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    15 Products For Cystic Acne Our Readers Actually Swear By

    Everything from a bar of exfoliating soap, to a silicone face cleanser, to hydrating masks.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the products that have helped treat their cystic acne — here's what they actually swear by!

    Psst! Everyone's skin is different, so it's important to consult your dermatologist and perform a skin test before committing to new products or changing up your skincare routine.

    1. Differin Acne Treatment Gel that's formulated to unclog pores, soothe inflammation, and prevent new acne from forming. It contains the active ingredient adapalene, created specifically to be more tolerable on the skin than other retinoid products.

    Reviewer before-and-after photos showing red skin and acne around their nose and mouth, with the same area being significantly cleared up after using the Differin Acne Treatment Gel

    "The Ordinary and Differin Gel. These products are extremely affordable, and have made the biggest difference in my skincare routine. I struggle HORRIBLY with cystic and hormonal acne, especially on my cheek and jaw area. These frequent breakouts left me with bad dark spots and pitted scars. I started with Differin Retinoid Gel to control the breakouts, and then slowly added certain serums from The Ordinary. My favorites are Niacinimide + Zinc to help with breakouts, oil control, and discoloration. The Alpha Arbutin to help with scars, and Hyaluronic Acid to help moisturize my skin and give it a nice soft glow. If you are struggling with acne, it’s worth trying these products. The difference is unbelievable." —biermanosu17

    Get it from Amazon for $12.88.

    2. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum, a high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula to regulate skin and minimize pores.

    Reviewer before-and-after photos showing skin clearer and dark spots fading after using The Ordinary Niacinamide serum

    "The Ordinary Niacinamide serum! Great price point, doesn’t dry out my combo skin and keeps the monsters at bay!!" —juliaw1117

    Promising review: "This is truly a miracle product… As a woman in her forties who has struggled with hormonal acne for 25+ years, large pores and skin texture issues… Literally within a couple of days there was a drastic difference. I spent $1400 on laser treatments that didn’t work as well as this did in just a few days. I am in love with the company and have since purchased several more products from them directly. I can’t believe I spent years not knowing about them and I will be a loyal customer for ever and have been telling everyone about The Ordinary." —Miss Vee

    Get it from Amazon for $13.58.

    3. Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser is effective at cleaning your pores and preventing breakouts while still being gentle enough for daily use.

    Bioré Charcoal acne clearing cleanser

    "Bioré charcoal wash." —Carrie Hathaway

    Promising review: "I have used blackhead strips, blackhead suction device, and even those charcoal peel-off masks but nothing had worked for me until now (yes I have steamed my face to open up my pores but that never worked). The only thing that ever worked for me was squeezing them out, but that's so bad for your skin so I couldn't do that too often. Because of this, I was at the point of giving up until I came across this product. I thought I would give it a shot, but I didn't expect much from it. After I got my product, I tried it almost immediately. After I finished washing my face I saw surprising results. The majority of my pores were unclogged and I was so ecstatic. Definitely will buy another one when mine is used up." —Victoria

    Get it from Amazon for $6.01.

    4. A La Roche-Posay Effaclar Acne Treatment System containing a cleanser, toner, and spot treatment that is especially effective at treating blemishes, blackheads, and whiteheads.

    Reviewer photo showing their acne noticeably clearer after just two weeks of using the La Roche-Posay 3-step treatment

    "If you REALLY want to avoid the doctor (or the side effects of accutane and birth control) I’d say to try the three-piece Effaclar set from La Roche-Posay. I’ve been using it for about a year now and it’s been very helpful in keeping my skin clear and stopping any recurring cystic acne in its tracks." —lucywebster770

    "I switched from the pill to an IUD and the lack of hormones made my face re-adjust and breakout all over my mouth and chin. The same thing happened to my friend and her dermatologist recommended the La Roche Posay line. The toleration moisturizer and effaclar duo acne treatment did wonders. After three days of use, all my redness and inflammation disappeared." —leahlynch15

    Get the set from Amazon for $29.99.

    5. A bottle of PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash that'll kill acne-causing bacteria and lift dirt from your pores, refreshing your skin while also preventing future blemishes and breakouts.

    Product photo showing hands squeezing the PanOxyl acne foaming wash out of the bottle

    This wash contains 10% Benzoyl peroxide, making it one of the highest-percentage Benzoyl wash you can get over the counter.

