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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.)

Current issues:

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! rolleyes.gif



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Have you tried taking Evening Prrimrose Oil (EPO)? I started taking it to regulate my periods which can be all over the place because it is meant to balance your hormones. I also get cysts (oh the pain!), but I've found that when I'm taking Evening Primrose Oil they are greatly reduced. I read up on it and apparently the EPO is really good for your skin.

I stopped taking it awhile ago and my hormones went crazy again. I skipped a period and my face looked like it had exploded. I started taking it again about a month ago and just started Retin-A a week ago. I'm just starting to notice that I'm not getting as many cysts. I think it must be the EPO because it's too early for the Retin-A to really start working. I used to get at least one little painful cyst daily around my chin and big ones about once a week, but now I'm back to a little one maybe only once a week.

I read that it takes a month or 2 for you to really see skin results with the EPO, but I'd say it's worth a try. It's a natural oil and good for you on a lot of different levels. It also helps with PMS and cramping which is a bonus!

I'm like you and would much rather do the natural root when it comes to health... it can be discouraging though when you're skin is breaking out!

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Hey there RP! i'm sorry i missed your post - i kinda forgot about this blog because i've spent so much time on my "picking" thread! :)

This is a great suggestion - i've heard EPO mentioned in several hormonal acne forums but i haven't tried it yet. i was taking saw palmetto for most of january and it was inconclusive whether it was helping. my skin started to improve but i think it was several things interacting: less picking, The Regimen hitting it's stride, drinking a lot of water and keeping up with other daily vitamins: prenatal, zinc, D, B complex and fish oil. i haven't taken it since the beginning of february and things have been going fine but the real test will be when i start PMS'ing next week. (kinda scary!)

if i encounter more cysts i will definitely give evening primrose a try. thanks so much for the recommendation! :)

I will say that at the time of my blog post i was feeling really discouraged about The Regimen... but now that i am well into my 4th month i think i might be a convert. other than my picking problem, things are going really well! the true test is always my period so we'll see how things go at the end of the month!

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