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humarojo

The Vicious Cycle. Tale of a girl who has tried it ALL

I am a 20 year old caucasian with an olive complexion. My skin is combination, with deep cystic and nodular acne + patches of small bumps on my forehead, cheeks, upper lip and chin. This is my acne story, up to now. I would very much appreciate feed back. I guess I just need the ear or eyes of someone who can empathize.

Like most, I started breaking out in middle school. My freshman year of highschool I began to get very inflamed blotchy patches of nodular acne on my forehead. I went to a dermatologist and was prescribed Benzaclin and Menocycline. I was also instructed to use Nuetrogena Acne Wash with Salicylic Acid.

I come from a very ambitious and critical family, and that initial battle with acne was horrible for me. I couldn't leave my room. I couldn't even face my own parents because even the idea of them looking at my skin made me have an anxiety attack. Vanity was not so much the problem as was the high standard they had set for me and I set for myself. I felt that acne made it appear that I wasn't taking care of myself, or that there was something wrong with me.

Fortunately, this regimen seemed to work, and although I got some discoloration along the sides of my mouth and cheeks, it wasn't all that noticeable and could be easily written off to the amount of time I spent in the sun.

My acne remained under control for the next couple years. My junior year in high school I began to develop the nodular acne along my jaw line. At first it wasn't so intimidating- every couple of weeks I'd get 1-3 zits. My dermatologist prescribed retin-A to use at night, which simply did not agree with me. Even after 5 months of use, my skin remained red and itchy and the acne did not improve. I discontinued use on my own. Not surprisingly, I began to speculate that I had a hormonal imbalance because I noticed that I would break out during ovulation and at the onset of my period. The summer before my senior year, I decided to try birth control.

I wasn't so concerned about my health then, beyond being thin, and although I played sports regularly, I drank coffee everyday. I also smoked cigarettes and pot, and occasionally used drugs. The summer before my senior year I decided to try Yaz. I had some really awful side effects happen to my body the first couple months that only worsened as I continued taking it. Almost two and a half years off that dam pill and my periods are only starting to become regular again. However, at the time it seemed to do wonders for my skin, (and boobs) and I also began loosing weight. So much weight, in fact, that by the time I finally came to my senses and decided to quit taking Yaz 6 months later, I weighed 95 pounds. I am 5'7".

But the whole Yaz experience is another story.

Finally all of the crap I had put my body through began to catch up with me. It started with chronic urinary tract infections. I speculate now that this was due to dehydration. In the course of 2 or 3 months, I went through 6-8 anti-biotic treatments. Suddenly I began noticing small bumps all over my forehead and cheeks, next to my nose. Because of the anxiety issues I had had with Yaz, I had stopped drinking coffee and cut back on my cigarettes. Now I stopped both completely. I also decided to experiment with different face washes, as the salicylic acid in the Nuetrogena wash seemed to be too harsh for my skin. My dermatologist prescribed Duac topical gel, a milder Benzoyl Peroxide creme, and suggested Cetaphil face wash. She also told me to try and find a good moisturizer and SPF. Of course, to this day I still cannot moisturize without breaking out.

Cetaphil only made my skin peel and become more red. It also did not seem to wash off even the Bare Minerals makeup that I was using at the time, unless I scrubbed vigorously with a wash cloth. Duac did little to nothing for the small bumps, although it did prevent any white heads or nodules. I began using a mild organic scrub/face mask 3 times a weeks and Olay Oil Free face wash twice a day.

Fall of 2007 I moved to Brooklyn, NY where I attend school. Having grown up in the fairly eco-friendly city of Austin, TX my entire life, the pollution in the big city had an immediate detrimental effect on my complexion. Seemingly out of nowhere, huge, painful cysts and nodules that would not drain for at least a couple weeks began to erupt on my cheeks, jawline and forehead. I picked up smoking again just to try and cope with the stress it was causing me. The small bumps persisted and for the first time I began to develop fine lines and dry patches. That winter, my first ever, my skin began to flake uncontrollably. My lips and eyes were also chapped. I was afraid to moisturize too much for fear that my breakouts would worsen. I cut back on smoking once again, but found that this time I was very much addicted. I began to have total social anxiety and cut myself off from everyone around me. I was totally alone in this huge, new place with recurrent UTI's and this mysterious acne problem at the bottom line. Of course, stress and anxiety only made things worse. I took drastic measures to improve my diet. I began drinking "green drinks" and ate salads for practically every meal. I began to drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day or more. I quit caffeine, with the exception of an occasional green tea.

