Let me start with my background and history with Acne. This will be very long (i'm really sorry haha) so i'll try to divide it by months and years. Please take the time to read this😄.
I'm 20, male. acne was never that much of a problem for me when i was in high school. I'd get the random zits but they were nothing to worry about. It was in my senior year (I was 15 then) that i started getting this stubborn pimple on my
nose bridge, after one had healed another would come out. They usually started with a whitehead then would get inflamed. A friend said it was probably due to bacteria so he recommended i use this anti bacterial facial scrub with salicyclic acid. He had mild acne
back then but he was able to control it by just over the counter products. It worked with getting rid of those usual pimples on my nose bridge. I only used the product on that part cause i was afraid i'd get acne if i use it all over my face. Later on, i started having random zits on my left cheek. That had never happens to me before. The random zits i
got where usually on my nose. But thankfully, i was clear by graduation and so i put the acne problem behind me.
My BATTLE with acne began when i turned sixteen and started my freshman year in college. I started breaking out on my left cheek, my chin, and my forehead. They were not cystic but large inflamed ones. It was probably due to pollution, hormones and stress. I had little to no self confidence even when i had a clear face but when i started getting acne, my self esteem went down the drain. I didn't make a lot of friends, didn't talk much, and would only hang out with two to three college friends. i dreaded going to class everyday and got very depressed. i even changed facial cleanser but it didn't do anything. It was probably one if not the lowest point of my life. i hated everything. My favorite tv shows, movies, etc like i had this anger inside of me that i couldn't vent out.
A week after the holiday break, that's when i said to myself that i needed to get help and decided to finally see a dermatologist after being against seeing one for months in fear that it would make my acne worse. My mom went with me. I The dermatologist was surprisingly nice(still my dermatologist up to now). i Iwas prescribed 2% Clindamycin Solution to be applied twice a day, AcnePlus Cream (Miconazole Nitrate+Benzoyl Peroxide) in the morning after clindamycin and differin at night after the clinda solution. She also recommended Sebamed cleansing bar as my facial cleanser (which is really great! If you haven't heard of it you should definitely look it up, it was only available through dermatologists though). The AcnePlus Cream stung and turned my facr red after my first application so she told me to stop using it and stick with Sebamed, Clindamycin and Differin.
i didn't see any changes after a few months with Differin. No redness, or flaking but it made my face a little drier than usual. I gave up hope that i could ever get rid of my acne. i even failed a class due to it (i skipped this particular class a lot, lol).
I continued with my sebamed, differin and clindamycin routine even though i was kind of hopeless it would ever do anything to help with my acne. But one night as i was about to put on differin i was shocked with what i saw on the mirror. All i had left were red marks. No pimples or anything, just marks from previous breakouts. My face was smoother and it was glowing (lol). I seriously couldn't believe it. I stuck with the routine through April and May and by June i was 90-95% clear. Differin saved my life!! i was having suicidal thoughts few months before but i was just thinking about how it would affect my parents.
I started noticing redness on my face. My face looked like it was sunburnt. I had never used any sunblock or moisturizer on my face as my derm never prescribed me one. We went to see my derm and she too was surprised by the results. She said the treatment worked incredibly fast on me and i can just use differin once to twice a week. But i never did. ( I know, i'm freaking stupid).
The next 2 to 3 years my face was clear except from the random zit above my lip and on my chin due to shaving but it was not worth stressing about
compared to my condition before. I only used differin as a spot treatment since my last appointment with my derm. Sebamed is the only thing i still used. My friends would even compliment my skin. I started getting back my self esteem between these years. Began hanging out with both high school and college friends more and enjoyed college a little better.
In my senior year in college, I started riding my motorbike to get to class faster (i was usually late 😄). Then i noticed i started getting blackheads on my left cheek,". It was probably due to smoke and pollution while riding the bike
on the way to campus. By January, I had a mild break out on my left cheek, I was really scared that my acne would come back. I went to see my dermatologist and she said it was just due to dirt and pollution, she was about to prescribed me epiduo but since i still had differin left (which i bought few months before) , she prescribed me Acne Control Lotion instead, it has benzoyl peroxide and erythromycin. Thats when Differin started making me red where i applied it . The lotion worked really great though and would get rid of zits even before they get any bigger. I stuck with the lotion since differin was making me red. She also changed my facial cleanser to a mild hyalluronic foaming wash since my skin type was on the "matte" side and Sebamed wasn't able through dermatologists anymore. It didn't break me out immediately but i started getting whiteheads on my cheek.
I was clear by februaryexcept for the marks left behind by previous break out and some whiteheads.
I was clear on graduation day. was able to take a lot of pictures with friends and family.
I decided to have a Loooooooooooooooooong break before getting a job since i was so stressed out by 18 years of school life (i'm crazy i know). Spent months staying up until 6-7am. Poor hygiene (lol) and poor diet, lack of sun exposure. the whitehead on my cheeks started turning into pimples. Even on my right cheek where don't usyally break out. i tried to use differin again but it really made my face red so i stopped. After this, i also had an
allergic reaction to something, i had itchy red patches on my left eyelid, upper left cheek and beside my mouth on the left side of my face. We went to see my derm again and she said it could be anything (differin, food, pets, etc) . She prescribed me triamcinolone (which didn't work) and miconazole cream. After a week without improvement we called her up and she told us to get cutivate cream from tje drugstore. the cream worked fast. i used it for three to four weeks but not continously. the patches disappeared in a few days (knock on wood) . i also read about the effects of long term use of steroids so i stopped using it.
