At A Loss After 24 Years... Any Suggestions?dermabrasion microdermabrasion depression makeup make-up
Posted 12 January 2012 - 09:02 AM
I'm 37 and had acne for 24 years. I have scars all across my chin (literally not even half a cm is free from scars) and spread across my back, with a few others dotted about my face.
I made the mistake of getting mirena coil 2 years ago, as my dr assured me that the hormones wouldn't spread all through my body like the usual pill (they have prescribed various contraceptive pills for me in the past specifically for my skin, but each time it has got worse and I get blinding migraines and depression).
With mirena my skin got much worse on my face, back and chest (I had to wear scarves during the summer to try and cover up how bad my chest was), and I got prescribed BP for it. This improved it a bit - down to continuously 1 or 2 cysts on my face at any time, but in the summer my forehead started breaking out with lots of smaller ones.
I wanted a permanent solution, so got the coil removed and had a course of microdermabrasion last summer - it got worse.
Dr then prescribed 4 months of differin and tetralysal /lymecycline - my back and chest improved a little but my face was still bad, possibly a bit worse.
I've spent the last month on aknemyacin plus topical solution (tretinoin) and no difference yet.
Dr doesn't want to refer me to a dermatologist and I am reluctant to try accutane given the side effects (I have joint pains often enough as it is, and don't want them to try and put me on the pill again)
I have 5 huge painful cysts on my face at the moment, plus some smaller ones. I really don't want to even leave the house right now, but I work in a school so can't avoid it. I see people looking at the huge lumps on my face and just feel so depressed. It's also affecting my relationship as I feel so ugly..
I have cut wheat, dairy and sugar out of my diet for 2 months now and seen no difference.
I drink smoothies every day to try and increase my vitamin intake.
I switched my foundation to Clinique mineral powder as it had good reviews, but it has made no difference. My partner hates me wearing makeup and is convinced that's the problem, but that doesn't explain why I get acne on my chest, back and all through my scalp.
My skin is very greasy - within 2 hours of washing in the morning, it has come through my make-up (one child asked last year why my face was wet!)
I tried using the oil cleansing method with castor and jojoba. My facial skin didn't get worse initially, but after a few weeks I got lots of spots all under my jawline and down my neck, which still haven't gone even though I have stopped and gone back to using bland facewashes.
I feel like I have tried everything I can think of and ended up with nothing. Feeling v depressed. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Posted 12 January 2012 - 09:10 AM
Posted 12 January 2012 - 01:01 PM
Posted 12 January 2012 - 06:45 PM
Posted 12 January 2012 - 09:15 PM
On the other end of things, have you had a hormone test for Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome? You might have elevated levels of androgen hormones, which could also be causing your skin to be so greasy. In this case certain birth control or Spirolactone could really benefit you. You might want to push your doctor to let you see an endocrinologist if hormone imbalance is the case.
Also, what cleanser and treatments are you using? I would keep it as natural as possible and stop using the harsh treatments from your doctor. Use a cleanser that will not strip your skin of it's moisture barrier and always use a moisturizer even if you feel your skin is greasy. The skincare products you are using might be stripping away your skins natural oils, causing to overproduce sebum and make your face appear oily so fast. I have heard zinc is a good supplement to take daily to control oil production.
Hope some of this can help, hang in there it will get better!
Posted 13 January 2012 - 10:15 AM
I had read about candida as a cause, but tried so many supplements on and off that I lost hope. I had read that cutting out wheat, dairy and sugar worked for many people, but it hasn't done for me so far. I will look up anti candida and see what I can find. Your results sound great Gia, it must be a relief to finally find something that works for you.
Frustratingly I haven't been able to find a wholistic practitioner or naturopath close to me, but I have been told about a herbalist who gives consultations over the phone, so I might give them a ring next week.
I've been tested for PCOS and my blood results showed that my oestrogen and progesterone levels were reversed, which is an indicator of PCOS, but when I had a scan they said they couldn't see anything, so that became a dead end.
Prior to the summer I was using a liquid african black soap, then when having microdermabrasion from the SK:N clinic I used their own cleanser, switched to just water in mornings and OCM in evenings in December but stopped because my pores were getting even more blocked and new spots on my neck. Now am using what's left of my Dan's regime cleanser, just because I don't know what else to try.