Still nothing.

Finally, last summer I made it back to Austin for a few weeks vacation. I gave in to the infomercials and decided to order Proactive. I visited a new dermatologist who prescribed Tazorac cream and a new antibiotic. By this time I was a bit skeptical of the antibiotic but took it anyway. To my dismay, I only experienced mild improvement from those treatments.

I met my current boyfriend around this time and he enlightened me to fasting and hollistic ways to cleanse my body of impurities. A great recipe that he introduced me to calls for 6 lemons, 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, Cayenne pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon and Honey (to taste) in a huge pot of water. He had recently recovered from a mysterious skin disease on his own, and advised me to use the pulp straight from the Aloe Vera plant on my break outs to soothe the inflammation and help heal scar tissue. He also suggested Olive Oil to moisturize, and jojoba oil. Olive oil initially, has always, and continues to make me break out if I am tempted to try the smallest amount, however I have had some success using jojoba oil on my dry patches, and would certainly recommend it. I also started dry brushing. On my body only at first, and then on my face. It did help somewhat, but there was always the risk that I would over-irritate my skin.

I stopped visiting my dermatologist and quit using all of the products that were prescribed or over the counter. I quit smoking. I began mixing up my own scrubs using sugar/salt, honey, AC Vinegar, Aloe Vera, and Cinnamon. I would also disinfect all of the my deep, sore pimples with a little Hydrogen Peroxide on a Q-tip, and began doing yoga, riding my bike, and going to the sauna almost everyday. Although my condition did improve somewhat, I was still unsatisfied with the itchy, rash like condition of my face. I tried to hide under make up, but after a years of dealing with this problem it did little besides cake up over the persistent scars and drastically enlarged pores... not to mention the dry spots and discoloration. I also tried using a sulfur mask, which was initially very helpful, but that began to irritate my skin very early on.

The best remedy I tried during this period was acupuncture. I began seeing an acupuncturist when my UTI's came back with a vengeance. The results were incredible. In 5 treatments (although admittedly 400 dollars poorer), my skin healed almost completely! I began to sleep again and did not experience a break out for over a month. During that time I also slackened my dietary restrictions, although I continued to take a multivitamin and fish oil. I ate chocolate, cheese and wheat as I pleased and without it having any effect on my skin. My mood improved. I went to a party or two. My relationship improved. I got my life back. But the results didnt last and I did not have the money to continue getting an adjustment every couple weeks. I continued using my homemade scrub but decided to experiment with some over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide creams at the advice of this website. The creams appeared to be helpful at first, however, alike every other over-the-counter treatment I'd tried they had no effect whatsoever on my skin within one month. I was devastated and desperate after that small taste of what it was like to have clear skin...

I went to the pharmacy and purchased several face washes: Clean and Clear Acne Wash with Benzoyl Peroxide, Cetaphil, and the same Nuetrogena wash I had used all those years with success. I tried Clean and Clear first with absolutely no results. I used an entire bottle and a half over the course of at least a month. Next I tried Cetaphil, but was scared away by the redness and peeling that I had seen before and didn't use it for very long. Finally I went back to Nuetrogena which, although initially irritating, proved to be the most effective.

In the beginning of May 2009 my Sophomore year of college ended and I decided to return to Austin to try and recopperate my frazzled nerves and weary skin. I began making my own juices with various fruits in the morning and veggies in the evening, and mixing in ground flaxseed and drinking Dr. Schultze's Superfood powder. I continued doing yoga everyday and visiting the sauna at least twice weekly. I began eating raw cloves of garlic to prevent infection. Along with the Salicylic Acid soap, I began using Riz Rice exfoliating powder from L'occitane (WHICH IS INCREDIBLE) three times a week, and diluted tea tree oil all over my face twice daily. I also began to use a Calcium Benzoate mud mask with Apple Cider Vinegar once weekly. I purchased literature on overall health and began studying the mechanism of chronic disease as well as a multitude of treatment options including ayurvedic, vibrational, herbal, and nutritional healing. I quit sugar, all caffeine, starch, and all gluten. I started taking vitamin B complex, Zinc and Copper, Calcium and Magnesium, and a live pro-biotic. I finally worked up the courage to quit wearing makeup. That helped the irritation more than anything. I began going to a chiropractor several times a week to work on my back problems. I prayed, and continue to pray everyday- despite how terrible it probably seems to some that I pray for my skin to heal.

