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Adult acne onset at 24 years old

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#1 AvaMarie

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 05:40 PM

As an adolescent, I'd get the odd pimple here or there in my t-zone, but these were easy to manage.

However, at the age of 24 (during my second year of graduate school) it was like my face erupted. For the past year and a half, I've been plagued by pimples along my jawline, on my chin, around my mouth and scattered on the lower area of my cheeks where I never had any before. My forehead, nose, hairline, upper cheeks and body are clear for the most part.

One pimple on my chin turned into a small, hard cyst that has remained under my skin for at least a year. It won't go away. Other than that I haven't had any cyctic acne. They are always closed papules or whiteheads. Also, I have a few blackheads on my nose, and on my chin there are always dozens of small white bumps that if squeezed release a small amount of white matter but always return.

My skin now has mild scarring (one or two small, shallow spots), which I will address when I can get this cleared up!

I believe this to be hormonal. However, my cycles are like clockwork and I don't seem to have any other problems. I've been taking Ortho-Tricyclin Lo for a few months, and it doesn't seem to be helping.

Nothing I've tried has made them improve. I think this is in part because I have extremely sensitive skin.

As long as I use mild cleansers, the cleansers don't seem to irritate my skin. However, every single moisturizer I've tried (Cetaphil, Olay, Aveeno, Proactiv, Clinique, etc, etc) has only exacerbated things - even sensitive skin formulas! Moisturizers with SPF seem to be the worst. I can't go without as I live in the Southwest US in an extremely dry climate. Going without makes my face flake, which in turn clogs my pores and causes breakouts - but putting them on is almost worse!

Also, all make-up I've tried to conceal the acne only worsens things as well - even noncomedogenic formulas. I've recently switched to Bare Essentials, so we'll see how that goes. So far so good.

Benzoyl peroxide irritates my skin too.

I'm going to a dermatologist next month. As a grad student, I haven't had the money for medical treatment until now.

Here is my skin-care routine as it stands today:

AM: Wash with a small amount of Cetaphil cleanser and luke-warm water (with fingers) after getting out of the shower, pat dry
Use a TINY amount of product containing salicylic acid on problem areas
Moisturize with ? (I was using Cetaphil with SPF, but it made things worse!)
Bare Essentials

PM: Wash with a small amount of Cetaphil cleaner and luke-warm water (with fingers), pat dry
Use a TINY amount of product containing salicylic acid on problem areas.

Medications I take: Ortho-Tricyclin Lo

Vitamins I take: Women's One-A-Day Multivitamin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E

I drink oodles of water, eat very healthily, and get adequate amounts of sleep (at least 8 hours per night).

I am really at a loss. If anyone can offer any advice, I would be so grateful. I am going to be a psychologist in three years. A professional appearance is very important in that field, and I feel that acne really detracts from it - which I fear compromises whether or not people see me as competent. I already look young as it is.

#2 willow569

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 08:24 PM

Hi,

I also didn't start getting breakouts until I was an adult. Grad school will do that to you, I guess! (I was in a graduate psych program too)

You might want to consider trying a combination of a retinoid product (Differin, Retin-A) and a topical or oral antibiotic (depending on how much inflammatory acne you have). Differin is the mildest retinoid - although it still may cause some irritation. I have sensitive skin too, but I have been using Differin, with only mild irritation so far. I am only 3 weeks into my treatment, but so far it seems to be working. As far as moisturizers go, I have had pretty good luck with neutrogena. I like the neutrogena oil free moisturizer for sensitive skin (no sunscreen though) and the neutrogena advanced solutions moisturizer (which has sunscreen).

#3 cmking

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 09:17 PM

Hey Ava,
I can relate. The same thing happened to me just a couple months ago. Same kind of break out, same place. I was trying everything. I found that exfolating with a natural brush with Jason Red Elements gentle gel cleanser followed with neosporin cream helped me the most for over the counter treatment. I didn't start seeing real results until I finally went and seen my derm about a month and a half ago. He put me on antibiotics (i just took it for about a week, then again for a week before my period). I also was using retin-a .025. He also did a chemical peel to help purge the pores. I now use retin-a .025 in the morning and a stronger retin-a .050 at night. My skin is getting better. I go again on thus.

