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Combating adult acne

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I have had acne now, on and off, for 10 years. When its on its been fairly severe, when its off I still have acne mildly. I have always understood my genes were to blame as both my parents had some acne when they were young and my older sister had some. The difference was I still have my acne, and my sister knows full well her acne is down to triggers such as alcohol etc... Hers is not as severe as mine and clears up quickly when she has a detox and relaxes. Mine doesnt.

I have thought this is down to my hormones. But I have been put on the birth control pill, and although it did lessen my acne it never went away completely. When I came off the pill all hell broke loose on my face for about 8 months leaving scars. During that time I used anything and everything to help cure me. Some things which were completely ridiculous, and I spent a huge amount of money in my desperation. I came across retinoids, a topical form of accutane. I started to use this, knowing there would be an initial breakout. I couldnt believe how bad it got from using this! I switched to epiduo, a retinoid that includes BP, it started to clear, but I always had a flushed face and the scars were worse. Summer arrived in England, I had reasonable skin.... It didnt bother me all that much, red marks were virtually gone and I was only getting occasional breakouts. I started to get a bit lazy about applying epiduo as it wasnt that practical waiting for drying etc. Plus I had started seeing a guy and was too busy getting excited about that! Towards xmas I had stopped using the Epiduo all together and unfortunately had had to take emergency contraceptive pill - MY skin hated it and broke out all that month. Its crazy how quickly my mind would go into panic mode. I quickly started using epiduo again, my skin hated it and broke out more and more! After 6 weeks of this I decided I couldnt do it again. I switched to glycolic peels but they werent really helping. all my cleansers made my skin feel tight and red. I started using BP gel like the regimen but my skin stang and peeled and was red. The red marks were SO red and wouldnt heal.

After this I once again was left with red marks, scars and acne. I had looked through some old pictures of myself when I was young before acne hit me and stared at my golden complexion. I decided no more of this. For the last month I have stopped using all my cleansers, scrubs and topicals. And now am simply washing with water, and on days where I wear A LOT of make up I use a little bit of simple cream cleanser - though this is very rarely... maybe once in a week max. As I wear makeup I found a mascara that comes off in warm water so all I need now is some cool - warm water and a cotton pad to insure i have taken off all my makeup in the evening. Cold splash of water in the morning. After one week my skin was less inflamed, its more oily but I knew that would happen. Scars and red marks are healing faster, spots are healing faster. Leaving my skin alone has helped it so much, im excited to see the next month as the first has already shown great promise. I hope as it improves I will be able to wear less makeup, which would help as well.

Watch this space :P

I have had some further improvements... Its definitely getting generally better now.

My red marks are slowly fading away. I notice every morning my skin looks even better. I am getting little breakouts but they arent very extreme and my skin is getting the chance to catch up on healing the red marks. Most of the red marks are pink rather than VERY red... I still have a couple of more dark purple marks, which will take longer... but I have faith they will slowly improve too. I think the next 7 weeks are going to be much better!

Bad Day, Again

So today my skins been so dry and flaky looking again, all around my eyes and nose. I also seem to have a lot of clogged pores around my nose and start of my cheeks. I have had a few break outs AGAIN across my cheeks :( euggh... this is all just so frustrating! I know that retinoids do seem to have good weeks and then bad, but very disheartening.

I gave myself a cleanse with my glycolic wash to rid of the dead skin that was sitting on the surface... hopefully in a few days this will all calm down

So yesterday I had a day off from products... Ive really cut back on most of my products now anyway apart from the Epiduo at night.

Feels very good just to wake up and get on with it... no cleansing, no make up. I didnt actually leave the house (Ive been unwell), which meant i didnt freak out about not putting on make up (my HP is that bad).

My skin produced its natural oils... not too much, just dewy I guess. In the evening I splashed my face with some cold water to refresh and applied my epiduo like normal. Some dead spots have peeled this morning leaving a little dry patch so I will exfoliate with a glycolic cleanser today.

Everything is looking a lot less angry now. I think its a combination of the epiduo working and keeping my face washing to the absolute minimum.

I think we need to read our faces more....

eg. Yesterday - day off from products. Today - dry skin - needs a little exfoliation. Tomoro - will probably be very cleansed so no need, just water washing.... etc

So I totally have been distracted by horrificnessss that was Retin A!

I had done soooo well in clearing my skin and nearly clearing my red marks when I last posted. However it went horribly wrong as about 3-4 weeks into retin a I got a terrible breakout from it.... everyone says stick with it for the 3 months, it always gets worse before it gets better etc... So, I did. It just got worse and worse and worse... red marks were being left everywhere and it was a total mess!

