So I've decided to create this blog to keep track of my own progress for myself and to hopefully, maybe, help some of yous in the future.
I guess I'll start at the beginning. I'm currently 27 and I've had glorious skin my entire life without having to do much to care for it, and never wore an ounce of makeup (no concelear, no foundation, powder, anything).... see, the "before" picture when I was 20 can attest to how good my skin was without makeup (picture top left)
Well then I turned 23 and my skin started changing out of seemingly nowhere. I started breaking out a lot around my chin, just a couple of small inflamed blemishes that I couldn't pop and didn't ever really come to a head. When those went away without treating them new ones would show up. I would start getting clusters of them just under the corners of my mouth. Absolutely nothing in my life had changed from the time I was 19-23: my diet was the same (didn't eat much fried or sugary food), my environment the same, level of stress the same, face-care regimen the same (i.e. no makeup, wash with bar soup, no moisturizers or sunscreen etc), exercised regularly but not excessively, and I was never on birth control. So over the months my chin got progressively worse with just a bunch of small blemishes and i started getting a couple small ones on my cheek too, I had never in my entire life, up until that point, gotten a blemish on my cheek before. So I went to the dr. to see what was up with my skin. They didn't really say much, just prescribed me a cream with benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin, which didn't do anything except make my skin really irritated and dry. From there I went to a derm, she didn't really say much either, just told me to keep using the cream and prescribed me a Retin-A + clindamycin gel to use on alternating days with the cream. Well that ended horribly , I only used a tiny bit of the Retin-A gel every other day and over the next month I ended up with a giant rash on my cheek. I stopped using the gel and the rash went away after about 2-3 months, but I was still breaking out. At least I discovered that I have really sensitive skin .
So a year goes by, my skin is still breaking out worse than before, and my rash left a lot of very very red marks on my cheek (that took about 2 years to disappear by 90%) . Within the first year I had tried benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, and Retin-A, none of which worked. I've always been a very healthy person, and was wary about trying any non-topical prescriptions. So I thought, hmmmm.... what if I change my diet, eliminate a bunch of things, once my skin starts getting better reintroduce what I eliminated slowly and see what was causing my skin issues. Sounded great in theory ! I completely stopped eating gluten, dairy, and soy (including soy lecithin, which is pretty much in everything pre-packaged), tried to eat foods that didn't have any artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives, and drank only water, tea, and coffee (with sugar). Well, needless to say that didn't work, I still had skin issues (but less stomach issues?).... and before you think, oh, maybe you didn't give it enough time to work on your skin ... WRONG! Three years I've been on that diet, 3 sad years of not eating gluten, dairy, soy, anything with artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives and it had absolutely no positive effects on my skin... if anything my skin is actually worse! But now I'm afraid to start eating gluten, dairy, and soy again because it's been so long.... that's another issue for another day.
Well after a few months i knew my diet experiment wasn't going to work, but still decided to stick with it. From the ages of 24-now (27) my skin had gotten worse and worse... the breakouts on my chin stopped being small and I would start getting 1 or 2 dime-sized blemishes that would last weeks and would leave red marks that would take months to go away. At any given time I wouldn't have more than 6 blemishes but those 6 would take 3 weeks to go away then a week later I'd have more. So although I had never considered my acne severe, it is very very stubborn, and very very confusing (confusing in the fact that i don't have blackheads or whiteheads anywhere really, and only get inflammatory acne on my chin, nowhere else... knock on wood). I know my skin could be worse, but when you go from perfect, enviable skin to anything less than perfect, it's depressing. It's affected my social life because I can't even stand to look at myself in the mirror to put makeup on. So I've become very reclusive these last 4 years... which isn't me, I like being active, being outside, not worrying about what I look like .
Anyway, enough with the pity-party, back to the facts. As I said, over these last few years when my skin became increasingly worse I continued to use benzoyl peroxide topically and continued with my diet, but with no real benefits. Obviously topicals weren't working for me, and even though I don't like taking medicine unless it's absolutely necessary, I knew if I wanted better skin I would have to bite the bullet and take an oral prescription. Having said that, going on he pill is not an option for me, after weighing the pros and cons I absolutely refuse to go on the pill for contraceptive use let alone for skin issues. With the pill being out of the question my next option was antibiotics. Sometime during the time I was 24 my doctor prescribed me minocycline. I took it for 2 months, and I noticed my skin stopped breaking out while I was on it, hooray!!! Then I went off it.... and would start breaking out again.... so I went back to the doc for another minocycline prescription, and my skin miraculously cleared up again!!! .... then I'd go off it and breakouts would start all over again. Even though it didn't have lasting effects, I would keep going back to minocyline because I could at least be clear, or relatively clear, for 3 months at a time.