Hopefully your derm is good and can help. Good luck!

#4 JSM

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 01:11 AM

WOW! It's a bit disburbing.. but all your symptoms and conditions are identical to mine when I first started breaking out at the age of 22. Until then, I never suffered from any form of acne. But at the age of 22, all hell broke loose. I believe my acne is hormonal and stress caused. Now my acne has turned severely cystic and nodulistic (I am 25 now). I've tried every single topical and antibiotic out there w/ little or no improvement. I am under going my last treatment w/ an acne specialist using his topicals products. If it fails again, I am going to try accutane which will be my last hope.

Anyway, good luck~ just wanted to share my experiences w/ you because the beginning stages of your acne sounds identical to mine. I hope you get yours under control and not end up like me.

#5 Roxy@22

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 09:34 AM

Hi,

I just wanted to share that I too had a similar experience. I didnt start breaking out until I was 28 and its almost always on the lower half of my face. My periods are regular, but my doctors told me my acne is definately hormonal. After trying a million different things, I'm now in my first week of accutane.

#6 skeptik

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 04:12 PM

Your acne definitley sounds hormonal, and you are not on a good birth control pill for hormonal acne. Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo is NOT prescribed for acne. In fact, it is known to worsen acne in many women. I would suggest taking regular Ortho Tri Cyclen (which is supposed to help, but did not help me) or better yet, Yasmin.

I am 24 and have the same problems that you describe. I am on Diane-35 (similar to Yasmin, but not available in the U.S.) and it helps a lot.

I have used all of the products that you have used as well. I found Cetaphil cleanser caused me to break out. A better option (for me at least) than Cetaphil is Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser. I think it is even gentler than Cetaphil and has reduced my acne. I am also very sensitive to BP, but as long as I use a gentle cleanser and a moisturizer, it seems to be okay. I prefer BP to SA, as it is much more effective. Proactive's oil free moisturizer has been the only one I have used that has not caused me to break out
Good luck!

#7 Eloise

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 10:21 PM

yes. I agree with the above. Ortho-Cyclen Lo should not be a part of your regimen. Yasmin, Ortho-cyclen, and Ortho-Tri Cyclen seem to be the safest bet right now.
I know how you feel. I never had a prob with acne and at 24 I too was hit hard. Mine is cystic and nodular mostly. Those suckers never leave and when they do they leave a pit as a goodbye present. I've had acne only for about 8-9 months, but I now have pitted scars indented on my lower part of my face. It's amazing how your face can change in such a short time-span. The hyperpigmentation spots I'm not too worried about...those will go away.
I would recommend keeping a personal log on the board. I would love to hear about your progress.
Bare Minerals is great!

#8 Cocopj

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 10:18 AM

I take evening primrose oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil to regulate my hormonal imbalance. Took me over 6 months - 1 year to get the hormone back to normal (i could tell by not getting any more acne after that). During those perids, my acne popped like crazy in a chain. I used Eurocin to clear them all and using Ordicine scar remover gel to fade the lefover red marks. Currently using 2nd tube and noticing effect on the stubborn red and brown marks on my cheeks.

#9 AvaMarie

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 02:15 PM

Stopped taking the OTC Lo. My skin is a bit clearer after just three days. Am going to create a personal log, I think that's a great idea.

I don't wish this on anyone, but it's a huge relief to know that there are other people out there who have experienced or are experiencing the same thing that's happening to me.

Thank you, all.

#10 Cocopj

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 05:10 PM

This is the product I'm using that cleared my acne.

Eurocin-A Gel

*MOD EDIT*

#11 AvaMarie

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 06:49 PM

Interesting. Any obnoxious side-effects?

