I saw this mentioned on another forum and I tried it and now wish I knew about it 10 years ago! It's an over-the-counter homeopathic salve called Prid Drawing Salve, which is actually meant to draw out boils and splinters and things like that, under the skins's surface. I've searched through forums in the past and there are so many people recommending topical stuff, but none of it works since cysts are under the skin's surface. This stuff actually works for me. I got it at my local Whole Foods store for like $4 and it lasts forever, but you can just google it and find places to order online. It's in a little round orange tin, and is sort of like a hard wax that you rub your finger on and then apply to the area where you feel a cyst coming. The forum I saw it on said it is really black and sticky, so maybe it's been reformulated or something, because the stuff I got is not that way at all. When on the skin it just looks a little shiny, not black or thick or anything like that. and you can even still dab makeup over it.
Before I used it, a big cyst would last up to a month sometimes, and would leave a purple scar for several years. When I use Prid, the cyst just gradually goes away and leaves no scar!! On regular sized pimples, it helps to bring it to a head faster so you can prick it with a sterilized pin and extract it. Whenever I prick anything with a pin I always apply some tea tree oil after to make sure it doesn't get infected.
I use it immediately and often when I feel a cyst coming. If I catch it early enough, the cyst never gets big, it just sort of disappears before it has a chance to start. If it's already there, I use the Prid often throughout the day. The cyst either just goes away gradually, or it brings it to a head - well sort of - it makes it so I can see the small whitish area where I know that I can prick with a sterilized pin to gently extract. When extracting it tho, make sure you never squeeze. Instead, sort of spread/pull outwards, away from the center of it. sometimes even pressing gently around the perimeter gets it to come out once it's begun. And if you get impatient and prick it before it's ready and noting comes out, or if blood comes out instead of puss, put some tea tree oil on and leave it alone!!! Messing with it too much or too early makes it so much worse. I've learned this the hard way.
Another thing I discovered through an elimination diet is the coffee and chocolate wreak havoc on my face!! Coffee especially, but that may just be that I consume more of it than the occasional chocolate treat. Seriously though, when I eliminate coffee, then drink it again I get tons of zits and cysts. So badly that I will never drink coffee again now that I know the cost to my face.
Also, I started using jojoba oil instead of moisturizer twice a day. I've had oily skin my whole life and now, when I use the jojoba oil, my skin doesn't think it needs to produce so much oil, as jojoba is the closest it gets to the skin's natural sebum. I used to blot my skin throughout the day to reduce the oily shine, but I haven't done that in about a year now since using jojoba oil. Again, I wish I'd known about it when I was 13! The reduction in oil has also helped reduce outbreaks. I've also been using Bare Minerals and I love it. Although, now that my skin is not oily, I could probably use anything! But the Bare Minerals looks really natural and makes my skin look nice and even without looking makeupy.
Oh, just some background info, I am 32 and white with medium toned skin and light eyes. I started breaking out around 12 or 13 and the jojoba oil and Prid are the first non-prescription things that have ever made a difference.