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28 Yr. Male Cystic Back Acne Trials. Advice?

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#1 H E Pennypacker

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 05:43 PM

Cheers all.  I am a soon to be 29 year old caucasian, somewhat fair skinned male who has been struggling with acne for 16 years.  I would greatly welcome any advice\suggestions you may have related to my experience.  Below I will list the numerous treatments I've experimented with and my opinion on said treatments.  Before i give a brief summary I really appreciate any input and empathize with fellow sufferers.  Hopefully karma will come back around for those struggling and I hope my experience can shed some light if you're considering a certain treatment.
 
Currently I have cystic back acne.  Very oily skin but cystic acne is stationed on my entire back with a little bit on my chest and shoulders.

 

Teens

Developed severe acne on my face, chest, shoulders and back.  

 

Treatment:

Various sulfur based dermatologist prescribed cleansers
Salicylic Acid based
Retin - A

Differin
Accutane
Proactiv
Minocycline
various over the counter treatments 
 
Results:
Nothing worked with the exception of Accutane.  I used Accutane for a few months but stopped due to severe joint pain and general discomfort.  I really was turned off with the side effects despite actually getting results.   That says a lot because I was and am willing to try anything to get results.  Accutane also upset the my skin on my face with redness, dryness, irritation.  The acne returned everywhere in about a month of discontinuing.  The damage Accutane can due makes it something i won't try again.
   
20's
 
Treatments:
 
Smooth-Beam Laser
Vitamin D Supplements
Zinc Supplements
Vitamin B Supplements
Minnicin Capsules*
Head & Shoulders Classic Clean
Cetaphil
Sodium Sulfacetamide Cleanser
Paleo Diet (No Dairy, Grains)
Sephora Murad Cleanser
Milk of Magnesia
Burts Bees Natural Acne Solution Purifying Gel Cleanser, Deep Pore Cleanser
Grapefruit Body Wash
Dove Soap
Nutritional Supplement Therapy 8-10 months ( Standard Proceses, Systemic Formulas)
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Sulfate-free Detergent

Alcohol elimination

zinc- based dandruff shampoo

Air Drying post shower

Blood Testing for general abnormalities
 
Results:
Smooth-Beam laser was very expensive and my physician promised me it would work... Negative.  It was painful however not unbearable at all. I had 3 or 4 sessions on my face, chest, and entire back.  Months to a year following the laser my face began to clear up.  However I do not attribute it to the laser.  Prior to the laser my face was slowly improving.  My entire back and chest remained inflamed.  However I've been told that the smooth beam was not for waste because it did help some scarring.  Very upsetting though back acne remained due to the price and promise.
 
Minnicin Capsules-  After being on these for a few months I was amazed they worked.  If your dermatologist is a moron they will most likely prescribe the pill\tablet form as mine did years previously.  The capsule form apparently is much better for absorption so i recommend that.  However, i started to feel strange (mentally\physically) while on this for a few months and chose to stop it.  It is also an antibiotic (as you probably know) so you can not safely stay on it for too long.  About a month after stopping my acne came back stronger than before.
 
Nutritional Therapy - I went to a wellness center that focused on diet and supplemental health.  I was recommended various products from Standard Processes and Systemic Formulas that were designed to improve digestion and make you less susceptible to allergens. This was not very helpful although my seasonal allergies did improve 

 

Paleo Diet-  I worked for a wilderness therapy program and there we ate all organic vegetables and meat.  We grew all our own veggies and fruits and was on an extremely healthy diet for 1 to 2 years.  The program was on a sunny island location and my skin improved slightly but I attribute the minor improvement to the constant sunlight.

 

Head and Shoulders Classic Clean- good for drying up acne but does not prevent new breakouts

 

Vit D - Zinc - thought skin was improving but after 2 weeks had no effect.  I took about 1000 Iu\day of D3 and 50 mg of Zinc

 

Currently

 

Yoga\ exercise

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Sulfate Free Burts Bees Shampoo

Head and Shoulders Classic Clean

 

Future

 

I plan on taking colder showers (although I believe I've done this in the past).  I'm awaiting a Blue Light Treatment from my dermatologist but beyond that I am at a loss on what to try next.  If you've made it this far on my post (excuse my lack of humor, I've read other posts and I've chose to keep it task oriented) I thank you for reading and would really appreciate any advice on what to try next.  The emotional impact of years of acne is very draining and as I transition into my 30's some positivity would be nice.  

 

P.S.

I plan on visiting an endocrinologist...  A few other things I was pondering are listed below.

hormone treatment? who analyzes results\further treatment, effective?

shampoo?

acupuncture?

increased supplement values? different supplement?

holistic options?

