My War on Cystic Acne
I am in my mid-twenties. I like to think I have a certain level of jurisdiction over my body’s behavior. However, through a recent course of events, I’ve found myself bristling with more stress than I am used to. What was once smooth, bump-free skin the color of bosc pears, is now inflamed, constantly cystic and hyperactive. I thought I was out of the woods when I hit my late teens that I forgot what it was like to wake up unsure of what my skin would look like that day.
I furiously Googled “cystic acne help,” embarrassed by the string of words. Among of sea of useless, crunchy-granola fixes of baking soda and lemon juice, I found a blog recommending Renee Rouleau’s Cyst Treatment ($42.50). I quietly freaked out over the word “cyst.” I ordered it anyway.
It arrived in about a weeks time in a box that was too large for such a tiny bottle. I smeared the elixir on my face twice a day hoping to clear my preexisting acne and act preventatively for any unforeseen eruptions. It worked-ish. It seemed to reduce the lifespan of my deep, painful acne to just a few days. Which is atypical, methinks. But, as soon as one would be exiled from my face, another two would pop up, like a cruel, hormonal Hydra. It was time to bring in the big guns.
I started using the Tanda Zap ($20) after Mindy Kaling alluded to using a similar device nearly 4x the cost of the device I ended up purchasing. It is small and fits in palm of my hand. One end is bumpy like cobblestone, and shines a bright blue light. Apparently, you aren’t supposed to look directly into the light. So, in some respects, it is like a laser pointer, or an eclipse. You place that end directly on the offender for two minutes, three times a day. It vibrates (as if you got a WhatsApp message) and is vaguely warm (as if you fell asleep on your plugged-in phone charger.) I had three spots on my chin that needed the Zap’s attention, which gave me six minutes of free time. I opened my computer and turned to Google to see if blue light therapy was even a real thing, or if I was pressing this vibrator on my face for nothing. Skin care forums seemed to land on the results of this therapy being mild, if not minimal. But not negligible! Over it, I closed my laptop and went to sleep. My face felt a slight tingle, as if something was happening.
In the morning, I passed by the mirror in my bedroom not wanting to deal with my reflection. I got to the bathroom to brush my teeth and noticed the skin where those three spots set up camp; noticeably more flush and significantly less red.
“Not too shabby,” I said out loud to myself, getting toothpaste all over the mirror as I spoke. “Not too shabby at all.”