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Home Remedies for Cystic Acne

Last Modified on Nov 13, 2015

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Coconut Oil and Tea Tree Oil
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Posted by Active Mom Of Monmouth County (Marlboro, Nj) on 02/10/2015

[YEA]  I have been using coconut oil for 11 months now (previous post march 2014). Coconut oil soothes the acne and brings the toxins to the surface but does not cure it necessarily. I found after combining tea tree oil and coconut oil, and simultaneously applying topically to the acne, it cures it. Tea tree oil is too strong on its own. 2-3 times a day was enough and of course, the earlier the better. As soon as I feel it starting, if I apply both, it never even fully appears. Hope this helps cystic acne sufferers...this is not a fun condition and wreaks havoc on the self esteem.

Dietary Changes
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Posted by Crankybanana (North Carolina ) on 08/07/2013

[YEA]  I have had cystic acne for over 15 years, always worsening right before my period. My skin was pretty clear overall except for one or two large cysts on my chin coming or going at all times. Long story short, I found that eliminating dairy has almost completely resolved the problem. I can still have small amounts, like the occasional slice of pizza, but when I let loose on a milkshake, it shows a few days later.

My esthetician told me that the acne profile of cystic zits on the chin and clear skin elsewhere is a good indication that the acne is hormonal. Not everyone has this reaction to dairy, acne can be caused by many things, but it has worked really well for me and a friend of mine. It is quite sad to have to dramatically reduce my dairy consumption, but it's worth it if it works.

Replied by Wendy
Columbus, Oh
There is absolutely NO reason to be "sad" when eliminating dairy. There are so many alternatives these days to dairy: e.g., almond milk is yummy and can be used in cereal and in your coffee and for smoothies. You can get coconut milk ice "cream" which is amazing! Just be careful not to eat a whole pint at a time or you may get diarrhea! (Yeah, this happened to me).

Posted by Tolwich (NH) on 05/14/2013

[YEA]  I tried eliminating diary, sugar, and gluten with a major improvement for adult cystic acne. I then eliminated coffee which cleared the rest of the acne. I take fremented cod liver oil, probiotic, etc.

Dietary Suggestions
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Posted by Lena (Kalamazoo, Mi) on 01/21/2013

The problem is GMOs!!!  I'm 22 and I have worse acne now than I ever did as a teenager. Like, "I don't want to go out in public ever again" bad. But about 2 weeks ago I started on an organic vegan type diet and my acne disappeared within days! The ACV and vitamin c treatments helped me a little, but this diet change has been miraculous for my skin!

I've come to find out that the trigger foods for the cystic acne which is really a type of allergic reaction are US wheat, US dairy, US soy, US corn, canola oil, and really anything else that's been taken too far out of its natural state. Try eating organic just for like 4 days and I'm sure you'll see a difference!

References: Personal Experience, The Natural Independent

Posted by Juliet (Los Angeles, Ca) on 01/18/2013

Yes! Diet is definitely a HUGE factor despite the fact that medication driven dermatologists are STILL so in the dark about this! Try eliminating chocolate and dairy (esp. from a cow) completely!! Then eliminate sugar dense foods - no honey, mapyle syrup, fruit juice (stick to eating fruit! ), soda, etc. You will see such a change in your face - not to mention your weight!

Replied by Ashley
Doesn't help everyone. I'm vegan, gluten free, sugar free, eat 100% organic and natural foods, nothing processed, exercise daily, use only natural skincare products... I have beautiful soft skin on my body, untreated long glossy hair, strong hard nails... But when it comes to my face? Disaster zone.
Replied by Mmsg
Ashley, two thoughts:

1. Have you tried swapping vegan for dairy-free?

2. An interesting read: a few Ebook called Skin Deep by Grossbart. Google it.

Posted by Tammy (Calgary, Alberta) on 08/15/2007

[YEA]  I suffered with cystic acne for years. It was so bad I had to go to the dermatologist on several occasions to have it injected with cortisone. That was the only way the acne cysts would drain. I was told there was nothing I could do. It was so frustrating and I felt hopeless and hideous. A couple of years ago I was in the spa and I told a lady there about my condition. She told me to stop using dairy products and to cut down on coffee. Prior to this I used to have a mocha every morning at work and I would also eat a bowl of yogurt for breakfast. I cut dairy and coffee out of my diet completely and have not had any cystic acne since! I sincerely hope it works for whoever tries it because I know how painful emotionally cystic acne can be. Good luck

Replied by Robert
Toronto, Canada
[YEA]   I think some dietary changes can positively affect for most acne sufferers, and if you have acne and consider it a problem I highly recommend you examine your diet as the likely culprit.

