Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, usually containing salicylic acid and/or benzoyl peroxide, and topical prescription medications have much less a role in the treatment of severe cystic acne than they do in milder acne. Try Hydrocortisone Cream. Next up, find yourself a triple-threat product containing hydrocortisone cream, which will be easy to apply at home. “Benzoyl peroxide lowers levels of acne-causing bacteria, hydrocortisone cream reduces inflammation, and salicylic acid removes excess oil to dry out a pimple,” says Zeichner.
- Start with salicylic acid. Slathering on traditional acne meds won’t have the same effect on a cystic pimple, which lives below the surface of your skin.
- Then tackle the swelling.
- Kill the bacteria.
- Reduce the redness.