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sachapw

Suffered for over 12 years now and sick of it.

All right, time to make a post. *takes a deep breath* :boohoo:

I'm 22, female, and get every kind of acne on my face, neck, shoulders, chest, and back. I've had acne since I was 10 and other than a brief stint (you'll see below) I have never had it fully under control.

Started seeing a dermatologist at age 10. Seemed crazy to some people in my family but my mother was concerned for my general psychological well being, not just my skin, and I wanted to go. During the next couple of years, I tried everything that was available, Differin, Retin-A, creams, pills, scrubs, spot treatments, combinations of any of the above, you name it. I tried avoiding wash cloths in case my face was sensitive to the rubbing/roughness, tried making sure I used cloths to make sure I got all the dead cells off. Then, I finally took the plunge at age 13, and took Accutane. 6 months of hell and worrying that oops I missed one pill what if that screws up everything. (I'm terrified of needles so the monthly blood tests didn't help either).

Then, 6 months of... wow... I'm... clear... and my scars are going away... wow... BAM!

It's over.

It's back.

Full force.

Since then I've tried countless prescription and over the counter meds, creams, pills, 3 step programs like Proactiv and Murad. Retried others. Went to an aesthetician for about 9 months doing all kinds of peels and microderm, you name it. It helped some, and the woman was very personally invested in me-- knew my mother and I could barely afford seeing her for one treatment a month-- so she'd sneak in a 2nd one while I was there when she could, even a third if they were gentler. I've had straight sallicylic acid put on my skin in an increasing dosage and let me tell you, I could handle quite a bit. I wish I could remember the highest percentage she managed to put on my face, but it was high, didn't burn me that bad, yet I'm amazed my face didn't fall off.

I even got a consultation for laser treatment which is both horribly expensive and not exactly a cure all. You're dealing with doing it every 9 months, then you have to deal with recovery time. (By the way, I was apparently a prime candidate for that... of course.)

I've been on two kinds of birth control: Orthotricyclin, which I took for several months and NEVER saw results, and TriNessa, which took several months for me to see anything at all, but it did help get rid of most of my cystic problems around the jaw area. Then, a little over a year ago, I fell off the pills. Why? No more insurance. My parents couldn't even offer any little bit of help, they felt awful about it. My skin has been getting progressively even worse since then.

I have cystic spots all up and down my jaw, some on my chin and cheeks, and sometimes above my lip. Forehead is more rare (thank god) but it still happens. I also get them on my neck and sometimes in my hair on the back of my head close to my neck. (For the record, I change shampoos regularly because they tend to stop working on my hair after a while and none have seemed to increase or decrease the amount of acne I have. I even switched once specifically for that reason, to see if I got results, to no avail.)

The acne on my chest and back isn't quite as bad as it used to be, but it's still constant. I am absolutely LITTERED with scars. At least on my face I didn't used to get more than darkened areas that would fade (while any and all scars on my body just stick around forever, even with treatment). Nowadays, I'm beginning to see deeper and deeper marks on my face and I'm terrified for my scar situation to get any worse.

On top of all of this, I've used many natural treatments and home remedies, internal and external. Tried cutting certain foods out of my diet that are known to commonly spark acne through allergens (like dairy) to no avail. I use tea tree oil, but find it doesn't work if I use it regularly, only every now and again.

I know I have bad cell turnover, and I've tried to use products to help that, without much luck. I can have an amazing skin treatment done and still have way too much dead skin coming off. I have combination skin, and when my skin gets dry it takes FOREVER to get back to where it isn't flaking constantly. It's doing a lot of that lately, so I tried to up my moisturizers and cut back on anything I was using that might be sparking it.

I will be back on insurance soon, so I can get back on TriNessa, and hopefully that will help with my cystic problems, but it will take a LONG time before I see results. I'd like to get an allergen test done but due to the whole, a pinprick can scar me and I'm phobic of needles thing, a blood test-- less sensitive and conclusive-- is my best option.

If it helps you understand my skin's makeup at all, along with my acne scars, I have a good number of bug bite scars along my arms and legs from when I was a kid and lived in Texas (FREAKING MOSQUITOS!!!) that should've healed and at least faded more ages ago. My bug bites turned into deep tiny craters with just one scratch, I swear (I'm sure as a kid I scratched too much and that didn't help).

ALSO!

> My acne never got worse during my periods until the past year or so since I've been off TriNessa.

> I took dance lessons from age 6 until I was 20, and the whole sweat thing/getting rid of toxins, never helped. I didn't notice any jump in my acne getting worse after I stopped.

