There are few things more frustrating than going to bed with clear skin and waking up with a mammoth zit on your face. Especially if it’s a cystic blemish — the kind that’s super sore and swollen and never comes to a head.

Fortunately, there are a few treatments out there that help minimize cystic acne from forming and help control those mighty bumps. This post features 5 carefully chosen acne treatments with the most effective results available in the market today. When I say carefully, it means that our listing is based on the analysis of over 2430 real user reviews, dermatological tests, and in depth understanding of the brands behind these products.

Our team of skincare experts only picked the highest rated and most successful products that work best for cystic acne.

Our #1 Pick
Misumi’s 3-in-1 bundle makes treating acne as easy as 1-2-3! Cleanse, tone, moisturize and protect your skin with our best signature products. Now in a bundle for a discounted price!
  • Immediately reduce redness and swelling
  • Best all-round treatment for cystic acne on the market
  • Significant results in 4-8 weeks


OUR #1 PICKaamtbl-table__image Misumi Complete Clear 3 Step System
  • Calms cystic breakouts & reduces swelling
  • Premium grade, naturally-derived ingredients
  • Thousands of happy customer reviews
aamtbl-table__image Misumi Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser
  • Simple and affordable
  • Unclogs and reduces the appearance of pores
  • Helps rehydrate the skin
aamtbl-table__image Murad Acne Control 90-Day Bestseller Kit
  • It works surprisingly well
  • It is oil-free
  • Contains Salicylic Acid
Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit | Clear Skin Kit Exposed Skincare Expanded Kit
  • 5 Piece kit with dermacloth
  • Gentle, nontoxic
  • Save $10 with monthly subscriptions
aamtbl-table__image Proactiv+ 3 Step Acne Treatment System
  • Uses a mild exfoliator
  • Reduces the signs of aging
  • Lightens acne scarring


How We Chose the Best Acne Treatment

Here are a couple of factors we keep in mind when choosing the best acne treatment:

●  Quality of Ingredients
A few ingredients to look for in your cystic acne treatment: salicylic acid (to exfoliate and remove pore-clogging debris that cause cystic acne in the first place), glycolic acid (the best at exfoliating and unclogging impurities and excess oil due to it’s tiny molecules), lactic acid (to fight acne and even out skin tone), benzoyl peroxide (to clean out the P. acnes bacteria that contributes to acne), or sulfur (to lessen inflammation), and witch hazel (a natural astringent that tightens pores, preventing aggravation of acne and future breakouts.

●  Regimen Sets
“I recommend acne kits because sticking to one product line, with products designed to work well with one another, will have the most effective results.” – Jessica Fitz Patrick, Aesthetician and Rodan + Fields Consultant

●  Real Customer Reviews and Before & After Pictures
We’ve gathered and evaluated over three thousand real customer reviews. This is a no censoring, no filter skincare review zone. We say it like it is.

●  Test Results
Yup, our skincare experts test all our top products on teenagers battling various types breakouts.

●  Customer Service and company Policy
We only recommend companies that we trust operate with integrity, are good to their customers and their environment, and have hassle-free return policies and exceptional customer service.



5 Best Treatments for Cystic Acne 2023

Here are the best creams and cleansers for healing your acne, based on quality review and user experience.


 1.  Misumi Complete Clear 3 Step System





Now only $79.95

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Finally an acne kit that lives up to its hype! Misumi’s Complete Clear 3 Step System has proven time and time again to be extremely effective. It is our favorite acne kit for achieving blemish-free skin. The best part is that it is only 3 easy steps and is super manageable for teenagers and adults with a busy schedule.

This brand has been a favorite of dermatologists and high-end skincare specialists for over 25 years but has only just been made available directly to consumers lasts year. Their 3-Step Trio Kit includes their signature AHA 10% Cleanser, All Day Moisturizer with SPF 30, and their best-selling Pore Purifying Toner that everyone (from teens to adults) has been raving about.

