Jump to content


Member Since 07 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Jun 26 2015 04:38 PM

#3484268 Why I Drain My Cysts And Nodules (And Would Encourage Others To Do The Same...

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 12 June 2015 - 12:35 PM

Well my father is a psychiatrist, so not exactly an expert in skin, but he does have a medical degree and did emergency medicine and surgery for a while earlier on in his career. He says the first thing you're ever taught in surgery is that where there's pus, drain it, never leave it sitting there if you can make a small incision to extract it. So he's always encouraged me to drain them, and although it took A LOT of persuading for me to try it, I do now fully agree with him!

In terms of technique, I use adapalene for a few days beforehand to get rid of some of the surface skin and persuade the cyst to come nearer to the surface. Then I take a hot shower, and when you get cysts hot like that more often than not you'll find a very teeny tiny head starts to appear. If you can't find it then you need to very gently exfoliate a little more off the top and it should come up without too much difficulty. Then it's a case of a sterilised pin and very gentle squeezing until it purges. Then most importantly always follow up with benzoyl peroxide while it's still open to prevent the cyst from reforming.

#3420413 Diary Of A Three-Pronged Attack: My Mission To Get Clear Skin And Avoid Roacc...

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 15 March 2014 - 05:39 AM

I definitely saw great improvements with the regimen! But I haven't been consistently clear with it unfortunately. I can't manage to use it in the mornings so it's just the full amount at night - and that really effects how well it works. So it's up and down with my skin - some really good days/weeks and others not so great where I do breakout a fair bit. Even when I am breaking out (like at the moment actually) it's way better than before so I'm happy to keep going with the regimen for a while longer.

I have looked into other treatments but I couldn't handle going through a withdrawal breakout from stopping BP or handle an initial breakout from starting something new right now. So I can understand what you mean with being worried about having meds changed. I think that's the only downside of having much better or clear skin for any amount of time after struggling to get there for so long, - you do become 'scared' in a way of your skin going backward. That's my experience / worry anyway...


Hopefully your skin stays under control now though!! smile.png


I'm glad you've been getting some improvements on the regimen. I can understand your worries about withdrawing from bp because when I did that after being on the regimen a couple of years my skin completely erupted! Just a thought but you could try something like Epiduo (I'm a bit biased here because it's by far the best topical I've ever used) that contains bp plus a topical retinoid as well. That way you'd be adding something more in but not withdrawing from the bp in the process. Adapalene is the mildest topical retinoid so if you're relatively clear already I wouldn't imagine you'd get much of an initial breakout. Just a thought. After my breakouts on Sertraline and Mirtazapine I'm definitely worried about the psych changing my meds around but I guess I'll just have to wait and see what they suggest. I don't mind them changing the doses of the ones I'm already on because I've already deemed them skin safe so I hope they just decide to do that rather than adding anything new. Anyway, good to hear from you and I'm glad your skin is at least better than it was before. :)

#3420349 Cystic Acne Treatments

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 14 March 2014 - 05:24 PM

Not true at all. All sorts of antibiotics can work. Also hormonal treatments like Dianette or Yasmin and of course the famous Accutane can all be used to treat cystic acne. I had terrible nodular-cystic acne over the summer but I'm now completely clear from using a combination of Lymecycline (another antibiotic), Dianette (a pill) and Epiduo (a topical treatment containing benzoyl peroxide and adapalene). My log's in my signature if you want to have a read. So do not despair! Just because this treatment hasn't worked doesn't mean another won't.

#3420022 Diary Of A Three-Pronged Attack: My Mission To Get Clear Skin And Avoid Roacc...

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 13 March 2014 - 03:05 AM

Wow, it's been a really long time since I updated this! I've been completely floored by my mental health problems recently so my skin has been put on the backburner a bit, hence why I haven't been around much. Anyway, quick update for you all.


