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need advice on which solution/road i should take!

well, so here's my facial history (lol):

my acne started in the 10th grade, but i didn't care much about it until the end of 11th.

it was then that i got into my first serious relationship (which i'm still in, yay!) and i'm pretty sure that's when/why i started caring about my appearance more (seems kind of backwards, but there you have it.)

my doctor had me try so many things...started out with tetracycline (topical), which did absolutely nothing except for make my face red, itchy, flaky, and generally worse, then i tried clindamycin (topical)...still no positive results. finally i was prescribed doxycycline (which is an oral antibiotic) and it was like the heavens finally smiled on me! it took a month or two to start seeing the effects, but within six months my acne was completely gone, and my scars were totally invisible with just a light layer of makeup. i actually felt like myself for a time, and it was so great.

then i turned 19, and moved away to college...and was no longer covered by my mom's health insurance. which meant i couldn't get my prescription anymore.

at first it seemed okay. i've talked to my mother and she told me she suffered from moderate to severe acne also as a teenager, but it cleared up around 19/20/21. my skin seemed to be holding up pretty well on its own--i'd still get an occasional stray pimple, but more than likely caused by a dirty pillowcase or greasy phone than my confused hormones.

now i've been off my prescription for about six months, and my acne is nearly as bad as it was before (i get fewer pimples and less frequently than when i was at my worst before, but the scarring is much worse.) i'm nearly at my wit's end--should i break out my savings and cough up the money to get back on the prescription? i'm afraid to go to work, school, anywhere public because i feel like everyone's staring at my whiteheads and gross scabs from pimples i couldn't just leave alone.

right now i use neutrogena oil-free acne wash, which is very mild and has 2% salicylic acid, followed by almay toner for dry skin (it's nearly all natural stuff--cucumber, cotton, olive leaf, aloe, witch hazel), then 10% benzoyl peroxide cream on my problems areas (i've been using it since i started my presciption, so it doesn't have any adverse effects on my skin anymore), and i have two different moisturizers i use, one for night time and one for day, both are clean & clear, oil-free, and non-comedegenic. twice a week i use this treatment by neutrogena, acne mark fading peel.

i also got accosted in the mall not too long ago by this guy at a kiosk selling an exfoliating product that boasted 'dead sea salt and minerals' as its superingredient. but he let me try it before i bought it (it cost nearly $50! ugh!) and it turned out to be amazing. i used to have lots of dead skin on my cheeks because of the constant scarring and pimples popping up in between (and sometimes in the middle of scars--those really hurt) and it really helps slough away the skin, and it's amazingly gentle, so i use that about once a week also.

because of my limited success with benzoyl peroxide (it really helps if i can catch the pimples while they're still under my skin and not yet come to a head) and lack of funds and vigilance, i'm opting not to try "the regimen." i KNOW what will work for me (my antibiotics! T__T!) but i don't know if it's worth it to shell out the money if my acne's going to go away in about a year, or possibly less (like i said, my skin is doing better than when i was at my worst about two years ago, but the scarring is worse.)

so...what do you guys think? and do you have any tips to help with scarring? (i'm looking for over the counter solutions...i'm hesitant on surgery procedures, but if you think you know which one i'd probably need, go ahead and let me know so if i do look into it in the future, i know what to research.)

thank you guys! (i know i've written a novel, sorry!) :)

here's my "good" side:


and my "bad" side:




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i know what you're going through. could we please get universal healthcare ASAP in this country?

i say try and get back on your antibiotics. at wal-mart they have a huge amount of generic pills for only $4/ month. i always took generic antibiotics before i finally took 'tane. i am only speaking from my experience because i could never clear my skin with just topicals.

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