Unlike many acne products nowadays that contain harsh chemicals that irritate the skin, all of Misumi’s products are based on natural and healthy ingredients. Their AHA cleanser is a unique and powerful blend of Glycolic Acid, Chamomile, Japanese Plum, Seaweed Extract, Rosehip Oil, and more. You could say it has all the things we would want in an acne-fighting cleanser or face wash. Their Pore Purifying Toner combines Witch Hazel Extract, Lavender, Sage, and many other acne-fighting herbs that will help calm breakouts, clear the skin, and close pores to prevent future breakouts. Their moisturizer is designed specifically not to clog pores.

When it comes to strength, effectiveness and quality, we are yet to find an acne system on the market that beats this one. 

Best For: Acne-prone skin


  • Natural, high-quality ingredients
  • Calms cystic breakouts
  • Reduces redness and swelling
  • Only 3 easy steps
  • Deliver real and fast results. (Or else they guarantee money back)
  • Contains Lavender Oil which helps prevent severe acne scars, control oily skin, and calm breakouts
  • Made in the USA in an FDA licensed facility
  • Their chief chemist has been making some of the world’s leading acne products for over 25 years. This is their most effective formula to date.
  • Lots of loyal customers who say Misumi has been the only thing that has worked for them. Real reviews with before and after photos to prove it.
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee


  • The acne kit clears the skin from the inside out instead of drying it out like most spot treatments or BP products, so it can take longer to see results for some customers. You’ll generally see clearer skin in two to six weeks of use (or else they guarantee money back).

Pro tip: Choose a subscription plan (30 or 60 days) and get 20% savings on the kit. Easy cancellation anytime.

 2. Murad Acne Control 90-Day Bestseller Kit


Image result for Murad Acne Control 90-Day Bestseller Kit

The Acne Control 90-Day Bestseller Kit by Murad has been called the Proactiv+ for teens with acne-prone and sensitive skin. It’s a five-step system with a similar list of active ingredients and a drastically lower price tag.

One ingredient that is unique to this system is low concentration of salicylic acid. It’s gentler on skin and soaks in slower, delivering its exfoliating goodness evenly without missing anything.

Like many systems, there is a cleanser and moisturizer that you use twice daily and an acne treatment lotion you can use up to three times a day. What is missing here is a toner which we’d really love to see Murad develop and include in their kit, as toners are an integral product for managing acne-prone skin.

Some people get positive results with this system within two weeks, and for others it can take more like eight weeks.


  • contains Salicylic acid
  • good for deep cleansing
  • good price, compared to competitors like Proactiv
  • gentle formula for more sensitive skin
  • getting the extra two sample-size spot treatments is a bonus


  • Missing a non-comedogenic toner 

 3. Exposed Skincare Expanded Kit


Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit | Clear Skin Kit

Coming at #1 is Exposed Skincare’s 5 Step Expanded Kit. To be honest, we were quite skeptical of this brand, due to it’s strong push for subscription and membership. It was also quite hard to track down all the ingredients in their products. We believe skincare brands should make their ingredients list as transparent as possible, but since we saw so many positive customer reviews, we had to see if they live up to their reputation.

While Exposed Skincare products may not have the most potent formulation, the kit has a more allergen-free product due to its formula that combines both artificial and natural ingredients. It also boasts of a more robust skincare system than Murad, but we think it’s too complicated for the usual customer, especially teens, hence the #3 spot. 

Exposed Skin Care works by making sure your face is as dirt and bacteria free as possible for long periods of time. This explains its complex morning and evening routine. The ingredients it makes use also optimizes cleansing, clearing, and acne treatment applications.

Kit Includes: Facial Cleanser, Clearing Tonic, Acne Treatment Serum, Clear Pore Serum, Moisture Complex, Free Derm-X Cloth


  • Great for blackheads and whiteheads
  • Good choice for individuals with mild acne
  • Long lasting results that clears skin from the inside out


  • 6 Piece Kit can be exhausting to manage consistently
  • You will need to subscribe to their membership to receive a discounted price
  • Not that easy to return products

 4. Misumi Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser

$28.95 (2-3 Months Supply)
Click for Best Price

This Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser is an incredible combination of Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, and natural ingredients like Lavender Flower Oil. It doesn’t just tackle blackheads, whiteheads, and blemishes, but also reduces redness and swelling without drying the skin.

