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    22 Things That Really And Truly Work On Cystic Acne

    Get ready for major before-and-afters.

    1. Aztec Indian Healing Clay Mask wages straight war on your toughest of cystic breakouts, because it's time to show 'em who's boss. No matter how deep your acne goes, this mask will vacuum out clogged pores like there's no tomorrow.

    A split before and after image showing a reviewer's chin with cystic acne and the same reviewer with the look of the acne diminished

    2. Avarelle Acne Absorbing Cover Patches (also available in extra large) tackle every single breakout that dares to challenge your complexion. They're powered by tea tree oil and calendula oil (all of which are gentle on sensitive skin) to reduce inflammation and absorb pus ASAP. *And* extra-large patches are included for when you need defeat multiple deep pimples at once.

    3. Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner helps to remove dead skin, which in turn will bring cystic acne to the surface *and* heal scars by combining a duo of powerful exfoliating ingredients: glycolic acid and papaya extract. And! It'll soothe inflamed skin with aloe vera.

    A hand holding a bottle of Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner against a pink background

    4. Differin Adapalene Gel Acne Treatment is essentially one of the strongest spot treatments that you can get without a prescription. Its *super* strong retinoid formula regulates skin cell turnover (aka reveals a new layer of skin) to reach inflammation deep within the breakout. Translation: there's nowhere for that darn pimple to hide.

    5. Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel earns its stripes as a cult-favorite cystic breakout treatment by giving pricey topical prescriptions a run for their money. Its powerful four-in-one clearing complex greets pimples with salicylic acid to not only inform them they need to *clear out*, but make sure they never come back.

    The bottle of Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel

    6. Christina Moss Naturals Facial Cleanser works quickly on sensitive skin to clear out any pesky blackheads, clogged pores, and of course, cystic pimples. The best part? Its formula is all-natural, organic, and SUPER gentle so your skin will never get irritated.

    7. Shea Moisture African Black Soap with shea butter works overtime to fight stubborn acne all over: be it on your face, tuchas, chest, wherever. Its anti-bacterial properties clears deep breakouts *without* drying out your skin thanks to soothing aloe and oats. Basically, it's taking squeaky clean to a whole new level.

    A four-paneled image of a reviewer's acne progressing from worst to best

    8. Radha Beauty Certified Organic Rosehip Oil makes you wonder if your own multitasking skills can keep up: it'll brighten skin, dramatically reduce stubborn breakouts and pigmentation, and moisturize dehydrated skin. How? It combines antioxidants and essential fatty acids to address your complexion's overall health so your cystic breakouts aren't simply masked.

    9. The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Face Mask delivers a cooling sensation on tough, active breakouts. Basically, you'll be saying ahhh not AHHHH when treating your complexion from now on. It'll fully cleanse pores, control excess oil, and target deep breakouts with tea tree oil to get you clear STAT.

    10. TruSkin Tea Tree Clear Skin Super Serum lives up to its confident name. Its powerful blend of 20% vitamin C, retinol, niacinamide, salicylic acid, and hyaluronic acid work together to unclog stubborn pores and deeply nourish irritated skin — which is a nice way to say it tells cystic breakouts to get the heck out of here.

    11. TreeActiv Cystic Acne Spot Treatment shaves the time it takes for cystic pimples to fade in half. Its main ingredient, bentonite clay, draws out toxins, fights swelling, and calms irritated skin très vite so the days of waiting an eternity are over.

    A four-paneled review image showing the improving appearance of their acne

    12. NeoGen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine combines red wine extract with single-use exfoliating pads to clear dead skin cells and lingering breakouts (looking at you, week-long cystic zit). Each pad's three-layer technology, plus powerful lactic acid, penetrates deep into clogged pores to eliminate dirt and oil. Feel free to have a glass of actual wine to toast that hormonal pimple goodbye.

    the jar of NeoGen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine

    13. Body Merry Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser alleviates clogged pores, exfoliates dead skin, and banishes dirt and excess oil so you can treat hormonal breakouts in the easiest way possible. Glycolic acid, willow bark, and jojoba beads not only diminish buried whiteheads, but overall soothe your stressed complexion. Dare I call it a ~fresh~ start?