3 months came and it looked dreadful, no signs of improving either. So I switched to epiduo, after 2 weeks I got yet another breakout. I was very close to quitting it all together, but i decided i should give the new retinoid a bit more of a chance to work.

Im currently a month in, and Im pleased to say that the inflamed spots, dry skin etc has all died down... Im still getting a couple of pimples here and there but its vastly improved.

BUT im back to square one with my HP marks :(

So currently i am splashing my face with water in the morning, or just leaving it completely

Im using mineral makeup

In the evenings Im removing eye makeup with an eyemakeup remover and then splashing skin with cool water, I mix water into some cream cleanser and remove my facial makeup and rinse with cool water. I wait 30 mins to apply the epiduo, then another 30mins to apply boots expert scar serum. (sometimes i dont bother with the last bit)

I have been trying out different products for years, but really in the last 10months (after my acne went wacko when I came of the birth control pill) I have really tried EVERY possibility!

These are some of the things ive tried and my experience with them...

Cutting out dairy After I heard that cows milk has hormones in it I thought it would be a good idea to leave it out my diet for a while and see if it made a difference. It certainly did, just not really to my skin. It turned out I was lactose intolerant and my digestion hasnt never been better :doh:

Drinking Water I think this helps keeps my skin looking healthy, again, I dont think this is a cure for acne. But i believe that you need to keep it hydrated for your skin to heal with lesser scars.

ProBiotics I tried the probiotics and fiber thing... again it didnt help me. I was starting to realise that diet wasnt really my problem. Although some foods and drinks DO aggravate it! For me they include

  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • pastry
  • or any white flour

    Vitamins/Supplements I have tried SO many vitamins my shelf cant really take it all. But Ive tried ..... VitaminA,10,000iu this had some effect but I felt taking this much for a lengthy time wasnt safe, I also tried Beta Carotene which gives you a glow... sometimes quite a strong one! I remember someone commenting that I had yellow hands LOL VitaminB5 10g had no effect other than giving me a very bad tummy and it started to just be a hassle, Zinc 50mg I didnt notice any change, evening primrose made my skin VERY oily Vitamin D 5,000iuI still take these and I find them very beneficial to my mood, I will continue taking one a day during winter or on days I dont get out in the sun, Milk Thistle I use either the pills or the tincture and it helps rid of hangovers! Im not sure about its helps towards acne... but I think its great and cleanses your liver really well :)

    Topicals - Prescriptions
    • Duac - Really worked for me for about a year and a half, then stopped working
    • Differin - I moved to this when Duac stopped working and didnt notice a change
    • clindamycin - I didnt notice a real change
    • Benzoyl Peroxide - I find this too harsh and my skin seem inflamed
    • erythromycin - I used this after I found the anti-biotics helped, but this wasnt so effective
    • Nicam gel - No change
    • Skinoren - No change

      Antibiotics - Taken Orally
      • Tetracyclin
      • Erythromycin
      • Minocyclin

      None had lasting effects after the first few months.


      [*]Lemon juice - broke me out

      [*]Tumeric - This helped with healing current acne but didnt stop them from developing

      [*]Cucumber - Cooling effect but didnt help

      [*]Apple Cider Vinegar - Helped with some of my scarring but again not significant

      Hormones For me, I think this is my main issue.

      [*]Dianette Birth control - This was amazing while I was on it, Ive never really been totally clear but I was very close while taking these. however I wasnt able to stay on it after 4 years... my acne came back 10000% worse. I DO NOT RECOMMEND

      [*]Saw Palmetto - These really helped to stop the cystic breakouts, at the time I started to take them I thought my skin might be improving anyway and after a month I had a short break from them and my skin bloke out dreadfully.

      [*]Agnus Cactus - no effect

      [*]Progesterone cream - I have been using this for about 3 weeks and I believe this has made a real difference to me, this is not going to work over night but I feel different and I dont seem to get breakouts when I use it

      [*]Mint Tea - Helps control and lessen my oil production when i drink about 3/4 cups a day

      Current Regime


      1x 320mg Standardised Saw Palmetto

      1x 5000iu Vit D

      Apply Boots Expert Scar Serum

      Apply Organic Moisturiser w/ SPF 25


      1x 320mg Standardised Saw Palmetto

      Apply Retin A to face

      I wash my face with simple cream cleanser

Ive been doing a lot better on the acne front recently.... Im rarely getting cystic spots, when I do its usually around my period.

I think the Saw Palmetto has been very good for me. And I have also been using Progesterone cream (a natural paraben free cream by emerita) which I really like and deffinately helps keeps the spots to a minimum.

Of course once the spots subside im still not happy as I have red/purple scars left over. I know these will fade in time but given some that I had from January have only just gone completely Im feeling quite impatient!