    "Accutane and seven years of dermatologist appointments, really. Natural holistic ways don’t work for everyone if it’s getting out of hand don’t be afraid to go to a doctor about it. That being said the best face routine I have used that actually helped with my acne is PanOxyl maximum strength face wash and Vanicream moisturizer." —kyradenison

    Get it from Amazon for $9.48.

    6. Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Daily Cleanser infused with white birch and peony extracts that can help enhance skin clarity and contains pearlstone to gently exfoliate without drying.

    Product photo showing bottle of Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Brightening & Exfoliating daily cleanser

    "I had the worst acne for years and this helped me a great deal. And taking vitamin D internally. Sometimes when your D levels are low it can trigger bad breakouts. (But every one is different)." —moonbeam

    Get it from Sephora for $32.

    7. A CeraVe Acne Foaming Cleanser that works to gently remove dirt, excess oil, and makeup from the skin's surface without stripping it of moisture.

    "CeraVe Foaming Acne Wash. It's the only thing that has helped my acne. I was on multiple medications and nothing was working. Then out of desperation I tried the CeraVe Acne foaming wash and boom, it cleared up." —wingkirs

    Get it from Amazon for $13.99.

    8. A bar of Shea Moisture African Black Soap made with tamarind extract, a natural astringent, to exfoliate and clarify oily, blemish-prone skin.

    Product photo showing bar of Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap

    "The best tip that I can give: everyone’s skin is different, and you have to find out what works for you based on your triggers. I stopped using chemical filled cleansers and toners and gels. I now use Shea Moisture African Black soap to wash my face ONCE a day. I then tone with rose water, and moisturize with jojoba oil. It completely saved my skin. Remember, blemished skin is irritated and sensitive. Stop using irritating products filled with fragrance and alcohols and instead use gentle products to help your skin heal on its own. This comes from someone who went to the dermatologist for years, BTW. They just wanted to put me on Accutane." —christiem

    Get it from Amazon for $3.97.

    9. A cult-classic Indian Healing clay mask that’s great for facials, body wraps, clay baths, and foot soaks, and will completely revitalize your skin in less than 10 minutes.

    "Angels On Bare Skin facewash from Lush as well as their Tea Tree Water Spray was life-changing for me. And of course Aztec healing clay mixed with apple cider vinegar." —ameiliamills2019

    Promising review: "This is quite possibly the best skincare product I have ever used. I don’t say that lightly as I am a self-confessed beauty junkie and cystic acne sufferer. But holy hell, this mask literally changed my life in less than a week. I was pretty skeptical despite the other glowing reviews. I’ve tried Spironolactone, antibiotics, snail creams, vitamins, lasers, retinol, microdermabrasion, monthly facials, birth control pills, homeopathic herbs and remedies and NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING has cleared my angry, inflamed cystic acne quicker than this mask. I have very oily skin and hormonal acne along my jawline. It’s summer time and so I’m sweating like crazy. Combine all that with the fact that it’s COVID 2.0 and I’ve got maskne all over my chin. This mask is a godsend. I apply it every single day for exactly ten minutes before showering. Yes it makes your face red, yes it removes acne scars and inflammation, yes it actually works. Within three days, my cysts has dried up completely and flattened (which would’ve taken at least two weeks normally.) No new pimples have emerged and my skin is younger looking, less spotty, and much softer. I even use this mask on my backne and my shoulders look like they belong to Heidi Klum. I am beyond thrilled. I’m over the moon. I keep waiting for another spot to emerge but think maybe, if this just becomes my nightly routine, I might be able to keep my adult acne at bay. Pro tip though: Do not wash the mud down the drain. It will clog your pipes!" —loveorbit

    Get it from Amazon for $14.95.

    10. A Boscia Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser that'll absorb excess oil and penetrate the skin to refine the look of your pores, leaving your complexion bright and clarified.

    Product photo showing bottle of Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser

    "Boscia warming charcoal cleanser." —melyel

    Promising review: "I bought this for myself after doing some research into good cleansers. I like Boscia because it is paraben-free. After just the first day of using this, I felt my skin looking brighter and smoother. I love the way this works. You can feel it warm up right as you apply it to your face. I initially purchased this for myself, but now my fiancé is using it and loves it too, so I plan on purchasing again soon. This works really well on my fiancé as he has larger pores and this is one of the only products he has tried that actually clears them out and minimizes their appearance. He noticed it working just after the first or second use as well. So 5 stars from us!" —missaliisa

    Get it from Amazon for $30.

