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corbin

connection between chapped lips and cystic acne?

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hi everyone - i was wondering if anyone else experiences this:

brief acne history: cystic acne starting in teens years, really taking off senior i think, but it would come and go. same story in college, though there was a few months when it was BAD covering 80-90 of my face. topicals never did anything. then i got on minocycline and that cleared me completely. then it started coming back and i did Dan regime and that kept me clear for 2 years - may also be that it naturally went into submission as well during this time, as i partially believe there is some rhythm to my acne that i am unaware of. finally, almost a year ago summer 07, it started coming back, lightly at first. papules and such. then it became cystic and nodular again, 4-5 at a time. then in feb 08 i started getting huge cysts on my nose, the worse place - and it's just been getting worse and worse since then - i've been on antibiotics none stop since feb08: tetracycline [worked great for about a month maybe], minocycline again [did NOTHING this time around], doxycycline [worked good for about nearly a month, maybe not even that] - i am now taking septra, almost done with my 2nd week [i have active smallish cysts and today my face felt horrible, constant pumping-of-blood-feeling, the heat of inflammation i think? and the general pain of the cysts, of course - but i think the septra is suppressing the infection at least, keeping the cysts from becoming monster sizes - how long will it last? hopefully 2 more months at least ]

anyway, to the point of the post: i think most of my life i've had dry lips, wherein some skin on my lips will constantly be peeling so that i could pick it off each or every other day. the skin itself doesn't hurt and i don't think it's broken, there is just dead skin that hangs on to the lip [mostly my lower lip] until it falls off or i peel it off. so i've been wondering if anyone else experiences this, as the peeling skin looks like the aftermath of dying cysts/acne - in other words, it's white in color - which is just the color of dead skin, so that makes sense - but since acne is apparently cause partly by skin that FAILS to shed properly and thus clogs pores and all that - maybe there is a connection between the skin that perhaps fails to shed off my lips naturally and the skin on my face that fails to shed and causes acne.

i'll also add a note that most of my life i've had bad sinus: ie stuffy nose as i had a very weak respiratory system as a kid and breathed through my mouth much of the time and still do when i don't catch myself, so my dry lips may just be from breathing through my mouth too much - still, i am curious to see if anyone else experiences this, ie, they have peeling or dry skin on their lips and they have cystic or any form of acne really.

thoughts anyone? ANY thoughts would be appreciated.

thanks everyone.

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Have you considered an anti-histamine medication like Zyrtec or loratidine? That might help the mouth breathing issue and the inflammation caused by acne. Diphenhydramine is best taken at night as it will likely cause extreme sleepiness.

The chapped lips are most likely due to mouth breathing. It may of course be related to a general inability of your skin to shed normally. Consider doing some exfoliation, either mechanical or chemical.

I wish docs wouldn't prescribe Septra for acne. It just makes more and more bacteria including MRSA more resistant to one of the final oral antibiotic lines of defense against MRSA. One thing that will help reduce resistance of bacteria is including a benzoyl peroxide wash or topical treatment into your regimen. Bacteria do not become resistant to BP, so killing them in a double attack with BP and an oral antibiotic may prevent the development of resistance from what I've read.

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hey, thanks for the reply people!

Have you considered an anti-histamine medication like Zyrtec or loratidine? That might help the mouth breathing issue and the inflammation caused by acne. Diphenhydramine is best taken at night as it will likely cause extreme sleepiness.

The chapped lips are most likely due to mouth breathing. It may of course be related to a general inability of your skin to shed normally. Consider doing some exfoliation, either mechanical or chemical.

I wish docs wouldn't prescribe Septra for acne. It just makes more and more bacteria including MRSA more resistant to one of the final oral antibiotic lines of defense against MRSA. One thing that will help reduce resistance of bacteria is including a benzoyl peroxide wash or topical treatment into your regimen. Bacteria do not become resistant to BP, so killing them in a double attack with BP and an oral antibiotic may prevent the development of resistance from what I've read.

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CORBIN!

I have almost the exact same symptoms as you.

My cystic acne started in high school and has gone up and down 7 years since then. All throughout this time I have also always suffered with allergies (serious difficulty breathing through my nose) and chapped lips. Just like you, my lips have had dry skin-like symptoms for a long time.

One thing that I would point out is that all of these symptoms, the acne, allergies/difficulty breathing, dryness are all cases of inflammation.

Over the summer I became a gluten free vegan to try and cease any inflammation in my body, and I did see improvement, especially with my allergies. But, this diet is extremely hard to maintain, so while I have stuck to a very healthy diet since then, I've added some meat and wheat products back into my routine.

What's your diet like?

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thanks for replying baskman! i am glad i found someone who maybe is going through the samething i am! what's your sex and age? i'm 24, male.

