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Frustrations Of A 28 Year Old Asian Male - Advice Welcome

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#1 cystyjam

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 02:15 AM

Hello acne.org,

 

I have looked to this site for comfort and answers many times on and off throughout the years. I know that if anyone does take the time to read this post, it may just sound all too familiar - the same way that crappy radio station overplays the latest Justin Bieber song, yet you're forced to listen to because you forgot the aux/usb cable to plug in your ipod. Well, I'm just really looking for a channel to vent my stress and frustrations, so I thank you in advance if you're going to read any further.. here goes. I also apologize in advance for all of the cliches I will use in my post as I will definitely try to exhaust them all smile.png.. I'll try to keep this as short/long as possible, which I further apologize once again for. (I hope you're still reading... eusa_pray.gif)

 

I'm an Asian male, aged 28, and I have been suffering from acne for about 17 years. I have a fair complexion (the kind that allows those friggen' red lumps to become all the more visible) and it's of the combination skin type (one moment dry, then a few hours later distgustingly oily.. not super drippy oil.. but a nice glaze that's nice and shiny for everyone to see.. kind of like a krispy kreme donut, just not nearly as tasty). My skin on the other parts of my body is pretty soft and smooth, so I often wished that there was a way to extract skin cells from my forearms or buttocks to graft them onto my face/neck as a replacement then surely my problem would be solved!

 

My current condition is bad, but I totally understand that it is not the worst that is out there. For everyone that has a more severe case of acne, my heart goes out to you and I truly hope you can find your answer sooner than I. I currently get gigantuan cystic acne on my jawlines and neck. I have tons of whiteheads, and also get pimples randomly across my face. The active lesions seem to migrate everytime I suffer breakout periods. When I was a kid I used to get pimples in the T zone. In my early 20s I had deadly cysts on my chin and mouth area. Underneath/behind the ear was a mother f*#$! episode, albeit a short one (those cysts left some scars for sure since the skin is so damn soft in that area). The most persistent area has been the jawline and back of my neck/hairline area though. My back had some dangerous breakouts as well, but lately has cleared up quite a bit.

 

Similar to the countless other threads I have browsed through, I believe I have attempted MANY "solutions" to rid my wretched skin of this awful disease. I refrain from claiming that I've tried everything, because I really haven't. To be honest, I feel that there are an unlimited combination of regimens that are out there that can be customized for individuals that can probably work. That's why I feel it's easy to get lost in this mess of information that is known as the Internet. Here's a list of treatments/products I have tried (to the best of my memory) - some worked (temporarily), others had 0 effect:

 

Over the counter stuff:

  • Lots of acne cleansers and spot treatments like neutrogena, clearisil, etc.
  • Proactiv
  • Murad acne treatment
  • Obagi Clenziderm

Perscribed medication:

  • Stievamycin gel
  • Differin gel
  • Antibiotics: tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline
  • Cortisone shots on huge cysts
  • Accutane

Natural remedies:

  • Accupuncture
  • Apple Cider Vinegar pills and applied to the face
  • Food allergy test

 

I probably missed some things, but those are the main things I've tried. Accutane worked the best of all treatments, but the effects are shortlived. (2 courses - one in high school which cleared me up for a year or two, and once again at 26 which cleared me up for 6 months). I felt amazing when I had clear skin off of accutane though. I even forgot all about the suffering I went through with acne.. oh that sweet feeling, how I miss thee... Through it all, I think all of the perscribed medication probably fucked up my skin even more in the long run by mutating my acne into the monster that it is now. I have no evidence of this though..

 

I'm currently trying to eat better, based on my food allergy test, I pretty much have a slight allergy to all these weird kinds of foods (lima beans wtf? I don't even eat that.. green beans and bananas??? black pepper??!). I have tried avoiding most of those foods, although I haven't avoided them all since they're a) not all severe allergies b) just because the result was listed as a potential allergy does not mean it is related to my acne. The main things I stay away from these days are dairy and junk foods, although I have a few chips every now and then. Diet seems to help a little bit, as I did reach a point where I was clear for a few weeks (without medication too! what?! no way!! was I dreaming?.... yea.. probably..)  I was a fool though... as I thought I was starting to reach the clearness state, and started eating horribly again (pizzas, cheeseburgers, nachos, wings, etc etc etc.. sooo yum) Anyways, about a month later I started breaking out horribly again and for the past two months I have not been able to reach a state where I was prett happy (beginning 2 months of this year to be exact about when I was "pretty clear").

