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Success at last! My story

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I’ve started various threads detailing my pursuit for a cure for acne, thought I’d make something more concise here.

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!

Dermatologist

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.

Current Regimen

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.

Morning

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

Bed Time

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.

Emotional

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!

Summary

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 :)

Peace. x

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!

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nice!

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Your skin looks gorgeous! Keep it up. I'm sure if you stick to it the results will keep getting better and better. Congrats!

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Your skin is looking so good! I bet it must seem like such a huge relief - I hope it keeps behaving and hopefully this could signal the end to your struggles. :D

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I hope so.

Everytime I start hating my scars and red marks I remember that my skin has been so much worse and that I should be grateful for how much it has healed. Patience. I need some!

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How do you like the Cetaphil moisturizer? I've been looking for a basic moisturizer for my combo/almost clear skin.

Anyway, great progress. Sending good vibes your way! :)

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How do you like the Cetaphil moisturizer? I've been looking for a basic moisturizer for my combo/almost clear skin.

Anyway, great progress. Sending good vibes your way! :)

I really like the Cetaphil moisturiser. It doesn't break me out, it's cheap, not too thick or oily. My only complaint is that it doesn't have SPF. Will definitely be buying the cleanser as well, it's a good brand.

Thanks for the good vibes :)

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I see no difference Me ----> :liar: <---- Me

You're quite beautiful and your skin is looking lovely!

Just a forewarning about BP, I was using the same strength of BP (2.5%) for about a year and a half before stopping cold turkey. It took a couple of weeks, but this resulted in one of the top three breakouts of my life. I swore I would never go back to it again even though it had been ranked highly in my list of effective treatments. It will always bite you if you ever turn your back on it.

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I see no difference Me ----> :liar: <---- Me

You're quite beautiful and your skin is looking lovely!

Just a forewarning about BP, I was using the same strength of BP (2.5%) for about a year and a half before stopping cold turkey. It took a couple of weeks, but this resulted in one of the top three breakouts of my life. I swore I would never go back to it again even though it had been ranked highly is my list of effective treatments. It will always bite you if you ever turn your back on it.

Thank you, I'm really pleased with the results so far.

I am really worried about what will happen to me when I stop using Epiduo. I have an appointment with my dermatologist booked for November so will discuss it with her then. I suppose I'll just have to slowly wean myself off it?

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Gradually decreasing the treatment is what they recommend. However, I tend to be more brash and impatient; oh how I payed for that lol.

The BP had to go, it was leaving orange spots on my clothes and left my skin looking slightly irritated (which I probably was the only one to notice).

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I haven't been on here for a while. Two reasons: I no longer have an office job and therefore spend less time on a computer. Also my acne has gone away.

So I thought I'd write a bit of an update of how things are going. I'm still using Epiduo every night and still taking Tetralysal (antibiotic) every morning. I haven't had a spot come to a head for a whole month.

My red marks are slowly fading, the subtle pitted scars aren't. I can deal with that, and if I ever feel frustrated with them, I take a look at the photos I took of my skin pre-epiduo and instantly feel appeased.

The thing is, I am in constant fear of my bad skin returning. I feel trapped in a cycle of repeat prescriptions and extended bedtime routines waiting for the god damn topical to dry. I never feel comfortable wearing makeup because of the fear I'm used to feeling about it breaking me out. I feel like deep down I know that the epiduo is a short term solution and that as soon as I stop using it, my bad skin will return. I feel like I'm faking having decent skin.

Last weekend I bumped into my friend who has just finished her course of Roaccutane. Her skin is flawless. Honestly, her skin was never noticeably bad but she is a makeup artist so I'm sure she was an expert at covering up! She gushed "I can't believe this feeling of having great skin, it's amazing. I only ever wear tinted moisturiser". And I felt jealous. Even though our skin is at an equal point right now, I couldn't help have this pang of envy that her issues are out the window now Roaccutane has cured her and that mine are below the surface waiting to plague me again.

My best friend has now also been prescribed Roaccutane and again, I'm jealous. I have this niggling voice in the back of my mind saying that I should have pushed harder for Roaccutane while my skin was still bad. Which is crazy because my skin is in such good condition at the moment.

