I can often tell a lot about my emotional well-being by taking a look at my skin. If I've had a couple of days where I was particularly stressed at work, or even just sad because of whatever emotional nonsense my dating life had wrought, it inevitably reveals itself on my face. Personally, I think that our emotions can manifest themselves on our complexions, but there's probably little to no science that backs me up there. Instead, you might consider what feeling particularly sad or anxious does to your body as whole — for example, your eating and sleeping habits might change or maybe you're working out less. A lot of the answers to our skin woes can be found in our lifestyle.
More often than not, a difficult week will present itself in the form of a particularly treacherous villain: the cyst. Not that this needs any explaining to anyone who has gone through puberty, but cystic acne is embedded in the skin tissue and filled with fluid, which has earned it the pseudo-clever nickname, "underground zits." Often, people mistake a cyst for a zit that simply "hasn't formed" yet, so they try to coerce it into forming a whitehead by picking and prodding. That's usually right around the time that the cyst starts to get bigger...and more painful. Completing the vicious cycle is the infuriating, frustrating process of poking until something — anything — comes out of your damn skin to stop that cyst from taking over your whole face. But, alas, you're probably left with nothing (or worse, blood), and your cyst eventually will subside a few grueling days later, leaving you with a scar that lasts up to a month (or in some cases, forever). There are few products on the market designed exclusively to treat cysts. That's mostly because salicylic acid treatments, which are largely considered the most effective topical, over-the-counter products for acne, don't actually penetrate deep enough into the skin to medicate the cyst itself. Dermatologists typically inject cysts with a cortisone shot to get it to heal, but a) I don't have time to visit my derm in the middle of the week and b) I probably couldn't afford a shot every time I got one of these damn things. After treating many of her clients who were (literally and/or emotionally) scarred by their cystic struggles, Renée Rouleau concocted a simple potion that could dive deep into the pores and treat problematic blemishes. Her Anti-Cyst Treatment, which, P.S., is beloved by Demi Lovato, contains a triple threat of penetrating ingredients: lactic acid, an exfoliant that helps to clear the pore and the dead skin around it; ethyl lactate, which decreases bacteria; and something fun called carboxymethyl cellulose, which Rouleau explains as "a delivery system to carry active ingredients deep within the skin." Renée first gave me Anti-Cyst a couple of years ago when I visited her for a facial. (She noticed a scar left over from my sad attempt at a DIY extraction.) The next time a bump arose, I followed her orders and applied it both morning and night to cleansed, toned skin. I was surprised to see that, unlike other spot treatments which can dry flaky, this one fully cooperated when layered with other skin products and makeup. I resisted the urge to pop or squeeze, started using a sonic cleansing brush (another aesthetician told me it would promote better circulation in the skin, which can aid in moving the fluid trapped in the cyst), and even gave the bumps a couple of zaps with my microcurrent device. Lo and behold, the cysts went away. One bump went down significantly overnight, while another decreased in size the day after and disappeared in couple of days.
If there's anything that I've learned about trading war stories about zits and cysts, it's that nothing can really be a home run — the skin really is our most temperamental organ. But, if you're anything like me, you're more than willing to drop $40 on a potential panacea for those embarrassing, irritating bumps on your face. Here's hoping it works for you...and good luck fighting the good fight. Renée Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment, $42, available at Renée Rouleau.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!