My 15 year struggle with Cystic Acne – RESOLVED!

My skin has always caused huge problems for me along with being an incredibly emotional subject and point for me.

When I wormed my way into puberty (at an early age!), I was breaking out with pimples at the age of 11. My skin was greasy, uneven and I had blackheads across my nose – pretty standard for many teenagers, nothing unusual to report here.

However, as the years went on, my skin increasingly got worse instead of better. My pimples were no longer just small dots across my forehead and chin, they were rapidly turning into cysts underneath my skin and in particular around my chin and jaw which is an indication of a hormonal imbalance, which I’ve since learnt and ‘researched’ A LOT in!

I remember when I was a teenager and being with my then-boyfriend, I would go to bed with a full-face of makeup (which didn’t help the acne!), get up and take it off when he’d fallen asleep, back to bed, and then set my alarm before he’d wake up to apply make-up on my acne. What a nightmare!

I tried everything – from the most expensive creams I could possibly get my hands on, to the cheapest supermarket brands, to home remedies, natural products, GP prescribed creams and cleansers and antibiotics that were so heavy I would pass out like a fly if I hadn’t eaten properly whilst taking them. NOTHING WORKED!

Being diagnosed with cancer at a young age, my skin flared up again because of my hormones being even more ‘all-over-the-place’ than what they already were. At this stage it was really starting to become, not just a battle of how you look and feel, but an excruciating battle of managing the pain these cysts inflicted every single day. Sometimes the cysts would sit so close to my mouth that for days I couldn’t open it properly, and was left to eat simple things like soup, or soft items.

Not to talk about trying to make it BIG in the corporate career-world for a young woman, who’d like to be taken seriously, but even have a hard time taking herself seriously with a face full of pimples, when I’m well past my teenage years!
I felt extremely uncomfortable sitting around a table with worldly respected key-stakeholders, CEO’s, Presidents, and what not, in my role as ‘Head of Ecommerce’ for Unilever Australasia & SE Asia, when all I could think about was my bad skin, and how much I felt it limited me in properly expressing my knowledge, strategies and wins I’d had for the Organisation. I always got through it, but I always felt like I wish it didn’t limit me as much as it did.

I went through a stage of using all natural products which seemed to help for a while, but then, again, it came back with a vengeance.

Lucky for me, I was introduced to Rochelle who deals with Laser Clinics Australia and their range Skinstitut.

Now, I need to tell you about Rochelle before we continue; Rochelle is an angel. She’s kind, forgiving, appreciative, generous and now a dear friend of mine. We bonded over skin – because we’ve both been through the pains of acne and the impact it has on our lives. We are both career women at our hearts, and both in a male-led industry – this shouldn’t matter, but looking your best when I would go in to some of the most respected key-stakeholders in the world and having a pimpled face, already being a young woman, was hard! You want to be respected, and not look like you’re 12, when you’re trying to make it BIG in the real world.

That said, it also does help growing older in the sense of the heightened self-acceptance that comes with being more confident and comfortable in your own skin. I still have scarring and bad pigmentation from my acne, but I could not care less if guys see me with or without make-up, good or bad skin.
If anyone stays over, I’m sorry, but I’m taking my make-up off, mate, and I don’t wear it on Sunday’s. Live with it or move on!

Back to Rochelle; Rochelle so kindly took me under her wing and guided me through what she believed would be great for my skin. I first started with microdermabrasion facials, then moved onto byonik and now I have both microdermabrasions (when I need it) and byonik’s ONCE A WEEK as we are still working on managing my acne, but also getting rid of the damage the acne and my medication have done over the past few years; pigmentation, scarring, loss of collagen, loss of hydration and much more.

There are 2 parts to the Byonik Laser:

  1. Laser
    At the heart of the treatment is the 2-frequency simultaneous laser. The Laser combines the two wavelengths 658nm (red light)  and 806nm (near infrared-light) together. The red light aspect is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, helps boost collagen and has proven wound-healing properties in the field of nanomedicine. Meanwhile, the near infrared-light aspect enhances detoxification, improves the microcirculation and the metabolism of the skin. The BYONIK laser stimulates the cells to bond with the skin’s own hyaluronic acid molecules with no known side effects..
  2. Hyaluronic acid
    BYONIK HA gel enhances the effect of the treatment:
    The special techniques used to produce our hyaluronic acid gels allow each hyaluronic acid molecule to penetrate the skin and protects them from rapid breakdown with a special coating. Powerful anti-oxidants in the BYONIK hyaluronic acids help to rejuvenate the skin by neutralising free radicals.