I never use moisturiser because every one I have ever tried has brought me out in more spots.
I have to stick with this latest topical for 8 weeks and prove it doesn't work before I go back to my dr, but I will push for a referral. I am sure I need an endocrinologist because I have heavy painful periods, am tearful, thinning hair, extra hair on my chin, tiredness, plus my skin issues, so it looks like classic hormone problems to me, yet they only give me stuff to try and suppress the symptoms on my face, not address the cause.
I just got my latest blood test results back - glucose, auto-immune and thyroid all came back ans "normal - no action required", so no clues there.
Posted 13 January 2012 - 09:57 PM
As a last resort if none of these things work, you might want to try Accutane. I know there are a lot of bad stories and it isn't something healthy to do to your body, but I can honestly say I have been on it over 5 times and still don't regret it. For me though my acne has always come back and it is because of digestion issues and or food intolerance which I have finally realized. There would be no point for me to go on it any more and further poison myself, but if acne is taking a big toll on your life you have to weigh the pro's and con's. I say exhaust all of your options, health, hormones and topicals and if everything fails then try Accutane, but that is just my opinion.
Posted 14 January 2012 - 09:46 PM
Posted 15 January 2012 - 04:47 AM
I have just found that there is a new herbalist started up in my area, he does allergy testing too (though it is the alternative med style machine rather than blood tests), so I have an appointment with him in 2 weeks.
I think I'll hold off getting any more supplements until I have his recommendation.
I have been drinking mint tea as I heard that was supposed to help balance hormones, but maybe I'll get back onto ginger as well.
Thanks for your support.
Posted 15 January 2012 - 09:25 AM
best of luck and keep us posted. One thing I will say about gluten is that it is hidden in everything. I know you said that you did cut out wheat, but gluten is even hidden in soy sauce or non gluten containing items processed on equipment that processes wheat products. I can say, for me, I will break out if I get hidden gluten...so if you just cut back or cut down on wheat or cut out bread and pasta but still got trace amounts in things like soy sauce....you may want to try the wheat thing again and really make sure you are truly gluten free. Wheat is not a trigger for many so this really may not be your issue, but I thought I'd give you my experience, hopefully you will find it helpful.
I think the alternative medicine track is a great plan....please let us know if you find out anything useful....
Posted 16 January 2012 - 03:31 PM
AM- 2 probiotics, vitamin C, 1 coconut oil pill, vitamin D liquid form (liquid form best for acne), vitamin E.
PM- 2 probiotics, grapefruit seed extract, oregano pill, L Glutamine, Bromelain, Vitamin A, Papaya chewable tablets.
PM before bed- 2 probiotics, garlic pill, sometimes a turmeric pill
I am also on the candida diet, google it, it will tell you all the foods to avoid and to eat. Pretty much stay away from carbs, sugar, caffeine etc...
As of now i no longer take grapefruit seed extract, oregano pill, l glutamine, bromelain, garlic pill and turmeric because i dont need it anymore. The rest i plan on taking for life especially the pro biotics because it keeps your gut in check which keeps your skin clear. The diet was hard at first but when i started seeing results it wasn't so hard anymore lol. This is the only thing that i tried and got results and i tried so many options.
Posted 19 January 2012 - 07:38 AM
Thanks Gia - that's an interesting regime! I only heard the coconut oil method last week and was wondering whether it would be worth a go. I try and eat one fresh papaya a week, maybe I should try and eat them more often. I had heard they were good for regulating hormones. The therapist I am seeing does Chinese, Ayurvedic and traditional Western herbalism, plus homoepathy, so it will be interesting to see what he prescribes.
Am feeling more hopeful this week now I have an appointment and I think the maca and St John's wort are helping that side of things!
