I'm so sorry that you feel this way. I know the feeling - I was/am feeling it too. I was so down that I had similar thoughts, felt sick to my stomach, had no appetite and just didn't want to do anything. Nothing made me happy. It's so hard to deal with and I'm so sorry you have to go through it right now. I HATE that feeling when you know you're getting a cyst. Your face just starts hurting (or itching) in a particular spot, and without even looking in the mirror, you know you have one and it's not about to go anywhere anytime soon. Man, it just sucks.
I tried the same thing as you: cod liver oil, zinc, ridiculously healthy diet, more supplements and did it for a month. NOTHING helped. When you're getting cysts, it's very difficult to correct it with natural supplements (I'm not saying it doesn't work for everyone, it may), and it sounds like it's not working for you. And if it really is hormonal, all the cod liver oil in the world is unlikely to help!
I completely understand the hesitancy to go on Accutane. I'm in the same boat. I did take it in high school, and it was great. No side effects other than dry, flaky skin. And if it's hormonal, there's not guarantee the Accutane treats it long-term. My biggest suggestion to you is go to a dermatologist. Cysts scar and the scarring can be permanent or take up to 12mos to clear. The good news for you is you're young! So you are still making plenty of collagen so your skin may heal more quickly compared to an older person.
Do you live in the U.S.? If so, find a good dermatologist who you can see relatively quickly (my old derm would have a 3-mos wait, which, when you're dealing with cysts, NO.). You can get cortisone injections and the cysts will go away anywhere from a few hours to 48 hours. Yes, some people get indentations, but I've had so many of them and my derm has been very careful and sometimes doesn't even inject the standard amount. Sometimes the injections can be expensive, but if you have a cyst in the middle of your face (me), it's worth it. Sometimes it worth it just to relieve the pain
Cysts are the absolute worst. Taking a more aggressive approach can really help. I also suggest seeing a doctor for any depression. I know it's difficult, but sometimes seeing someone for depression medication (or be assessed for it) can make the pain just a little less. I hope it gets better for you soon.
I'm in pretty bad shape. I've been visiting the derm daily for cortisone injections because I continue to get new cysts daily, and this is the only thing that stops inflammation. I'm so sad. I'm supposed to be on vacation right now. I canceled reservations for the entire week. How can I go when I'm getting new cysts daily? I didn't go to a concert a few nights ago because I didn't want anyone to see me. I really didn't think I'd have to go on Accutane, but I'm not so sure now... I don't want my face to turn all red and have hyper-pigmentation. My face has a pinkish undertone already. I don't want to breakout worse than I already am! Why is this happening?!
I'm too sad to cry. I force myself to eat because I know medicine will be better absorbed, but otherwise I have no appetite. My body is revolting and I can't do anything to stop it.
I agree with Sasch83. I actually just asked my derm about this yesterday, and she said there's not much you can do besides some topicals, but not all. I would talk to your doctor or see a dermatologist to be sure of what you can and can't use.
I've tried it. I think it also depends on what type of acne you have. My old derm gave it to me because I think it was the "new" product they were promoting. My new derm - I switched - said that it would take 8-12 weeks to really see significant improvement. I have severe acne though so it could be more beneficial to someone with mild/moderate acne. I used Differin for years and like it, along with Retin-A Micro, which I still use. I use the Retin-A sparingly though because it is strong.
I posted a few weeks ago here, and I just am updating to confirm that stopping BCP was absolutely the cause of the worst acne I've ever had. In the last three to four weeks I've had close to 30 cysts, 20 injections, and I never would have thought it would be this bad. In my situation however, I'm not sure it was completely due to BCPs because I had some cysts last year and I was still on BCPs. I think stopping it highly exacerbated the problem where as I would probably still get 1-3 month had I stayed on the pill. At one point, I was getting multiple cysts per day. I kid you not, I would go the derm to get anywhere from 1-4 injections, and within hours of leaving, a new cyst would appear.
Do I think there was a hormonal imbalance? Heck yes. But I think it was already there. Not taking the pill made it worse. I don't think the pill is bad or no one should go on it. It helps many people. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what a better solution is for acne, especially if it's due to hormonal imbalance.