 

Sh*T!! Sorry this is getting really long but if anyone is still with me, I'm really thankful, since typing this has actually alleviated my stress a little bit. As I sit here typing this, I still feel upset/frustrated/hopeless in finding a cure. I've always turned to this website during my worst times yet I never posted anything so I hope you all don't mind me unleashing this wall of text upon you (provided you haven't escaped back to your facebook tab). It gives me comfort in knowing that there ARE others out there with the exact same problems and feelings as me. The one thing this site always successfully does is recharge me with hope. I was seriously considering taking accutane again for a third time, but I'm starting to release that feeling now (that's the smart choice right?.. if it didn't work the first two times, why would it work the third time.... or... will .. it..?)...  Needless to say, my confidence is at an all time low once again, which is why I turn to this site for some solitude. I often look at everyone with clear skin full of envy (and hate.. j/k smile.png).. and I yearn for the day to be able share a success story with all of you.

 

I think I might try taking some probiotics and other supplements (vitamin B? zinc? omega fish oil?.. I need to research a bit more I guess). I currently take Vitamin D and A droplets. If anyone spent the past 5 hours trying to read this broken record story and has suggestions for me, please let me know! I'm dying to hear from you. I hope that I could find a person who matches my same journey and has found success so that he/she could share their method with me.. Until then, I'll keep dreaming.

 

Thank you all once again. Cheers.



#2 Perseverance92

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:10 AM

First of all, the acne.org fraternity is always there for you :) . We help each other steer clear of difficult times.

 

Your thought of somehow extracting skin from smoother parts of the body and implanting them on your face was a dream for me.How i wish this could actually happen .What i really want to know after reading your post is what are the things you are putting on your face? I am 21 and have had acne since 5 years now.I tried all the cleansers and prescriptions by Dermatologists.I "over-treated" my skin and ended up sabotaging both my skin and my hopes of becoming clear.Now,for the past two months i have given up all the artificial products which i used to put on my skin.I just wash my face with water maybe twice a day.Combined with this i have modified my dietary habits and life-style (Sleeping schedule ,exercise etc).

 

Don't despair mate.There's always light at the end of the tunnel (I know this cliched line is often annoying lol).Anyways do tell me about your regimen,your dietary habits and your lifestyle.Maybe,your doing something critically wrong with your skin.Like washing it more than necessary number of times?



#3 cystyjam

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:56 AM

Hey Perseverance92,

 

Thanks for the response! I wasn't sure if my lengthy post would attract any responses, but it's awesome to see your support.

 

I am quite active in playing sports these days. I play either soccer, volleyball, tennis, or hockey about 4 days a week. I haven't gone to the gym in a while now, but I feel physically fit, although I'm a bit on the scrawnier side as I'm a smaller feller. I wash my face with Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser in the morning and again at night before bed. I still use the Obagi Clenziderm 3 step oily skin treatment once at night during my shower, and I rotate this into my regimen about 3 times a week. Aside from these products I don't use anything else.

 

I still strongly believe that dietary changes could be the answer to our persistent acne problems. However, it can take time to show results. Since I've been off dairy for 2-2.5 months, I've noticed the cysts are not as severe, but I never want to jinx it. It could be some other foods I may need to avoid, or nutrients I need to add.

 

For you, I urge you to try to be as patient as possible with your dietary/lifestyle change, especially if topical/oral medication didn't work for you,

 

Thanks again for your post. I will do my part and pay it forward and support others soon too. After writing this thread yesterday, I felt the weight relieve itself a little off of my heavy shoulders of late. I always knew acne.org had a strong community of awesome support. It's pretty sweet to be in on this and share the feeling with others alike. Sometimes you just need to talk things out to feel better about your problems.

 

Here's to finding that light at the end of the tunnel.



#4 ProudTerp

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:26 PM

Cystyjam,

 

I too am an Asian Male (29 years old) and have been battling cystic acne for years. I know your struggles bro.

 

Accutane is the only thing that has truly worked for me.  I am currently on my second course of Accutane. I had beautiful skin for 1.5 years after my first course.   However, the cysts came back and I did not hesitate to go back on Accutane. I had no MAJOR side effects and  would be willing to go on low dose Accutane courses as needed as long as my derm says its okay and I felt my body was okay with it.

 

I am going into my 3rd month of my 2nd course (40 mg)  and have been pretty clear since month 2.  I would do it all over again next year if I had to.  I am 29 and am hoping that I either "GROW" out of my acne after another couple of courses of Accutane or that the additional courses "CURE" my acne.  That's the plan, and I am praying it works. I wasted so many years messing with the OTC creams, Vitamins, Antibiotics, topical retinoids, etc. that didn't really work and am not going down that route anymore. 

 

Think about trying Accutane again, but always do what you feel comfortable with.  Acne isn't the end of the world, but I feel a little pain for a lot of gain (Accutane) is worth it in my case.

 

Whatever you choose to do, I hope it works for you bro!



#5 cystyjam

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 10:53 PM

Cystyjam,

 

I too am an Asian Male (29 years old) and have been battling cystic acne for years. I know your struggles bro.

