The Right Way To Treat Cystic Acne

I'll do anything to clear up my cystic acne. I've Supermarket Sweep-ed the florescent lit isles of Duane Reade for extra strength OXY-10, transferred rent money from my savings account for an emergency cortisone shot and gotten excruciating facials that involve metal lancets, extractions and estheticians who shame me for picking at my blemishes. Most recently, I sought out Lucky’s executive beauty director, Jean Godfrey June, who recommended I speak to top New York dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler and New York/Miami dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brant.

A cure-all doesn’t exist. While both doctors provided sound advice that’s worked for many patients, their two treatment philosophies differ on several points. For instance, although Wechsler doesn’t believe topical agents can help cystic acne, Brant does. So there’s no single, absolute prescription for clear skin; rather, I got many of them:

Drug-free treatments do exist.

Although Megan O’Neill, Lucky’s associate beauty editor, also suffers from cystic acne, she’s going to all-natural route and seeing an ayurvedic doctor. "It goes a lot slower [than prescription medicine], but it's working," she says. Ayurvedic, if you don't know (I didn't), means "traditional medicine" in India, and focuses on creating balance within the body. For Megan, that means eating totally organic with a heavy emphasis on produce, although sugar, dairy and other treats are still allowed. "It's not about totally cutting things out, but living a balanced life. My doctor keeps saying that it sucks that I have to pay him for such simple advice, but modern day people have forgotten how to eat and that's why we break out!"

Ethan Palmer