This is my story...
I'm 27 and I have been battling acne since about age 20 (came out of nowhere although I suspect stress or genes or stopping birth control).
I would get spots every now and again (very mild, like any other person) but also very big, red, painful cysts and those were the problem.
They didn't cover my face, I'd get about one a month or so but they were so unsightly, PAINFUL, impossible to cover up and I'd always pick at them until I'd get a huge scab!
Anyway they'd come monthly or so, so I could live with that, even if very frustrating/depressing.
However last year I had anorexia for a few months after a very stressful time and lost loads of weight, I also started exercising excessively. My period stopped.
Then came the proper acne, I was covered, it was awful, I'd breakout daily without fail and my confidence was at an all time low, so bad that I wouldn't socialise anymore and started self harming.
Fast forward a year and I'm completely clear and happy again!
This is what happened:
At first I tried topicals (prescription and over the counter), antibiotics, changes in diet, putting on weight, stopping exercising, relaxation, you name it. Nothing worked, I started considering accutane although I was reluctant and would only take it as a last resort.
Dianette (which is a birth control pill) saved my life. I honestly had no hope and was so completely depressed, even suicidal, started taking it in mid-September 2013 and now a year on I'm completely clear. I didn't start seeing real results until around January, so about 4-5 months into treatment.
I also have a easy but strict skin care routine which has worked for me.
I don't wash my skin (too harsh), I use a salicylic acid based toner upon waking up (applied with cotton wool), then apply LaRoche Posay's Effaclar Duo on my problem areas (honestly best product out there in my opinion and many agree), I do not use any kind of makeup on my problem areas (for me that is my chin, upper lip and around my mouth), and when u want to cover any redness or a small blemish I use Witch's liquid concealer which treats the skin as it covers the imperfection. It is oil free and very gentle - truly amazing.
I never touch my skin during the day.
At night I remove makeup with Simple's cleansing lotion, then apply the salicylic acid based toner again and put a dab of Effaclar duo on my problem areas again. And voila!
I haven't had a single spot in months.
Here are things I've learned whilst dealing with hormonal acne (NB: worked for me, might work for you, might not):
FOOD HAS ZERO IMPACT ON HORMONAL ACNE! Most dermatologists will tell you this too. Ok sure eating a good, balanced diet rich in vegetables will give you a nice glow and will help heal lesions faster but it will not help acne in any way.
DO NOT USE HARSH TOPICALS ON YOUR SKIN! Benzoyl Peroxide, Differin, Epiduo, that stuff won't work if your acne is hormonal, mine was made so much worse, irritated my skin too.
YOUR ACNE MIGHT STILL BE HORMONAL EVEN IF YOUR HORMONE LEVELS ARE NORMAL IN A BLOOD TEST! My acne clearly is hormonal as only a hormonal treatment (birth control) worked. However several blood tests showed all my hormone levels to be normal.
NO ONE NOTICES OR CARES ABOUT YOUR ACNE HALF AS MUCH AS YOU DO! Ok this is no real comfort when you have acne but trust me on this. Also you can find love and be fancied with acne. I got with my ex when my acne was at it's worst and that's when he fell in love with me, he couldn't have cared less about my acne. We have split up since after 1 year together but I ended the relationship.
DONT PICK YOUR SKIN! Easier said than done but it's honestly the worst thing you can do, nothing good comes out if this, ever.
DONT MIRROR-CHECK! It's very time consuming and reminding yourself you have acne every half an hour will not make you feel better, will it? It will make you worse.
PEOPLE WHO SAY MEAN OR INSENSITIVE THINGS ARE ASSHOLES! Period.
YOURE NOT ALONE! This website was a tremendous help when my acne was at it's worst and I made some great friends too!!!
IT WONT LAST FOREVER! I honestly thought it'd never go away, I was at my wit's end, but then something works. It does happen and will happen to you! In the meantime, read, watch movies, enjoy spending time in nature or with animals. Most humans are so disappointing, you're not missing much and anyway once you feel at ease socially, you'll make up for lost time (although to me, spending time alone reflecting and learning is never "lost time").
STAY POSITIVE! Smile, even when you're dying inside, do things you enjoy even if you don't feel like it, see friends who you know love you and confide in them, never lose hope. I know how challenging and awful acne is but it won't last forever.
GO ON BIRTH CONTROL AND STICK WITH IT FOR AT LEAST A YEAR!!! If you have hormonal acne, try birth control, after all it has helped millions of women! But don't expect it to work overnight, again it took nearly six months to work for me and it did get worse before it got better!
I hope all this was useful to you!
Good luck and take care of yourselves.