My acne came back but they were not as big as before. They were mostly comedones that would get inflamed. but the bad news is, even my right cheek was breaking out. I decided to see my dermatologist again. She then
told to use differin again and moisturizer from her own skincare line (she has her own skincare center by the way lol) . She
told me to come back in 2 weeks. The moisturizer was too thick and oily
though. and the ingredient was called pentavitin? not really sure couldn't read it from her handwriting lol. I started applying differin again everynight and moisturizer in the morning or noon (whatever time i wake up or take a shower 😁). Whenever i applied differin my face would turn red the next day. I continued this for a week. My
facr became very red and and very flaky. I looked really disgusting. Even my family would ask what was happening toy face. it started itching at night. i called up my derm and she said to stop using differin and apply cutivate on the redness. I didn't use cutivate again as i was scared with the side effects. She also said to reintroduce differin after the redness had subsided. I did that for one night but my face turned red again the next day. this never happened to me when i first used differin four years ago.
by this time i also switched back to sebamed cleansing bar after finding out that its available online and some local beauty shops have them.
I went to see my derm again. and told her about what happened. She said i probably developed an allergy to adapalene (differin) . She also thought i was allergic to benzoyl peroxide as it stung when i used the Acneplus cream 4 years ago but not the acne control lotion. She prescribed me to use generic tretinoin cream from her own skincare line. She told me to use clindamycin solution again twice again and the tretinoin at night. She said i should put on the tretinoin creamevery third night on my first week and work my up to everynight until my face adjusts to it. i did that for the first week but i didn't notice any irritation, no dryness, no redness, flaking,etc. so bu the second week i used it every night.
The tretinoin cream wasn't doing anything. I could even slather it all over my face like a moisturizer and i would get no irritation although i noticed that my whiteheads increased. I decided to see my derm few days before christmas. She said ot had only been a month and to give it more time. She also said that my acne is mild and are mostly closed comedones and a facial cleansing would help with getting rid of them. i refused
to go with the facial as i was scared of having anything done to my face lol. She said understand and that boys don't really like getting facials. (is that true ?) haha she then prescribed me Azelderm cream which is like skinoren to use in the morning. it contains 20% azelaic acid. It's pretty expensive though. The most expensive ane medication i've tried. She said it would also help with the hyperpigmentation marks. she told me to use it every third day to build tolerance but since it didn't irritate my face i went straight to applying it evryday. i had no irritation from it since then.
I've been using azelderm for a month with clindamycin twice a day and tretinoin at night for two months. So far i haven't seen any drastic improvement besides the fact that when i get pimples theyaren't as big as before .(knocks on wood although i may already have jinxed it haha)
i went to see my face derm yesterday. When she examined my face she said most on it are just marks from previous
pimples although i still have a lot of whiteheads and i know they will eventually get inflamedd and turn into zitz. She said something is just missing from my regimen as the marks wouldn't go away and some still have filling inside them (gross i know). She saiod she couldn't give me any facial peels or medications for the marks since it would just be a waste of money if im still not really cleared up. i also told her about benzoyl peroxide since the acne lotion didn't give me any allergic reactions before. She gave me a sample of epiduo to try. She told to me to use it every other night for the first week or two until my face adjusts to it and then inform /see her after those two weeks.
i applied a really thin amount on my cheeks last night and did it in only small part of my cheek so i can observe if it makes me my face red. i was really excited about using it and finding out of it will make my face red like the differin does So the next day, i woke up and ran to the mirror to check, and there you have it, the parts where i applied epiduo are pinkish red and later on became slightly itchy but not too much. there goes my hopes again. The truth is im now 5% away from giving up. even if i promised myself that i would never go back to my disposition 4 years ago, i just cant help it. i can't use differin anymore which cleared up my face. The generic tretinoin isn't doing anything in my opinion. Azelaic acid is working too slow and is seemingly not enough. i dont know what to do anymore i feel like i should just get used to having acne for the rest of my life. its
probably not something i'd grow out since im already 20, although no one in my family has acne i bet im kind of the exception. my derm hasn't brought up retin- a before or any branded tretinoin so i guess they are out of the question and would just irritate my face. How do you live with acne if you already have poor self esteem in the first place?? i guess this is it for me, not being dramatic though but i've read about people who spent 20-30 years finding something that works for them.
Do you think i should still give epiduo a chance? like a week or two? cause
i'm scared that it would also make my face really red and flaky like a reptile just like what the differin does. I don't wanna waste time on this medication if it turns out im really allerigic to adapalene(or benzoyl peroxide) and cant use it anymore instead of trying out a new
one that can actualy clear me up.
What do you guys think? any advice, suggestions, and comments will be appreciated. if you have stories to share i'll be glad to read them too.
I'm really sorry for the very lengthy post. This is probably the longest post here hahaha but i just want to share
my struggle with acne. I also apologize for the typos and grammatical errors (thats for you grammar nazis lol) i am just currently on my phone. Thank you so much for reading. hoping to hear from you guys!
Edited by UsedToBe, 31 January 2014 - 02:49 AM.