Original Article By Jamie Stone
As someone who survived high school and college with barely a zit in sight (no, seriously), you can imagine the shock and dismay I felt about breaking out with cystic acne at age 24.
The day I went to my dermatologist, I convinced myself that the hard, red bumps on one side of my cheek were a weird allergic reaction or even bed bugs (I lived in New York City at the time). But as soon as my doctor put on her plastic gloves and touched my cheek, she said, "Oh honey, you have acne, not bug bites."
"Acne?! No, I don't get zits ... like ever," I quickly said back.
"Well it looks like these three pimples on your cheek have been growing under your skin for awhile now and it's likely cystic acne," she said.
Once I was able to absorb the fact that I was having my first bad skin day (or month) ever, my doctor began to explain that a lot of adults deal with acne. Cystic acne is even less fun because they're the kind of pimples you can't pop — they just hurt a lot and look like you have little red volcanoes on your face. To make matters worse, they sometimes last for weeks at a time.
It took about two years to get the cysts under control, but it was a constant struggle physically and emotionally. Looking at my makeup-free face in the morning was insanely hard for me and it would often affect my self-esteem. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.
I was eventually prescribed an oral antibiotic that cured the issue (topical treatment didn't work for me) and learned some helpful tips and tricks along the way.
Now, I hope that my hard-earned knowledge will make the process a little less painful for others.