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I'm 19, female, white with light skin, light eyes, and light hair, have had acne since I was 10 or 11. Started out not too bad, but by 14 or 15 I had big papules and cysts which continue to plague me.

1. "Clindets"--this is a clindomycin-soaked mini towlette that worked for a little bit (age 12 or so) but stopped working.

2. Rx BP/clindomycin (erithromycin?) gel--the pharmacist mixes it up, it's an awful texture and leaves gross residue on your skin. And did nothing for me.

3. Minocycline--on this for about a year and a half. Marginal improvement.

4. Retin-A--not sure what concentration, just know it was the lowest one available when I was 14. This one was wonderful and cleared up my "bacne" and "chestne" PERMANENTLY (even though my doctor and dermatologist said it wouldn't do anything) but my face couldn't tolerate it. I started using it once a day, after a week my face was so dry I had to apply moisturizer 5 or 6 times a day (Eucerin) and it kept getting dryer. At 2 weeks, my chin was so dry I developed deep cracks in my skin that made it extremely painful just to talk or smile... laughing was hell. So I went down to every other day, still was horrible. Stopped after I went back to the dermatologist. Picked it up again some time later, but I couldn't tolerate it more than once a week and my skin would get really dry even with that minimal application.

5. Differin--The derm said since Retin-A was too strong to try this. But it did nothing.

6. Doxycycline--Here was the miracle. Within a couple weeks after I started it (15 years old) my skin was completely clear. Except I was playing softball, and out in the sun a lot and developed a bizarre burning pattern on my hands (thumb and index finger, dark purple burns... so weird). Dermatoloist took pictures for posterity (pattern he had been noticing) and then took me off it. I'm on it again now, four years later, and it did the same thing initially... but the effect has worn off and I'm stopping it.

7. Erythromycin--huge pill, almost gave me stomach problems... did nothing.

8. Birth Control pills (Ortho TriCyclen, Ortho Cyclen, Yasmin, Desogen)--These helped with the pre-and-post-menstrual flare-ups, but didn't do much else. Also, as a side note, BC pills and antibiotics in combination make the BC ineffective for contraception (not that I was using it for that) and make you prone to yeast infections, which is not pleasant. Also some of these help if you have really bad cramps (Yasmin was the best for that)

So that's all the stuff that didn't do much for me. It's amazing when you have clear skin, you feel so much better... but I could never keep it for more than a couple months, because of all the side effects.

Now things are looking hopeful--I'm on two Rx's, the NuvaRing (intravagnial bc, releases much smaller doses of estrogen intravenously and continuously, so it's more effective for controlling your hormones... plus it's a million times more convenient because you don't take a pill every day!) and doxy, doing a regimen of Cetaphil cleanser and mousturizer (still looking for a good one, using curel continuous comfort, which is okay) morning and night, plus makeup during the day (light dose of foundation, then powder, no concealer) and at night I mix benzoil peroxide and polysporin to get rid of the blemishes. It's working pretty well, I've seen a reduction in the number of giant volcanoes on my face, and fewer new pimples. I also found out your acne can get worse if you wear makeup while you work out, so I started washing my face before and after working out so my pores don't get clogged with makeup and sweat.

Wish me luck and best wishes to the rest of you to find something that works. Acne sucks.

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I'm 19, female, white with light skin, light eyes, and light hair, have had acne since I was 10 or 11. Started out not too bad, but by 14 or 15 I had big papules and cysts which continue to plague me.

1. "Clindets"--this is a clindomycin-soaked mini towlette that worked for a little bit (age 12 or so) but stopped working.

2. Rx BP/clindomycin (erithromycin?) gel--the pharmacist mixes it up, it's an awful texture and leaves gross residue on your skin. And did nothing for me.

3. Minocycline--on this for about a year and a half. Marginal improvement.

4. Retin-A--not sure what concentration, just know it was the lowest one available when I was 14. This one was wonderful and cleared up my "bacne" and "chestne" PERMANENTLY (even though my doctor and dermatologist said it wouldn't do anything) but my face couldn't tolerate it. I started using it once a day, after a week my face was so dry I had to apply moisturizer 5 or 6 times a day (Eucerin) and it kept getting dryer. At 2 weeks, my chin was so dry I developed deep cracks in my skin that made it extremely painful just to talk or smile... laughing was hell. So I went down to every other day, still was horrible. Stopped after I went back to the dermatologist. Picked it up again some time later, but I couldn't tolerate it more than once a week and my skin would get really dry even with that minimal application.