 

 

Thanks again for reading,

 

Jeff



#2 hiddenScars

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 02:22 PM

Have you tried Dial deodorant bar soap (gold color)?  Many years ago, when my aunt was a teenager, she said Dial was the only thing that reduced acne.  When I started breaking out last year, I slathered that stuff on my face and back, even though it's for the body only.  It helped but dried out my eye area too much.  Good luck.



#3 H E Pennypacker

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:24 PM

Have you tried Dial deodorant bar soap (gold color)?  Many years ago, when my aunt was a teenager, she said Dial was the only thing that reduced acne.  When I started breaking out last year, I slathered that stuff on my face and back, even though it's for the body only.  It helped but dried out my eye area too much.  Good luck.

 

I am purchasing this today.   I may have tried it however i do not remember.  Thank you for the input.  

 

Currently I have been using Selson Blue and it worked initially but after 2 weeks acne resumed.  I also plan on starting NOW brand fiber 3.  The acne\digestion relationship is still interesting.

 

Thanks again and I will update if I find success.   



#4 hiddenScars

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:09 PM

I'm gonna recommend some things that I learned from my dermatologist, allergist & other doctors.  I'm not a physician, of course.  Some treatments I used for eczema, some for acne, some for both.  Be careful, do one at a time.

 

1.  Bleach bath.  Rinse off well.  The internist didn't want me to do this for back eczema, because his brother was allergic to bromine/bromide in the hot tub.  It relieved my sensitive skin, & I tried it a few times when I had mild bacne.  Benzoyl peroxide reduces acne bacterial count, Clorox reduces staph bacteria on eczematic skin...why not try Clorox on acne?

 

2.  Hibiclens.  It kills/reduces MRSA.  I read about a couple of people who used this for cystic acne & applied it on my chest.  It was ok but aggravated my eczema a bit.

 

3.  Cotton shirts.  Derma. said this was the best fabric for skin.  I don't know about cotton sheets & towels, but I like them, too.

 

4.  Shower.  After you exercise, shower as soon as you can w/ cleanser.  Don't just rinse off w/ water.  Wear a clean t-shirt per workout.  Don't wear the dirty shirt over & over, lol.

 

5.  10% benzoyl peroxide.  Dan says no, but I bought Walmart's Equate for cystic (?) acne on my chin.  I was desperate, & it worked.

 

6.  Dan's 10% AHA.  I love the stuff.  Alpha Hydrox has a 14% cream.  This might be the right concentration for you, but check for comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients before using.

 

7.  Cetaphil anti-bacterial bar.  Dial is made with Triclocarban (sp?), which reduces bacteria also.  I like both.

 

8.  Backpack w/ wheels.  If you carry a backpack a lot, it might be acne mechanica.

 

9.  Less chocolate.  You're doing Paleo--good.  I'm allergic to it (eczema), & I "feel" as if the acne gets worse when I eat too much.

 

10.  Be careful with supplements.  My mother's doctor did a blood test & said she was taking too much folic acid (vitamin B).  She thought it would improve her brain, lol.

 

11.  Get 2nd opinions from non-dermatologists (family practitioner, general practitioner, registered nurse, physician assistant, etc.).  I was amazed at the sound advice from the gynecologist (hehe) & my aunts (psychiatrist & pediatrician).  Do not take "that's not my specialty" for an answer.

 

Good luck.



#5 H E Pennypacker

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 10:31 PM

Good suggestions.  As an update I've been using the Gold soap and taking the Fiber 3.  The soap did a good job of clearing clogged pores however the cysts remain.  I don't believe the fiber helped at all.  I used both over 2 months.  

 

Currently I'm experimenting with the Genesis 2 laser treatment... Testing a small area prior to the entire back to see if the treatment is effective rather than opting for the entire back the first time.  I will reply with results when the treatment is completed.  



#6 H E Pennypacker

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 01:03 AM

Update

 

I want to reiterate I have acne on my back.  Cystic acne, sensitive skin, and oily skin that covers the whole area to my hips.  Some acne on my chest and upper arms but very little… Back is terrible, chest\upper arms okay, face none.

 

 

Currently

 

 

I have had 5 treatment sessions of the Genesis 2 laser.  These sessions were done on a small test area on my back to compare to the untreated areas.  Quick and painless.  After the first 2 unsuccessful sessions my Dr. chose to decrease the frequency of the laser in hopes my skin would react.  As of 2 weeks following the treatment, after the 3 sessions at the new lesser frequency, the treated area looks dramatically better.  Skin in that area feels smoother and no new breakouts have occurred….  Skin in the surrounding areas remains inflamed. 

