Ever since I was 16, I have tried countless products to help with pimples, blackheads, cysts or to make my skin look radiant. I've likely spent tens of thousands of dollars over a decade. I somewhat feel like I tried too much. Even if my skin could take it at the time, I feel like I am paying for it today. I will likely be missing a lot of products on this list and even more specific products by name. I apologize, but even if I were able to remember everything that I used or tried, this post would turn out to be a book!
The first thing that I remember is stealing some of my mom's Noxzema while taking a bath and some of her Clearasil cream. I would walk around the house all brown-skinned from the Clearasil's color. Then, there was the invisible Clearasil or whatever it was called. I would be white all over. It did not really vanish all that much after putting it on! I would do this before bed and leave it on all night. I supposed that it helped a bit with some of the zits that would come out because I did not have much back then. Still, your skin gets used to BP fairly quickly. Then I begged my mom to order Proactiv. The infomercials had started and they were everywhere. I am pretty sure that I got Proactiv and shared it with my mom when they got their first celebrity spokesperson. This was fairly new and big for a skin care product infomercial at the time. I remember my mom drying out terribly and I just did not get this wonderful skin that I was promised. We tried it for 3 months then we gave up. I broke out massively for a few months after that. I've tried pretty much everything over the counter. I likely made my mom spend so much cash on the over the counter stuff. I tried it all and then kept buying the so-called new products even if they were almost the same. It's amazing what someone can consider as new haha.
Once I went off to University, I saw a doctor and she prescribed my first round of antibiotics with Clindette (They were individually wrapped towelettes that had either alcohol or some form of antibiotic on it and you washed your face with it). I had some success, but the Clindette were expensive and a few months after I stopped the antibiotics, it returned with a vengeance. That's when I started going to spa's. I started with regular facials and buying whatever product they were selling/using in the facial. Then, I moved to a medical spa and had some microdermabrasion and some light peels. They aren't allowed to give you the strong peeps that a plastic surgeon would give you, but you have a choice between Lactic acid, fruit peel and Glycolic acid peel. It's stronger than anything on the market/that you can get over the counter. I would get this done then proceed to shed like a snake for a few days. My skin underneath was glowing, but it didn't much help with the acne. I don't really have acne scars (I'm lucky with all the picking that I did), so it left me feeling fresh-faced, but not clearing up. I was around 22 at the time. Of course, I tried the EXPENSIVE products that the medical spa was selling to use at home. I forget what it was called, but it was around 300 or 400$ for a face wash, toner and acne treatment. It helped some, but I could get the same results from MUCH CHEAPER over the counter products ...I started using higher lines of over the counter products like La Roche Posay. They weren't terrible products, but they could also end up costing a few hundred dollars and they were not good enough to rationalize spending that much.
I used Carley's Clear and Smooth. I was actually clear for a long time. I moved and there was a change in the type of water, change in my health ... Carley's stopped working. This was due to a mix of exterior factors. I have gastroparesis, chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia ... Add the bad health, the stress, having to move back to my hometown and new chlorinated water (the water here is so different), I don't think that any product that had been working would have kept working. What I should have done is keep at it until it worked again, but I did not because I was stupid. With all the negative going on in my life, I at least wanted clear skin and I wanted it NOW!
I tried Dan's regimen. It kept me fairly clear for a while, but my skin had also never looked so dull. I used the AHA and the Jojoba oil. I also found that all of his products could be obtained at Walmart or at any drug store for much cheaper. Cetaphil or Spectrogel wash, Spectro/Ceta moisturizer... My skin was dull and lifeless and I just got used to the BP anyway.
A doctor prescribed Dalacin-T (which you can wear going out because it's totally clear) and Benzaclin. I used that one at night since it has BP and people can see it. It worked pretty well for a bit, but like any other antibiotics or BP, it loses its effect sooner or later. Then, I went back to over the counter with Avène. I got their entire line and kept using the Dalacin and the Benzaclin. They were pretty expensive just like La Roche Posay had been. I have their face-wash, Micellar water, toner, gommage (exfoliant), spot treatment, redness corrector... I also have a redness corrector from la Roche Posay. The products all left me feeling clean, but they didn't really stop the blackheads and the cysts and... Yes, all of these products slow it down and help a bit, but they feel like a band-aid instead of a solution. I'm getting older. I'm 32. No wrinkles yet, but I can see sun spots around the base of my nose. I know that my skin has less collagen and even if it's not horrible skin and a lot have worse, I want it better. I'm disabled and it's one of the things that I liked about myself when it was nice: my beautiful skin.
I asked my doctor for Tetrinoid because it was about the only thing I had never tried. The right side of my nose will not stop breaking out since. I tried it for around a month and a half and now, I just want to cry. This product has made my skin so dry that without moisturizer I look like a sheet of sandpaper. I cannot stop the pimples from coming out on the side of my nose. They seem better, but they come back with a vengeance. There's also cysts and I've never had cysts there before. So I'm not touching this vitamin A crap anymore! I REFUSE to go on Accutane (Yes, I know it has a new name). My brother had HORRIBLE acne (he was covered from head to toe) and I remember his skin cracking and bleeding and all the craters it left on his face. Considering that it can come back, has left a lot of friends and family with dull and lifeless skin and that it has massive side-effects, I will pass. It's the only thing that I didn't try ... Or so I thought. What we do is try to eliminate bacteria. It creates acne, right? Well I've been doing research and it turns out that we may be doing it wrong. After all, so many of us here are killing bacteria over and over and over ...and we're still plagued with acne or make our skin dull, lifeless. There has to be another solution! That's when I came up with my new plan which I will describe in my next post.