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Long battle with acne, new game plan

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I posted this on the general board but figured I'd post here too

Hello all I am fairly new to the boards and wanted to say hi to everyone and introduce myself. First let me say my heart goes out to everyone as I’ve been suffering with acne since I was 14 years old and I’m 38 now. Still fighting the fight.

Over the years I have tried every kind of topical, antibiotic, and other modalities including IPL laser, BCP, Microdermabraision, cortisone shots, retinoids, you name it. I have done everything EXCEPT accutane. I’ve done tetracycline, doxycyclne, bactrim, azithromycyn, cephradroxil, retina A, differin gels and creams, Duac, sulfacet, tazorac, proactive, sulfur wash, clindamycin, azelex.

After all of this here I am at 38 y/o and still battling it.

I also have an extremely sensitive system and as a result I’ve had some severe reactions to the following:

• Tetracycline: Rash, itching, sneezing, hives, facial and body swelling

• Bactrim: Drug induced hepatitis (toxic liver as a result to being allergic to the sulfa in bactrim)

• Doxycycline: severe intestinal issues: was misdiagnosed with Chrons Disease, later found out the doxy caused ulcers in the small intestine and inflammation, fungal infections, etc and it killed all the “good bacteria†in my body taking months to build it all back up again.

As a result of my drug sensitivities 3 of my dr’s (internist, obgyn, eye dr.) have all forbidden me from ever attempting accutane. I would be too scared to anyway after all this!

I would classify my acne as varying from mild – moderate for months to a time and then BOOM out of nowhere it will become severe, like 10-15 cysts instead of the 1-3 I would normally get.

98% of the bumps and whiteheads are all located around my chin and upper lip. My skin ranges from extremely oily to extremely dry depending on product usage and weather changes.

As I mentioned I am currently recovering from a bad breakout and just finished up back to back Z packs out of desperation b/c they seem to be the only antibiotic that doesn’t make me sick. Still, I can only take them short term (one week) and even then I get so scared something bad will happen. Like I am tempting fate by taking them.

So – that is my sad story. Like so many it is affecting me emotionally and impacting my daily life. I basically go into hiding and skip social engagements when it gets bad like this. I’m afraid to go to the gym b/c I won’t leave the house w/o make up and I’m afraid working out in make up will make it all worse. Vicious cycle. As a result of no exercise, I start to feel like more crap.

Now for the hopefully soon-to-be positive news.

I just got back to from seeing my derm. I purposely scheduled an HOUR long appointment and went in with a list of questions and concerns. We went over my skin care routine, history, concerns, option, etc. etc you name it. The scheduling desk was pissed at me but the Dr. told me I was very smart to schedule an extra long appt so they could give me the time I need. Luckily my derm cleared her lunch schedule and saw me for a good long time. Keep in mind I’ve been seeing the same derm for the last 20 + years and normally they see you for 5 minutes write up a couple useless scripts and send you on your way, nothing changes.

Long story short (Wow, sorry this is so long) we came up with the following game plan:

Skin Care Regimen


• Spironolactone .25mg (this was one of the only medications I’ve ever tried that worked in the past and didn’t give me terrible side effects, just occasional headaches and spotting between periods)

• Wash with Cetaphil cleanser or just water

• Glycolic pads astringent (every other day to start) to control oil

• Finacea (for both acne and the red scars plus i have a little rosacea)

• Moisturize with Purpose

• Make up application (all oil free of course)


• Spironolactone .25mg

• Wash with Cetaphil cleanser

• Moisturize with Purpose

• Duac duel treatment (contains topical clindymycin 1% and BP 5%)

• Differen gel

My hope is that I can tolerate the Spiro again like I did the last time and that it doesn’t do anything weird like give me 3 headed babies if I get prego down the road.

I am trying to be optimistic (hard to be after dealing with all this crap over the year) and hope instead I will be blessed with some of the positive side effects of spiro like lighter periods, longer hair, and bigger boobs! Could I be so lucky?

In addition, I just came back from the hospital and had some blood work to check my testosterone levels, which I suspect may be on the high side due to my oily skin and hormonal breakouts. If that is the case I’ll give Spiro a try, keep some benedryl with me at all times, and pray for the best.

Lastly, after reading so many positive things about mineral makeup, I decided to give that a try (instead of layering on the liquid foundation, cream concealer, and pressed powder everyday just to look presentable).

Anyway, thanks for listening and I’d appreciate any feedback or words of encouragement. It's nice to connect with others who get what you're going through. All of my family / friends have perfectly clear skin. Not to say they wouldn't support me, but I even try to hide it from them b/c I don't want to burden them when they have worse things going on....plus it's just too embarassing.

I’ll plan to update my progress on the spiro and above regimen.



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Wow-those are quite the reactions you've had to meds. Good luck with your new treatment. After 2 round of accutane (at 24 and 27) I still get hormonal breakouts. NOt as bad as before, but they're still there...definitely keep us updated on how you're doing-I'm really interested in the sprio! Does it really make your hair grow longer? I want ti just for that!


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