 

 

Since I've out waited my patience I've been experimenting with a few other means of treatment in addition to the Genesis 2 Laser -

 

 

1.  No dairy or grains (gluten - free diet) for almost 2 months now.  (some people say this then may have a beer or occasional slip-up  but I have checked all labels and been extremely cautious. I stayed on the diet)  - noticed improvement in amount of overall acne

 

2.  Coconut Oil - used for a month\daily with no real benefits

 

3.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil - used for the past 2 days and skin broke out all over back

 

4.  Olive Oil soap (kiss my face) - using for a month and a half

 

5.  Juicing (bought a nutribullet, and it's dope) - using for 2 weeks

 

 

Results

 

It's early but the promise of the Genesis 2 Laser is encouraging.  The treated area has had no breakouts since the 3rd treatment at the lower frequency.  I think I will continue with the treatment for my entire back and possibly my chest.  I will update with my progress.

 

However, one negative that has occurred was when I started using the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I used it for the first time 2 days ago and broke out all over my back and that was odd because I was doing much better through the diet and Genesis 2.  The treated area remained dramatically better even with the EVOO debacle but one small zit occurred there.  

 

 

 

Question ???

 

Is this normal to have this negative reaction to the EVOO when you start?  If so should I continue to use it?  I think I will because some people's personal EVOO stories have confirmed this initial outbreak.

 

Any input is valued.

 

 

Thank You

 



#7 DanTheNewWorld

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 01:52 AM

i'm 29y. something seems to be working great for me lately. bp works great for my face, but my back was a little more serious (moderate to severe since 16y). bp 4% did not work for the back, even after 2weeks (face cleared in 2-3days - from brevoxyl), so i stoppped it and just applied cutaden (http://www.acne.org/...mazing-inotyol/). it's unbelievable.. i'm almost 100% clear.

 

internally i take zinc (the most important. i took it in the past but alone it hasn't got any power), magnesium, vit C, vit E. most of these i think of as copper elliminators (copper is a zinc antagonist. avoid high copper - low zinc diets). also pumpkin seeds (again for zinc). and cabbage everyday (hormonal regulation), and buckwheat for the last meal.

also holisticly i;m trying the melatonin regulation approach. that means when it's morning, let the full sun in the room. and do a little bit of exercises to better "wake up". and of course all day should have light and mild exercises (preferably). no activity and light in the evening/night of course. see > http://www.acne.org/...adults-draft-5/

 

oh also, before applying stuff i wash the area with calendula tea.


Edited by DanTheNewWorld, 11 March 2014 - 02:30 AM.

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#8 mrsrobinson

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 05:22 AM

I would stop the olive oil, completely....things are working so why tempt fate

 

I always start small with a test with every new product, I personally like unrefined coconut oil, but this is a very personal thing, we all react differently

 

Gluten was the big trigger for me, stopped the massive cysts almost completely- and then dairy did the rest...amazing what those two diet changes did for me

 

Tell us more about the Genesis laser, exactly what type is it?  PDL, erbium?  GREAT that it is working, you've suffered long enough!



#9 H E Pennypacker

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:08 PM

I would stop the olive oil, completely....things are working so why tempt fate

 

I always start small with a test with every new product, I personally like unrefined coconut oil, but this is a very personal thing, we all react differently

 

Gluten was the big trigger for me, stopped the massive cysts almost completely- and then dairy did the rest...amazing what those two diet changes did for me

 

Tell us more about the Genesis laser, exactly what type is it?  PDL, erbium?  GREAT that it is working, you've suffered long enough!

 

 

Despite having 5 sessions of the Genesis 2 laser I don't think I could give a worthwhile explanation of how it works.  I think it uses heat targeted at the dermis to decrease pore size, eliminate scars, and give skin a smoother feel.  It was very quick and painless.  The area that was targeted is better but not to the point where I am confident the treatment was successful.

 

I'm going to wait a month or two before I endorse this laser.  I did have a few cysts appear after the sessions in the treated area but only when I used olive oil there.   I was very hopeful the laser could be a solution but the Dr. said that other patients of the laser have had initial success but their acne returned weeks later...

 

Currently I'm using Dr. Bronners Magic soap (peppermint) and trying what DantheNewWorld suggested with consuming pumpkin seeds and cabbage more frequently.  After 2 months of no grains\dairy my skin improved but I still had cysts frequently appear all over my back.  However, there were less cysts than when I ate anything.

 

I will keep you updated and I look forward to any suggestions or feedback.

 

Thanks



#10 valleygurl

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 03:14 PM

H E Pennypacker have you had your hormones tested with a blood test. You can high levels of testosterone/androgens.They can cause acne all over the body just like when guys use steriods is increases testosterone/androgens cause acne havoc. I'm not saying you use steriods but you may have a lot of testosterone.

#11 H E Pennypacker

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 09:43 PM

H E Pennypacker have you had your hormones tested with a blood test. You can high levels of testosterone/androgens.They can cause acne all over the body just like when guys use steriods is increases testosterone/androgens cause acne havoc. I'm not saying you use steriods but you may have a lot of testosterone.

