By Lindsey Murray
Updated Jun 02, 2016 @ 2:00 pm
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We all have one. That one pimple that rears its ugly head over and over again and not matter what you do, it just keeps. coming. back. Well, turns out, when you find that same pesky spot flaring up week after week, you might be dealing with something more serious that just a blemish.

Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York-based dermatologist, explains that it could possibly be that the acne is caused by a cyst that has developed under the surface of the skin.

“A pimple will blow up and become red and tender, but eventually it will quiet down and go away,” she explains. “The difference is that a cyst is like a deflated balloon that’s living under the skin. It’s always going to flare again, it’s just a matter of time.”

Most of the time, these cysts are hormonal or stress-related, but they can also be caused by a diet that is high in refined carbs. Luckily, if it is a cyst, it’s not impossible to get rid of this stubborn spot for good.

How to Fix It:

Bowe recommends starting out by choosing either a once a week exfoliating cleanser like Dr. Brandt Skincare PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator ($58, or an at-home peel like NeoStrata Exuviance Performance Peel AP25 ($75,

“Exfoliating the superficial layers helps you keep the skin turning over at a fast enough pace to eliminate those clogged pores,” says Bowe.

If weekly scrubs aren’t enough to stop your flare-ups or you find yourself with multiple reoccurring cysts, a trip to the dermatologist might be your next option.

“A dermatologist can give [the cyst] a shot of cortisone, which can help make it collapse to shorten the life of your flare up,” explains Dr. Bowe. For more persistent pores, your skin doctor can prescribe oral medications or perform a punch excision, which uses a sharp cutter to cut out the walls of the cyst so that oil and bacteria can’t get trapped. (Warning, we don’t recommend Googling).

No matter what repair method works best for you, Bowe warns that you (or a professional) should never ever ever try to extract a cyst.

“The cyst is too deep for extraction,” she explains. “If somebody tries to extract them deep enough you will end up with a scar.”

To keep your pores flare-up free in the first place, Bowe recommends keeping your stress levels under control, clocking in your eight hours of sleep of night, and adding probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids to your diet.

Now, get ready to kick that long-term blemish to the curb—for good.