Here’s a little snippet of one of my Byonik Laser Facials at Laser Clinics Bondi Junction:

I then supplement with Skinstitut products – it’s like with anything in life. There’s multiple parts to any routine and good skin is no different.

Here’s my everyday routine – 7 days a week, 365 days a year – there are NO days off!


  1. Cleanse with L-Lactic Cleanser (always cleanse twice!!)
  2. Spray with Multi-Active Mist and let it dry for 30 seconds
  3. Apply 1 pump of the Retinol Serum and let it absorb
  4. Hydrate with Moisture Defence for Oily Skin + mix it with some 100% Vitamin C


  1. Cleanse with Glycolic cleanser 12% (TWICE, always!)
  2. Spray with Multi-Active Mist and let it dry for 30 seconds
  3. Apply 1 pump of the Retinol Serum and let it absorb
  4. Apply 1 pump of Ultra Firming Eye & Neck Cream around my eyes and mouth
  5. Hydrate with Moisture Defence for Oily Skin + mix it with some 100% Vitamin C

You can find all of these products on Skinstitut’s Website

However, managing cystic acne is a majority of things; I supplement mine with ancient chinese herbs and medicine, trying to eat a variety of vegetable and good green stuff, exercising and sweating, getting some vitamin D in the sun (but not too much!).

But had I not met Rochelle and been introduced to Skinstitut and Laser Clinics Australia I would’ve never gotten the skin I’m sporting today. I think the below images speak for themselves.

The before image is how my skin have been on/off for the past 6 years. The after photos are from 3 weeks ago.




img_4492 img_4491

I urge you to call and discuss these options with Laser Clinics Australia and get some great Skinstitut products for your home-routine. It’ll make a massive difference.

This post is not sponsored, it’s what’s WORKING for me, and I want the world to know, that I’m an extreme case of Cystic Acne and it CAN be resolved But you do also need patience. This has taken 6 months to get to, and I still have a way to go.

Caroline xx

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  • Hej Caroline, I’m in a very similar situation dealing with cystic acne for the past 4 years- and it’s REALLY bad! I’m 34 and also a career woman, and hate going to meetings looking like a teenager..

    So I will try and have a chat with LCA to see what they can do for me- but you mentioned Chinese herbs and medicine.. which ones are you using and where did you buy it? (I also live in Bondi)

    I work out and eat clean and that still hasn’t helped with my acne, so need to try something more now :)

    • Hi Louise. Yes, please go see LCA – they can put together a programme for you. I suggest Bondi Junction LCA or the one in Double Bay or Pott’s Point. You close to any of those?

      I get chinese medicine and herbs from my Acupuncturist Mitch Patience. Give him a bell :) x

  • Hey Caroline!

    I’ve been following your journey for quite a while, particularly that of your skin journey and I haven’t recently began my own! I’ve suffered from acne since 15, and although antibiotics and the pill have worked as a bandaid effect over the years, in now looking for more of a holistic approach. I’ve started seeing a natropath, Chinese med accupuncture as well as taking herbal supplements. I’m struggling with what products to use, as the natural ones I’ve tried tried just don’t seem to cut it. I’m concearned about the ingredients in skinsitute products especially because I have started this acne journey on a more natural cleaning level, but in saying that, I’m keen to take the plunge and try them out. Thanks for the recommendations!

    • Hi Melanie. I love these Skinstitut products, and there are no nasties in them. I know they’re ot a 100% natural brand, however natural products for my facial skin are simply TOO potent and so I break out from them and they end up doing more harm than good, which is why I’m now sticking to Skinstitut and Laser Clinics Facials as they work so well for acne, hormonal imbalance and unclear skin! x

      • Thanks for your reply Caroline! That’s a really good point and I think I’m pretty much in the same boat- I’m finding that my skin is getting worse on natural facial cleaners. Thanks again, I’ll definitely give the products a go. ???? I’ve just started writing about my skin experience, your post gave me confidence to speak up about it!

        Mel (@earthytales)

  • I have struggled with cystic acne for a long time . Have used a lot of topical expensive products. Dermalmd acne serum does the trick! Once I started using this serum, it would diminish the small acne, scars, and even dry out the cystic acne. My face never looked better ! I will continue to but this! Don’t forget to use their serum too! Very happy

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