Ten Natural Ways To Make a Spot Go Away Faster
OK that was a trick. You can’t really make a spot do anything it doesn’t want to do, as anyone who’s ever had one knows. (And if you haven’t, you are missing out on one of life’s more humbling and exasperating experiences, which is why I chose a picture of a unicorn for this post—cheer up, everyone!) Since neither of us is a stranger to bad skin days (or like, years), and there are some things we have tried that seem to work, we wanted to share. Here, 10 road-tested ways to make acne cysts go away faster.
1. For the love of god, do NOT try to pop it. You know this, but you do it anyway. Please stop?
2. Don’t try to dry out a deep cyst. The problem is too deep for drying topicals. What you want to do instead is contain it (which means no popping), stop it from spreading (ditto), calm inflammation, and as it gets closer to the surface, THEN you want to dry (or draw) out the sucker. More on that below. If you are still using benzoyl peroxide you need to a) read our book; b) stop; and c) stop. It’s toxic, and it doesn’t work on cysts. If it did, none of us would get them or they’d be gone in a day. Since we know none of this is true, just trust us and ditch your BP. And yes, even your tea tree oil will likely fail you when you have an undergrounder, resulting in flakiness, which is hard to hide with makeup and produces a whole other problem that needs to be fixed.
3. Load up on omegas. Omegas are your best friend. They help with hormonal balance and beat out inflammation like nobody’s business. We know this because we’ve read the scientific studies proving it, and because we credit these fatty acids as being the single best thing we’ve ever done for our skin. If you are good about taking them every day, awesome. You still should double your dose during a breakout. If you do not take them every day, you should, and then you should also double your dose for a day or two. In a pinch, take some Advil, but omegas are the healthier choice.
4. Eat cooling foods. According to the Indian tradition ayurveda, which we talk a lot about in the book, red, inflamed spots are often caused by aggravated pitta. If you’re like me, you already have a lot of pitta (well, and vata), which is characterized by hating the heat, being of medium build, and being a bit of a firecracker. This sounds a little out-there, but consider this:
Would you throw gasoline on a fire to put it out? If you have inflammation and irritation in your skin, you don’t want to eat foods that cause you to flush and get really hot. Hot plus hot equals more hot. Instead, eat cooling foods, like the ones listed here.
5. Sleep with green tea clay on your spot(s). We’ve mentioned it before: we are devotees of Evan Healy’s green tea clay. It comes dry and powdery and a jar will last you many months if not a whole half-year. You can use this as an all-over mask, or put a small amount in your hand, add water to make a paste and put it on the sucker. The green tea is calming and cooling without drying out your skin, and the clay helps gently detoxify your pores.
I swear up and down that this stuff heals things MUCH faster than normal and that it has stopped cysts dead in their tracks. Not kidding!
6. Ice, ice, baby. This is a temporary solution because it only really works while you’re icing and right after, but it’s a good mood booster, which is important when you have a bad skin day: Apply ice; see zit shrink; leave house with the feeling that it’s gone! (Just don’t look in the mirror, because it’s probably still there.)
7. Use compresses. One time, Elique Organics made me a hydrosol for my skin and it was amazing. It had all kinds of anti-inflammatory goodness in it. Since I ran out, I use anything with chamomile or calendula—calming herbs, basically. Saturate a cotton ball or pad with the water essence, hold it with moderate pressure and calm the little guy into submission. Some people like witch hazel for this but I find that on its own, it’s too drying. Pro tip: You can also make a tea, chill the tea, and then use that as a toner/compress.
8. If a head develops (ew, ugh, ahhh), use a needle. Sterilized, naturally. Poke the center and not too deep. Drain with your fingers wrapped in tissues. Apply an antibacterial topical, and then leave it alone and never speak of it again.
9. Drink a lot of water. Always a good idea, but especially now. You want to keep your body working in tiptop shape. Remember that your skin is hydrated two ways: From the moisture drawn in from the air (and applied topically), and from the inside out. Keep your skin supple, happy, and avoid getting parched.
10. Lay off the hard stuff. Doesn’t mean you can’t drink, but keep it under control. Simple reason: Alcohol in excess dehydrates you and increases inflammation in the body, which can aggravate your skin—especially cysts. Also, drinking a lot tends to go with other things that are bad for your skin, such as eating poutine at 3 in the morning, not sleeping enough, sleeping with makeup on and, woops, sleeping with the wrong person.
There was no way I was going to post a picture of a zit, via