So now that you know me a little better, I think it's appropriate to delve into the different things I have tried (from prescription to homeopathic to borderline moronic) in order to control my acne. I realize it's long, but now you can believe me what I say "I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING!!". Have you all tried any of these or other crazy "remedies"? What kind of results did you get?
1. Antibiotics (prescription). I've done several cycles on different kinds, notably doxycycline, clindomycin, and bactrim. Part of the reason for multiple cycles is that no one (not my doctor, not my pharmacist, not my mom) told me antibiotics DO NOT WORK if you drink alcohol. Now, I am not by any means an extreme party girl. But, come on, I was in college! Don't you think SOMEONE would have said something about this to me? Nope. At any rate, I used antibiotics before I went to college and since I found out that drinking canceled out my super pricey prescription and they really had no effect. I finally drew the line. I know chances of becoming resistant are slim, but it still made me uncomfortable to always be taking these pills that didn't have any results.
2. Benzaclin (presription). Same idea behind The Regimen. This prescription combines a powerful benzoyl peroxide with Clindmycin in a topical cream. I will admit I did see decent results from this cream. However, my skin became outrageously dry and flaky no matter what moisturizer I used and incredibly sensitive to the sun. It also bleached my sheets and clothing. The area where I live gets VERY humid in the summer (which lasts from May to the end of September) and when I would sweat my face would itch uncontrollably. Although I got some results it wasn't enough to deal with the consequences.
3. Clindomycin cream (prescription). I was put on this in January. It did nothing but cover my skin and clog my pores even more. To be perfectly honest I feel like this product took my acne from mild/moderate to moderate/severe. I ended up going off it in February after I called my derm office in tears and met with a PA. I'm sure that for some people this could be very effective but for me it was a terrible decision.
4. Differin (prescription). I have tried a couple different kinds of Differin, both 0.1% cream and 0.1% and 0.3% gel. In February I was prescribed Differin 0.3% to hopefully help clear up some of the mess the Clindomycin cream created. I guess I've seen minor improvements, but I still have acne. In the past I've responded better to the gel than the cream, the 0.3% than the 0.1%.
5. OTC Benzoyl Peroxide. Clean and Clear and Neutrogena both make OTC benzoyl products that I have used with some success, but what I would consider marginal. I didn't have the same sensitivity to it that I did with Benzaclin, but the results were also lesser. When I have previously been on Differin or antibiotics I would use these products in the morning as spot treatments.
6. Anti-inflammatory (prescription and OTC). In February when I saw the PA I was prescribed Nicotinamide to help with damage control. I've taken other OTC anti-inflammatory in the past. The most recent time, with nicotinamide, I saw some results, but I don't know if I can contribute that to the Differin or oral ant-inflammatory. Again, it didn't make enough of a difference for me to be like "whew, finally under control!" I still got breakouts and cystic blemishes so my verdict (and the dermatologist's) was that it wasn't working how she hoped it might.
7. Pro-Active. I know it works for some people, and I'm happy for those people, but I'm not one of them. It irritated my skin and caused a pretty substantial initial breakout. It also bleached my washcloths and towels. I even invested in the body wash which was little to no help. *NOTE ON PRO-ACTIVE: I used this several years ago, starting probably toward the end of 2005. Supposedly they have a "new formula" which I have been unwilling to try, so I can't say whether it would work better or not.
8. Murad Acne system. This stuff burned and made my face itch like crazy. Honestly I suffered through only a month of the "60 day kit" (my parents had bought it for me and I wanted to make sure I gave it an honest shot before wasting all their cash). Finally I realized that having to do yoga breathing and muttering "beauty is pain" while sitting on my hand to keep from itching my burning face probably meant that it was too harsh for me. I actually dreaded washing my face. I finally gave up on it. I suppose my skin was marginally clearer, but it didn't help/prevent my cystic breakouts. Also it smelled like rotten eggs.
9. AcneFree Severe to Clear System. Again, tried it, didn't see any real results. The face wash was kind of grainy. I'm sure the idea was exfoliation, but after a few days it just felt like sandpaper. I finished up the whole kit but didn't invest in a new one.
10. Neutrogena Skin ID. Of all the "systems" I've tried I like this one the best and got the best results. My skin didn't clear up completely, but it looked the best it has since freshman year of undergrad. FYI: on the website you fill out a questionnaire about your skin, acne, skincare routine, and lifestyle. When I noted that I had cystic nodules the website said that only a dermatologist could help with that type of acne, so it never promised to clear those up in the first place. But it did help! I don't remember my Skin ID "numbers", but I know I had a cream cleanser, a benzoyl cream, and a moisturizer with salicylic acid.
11. Peter Thomas Roth Sulfur Cooling masque. I love this. I'd be lying if I said it healed and prevents breakouts but it has helped tone down the redness and get rid of less significant blemishes. Also it makes my skin incredibly soft. I use it about twice a week. It is pretty expensive, but the jar has a lot of product in it and it seems to last a long time.
12. Biore Pore Strips. I feel these are helpful for removing blackheads on my nose. I know it sounds gross, but it's a little satisfying to see the gunk stuck too them when you pull them off. Ew. Any way...I don't use these very often since my nose isn't incredibly prone to breakouts, but if I notice an increase in blackheads I'll throw one on.
13. Obagi Clenziderm system. I've recently (within a month) been using this. I work with aestheticians and they all highly recommended this. Even though I have oily skin I use the normal to dry products because I also use Differin. Honestly I don't notice a huge improvement, but it's fully possible that it's because I should be using the normal to oily products. What I have right now includes a cream cleanser, a benzoyl gel, and a light moisturizer. I have no real complaints but I'm not exactly blown out of the water.
14. Toothpaste. A roommate at dance camp swore that by dabbing toothpaste (NOT the gel kind) on a pimple it would dry it up. I think it does actually help for non-cystic acne like normal whiteheads, but it doesn't really do the trick anymore haha. Major plus? Your skin is left minty fresh!
15. Tea Tree Oil. I don't remember the exact claim, but it was to the point of "clears up acne!" Yeah, not so much. Again, I wonder if it's just the particular "brand",if you will, of blemishes I get. I have a friend who swears by tea tree oil and she has beautiful skin (lucky girl!).
16. Lemon Sugar Scrub (homemade). I don't know why I thought this was a good idea. I think I saw it on a beauty vlog on youtube. Basically it's exactly what it sounds like. The girl who does the vlog has a lot of good tips so I of course trusted it. Supposedly a great exfoliate to clear up skin. Yeah, it was mostly just sticky.
17. At home masques. Man, if I found an article about a masque that would help clear up skin, I tried it. I've used honey, oatmeal, tomatoes, whole milk, cucumber...pretty much anything you could find in a produce aisle.
Right now that's all I can remember. There may be more. How sad is that? So what about you, tried an of these? What wacky ways have you tried to clear up acne?