I had virtually all types of acne that I didn't seem to be growing out of. Was put on that awful Accutane with the requisite monthly blood tests to make sure I wasn't slowing poising myself. Long story short, the drug didn't work. At least not permanently, because I simply was not addressing the root of the problem. Found out that some of the most common allergens can cause acne. I realized that soy, gluten and eggs, through a process of elimination, were the cause of my acne. Once these we eliminated literally in a couple of days my acne disappeared. Skin was no longer oily, and I felt great. Not only was my skin clear but by eliminating the foods that my body for whatever reason cannot tolerate I was running more 'efficiently' and thus felt better!

Replied by Ashley
Boise, Idaho
COFFEE - I've had cystic acne for six years, since I was 20 (when I started drinking coffee in college). I cut out coffee for four months this past year and stopped getting new cysts (or any acne at all) on my chin. Ended up having a mocha this week and the very next day noticed that a huge cyst had developed under the skin on the corner of my chin overnight. It's a small possibility it could be the caffeine, but I am more convinced in my case that it is the coffee. Try cutting it out for a few months and see if it helps before drastically altering your diet, lifestyle, etc. Good luck everyone.
Replied by Skidaddy
Knoxville, Tn
[YEA]   My acne cleared completely when I went on the Atkins diet. I have since found a direct relationship between eating starchy carbs (bread, pasta, corn, potatoes, rice) and my acne flaring up... its not just chocolate and sugar like everyone says... its hard to give this stuff up, but it sure is nice to have a clear face.

Hope this helps someone...

Replied by Littlewing
Boston, Ma
[YEA]   I had the same result years ago when I cut refined sugar out of my diet. I had huge incredibly painful plantar warts on my feet. I gave up sugar to lose weight and realized a few weeks in that the bottom of both feet had completely cleared and the warts never came back.
Replied by Ozloz
Melb, Vic
Thank you so much. I don't feel like the only one. I have recently discovered the horrible lumps I have been getting are called cystic acne. Only a month ago the cysts got so bad I was put into hospital for emergency surgery to my face. I have take 8 courses of various antibiotics which help the little pimples but not these massive lumps. I have just consulted a dermatologist and they want to prescribe isotretinoin, which sounds horrible from the side effects and honestly I was thinking there must be a better way than these tablets and constant blood tests.

When I read the coffee thing and diet it seemed to send a light flashing in my head. I drink way too much coffee, horrible sugars and a lack of natural vitamins. I think after your info I'll be cutting down or stopping coffee and will start honey as a sugar substitute. Is it the caffeine or something else in coffee (like the oils or something) would tea be ok as an alternative?

If anyone has some suggestions or info please post, I certainly do not want to have anymore surgeons cutting into my face, and would prefer something more natural.

Felt like a coffee but might crack out the ginger tea!

DIM (Diindolylmethane)
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Posted by Courtney (Miami, FL) on 08/28/2014

[YEA]  I have been dealing with cystic/hormonal acne since the end of college (about 5 years). Like clock work, I would get 1 or 2 very painful cystic pimples right before my period. And we all know these pimples can last an entire month, so by the time I finally got rid of one another was already appearing. This is due to the increase in testosterone levels in your body which cause your pores to tighten and acne to develope deep below the surface. I read about DIM online (which has a ton of good benefits) and started off taking just 1 capsule a day or sometimes 1 every other day (recommended dosage is 2 a day). I have now not had any cystic acne for 2 months since taking DIM-Plus. And remember I have gotten them EVERY month for about the last 5 years. Research DIM (Diindolylmethane) and find out all of the amazing benefits from this estrogen balancing supplement!

Eat Lettuce, Eliminate Corn
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Posted by Kelly (Toronto, Canada) on 12/14/2007

[YEA]  Eat lettuce! I have suffered with acne since childhood and always believed it was diet related. After many years of drugs to treat (including accutane) and experimenting with diet, I do believe it is food sensitivity. To make a long story short, corn caused my cystic acne (especially popcorn) and chocolate. I have eliminated all corn from my diet, including corn oil and have no longer get large painful boil like acne. Chocolate tends to cause the small white or blackheads. If I relapse (popcorn just smells sooo good!) it comes back immediately. My friend also stopped eating popcorn and his cystic acne was eliminated. If only I had know this 30 years ago, life would have been so much better! I guess better late than never, eh? I found eating lettuce daily will make an outbreak heal up quickly and gives a nice glow to the skin. I will add ACV and see if my complexion can even get better! PS. Also, a natural clay mask will draw toxins out of the skin. Thanks so much for this website!