I found an unopened tube of retin A id been given by my doctor last year and didnt use, so i have decided to give it a whirl. Just once a day rather than twice as I dont want to make my skin too sensitive.

Ive got a good day moisturiser with SPF 25 which Ill wear in the day and then apply the Retin A at night time.

Hopefully with some success :)

Right so I returned monday and have since pretty much been sleeping and chilling out. Feeling A LOT more refreshed and energized. I read on here on monday eve that someone with similar issues to me (crazy hormones and extra oily skin) has had success with spearmint tea. She was drinking about 4 cups a day. So, I have been drinking about 3/4 cups since monday and I'm quite surprised to see that already my skin is less oily... Obviously this is just in a few days so would like to see how this continues!

I am convinced its the saw palmetto keeping the cysts at bay and I hope that the mint tea will eliminate any further pimples by controlling my oil production.

Fingers crossed!

I have Just got back from working at Hopfarm festival where I went after Glastonbury festival. I have had to live out of a tent, showering when I could... generally I used simple cream cleanser and some clindamycin cream topically and I continued to take saw palmetto and and vit d3 internally.

My diet kinda went through the window as I was being catered for and that pretty much meant fried breakfast and some kind of pasta/meat/bun for dinner... not very exciting. I also have only been getting around 4-5 hours of sleep a night due to long work hours and some heavy drinking (got to be done during festivals :wacko: )

I was feeling quite anxious about how my skin would react to such a change for the worse. However im still not getting any cystic spots... Ive got a number of little surface pussy ones, but thats obviously due to drink, late nights and bad food. They dont take long to dissapear and they dont leave scars so im not too bothered.

I also came on my period whilst at glastonbury... earlier than expected and much more painful than its been in a long while. I take it as a good thing as before i went on the pill my periods were very painful and im hoping this is a sign they are regulating back to normal.

I hope that some time ill be able to get rid of all the little under surface pimples and red marks, but im currently pleased to see no more cysts! fingers crossed they dont reappear!

Vit D: update 1

Just wanted to observe, i feel like ive drunk a strong coffee most of the day. Quite strange, im not sure if its placebo or i genuinly have a lot more energy and excitement buzzing around. Im going to work at glastonbury festival tomoro so i guess im quite excited about that anyway.

I'll be away for 12 days so will update this again when I'm back. Who knows what my skin will look like after camping in a muddy field for 12 days and having to eat whatevers available there...

As of today I am taking a combination of 1x liquid capsule, Vitamin D3 5000 and 2x liquid capsule, standardised Saw Palmetto 360mg

Since I stopped taking the Saw palmetto my skins broken out fairly badly and thats not happened since I started taking the supplements.

The D3, is partly because Im very tired a lot of the time and feel like my brains not very present. But Ive also read a lot about it normalising your blood sugar and I think that my acne can be linked to my fluctuating blood sugar level. When your blood sugar level drops suddenly your body produces more androgens which can cause acne in acne prone ppl. Hopefully the combination of the 2 will keep my androgen levels low...

Ill post back in a few weeks with any progress or failings.

I used this for the length of the bar, initially this made my skin very dry and then oily where my skin was overcompensating the moisture.... However, after about a week i noticed some improvement to the oilyness of my skin, and i didnt get any major breakouts while using this product.

It didnt live up to the hype I had read about it though... but it was only cheap so I wasnt too disappointed. I would say its worth googling, and try for yourself :cool:

Ive been pretty pleased with the way my skin has been since taking saw palmetto... Ive not been sure whether my skin is finally calming down after coming off birth control. To experiment I have stopped taking the saw palmetto for a short while (Sunday) Ive already got some bigger breakouts and its only Wednesday ( this might be due to consuming too much sugar over the last week).

I have been researching how your body uses hormones to level your blood sugar.... fluctuating levels is very bad for acne.

This is a bit i found that sort of summarises what im talking about...


Anyway, androgens I think make my acne a lot worse and so I think a combination of stopping the saw palmetto and having a sugar binge has been a bit of an error!

BAck on the Saw palmetto I go!

A month or so ago I went to Marrakech, during my week there I had Hammams everyday at my hotel... These are basically steam rooms.

I really enjoyed what it was doing for my skin. My first one, I came out and looked in the mirror and I had a huge, ready to squeeze white head sitting on my nose where NOTHING had previously been. I thought WOW thats speedy work, and my skin improved so much over the week (im sure partly due to the sun also).

When I got home I decided to buy a facial steamer ( which I got for £10 at argos,UK)

It really feels good, plus it also helps clear your passages. SO really good if your feeling a bit congested!

Derma roller...