 

Accutane is the only thing that has truly worked for me.  I am currently on my second course of Accutane. I had beautiful skin for 1.5 years after my first course.   However, the cysts came back and I did not hesitate to go back on Accutane. I had no MAJOR side effects and  would be willing to go on low dose Accutane courses as needed as long as my derm says its okay and I felt my body was okay with it.

 

I am going into my 3rd month of my 2nd course (40 mg)  and have been pretty clear since month 2.  I would do it all over again next year if I had to.  I am 29 and am hoping that I either "GROW" out of my acne after another couple of courses of Accutane or that the additional courses "CURE" my acne.  That's the plan, and I am praying it works. I wasted so many years messing with the OTC creams, Vitamins, Antibiotics, topical retinoids, etc. that didn't really work and am not going down that route anymore. 

 

Think about trying Accutane again, but always do what you feel comfortable with.  Acne isn't the end of the world, but I feel a little pain for a lot of gain (Accutane) is worth it in my case.

 

Whatever you choose to do, I hope it works for you bro!

 

Hey ProudTerp,

 

Thanks for the post. It definitely seems like you're taking a parallel path with mine. I did two courses of accutane as well and yes the first time I had awesome skin for about 1-2years before the acne came back strong, which made me turn to antibiotics for support. I repeated this cycle twice and the second time I took accutane it only worked for about 6 months before the acne came back. I felt exactly the same way you did, hoping that accutane would give me the relief/strength I needed to hopefully outgrow and overcome acne. I don't mean to discourage you, and I hope it does work permanently for you, but for me I feel like accutane is just a temporary cure and my body is already used to it so the next course will probably be less effective.

 

Since I was able to somewhat improve my skin through modifying my diet, I am going to try exploring this method some more. I read the thread on the guy that cured himself with probiotics & fiber. The many many years I spent ingesting antibiotics has ruined my digestive system, and I think this potential cure makes sense for me. Have you tried anything like this? You mentioned vitamins, which kinds did you take? I'm going to research a bit. I'll let you know what I find.

 

Thanks again, and good luck to you, sir!



#6 ProudTerp

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 09:22 PM

Cystyjam,

 

I have tried Zinc, Vitamin D, Milk Thistle, Probiotics, and Fiber.  I have also taken minocycline and doxycycline.  The antibiotics and Zinc actually made my acne even worse. The probiotics helped a little, but was definitely not a cure.

 

Maybe the antibiotics, or getting off the antibiotics is causing you to break out again? Antibiotics messed my system and acne up for a good while.  Prednisone also caused me to break out massively once I got off it.

 

Have you heard of low does Accutane where you take really low doses like less than 10 mg a day for a year?  The side effects are much lower and usually keeps you clear as long as you are on the medicine.

 

I'm still hopeful Accutane will get the job done, even if I have to take several courses.

 

Good luck to you bro!



#7 ngaid001

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:46 PM

I'm in the same boat as you guys. One thing i'm wondering is how active you guys are? Do you take protien supplements?



#8 ProudTerp

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:50 PM

I play basketball and lift a couple times a week. I used to take whey protein and that DEFINITELY triggered breakouts, as well as dairy.  I now just eat meat for my protein source. 



#9 cystyjam

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 12:52 AM

hey ngaid001,

 

sorry for the late reply, I've been off this site for a bit.. i find it unhealthy to read too many things on this site.

 

I have been playing a lot of volleyball and some hockey lately, so I'm playing a sport at least 4 nights a week. I recently started swimming again too so I'll try to do that once or twice a week. I've been physically active for the past few years. I don't do too much strength training, and I'm not in perfect shape, but I've got a slim athletic build which is pretty decent, i guess haha.

 

I'm always happy to share my experiences, especially to the people on my boat :) So let me know if you have any other questions.

I'm in the same boat as you guys. One thing i'm wondering is how active you guys are? Do you take protien supplements?



#10 13yearsofAcne

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 03:14 AM

hey ngaid001,

 

sorry for the late reply, I've been off this site for a bit.. i find it unhealthy to read too many things on this site.

 

I have been playing a lot of volleyball and some hockey lately, so I'm playing a sport at least 4 nights a week. I recently started swimming again too so I'll try to do that once or twice a week. I've been physically active for the past few years. I don't do too much strength training, and I'm not in perfect shape, but I've got a slim athletic build which is pretty decent, i guess haha.

 

I'm always happy to share my experiences, especially to the people on my boat smile.png So let me know if you have any other questions.

I'm in the same boat as you guys. One thing i'm wondering is how active you guys are? Do you take protien supplements?

 

Hey

 

I'm in a similiar boat. Just out of curiousity;

 

Are the outsides of your elbows dry?

Do you get little red bumps on your upper arms?

Do you have a flakey, itchy scalp?