Dianette: end of week 35

Lymecycline: end of week 34

Epiduo: mid-week 33


So, having got myself on an antidepressant that doesn't affect my skin like the Sertraline and Mirtazapine did I am now essentially clear! I still get the occasional spot, but never the deep cysts or nodules and my skin is generally flat and easily coverable with make-up. The hyperpigmentation has faded a lot but still needs a bit more time and the few indented scars that I have aren't anything like as noticeable as I feared they would be. My dermatologist is happy for me to stay on my current treatment for up to 4 years seeing as it's working so well and has very little risk associated with it. Overall I'm very happy with my skin and would recommend any or all of my treatments to anybody else on here struggling with moderate/severe acne. :)

#3419841 A Warning About Antidepressants

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 12 March 2014 - 06:07 AM

Hello everyone. :)


It's a long time since I posted on here because I've been struggling so much with my mental health recently and am only just regaining any short periods of clarity and stability. But I felt that I had to post about my experiences with my skin and antidepressants in case it stops any of you going through the same horrific experience I did.


Last Easter I finally admitted that I needed help with my depression and started taking antidepressants for the first time in order to make it through my dissertation and finals at uni. The antidepressant I tried first was Sertraline (Zoloft) and it worked quite well on my mood for a couple of months but this improvement was eventually negated by the fact that a month or so in I started to develop severe nodular-cystic acne. I've had acne of the mild/moderate variety since I was 13, but before taking Sertraline I had never experienced anything like this. We're talking so many deep cysts and nodules that my face looked visibly misshapen and the throbbing pain was so severe that it used to keep me awake at night. I didn't leave my house for three months solid because I looked and felt like such a monster.


Needless to say, this event caused my depression to take a turn for the worse again. My GP, not believing me when I said I thought the cystic breakout had been linked to the Sertraline, continued to increase my dose for the next few months. I was on antibiotics and seeing a dermatologist but they wouldn't allow me to take isotretinoin (Accutane) because of the depression and the fact some studies have indicated an increased risk of suicide whilst taking the drug. Personally I think the evidence for that is negligible but perhaps I'll save that for another post.


Anyway, my depression continued to get worse and worse, not helped by the fact that my skin was still breaking out in cysts and I was being denied what I thought was the only treatment that would prevent that from happening. I reached the point of being suicidal and stayed that way for months. I couldn't get any help for my mental health because of waiting lists and the dermatologist wouldn't prescribe isotretinoin unless I was under the care of a mental health professional. I was stuck, and increasingly feeling like there was no way out of my situation other than completing suicide.


Eventually, my GP admitted that the Sertraline wasn't going to work for me. I was becoming increasingly suicidal with every dose increase (and my skin was getting worse) so she switched me to Venlafaxine (Effexor) over the Christmas holidays.


Now, the change wasn't instant, but I could see my skin gradually improving. After a few weeks I got to the point where I no longer broke out in cysts anywhere on my face or body. Sure, I'd get the occasional spot, but never the deep painful stuff and my skin became flat and easy to cover with make-up. I told my GP about the improvements in my skin since changing antidepressant and she looked mildly interested but was clearly still not convinced that my cystic acne had been caused by the Sertraline.


Anyway, my mental health continued to deteriorate for the next two months. Several suicide attempts, being kept in a police cell overnight because in the UK the mental health services are so understaffed that they think it's fine to keep people with severe mental health problems locked up like petty criminals to prevent them killing themselves. We kept increasing the dose of Venlafaxine and added in Quetiapine which helped a bit. Neither of these showed any effect on my skin but as my mood was still not adequately improving my GP decided to add Mirtazapine on top.


BIG MISTAKE. Suddenly my skin that had been almost clear and completely cyst free for the past two months started breaking out in cysts again! Needless to say I took myself off it pronto and went back to my GP. Finally she believed me that certain antidepressants were clearly having an effect on my skin. I've been off the Mirtazapine a week now and my skin has completely calmed down again. I have nothing active, just the usual hyperpigmentation that is slowly fading over time and I can't feel anything else coming up under the surface like I could when I was on the Mirtazapine. I still have a massive way to go on the mental health front, but on the skin front things are really looking up and I would essentially say I've got clear. Odd spot here and there, but nothing I can't deal with and can't be covered with a bit of make-up.


