I really need some advice regarding my acne problems - if anyone can offer me some tips or help it would be super appreciated!
Im at the end of my tether with my acne and I'm not sure what to do now - Im 25, female, I have very oily skin - I'd say my acne is moderate to severe with the bulk of my acne being present on my cheeks, chin and jawline - my spots are always huge and I sometimes get really bad cystic acne - I currently have two the size of africa on my jawline and chin which I attempting to ice as i write this.
My acne always takes a very very long time to go away and sometimes once they do go away new ones appear almost immediately in their place. After that there is always red marks (whether i pick or not this always happens).
Up until yesterday I was using the organic moreish cream cleanser, TN Dickinson witch hazel as a toner, tea tree oil applied to any spots and the moreish empathy moisturiser.
I have found the tea tree oil to be way too drying and has created scab like crap on my spots and really bad itching so I have stopped using this, because my skin is now super dry where the tea tree oil has been applied I've started using just the moreish cleanser followed by hydrolyron moisure jelly as i don't want to irritate my skin any further.
My skin is still producing acne -every day i wake up with new spots and my old spots are still there, just chillin away on my face, it seems like every single thing i try doesn't do jack shit.
Here is my acne story:
Started developing acne about 14 - would have a few spots here and there and the red marks would take AGES to go away.
When i was about 16 my acne got quite bad and my doctor gave me some topicals and then put me on some antibiotics
Didn't help - went on another stronger dose of antibiotics
Still didn't work - referred to dermatologist who prescribed me roaccutane - I was on this for 6 months and started with one 10mg pill, then after a few months doubled and then tripled the dose. I have never been so bloody dry, I remember my lips literally peeling and i was picking them and bleeding all over the place (gross i know) everything was SO DRY I hated it. But it was worth it because RESULT - no more acne. I was over the moon.
Had no issues until I was about 20 - I started getting acne again and it was getting worse - I thought f**k not this again - went and got on to the clinique 3 step acne system and this worked SO WELL. I was totally clear for about a year and repurchased this a few times..
Then for whatever reason it stopped working... so over the course of the next few years I tried-
Proactiv, did nothing, except for staining my towels.
Clean and clear products and spot treatment from the chemist - did nothing.
Went to the doctor - got some topical cream and he suggested using cetaphil products. Did nothing aaaand did nothing.
Back to the doctor - got prescribed epi duo * this didn't work for me but I know many people this has worked wonders for.
Back to the doctor - got prescribed antibiotics (by now i knew where this was leading)
Back to the doctor - yep, another antibiotic. didn't work.
Back to the doctor - referral to the dermatologist.
Because it took me so long to get seen by the dermatologist (1 month) I tried out the dermalogica clear skin kit. did nothing.
In this period my acne had never ever been so bad, I was crying my eyes out so upset every time i looked in the mirror. I was so embarrassed to be seen by my housemates at home without makeup id pretty much come home from wherever I've been, shower and hide in my room. My self esteem was rock bottom, even with makeup it was bad the lumps were massive and I felt terrible about myself. I will never forget the feeling of waking up in the morning with hope that my skin had miraculously decided to chill out and then seeing all the new spots that appeared over night, cystic acne was terrible at this stage and was causing me a lot of pain - acne is so damaging physically and emotionally and this was my biggest low point.
Finally got to see the dermatologist who put me on an antibiotic and roaccutane. I was advised to be on a 10mg dose for one year with a 4 week break over the summer.
I knew about the side effects but wow this time round was terrible - my muscles were giving me so much pain, i felt stiff and sick a lot, i had to see a physio because of my back pain, it was not a nice time.
Eventually though I finished my course and didn't have any acne issues - I was using Origins products which i loved - it was so nice not having to use the "acne" option in skincare and could focus on getting my pigmentation sorted and my skin in a nice condition.. I was happy as larry.
For about 6 months.
This time round, it wasn't too bad- mostly my chin copped it and it would get pretty bad around my time of the month but in comparison to the last time it was OK.
Then it started to get worse.. so I started trying-
I tried the Laroche Posay acne skincare with the highly popular Efflecar Duo (both versions did sweet F.A)
I tried Nivea skincare as I used some of my housemates in the shower and seemed to work ok for a few months.
Then nup. stopped working
Tried MILK skincare - didn't work. Smells nice though.
Glam glow mud mask got a go - didn't do much.
Lush cosmetics skincare - didn't work
Bioderma - didn't work.
Avene - didnt work
Aesop - i spent a good $400 here, and my skin HATED this - I have never seen my skin react so badly to a product - I had the amazing face cleanser, B&T Toner, Spot treatment and serum - i was so sad because i love Aesop hand cream and lip balm and their whole line smells incredible and so many people rave about them but my lord my skin was horrendous. I had tiny rash like pimples all over my face. My forehead (which never gets pimples) was just this cluster fuck of zits.
I then did a bit of research and checked ingredients that could potentially cause a reaction and Aesop products were filled with perfumes and lanalool and whatnot which is known to be a massive irritant - so then i thought hmm lets try the organic route...
So then I got on board the Moreish skincare and whatnot (as above) which at first did an amazing job and soothing my skin and the little bumps and whatnot slowly went away and my skin was OK.
And now its back. and its bad. and i want to cry. I really don't want to go on roaccutane again. But i feel like that may be my only option. I just don't know if my body can take another course, the pain was just terrible and I cannot afford to see a physio all the time.
I would be SO grateful for any help and advice here. Im at breaking point. I feel so helpless and as stupid as it sounds my skin is controlling my life, i feel very self conscious and avoid doing things if my acne is bad as i am embarrassed. I am usually a very bubbly happy person and my quality of life is turning to shit.
Thanks in advance and sorry for the novel / word vomit.
I am so sorry that you're going through this. I've been struggling since I was 15 and here at 31, still struggling.
Have you tried hormonal means? I'm not just talking about birth control but also spiro, supplements such as EPO, borage oil, vitex or anything that helps a woman's hormonal system.
What about diet changes? I have not seen a huge link for me in regards to diet and foods I eat but for many, there are triggers (dairy, gluten, etc)
Topicals never worked for me but i'm hoping that the combo of differin and aczone as well as hormonal supplements prescribed by my naturopath will at least make a dent.