One thing that I would point out is that all of these symptoms, the acne, allergies/difficulty breathing, dryness are all cases of inflammation. mmmm, i didn't realize this about allergies and dryness - since doing research about acne, all i read about all day long is inflammation-inflammation - but i am a bit confused about the material. it seems to me that inflammation is the aftermath of the infection by bacteria, right? and it is the body's natural way of battling the infection? so it seems to me that inflammation, the bumps that come up, big or small, is what happens after we've already have an infection develop - not that the inflammation is the direct cause of acne. do i have that right? if you can, please explain the connection of inflammation and acne the way you see it.

in the case of inflammation causing my allergies, that seems plausible - possibly you and i have something about us that causes us to be more prone to inflammation in our sinuses?

Over the summer I became a gluten free vegan to try and cease any inflammation in my body, and I did see improvement, especially with my allergies. But, this diet is extremely hard to maintain, so while I have stuck to a very healthy diet since then, I've added some meat and wheat products back into my routine.

What's your diet like? i did a gluten-free/no-diary diet for a almost 3 months this summer, too. all i was eating was salads, meat, and fruits, while taking antibiotics concurrently [ minocyline then doxy] and vitamins A, E, zinc, selenium [ admittedly not with strict regularity but pretty good] - i didn't see any significant improvement. infact, it was during this gluten free period that i broke out BAD - severely bad. bandages on my face bad with open wounds that took 3 weeks to heal. just before i broke out badly, i was eating a lot of sweet fruits, black plums, i would eat like 4-6 a day and now i suspect that the high intact of sugar may have caused the bad breakout - at the time i didn't know about the apparent connection between sugar and sebum production or whatever other bad things can happen related to acne.

i was skeptical about the whole gluten-diary diet thing to begin with, since i couldn't explain to myself how, during a glorious acne-free period of my life a mere year ago i was very active [running, weightlifting] and i was happily eating lots of diary and wheat products, lots of grains [relatedly i've also done the no grains diet back in august i think, and i could only do it for nearly a week as i became feverish and extremely fatigue - yes, FEVERISH. my grad student friend explained to me that the body naturally doesn't want to use protein for energies and it taxes your kidney, so i have no idea how there are people who apparently are finding success with that diet, eating just meat and veggies] during this period i'd ingest lots of cheese and milk [ for weightlifting] and eat tons of wheat bread since peanut butter sandwiches are a favorite snack of mine. and, like i said, i was free of acne - or if i had something, it was just some wussy pimple, nothing compared what i've had in the past.

the only thing i can think of is that my body has long cycles where it is more-prone to cystic acne? i mean, there is a lot of talk about adrenal glands and sebum production, right? so i'm thinking LARGE changes to my body so that significant hormone changes occur - unrelated to what i eat - changes that take months and months to revert back to normal, if at all.

anyway - about 3 weeks ago i started taking septra and that seems to be keeping my cysts and nodes somewhat in check - i am still getting new activity, it just isn't the nightmare that it was just a few weeks ago.

i get a lot of, what seems to be, sebum plugs - little grains of sebum or whatever it is, that come from the pores [obviously], they range in color from clear to very dark brown, they can be soft or hard. often i'll feel tiny bumps on my face and if i scratch at it, the sebum plug will pop out if they are hard - i think quite a few people get those on the board, do you?

during the BAD period a few weeks ago, my nose had HORRIBLE plugs all over - dotted with tons of dark colored plugs, essentially blackheads on acid - super gross. i would extract them with blackhead removers and they would leave my pore HUGE for a day [ they usually close up in a day's time] - some of them were buried just under the skin and i didn't want to mess with them, as much as i had the urge to pop them out - others were STICKING out of the pore, pretty gross -

anyway, since then the plugs are no longer so dark and there are less of them [unless it's my imagination] and now i instead have a lot of smaller clear/white colored ones that are sometimes hard, sometimes soft. a few days ago i used a sanitized razor to try to pop some out and discovered that some of them seemed to just be "caps" covering the pore instead of the usual plugs that fill the whole pore, if that makes sense. also, some would just rub off and resembled dead white skin.

this has been a bit of the mystery for me - i intuitively doubt the septra is causing my plugs to calm down as it is my understanding that the septra is just killing the bacteria, having nothing to do with sebum production........ so i wonder if my body is just calming down after having eaten all those fruits weeks ago. or it could just be this mysterious cycle! sorry if that sounds bogus to you, this whole acne thing is just really frustrating.

also another thing that has happened since my face has been recovering for october's hell is that i'm getting a lot of small bumps on my forehead and temple, many which seem to be plugs of sebum with the odd one or two pimple [small and regular, not cyst or node] - and i hadn't have any activity there before a few weeks ago! so it's sort of like my cysts and nodes have calmed down on my nose, cheeks, chin [where i get most activity] and have gain new, albeit weak, acne on my forehead! not that i am complaining, i would happily take weak acne on my forehead if it means stopping the severe activity on my face.

