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Hi everyone. I am new to the boards. I am 18 years old, and I have a question. To be more specific I am seeking advice. I will try and be brief but here it goes:

My older sister and brother have always had really bad acne and gone through the works with it. Every medication you can think of. Accutane cleared it for both of them. However, I am the youngest and up to a little bit ago did not seem to be following in their footsteps. I still don't think I am...but....well I would say I don't have horrible acne but it is becoming a problem now.

So once I became a teenager I used to break-out every once and awhile. I pimple on my cheek maybe every time I had my period or everyother. Never anything bad. But once I got two pimples at once and I freaked out (oooh how i wish I only had two now hehe). Anyway, I order ProActive. It was bliss. It took it all away pretty much. So the next few years were completely fine. I would always break-out in August with the start of school for some reason but my face would be fine after a month. ProActive was really wonderful for me. I mean I still got a few pimples but nothing bad.

Then I went off to college this year. After just a few weeks I started breaking out more than ever. I cold not understand why. I used my handy-dandy ProActive but its magically charm seemed to be wearing off. So I looked acne up on the internet and found this site. So after looking at the site I realized something. I was living in a dirty dorm with a ton of other girls and sure I was washing my face but I wasn't even washing my hands first. Pretty gross. So of course I was breaking-out. So after a little I started the regimen with Cetaphil face wash and the BP from ProActive and things looked good.

My acne started to clear. I would have some pimples but not bad. Okay this part might sound odd...but I would not share if I did not think it was relevant. So I started spending more time with my boyfriend and sleeping over in his dorm room. Anyway, when I did this I would not even wash my face or apply any BP and would sleep in my make-up. Yeah, gross I know. But the thing is my face was okay. So these nights coupled with the countless all-nighters I pulled in order to finish papers and such (I have a strange sleeping pattern...anyway) I was only washing my face and applying BP once a day many times. Now my face was not perfect but it was not bad.

So I just came home from school...and my face (I feel at least) is going crazy!!! Pimple, pimple, pimple. I wash my face morning and night with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and use BP. Now I will admit the BP part is a little shady...I like the kind that comes with ProActibe but I recently ran out...but I was using that when my face was breaking out more. I have recently been use some 10 percent... I know not good but it's all I have right now...

So my question is what is going on? Am I washing my face too much? Should I try ProActive again (or did my face like become immune to that?? is that possible lol)? Could I be rubbing too hard? Anyone have any suggestions? I would appreciate any advice...I am just confused now...I am going to go to the doctor soon to see if there is anything I can get.

Sorry it's kinda long...I don't blame you if you don't read it. lol But thanks!

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You should go to your dermatologist. Have you tried prescription retinoids? They penetrate the deeper layers of the skin to normalize pore function, although you should give them at least three months to see results. Differin (and I suppose generic Differin) is the only prescription retinoid I know of that can be used in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide.

Another option you may want to look into is a birth control pill, although some experience side effects like melasma.

I would also try a salicylic acid product. Proactive contains a glycolic acid toner which does help; however, salicylic acid is more effective for treating acne because it is lipid soluble and can exfoliate within the pore, unlike alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid. I recommend any of the Paula's Choice Beta Hydroxy Acid products, which can be purchased on Ebay or here:


Paula's Choice makes some of the few salicylic acid products that are both gentle and pH correct (pH of 4 or lower). Most other salicylic acid products are too irritating and/or not effective.

If you decide to order the Paula's Choice, it can be applied right before the benzoyl peroxide (just like your Proactive Toner). However, I would NOT use it with a 10% benzoyl peroxide product. I would start at a 2.5% strength and work my way up to a 5% strength if need be.

Make sure you moisturize over any dry or irritated areas. I recommend Dove Sensitive Essentials. Do not moisturize where it is not needed, as lotions can mix with sebum and "glue" dead skin cells to the skin's surface.

During the daytime you will need a sunscreen, especially given your treatments. I recommend any of the Neutrogena Dry Touch ones.

Check out this link to learn more about treating acne:


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My adivce would be to get back on the regimen and follow exactly whis time, espically as this has worked for you in the past. Use a unmedicated cleanser, 2.5% BP and an oil free moisturiser, usually when people start getting strictly back on the regimen they start to see results again. To be sure you're doing everything just right I would read over the regimen again http://www.acne.org/regimen.html and watch the videos to make sure you're applying right http://www.acne.org/video.html

Good Luck! :)

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