From my understanding and the way you're describing it, it sounds like it really needs to come to the surface so the bacteria can get out. It's basically an infection. It sucks. I'm sorry. I say this as I have one on my jawline right now too. Very painful, hard bump underneath the skin with the surrounding area a pink/reddish color. My derm has said the best thing you can do is get a cortisone injection to prevent scarring. Whatever you do, DO NOT TRY TO POP OR SQUEEZE IT. The cyst so deep under the skin, trying to pop it could push the bacteria further down and make it worse.
So... I know that sounds pretty depressing and may leave you thinking, "So is there anything I can do?" I tried something that may help and seems pretty harmless (it won't make it worse):
Mix 2 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp water. It will turn into a paste. Wash the affected area with warm water. Apply the paste to the affected area and leave on for at least an hour, if not overnight. I read that the baking soda can neutralize the pH. Now...I take this with a grain of salt for everything I've said above: the cyst is deep below the surface so I'm not sure how the baking powder can help, but I don't think it's something that would cause more damage, ya know? (Source of this treatment: Livestrong) I gave it a shot recently, and didn't notice much, but it could help others! I'd still try it again.
Another option that I may try today for my ugly and stupid cyst is mixing aspirin and water, which also forms a paste, then apply that to the area for only 10 min. The aspirin is an anti-inflammatory so that may help too. You could try taking a few ibuprofen orally, but really, the cyst has to come to the surface. I wish that wasn't the case because I HATE HATE HATE them with a passion, but the bacteria has to go somewhere!
BP can work to prevent, but once you have one, it's hard for BP to reach the source of infection. I plan on visiting my derm tomorrow for yet another injection. \\
Money can only buy so much happiness. How many people out there are incredibly wealthy, but still have medical problems, mental health issues, drug/alcohol or addition problems... money cannot fix everything. So many studies have shown that at some point, there is less of a psychological "return" on how much money a person has.
Don't get me wrong: it would be awesome. But to have the experience of NEVER EVER having to worry about my skin again - how to wash, what to eat, dealing with pimples, not having to wear makeup, being able to go swimming... I could go on forever. That? Well, that is priceless to me and to have clear skin for the rest of my life is a no-brainer.
The last couple days have not been good. I've tried to "not care," I've tried saying, "F--- it, this is who I am," but it's hard to do that every. single. day. Every day is a fight and having the energy to put yourself out there in the world and pretend you look normal and ignore stares, pretend like they don't bother you, to just to go home and see you have yet another large cyst.
You try to eat the best you can everyday (no dairy, no simple carbs, no alcohol), you don't touch your face, you wash and treat your face exactly how your derm has instructed. You take the medications EXACTLY as prescribed, and even though they give you a wicked stomach ache, you say it's worth it because I will have less cysts some day. Then you wake up the next day only to find one, two or three more. You would like to enjoy a beer and have some pretzels on occasion, but I'll be darned if you would like to just have one GD meal where you can actually enjoy yourself and not worry if having a carb or ice cream cone will make you break out. Everything gets analyzed and assessed as to how it will affect your skin. Get sun, but not too much, wear sunscreen, but it may make you breakout. Before you know it, nothing is enjoyable anymore and all your time is spent wondering how things will affect your skin. Oh, and above all, don't stress out. Right. That's super easy.
Tell me how to fix this. I'll do it. But no one can.
There is so much advice out there on what to do, what not do that you try to remember all the advice and wonder if you forgot just the one tiny thing that is the "answer" to all of it! Is the Cod Liver Oil pills making it worse? Am I taking too much Zinc? Not enough? Should I take Zinc with food? Do I start taking Calcium too? What about D3? I've been told it's in the normal range, but that's supposed to help. Do I take that? Eat eggs, don't eat meat, ok, eat meat, but not too much. I could go on and on with advice I've read.
There is SO MUCH INFORMATION OUT THERE and I completely understand that causes of acne can vary. Totally get that. But it would be nice if some day someone could figure out the cause with a simple test that is clear and accurate. The test will immediately say causation is diet, hormones, whatever. All I know is it feels like there's one or two serious medications out there that seem to temporarily fix acne, but they are not full proof.
I hate feeling so down about this. There are people who are much worse conditions. I try to remember that when I get down. The fight gets harder when you feel like nothing is working.