So there are all my crazies put down in writing. If anyone has any experience regarding life after epiduo I'd be really grateful to hear from you!

PS here is a photo I took today. Comparing it to the one in the first post is definitely encouraging smile.png

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I haven't been on here for a while. Two reasons: I no longer have an office job and therefore spend less time on a computer. Also my acne has gone away.

So I thought I'd write a bit of an update of how things are going. I'm still using Epiduo every night and still taking Tetralysal (antibiotic) every morning. I haven't had a spot come to a head for a whole month.

My red marks are slowly fading, the subtle pitted scars aren't. I can deal with that, and if I ever feel frustrated with them, I take a look at the photos I took of my skin pre-epiduo and instantly feel appeased.

The thing is, I am in constant fear of my bad skin returning. I feel trapped in a cycle of repeat prescriptions and extended bedtime routines waiting for the god damn topical to dry. I never feel comfortable wearing makeup because of the fear I'm used to feeling about it breaking me out. I feel like deep down I know that the epiduo is a short term solution and that as soon as I stop using it, my bad skin will return. I feel like I'm faking having decent skin.

Last weekend I bumped into my friend who has just finished her course of Roaccutane. Her skin is flawless. Honestly, her skin was never noticeably bad but she is a makeup artist so I'm sure she was an expert at covering up! She gushed "I can't believe this feeling of having great skin, it's amazing. I only ever wear tinted moisturiser". And I felt jealous. Even though our skin is at an equal point right now, I couldn't help have this pang of envy that her issues are out the window now Roaccutane has cured her and that mine are below the surface waiting to plague me again.

My best friend has now also been prescribed Roaccutane and again, I'm jealous. I have this niggling voice in the back of my mind saying that I should have pushed harder for Roaccutane while my skin was still bad. Which is crazy because my skin is in such good condition at the moment.

So there are all my crazies put down in writing. If anyone has any experience regarding life after epiduo I'd be really grateful to hear from you!

PS here is a photo I took today. Comparing it to the one in the first post is definitely encouraging smile.png

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hi there--you're skin looks quite good!!! i understand about the anxiety about having your skin breakout again, but honestly, if your current regimen works and you DONT need to take accutane, then stay away from it since its costly for some, time consuming and has some nasty side effects (super dry skin/hair, really chapped lips, slow healing time for cuts/bruises, headaches)

if you're skin breaks out badly again, then make an emergency appt and request it. since you would have tried everything else, your derm should prescribe it off the bat. if you were to cover the red marks with makeup, i'm pretty sure you're skin would be flawless :) i use bare minerals matte with SPF and it works wonders on masking red marks and small blemishes. im not sure about the scars, but it should do a good job of evening it out as well.

good luck!!

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hi there--you're skin looks quite good!!! i understand about the anxiety about having your skin breakout again, but honestly, if your current regimen works and you DONT need to take accutane, then stay away from it since its costly for some, time consuming and has some nasty side effects (super dry skin/hair, really chapped lips, slow healing time for cuts/bruises, headaches)

if you're skin breaks out badly again, then make an emergency appt and request it. since you would have tried everything else, your derm should prescribe it off the bat. if you were to cover the red marks with makeup, i'm pretty sure you're skin would be flawless smile.png i use bare minerals matte with SPF and it works wonders on masking red marks and small blemishes. im not sure about the scars, but it should do a good job of evening it out as well.

good luck!!

Cheers for the reply, and thank you. I do know that my skin is looking so much better. The anxiety is just.. arghhh! I can't kick it. Last night my boyfriend looked at me and said "your skin is looking so good Abs". I'd just spent five minutes staring at my skin in the bathroom searching and analysing and worrying. All I could say was "I think I'm going to break out soon". Not a very good reply to a lovely compliment that should have sent my spirits soaring!

I think I should be enjoying having clear skin for the first time in years rather than worrying about a potentially non-existant future of spots. Makeup does cover the marks, I will give acne one thing. I've become so much better at applying makeup now! The next step is to start being arsed to get up early and put it on!

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I think I should be enjoying having clear skin for the first time in years rather than worrying about a potentially non-existant future of spots.

