Blackheads, zits, blemishes, and the occasional chin pimples are just a fact of life. But cystic acne, well, that’s a whole other ball game—a “stress, hormones, 100 inning ball game”. (For those who don’t know, a regular baseball game usually only has nine innings. The point is cystic acne can be a tricky thing to beat.) But fear not, because in this article, we’re getting to the root and sharing 5 natural remedies for cystic acne. You can rely on these remedies to help prevent, manage, and heal acne.
What is Cystic Acne?
Cystic acne is those painful bumps that can last for weeks to months. They often don’t respond to the usual pimple creams, which can be a real confidence killer.
One of the causes is said to be oil under the skin, but the truth is, hormones and stress play a bigger role in acne than the common “excess oil” excuse.
All acne is hormonal, according to Dr. Shannon Curtis, naturopathic doctor, women’s health expert, and hormonal acne coach.
Dr. Curtis says that often she looks to a client’s neuroendocrine system (think a combo of the nervous system and endocrine/hormonal system) to understand the root cause. The nervous system plays a vital role in the health of how one system impacts another, and it’s no different for the skin.
She finds that many clients have estrogen dominance, which can mess with organs of elimination contribute to a build-up of toxins and cystic acne. That’s why she says focusing on the insides first is of utmost importance. This brings us to the meat of this article: the natural remedies.
Let’s dive in.
5 Natural Remedies for Cystic Acne
1- Eliminate Triggering Foods & Add Foods for Hormone Balance
Dairy, especially the conventional kind, can be a super trigger for hormone imbalance and cystic acne. Coffee and caffeine (don’t hate me) are also culprits of the painful cysts, and more for some than others). The thing is, a lot of coffee out there is contaminated with pesticides (hello, estrogen-mimicking chemicals), mold toxins, and inflammatory chemicals. Coffee is also a stressor on adrenals and can impact energy, hormone, and stress levels. It’s absolutely essential to healing adrenals for skin health.
Try ditching dairy, caffeine, and highly processed foods (yes, gluten) for a month to see how your skin reacts.
One of the root causes of hormonal imbalance is an imbalance in blood sugar. Blood sugar imbalances happen when you don’t eat consistently enough, you struggle with adrenal fatigue, or you are not eating whole balanced meals. Include foods that help to balance blood sugar in every single meal. That means a healthy fat and fiber with every meal. It can also look like a delicious sweet potato with some coconut oil and a big side of dark leafy greens.
Add herbs and foods that help eliminate excess estrogen and balance hormones and hormones: burdock, dandelion, yellow dock, and Oregon grape root.
Remember, these aren’t quick fixes that we’re sharing, but they are remedies that will have profound, lasting effects on skin health and overall health.
2- Prioritize Gut Health
The health of your skin is a direct reflection of the health of your gut. Prioritizing gut health will help immensely with cystic acne.
Here are the best ways to get a healthy gut:
- Add in probiotic-rich foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh)
- Add prebiotic-rich foods (chicory, dandelion greens, onion, asparagus)
- Remove frankengrains
- Remove inflammatory foods
- Include bone broth
- Add in supplements like collagen
- Reduce stress
Let’s talk about collagen for a bit. Collagen is the most abundant source of protein in the human body and contains 19 different amino acids. Think of collagen as the building blocks of our body (blood vessels, bones, tendons, muscles, digestive system).
Supplementing with collagen helps to strengthen the gut lining and gut integrity, and in inturn supporting hormones and skin health. Our Beauty Collagen Complex goes beyond that with stress-fighting adaptogens and collagen-boosting ingredients for 3-10x times the results. Yup, this delicious vanilla honey powder is clinically proven. You can shop here.
3- Essential Oils for Cystic Acne
Oftentimes, bacteria and inflammation can make cystic acne worse. Supporting your skin with topical plant medicines can be extremely beneficial.
Tea tree essential oil is up first. Tea tree is an antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal oil that is super effective at cleaning the skin of impurities and busting bacteria that can sometimes cause a breakout or make one worse. Start with one drop mixed with a carrier oil and apply to the area of concern.
Frankincense has astringent properties that help to clear and shrink pores. It’s also effective at healing the damage and scars from cystic acne, because it can get down to the cellular level. Start with 1-2 drops and a carrier oil and apply to the area of concern.
Lavender’s aromatic use is prized for its ability to calm. Similarly, topical use of lavender also calms the skin. It helps to heal blemishes and prevent breakouts and inflammation. You can dilute 2-3 drops of lavender and apply it to your face.
4- Facemask for Cystic Acne
One of the best DIY acne treatments is a hydrating, anti-inflammatory face mask. Curcumin, the primary ingredient in turmeric, has a long list of skin benefits, from neutralizing free radicals to reducing hyperpigmentation. But did you also know that its insane anti-inflammatory benefits can help calm cystic acne? Aloe vera’s ultra-hydrating effects nourish your skin and cool it like no other. This is one of my favorite masks.
Aloe & Turmeric Facemask for Acne
- Combine 2 TBSP of aloe vera with 1 tsp of turmeric powder
- Apply to skin and leave on for 20 minutes
- Wash thoroughly afterward
5- Stress-Management Practices
Ok, last but not least: the best natural remedy for cystic acne is daily stress management practices. I know this may seem silly, but it’s critical. Stress is at the root of hormonal imbalance, which is at the root of all acne. And if you’ve been chronically stressed, chances are you are struggling with some form of adrenal fatigue. To heal adrenal fatigue, you need to be able to manage stress.
Here are some of my favorite tips that you can use to manage stress and prioritize self-care:
- Morning journaling. Get all of your thoughts out on the page as soon as you wake up so that they don’t continue to take up space in your mind. After you are done, write a story about the future you who doesn’t suffer from cystic acne anymore. The you who feels beautiful and confident in her clear skin. Do this consistently, and feel the feelings of the future to support deep inner healing. Inner healing creates outer healing, remember that.
- Meditate: this doesn’t have to look like sitting cross-legged. It can be a walk, gardening, dancing, singing, breathwork. Whatever tickles your fancy, make it a non-negotiable. It will change your nervous system, nourish your adrenals, and help heal your skin.
- Add in stress-fighting herbs. I touched on this a bit, but plant allies like adaptogens are your best friends when it comes to supporting your stress levels, adrenal health, and hormones. My favorites are Schisandra (amazing for hormone balance) and ashwagandha (fantastic for building stress resilience). Both are found in our Beauty Collagen Complex powder.
- Rewrite your thoughts. Catch yourself whenever you are speaking unworthy about your skin or confidence. Replace it with a positive, loving thought. Your thoughts are powerful and can have a profound effect on your appearance.
I hope this article has given you practical tips for healing cystic acne naturally. What are your favorite remedies? Let me know in the comments below. And if you want to get started now on your cystic acne healing and ultimate confidence journey, you can shop our Beauty Collagen Complex here. Bye for now, beautiful! Thanks for reading.
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