Hey guys! I'm new to this forum but before signing up I've been religiously going through a ton of these threads trying to find solutions for my cystic acne. Like many of you, I feel completely hopeless and I'm afraid that if I don't find a cure soon, my mouth is going to be an entirely darker color than the rest of my face due to the constant pimples and scarring. Yes, it's that severe.
I used to have moderate acne. Now it's classified as severe. For the past 2 months I've been getting 2-3 cystic pimples around my mouth / chin / upper lip almost daily. They take forever to come to head and heal, and even after healing they leave behind nasty dark scars. So imagine how traumatizing it is to be getting new cystic pimples daily while still having to deal with all the others ones from yesterday and the day before… It has affected my moods and self esteem drastically :/ I work in customer service and it has gotten so bad that whenever I wake up in the morning I just feel like quitting my job honestly… I hate showing my face, and it makes me feel so depressed knowing that my coworkers and customers have to see such a disgusting face every day. I know that mouth acne is related to stress and hormones, and worrying about all this is only going to make my acne worse, but it's so hard to get my mind off it. It would be so much easier to ignore it if I wasn't reminded of it constantly throughout the day. Every time I smile, it hurts everywhere around my mouth… Even sometimes when I speak I can feel it. They are big, red, painful, cystic pimples. A lot of times they bunch around in the same areas, forming a GIGANTIC lump of pimples with 3 whiteheads. When I feel them I immediately think about how ugly and red they must look and ugh… It's gotten me so down. Literally trying to hold back my tears as I type this.
Enough of my depressing rant lol. On to my actual acne history… I'm a 25 year old female. I've had acne since I was about 13. Back then it was just my forehead breaking out and I used to have an oily face. I've been on many topical creams provided by my dermatologist and all they did was dry and irritate the hell out of my face. I saw no improvement, so I stopped going. Then I decided to take the Proactiv route (really regret this decision), for about 2-3 years and it did WONDERS on my skin. Proactiv not only cleared my face up instantly, but my face had a beautiful color and tone. But then all of a sudden it stopped working and my acne returned with a vengeance. Though I no longer broke out on my forehead, I was getting pimples mainly around my mouth and upper lip, and every once in a while I'll get a pimple on my cheeks / between my eyebrows. After experimenting with OTC treatments, I finally found something that somewhat kept my acne under control. I used Clean & Clear products, like their salycic acid spot treatment, benzoyl peroxide, and oil-free moisturizer for sensitive skin. Throughout the years my skin became more dry and raw looking, and would generally get pimples around my mouth before and during my period cycles. Clean & Clear wasn't like Proactiv but at least it controlled my acne to an extent. Now, my face is just always dry and flaky, as oppose to the oily skin I had 10 years ago.
But now, ever since two months ago, it all stopped working, and this is the worst acne I've ever had in my life. It all started the week AFTER my period, which was weird because normally I would break out before and during my period. But instead, my skin was clear during that time, and then once my period stopped the pimples around my mouth got a little out of control. I thought maybe my products weren't working anymore, and I didn't want to go through another struggle finding other products considering they're all pretty much the same. So I've been doing research, and have found more natural alternatives that helped reduce the severity of my acne, but not as well. It helped clear my skin for 2 weeks and then, I started PMSing, and my acne went out of control all over again, but WORSE. I know I keep saying it gets worse and worse, sucks doesn't it? Wish I was lying. It's been over a week since my period has ended and the acne keeps on coming. Like I said before, 2-3 cystic pimples around my mouth daily. Right now I have about 6 big ones, 3 of which are forming in a cluster together, another 2 forming it's own cluster as well, 1 big one… And then there's about 3-4 smaller zits. I know. It sounds like a freaking nightmare and it is.
So here it is guys. After all the research I've been doing, this is my current regimen ---------->
1.) Brush my teeth with Colgate toothpaste.
2.) Wash my face with Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser (Hypoallergenic fragrance with no added paragons, soaps or dyes. Oil free and non-comedogenic)
3.) 1 drop organic jojoba oil, and 3 drops organic tea tree oil on q-tip and applied on pimples.
4.) Wait about 10-15 minutes to let the pimples absorb the oils.
5.) Apply 3-4 drops of jojoba oil to Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer (Oil-free salycic acid acne medication) and applied all over face to cure dryness.
6.) Drink 1 tablespoon of Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with "The Mother" in a tall glass of water.
7.) Eat breakfast
8.) Take Equaline Daily Women's Vitamin, along with a 50mg of Equaline Zinc (both gluten free)
At night I do the same with brushing my teeth, washing my face and applying the oils and moisturizer. Doing this has cleared the few, little pimples that would form on my cheeks and forehead. I did see that it helped clear the pimples around my mouth, but not nearly as well as Proactiv and Clean & Clear used to. Also, my acne got better and then worse again. And then it gets better, worse, better, worse. My acne is seriously toying with my emotions.
I've also switched to a gluten-free and dairy-free diet for the most part, and have been drinking lots of water daily. Although every now and then I'll cheat. Everything I love normally has gluten, so it's a little difficult to go cold turkey :/ However I've drastically decreased my intake and can actually go through a few days at a time without gluten and dairy. Buuuut then I had pizza this week for 2 days in a row, and have noticed that my pimples began to flare up and pop out more the day after. So maybe dairy really is the culprit? It's so confusing because many people say diet has absolutely nothing to do with acne… But for a week I was able to cut dairy and gluten out of my diet, and have noticed a significant difference in my acne. And then I had to screw it up with my pizza love affair and now my mouth just looks terrible.
I personally have noticed that these diet changes have decreased the severity of my acne, it just hasn't cleared my face like all those harsh chemical OTC products use to. Especially during my period cycle. The hard part is completely sticking to the diet. And now I've read that soy is also a problem. THE STRUGGLE!
Anyone else struggle with a massive army of cystic pimples around their mouth? I've read that switching to a flouride-free toothpaste has cured this type of acne, as well as birth control considering that this may be hormonal. Birth control is my last resort, I would hate if my acne got that bad but I feel like it's closely approaching. I've been thinking a lot about setting up an appointment with my gyno to get a hormone test. I just hate the idea of taking birth control cuz of it's side effects, and I've heard that acne sufferers end up becoming handicapped to birth control because once you stop taking it your acne returns 10x worse. The yaz commercials linking birth control to stroke also freaks me out *shudders*
Gonna try switching my toothpaste and see how that helps. Any advice on what kind of toothpaste to use? Preferably something I can get at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. I'm too impatient with this acne struggle to order anything online Also any advice on diet, recipes, birth control, topical treatments, and how to cope and keep myself emotionally stable would be appreciated. Been also thinking of reverting back to benzoyl peroxide products, but I'm afraid I've built a resistance to it and will make my acne worse.
PS: I change my pillowcase 2-3 times a week. I fall asleep on my back with my face up, and don't move around much during my sleep. Whenever I wake up in the middle of the night I'm in the same position as I was when I fell asleep. I also get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.