an interesting thing i did yesterday was just look at my face for really long and i had one of those "whoa" moments when i realize i had so much discolored scarring [the after coloring of cysts and nodes] and they were confined to my upper cheek, between the edge of my chin and bottom lip, and on my nose and the skin bordering my nose and cheek. NO scars/discolored spots on my jaw or forehead. and also i realized that i get nodes [ the deep sores underneath the skin that never come to head] on my cheek, and i get cysts and nodes [that eventually turn into cysts] on my nose and above the chin area. i'm guessing this has to do with the type of skin in different areas? anyway, it was sort of a realization-moment - and also a shock to how much discoloring i had which was just old acne - i'm not extremely concerned about the spots, i know they will go away - after many months! but they will go away - i am naturally more concern about active cysts and nodes and - most of all - future activity.

did i go on a tangent? i hope this information is useful to you and maybe there are more similarities with you? i am currently not restricting my diet except that i don't eat ANY fruits, totally keep away from hot stuff, sweets, and try to restrict fast foods [but not totally refrain from] - but not necessarily fatty foods that are home cooked - i usually have brown rice everyday but other things change. i have to say, it feels good not having to think about what i am eating - thinking if it has wheat or not [ cause most everything does! i feel you about that ] and i LOVE cheese, so i'm glad to eat it again.

other things: i've started taking turmeric pills, i usually take a lot of fiber pills as i read they help with keeping insulin from spiking when you eat [and thus control sebum production] - i try to take 12x 500mg capsules each time i eat a meal - yea i know, a lot of pills. i also have been taking taurine pills and b-complex , but i just ran out of taurine, will have to buy more tomorrow. i also take zinc. since my sebum production does seem to be waning as evident of my nose, maybe one of these are doing something since i already explained why i reason it's not the septra. [i only started the fiber and taurine thing about 3-4 weeks ago] - or it could just be the mystery cycle thing.

a funny thing: i went to my derm two weeks ago and asked him what he thought the cause of over sebum production was, and he deadpanly said, "well, if you want me to, i could start hand waving and conjecture about the phases of the moon, the tides and things like that causing your acne" i thought that was pretty funny.

what's your current acne like and what's your current regime/routine?

hope you absorb everything, sorry that it's long!

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Inflammation with acne begins even before an actual "infection" occurs. When a pore gets clogged and excessive sebum is trying to get through, that pore is going to experience some swelling beneath the surface of the skin, whether it is noticeable or not.

I think that something is making us prone to inflammation, and our type of inflammation greatly contributes to ailments like acne, dryness, breathing issues, etc... Idk what that something is (genetics, diet, hormones, ?) that induces the inflammation, but I think that it definitely makes things worse.

In my mind, diet's effect on acne is still an enigma. When I did my diet over the summer, I definitely noticed a positive change in my allergies, but I still got mixed results as far as the acne was concerned. Like you have experienced, I've read and agree based on my experience, that a high intake of sugar (fruits, pastries, etc.) at one meal raises your Insulin level, and can lead to an outbreak of acne, or increased acne activity. Starchy foods haven't worked the best with me in the past.

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Inflammation with acne begins even before an actual "infection" occurs. When a pore gets clogged and excessive sebum is trying to get through, that pore is going to experience some swelling beneath the surface of the skin, whether it is noticeable or not. i see, ok.

I think that something is making us prone to inflammation, and our type of inflammation greatly contributes to ailments like acne, dryness, breathing issues, etc... Idk what that something is (genetics, diet, hormones, ?) that induces the inflammation, but I think that it definitely makes things worse. i totally agree with you here, that something about us makes us more susceptible to acne/inflammation. i am leaning towards genetics.... if only because it's another way of saying "plain bad luck" - i mean, if you think about it, everything comes down to genetics. if eating certain things causes acne for us, then in the end our genetics makes us prone to it. there apparently seems to be a correlation from some of the threads i read where people have cystic acne and their dad did also with the scars to prove it.

