Hey y'all - This is a long one. Here's goes nothing!
Im an *almost* 28 year old gal with oily, sensitve skin. I've been struggling with acne and pretty severe picking since high school. I was on birth control for ten years (16 - 26 yrs old) and had relatively clear skin that was treated well with several methods: Proactiv, Jason Naturals, Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, Clean n' Clear scrub and SA treatment, Cetaphil, & Avalon Organics - both Vitamin C and Lavender lines. Any major flare ups during this time can easily be attributed to stress and picking - (which is deserving of a *whole* other blog post, surely to come soon.)
Went off birth control two years ago and now have consistent flare-ups of zits *and* cysts. This is a first time for the cysts. My hormonal fluctuations have become more consistent in the past year (the first year was a NIGHTMARE.) and my breakouts are pretty much synchronized with my TOTM (time of the month). Unfortunately, those gnarly cysts stick around for 4-6 weeks so my face is never clear but I notice that the new ones crop up about a week before my period.
Previous treatment methods:
My dermatologist put me on Benzaclyn and RetinA. I was faithful to this regimen for over six months. My face was always red, sore, and would produce thick surface oil as a reaction. I can't say my skin cleared - I might have been too distracted by the redness and pain. My skin also had a thick texture which was the opposite of what I expected with RetinA. I believe this was a reaction to the harsh Benzaclyn. Needless to say, I quit that mess.
Next I went on Proactiv and started visitng Acne.org for help and resources. Proactiv wasn't working well but I started amping up my use of the system's BP to simulate the DKR. At this point I also swapped out the Proactiv scrub for the OCM so that I wasn't scrubbing or soaping my skin, as suggested in the DKR. I experimented with this for a while and bought the full DKR + AHA when I ran out of Proactiv.
Currently, I have been on the DKR for about 3 months. My zits appear with less frequency but my cysts are as active as ever. They used to get lost in the redness but now they are like giant red flags on my face. Major boo. My skin is still really sensitve, often flakes even though it should have "adjusted" to the DKR by now, and I don't know what to do. I have been spot treating the cysts with OTCr cortisone cream. It is effective about 50% of the time.
I know there is no magic cure, I just feel like DKR/BP might not be the best method for me. I notice the BP aging my skin faster than I'd like as it's constantly drying out, flaking off, and then over compensating with oil production.
I am considering going back to the all-natural route. I LOVED using Jason Naturals & Avalon Organics + tea tree oil but I suppose I am just lusting for the glory of my pre-cyst days. I'm also learning more about using egg whites, honey & cider vinegar remedies.
All advice, input, feedback is welcome!