 

I've had blood tests however not related to hormones.  I've had one for celiac, one for a bunch of things (lol not sure all the things tested), and another to see if I had food allergies.  I've spoken with my primary Dr. and they were unaware of what tests would help.  I called an endocrinology office and was told that they only perform acne related blood tests for women.

 

I agree that I think it most likely is a hormone issue but not really sure how to pursue.  If I did have a hormone irregularity I'm not sure what steps can then be taken for men.  I love your suggestion however I've only heard of women benefitting from that route.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

I like where your heads at and thank you for the input valleygurl.



#12 Battle2011

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 03:29 AM

I feel the same as you do. Tried everything. Nothing works. Have you had a derm test one of your cysts? To identify the bacteria inside?



#13 H E Pennypacker

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 02:29 PM

I feel the same as you do. Tried everything. Nothing works. Have you had a derm test one of your cysts? To identify the bacteria inside?

 

No I have not.  Have you had this done?  Once the bacteria is determined what can be done with that info?



#14 valleygurl

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 04:26 PM

http://www.dermnetnz...stigations.html

Read the paragraph under test for bacteria.

#15 Battle2011

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 04:09 AM

I feel the same as you do. Tried everything. Nothing works. Have you had a derm test one of your cysts? To identify the bacteria inside?

 

No I have not.  Have you had this done?  Once the bacteria is determined what can be done with that info?

 

Yes, my derm finally took a sample last week. She realised it did not make sense that nothing would work on something as basic as a pimple. After 20 years of battle against acne, this is the first derm that finally does that. I'll know what bacteria or staph I am up against. If it is p.acnes, I guess not much will be done as I have tried pretty much everything. Maybe she will be able to recommend a better course of action knowing what it resists to exactly. If it is a staph infection, then I will probably get a specific treatment and soap for that.... Which I kind of hope!



http://www.dermnetnz...stigations.html

Read the paragraph under test for bacteria.

 

Thanks! I wish my derms had read this part in the last 20 years:

 

Occasionally it is wise to obtain a swab and/or scraping from an acne spot, or acne-like pustule, for microbiological examination and culture. This is because acne can resemble infections, including:

My derm took a swab from 3 pimples (on the same swab though, so I hope it will not mess up results). Let's see next week what results are.



#16 H E Pennypacker

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:40 PM

 

I feel the same as you do. Tried everything. Nothing works. Have you had a derm test one of your cysts? To identify the bacteria inside?

 

No I have not.  Have you had this done?  Once the bacteria is determined what can be done with that info?

 

Yes, my derm finally took a sample last week. She realised it did not make sense that nothing would work on something as basic as a pimple. After 20 years of battle against acne, this is the first derm that finally does that. I'll know what bacteria or staph I am up against. If it is p.acnes, I guess not much will be done as I have tried pretty much everything. Maybe she will be able to recommend a better course of action knowing what it resists to exactly. If it is a staph infection, then I will probably get a specific treatment and soap for that.... Which I kind of hope!



>http://www.dermnetnz...stigations.html

Read the paragraph under test for bacteria.

 

Thanks! I wish my derms had read this part in the last 20 years:

 

Occasionally it is wise to obtain a swab and/or scraping from an acne spot, or acne-like pustule, for microbiological examination and culture. This is because acne can resemble infections, including:

My derm took a swab from 3 pimples (on the same swab though, so I hope it will not mess up results). Let's see next week what results are.

 

 

 

Nice, that is very encouraging.  I hope you get some helpful treatment information.  Let me know how it goes



#17 Battle2011

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:11 PM

 

 

I feel the same as you do. Tried everything. Nothing works. Have you had a derm test one of your cysts? To identify the bacteria inside?

 

No I have not.  Have you had this done?  Once the bacteria is determined what can be done with that info?

 

Yes, my derm finally took a sample last week. She realised it did not make sense that nothing would work on something as basic as a pimple. After 20 years of battle against acne, this is the first derm that finally does that. I'll know what bacteria or staph I am up against. If it is p.acnes, I guess not much will be done as I have tried pretty much everything. Maybe she will be able to recommend a better course of action knowing what it resists to exactly. If it is a staph infection, then I will probably get a specific treatment and soap for that.... Which I kind of hope!



>http://www.dermnetnz...stigations.html

Read the paragraph under test for bac

teria.

 

Thanks! I wish my derms had read this part in the last 20 years:

 

Occasionally it is wise to obtain a swab and/or scraping from an acne spot, or acne-like pustule, for microbiological examination and culture. This is because acne can resemble infections, including:

My derm took a swab from 3 pimples (on the same swab though, so I hope it will not mess up results). Let's see next week what results are.

 

 

Nice, that is very encouraging.  I hope you get some helpful treatment information.  Let me know how it goes

 

 

Will do! Some helpful treatment information is all I'm hoping for. After 20 years of battle, I hope I can start winning against this bacteria / staph / fungus.






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