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I've browsed these forums for a while, and thought I would share my own experiences with acne over the past few years.

I'm a 24 year old female, and for the first 20 years of my life, I had absolutely no skin problems. Perhaps in the summer I'd get some minor clogged pores, and occasionally I would get something larger in the week before my period (which I would always spot treat with some drugstore BP cream), but I never considered it "acne".

I can trace when I first started having problems to a switch in cleanser. For as long as I can remember, I had been using L'Oreal's Pore Scrubbing Cleanser (I'm not sure if it's still around, but I used it because the little beads it in felt great on my face). I washed my face around three times a day at this point, since I was in college and would typically hit the gym mid-day before going out and partying at night. My skin had been a bit dry that winter, and the L'Oreal cleanser felt just a bit too harsh, so I decided to go to Sephora and browse for new products. I picked up Murad's Soothing Gel Cleanser, which I was pleased to discover hydrated my skin wonderfully, and completely took away any and all redness. I was in love!

Two weeks later, I broke out in dozens of little comedones on my face. Typically, I freaked out and over compensated - ran back to the drug store, purchased my beloved L'Oreal. However, nothing seemed to help (my skin just got more dry!), and furthermore, I missed the soothing, pampered feeling that Murad's line gave me. Defeated, I ordered Murad's Clarifying Skin Cleanser in the hopes that it would give me that "spa" feeling along with clear skin.

Things seemed to work for the next year or so. I didn't use the entire Murad system - I was too scared of purging - and just used the Clarifying Cleanser twice a day. However, after a year, my acne started to come back. It would only be a spot or two (constantly on my face, moving around), but these guys were bigger and had heads. For months I persisted, until finally, at the suggestion of my derm, I gave Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser a shot.

This was, by far, the worst mistake of my life. At first, things were great. My skin was already a bit dry and irritated, and the Cetaphil was moisturizing and wonderful. I had always used BP creams to spot treat (something my mother taught me when I was a kid, for the occasional pre-period break out), which I continued with Cetaphil. I honestly hated using the stuff. I was used to cleansers that had more grip to them, and this slimy gunk just felt wrong.

Well, my instincts were right. Two months later, I had huge whiteheads and cysts all over my cheeks and jawline. It was like a complete transformation. I won't go through the psychological effects this has on a girl in her senior year of college, but I will say that looking in the mirror was like looking at a different person.

I graduated from college around this time, and ran home to hide in my parents' house for the summer. As soon as I got home, my mom handed me a Pro Activ kit - sheer mortification. But you know what? Nothing could be worse than this. So I tried it. And it worked.

I was 90% clear within a month. By mid-summer, I was back to the occasional comedonal flare-up. However, at this point, my only worry was the residual red marks on my cheeks. Two years later, they are still there, albeit greatly faded and not very noticeable. Yes, I have been using Pro Activ for two full years, and I can honestly say it's completely saved my (social, mental) life. I know the bad rep it gets, and maybe it's just that my skin reacts better to exfoliation and BP, but I couldn't be a greater advocate for it.

My regimen has not changed in those two years. I wash my face morning and night with the ProActiv Cleanser, and follow with the Toner, Cream, and the Oil-Free Moisturizer with SPF. I supplement this system with the Refining Mask once a week, sometimes twice. I only need a little light foundation in my T-Zone - the same brand I've been using since I was a teenager, Origins' StayTuned foundation in Angel (I am very, very fair) - along with mascara. I do occasionally get pimples (for example, with the onset of spring I've been getting two or three little comedones on my cheeks), but never anything noticeable, large, or long-lasting. I cover these with BeneFit's Galactic Shield concealer, which I like because it's shaped like a pen and is therefore very easy to get exactly where I want it.

As for lifestyle: I do use birth control pills (I have since high school) - OrthoTriCyclen (brand, not generic). My sex life has no effect on my skin, so I'm extremely skeptical about any connection between orgasms and acne. I try to keep a clean apartment (I live in NYC), but, like any 20-something, I also like to go out and party when I can, so the cleanliness of my place can only be described as a few steps up from college and many steps down from my pristine parents' house. I wash my sheets and towels once a week in hypoallergenic detergent, and sleep on my side. My diet is what I would describe as a mix of mediterranean and asian-influenced. I'm a big red wine drinker, love my fresh meats, cheeses, and veggies, although my take-out usually consists of sushi. My diet (and avoidance of processed foods) primarily focuses on keeping me thin (sushi instead of pizza, a glass of gewurztraminer instead of soda), not for my skin.

And that's my story, thus far. :)

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Yeah proactive was great for me,I used it for 2 years and then went on accutane which I dont know why the fuck I did,and developed all these side effects along with sensitive skin which now I can't use products such as proactive

But when I used it,it cleared me of acne and more importantly completely killed my seb derm.

Proactive will kill seb derm completely

People who usually say negative things about proactive usually have not used it for more then 2 months,steady.

and if you skip a day you will most likely wake up with a pimple or two but apart from that it worked great for me when I was 15-17.

I still did have breakouts from time to time but it was really manageable and I didn't stress it.

And murad is the nastiest shit ever,the mods should pin a negative murad topic and everyone should write horror stories from there experiences.

Some members have pictures to prove it,it is truly unbelievable

And the 1-2 people who do say it works out of tons and tons are most likely employees because one member had a name like "shkjcsjh" and had one post on acne.org raving about it.

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Awww this just made me happy to read because I just started using Proactiv! I started hmmm...Tuesday of this week so wish me luck! :D

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