How I Got Rid of Cystic Acne

May 2018

It was mid May 2018. I was in Surabaya for a business trip, and I remember during the first night, I realized something was wrong with my body. I kept getting new, deep cystic acne on my face, that wouldn’t improve no matter what I did. I tried to exfoliate less, exfoliate more, and nothing happened.

I was so busy and tired around that time. Before flying to Surabaya, I just got back from another business trip to Bali THE NIGHT BEFORE. Then a week later, off I went to New York. Back from New York, my face was clearing up, but then I got busy again at work  and my face gradually got worse and worse.

By Eid 2018 (mid July 2018), I had five deep, under the skin cysts on my face. And at this point I was pretty sure my acne must be internal/ hormone related.

June-July 2018

June 17, 2018, me and my husband’s family went for Eid holiday in Aceh for ten days. I am the type person that hates the idea of wearing makeup as a cover up. I hate putting on makeup when my skin is being problematic. So I left for the trip just with a face powder and a lip tint, and even further I left my tretinoin at home. For ten days, I was (almost) makeup free, and also actives-free.

During the trip, I invented a new routine which I considered as a modified caveman regimen (google it). It’s the routine that helped my skin to gradually improved, and finally getting rid of those cysts. And it’s also my current skincare routine:


Cleanse with alcohol free micellar water + rinse with water (morning-evening).

Apply vitamin C serum (morning-sometimes evening)


Occasional moisturizer

Occasional face wash

Exfoliate with 0,5% tretinoin OR enzyme scrub OR apple cider vinegar toner (evening, 2x/ week)

Daily routine.
Weekly routine.

And that’s it. That’s it. I think the keywords are less foamy stuff, less actives, less thick textures.

During the first weeks, I experienced random whiteheads on my forehead and jawline. My face also became super oily. Since I’ve done the actual, hardcore caveman regimen before, I knew that would happen so I kept going.

Cutting On Makeup

After those ten days trip without foundation, my face would actually break out lightly everytime I applied foundation. I apply moisturizer before makeup, and will double-cleanse after makeup. So I guess it’s not really the foundation, but the other process that I will do when I apply foundation that force me to tweak the simple routine, then interrupt my skin.

Super bare during the holiday. You can’t really see the acne because they’re under the skin cysts.

If you wear base makeup everyday, I don’t think this simple routine will help you.

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

The past week, I been incorporating ACV toner (one part ACV, six part water) to my weekly routine and it really helps with pigmentation and little blemishes. Even with this super diluted version, sometimes it’d still feel little drying on me, so I’m still playing around with it.

Bottomline is, less is the main idea here. Less fuss, less stress. I am not saying this will work on you, but if you been doing a lot to your skin, then maybe it’s time for you to do less.

I am still playing around with this routine. This might change, and when it does, I will definitely update you.

Please take a look at:

My exfoliators for acne-prone, sensitive skin.

My moisturizer (only use the Bioderma one).

A lot of my products are local Indonesian brands. For my overseas readers, you can copy the routine with any products you can access.

Out of all products, only my moisturizer isn’t cruelty-free. So before people come at me, yeah, I still haven’t found cruelty-free moisturizer and sunscreen that suit me.

Good luck.

Love, Annetta

2 thoughts on “How I Got Rid of Cystic Acne

  1. Kak itu yang weekly routine biasanya berapa kali seminggu? Terus untuk makeup nya kakak biasanya pake merk apa ajaa untuk daily selagi skincare an gini? Makasih kakkk


  2. Hello. Weekly brp kali beda-beda, nggak selalu sama makanya aku tulis occasionally. Bisa antara 1-3 kali.

    Makeup hari-hari aku kadang concealer, yg pasti banget loose powder. Pake foundation maksimal bgt 2x/ minggu. Mereknya apa ganti-ganti sih. Skrg lagi concealer WnW, kalo bedak ganti2.



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