Replied by Paul
Davis, Ca
I definitely agree about the corn oil. But I discovered this most dramatically consuming a variety of corn chip that used corn oil. I too was disappointed to find that popcorn was a culprit. I love corn so much, I'm still willing to hope that tortilla's or fresh corn might not be a problem. Has anybody who has found corn oil aggravates acne had the same experience with fresh corn or corn flour tortillas?
Replied by Steve
Ottawa, Ontario Canada
I suspect I am just like Kelly. For some time now, several years in fact, I have tried to be scientific and tightly control what I eat. What I now suspect is that if I eat 'corn' some time later, e. g. 10 hours or more, I have a 'cystic' reaction and if I do not eat 'corn' I do not have a reaction.

A major problem is that it is very difficult to definitely say 'corn' is the problem since its presence is pervasive and it is hard to always remember what I have eaten.

An example of food that I think cause a reaction: McDonald's hashbrowns which, surprise, surprise, contains corn and may even be cooked in corn oil. I suspect it is not the oil, per se, thought I do not know.

If anyone is interested I can list what seems fine.

Eliminate Dairy
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Posted by Miss Lori (Charlotte, Nc) on 12/01/2012

[YEA]  I've recently learned that after over 20 years of experiencing acne/cystic acne breakouts that excessive consumption of milk was the culprit. I love milk and drank it with most meals and also drank it just because. My sister shared with me that when my niece stop drinking milk it helped her acne breakouts(and yes my skin sensitivites are hereditary, also somethign to consider), so I put it to a 2 month test and low and behold I only have the usual "lady time of the month" breakouts. I'm now testing drinking no more than 2 cups per week and so far so good. I'm so happy that I can stop using & taking prescription meds(Retin A Micro was the only one that worked best for me & has yet to be recalled and been using as needed since age 10). Oh.... and to add, Soy & Almond milks are nasty to me.

Cystic acne is just something trying to escape your body that not agreeing with it. I always knew this and have took this long to pinpint what exactly my body was reacting to, but better late than never! Now I just use oatmeal soap (Sappo Hill Brand from local healthfood store) to wash my face and witchhazel as an astringent and a light moisturizer when needed.

So don't believe all the hype that acne is just bacteria, it's more than that. Your body may be reacting to something that's being put into, just take the time to figure out what it is. Hopes this helps someone....

Posted by Elisabeth (Belfast, Ireland) on 04/08/2009

[YEA]  My son's SEVERE cystic acne has improved WONDERFULLY since he eliminated DAIRY products from his diet. Previously had been on antibiotics but as soon as he stopped these, the cysts returned. PLEASE share the good news with others.

Exercise, Diet, Water
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Posted by Lillian (Akron, Ohio) on 12/02/2007

[YEA]  Lillian (lprince/@/ from Akron, Ohio writes: I read the feedback on this site and agree with the person who said carrot juice worked. I have suffered from acne since my teens and have a 100% guarantee that works! I found a book called Best Face Forward at a thrift store and did some of the things suggested:
1. I started working out daily to get my circulation going and get my pores revved up.
Remember, your circulation flows upward.
2. I kept my hair washed often to keep the scalp free of excess oils.
3. I ate carrots (raw) and sweet potatoes like they were going out of style! You have to eat plenty of them every day. The vitamin A and E are good for skin, nails, and hair. I also cut out anything fried, like chicken, pizza and french fries, etc. and put no mayonnaise or dressing on my salad.
4. I washed my face with Aveeno oatmeal soap and with Palmer's cocoa butter soap, in that order. The oatmeal dries up the pimples and the cocoa butter fades the scars and dark marks. Any oatmeal soap will work though.
5.I drank plenty of water!
I did this in high school starting in june and by the time school started back in august, my face was clear! I mean not a mark anywhere. My classmates remarked how clear my face was and asked what I had done.Even my mom was surprised and a Mary Kay representative that she worked for who had previously tried to get me to try her products asked what I had done.
I hope this helps somebody. I had tried Retin A and tetracycline, but decided to go with the suggestions in that book. Tetracycline can be hard on the stomach and Retin A smells bad and you need to limit your sun exposure.