Do you have high sebum production?

Do you get blackheads?

Do you shave everyday?

How would you describe your Acne?

 

If you have the time to give a short answer to these questions I would be very interested to hear from you. I'm a great believer that people like us over 25 who have been suffering with "Acne" since early adolescence may actually be suffering from an Acne mimic.

 

Thanks


Edited by 13yearsofAcne, 06 October 2013 - 04:29 AM.


#11 cystyjam

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 02:04 AM

 

hey ngaid001,

 

sorry for the late reply, I've been off this site for a bit.. i find it unhealthy to read too many things on this site.

 

I have been playing a lot of volleyball and some hockey lately, so I'm playing a sport at least 4 nights a week. I recently started swimming again too so I'll try to do that once or twice a week. I've been physically active for the past few years. I don't do too much strength training, and I'm not in perfect shape, but I've got a slim athletic build which is pretty decent, i guess haha.

 

I'm always happy to share my experiences, especially to the people on my boat smile.png So let me know if you have any other questions.

I'm in the same boat as you guys. One thing i'm wondering is how active you guys are? Do you take protien supplements?

 

Hey

 

I'm in a similiar boat. Just out of curiousity;

 

Are the outsides of your elbows dry? No, my skin on the rest of my body is smooth and soft without needing any product. I still get some spots on my back once in a while, but not so much anymore.

Do you get little red bumps on your upper arms? Nope, the skin on my arms are smooth and soft.

Do you have a flakey, itchy scalp? I don't have dandruff.. my scalp is decent, except that I do breakout on the back of my hairlines.

Do you have high sebum production? Yes, I was quite oily all over the face.

Do you get blackheads? Mostly on the nose, and sometimes on the sides of my cheeks.

Do you shave everyday? Almost everyday yes. I might go without for one or two days a week.

How would you describe your Acne? Lately it's been moderate-severe.

 

If you have the time to give a short answer to these questions I would be very interested to hear from you. I'm a great believer that people like us over 25 who have been suffering with "Acne" since early adolescence may actually be suffering from an Acne mimic.

 

Thanks

 

Hey, I answered your questions inline above. I'm curious what you're referring to by this "Acne mimic"  Anyways, I'm back on accutane, because I started breaking out like crrrrraaaaaaaaaazyyy after I went on the supplements. (I just realized this was the thread I wrote prior to the one where I spoke (cried) about going back on tane). It was unbearable and I was under an insane amount of stress. I just finished my second month and so far and things are getting better. My oil is almost completely gone. Acne is still pushing to the surface from all the oil build up in the past couple of years, so I still have a handful of ugly cysts, but it's definitely better than the first two months.

 

Let me know what you were thinking with the acne mimic thing. Cheers bud.


Edited by cystyjam, 07 October 2013 - 02:05 AM.


#12 13yearsofAcne

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:56 AM

Hey, I answered your questions inline above. I'm curious what you're referring to by this "Acne mimic"  Anyways, I'm back on accutane, because I started breaking out like crrrrraaaaaaaaaazyyy after I went on the supplements. (I just realized this was the thread I wrote prior to the one where I spoke (cried) about going back on tane). It was unbearable and I was under an insane amount of stress. I just finished my second month and so far and things are getting better. My oil is almost completely gone. Acne is still pushing to the surface from all the oil build up in the past couple of years, so I still have a handful of ugly cysts, but it's definitely better than the first two months.

 

Let me know what you were thinking with the acne mimic thing. Cheers bud.

 

Sorry I was thinking maybe Keratosis Pilaris, Miliaria Pustulosa or Pseudofolliculitus but as you mentioned high sebum production and blackheads it sounds like regular old Acne Vulgaris I'm afraid. Atleast your on Roaccutane now.



#13 cystyjam

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 12:06 AM

Hey, I answered your questions inline above. I'm curious what you're referring to by this "Acne mimic"  Anyways, I'm back on accutane, because I started breaking out like crrrrraaaaaaaaaazyyy after I went on the supplements. (I just realized this was the thread I wrote prior to the one where I spoke (cried) about going back on tane). It was unbearable and I was under an insane amount of stress. I just finished my second month and so far and things are getting better. My oil is almost completely gone. Acne is still pushing to the surface from all the oil build up in the past couple of years, so I still have a handful of ugly cysts, but it's definitely better than the first two months.

 

Let me know what you were thinking with the acne mimic thing. Cheers bud.

 

Sorry I was thinking maybe Keratosis Pilaris, Miliaria Pustulosa or Pseudofolliculitus but as you mentioned high sebum production and blackheads it sounds like regular old Acne Vulgaris I'm afraid. Atleast your on Roaccutane now.


No worries. Thanks for the input though! Jeez... the picture of Pseudofolliculitus on wikipedia is frightening.. gave me some serious goose bumps..!