There's acne, and then there's cystic acne—those blemishes that are swollen, red, and live under the skin. While those zits may not rear their ugly heads like other pimples, they're painful—and difficult to get rid of. That's because, unlike with your typical zit, cystic acne treatments need to work below the surface of your skin.
If you do see a cystic zit brewing beneath the surface of your skin, it's best to treat it ASAP. "Early treatment prevents scarring and hyperpigmentation, so it helps to catch cystic acne early," says says Tony Nakhla, MD, dermatologist and founder of Eighth Day skincare.
While you are slathering a cocktail of treatments on that mammoth zit, it’s important not to neglect the rest of your complexion. “Keeping your skin moisturized with a very light lotion that won’t clog your pores will protect your skin from the drying effects of any acne-combatting measures,” says Dr. Gladstein. Try this gel-cream from Neutrogena.
While you should try to keep your face as clean and makeup-free as possible, if you do have to apply some concealer to help get you through your day, make sure you're reaching for an oil-free product. "Using cover up is not bad as long as you are using oil-free makeup, which tends to be less likely to clog pores and exacerbate the acne," says Dr. Nakhla.