In my mind, diet's effect on acne is still an enigma. When I did my diet over the summer, I definitely noticed a positive change in my allergies, but I still got mixed results as far as the acne was concerned. Like you have experienced, I've read and agree based on my experience, that a high intake of sugar (fruits, pastries, etc.) at one meal raises your Insulin level, and can lead to an outbreak of acne, or increased acne activity. Starchy foods haven't worked the best with me in the past. mmmm interesting about your allergies. either there was no difference for me during my no-wheat no-diary diet or it wasn't significant enough for me to say "ah ha!" the body is such a mystery - there was a span of nearly two years where i'd run 30 miles a week and i partly believed it'd help with my breathing and sinuses but it didn't. like i said, since i was a kid my respiratory system and sinuses have been pretty weak. not to say i didn't feel healthier, because i did. most of my life i could not run for more than 10 minutes and eventually i built it up to run 1hr+ [i've read that running endurance is more your muscles learning to use the oxygen more efficiently rather than your lungs getting bigger or such - up to debate]. so i am definitely in better shape/strength than before [ i haven't ran consistently in nearly a year but when i do it's not difficult for me to still do an hour - apparently it takes a long time for you to lose your endurance?] - but my sinuses still bother me - not when i'm running though, i breathe through my nose fine - same thing with when i'm in the shower...... i highly suspect it has to do with warm temperature literally expanding my nasal passages...... so i guess i can understand the inflammation playing a part there: ie inflammation causes the tissue in our nasal cavities to close up.

anyway, what sort of routine are you doing now?

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This is really weird. I'd never heard of this website until I stumbled upon it just now and wondering the EXACT same thing about cystic acne and chronically chapped lips!

I also have the same issues, although mine have not necessarily been cyclical--moreso a response to major hormonal imbalances. For me personally, my cystic acne is now the worst it's ever been, and at age 27, that's pretty embarrassing. My lips are also peeling worse than ever, so I sympathize, but I don't know of any direct connection between the two symptoms.

I'm pretty sure my flareup over the past year has been due to excessive androgens (I was diagnosed with PCOS a while back, and it has some icky symptoms.) My oil production is through the roof, which might explain the cysts, but doesn't explain the dry peeling lips.

I know you're a guy, but have you considered having a hormone panel check? Perhaps your own androgens are too high--increased androgen production is a major contributor to acne and higher cortisol levels, which increase inflammation as well. In fact, hormonal issues seem to run in my family, as my brother also had issues with acne due to hormonal imbalance and excess androgens--(maybe it's related to too many BPAs in plastics when we were little?) Anyway, you might want to see if your levels are off, especially since this isn't the norm for you. Just a thought.

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One more thing...the diet is probably a good predictor of your hormone levels and therefore the amount of acne you experience. For example, eating lots of tofu is healthy in terms of protein intake but can actually be quite UNHEALTHY since it's an estrogen mimicker (ie--your body has trouble telling some of soy's metabolites from estrogen and other hormonal equivalents.) This can have both short term (increased cortisol levels) and long term effects (weight gain, inability of your hypothalamus and adrenal glands to function at normal levels due to excess hormone in the bloodstream) if eaten daily for a long time. On the other hand, certain cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower actually "soak up" these excess hormone mimicking metabolites and safely pass them through your digestive system. So there are beneficial "anti-hormone" foods out there, too.

For me, I've noticed I'm eating more sugar than I used to and that can certainly be a major culprit. Sugar, in and of itself, doesn't mimic hormones but can lead (especially for sensitive individuals) to hormonal imbalance via insulin resistance--this comes in all levels, so it doesn't mean you're diabetic or even close to diabetic, but it can be a sign of sensitivity to sugar's effects. (Insulin is a hormone, and resistance to it leads to many MANY other hormonal problems, all of which can lead to acne, or other weird skin cycles...) So I guess I've sort of answered one of my own questions--I need to cut out sugar!!! (so hard to do when you have a sweet tooth and tons of stress!)

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wow this is cool, i'm glad we're getting a few people here about the chapped lips! maybe, hopefully, we'll stumble on something.

I also have the same issues, although mine have not necessarily been cyclical--moreso a response to major hormonal imbalances. are you a girl, ccjackie? i'm guessing yes, but difficult to tell from the name.

For me personally, my cystic acne is now the worst it's ever been, and at age 27, that's pretty embarrassing. My lips are also peeling worse than ever, so I sympathize, but I don't know of any direct connection between the two symptoms. have you had acne for a long period of time, were there any acne-free periods? peeling worse huh? so, at least in your case, it seems like there is a definite correlation? i feel the same way too about having acne at my age. it's never really bothered me too much until now when it's been getting so, so bad that it is affecting my life to a greater deal than ever. on bad days, i feel horrible about going to work with my face in such mayhem, even though no one would ever say anything at work, but it's still something i'd rather not have to do! fortunately i have never experiences mean things from people about my acne but it is still depressing to deal with because you know how drastically it affects your appearance and what people might think but don't say.

I'm pretty sure my flareup over the past year has been due to excessive androgens (I was diagnosed with PCOS a while back, and it has some icky symptoms.) My oil production is through the roof, which might explain the cysts, but doesn't explain the dry peeling lips. i'm not sure what PCOS is but i'll look it up. ok just did, i guess you're a girl then! hah. more body weirdness - my forehead's oil production had seem to be calming down these last two weeks, but today it was soaked in oil! or was it my imagination? grrr, what's the pattern? about the lips again, i think i've always had the lips thing, even when i was acne-free. also, i think, but i can't swear to it, that when i was acne-free i was still OILY, forehead and nose and that sort of thing...... and so if i remember correctly, there is some other factor that leads to cystic acne that is not the oil....... do you get sebum plugs in your pores? maybe it's not so much the excessive oil but something that causes the oil to dry-up, hard and block the pores?

