So here's the deal – I recently wrote about my struggles with a burst of cystic acne that I got from deviating from my normal regimen. The damage done: three big nodules in two days, and then countless other little pimples / nodules that popped up. I bought this at the height of my despair, because there were so many that I figured I'd need all the help I could get with damage control, and I don't really trust other pimple creams because of how they never seemed to help me when I was a teenager. I'm also a sucker for all-natural products (because that's generally the gist of my normal skincare routine, and that's what works for me), and I love how Burt's Bees uses natural products wherever they can, whenever they can.
Short version: It's the best spot treatment I've ever used, even more so because I have super sensitive skin. I find that it works best over open pimples (so that it can get to where it's needed right away), and this means it stings a little, but hey, beauty is pain, eh? I don't like licorice, but this smell is surprisingly pleasant in a herbal sort of way. The only thing I dislike is how it comes in a roller tube. Not very sanitary, and doesn't work well with cotton buds because then you're wasting a lot of this product by leaving it on the bud. I wish they'd put it in a dropper bottle or something so that I can dab it on with clean fingers. There's also alcohol in this, which I generally abhor, but I can tolerate the idea of it because alcohol dries out and sanitises wounds. On the whole, I'm really, really glad that I bought this, even if it is a little pricey / doesn't come in the best packaging.
Long version: It's been four days since I broke out. I've been using it in the morning, and before I sleep night. Here's the rundown of the kinds of foes this blemish stick has been battling, and how it's been holding up.
- My little normal pimples have all but healed and disappeared. The skin's not even red anymore, and it's a smooth patch. The skin's not exactly the same colour as the rest of my face, though. It's a bit more like the fresh skin you find under a scab when it's fully healed, only not pink, but just a shade lighter than my actual skin tone.
- The little cystic nodules (from about the size of a pinhead to the size of this uppercase O) have healed slower than the normal pimples, but they're well on their way to being fully healed – I would say they're a day or two away from reaching the same stage as the one I described above. The site is a little red still, but it doesn't hurt any more (which is a huge deal with cystic acne)!
- The three huge cystic nodules – the sites are no longer watery or weeping, and are drying out much quicker than I'd anticipated. The skin is scabby, and a little rough and tender, but there's none of the hot deep pain that you feel with cystic nodules. It's just the sort of pain you feel when the skin's been broken, or when you pick at a scab, which means that things are on their way to going back to normal (to me at least)! There's peeling around the scabby bits, and the parts that have already peeled away have revealed fresh smooth pink skin under.
Time for a disclaimer. I don't apply this over closed pimples - each time I've drained the bump as best as I could, so that the product could actually go to where it's needed.
I know that you're not supposed to pick at your skin, especially not cystic nodules, but I firmly believe that things swell up and become red for a reason, and won't go away until you get rid of the thing that's making the site red and inflamed. I don't just mean draining pus. I mean getting rid of the offending blockage. With normal pimples, that's easy enough, because it's just a yellow sebum plug that's close to the surface. With cystic acne (well mine at least), it's a hard white stretchy plug that lies way down under the skin that is most definitely not made of sebum. I have no idea what it is, but after 8 years of dealing with cystic acne, I have since learnt that the only way I can make the nodule go away quickly is by picking at the site until I can see the white plug and pull it out with tweezers. That's really the only way I have ever healed my cystic nodules - I've tried waiting, and I've tried leaving them alone, but that has literally never worked (I once waited for four whole months). I'd rather have an open wound that then heals with a scab like a grazed knee in a week or so than a hard painful lump for months. Another disclaimer - THIS IS JUST ME. I'm not saying this will work for absolutely everyone. I'm don't even know if the white stretchy plugs I'm describing are normal!
So this means I've been applying the fluid straight onto post-extraction open wounds. It says not to, and common sense says not to, but close to a decade of struggling with cystic acne has taught me that sometimes you just gotta do what you feel is right. I don't have any medical training and I'm just going by my gut, so I guess that I've been ridiculously lucky in the sense that what I'm doing seems to be working. With the blemish stick, they scabbed over in a day, and the scabs were the good kind that don't hurt / harbour pus underneath them (which is also another test that I use to tell me if I've fully gotten the root out. If I haven't, it scabs over with pus underneath, and I have to do it again). Without the blemish stick, it usually takes about two days to fully scab over properly. Another thing - I roll the stick onto my face for normal pimples, but with cystic acne, I use a cotton bud no matter the size of the nodule because I'm unsure if it's caused by different bacteria.
I know this has been a ridiculously long review, but I figure that if someone else out there has cystic acne the way I do (hot hard lumps with no head), this might offer a little bit of respite. Heck, even regular little pimples have no chance of survival if you use this right. Thanks for reading this far! I hope this helps.