Posted 19 January 2012 - 10:19 AM
Can you see a dermatologist? I agree with above on diet...but sometimes diet isn't eneough...or it just takes a very long time for the change in diet to make a difference (years?). I used to think I knew what the best acne treatments were...and I have studied alot on the subject (research background)...but as my condition continues to flare-up I begin to feel I really don't know very much at all (sigh). Or at the very least that it takes for some of us tremendous commitment, patience, and perseverance to find a regime that actually works longer than a few months and is safe to do longterm. In your situation I would strongly urge you to see a dermatologist. Is there any reason why you can't just go directly to one? It sounds like you have really sensitive skin and a resistant case and that your body is very sensitive to hormones. When I take Spironolactone (...which my new derm has put me back on now after my old derm unwisely took me off - big flare-up...) my skin is less oily and I have much less frequent flare-ups (3-4x/yr at most). Plus they are much milder...maybe one pustule or small cyst. Spiro works with the body by blocking androgen receptors in the skin, thereby not allowing the hormone (androgen-testosterone) to start the acne process. It is pretty cool and very safe at the doses used for longterm acne treatment. My new derm also put me on Oracea which is now being used for resistant adult acne because it can be used longterm without upsetting intestinal flora. He has me on tretinoin cream for overall skin health and he agrees with anti-acne diet. As you can see this is a rather complicated approach. But this can be what adult acne requires...and why seeing a dermatologist is important. Regular doctors really don't have the training for this.
Posted 19 January 2012 - 09:16 PM
The one thing I will caution you on regarding gluten...many people test negative for a gluten allergy yet are sensitive to gluten. I would not trust the test in this regard. The only way to know is to cut gluten out entirely and see what happens. I noticed a difference right away...I would give it 3 weeks to be sure. If gluten is your issue I promise you will stick to it.....my skin has NEVER looked like this. As I said, if gluten is your trigger and you are still ingesting it in any way (a beer here and there, a cheat here and there) you won't be clear and you will break out. The pain of avoiding gluten for me is way less than the stress I felt about my acne so it's a no brainer for me. I agree with CVD, I also would see a derm, but I promise they won't mention diet. I still use Retin A, but again I am over 40 lol!
Hope this helps. No doctor will tell you this, that's why I am on here...how frustrating! Good luck!
Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:49 AM
I would really like to see a dermatologist but my dr keeps putting me off. I have to go another month on the topical erythromycin/tretinoin before she will see me again. The dermatologist at my local Sk:n clinic is the same person who does the hospital appointments, but to see him privately... I can't remember whether it was £100 or £140 per appointment that they quoted me, but way more than I can afford. I already blew my savings of £350 on their microdermabrasion treatment as they told me that would help (it didn't).
I am quite interested in spiro from what I've read on here, but my dr told me that the only thing a dermatologist would give me is accutane. Frustrating that they keep telling me to try "just one more" treatment and not actually referring me to someone who may be able to help.
Although I've been fairly good with my diet, I did have that lapse last thursday when I had cake and tea with milk with my colleagues at break time. On saturday morning I had about 5 new big breakouts that are still huge and hurting today. Hard to know if it was what I ate or not, as in the past I have had a day when my skin seems to be healing up and no new painful lumps building up under the surface, but then the next day a load more are on the way, and I have been very strict with my diet so I don't know what's triggered it. I am always caffeine and alcohol free, and though I only decided to be wheat free I have had very little gluten, as my substitutes are usually maize/rice based.
You are so right, I have had more info from this thread than 24 years of dr appointments.
Counting down the days til my naturopath appointment!
Posted 27 January 2012 - 07:12 PM
you sound like you are in the UK like me
I started getting acne when I was 9 and still getting it now at 30. It's really difficult to get a GP to make a referral on to a specialist because they are always thinking of money with the NHS. I have spent most of my life going back to my GP asking for anything new/answers but was always given topicals. When I was 16 I went on Dianette and this helped considerably with both oiliness and acne. I have also taken Yasmin and this had the same effect.
It is only now that I have been trying for a baby with my partner for some time and not successful that they have agreed to investigate further. Had I thought it through more when I was younger I would have pushed them towards this sooner. Maybe this is a tactic you could think about using. They won't take acne and excess hair seriously but they did take not being able to conceive seriously. I am waiting for blood tests re pcos. Also, in everything I have read it says that you can have pcos without having the cysts.
I registered with a new practice and my new GP told me that the presence of cysts on ovaries isn't necessarily pcos. You need the problems with your hormones - that's why they have sent me for blood tests but no ultrasound.
Keep badgering your GP - I think in the UK we can sometimes be bad at doing this because we think of it as being 'free' but it isn't free you will have paid your contributions!
