factor into the development of acne cysts.

Cystic acne can also be indicative of internal health problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and can therefore be chronic in some cases.

Woman looking in the mirror
Cystic acne differs from other acne because its pimples are filled with pus, making them hard and painful.

Why Does My Acne Hurt?

One of the telltale signs of acne cysts is painful pimples that hurt when touched (and may even ache without being stimulated at all).

When breakouts occur, inflammation traps bacteria and excess oil in the pores of our skin, causing the body to send cells to attack the contaminants via an inflammatory response.

Proteins involved in an inflammatory response also activate sensory neurons responsible for producing painful sensations.

So, the more inflammation you experience, the more pain you're likely to feel, too. That means inflammatory acne like cystic acne tends to be the most painful, swollen, and red.

Causes of Acne Under the Skin

Though cystic acne may have specific triggers (like genetics or hormones), it shares the same causes as all other types of acne.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology the three main causes of all acne are as follows:

  • inflammation,

  • bacteria (P. acnes bacteria), and

  • excess dead skin cells and oil production.

A man with acne scars
Acne has multiple causes, so it's important to understand and treat them all to get rid of cystic pimples.

When cystic acne flares occur, bacteria and oil clog the pores and are trapped inside by inflammation. Acne cysts fill with pus as they develop, forming a hard, painful blemish.

How Do You Treat Cystic Acne?

The best way to treat cystic acne is to use topical, acne-fighting products that have been formulated with active ingredients meant to treat existing breakouts and prevent future ones.

It should not be necessary to see a board-certified dermatologist to treat cystic acne unless it's extremely severe and hasn't responded to your attempts to take care of it yourself.

Even still, options commonly proposed by dermatologists, including oral antibiotics and prescription acne medication, come with side effects of their own and can cause irritation.

We recommend checking out either our Basic Kit or, if you're looking to treat more severe acne cysts, our Ultimate Kit, to access a complete system of skin care products designed to treat acne and help your skin look its best.

We've combined the best that nature and science have to offer to make our kits the best available on the market. In fact, we guarantee that our kits will get rid of your acne.

How Do I Get Rid of Cystic Acne Fast?

A man washes his face
You can't make cystic acne go away immediately, but you can make it look and feel much better.

Control Inflammation

Inflammation is one of the main culprits behind breakouts, especially in the case of cystic acne. Products that help your skin calm down may reduce pain, help your blemishes heal faster, and make your skin look healthier.

To accomplish these goals and more, we recommend our Moisture Complex, which contains caffeine to manage redness and pumpkin seed to soothe irritation.

Manage Excess Oil

Salicylic acid has the unique power of shrinking the pores and drying up excess oil that can cause acne, which is why we've developed both our Clear Pore Serum and our Facial Cleanser with this powerful ingredient. These products are oil free, and thus will not further exacerbate issues with excess oil.

Keep the Skin Clean and Clear

Keeping acne-causing bacteria at a manageable level is an important part of preventing cystic acne. Benzoyl peroxide is a great ingredient to do this.

That's why we've created our Acne Treatment Serum, which can be used after your cleanser and toner to fight bad bacteria that linger on the skin.

When to See a Professional

If your cystic acne is severe enough to cause high levels of pain and deep scarring, and it has failed to respond to your attempts to treat it yourself, it may be necessary to consult a professional.

In most cases, it's possible to clear severe acne without taking the time and money to see a dermatologist, who is likely to write a prescription even if you don't really need one.

Taking control of your skincare regimen by developing one that's designed to fight acne, including acne cysts, can make a huge difference.

Rely on Topical Treatments First

Topical treatments are those that you apply on top of the skin, including products like facial cleansers, spot treatment, toners, serums, face masks, etc.

Here at Exposed Skincare, we've designed our topical products with only the best acne-fighting ingredients nature and science have to offer, including benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, and things like green tea extract, tree tea oil, and more.

Our products are designed to help calm inflammation, cleanse the skin of excess oil, and kill acne-causing bacteria to keep breakouts at bay.

Check out these success stories to see how comprehensive and consistent skincare regimens, including the Exposed Skincare System, can help treat severe acne and cystic acne without the need for a dermatologist:

Lauren Nash before and after Exposed treatment
User Lauren Nash shares how Exposed helped clear up her cystic acne.

"This time last year, I had the absolute worst skin I’ve ever experiencedMy whole jawline was bruised, swollen, and painful with huge cystic acne. I used Proactiv (doesn’t work for me anymore), I tried Dr. Sandra Lee’s skin care line (Dr. Pimple Popper) and it didn’t work for me, etc. I finally started using Exposed Skin Care and it has been a HUGE life changer. I finally have the clearest skin I’ve ever had since I was probably 12 years old."


Before and after Exposed Skincare
Reilly E. explains how her confidence has been boosted by her clearing skin.


"I have struggled with cystic acne for about 4 years. Much like others who have acne I have spent hundreds of dollars on skincare products and nothing ever worked, and that was so discouraging. My mom ordered me my first exposed kit, and I saw a drastic change within a week! I have not broken out since I started using exposed, and I feel comfortable in my own skin! I finally have the confidence to leave the house without makeup on!"