#12 Eloise

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 02:10 AM

We're all rooting for each other here, so keep us posted AvaMarie! biggrin.gif

#13 kimmyd

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 03:42 AM

QUOTE(Eloise @ May 24 2006, 11:21 PM) View Post

yes. I agree with the above. Ortho-Cyclen Lo should not be a part of your regimen. Yasmin, Ortho-cyclen, and Ortho-Tri Cyclen seem to be the safest bet right now.
I know how you feel. I never had a prob with acne and at 24 I too was hit hard. Mine is cystic and nodular mostly. Those suckers never leave and when they do they leave a pit as a goodbye present. I've had acne only for about 8-9 months, but I now have pitted scars indented on my lower part of my face. It's amazing how your face can change in such a short time-span. The hyperpigmentation spots I'm not too worried about...those will go away.
I would recommend keeping a personal log on the board. I would love to hear about your progress.
Bare Minerals is great!



QUOTE(Cocopj @ May 26 2006, 11:18 AM) View Post

I take evening primrose oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil to regulate my hormonal imbalance. Took me over 6 months - 1 year to get the hormone back to normal (i could tell by not getting any more acne after that). During those perids, my acne popped like crazy in a chain. I used Eurocin to clear them all and using Ordicine scar remover gel to fade the lefover red marks. Currently using 2nd tube and noticing effect on the stubborn red and brown marks on my cheeks.

I just read about regulating hormones through taking essential fatty acids as you did. So, do you think it helped? Did your breakouts get better or worse before it cleared up after six months? Did you change your diet and do you think the oils are still helping you?

#14 XC60

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 02:26 AM

I've had trouble finding a suitable cleanser, and Cetaphil is not the answer. A better alternate may be Nivea's dye, fragrance and alcohol-free facial cleanser.

#15 skeptik

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 05:46 PM

I just noticed that you are taking the Women's One a Day vitamin. I was taking it for about 6 months and had an extremely bad acne flare up. I came off of it 3 weeks ago and my acne has improved immensely. It could just be a coincident, but it is possible that something in that pill was aggravating my acne.

I would be really interested to see if you would have an improvement in your acne after discontinuing it for a couple of weeks.

I decided that I eat healthy enough to not require a multi vitamin anyways.

#16 springmore

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 10:34 AM

I agree with an above commenter: switching birth control brands could help dramatically.

I had adult acne onset at 22, right after I graduated from college and my comfy little life got turned upside down. I don't handle change well, and one way this manifested itself is adult acne. My hormones went crazy.

I would not recommend using Retin-A. Since your acne is hormonal, topicals will do little to help it. Retin-A actually made my acne much, much worse. My dermo switched me to Tazorac (the most powerful retinoid short of Accutane) and prescribed bi-monthly chemical peels. I also switched from OTC BCP (which was making my breakouts worse, actually) to Yasmin. The Yasmin has helped beyoned belief. My oil production has decreased dramatically. It is actually designed for hormonal acne sufferers and includes drospirenone, which is a variant of spironolactone, an androgen (the hormone that causes acne) blocker. I also take only active pills, which has helped keep my hormone levels consistent, thereby increasing the anti-androgen benefits.

My current regimen has enabled me to have clear skin. I'm only biding my time, however. After my wedding, I plan to begin Accutane. It is the only semi-long-term solution for hormonal acne, unfortunately. My current regiment is simply too much work, and is not healthy for long-term use.

Good luck, friend. I've been there. It's hell.

#17 Bella03

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 07:17 PM

WOw..it sounds almost like me..(I'm 20)...I barely had any zits to worry about in my teens...But as a teen what i had bothered me and i went to a derm....
I went to college (was put on the depo shot) and all hell broke loose...
I got taken off the shot and I still can't have regular periods...I'm on yasmin...it seems to have helped a lot..
It's supposed to help with hormonal acne..I finally went and saw a derm (again) and they have me on spiro, yasmin, doxy, and bezaclin...
I went to see another derm (since i am home for summer break, i'm not close to my regular derm) for my first cortisone shots... cry.gif
They worked wonderfully, i highly recommend them...
She also heard all the meds i was on..and signed me up for ipedge...My Gyno told me it could take years to get my cycles back to normal....so, i believe that's why they decided the accutane would be best because all the topical creams aren't strong enough for unruly hormones...And the acne has started to scar
So, I start accutane the first week of july...
The ONLY area i get acne is my chin area.... which is supposed to indicate the acne is hormonal...