I know you're a guy, but have you considered having a hormone panel check? Perhaps your own androgens are too high--increased androgen production is a major contributor to acne and higher cortisol levels, which increase inflammation as well. In fact, hormonal issues seem to run in my family, as my brother also had issues with acne due to hormonal imbalance and excess androgens--(maybe it's related to too many BPAs in plastics when we were little?) Anyway, you might want to see if your levels are off, especially since this isn't the norm for you. Just a thought. yes, well i've thought about going to a nutritionist and taking another allergy test [maybe my allergies have changed, does that happen?] but haven't gotten around to it.... and i don't know if i want to wait much longer.. i plan on taking accutane in about a month after i get back from a trip. in the meantime i'm taking septra and tomorrow i'm going to ask my derm for a months worth of presidone or whatever you call it, it's a version of cortisone....... which is a version of cortisol i believe...... so that seems really weird that cortisol, which you say causes acne, is used to stop the inflammation that acne causes. i read that cortisone in small doses may shut down some of the androgen production?

say i do have a hormone problem [ which seems like i do and everyone else with acne by definition of what causes excessive sebum production], what treatment would i get, do you know?

thanks ccjackie!

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Yeah I wonder how a hormone test would be done too...

My current regimen consists of benzoyl peroxide 2x a day (Dan's reg) and the Oil Cleansing Method (which I just started Thursday night).

Accutane and benzoyl peroxide have been the only things that have really worked for my cystic acne for the 7 years that I've had it. The BP works on the acne but I really dislike the redness that it causes (which is one of the reasons I started the Oil Cleansing Method, to hydrate my skin).

You should check the OCM method out, there are posts about it on acne.org and ones on the internet. Or maybe you've already tried it, I'll let you know how it goes for me.

For the record I'm a 22 year-old male, a student, really active (workout 3-4x a week), run/play sports, drink and don't smoke...

We've got some similar lifestyle characteristics, wonder if there is a link.

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Yeah I wonder how a hormone test would be done too...

Accutane and benzoyl peroxide have been the only things that have really worked for my cystic acne for the 7 years that I've had it. The BP works on the acne but I really dislike the redness that it causes (which is one of the reasons I started the Oil Cleansing Method, to hydrate my skin). so you acne has come back after accutane? that sucks, sorry. i wonder how often it comes back - it seems like a large portion of people on the boards have done accutane and have their acne come back - but obviously if it works 100% then those people wouldn't be on the board to start with..... how's your acne since accutane, has it lessen at least?

You should check the OCM method out, there are posts about it on acne.org and ones on the internet. Or maybe you've already tried it, I'll let you know how it goes for me. ooo- putting oil on my face? a couple of months ago i was using tea tree oil and jojoba oil on my face daily - i really like the fact that it hid flakey - dead skin better than just lotion - but you sort of feel like you're coated with something all day, cos you are..... anyway, this didn't prevent the major bout of acne that i had - and during my recovery time i stopped using the oils all together, since at the time my skin was SO messed up i wouldn't even touch my face in the shower, i'd just let water run on it, so there was no way i'd be able to coup with the pain and mental anguish of putting oil on my face daily. now i've wondered if it's the oil that clogged up my pores but i have no idea - whatever, i've stopped using it.

this is a bit different though since you wash off the oil. i may try it at some point but don't fee like it right now. i have some tender spot and you may know how painful it can be to wipe even a towel on your face - don't think i should mess with oil and hot water on my face - coincidentally i haven't used a face scrub in maybe two weeks and i don't even scrub my face with my fingers - i'm wondering if manually exfoliating might be counterproductive, despite the billion amounts of products on the shelves stating otherwise. the reasoning being, water on face/scrubbing causes dryness and that's why the oil pumps out more.

yea, let me know how the oil thing works out for you.

For the record I'm a 22 year-old male, a student, really active (workout 3-4x a week), run/play sports, drink and don't smoke...

We've got some similar lifestyle characteristics, wonder if there is a link. yea, it's baffling why we have acne , at least to me since society is always toting about the perks of good health and even despite good diet, plenty of exercise and all that, acne is still present.

how much do you run weekly? i wonder if there's correlation with doing cardio exercises [running] and anaerobic ones [weight training] - i think i might have done less running towards the end of last summer and more weight lifting, and maybe something to do with hormones needed during heavy lifting causes acne.... maybe too far out there.

