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Mandelic Acid Worked for Me

I haven't been reading the boards for months now but I thought I should come back and report my success.

I had really frustrating hormonal acne (often cysts) and lots of blackheads and whiteheads that wouldn't go away. I tried supplements (DIM), hormone treatment (progesterone) and even modifying my diet. That helped but didn't resolve the problem.

Here's what worked for me. Can't say it will for others.

*Gave up on the supplements - helpful but not something that was a good long term solution nor did it solve the problem

*Tried Green Cream. Made everything worse for 3 months. Ditched Paula's Choice BHA for the Neutrogena stress relief BHA which worked immediately and put PC to shame. No more stickiness or lack of absorbing, plus my skin started to clear. I use the Stress relief in the morning

*Added in NuCelle 10% Mandelic Acid. I only use once a day because it is so expensive. I use it at night because it makes my skin a little red for the first hour.

*Weaned off retinol. It made my skin glow but it wasn't clearing me and I gave it 9 months to work. I decided to switch over to Aqua Glycolic night cream as an alternative. That is working well. Lost the glow but now I don't have cysts. Rather have a cyst free face. The retinol was provoking cysts for me.

*Started using the Olay daily thermal regenerist facial. This really helped with blackheads and whiteheads and shortened the lifespan of cysts.

Obviously, my routine is not for sensitive skin or those who are on a tight budget. I am going to try retinol again and maybe alternate nights with aqua glycolic but I probably will not go back to green cream.

The key for me was chemical exfoliation. The mandelic acid really helped with this as did the Olay thermal scrub (high in glycolic acid) and the Neutrogena Stress relief. Physical exfoliation really irritates my skin. I use jojoba oil to remove makeup and then finish off with the Alpha Hydrox foaming cleanser. That cleanser is amazing. Not so keen on the Aqua Glycolic cleanser or toner. The AG cream is worth it though.

Also, the thing that really pushed my skin into my current state of clear, soft skin is I purchased Argan oil to use on my hair and skin. That stuff is amazing. It helps control sebum production for me. I am no longer an oil slick. I use this twice a day after my serums and before my lotion/cream.

The results for me - nasty whiteheads on chin - GONE. Cysts - only 1 or 2 every 6 to 8 weeks and they don't last as long. I was at a point where for 2 years I had 2-3 active at all times. Regular breakouts down to monthly hormonal changes and minimal at that. Large pores with obvious blackheads on nose and cheeks are now clear or minimized. My skin hasn't looked this good in over 10 years.

What I learned? Some people produce more sebum than others. The trick is to control that without trashing your skin. I happen to like products that do double duty and help with acne and aging concerns. Also, my routine relies on the basic concept that exfoliation plus moisture helps acne prone skin and that has worked for me.

I am using three acids people! Glycolic, BHA, and Mandelic. But, it works and my skin is soft and clear.

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Congrats on experimenting and finding what works for your skin .... sounds like you've really got things under control.

You might take a look at the Vivant Vitamin A products (Derm A Gel, Exfol A, Exfol A Forte), if you want to try for that retinol glow without using actual retinol.

The Vivant line is based on Retinyl Propionate, which many people find less irritating than retinol. Exfol A and Exfol A Forte also contain hydroxy acids, but it sounds like your skin likes acids.

I use a couple of other Vivant products. Just so you know what to expect, they don't look, feel, or smell like cosmetics ... much more medicine-y. Good stuff, though. The website is www.betterhealthyskin.com

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Thanks for the tip LionQueen. I will look into Vivant. I really, really wanted to like Green Cream. I think I am one of the few who just doesn't respond well to it. I finally realized that level 3 was best for me, but even that caused too many breakouts.

By the way, if it wasn't for your posts on mandelic acid, retinol, etc. I would never have made it to this point. My skin went from being bumpy and full of flesh colored bumps and blackheads to a brand new complexion! So a big, big thank you to you for all your research, personal experiments, and posts.

I can't say enough good things about the mandelic acid. It was after using it that I began to notice within days my pores clearing out and shrinking. Also, it is more effective for me than BP ever was at dealing with mild inflammatory acne.

I really am glad for this board. I hope that more people can find their own regimen for clear skin.

Congrats on experimenting and finding what works for your skin .... sounds like you've really got things under control.

You might take a look at the Vivant Vitamin A products (Derm A Gel, Exfol A, Exfol A Forte), if you want to try for that retinol glow without using actual retinol.

The Vivant line is based on Retinyl Propionate, which many people find less irritating than retinol. Exfol A and Exfol A Forte also contain hydroxy acids, but it sounds like your skin likes acids.

I use a couple of other Vivant products. Just so you know what to expect, they don't look, feel, or smell like cosmetics ... much more medicine-y. Good stuff, though. The website is www.betterhealthyskin.com

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I can't be sure, of course ..... but I am guessing that you have some sort of sensitivity to retinol and the cysts were the result of irritation. It happens. Some people have a similar reaction to adapalene (Differin).

So my suggestion would be to avoid retinol products and even retinaldehyde (Diacneal). But my understanding is that the Vivant products can be tolerated by many people who can't use retinol.

Best bet would be to get a sample, I think, if you decide to venture into that realm.

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I have a sensitivity to retinoids too - Differin really did a number on my skin, and my skin didn't respond very well to Green Cream either.

I use the Vivant products that LQ mentioned. I really like them a lot and they didn't flare up my acne the way the other retinoids did. To avoid irritation related flare-ups, I still find that I need to go slowly with them though. I started with the Derm A Gel, which is the mildest in the vivant line. I use it nightly with no problems. I am trying to bump up to the slightly stronger Exfol-A - I am using it every 3rd night in place of the Derm A Gel.

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