> As far as genetics go, my mother still gets acne (she's in her 40s) though it's not as bad as mine and had a lot of trouble with it growing up, and apparently my biological father had a lot of trouble too. No one else in my family seems to suffer from it or suffer rarely/little.

> Makeup-wise, I've used lots of things to try to irritate my skin less, liquids, powders, everything from Neutrogena to Maybeline. Found that Physician's Formula mineral makeup works for me, but it still has some things in it I've heard have been linked to some nasty long term problems if you use it for several years so I'd like to get away from it. Or, you know, STOP having to wear makeup at all.

Fighting off the acne is only going to be half the battle, then I'll be dealing with the scars, but I'm hoping to find my regimen one of these days. My current scrub, a Roc product specifically for helping with skin cell turnover, makes my skin so smooth... but I'm not seeing any results in the clearing of my acne or cell turnover. Currently too flakey to use tea tree oil, used to have luck with the Neutrogena spot treatment I had but not anymore, and I have a repair serum and 2 moisturizers I switch off. None seem to help/hurt so I think as far as post medication, I have some ok products.

To say the least, over the years I've suffered severe psychological trauma dealing with all of this. It doesn't take a lot to get me upset over the topic and I'm one of those people who, even when emotionally struck by something, it takes a lot to get me upset and truly crying. Get me talking about my acne for a few minutes and that's all it takes to get me fully depressed. I go without makeup at home, even though it embarrasses the hell out of me in front of my housemates (all strangers, it's almost like a dorm really), and it doesn't help.

Lately, I've gotten worried because my makeup isn't covering as well as it used to (no matter what kind I use-- I've tried switching out brands) and while I've been able to continue performing and start modeling with well done makeup, if my makeup's not going to help the camera hide my flaws, how can I keep working and making my art?

ANYWAY. I finally joined the board to get feedback. And if you made it through that entire post, I commend you and thank you.

P.S. And if you're going "How can it be that bad if you're able to model?" it's because all the photographers so far have been friends who are willing to look past my issues to give me a start to my portfolio... plus! the magic of retouching. I was only recently approached by two glamour photographers who specifically wanted to shoot me, and of course, it's right when my skin is getting worse and worse and FAST. I've managed to put off any shoots until after all the holidays but then I'm going to have needed to find at least a makeup solution. It's taken years of practice to get good at covering up this mug.

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yeah definitely get the blood test for allergies. If nothing else helped it really may be an allergy. I for myself for instance got a soy allergy and the only thing to avoid swellings below my skin (which could be taken for cystic acne but they go away after a day or 2) is to avoid all soy products.

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Hey

I feel for you. I'm 27 and my acne has been constant since I was 15 or so. It started out small then got real bad-cystic and severe when I was around 23-25. I found out that the culprit that added to the flareups was milk products. I'm lactose intolerant but have always had milk products anyway since they gave me discomfort but not an allergy. I also was tested for gluten sensitivity but that came back ok. I recommed that the first thing you do before paying for expensive tests is to cut out dairy products-be careful they are hidden sometimes!-for a month. If you acne doesn't clear up, then slowly take out gluten and wheat products. Good luck!

BTW-the ONLY thing (other than diet changes) that has helped my acne is Carley's Clear and Smooth. It's all natural and you may want to give it a try. :surprised:

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WOW.. I'm so sorry to read about your struggle.

I'm willing to bet my left arm that your acne is entirely hormonal... I doubt that any change in diet or whatever would do anything for you... I really don't believe in any of that nonsense. I know people who live off of fast food and have skin softer then a babies bottom.

1. Have you had blood tests done to check testosterone etc? You might benefit from something like spirolactone (I didn't see if you mentioned taking it).

2. Do you see a gyn????? I would check into seeing if you have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or something like that. Do you have abnormal hair growth on your upper lip, chin, fingers or toes, etc??? Do you have heavy / or abnormal periods? I was looking into this for myself, and my gyn wanted to do exploratory surgery which I am not interested in at this point in time, but for you, it might be worth it.

3. Scars: once your acne is somewhat under control, look into peels. You can do at home peels and they are perfectly safe if you know what you are doing, read directions, and use a "lunch time" peel (i.e glycolic acid, TCA peels). They hurt like you wouldn't believe but they do help.

Have you tried DHT blockers such as green tea pills, saw palmetto etc?????