Has your derm talked about giving you a cortisone injection? That will take the inflammation down very quickly. It may not go away completely, but it will definitely decrease information. Insurance typically covers it too
Hi. I just wanted to reach out and tell you that you are so not alone. I could have written your post. It's so hard sometimes to face the day and hope you will not be judged on something that has NOTHING to do with who you are as a human being. The makeup, the relationship, going out based on your skin's condition... I'm struggling with all of that right now too. It's so hard when you feel like you're the only one.
I'm trying to be strong -- extra strong and try a game with myself: pretend like it doesn't bother me. LIke it's a fly that is just around and it's super effing annoying, but it won't bother me. I know it sounds weird, but I have to fight 200% just to go out some days, especially when I have cysts that actually do hurt. It's hard to ignore those.
I wish I had a fail-proof fix and answer for you. I just hope that you do find a treatment that works for you, and I think I understand what you're going through.
Wow. There are so many stories I can relate to in this thread! I, too, have/had an eating disorder and acne is one of my triggers. Once it's starts getting bad (e.g., cysts), I'm done. I have no appetite because I'm so upset but I also feel like I have no control over the acne so I don't eat. And birth control --- holy crap, I never thought it would affect me as much as it has.
I started with Depo-Provera (Depo shot) and it was awesome. Just a shot every three months! I completely lost my period, acne was fine AND I never gained the weigh that some women did. Then in my late 20's, my Dr. suggested the mini-pill (progestin only) because they don't recommend women take Depo after 30 due to bone density. Ok. Cool. Mini-pill worked great! It was like I didn't even switch. Then a few years later I started having breakthrough bleeding often. So I switched to Seasonale. It took a good three months to get used to it, but it worked fine.
Finally, after three years of Seasonale and in my early/mid 30's, I started getting cystic acne. I switched AGAIN to Ortho Tri Cyclen (the generic Tri-Sprintec I think?) and Spiro - starting at 25mg/day and working up to 75mg. Wow - a couple things happened: I GAINED WEIGHT I went from a A/B-cup to a D. I know some girls may love this, but I HATED IT! I felt so... exposed. I couldn't run anymore, I gained weight in my thighs and abdomen, but, my skin was clear.
Then I started get severe side effects (bladder pain, vaginal pain, lost all libido and sex became painful). So I cut Ortho and jumped back on Seasonale. That helped, but still had pain. Then dropped Spiro -- for two months I was pain free. It was great. then the pain came back. So I cut out Seasonale (this was all under doctor supervision, btw).
After three weeks of being off BC pills, the cysts and acne came roaring back! Like many of you, I'm afraid I've created a "dependency" to keep my hormones in an artificial state and I don't know how to fix it I couldn't take it so I've restarted the BC and Spiro. The pain is back but it's sad. I put my stupid effing acne ABOVE pain. Who does that. I hate this.
Bumping up to re-ask the question... has anyone taken Saw Palmetto for at least one month? What was the dose? I had been taking Spiro (50 - 75mg), and it worked wonderfully but I ended up with painful side effect so I've stopped (I had horrible bladder pains. I think it's something to do with effect on potassium on the body). Anyway - I'm looking into Saw Palmetto and it only affects DHT! This could be a huge deal for me. I don't need BP medication or diuretic or bigger boobs... but if I'm understand everything I read - this affects both the estrogen AND testosterone. I'm so hopeful this will work for me. I've order a bottle and plan to start at 160mg/day, 2x/day. I also love that it's natural.
Can anyone offer recent success stories? Did you change anything else in you diet? I'm on BC pills and also take Cod Liver Oil pills, 50mg Zing, 500mg Mg, and a multi-vitamin. I really want this to work, and it theory, it sounds like it could. I'm not expecting some overnight miracle. Spiro took a good 1-2 months to work, so I will try to be patient. I'm petite so I'm not sure I high dosage would be the way to start.
Further disclosure: I eat fairly healthy and my acne has come back after being 98% clear after 6 months. I stopped Spiro 4 months ago, stopped BC three weeks ago an cysts came back I was so upset so I"ve started BC pills and Spiro again, even with the painful side effects. I cannot take having these horrendous cysts. When I get the Saw P. I'll stop the Spiro (25mg daily, btw, and I STILL am getting reactions). I would like to be able to eat fairly healthy and not freak out on a "cheat day" when I want to have a GD pretzel.