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Posted by Sara (Newport Beach, Ca) on 08/04/2011

[YEA]  Have you guys tried garlic?? eat a whole clove or as many as you can handle, apologize to those you love... Lol & watch your cystic acne go away! Its amazing. also rub a garlic clove on your acne but it CAN burn your skin so dont leave it on too long but garlic CURES acne.

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Posted by Linda (Raleigh, Nc) on 10/17/2015

[YEA]  I started getting cystic acne about a year ago. I tried several home remedies. The paste of baking soda and epsom salts worked some, but as soon as I got rid of one, another would pop up.

I started taking ginger drops (for a different ailment) but after approximately 5 days, my cystic acne has completely disappeared. I started taking 15 drops, 3 times a day. After a couple weeks, I dropped down to once a day (morning) and have not experienced any relapse at the smaller daily dose. I am now 5 weeks straight of no acne! (ginger is known for helping inflammation, as well as other things).

I am so happy i wanted to share it, in case it might also work for others.

High Fiber Diet, Homeopathy
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Posted by Tara (Mumbai, India) on 06/19/2011

[YEA]  I had severe painful nodulo-cystic acne on my nose since 1998. Doctors put me on antibiotics for a long term and when that had no permanent effect, they put me on roaccutane for a year during which the acne did go away but the roaccutane left me with severe depression for which I still need to take antidepressents.

The acne came back after roaccutane and I turned to homeopathic treatment which took a long time but the acne is finally under control.

But the most amazing thing has happened in the last eight months - there has not been a recurrence of the acne - ever since I started having a high fibre diet which includes large amounts of steamed okra for lunch and dinner.

The homeopathic doctor gave me the medicines calcarea sulph and hepar sulph in various potencies which always helped to clear away the acne and gradually decreased the recurrence.

Honey and Cinnamon
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Posted by Kea (Austin, Tx, Us) on 06/30/2010

[YEA]  I battle cystic acne in spurts. I went to Arizona for 3 weeks and had no breakouts. I came back to Texas and least 10 cystic acne bumps in 2 weeks. I realized that these breakouts occur a week before or during my period. I found this website and began trying everything, A____ tablets, turmeric, coconut oil spearmint tea, and even urine therapy. Nothing gave results. The coconut oil seemed to smooth the rest of my skin but did nothing for the cystic acne. I began looking elsewhere and here is what is finally working for me:

When I first feel the cyst tingling I began to ice it (15 seconds on and off), which seems to help it considerably. Then at night I take a dime size amount of unrefined raw (thick) local honey mixed with the same amount of organic cinnamon and make a paste. I put it on my cysts overnight. Day 1 the cysts didn't hurt anymore and swelling decreased by 50 percent and by day 2 it is pretty much gone! All that remains is redness, no knot underneath the skin anymore!!! What a blessing!

Replied by Bryce
Quincy, Il
It really got rid of your cystic acne? It didn't irritate it? I need quick results any tips?
Replied by Hannah
Middletown, Ct
[YEA]   Raw natural honey IS the miracle cure for cystic acne! I read about it somewhere, dabbed it on before bed, covered it with a bandaid and in the morning it was much smaller and less painful! Honey is known to be a natural antiseptic with anti-microbial properties. The bandaid isn't necessary, but the honey DOES need to be raw (crystalizes). Honey in the bear bottle doesn't work. I haven't tried cinnamon with it... But I will!
Replied by Ancilla
Kansas City, Kansas, USA
[YEA]   I just tried this remedy last night. I went out to buy organic, raw honey and applied it before I went to bed directly onto the cyst. The exact same thing as you experienced occured: the pain subsided (! ) and the 'knot' beneath the swelling is gone. That's a signficant amount of healing overnight. I should have used also cinnamon. I will try that asap. Thank you for sharing this awesome remedy! It worked way better than the apple cider vinegar! I just wish I hadn't picked at it earlier yesterday and the night before because now I have a scab that has to heal yet as well. Hopefully it will be gone by one week from today!
Replied by A.i.
Kansas City, Kansas
Oh, I just remembered what I had wanted to say. I think this raw honey trick works because the honey works as an antibiotic, but the raw honey has, I think, properties that work as a natural steroid.