I began to see a small improvement... but after all of this that I have been putting myself through in the last 3 months... the last 6 years... now that my summer is almost over... I've relapsed in the past two weeks. The improvement is minor and I am tired of struggling. Yesterday I went to the mall to the origins counter and when the salesperson began to look at my skin and make suggestions, I had a panic attack. I practically ran out of the mall, gripping my arms so tight around me that my nails dug into my skin and I started to bleed. In the car on the way home I began to weep uncontrollably. Acne enters into my every waking thought... every choice I make be it food or even the way I lay in bed. Tomorrow I am going to the dermatologist again and requesting Accutane. I will have to start another birth control, likely Ortho-Tri-Cyclen.

I am scared and I am just exhausted.

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Oh poor you! Thats a really sad story, at the moment I have the biggest most horrible cysts that literally take up the entire of my chin, started out as about 7 little pimples, they grew into 3 cysts, then joined into 2, and oh my god the pain is horrible and ugh! They are so enormous too.

I am trying Niacin tomorrow, people have been completely clear off it, I am willing to try anytthing

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Wow it seems like you have gone through so much. I defintely feel for you! My acne is also horrible I've been doing alot of research on this medication called spironolactone. I guess it helps with hormonal acne. I havent tired it so I cant say it works but Im waitng to get paid from work to go to my doctor and see if i can get it this medication. It helps decrease oil production! I would look on the reviews. There are good and bad but read for yourself! There are alot of reviews on this site or just google "spironlactone and acne". Good luck I hope you skin gets better!!! :D

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That's horrible, I am really sorry to hear what you have been through! I have to suggest though, regular exercise may help you a lot. Maybe the toxins now want to get out, but you just need to do some exercise and go to a steam room or sauna after. I wish you much luck!

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Hey.

Just to let you know, I have been taking 500mg Flush Niacin for the past day and a bit, and I have seen huge improvements. Maybe you want to try it out? It is literally a miracle cure :P You see SOME results after the flush. The flush is bad, but after a few days you adjust and flush no more, make sure to get the flush kind.

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I normally read the posts here, but never reply and share my own sometimes successful remedies. After reading your story, I couldn't help myself, but create an account and give you some advice.

Firstly, I should make it clear that my acne is not very bad and as a doctor once described my acne, he called it "mild acne". Even that, I think he was overrating it. Needless to say, I got my acne when I was around 14 like most guys and it was pretty bad until around the age 20. However, at the time my acne was not the so called deep cystic type, which I have now that take a week to come to the surface of my skin and another week just to cure. At the time, my acne consisted mainly of little red bumps that appeared over night and disappeared within the next two days, but it was speard almost all over my face. After age 20, my acne almost disappeared, except for three small areas on my face: the small area on my nose/forehead just between the two eyes, and the two small areas on my chin just below my lips at the two corners of my mouth.

I have break-outs regularly in the problem areas described above. I have tried BP 2.5% and salicylic acid, and some other over-the-counter medications to help cure my painful huge cystic acne. They didn't help and finally I decided to do the following:

1) Use an anti-oxidant formula called NT-OX, manufactured by Jamieson.

The formula consists of two types of Vit A, Vit E, Vit C, Selenium and some other anti-oxidants. I take two pills per day (in the morning) and I have been taking them for about a year now. I think, I better go see a doctor soon so that I don't get a Vitamine A poisoning, but I think at the doses that I take, it is pretty safe.

2) I have completely stopped taking warm/hot showers. I only take cold showers. I always noticed that right after getting out of the shower, I had a couple of pimples at the locations where there were no pimples before taking the shower. I knew that it had something to do with taking shower, but I didn't know that it has something to do with taking warm/hot showers.

3) I have been using a topical prescription gel (Stievamycin) for the past 6 months, but in all honestly, I am not really convinced of its effectiveness.

