The Back Story
I’ve told this before but for the sake of conciseness, here it is again.
Had clear skin during puberty etc. Started getting acne at age 19. Mainly around my mouth, there would be around 15 at a time when it was at its worst. Also I would get cystic spots from time to time. Pricked and squeezed one once, never again!
I don’t have a photo of my skin at its worst but I have a photo which I took around six months ago.
What I Tried
*At first I figured that my weight loss had triggered it (I gained two stone whilst living in Aus and lost three stone in two months very quickly on my return). So I gained weight. This didn’t work.
*My friend’s mom who is a doctor gave me some sample tubes of Duac which I used without result.
*I stopped wearing makeup
*I drank 1.5 gallons of water a day
*I went to my GP who prescribed me Duac again. And it didn’t work. AGAIN!
*My housemate used to have acne and had a massive stash of oxytetracycline which he gave me. I took this religiously, waiting the two hours before and after food etc. These didn’t work either.
*Birth control – GP prescribed Dianette, despite me saying that I wanted Yasmin. I was only on Dianette for 2 weeks when I found it unbarable – I was an emotional wreck!
*I decided that if my acne was hormonal, I’d better try and rid my body of any unnecessary hormones. I needed birth control so opted for the copper IUD coil. This made my periods very heavy and eventually my body rejected the coil. I was put on Yasmin which is fine – it didn’t clear my acne but it didn’t cause it either.
*I used a range of supplements and holistic remedies after reading stories on the org:
Vitamin A, B3 Niacin, B5, C, D3, E, evening primrose oil, zinc, clear skin tablets… My pill box was massive. But I didn’t actually notice a difference in my skin. Just my bank balance. I was spending an unreasonable about on supplements!
*Holistic – egg white masks, lemon juice, ACV, asprin mask, honey mask, meditation…
*Diet – I don’t think that diet affects my acne. I went 6 months eating for my skin – no dairy, no sugar, no wheat or gluten, extra protein and fruit and veg… I would eat avodacos, carrots, oily fish… Lovely things but I found myself getting obsessive, I was afraid to eat dinner in restaurants, embarrassed to eat with other people. My weight was dropping again.
*I used teatree oil, teatree cream, witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide, sudocrem…
*High End Products – After some research online, I decided to buy Clinique’s 3 Step Anti Blemish Solutions Regimen (CABS I’ll call it for short). This was a moisturiser, a foaming cleanser, clarifying lotion, moisturiser and a spot treatment. Also bought the foundation. I used this to the letter for around 2 months but found no results. The clarifying lotion was very strong, the moisturiser was not moisturizing, the spot treatment was no better than a cheap brand product… I was disappointed. I switched to the bar soap to see if I had better results with that.
Actually I have sent most of my Clinique things back – they reimbursed me the full amount! Very kind of them. From no w on I will be more wary of the Clinique ladies – a lab coat does not a doctor make!
I went to my GP and said that I needed to see a dermatologist. There didn’t seem to be an end in sight. It took 6 weeks to get an appointment and another month for that to happen!
My dermatologist is absolutely lovely. I broke down in tears when I was telling her about my struggles and she couldn’t have been kinder.
She prescribed Epiduo and Cetaphil moisturiser.
I went back for a second appointment recently with my photo skin diary and a list of questions, she said that Clinique products are too strong, that I need to treat my skin gently, not attack it. She recommended Simple products.
She has also now prescribed Tetralysal Lymecycline antibiotics. I’m nearly three weeks into my three month course so I can’t comment on their effectiveness yet.
Epiduo – started on June 24th
My derm told me to use this once a day, preferably at night.
I thought that I knew best and that using it twice a day would double my recovery time.
I was SOOOO wrong! My skin went insane. I was expecting some flaking but it just ruined my skin. It was bright red, unstoppably flakey – if I tried to exfoliate it off it would become red raw and painful and flake all over again. It hurt to smile.
I stopped being an idiot and used as prescribed. It has been amazing. It took about 2 weeks of proper use to see results. I am now more than three months in. My skin is 99% clear, just one more spot which is nearly dead. I still have scars but they will fade with time.
I’ve quit the supplements. They are wasting my money, I get everything I need from my diet anyway.
I’m still on Yasmin.
I take Tetralysal in the mornings once a day.
Cleanse with CliniqueABS bar soap
Home made toner - ½ Rooibos(red bush) tea, ¼ ACV, ¼ lemon juice and a few drops of tea tree oil.
Moisturiser – Cetaphil
Cleanse with CliniqueABS bar soap
Home made toner
Epiduo (pea size amount) – let that dry
Moisturiser – Cetaphil
I still smoke and drink occasionally. I don’t stress about food. I try to get in the sunlight as often as possible. Mainly I try not to stress too much.
Makeup – I don’t wear it very often. When I do I use Revlon Colour Stay foundation or CABS foundation. Neither break me out. I prefer CABS but the colour is only good for when I’m tanned. Again, I don’t wear makeup because of laziness. I don’t stress about having it on my face any more.
Over the past three years I’ve been at breaking point. I’ve shed many tears about my skin – literally looking in the mirror and sobbing.
Fighting acne is truly exhausting, it’s nothing you’ve done, it’s not your fault… And that makes it so much worse. If it’s not something I’m doing, then I can’t change it and it’s out of my control.
I’ve spent so much money on skin products – I prioritise my skin in my budget over having fun.
I’ve cancelled on nights out with my friends because of my skin.
I used to select which side of people I would sit according to which side of my face was the best
It was ALWAYS on my mind, all consuming.
Over the last few months I have learnt not to look in the mirror so much, and when I do, I train my eyes not to go straight for the spots and scars and focus on my eyes. It really helps. Taking deep breaths can work wonders as well!
I am not at the end of my journey yet. I know that epiduo and tetralysal might not be the long term solution for me. But I won’t hesitate to say that I appreciate my skin being so much better at the moment. Focusing on the positives!
Everyone’s skin is different – what helps one person might not help another. It’s taken me quite a while to find something that works for me!
The org has been a huge help for me. I’ve met some incredible people on here, I’m hoping that we will get together in real life one day(you guys know who you are), the support has been amazing, advice has been limitless.
If anyone has any questions about the things I’ve tried then go ahead
Before and After photos
(first two are during the healing - not good representations of my skin at its worst, the last two I took today!)*edit* first two are today's photos. I uploaded wrong order.. duh!
Edited by abigailwheeler, 31 August 2011 - 10:04 AM.