What is the difference between acne and cystic acne?
As an inflammatory skin condition, there are four types of acne that range from mild to extreme. All types are caused by excess sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells that clog a pore, but different types of acne appear in the skin in different ways. Starting at the mild end, blackheads, and pimples, also known as whiteheads, tend to be small, painless and appear on the surface of skin, while pustules can appear as bigger bumps that may also be painful. Cystic acne is the most extreme type. So, what is cystic acne? Identified by large hard lumps that may be tender to touch, or relatively painless, it’s the result of an infected pore that exists in the deeper layer of the skin. Cystic acne causes are not yet fully understood, but hormones and stress may play a role. Now that you have a better understanding of how to identify and treat different types of spots and acne you can move forward with seeking out the best acne products for cystic acne.
What are the best products to help acne-prone skin?
The best way to care for inflammatory acne is to build a complete skincare routine that works to minimize sebum build-up, to help reduce clogged pores, and balance skin with much-needed hydration. It’s also ideal to look for products that are oil-free, non-comedogenic, paraben-free and 100% hypoallergenic.
Every skincare routine starts with the right cleanser. For acne-prone skin choose a purifying, soap-free formula, such as La Roche-Posay Gel Effaclar. The best cleanser will gently remove excess oils without over stripping skin. The best cleanser for acne-prone skin will also be free of alcohol, which can have a drying effect on oily skin. Incorporating the exfoliating power of salicylic acid into your cleansing routine will also help reduce blemishes, it’s a beta-hydroxy acid that can loosen dead skin cells that clog pores. Try La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micro-Peeling Purifying Gel to exfoliate throughout the week.
Using an astringent after cleansing can also enhance exfoliation. The best toner contains a blend of gentle ingredients designed to refine skin’s texture daily. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Lotion features lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA) to visibly reduce the look of pores and is suitable for sensitive skin.
Don’t skip moisturizer! If you have acne or cystic acne it’s important to hydrate your skin because dehydration can tip sebum production into overdrive. The best moisturizer for acne-prone skin, such as La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Global Action Acne Treatment with 24 Hour Hydration, offers an oil-free lightweight texture and is both an acne treatment and moisturizer in one. It contains salicylic acid, which you now know helps to keep pores clear, but it’s also formulated with niacinamide, which helps to soothe and decrease redness, as well as a patented ceramide which helps to protect against the appearance of acne marks. This unique blend of healing ingredients makes it different from other acne care which aim to dry out the skin. The gel-cream texture also has a mattifying, non-greasy finish so it’s perfect for daily use and creates a great base for make-up. TIP: To help treat a severe breakout apply a thin layer one to three times a day.
The last step in a daytime routine for acne is to always protect your skin. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid SPF 50+ Facial Sunscreen is an oil-free formula that absorbs quickly leaving an invisible matte finish. Beyond shielding skin from premature aging that’s responsible for fine lines and wrinkles, the best sunscreen for acne-prone skin plays a vital role in minimizing the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (a.k.a. dark spots) that can be caused by cystic acne.
Tips on how to prevent acne outbreaks
- Commit to cleansing. In the evening you’ll need to remove the day’s buildup of oils, dirt, makeup, and SPF, but it’s equally important to cleanse in the morning to keep pores clear after a night’s sleep. For acne-prone skin, dermatologists recommend properly cleansing your face twice a day.
- Choose hardworking ingredients – and know when to use them. Add retinol to your bedtime routine. Retinol, a weaker form of retinoid (an anti-aging powerhouse derived from Vitamin A), can help with acne removal by controlling excess oil in the skin but is best used in the evening when skin isn’t exposed to the sun.
- Never squeeze a cystic pimple. You may hope you’re reducing the cyst, but this can have an adverse effect that creates more inflammation deep in the skin and allows the breakout to spread. Squeezing or picking can also worsen acne marks.
- Chill out and try using ice to reduce the redness and swelling of cystic acne. Wrap an ice cube in a clean, lightweight cloth (like a tea towel) and apply it to the cyst for a few minutes.