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I had normal teenage acne through high school till about age 19/20. My skin was then pretty much flawless (without doing anything mind you) for about a year or two. The summer I turned 21 I was traveling around Europe, living out of a backpack, not showering too often and definitely not using a specific product regimen, and I still remained clear.

However, that fall, I seemed to suddenly breakout almost overnight in cysts on my chest and shoulders. It has calmed down considerably since then, now at age 23, but I still get these cysts on my chest that pop up occasionally and takes months to fully fade away. I have tried all sorts of prescriptions and OTC products with mixed results.

For a while I was so obsessed with my diet and lifestyle factors thinking this was somehow the cause, but it just didn't make sense because my skin had been perfectly clear when I was younger for that 1-2 year period. All these other inconsistencies were confusing and frustrating me as well. There was a moisturizer I used to use all the time that I had no troubles with, and suddenly it was making me break out.

Now I find what really helps me the most is exfoliation with a cloth in the shower, and I have also been using Dan's AHA (although not for long enough to really know if its working). I never exfoliated my body in the past, but didn't have body acne really.

So a couple of questions:

1. Is it possible that skin that once required no exfoliation suddenly needs it to not have acne? I know skin changes or whatever. And if so, is this normal? Is it like: "my acne is CAUSED by a slowed down natural exfoliation process, and the treatment is manual exfoliation", or is "the slowed down exfoliation process is a symptom of something else, and the washcloth is merely masking it?"

2. Is it possible for acne to be caused by a single event, i.e. a single infectious event? And are there some cases of acne that can ONLY be treated by an antibiotic?

My next main course of action is trying some liver flushing. I hear this helps with acne on the forehead, which I've somehow got pretty bad (rest of my face is mostly clear though...) We'll see how that goes...

Thanks for bearing with me if you got through that...

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