So basically I wanted to write this really long post to warn others about the potential for certain antidepressants to have the side effect of very severe nodular-cystic acne. This was not listed as a side-effect in any of the leaflets, but as it happened to me with two different antidepressants both my GP and my dermatologist now agree that it can't possibly be a coincidence and that it must have been caused by the drugs. I just wanted to make people aware of my experiences so that if you do find your acne being made considerably worse after starting a new antidepressant you don't allow your doctor to just brush your concerns aside and say that because they haven't heard of it before it can't be the drug causing it. It can, and for me it was, and now that I'm back on just the Venlafaxine and the Quetiapine my skin is back to being completely clear again. So please, don't suffer like I did, speak out and make yourself heard if you suspect your antidepressants are worsening your acne. It could save you an enormous amount of trauma in terms of both your skin and your mental health and that's really not worth it when the problem can so easily be solved by switching to another drug.

#3412744 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 07 February 2014 - 03:45 AM

Well currently *touch wood* I am still clear of active acne and just waiting for hyperpigmentation to fade. In fact, I don't think I've had any new active acne develop since switching my antidepressant from Sertraline (Zoloft/Lustral) to Venlafaxine (Effexor) so if this trend continues for the next two weeks (and please, please, may it do just that!) then I will be officially blaming my horrific nodular-cystic acne breakout this summer on the Sertraline I started taking about a month before. I was also getting all sorts of horrible side effects on Sertraline whilst so far having none whatsoever on Venlafaxine, despite being on a higher dose, so it would appear that my body just really did not agree with that particular drug. If this turns out to be the case I think I will be a mixture of annoyed and happy: annoyed because if I'd never taken Sertraline I could have saved myself 9 months of terrible acne grief, not to mention the permanent psychological scars that one horrific breakout left behind, but happy because if I continue on this trend then it might be that my acne is finally under control for the moment. Don't want to speak too soon though, so lots more touching wood and crossing fingers!! :)

#3411475 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 31 January 2014 - 03:55 AM

Mental health side of things is still absolutely abysmal and I've taken to barricading myself in my room and curling up in bed for hours on end whenever I feel that suicidal state come on because what with how useless my crisis team is and the fact that I can't phone anyone it's literally the only thing I can do to keep myself safe at the moment.


However on the skin front *touch wood* I seem to be doing quite well. In fact my skin seems to have been remarkably better since I changed antidepressants from Sertraline (Zoloft) to Venlafaxine (Effexor). I always suspected that the Sertraline might have played a role in the horrific outbreak of nodular-cystic acne I had at the beginning of this summer (about a month after I started taking it). But if my skin continues to do this well on the Venlafaxine then I think that might end up confirming those suspicions that both my GP and dermatologist shrugged off as something they'd never heard of and didn't think was possible. Early days still as I've only been on the Venlafaxine for 5 weeks so far, but it will be interesting to see if the pattern continues. Definitely hoping that it does, but it would be really nice if the actual antidepressant effect would start kicking in at some point as well!

#3411118 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 29 January 2014 - 04:30 PM

I`m fortunate that I have seen a CPN twice and been "assessed". However, I`ve not been referred for anything as of yet and I have to see the CPN again on 11/2/2014 when they will hopefully decide for definite. I`ll still probably have to wait months and months for anything to come about though and as you say, the whole system is ridiculous and doesn`t seem to cater for anyone who is seriously ill. I`ve read a couple of your posts recently Moonlit and I`m so sorry that you are struggling so much these days. I do have a suggestion for you but I`m not sure that you would want to hear it and in any case, not sure if it`s my place to give you that sort of advice nowadays anyway. If you do want to hear it, you`re more than welcome to PM me but I`ll leave that up to you. Whatever you decide, look after yourself and stay safe.


Not that I'm downplaying what you've written in any way, but by far the most exciting thing about seeing this post was your change of profile picture! I hope the two little fellas are getting on alright still. :)


It will be 3 weeks tomorrow since I was referred to Recovery and Independent Living and I'm still just on their pending list. Can't get referrals for anything until I get a CPN, and I can't get a CPN until they decide I'm worth offering an assessment appointment to. Anybody's guess when that will be and seeing as I've been deemed to ill to even do CBT now I am basically screwed and have no treatment options at all. The crisis team have even said to me that the only thing that's going to help me now is seeing a psychologist for some kind of psychotherapy and that even if I were well enough to do CBT they didn't think it would do much good anyway. Yet the wait has still been estimated to be anything between 4 and 18 months. I plan to haunt whoever's in charge of the NHS mental health system from the grave when I have to finally admit defeat and leave this world haha. Would be interested to hear your suggestion, but from the sounds of it I won't like it too much. Hope you keep safe too. At least you're in the system now and somebody has noticed and cared about your struggles, that's a start.