5. Differin--The derm said since Retin-A was too strong to try this. But it did nothing.

6. Doxycycline--Here was the miracle. Within a couple weeks after I started it (15 years old) my skin was completely clear. Except I was playing softball, and out in the sun a lot and developed a bizarre burning pattern on my hands (thumb and index finger, dark purple burns... so weird). Dermatoloist took pictures for posterity (pattern he had been noticing) and then took me off it. I'm on it again now, four years later, and it did the same thing initially... but the effect has worn off and I'm stopping it.

7. Erythromycin--huge pill, almost gave me stomach problems... did nothing.

8. Birth Control pills (Ortho TriCyclen, Ortho Cyclen, Yasmin, Desogen)--These helped with the pre-and-post-menstrual flare-ups, but didn't do much else. Also, as a side note, BC pills and antibiotics in combination make the BC ineffective for contraception (not that I was using it for that) and make you prone to yeast infections, which is not pleasant. Also some of these help if you have really bad cramps (Yasmin was the best for that)

So that's all the stuff that didn't do much for me. It's amazing when you have clear skin, you feel so much better... but I could never keep it for more than a couple months, because of all the side effects.

Now things are looking hopeful--I'm on two Rx's, the NuvaRing (intravagnial bc, releases much smaller doses of estrogen intravenously and continuously, so it's more effective for controlling your hormones... plus it's a million times more convenient because you don't take a pill every day!) and doxy, doing a regimen of Cetaphil cleanser and mousturizer (still looking for a good one, using curel continuous comfort, which is okay) morning and night, plus makeup during the day (light dose of foundation, then powder, no concealer) and at night I mix benzoil peroxide and polysporin to get rid of the blemishes. It's working pretty well, I've seen a reduction in the number of giant volcanoes on my face, and fewer new pimples. I also found out your acne can get worse if you wear makeup while you work out, so I started washing my face before and after working out so my pores don't get clogged with makeup and sweat.

Wish me luck and best wishes to the rest of you to find something that works. Acne sucks.

You have basically tried everything, you should give accutane a try if u have secere acne

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I agree, give Accutane a try! Its really not as bad as people make it out to be. Also for your spot treat idea... I would mix polysporin with a salicyic acid or a sulfur to spot treat instead of the BP. BP is useless to an acne lession that is already on your skin. It works by killing the p.acnes that cause acne. But sulfur or salicylic acid will help dry the pimple out and eliminate inflammation. Hope that helps and good luck!

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Yeah there was a point when it was really bad and i tried to convince my parents to put me on accutane... then we went to the dermatologist an he talked to my mom and freaked her out about it. plus the day i went in my skin wasn't that bad (and a week after i flared up and started crying and yelling at my mom for not letting me take it).... i don't have it bad all the time, it's just that when it's bad it's horrible... and there's something on my face all the time. and frankly i'm a little scared of accutane myself. i know some people do well on it, but i have pretty fragile skin as it is and there's no way to know what it will do to me.

Thanks for the suggestion about salicylic acid instead of BP. i'll give that a try after i try the CSR for a few months and it doesn't work.

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Is it possible your acne is hormonal? If it is or even if it isn't, you should possibly try Aldactone (often referred to as Spiro around here by it's long generic name). I tried a lot of the same things you did and I am the same age as you and my skin sounds about the same as your's (minus the fact that I have dark hair and dark eyes, but very pale skin). My face also couldn't stand Retin-A. Everytime something would work on my face, it would stop after a while and usually end up drying my skin out horribly, even though my skin is slightly oily. I tried Accutane, but it didn't work. Aldactone has practically cured my acne (along with Yasmin with it and I've been on this combination since September/October). I also have PCOS though. I use salicylic acid on my few (very few) problem areas now and it works wonders, so maybe even give that a try.

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