Lavender has great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which helps to calm angry breakouts and prevent severe acne scars and uneven skin tone. If you want a high-quality product, with real and lasting results, Misumi has got you covered.


  • Simple and affordable, 1 step treatment that works
  • This formula combines not one, or two, but three of the most effective acne-fighting ingredients.
  • Salicylic acid helps to clear blemishes and promote healing, quickly reducing redness and swelling.
  • Glycolic acid deeply exfoliates, removing dirt, oil, and sweat that clogs pores and cause acne.
  • Unclogs and reduces the appearance of pores
  • Incredibly powerful product with natural ingredients. This anti-acne cleanser easily beats Proactiv and other tough competitors.
  • Lactic acid improves skin texture and reveals radiant and youthful skin.
  • Helps rehydrate the skin
  • Contains Lavender which has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and sebum-balancing properties. This product will help calm angry breakouts, and prevent severe acne scars and uneven skin tone.
  • 100% money-back guarantee


  • Salicylic acid is amazing at tackling acne, but if you’re allergic to BHA, this product is not suitable for you. We recommend trying Misumi’s AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser.
  • At $28.95, it is a little pricier than its competitors, but the 4 fl. oz. bottle offers a generous amount that is sure to last around 2 months. PRO TIP: If you subscribe to get the product delivered every 1-2 months, you’ll save 20%.


For optimal results, pair Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser with Misumi’s Pore Purifying Toner. The two miracle-workers will help you achieve visibly clearer skin in two to three weeks. If you want a more complete anti-acne skincare regimen however, grab the Complete Clear 3-Step System that packs 3 products (albeit it comes with the milder AHA 10% cleanser). Finally, Misumi also offers a 60-day 100% money-back guarantee policy so you can try them absolutely risk-free!



5. Proactiv+ 3 Step Acne Treatment System

adult acne treatment, hormonal acne treatment, best acne treatment

Proactiv+ is pretty much required for any acne treatment system list. It’s the most well known and, for many, the most effective that people have found. Proactiv+ is still around and people still swear by it. If you haven’t considered it before, here’s a quick rundown of the three steps you do twice a day.

First, the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator uses a mild exfoliator, 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide, and glycolic acid to kill bacteria, dry up oils, and remove dead skin.

Second, the Pore Targeting Treatment uses 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide to reach deep into pores.

Lastly, the Complexion Perfecting Hydrator uses salicylic acid, botanicals, moisturizing oils, and hyaluronic acid spheres which are ultra-hydrating and reduce the signs of aging. This lotion will also lighten your skin, helping to hide acne scarring.


  • Uses benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and botanical extracts
  • Lots of people have great success
  • Years of testing and perfecting
  • Lightens acne scarring


  • Contains silicone
  • Not oil free
  • Not everyone wants skin lighteners
  • Benzoyl peroxide can stain fabrics



If you’re tired of expensive acne products that don’t work for your cystic acne, try one of the top-rated acne treatments and let us know what works (or doesn’t) for you. After testing over a hundred acne kits and OTC treatments recommended by dermatologists themselves, we’ve found the most effective cystic acne treatment on the market: Misumi’s Complete Clear 3-Step System. It contains some of Misumi’s best skincare products, specifically designed to combat acne:

  • the AHA Skin Perfecting Cleanser for gentle cleansing and exfoliation
  • The Pore Purifying Toner for unclogging pores, toning your skin, and preventing acne
  • and the Wrinkle-Free All Day Moisturizer that doubles as a sunscreen due to its SPF 30 protection

This manageable system will calm breakouts, reduce redness and swelling in just three easy steps. And best of all, it won’t break your bank! Try it yourself and let us know what you think.



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