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peteyboy

How to know what really works?

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Hi everyone. I've been visitng the messageboard for a couple of months, but registered only today. Just to introduce myself, I'm a guy, turning 23 this year, and I have had mild/moderate acne since I was around 19.

I don't know if you guys will be interested in what I have to say, but I'd like to point out several flaws in obtaining supposedly useful advice from other people's experiences from the messageboard. Most of them are kind people who are trying to help. It's just that sometimes what they believe is true is actually false.

The first point would be the very nature of acne. Acne tends to be episodic, which means that it occurs in cycles where its severity may vary, but fluctuates about a mean. As such, it is very hard to determine a causal relationship between new treatment and improvement. It doesn't help that people tend to give up their current regime and go on a new regime when their acne is at its most severe within the cycle, because they feel like the current regime isn't working. This leads them to attribute the spontaneous improvement thereafter to the new regime, when the improvement would have occurred anyway.

Secondly, most clinical studies conducted on acne treatments have shown that the placebo effect on acne is very strong. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, placebo effect refers to improvement in patients' condition because of the expectation of improvement, and not because of any benefit conferred by the placebo (fake treatment). In many of these studies, the control group receives a treatment that had no medical value, for example topical gels that have no medicinal substances. Yet there can be improvement of up to 50% in acne severity. This placebo effect makes it more difficult to ascertain what actually works and what doesn't.

Lastly, many aspects of our lives are constantly changing, and many may have an effect on acne while we are trying out the new treatment. It is hard to isolate the these factors from the new treatment, and say that the improvement is solely due to the treatment. For example, some people may say that Differin works because their acne improved when they were on it, but the change could be due to perhaps less stress, change in diet or perhaps they have just outgrown acne.

For me, Differin had worked very well at the start, but as time goes by, the effects has worn off; I realise that the initial improvement might not even be due to Differin, because as acne sufferers we tend to change a lot of our habits at once, in the hope that one might do the trick, so the improvement might be due to something that I am unaware of.

Sorry for the long post. I just want to point these few points out, so that as adults, we will be able to have an objective view of other people's experiences, and avoid the disappointment and despair of not responding to treatments that others swear by.

Thanks!

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I do agree that many, including myself, jump (or have jumped) from treatment to treatment. We're desperate, you know? It's so hard to have patience, especially in this society when commercials promise "drastic results" within 3 days.

I also agree that even though it's hard to be patient, patience is crucial. The skin is a living organ and I think we tend to forget that. Time is needed in order to react and adapt to the initial onslaught of change, whether it's chemical, holistic, or both. It's change. Period. Everything we intake reflects on our skin.

Thank you for posting this. It's good to have this reminder.

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Guest www.AcneMustGo.com

It's very important to stay consistent with a particular routine for at least three months, if you feel the solution has merit based on the experiences of others, because your body needs time to respond in a positive way. It's likely that many do not experience noticeable progress from a particular effective routine merely because they become impatient and move to another option after only a few days, and this is the human inclination we all must battle against. Even drugs that are used for certain illnesses do not work immediately, so we cannot expect a diet change or topical product to provide instantaneous results.

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It's very important to stay consistent with a particular routine for at least three months, if you feel the solution has merit based on the experiences of others, because your body needs time to respond in a positive way. It's likely that many do not experience noticeable progress from a particular effective routine merely because they become impatient and move to another option after only a few days, and this is the human inclination we all must battle against. Even drugs that are used for certain illnesses do not work immediately, so we cannot expect a diet change or topical product to provide instantaneous results.
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Congratulations! I wish you all the best.

According to another website affiliated to acne.org, statistics show that 95% of acne cases end up in permanent remission. So luck is on our side.

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Agreed about staying on a particular treatment long enough for it to work - it wasn't until I finally said "screw it" to alterations and decided to fully commit to the DKR at 24 that my acne finally stabilized to a managable level. I'm 26 now and due to actually STICKING to a regimen, my skin has never been clearer.

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I think the reason some people don't "go the course" and certain treatments is that they just don't know. When I was 18 my derm prescribed me Differin. He told me to put it on my chin once or twice a day, so I did. But after a month I stopped because I thought it didn't work. Well I had no idea what it was, he didn't tell me it was Vit-A, he didn't tell me how it worked, he didn't tell me how long it takes to work. The same thing happened several years later. A derm gave me a bag Retin-A-Micro samples, she didn't tell me anything about it, not even how often to apply it. I was putting it on my face 3 to 5 times a day. When the samples ran out I asked my regular Doctor if he could prescribe me some and I told him how often I was using it. He said "are you planning to become pregnant?" and I told him no, so he prescribed it to me and told me "but only use it once per day." So I did, for over a year and it worked great! Then I told him we were thinking of having a baby and he told me "oh, well you need to see an OBGYN for that." Well my husband didn't think I needed to, but I insisted, well I'm glad I did. My OBGYN said "You're putting WHAT on your face? And you aren't on birth control pills?!" Then he told me it causes birth defects and I need to stop using it at least a month prior to becoming pregnant. He wasn't very happy, but no one ever told me about that part.

The problem I have is I often can't stay on a regimen. My skin is so sensitive and so picky, and while at first I have no bad reactions, after a week or two I develope a rash, or redness and itching and hotness :( . It's because of this my current derm was amazed that I could use so much of the Retin-A and why it's amazing I can wash my face with dandruff shampoo, but I can't use BP or SA or some AHA's.

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Wow, pretty good knowledge being shared here.

I guess, at least for my case, knowing what i am allergic/sensitive to is important. I try to avoid ingredients which i do not react well to. Actually, i do agree that sticking to a regime for at least 3 months is important. If a medication or regime works fast, i actually worry if the chemicals used are too harsh. I will rather wait longer for results if i know what i am using is effective but mild to the skin.

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