That rings so true. I'm 99.9% clear, people wouldn't think I'd had 16 yrs worth of acne to look at me today, yet here I am, hermit like in my flat every night. I should be hitting the bright lights of the city, enjoying it, not worrying about any future spots.

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Your skin's looking great! Thanks for sharing, so glad you found success! hifive.gif

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Looking great!

Keep up the good work!

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Congratulations on your skin! I saw your first pictures a few months ago and I cant believe how clear and fresh looking it is. Im currently on Retin A, 2 months in and its a bit of a nightmare... Just added in Tetralysal once a day and a BP wash in the morning, really hope that speeds up this very long process! Hopefully Ill be looking as good as you soon :) x

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Congrats on your skin, I love epiduo too! it never worked QUITE as well for me but it is certainly the best topical I have ever used.

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Congrats! I'm happy that you found something that worked for you! :)

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Wow, your skin looks amazing. Instead of stressing about the acne coming back, just live your life Abigail. As for your friends who you think are completely "cured", accutane is not a cure. You know that many people end up having their acne come back, even worse than it was before. Sometimes it works and sometimes it's just a quick fix. I think for what you're doing right now, you should feel confident in the routine. Don't worry about the future or what may happen. You have beautiful skin now and it's healing and looking incredible. Just be thankful for that and try not to fret about acne :)

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thank you so much for your encouraging comments.

Update: I have run out of Tetralysal and decided not to renew the course (I can't really afford all these different prescriptions every month). I have had several blemishes appear since then but they aren't a big deal, just red and the size of a pin head. Nothing foundation can't handle. Also I see a direct relationship between how much water I drink and my skin - recently I've been SOOOO stressed due to uni assignment hell and so I medicate with a few gin and tonics in the evening. Alcohol = dehydration = blemishes. So it's a pros and cons game.

It's officially winter now. Super short days - sun rise is about 8 after I've left for uni and sun set is about 4. So absolutely no sunlight for me. I'm trying to work out whether it might help my health in general to take vitamin D tablets or to frequent a sun bed every few weeks. I'd rather the former as I am working on the classy pale look right now (using lemon juice to bleach my skin, fully saying good bye to my once loved orange look), and because I don't fancy skin cancer so much. But I also know that it is probably a less artificial method than tablets.

I'm struggling with shine at the moment. I use Cetaphil moisturiser and have an uncontrollably luminated face. Even wearing foundation and powder, the shine powers through. I look like a lightbulb in photos. Does any one know a good moisturiser as good as Cetaphil but less shiney?

Thanks x

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Another update!

I am still using Epiduo and Tetralysal daily. I would like to wean myself off Epiduo because it's a huge frickin ballache to wait half an hour for it to dry before I can moisturise and go to bed. My boyfriend is getting really tired of my hour long bedtime routine (especially because in this hour I transform myself into a giant pyjama wearing, tired eye pale-skin mess who barks "do not touch my face it is wet")

My scars are definitely fading. To help this along I do a number of things: apply lemon juice (neat) with a cotton pad all over my face (this also helps my face get paler to match my neck), using sudocrem, applying BioOil all over (good moisturiser, also exfoliates and doesn't break me out), microdermabration (No7 brand, it's awesome! on my second tub, and with a Boots voucher it only cost £6!) and lemon juice and sugar scrubs.

I don't know if it is the scarring or the result of nightly Epidou but my skin often looks a bit like it's been burned... This is mainly when I wear makeup, it just looks a bit sorry and battered looking.

Makeup: Garnier BB cream is really good! I used to mix Clinique Anti Blemish foundation with moisturiser to get a light breathable coverage but BB cream is cheaper, smells better and does the same job. Only issues with this are that the lightest shade is a bit too dark with my skin. Same goes for Clinique. Won't be a problem soon though because spring is arriving. Yay!

Here is a photo of my progress. I like to stick around on here because it helped me so much during my worst days and I hope that I can help other people and stand as proof that there IS light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm planning on writing to Epiduo with my before and after photos, thanking them for being my HG acne cure.

Anyone else having success with Epiduo?

PS I still can't be rid of blackheads all over my nose. I can't seem to find any products with AHA, anything you guys can recommend?

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For the black heads I would definitely recommend Acne.org AHA. It's a HUGE bottle that will last you a very long time.

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