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oh, baskman, have you tried a sulfur topical? the pharmacist told me it dries out less. i've never even known there were sulfur topicals until a few weeks ago when i found it in a small pharmacy next to my work. i think he's right, about the drying thing, so maybe they'd be less redness,irritation for you. i haven't used it much though admittedly because the one i have is tinted a tan-orange color for some reason so i can't go out with it on unless i put on a SUPER thin layer - i can pile it on at night but in the morning i have to wash it off and that's a bit of a pain especially if it's caked on over tender wounds.

also, where do you get your cysts? i get cysts between my chin and lower lip, nodes on my chin, nodes on my cheeks, cysts on my nose and where my nose meets my cheek, cysts on my T-zone, cysts between my nose and upper lip and cysts on my temples. i hardly ever get cysts/nodes on my forehead - i currently have one on my forehead but haven't had one all year until now. and i never get anything on my jawline or lower cheek.

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Hey,

I've tried a sulfur face wash in the past, and currently just started using it again a couple of days ago.

I used to get my cysts around my cheek bones primarily. Now though, I get smaller cysts and acne in the moustache area and on my chin.

What other topicals are you using right now, what's your routine?

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oh man, i hate the mustache area. i mean, i hate it all, but that is pretty annoying..

i'm not really using any topicals right now, at least not consistently. i used the sulfur a few times for some small pimples and they seemed to have gone away quickly but i can't tell if it was the sulfur or just the septra. i was using it for a big cyst i've got and it's been doing nothing except make the skin peel around the cyst [pretty much like benzoyl would do] so i stopped entirely. my experience is that once a cyst is full blown, there isn't really anything a topical can do and you just have to - sigh - wait it out.

my routine no outright sweet stuff [candy, ice cream, etc], no fruits, try to refrain from grains in any form [but not really serious about it]. i take tons of taurine, turmeric [for supposed anti-inflammation properties], fiber pills [for supposed ability to soften the blood sugar spike], b-complex [ supposedly taurine needs b-complex to work], and i haphazardly take E and D and zinc.

with my face, i just let water run over it while in the shower, or maybe dip it in a sink of water in the morning, but i don't actively scrub it and no soup at all. sometimes i run my hand gently if i think there is a build up of dead skin. i think the no-soup-scrubbing is helping with the flakey look, but i'm not sure, it's debatable [ ie, it could just be that i've been having less activity from the spetra - as i notice that peeling skin is usually the skin covering acne that dead and slowly falls off - so no new acne, no new peeling].

anyway, i've been at my wit's end about this whole thing for a while now, and i can't wait around for all these natural cures that haven't shown any results [no-wheat, no-diary, lots of veggie, etc] - as it's been affecting my life more than it ever has. i don't know if my acne has just gotten very bad [ which it has] or something else, but lately i've been very self-conscious about how i stand out for having all this severe acne - i think in the past it wasn't so much a big deal for whatever reason. but again, it has gotten a lot worse. i mean, it's been non-stop for nearly a year now come the end of this month. i'm going to start accutane in about two weeks, maybe sooner, after i come back from a trip. i'm sort of at the point where, even if i need to take it again, i'd be happy for a few months of relief, you know what i mean?

best to you.

Hey,

I've tried a sulfur face wash in the past, and currently just started using it again a couple of days ago.

I used to get my cysts around my cheek bones primarily. Now though, I get smaller cysts and acne in the moustache area and on my chin.

What other topicals are you using right now, what's your routine?

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Yeah Corbin,

I feel you.

I'm in the same situation it seems- this last year has just been a pain in the ass as far as acne goes. The natural methods haven't worked that well, and like you, I'm at my wits end. Tomorrow I have a derm appt. and I would love nothing more than to get back on Accutane just to give my face and my mind a rest for several months (like you said). Unfortunately, they'll prolly try to make me go on a course of antibiotics before going on the accutane, so I won't get that prescription soon enough.

I know what you mean too, about feeling more self conscious now a days. My acne (nor my scarring) never seemed to bother me as much as it does now. In fact, I remember a phase when acne and my appearance barely had an impact on me at all- and now, it seems it's always on my mind. Pretty messed up- this situation we, and so many other people on this board are in.

Oh yeah, and my lips are still chapped lol...

Stay well, let me know how you're doing. I'll keep updating.

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I have chronic chapped lips and had cystic acne. A lot of lip balms seem to cause acne, too. :( Aquaphor is what I use now. I also exfoliate them with brown sugar and honey.

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How long have you eliminated gluten from your diet? DId you avoid all gluten items- alot of foods have hidden gluten.