So I have just ordered a 2mm Derma roller, this is for my scars rather than the acne ( Im only planning on using it on the clear parts of my face that have rolling scars and red marks as I suspect it would make live acne worse).

Anyway, I will update this post once I have done a number of treatments (its one every 4-6 weeks, So i think im gonna do 1 a month) Im really hoping this is going to make a big difference to the scars!

Also I am going to use Argan oil as a treatment with the derma roll.


Last month I have been adding fiber powder (Benefiber) to my drinks twice a day...

I wasnt sure if there was much benefit from it, but i ran out last week and have since had a major breakout.

I noticed my digestion started working so much better than before (never bloated or gassy, and poo was totally regular) This is a big deal for me as I have a very sensitive digestive system (lactose intolerance being the big factor).

My skin seemed very calm over the last month, so I have ordered a few more months worth and will post my thoughts about its effectivness on skin. I'll be taking probiotics also.

So a friend of mine recommended I took a course of milk thistle supplements as my skin is very oily. I've been taking them for about 2 weeks and I have noticed how good they are for dealing with hangovers! But so far my skin is still as oily as before, ive got another few weeks worth so will update with how I get on :think:

So... I found that I was still oily. However I like taking them, especially at the weekends when I drink alcohol. Really think they helped. Your not supposed to take these continuously however so am giving myself some time off them then I will buy them again but probably wont take them everyday twice a day like before... maybe just friday-monday :wall:

For the last 3 1/2 weeks ive been using a glycolic acid peel... this is one you do at home.

So ive used it 4 times now ( i do it about every 5-6 days). Ive noticed my skin really looks a lot brighter and im pretty sure my scars are fading quite a lot and im getting less break outs :think:

Its still early days to tell fully how well this works long term, i have another 2 applications for this trial and then I have to have a few weeks off before I can use it again. So I will post back about my progress with this.

Something to mention is.... this isnt like peels you get done professionally, your skin doesnt actually peel off, it just quickens the pace that your skin naturally sheds.

Also, a bottle lasts ages and it is really really cheap to buy online :wall:

Saw Palmetto

So I have been taking Saw Palmetto to try a natural anti-androgen... which is what my birth control had. So far Ive not had any really big cysts... but its still early days, i also still have little pimples under my skin (which seem to just be permanent) but im hoping the cysts might have ended. Fingers crossed.

I will post again about this supplement


I have swapped to organic/natural products since my skin is getting a little older and had noticed my skin was starting to be very sensitive and had a dull look to it.

Id give a warning to all those using harsh topicals, I did for years and I regret that now!

However its on the mend...

I have been using moisturisers by Kimberley Sayer, the day cream with spf 25 for acne prone skin is really very good. I recently went to Marrakech and used it as my suncream protection for my face and didnt burn at all or break out! really good product!

Also her repair night cream, (which ive currently run out of and cant afford to replace!!) with tangerine and calendula is quite literally amazing, it reduces inflammation and makes a real difference to healing red marks quickly.... down side is these products are expensive, the day cream does last a very long time though so well worth it.

Turmeric powder

This stuff is amazing! It really helps with red marks, and also reduces inflammation.

I used a bit mixed into calendula cream (or sometimes just water) and left it on for 30mins, or sometimes id leave it on over night, I found this method very good.

However turmeric stains everything yellow! its very messy and so I have got sick of using the stuff. my pillows, clothes, flannel and bathroom surfaces have a fluorescent yellow hue to them!

Highly recommend but stains be warned!


Lemon juice used as a scrub (with brown sugar) or on its own as a toner. This broke me out with lots of little pimples :think:

Others have had success though, so might be worth a shot

I think this is a cheap and easy thing for anyone to try. I found it was quite good at keeping my skin less oily and helped smaller pimples to heal up pretty quickly. Just mix with water 1/1.

Some people use this for red marks left from acne and have said its effective but I didnt notice any great change in them... at least no faster change than normal.

I also like drinking it. I boiled water and mixed a teaspoon of honey in with a tablespoon of the vinegar, when I used it topically as well as drinking it consistently I noticed the most change in my skin.

I highly recommend using ACV... cant hurt and its cheap!


Im 24 and have had acne to some degree since i was about 14.... Though I think ive come to the realisation that because both my parents suffered from acne I will never be rid of it entirely, I have hope that I can do something about the severity of it.

Since coming of Birth control in October my skin has exploded with cysts and because of years of harsh treatments my skin now scars very easily.

I have tried so many products its quite ridiculous, I spend hours of my time researching all manner of different ideas, products, supplements, diets etc etc and I feel ive made some headway with it all. At least to the point that I wanted to share some of my experiences with a few things....