    14. Amara Organics Vitamin C Serum paves the path to clear skin no matter what your battle may be. Cystic breakouts, enlarged pores, uneven skin tones, all of the above, WHATEVER will be banished and replaced by a ~radiant glow~ thanks to its skin-loving formula of 20% vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E.

    A split image showing a reviewer image of a cheek covered in cystic acne and the same cheek with significantly less acne

    15. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Cleanser employs salicylic acid to STRONGLY encourage breakouts to skedaddle by drastically reducing excess oil (a big cause of breakouts) and exfoliating to help reduce major swelling in the affected areas. *And* it's gentle enough to use both morning and night!

    A split reviewer image showing a swollen chin with cystic acne and text reading "April 2018" and the same chin cleared of acne with text reading "June 2019"

    16. Acure Brightening Facial Scrub exfoliates away excess oil to both reduce active breakouts and brighten your complexion. Its combo of sea kelp and green clay brings new skin to the surface, meaning your deep pimples will finally come to a head and leave your life. Plus, it's gentle enough to use every day so your acne doesn't have a chance to come back.

    A split image of a reviewer with some acne along the chin and cheeks and another image of the same individual with their face appearing clear and glowy

    17. Healing Solutions Tea Tree Oil doubles as a fast-acting natural spot treatment that'll drastically reduce redness and swelling overnight while you catch up on your beauty sleep. The best part: it'll begin healing painful swelling before you have time to pick and make it worse. Hands DOWN, my friend.

    A split reviewer image showing a face on the left with three raised red pimple and the same face with the pimples gone

    18. Glossier Solution ensures even the most consistent of breakouts think twice before coming around here again. Actually it won't be able to, thanks to this exfoliating blend of alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid, and polyhydroxy acid. The dead skin cells covering painful, swollen acne will be sloughed off to reveal clearer, healthier skin. Essentially, acids = happy, happy skin.

    A split image showing a face on the top with cystic acne and scars and text reading "Before Solution" and the same face on the bottom with the appearance of the acne and scars reduce and text reading "After 4 weeks"

    19. Honeyskin Organics Ultimate Face And Body Cream relieves extremely dry and irritated skin (including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis) that can sometimes go hand-in-hand with cystic acne. Manuka honey, amino acids, and vitamins C, E, and A work together to seriously soothe, hydrate, and restore your skin's pH levels. A nightly routine with this will put you on the fast track to a MUCH calmer complexion.

    A three-paneled image showing the progressive improvement of a reviewer's acne with each panel labeled "baseline", "1 week", and "1 month"

    20. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads resurface new skin with just a few swipes, thanks to their formula of exfoliating 2.8% glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, and a light moisturizer. Whether you're mid-breakout and need to draw out buried zits or just want *brighter* skin, these are an easy step to add to your routine.

    21. The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA that'll leave skin feeling happy and hydrated, while also fighting off blemishes and hyperpigmentation with one powerful ingredient — azelaic acid.

    22. Effaclar Duo Acne Spot Treatment with benzoyl peroxide and lipo-hydroxy acid you can use all-over or as a spot treatment for fast-acting acne relief from blemishes, blackheads, and whiteheads. Plus, this non-drying formula is paraben-, fragrance-, and oil-free (AKA totally suitable for sensitive skin).

    A split image showing a face with dark spots on the cheek and text reading "Before" and the same face with the appearance of the dark spots reduced and text reading "After 10 Days"

    But most importantly don't forget those zits can't control you! YOU 👏 ARE 👏 GORGEOUS👏!

    Need more for your skin? Check out Korean skincare products you need to know, drugstore products that actually fight acne, products to help deal with dry skin, or check out all of our beauty content for even more great stuff for your hair, skin, and more.

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