I ask because I had bad acne, cystic acne on my back from college until now- almost 8 yrs. I noticed it went away when I cut carbs out of my diet. So I eliminated gluten from my diet and my back cleared- I get break outs when I cheat and eat something I shouldn't. My sister has a clear face as well from eliminating gluten.

if the gluten or dairy isnt the answer, maybe it is another allergen- the cysts are the way your body eliminates the infection (allergies ). It isn't just the acne that is an issue, but constantly putting an allergen into your body isn't healthy either. You might want to invest into a trip to a nutritionist or an allergist rather than a dermo- the dermo did nothing for me.

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Yeah Corbin,

I feel you.

I'm in the same situation it seems- this last year has just been a pain in the ass as far as acne goes. The natural methods haven't worked that well, and like you, I'm at my wits end. Tomorrow I have a derm appt. and I would love nothing more than to get back on Accutane just to give my face and my mind a rest for several months (like you said). Unfortunately, they'll prolly try to make me go on a course of antibiotics before going on the accutane, so I won't get that prescription soon enough.

I know what you mean too, about feeling more self conscious now a days. My acne (nor my scarring) never seemed to bother me as much as it does now. In fact, I remember a phase when acne and my appearance barely had an impact on me at all- and now, it seems it's always on my mind. Pretty messed up- this situation we, and so many other people on this board are in.

Oh yeah, and my lips are still chapped lol...

Stay well, let me know how you're doing. I'll keep updating.

that sucks about your prediction about the accutane - wouldn't the derm. just give you the accutane since he'd know you've already been on it? isn't that reason enough to show that you had it bad enough to get accutane? that'd be my reasoning anyway. how long were you clear before it came back, after the accutane i mean? did you have any bad side-effects? i'm guessing not if you are willing to do it again.

well either way i hope you get on the accutane as soon as you can, if that is what you want.

yea, i don't know what it is about the self-consciousness now a days - i mostly think because it's been SO bad this year, especially october - VERY bad for me. bandages on face bad. i think there are only a few people whose pictures i've seen on the board that had it worse than me. i was at the point where i willing to deal with acne indefinitely as long as it was just a less severe version.

i don't want to jinx anything [ as if acne has to do with jinxing, magic, and stuff, ha] but things have been going pretty well these last couple of weeks for some strange reason since i've been on septra over a month now so it seems funny that it would be working better after such a long time.... my body must be calming down naturally or i am not eating something i was eating before.... *shrug* i am still relatively oily though, and i am still getting huge sebum plugs, particularly on my nose - huge ones that stick out from the pore if you can picture that. also, the last few days my face has been pulsing/throbbing a lot and hottish, pretty much like when it's trying to fight the infection or whatever, except it seems like it's pulsing in places with no acne - so not sure what is going on. maybe it's getting ready for acne, but i don't think so - i think pulsing is usually more of a reaction to existing infections.

i have a week to go before i go to my *trip* and when i come back i'll be on accutane - BUT, maybe this good streak will continue and it'll keep on calming down...... and some miracle will happen and i won't need tane! hahaha like a disney movie or something. we'll see. yea, strange about this septra........

take care.

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I have chronic chapped lips and had cystic acne. A lot of lip balms seem to cause acne, too. :( Aquaphor is what I use now. I also exfoliate them with brown sugar and honey.

hey addie, can you tell us about anything that might show a link between us with chap lips and cystic acne? i think me and baskman are pretty similar in that, at least at some point we were both active [running, weight lifting], have tried some of the natural cures [ no-wheat no-dairy for me,] and they don't seem to work very well if at all.

do you mean you get acne on your lips? or that the balm somehow causes acne on your face? how would it do that? somehow i think that's a stretch, but i really have no reason for or against it except intuition. i use a lot of chap stick daily for my dry lips but i think i've always been doing that, for the last few years at least, and during that time i had a couple of years where i had very little or no acne even.

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How long have you eliminated gluten from your diet? DId you avoid all gluten items- alot of foods have hidden gluten.

I ask because I had bad acne, cystic acne on my back from college until now- almost 8 yrs. I noticed it went away when I cut carbs out of my diet. So I eliminated gluten from my diet and my back cleared- I get break outs when I cheat and eat something I shouldn't. My sister has a clear face as well from eliminating gluten.

if the gluten or dairy isnt the answer, maybe it is another allergen- the cysts are the way your body eliminates the infection (allergies ). It isn't just the acne that is an issue, but constantly putting an allergen into your body isn't healthy either. You might want to invest into a trip to a nutritionist or an allergist rather than a dermo- the dermo did nothing for me.

mmmm. well i tried my best - during my no gluten diet i'd look at labels [such a pain all the time] and didn't eat anything with wheat in it. there are a LOT of things that don't have wheat but there will be a disclaimer saying that cross-contamination is possible, and i was a bit lax with that because that is just too much food to restrict.

