You Asked, We Answered: How To Deal With Adult Acne

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Web01 Breakouts can weigh on your self-esteem and unfortunately good skin is one part looking after yourself and one part genetic lottery. R29 reader Kathy X. from St. Paul, MN, asks, "Any ointments out there that will zap a zit in a day? Especially with adult and cystic acne?"

When acne rears its ugly head, there can be several culprits. The solution can be as simple as using a spot treatment or switching up your skin-care regimen, but when hormones are involved, things can get complicated (like in my situation).

I've always had fairly well-behaved skin throughout my adolescence, but when I hit my late teens everything changed. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease known as Bi-Orbital Pseudo-Tumors, which is fancy talk for tumors that form around your eyes' tear glands. I was placed on high doses of prednisone, a corticosteroid to combat the inflammation for six months. Unfortunately, one of the side effects was severe cystic acne.

Suddenly, my clear skin was completely covered with angry red bumps. In most cases, cystic acne is the result of hormonal imbalances, so the best thing to do is consult a dermatologist. But, for the two products that kept my skin (and me) calm, read on.
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Keep in mind that you want to keep your skin as clean as possible to prevent infection and spreading. Stock up on a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil and avoid products with harsh fragrances. Even if the cause is internal, you don’t want to exacerbate the problem by irritating your skin. After cleansing, apply a hypoallergenic moisturizer.

And, if an area is highly irritated, use a soothing spot treatment. I wish my younger self knew about Darphin’s Purifying Balm. This organic concoction is the best spot treatment I have ever used. It smells amazing and really calms irritated pores. Don’t let the greasy texture throw you off. I was more than skeptical at first but after one try, I was hooked.

Once you get to the root of the problem, your acne should clear up. In my case, when I was taken off of the steroids, I saw a marked change. But until then, these two products were my lifesavers.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, $9.59, available at Drugstore.com; Darphin Aromatic Purifying Balm, $70, available at Bergdorf Goodman.

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