You could look into yasmin...It seems to have helped the severity of my acne..plus it has a water pill in it to prevent weight gain...(I've actually lost weight since i've been on it)

Hopefully we'll all get straightened out!!!!


#18 coconutz74

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 02:14 PM

QUOTE(skeptik @ Jun 11 2006, 07:46 PM) View Post

I just noticed that you are taking the Women's One a Day vitamin. I was taking it for about 6 months and had an extremely bad acne flare up. I came off of it 3 weeks ago and my acne has improved immensely. It could just be a coincident, but it is possible that something in that pill was aggravating my acne.

I would be really interested to see if you would have an improvement in your acne after discontinuing it for a couple of weeks.

I decided that I eat healthy enough to not require a multi vitamin anyways.


just like everyone else here, i can relate! i guess i'm a late bloomer eusa_think.gif

Women's One a Day also made me break out...I got a cyst on my cheek as well as a huge on on my chin. I noticed smaller pimples on my cheeks as well. I stopped using them pretty quickly, and my face quickly got much better. I had always thought that my acne was horomonal...but then again, Retin-A has proved really helpful for me. Accutane might prove to be a really good thing for you. I also noticed that my acne improved once I gave up drinking milk. I cut back on ice cream, yogurts, and even sweets in general. Along with the water, this has proved really effective.

#19 Cocopj

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 04:32 PM

Sorry for late post. Here are the answers to some questions posted:

- I didn't experience side effect while using eurocin gel to clear it up.
- Regarding primrose oil - after finishing one bottle, forgot about the total capsules.. i believe it helps regulate my hormonal balance. It takes a few months, but I feel less irritated, my period went back to normal cycle (lasting 4-5 days) comparing to over 7 days
- I usually take store brand multi vitamin or Centrum. Recently experimenting with Women-1-Day (bought it at discounted price from a friend). I've not experienced flare up though.

My occasional acne now is normally due to me eating potato chips or chocolate! smile.gif

#20 Manch

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 12:32 PM

My situation is simliar but the sudden acne was due to STOPPING birth control. I'm 25 now and was on Ortho Tri-Cyclen for 7 years. While on it my skin was decent but I had the usual side effects: weight gain, mood swings, decreased sex drive, depression, etc. Last year I decided to find out what I was actually like when not under the spell of the pill, and boom -- worst acne of my life.

In the first few months it was whiteheads and oily skin, and breakouts in weird places (my neck?!). I tried to wait it out, let my system balance. Almost a year after stopping, I have painful cystic acne spreading from my jaw to my temples and cheeks. Now that the pill isn't making me cry, my face is! cry.gif I want to be gentle, natural, and holistic as opposed to just killing the bacteria topically, especially since antibiotics are a short-term solution. Right now:

external:
gentle tea-tree oil cleanser
pure tea-tree oil for spots*
jojoba oil to moisturize

internal:
cutting out most sugars
cutting out most dairy (sad, I love cheese)
fish oil (omega 3-6-9) supplements
daily vitamin
evening primrose oil (supposedly helpful for hormone regulation)
trying to be more stress-free cool.gif

*I also use BP 5% and topical erythromycin to keep it under control until the supplements kick in. But when will that be? Before all of this I didn't spend two thoughts on my skin -- just wash twice a day. I don't want to need some suitcase full of creams and pills or restrict my diet, but how do you find what works? Also, all these supplements cost money and I don't know which, if any, make a difference. Some people say B-vitamins are the answer, or zinc, or magnesium, or chasteberry. These work for any of you hormonal gals?

I do highly recommend jojoba oil as a moisturizer. It's gentle, natural, softens skin, and cuts down oiliness by mimicking sebum. The BP and antibiotic dry my face out so much, and jojoba really helps without irritation.

Cocopj, you say it takes at least 6 months to regulate hormones with primrose/fish/flaxseed oils? What exactly is your regimen, and where do you buy your supplements? I want to make sure I'm taking enough of what I need to make a difference.

We all want the magic formula, and it's so frustrating to be caught up in acne issues as adults. Even if we don't find answers, it is comforting to have a place to share experiences. Good luck....

K.