#3410829 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 28 January 2014 - 04:36 AM

That's good to hear your skin is doing better! But I'm sorry things are still so rough regarding the mental health side of things. 


I wish there was something I could do.. I think it's ridiculous there's such a long waiting period for you there!

Hang in there! comfort.gif Sending virtual hugs your way


Thank you for the support Lilly, much appreciated! Xxx

#3409646 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 22 January 2014 - 07:44 AM

I can well believe that I`m not alone. Sorry that you`ve had your own negative experiences with your own crisis team. The word "crisis" seems a bit ludicrous seeing as they take so long to see people. I`m really sorry you ended up in A&E and as for them telling you off - what else did they expect you to do. Everyone I speak to says to go to A&E if things are desperate.


As it happens, I have now been contacted. They aren`t coming to see me though, I`ve got to go and see someone to be "assessed" at the hospital near to where I live tomorrow at 1pm. They are apparently aware that I need to be seen before the weekend. Hope they have something positive to offer me because I`m really struggling today.


Yeh, they don't even bother seeing me anymore even though I'm still suicidal on a daily basis and tomorrow is my new date. I said this to the one who called me last night (the same one who told me off for going to A&E) and he just said they'd phone back on Thursday evening and that they "hoped I'd still be around to talk to". I was clearly wrong when I imagined it was their job to make sure I stay alive. The reality of the matter is that they don't care.


My experience of their "assessment" was having large amounts of diazepam thrown at me and the promise of referrals that will take 3-4 months to come through. Sorry to be negative but that was just my experience. On the plus side diazepam is brilliant at dampening down the physical pain you get from those emotions so it is helpful but you can only take it for a couple of weeks. Hope it goes well for you tomorrow.

#3409305 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 20 January 2014 - 05:30 PM

There are so many different NHS mental health organisations/bodies such as Wellbeing Services, Crisis Resolution Teams, Community Mental Health Teams, Rapid Response Teams etc,etc and from my experience, they all fail to communicate with each other. There is a serious lack of joined up thinking. To actually get any of these people to acknowledge that you have a problem and need help is virtually impossible unless you actually attempt the "S" word. Although I`m depressed and very low, I`m fortunate enough to be in a rational and coherent enough state to be able to use the phone and fight my corner. However, I`m sure that there are other people out there that badly need help but are continually being fobbed off who are so ill or have such severe anxiety that they cannot use the phone or fight their corner in order to get the help that they need. It`s horrible to think that way but it does make you wonder how many people fall by the wayside just because they are unable to prove to or convince the NHS mental health people that they are ill and need help. The NHS mental health services really need a severe overhaul (and with that I`ll get off my soap box).


All of this is so true, except for the fact that I now know that even if you attempt the "s" word you still don't get help any quicker. They still send you back out into the world and back onto your 3-4 month waiting list. And the real hilarity of the situation is that that is known as being "fast-tracked".

#3403004 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 23 December 2013 - 09:28 AM

Complete despair. There doesn't seem any point in me even posting on acne.org anymore. I am never going to be able to treat my acne. I am never going to be able to get clear skin. And the worst part is that it's not even my own fault. Why does the world have to be so cruel?!

#3398781 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 04 December 2013 - 03:44 PM

Hooray! I'm so happy for you biggrin.png

Aw thank you! I won't believe it till it happens, but at least now I have something to hope for in my life. :)

#3398729 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 04 December 2013 - 09:07 AM

There is hope! I should finally get to try a low dose of isotretinoin in January if everything goes to plan!!! :D *fingers crossed*

#3397710 How ya feelin' about your acne today?

Posted by MoonlitRiver on 29 November 2013 - 07:46 AM

Well I'm breaking out as per usual and I genuinely want to die right now. Why won't my dermatologist just give me Accutane like he would to anyone else?!


His theory: "Oh you have depression? Well then I'll just continue to withhold the only drug that's ever going to give you any hope of clear skin from you for over five months because that's obviously going to make you feel better and more like your life's actually worth living." Freaking genius. Gah!