A Plea For Help: What Can I Do To Treat My Newly Developed Cystic Acne?

I’ve always had good skin. It’s not the best skin in the world, but it’s good — I was fortunate enough to escape adolescence largely unscathed by acne eruptions, and even now I rarely have more than one pimple at any given moment. Thanks in part to my fastidious skincare routine and borderline obsessive refusal to not fall asleep with makeup on no matter how exhausted or inebriated (or both, as is usually the case) I am, my skin is good enough that I field compliments on it regularly.

Over this past weekend, I woke up to find a sore red bump on my chin. I recognized it immediately as a looming cystic zit, doing its inflamed thing well below the surface of my skin. I treated it as I always do at the first sign of this type of spot: I put ice on it to reduce the swelling followed by a dab of the benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin solution prescribed by my dermatologist. It didn’t budge, and it hurt, which is one of the worst things about a cystic pimple as opposed to a whitehead. I didn’t put any makeup on and I let the treatment sit all day, and before I went to bed that night I followed my usual skincare routine and applied the treatment again.

When I got up the next morning, I expected to see the pimple reduced in size at the very least, but not only had it not improved, it had sprung an identical twin right next to it. I may or may not have cried a little at the sight. I followed the same procedure as I had on the other one — ice followed by treatment. It did nothing and I am still wearing this zit right now. In fact, my chin is actually trying to develop another one right next to these two. That makes three excruciatingly painful cystic pimples right in a little row.

You guys, I don’t know what to do. I wash my hands constantly, and even so I make a point of never leaning my face against them. I know all the tricks in the book — I have every damn product in the book. None of them are working. I’ve spot-treated with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, clay masks; I could go on. I’ve been on amoxicillin for three days for a sinus infection, which I hoped would also benefit the bacteria in my skin. Bottom line, these inflamed bitches are still raging under there. They are hard and raised, making them virtually un-concealable, and I’ve been skimping on makeup anyway so as not to clog my pores even more.

Are you there, God? Are you smiting me for the obscene amount of real Earth dollars I’ve spent on skincare products? In the event that I can’t get in touch with God, does anyone else have any advice — and I mean any? Ways to treat cystic pimples? Ways to hide them? A good underground dungeon I can hide it in the meantime? Should I buy a snapback? Should I throw a band-aid on the entire situation, Nelly-style? Somebody help me!