    11. A bottle of Paula's Choice Exfoliant with salicylic acid that'll not only cleanse and shrink your pores, but will also help with fine lines and improve the texture of your skin.

    "Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid exfoliant has done wonders for me." —sarahvish

    Promising review: "I have every skin issue you can think of. Rosacea, acne (hormonal, cycstic, whiteheads, blackheads), dehydration, excessive oiliness, redness, all of it. I’ve spent probably thousands on a multitude of different products, trying to find one that would at least make a dent. I’ve had many procedures, many trips to the dermatologist. Nothing I’ve ever used, nothing I’ve ever done, has made such a profound difference in the appearance of my skin. Having rosacea, my face often felt hot, bumpy, and burned. While my complexion is naturally fair and pink, this has seriously covered all my bases in a gentle and effective way. I’ve been trying to turn my skin around for YEARS!! this was the product that did it. If I could give it 100 stars I would. It has seriously changed my life!!!" —hc

    Get it from Amazon for $29.50.

    12. Stridex Salicylic Acid Pads that'll make an easy addition to your pre-existing skincare routine. They're designed to lift dirt and grime from your pores, and the alcohol-free formula prevents unwanted dryness or irritation.

    Reviewer before-and-after photos showing face completely clear of acne after using Stridex pads

    "I used to constantly get forehead pimples that would swell up but never come to a head. I tried hot compresses and benzoyl peroxide, to no avail. Now, I wash with Cetaphil, then use Stridex pads in the red box (salicylic acid) along with a few drops of The Ordinary’s mandelic acid serum (a gentle alpha-hydroxy acid). Then I use Cerave lotion and a drop of The Ordinary’s squalane. The chemical exfoliation seems to keep my pores unclogged — my face has cleared up." —WarriorCassette

    Promising review: "Half a year ago, I suffered from terrible acne. Food and vitamins did not help me. Only thanks to these patches I got rid of this terrible problem. In addition, I also used serums (vitamin C, retinol and hyaluronic acid) + clay mask. You yourself see the result. I was very pleased. I cut them into two parts and this was enough for me for a very long time!" —Stanis

    Get them from Amazon for $4.49.

    13. Noxzema Original Deep Cleansing Cream made with real eucalyptus extract formulated to remove any dirt, makeup, and oil that's stuck in your pores. It even helped treat one BuzzFeed Community member's 'bacne,' so it could potentially help you with yours as well — or anywhere else on your body you have an unwanted breakout.

    Product photo showing Noxzema classic clean cleanser styled in a cube of ice

    "I have had terrible cystic acne on my back for years. One of the products that had helped my acne the most is the Noxema Classic Clean Original Deep Cleansing Cream. I haven’t heard it recommended for acne before but it’s my go to cleanser when my acne is bad." —zoembrown

    Get it from Target for $3.99.

    14. A Clinique three-step system ideal for dry to combination skin types that comes with a cleansing facial soap and two lotions, one to clarify and another to moisturize.

    Product photo showing Clinique three-step set with facial soap and two moisturizers

    "The Clinique three step for acne-prone skin helped me get my face under control. Then I started using coalface from Lush which did a nice job of cleaning out my skin. I also found a silicone cleanser brush helps to really get the skin clean at night, especially if I’ve worn heavier makeup." —Angela

    Get it from Amazon for $75.89.

    15. And, as suggested by BuzzFeed reader Angela, a silicone face cleanser to help remove dead skin, increase blood circulation, and better absorb all the products in your skincare regimen.

    Product photo showing silicone face cleanser in four different colors

    Promising review: "Awesome. I'm a licensed esthetician and know a thing or two about skincare, but unfortunately, I have such sensitive skin that most exfoliants I've tried for myself really irritate my skin and can end up triggering eczema or psoriasis flares. This is a gentle enough way to exfoliate that it gets the job done for me without irritation. As a plus, the massage-like effect it has would aid in microcirculation and probably aid cell turnover (as exfoliation does in general), but I haven't been using these long-term yet and haven't seen the effects of this product over a long period of time." —Michael

    Get a four-pack from Amazon for $6.99.

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