My acne is more or less under control, but still I get these break-outs out of nowhere. I have tried to pin-point it to a food or something that I do, but I have concluded that it is pretty random. Although, I have realized that working on a hot and sunny day that causes me to sweat too much, which is similar to taking a hot shower, might lead to a break-out in my problem areas.

So, here is what I suggest you do:

1) Stop taking hot/warm showers, going to sauna or doing anything that makes you sweat profusely, especially on a hot summer day.

2) Find that anti-oxidant formula that I mentioned above and start taking it, of course, after discussing it with your doctor.

3) Ask for a prescription for stievamycin gel (strong) if you haven't used it before. You never know, it might work for you.

4) Get on Niacin and Zinc as some posters suggest in here after discussing it with your doctor.

5) Give the treatment 1-2 months.

6) Ask me if you have any questions.

7) Good luck and remember: Never give up hope!

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I normally read the posts here, but never reply and share my own sometimes successful remedies. After reading your story, I couldn't help myself, but create an account and give you some advice.

Firstly, I should make it clear that my acne is not very bad and as a doctor once described my acne, he called it "mild acne". Even that, I think he was overrating it. Needless to say, I got my acne when I was around 14 like most guys and it was pretty bad until around the age 20. However, at the time my acne was not the so called deep cystic type, which I have now that take a week to come to the surface of my skin and another week just to cure. At the time, my acne consisted mainly of little red bumps that appeared over night and disappeared within the next two days, but it was speard almost all over my face. After age 20, my acne almost disappeared, except for three small areas on my face: the small area on my nose/forehead just between the two eyes, and the two small areas on my chin just below my lips at the two corners of my mouth.

I have break-outs regularly in the problem areas described above. I have tried BP 2.5% and salicylic acid, and some other over-the-counter medications to help cure my painful huge cystic acne. They didn't help and finally I decided to do the following:

1) Use an anti-oxidant formula called NT-OX, manufactured by Jamieson.

The formula consists of two types of Vit A, Vit E, Vit C, Selenium and some other anti-oxidants. I take two pills per day (in the morning) and I have been taking them for about a year now. I think, I better go see a doctor soon so that I don't get a Vitamine A poisoning, but I think at the doses that I take, it is pretty safe.

2) I have completely stopped taking warm/hot showers. I only take cold showers. I always noticed that right after getting out of the shower, I had a couple of pimples at the locations where there were no pimples before taking the shower. I knew that it had something to do with taking shower, but I didn't know that it has something to do with taking warm/hot showers.

3) I have been using a topical prescription gel (Stievamycin) for the past 6 months, but in all honestly, I am not really convinced of its effectiveness.

My acne is more or less under control, but still I get these break-outs out of nowhere. I have tried to pin-point it to a food or something that I do, but I have concluded that it is pretty random. Although, I have realized that working on a hot and sunny day that causes me to sweat too much, which is similar to taking a hot shower, might lead to a break-out in my problem areas.

So, here is what I suggest you do:

1) Stop taking hot/warm showers, going to sauna or doing anything that makes you sweat profusely, especially on a hot summer day.

2) Find that anti-oxidant formula that I mentioned above and start taking it, of course, after discussing it with your doctor.

3) Ask for a prescription for stievamycin gel (strong) if you haven't used it before. You never know, it might work for you.

4) Get on Niacin and Zinc as some posters suggest in here after discussing it with your doctor.

5) Give the treatment 1-2 months.

6) Ask me if you have any questions.

7) Good luck and remember: Never give up hope!

Hey!

Thankyou for your advice. I stopped going to the sauna and taking hot showers and I did notice an improvement! I read this book on Candida Albicans and am now convinced that yeast is probably one of the main culprits in my acne/cystitis/menstrual pain nightmares. That also explains why avoiding hot and moist places is really helping both of us. I've been taking a B Complex vitamin for a while and I find it as helpful as anything that's been prescribed by doctors. The book I read also suggests taking selenium, zinc, vitamin C, E and A (and a handful of others) in order to resuscitate the immune system. The problem with most B-Vitamins and selenium is that they are often derived from yeast sources... so I've gotta find something synthetic I guess.

Have you tried taking Acidophilus or Biotin? I find eating raw cloves of garlic is really helpful as well.... (you get use to it. and i hear koreans often eat them... : )).

Anyway just wanted to say thanks,

Megan

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