Well, I've been on and off minocycline for 3 years now, and the last time I took it (Jan 2015-March 2015) my skin had been the best it's been in 4 years and I thought maybe, just maybe, I'll be clear for good . I started breaking out less than a week of going off it, so my doctor put me back on it right away, and this time it did absolutely nothing for my skin.... but it did do a lot to my immune system and liver! I could make this an even longer story than it is, but I'll hurry it along in the form of a few run-on sentences. Basically as of June 2015 my chin got progressively worse, at one point it got rash-like, because of that I ended up in a funk for all of July refusing to leave my house except to get groceries (I spend my time studying for the MCAT and don't work, so that is actually possible for me to do). Then end of July I started getting very sick, and basically have all the symptoms of minocycline-induced lupus and hepatitis, which made me bed-ridden for an entire month (my doctor referred me to a rheumatologist so I still need to get a firm diagnosis). Throughout all of this I stopped taking minocycline and a derm prescribed me doxycycline and differin. I don't use the differin right now, with my previous bad experience with retinoids I thought I'd hold off on the differin, for now at least. As for the doxy, I've been taking it for exactly 3 weeks... what are my results with it? Well, before I was taking it my chin was undesirable, now it's honestly the worst it's every been in my entire life.
So this complilation of pictures shows:
- Top left: what my skin looked like without makeup up until I turned 23
- Top right: my skin 3 days after starting doxy (pic taken August 11.... there was more redness in person)
- Bottom 2 pictures: my skin after 3 weeks on doxy ( pic taken August 28)
So I'm not sure if it's the doxy that's currently making my skin worse, or if being sick is having an effect on my skin. Again, my acne is limited to my chin and not as severe as a lot of the cases I've seen on here, but going from the first picture I posted to the last 2 pictures really takes a toll on your self-esteem. Anyway, like everyone on here I'm trying to figure things out. I still have my doxy prescription for another 3 months if I want it, but in the meantime I made an appointment with a dermatologist. My appointment will be Sept. 11 and I'm seriously considering Accutane at this point. It was brought up to me as an option from a doctor last year. I pooh-poohed the idea at the time because I thought the side-effects weren't worth it and that I could get clear by other means. Since my skin's gotten even worse and even more stubborn since then, and since I'm afraid of scarring if my skin gets even more worse, I'm going to bring up Accutane to the derm. I've read up a lot on it the last couple of months and now think the benefits out-weigh the negatives. Just worried if I can even take it now that I have these lupus and hepatitis-like symptoms . Anyway, we shall see, I'll most likely post again before my derm appointment with a progress of my skin on doxy and then go from there.
IMPORTANTLY: if you are on minocycline or are thinking about taking minocycline, and are curious about what minocycline-induced lupus is. Or if you're just wondering what my symptoms were like during my 'illness' and how I thought it could be linked to minocycline please ask.
A quick review of everything I've said so far:
Ages 0-23: perfect skin
Age 24: started breaking out
Age 27: skin worst it's ever been
- Benzoyl peroxide + Clindamycin cream --> didn't work + irritating
- Retin A + Clindamycin cream --> gave me a rash
- Zinc and B vitamin spplements --> no changes
- No gluten, dairy, or soy --> no effect on skin
- Minocycline --> Worked! No longer works... possibly gave me lupus and/or hepatitis!!!
- Wash face with dove sensitive skin
- Use clarisonic on 'healthy' skin
- Wash with cleanser that has benzoyl peroxide + glycolic acid
- Pat dry with clean towel and apply calendula cream
- Doxycylcine 100mg 1x/day
- Wash pillowcases and towels once a week
- Try not to touch my face or wear makeup!
- Don't eat gluten, dairy, soy, anything with artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives. Minimal fried and sugary food --> this diet doesn't affect anything, but have been on it for 3 years so it's routine for me
[*]Have a prescription for Differin --> haven't used it
[*]Have a prescription for Neo-medrol (used as spot treatmet for bad blemishes... contains an antibiotic and steriod to decrease inflammation) --> doesn't work on my type of blemishes
[*]Dixidin 4 Detergent (I guess Hibiclens is the closest thing in the States) --> actually really like this, makes my blister-type blemishes go away a lot quicker, but feel it causes breakouts as well
[*]Going to derm Sept 11 to ask about Accutane
- Wash face with dove sensitive skin