My skincare journey: Tackling cystic acne

“I tried everything to treat my cystic acne. Nothing worked. But I’m glad I didn’t give up.”


We received this heartfelt message from a customer who achieved incredible skin results from using Atopis Acne Prone Skin Cream. Her message and before and after photos are shown below:

“I can’t tell you how miserable I was in the before photos. I feel the after photos don’t do justice to how much better my skin is, especially the texture. The before photos were taken in July 2019 and I have been using Atopis products since then. I’ve never had any treatments or Botox etc, I am 50 years old and although these are the most unflattering photos, most people cannot believe I’m 50. Not bad for enduring 40 years of cystic acne. Thank you for your work to develop this skincare!”

Atopis founder Dr Iona Weir talked to US-based dermatologist Dr Nico Mousdicas about some of the key contributors to  cystic acne and rosacea. Here’s what he had to say:

“When I see cases of acne I always look for precipitating or aggravating factors. If the patient is female, I ask if she is experiencing worsening of symptoms prior to her menstrual cycle. The second half of the menstrual cycle causes a surge of progesterone and that is known to have androgenic properties.

I ask about if they take any over-the-counter (OTC) oral medications as there is a long list of reported worsening of acne from iodides, bromides, Vitamin B12 and other ingredients.

I ask about their milk consumption as the whey protein in milk stimulates insulin like growth factor 1, which increases testosterone. Chocolate is also a known aggravator in some patients!

Even if a patient is slim, I would try temporarily removing insulin from the diet (or recommend a carbohydrate-restricted diet) to make sure we are not dealing with insulin resistance. Gut health is reflected in our skin and cutting out gluten may help some people as this causes leaky gut, as shown by Professor Alessio Fasano, not only in celiacs but in many other people.

I would ask about mood; if they are stressed, depressed, what their sleep patterns are like and if they do any activities to relieve stress, as these factors all have a major role to play in inflammatory skin disorders. Stress stimulates ACTH which has stimulating effects on the melanocytes and can be a cause of melasma (dark patches on the skin). There is now talk that visible light from too much exposure to electronic screens can also precipitate melasma. An option to consider is using a physical sunblock and placing blue light screen on devices or having the light emitted reduced.

Incorporating holistic lifestyle changes is also really important for good skin!”

Dr Nico Mousdicas, Dermatologist.