Hello everyone! I first registered here back in 2008 -- this is a new username, I forgot my old one and I'd only posted with it a few times. I lurk here several times a year to see if anyone has found a cure for their oily skin issues.
My moderate-to-severe acne, severe oily skin, and excessive facial sweating issues started at the age of 17 and a half. Before then my skin was perfect in every way, so because my only sibling had been experiencing acne since the age of 15 I was convinced I had dodged the bullet. You could imagine how this combination of appearance-related issues that emerged so suddenly impacted me emotionally, as I'm sure acne and oily skin issues have impacted all of you here.
I didn't have real issues with oily skin until I started taking Tazorac for my acne in Spring 2007, turning my face into an embarrassing oil slick. I don't think I was using the medication properly back then and I was still popping my pimples and a few cysts, leading to some scarring. With the help of the Aveeno Clear Complexion cleanser, Duac gel, and Differin 0.1% gel regimen I started in July 2007, my face thankfully cleared up completely by late December. My oily skin issues, however, persisted and worsened until my oil production plateaud that summer. I stopped using moisturizer but kept using Neutrogena Dry Touch sunscreen. I've been using this regimen, with some variation (my derm substituted Duac for Acanya gel and Differin for generic Adapalene last summer), over the past six years. My acne scars have faded and I rarely get pimples, but even at the age of 23 (almost 24 now) my overly oily skin remains a problem. My skin responds very poorly to hot, humid weather -- during the summer the oil on my face becomes noticeable an hour after washing. Although it would help matters, moving to a dry, cool climate is not a feasible option for me at the moment.
Here's a list of things I've tried before aside from Duac, Differin, Tazorac, and Acanya:
Clinac BPO/Clinac OC: reduced oil production considerably and kept my skin looking relatively shine free for longer. Too bad this product was discontinued.
OC 8: Considering how well my skin responded to Clinac OC (made by the same company, apparently) I had my hopes up for this product. Unfortunately it didn't do anything to curb my greasiness.
Vitamin A Overdose: Oh, the things we'll try when we're desperate and doctors don't seem to care about our condition. In retrospect, this was probably a very bad idea. I tried taking 100,000 IU every day along with some Vitamin D3 which I was told on this forum would offset the potential side effects. I suspect it may have jumpstarted my male pattern baldness (which I've stabilized since starting Finasteride and Minoxidil) as Accutane has for other men. While on Vitamin A from late 2008 to late 2009 my oil production decreased slightly until it was tolerable during the summer. I would still get oily, though.
Jojoba Oil: Broke me out terribly and I should have trusted Bryan's opinion on this one. I'm happy for the people who find success using it, but can't understand how applying a greasy substance to your face will somehow "trick" the skin into producing less oil.
Retin A Micro 0.04%: I recently tried this for a few weeks in lieu of the Differin and found that it made my skin significantly oilier, despite scientific evidence indicating that it should control facial shine. I'm usually in favor of what clinical trials tell us about medication and don't believe the plural of anecdote is evidence, but different people react to medication differently. I stopped using this last week.
Benzoyl Peroxide/Salicylic Acid Cleansing Pads: I forgot the name of this medication but took it briefly in 2008. It didn't help the root cause of my oily skin and seriously irritated my face.
While I'm happy to have been acne-free for five years, I've become fed up with the persistent oily skin and sweating. At times these issues make it difficult for me to look attractive and feel comfortable with myself (I know, I'm vain lol ). So just yesterday I found on this forum and confirmed on other forums that Azelaic Acid may help with oily skin by suppressing 5 alpha reductase -- which also is one of the causes of hairloss if you have the gene for it; this enzyme is the bane of my existence lol . Finasteride only impacts Type 2, whereas Type 1 5-alpha reductase apparently causes oily skin (once again, only for those who have the genes for it). Dutasteride reduces both types of this particular enzyme so in addition to helping those with MPB it may help oily skinned people as well. My roommate happens to have rosacea and used Finacea (15% Azelaic Acid) for his condition. He let me try the gel because he stopped using it a few months ago after having a bad reaction.
I applied the gel after the Acanya and it left my skin with a matte look. My skin is very oily and tough so the additional medication didn't irritate it at all. This stuff kept the oil at bay for a bit longer than usual. Mind you, I still had to blot my face, but the oiliness seemed to have been reduced already. I applied it again at night along with the Differin (I know, this might be too much for a normal person to take), and my skin tingled a little bit after applying, but for the first time in as long as I can remember I woke up on a summer day without greasy skin. I'm feeling cautiously optimistic -- there's still a ways to go but I feel a little more comfortable about my skin and will continue to take this. Should things improve I will be sure to write about it here.
TLDR; I started having acne and oily skin issues six years ago. I cleared up my acne but my skin remains excessively oily. Yesterday I started Finacea gel and found that it may be reducing my oil production. I'll update this thread as I continue to take Finacea.