Posted 29 January 2012 - 12:59 PM
Posted 29 January 2012 - 02:33 PM
When you think about it for YEARS humans were cleaning there face with natural products. When did it become the norm to put chemicals on your body?
Too help me I cleanse my face with this dead sea mud soap called Kelp Help from Nakedbodyandbath.com It's cool because it doesn't dry your skin out, and its a simple safer way to clean you face from dirt embedded in your pores and makeup as well. I use it morning and night for about 3 months now and i have clear skin! That store also has other stuff too that i'm sure you can look at too! The soap was only $8.95 too!! Good luck!
Posted 30 January 2012 - 10:04 AM
Yes I am in the UK. Interesting point you make about the pcos and cysts, I hadn't realised you could have one without the other! My blood tests showed my oestrogen and progesterone were reversed but because the scan showed nothing it was just kind of dropped!
You are right, I hate going to the dr, I feel like I'm being a nuisance if I don't have something potentially life threatening! Good luck with the conception issues, it sounds like they are taking you seriously now so hopefully you'll see some results soon.
I am going to check the appointments today, and see what the wait is like! (often 2 weeks)
Yes, I used to work in a health food shop and tried the natural green gloop herbal cleanser about 10 years ago. I found Lush's fresh farmacy bar worked better.
2 years ago I tried Alva Rhassoul Mineral cleansing cream. Didn't make it better, didn't make it worse.
Last year I used african black soap, which is cocoa ash based and "soap" free, which again didn't make my skin worse, but didn't make it better either, also have an abandoned Living Nature manuka honey wash still left in the bathroom.
Most recently, November to December, I tried using plain water in the mornings and OCM using castor and jojoba oils in the evenings, but this made my skin worse on my jawline and neck (where I've rarely had problems before) and it's only just starting to clear up.
I agree, natural is better in principle. I only swtiched to non-natural when I went to the Sk:n clinic and was persuaded to buy the products to go with their treatments. Now just using up the last of Dan's cleanser while I try and figure out what to try next. At the moment it's a toss-up between Cetaphil or back to Lush again (though their Herbalism, specifically made for blemish prone skin brought me out in loads of small spots and Dark Angels left tiny bits of charcoal in my pores!)
Will look up the link you suggested but not sure if I can get it over here.
Ok, this is how my appointment went.....
It took 90 minutes, lots of questions, and then I was tested for weaknesses. It's one of those where you hold 2 metal probes, then somehow the electric current tests and highlights areas of weakness. Areas that showed up most out of balance were thyroid, adrenals, B12 and iron. Apparently my female hormones weren't flagged up as a problem.
The therapist didn't want to do an allergy/intolerance test, he said he wanted to use herbs first.
We talked about diet and he said to keep up with the wheat/dairy/sugar free regime and the only other thing he said was to eat more leafy greens, and a higher proportion of veg to carbs/protein.
So that's it for now. I will get a herbal mix sent in the post and have homoepathic drops to take, so will give it a go and see what happens.
Edited by *Emily*, 21 February 2012 - 09:08 AM.
Posted 30 January 2012 - 01:43 PM
What seems to work better for me is a middle of the road approach. My doctor is a regular MD with a holistic outlook (functional medicine). He has a dietitian on staff and believes in suppliments. He doesn't believe that much in homeopathic remedies...but they have placebo effect. My new dermatologist also tends to be more middle of the road. He has got me on a regime that emphasizes least impact on the body...i.e. Oracea (it doesn't affect bacteria, just inflammation), spironolactone (very mild diuretic that blocks androgen receptors in the skin), and tretinoin cream (topical vitamin A). This regime has got me back to almost clear skin. As I speak I have only one small papule on my chin but it isn't that inflamed.
Sounds difficult to get in to see a regular dermatologist in the UK. Although a wait time of 2 weeks is nothing compared to waiting 3 months or more here in the USA. The only reason I got in sooner this last time was because there was a cancelation and I had to be willing to come in at 7:30 am. This was great as far as I was concerned!!! And as it turned out I got to see the head derm who I think may be so much better at figuring out a good regime for me. He has me going in for monthly microdermabrasions starting in Feb.