either way, i'm back to eating wheat and i, right now, looking better than i was during the no-wheat diet [i am taking septra, while i was on the tetra antibiotics during the diets] - i'm pretty damn sure it's not the wheat - it maaaaybe the grains in general, but it's pretty damn difficult to live without grains, i tried it for a week and ended up calling in sick at work and feeling feverish. apparently there are people who cure their acne eating just veggies and meat but apparently my body can't handle that. that whole thing is a slippery slope too since modern medicine basically says that you should limit your meats cos of the saturated fats and i'd imagine those who are eating veggies and meats diet are eating a lot of meat to make up for the lack of grains - i can't imagine many people would just eat veggies only, how could they get enough energy? you'd have to eat like a cow.

about cysts trying to eliminate an allergen, i've read that too - and that also conflicts with the general idea that acne is because of blocked pores [i have a reason to believe that is true in my case because i have tons of huge, sebum plugs]. but yea, i've been meaning to go to nutritionist - i took a allergy blood test once and the doctor didn't say anything about me being allergic to a food, though i was in there for hayfever so maybe he didn't test me for that, i don't know -

have you had allergy testing?

also, your acne STARTED in college? that's pretty unusual, isn't it?

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I have chronic chapped lips and had cystic acne. A lot of lip balms seem to cause acne, too. :( Aquaphor is what I use now. I also exfoliate them with brown sugar and honey.

hey addie, can you tell us about anything that might show a link between us with chap lips and cystic acne? i think me and baskman are pretty similar in that, at least at some point we were both active [running, weight lifting], have tried some of the natural cures [ no-wheat no-dairy for me,] and they don't seem to work very well if at all.

do you mean you get acne on your lips? or that the balm somehow causes acne on your face? how would it do that? somehow i think that's a stretch, but i really have no reason for or against it except intuition. i use a lot of chap stick daily for my dry lips but i think i've always been doing that, for the last few years at least, and during that time i had a couple of years where i had very little or no acne even.

I'll get back to you on the rest of the questions, because I'm studying for finals, but no, I don't think lip balm causes acne on the rest of my face. I've gotten a lot of acne on the very rim of my lip, where the skin already is slightly pinkish before it's my actual lip. I used to get cysts there. Now, at most, I get a couple of blackheads.

I've had dry, chapped lips since I was little (little!) kid. I first got moderate acne from ages 10-20. Then, it seemed to trail off. Then, I got severe acne at 22 due to medication, which is now under control. So, I'm thinking there could be some crazy genetic link, like your skin just is prone to not working so well, but it doesn't have to be linked with chapped lips temporally.

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I had clear skin until I was in college- after a period of cutting out carbs it just blew up. My family has gluten problems, but they didnt surface until they were older. Apparently, gluten usually surfaces after building in your system for years.

many people say they have side effects such as headaches, etc. after cutting out the gluten- their bodies are reacting to the elimination. Maybe that is why you had a fever after cutting out the gluten. It also took me a few weeks before my skin cleared after cutting out the gluten.

Gluten is in more foods then you think- like voodka, gummie candies, soy sauce, etc. It is difficult to cut out in the beginning, but after a while you find breads, pastas and other foods that you can eat. In the long run, it is healthier for you and you are not putting an allergen in your body. Also, many people have stomach problems (gas, ibs ) from gluten - which can lead to other health problems.

Not sure if this is the issue, but its worth eliminating for at least 1 month to see the effects.

I never was tested for allergies, but my sister was tested and it came up negative- and her nutritionist said she had a gluten allergy, which don' t always show up on allergy tests bc they test for celiac not necessarily a gluten intollerance.

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that sucks about your prediction about the accutane - wouldn't the derm. just give you the accutane since he'd know you've already been on it? isn't that reason enough to show that you had it bad enough to get accutane? that'd be my reasoning anyway. how long were you clear before it came back, after the accutane i mean? did you have any bad side-effects? i'm guessing not if you are willing to do it again.

Corbin,

Unfortunately the derm that I go to is really cautious about prescribing Accutane- which has really pissed me off in the past, and still does. I'm the one with the severe acne that has to walk around with this face everyday- just give me what works and stop wasting my time.

His theory is that after you go on Accutane (I've been on it 2x, the last dose was four years ago), antibiotics that may not have worked for you before have a much better chance of working after being on Accutane. So, in order for me to go on Accutane, I have to be on an antibiotic (or two, etc.) for about two months to see if that works first. In other words, he looks at Accutane as a last resort. It sucks too because the old derm I had would just give out Accutane fairly leniently, which was great for people in my position. But, he retired.

I'm looking into switching derms now mainly for this reason.

I hope Accutane works out for you if you go on it, it always has been great to me lol. I've never had any bad side effects from it except for really chapped lips and some mild dryness (nothing that lotion can't handle).

Also, what nationality/heritage is your bloodline? I'm Irish, Scottish, English, and French. Wondering if there's any correlation with the dry lips & skin, acne...

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