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I haven't had tests of any kind done on me in years do to lack of insurance. Can't pay for it. JUST got back on insurance, so when my card arrives I'll be looking into who I can actually see. (It's complicated, I live in one state, parentals live in another, one of them managed to get us on her insurance finally and there's a short list per state as to whom you can see-- And we're on opposite ends of the country, just so you know, road trip for tests isn't an option for me.)

I've always had ridiculous periods except when I was on TriNessa. Then they got more under control. It was like going through hell if I didn't have any ibuprofen or if it didn't help. I've done the diet thing-- specifically dairy, to no avail. No abnormal hair growth. Always had problems with my girl parts being a [insert profanity of your choice here] to me, but I'm still a virgin, so ah, I've never even had to do a pap smear. Gyn's aren't a part of my life yet-- I'm sure they should be but I haven't seen the need to seek out one considering my insurance situation up until this point.

I'm looking into getting tests done if my insurance can cover at least most of it. I barely make enough for my rent and loans so... money's a huge issue right now.

I've never tried things like green tea pills specifically, but I've done intakes of the stuff they generally give you-- but I'll look into them since I'm sure there's more to them. Peels haven't done much for my scarring in the past but I plan to keep trying. Gotta find some way, right?

Thank you all for taking the time to respond, it means a lot to me.

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No real advice I'm afraid but

{{{{{{{ HUGS}}}}}}}}}}} to you, I really hope that something will help you soon!

One little thing that I find helps with emotional trauma and overwhelming feelings is EFT (emotional freedom technique) AKA tapping. The hypnotist Paul McKenna's version is great for getting panicky or overwhelming emotions dissipated - his CDs and books are really great too.

Sorry if that sounds a bit wacko and off the point, but if something can help you to feel a little better psychologically, it really just makes things fall into place.

The only other thing (and I only have mild-moderate, but tinkered with a lot of products and treatments when I was much younger) I just feel trying all these different products and treatments on your skin could make things worse and make it harder for your skin to recover, JMHO. Gentle as possible and soothing and natural as possible I find is best for me. Sometimes even just washing my face at all when I have active spots seems to disturb and aggravate them, cos the skin's own protective acid mantle is getting stripped off - once the protective layer is disturbed it's even easier for the bacteria to get to work.

Have you tried Honey? I belive that Manuka honey (is pricey though) is meant to be very good for wound healing and antiseptic.

Really hope things look up for you real soon!

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Here you go, read this post.

http://www.acne.org/messageboard/Clear-30-years-t221906.html

It has given me some new hope. I am 34 years old and a 20 year sufferer of acne. Mainly on my torso, but through my teens and 20s I struggled with it on my face. I know my diet isn't very good. I have some sort of complex that controls my diet. I know it sound completely stupid, but I just can't make myself eat veggies, the mere feel of them in my mouth makes my sick. I have been like this all of my life, my mother says even when I was a toddler I would gag when I was given veggies. So I eat rather poorly. But, I have tried many times in the past to eliminate sugars and fats and to little to no avail. I recently(yesterday) went to the dermatologist and he prescribed Azithromycin 3 times a week. I came home and searched and found this site. I am going to fore go the script and look into the Zinc. I have read many times over the years of the healing power of zinc but never applied the principle to my acne problem.... don't know why. If it doesn't help me, then I'll try the prescription. I am a believer that man was created from the dust of the ground(the Bible account) and there for all that we need for healing can be found naturally. I know that a lot of folks will disregard that, but what do you have to lose ? I can feel the pain and frustration in your post, and my heart aches for you. My acne is mainly like I said on my torso(back, and shoulders, arms) so I can cover my problem rather easily, but it's a struggle none the less. I don't pretend to know as much about this plague as most do, but I will try this zinc regimen and if it works, I'll be back in touch with the board to share the story ! God bless.

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Have you tried Honey? I belive that Manuka honey (is pricey though) is meant to be very good for wound healing and antiseptic.

No, though I have tried putting some pretty straight up ultra natural stuff on.

WydGlyd: Yes, please let me know how that goes!!

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Sorry to double post but just a little update.

Getting a LOT of cystic stuff on my neck now, and a lot of it doesn't seem to want to heal. Having to wait a while til I can get in with any doctors so I'm still stuck without anything, including birth control-- hoping to try out Yaz.

My forehead is also starting to break out-- something I've actually been relatively free of in light of the rest of my face.

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Try to use dermalmd blemish serum. I’ve suffered from adult acne all my life and nothing has worked.. until now. Dermalmd serum not only works but also doesn’t dry out my skin and the smell is actually quite nice. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without this serum.

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