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Hi everyone. I've been on the forums for awhile now, just reading without signing up. I reached a sort of breaking point today, and I'd really like some advice.

I suppose I'll start with some background info:

At around 14 years old is when I started breaking out. Not badly, just a forehead covered in little bumps and a pimple on my cheek every now and then. That was when I started trying out a myriad of products, like Proactiv, Clean and Clear, etc. I was never consistent with them, so I never saw great improvements, but I could cover my forehead with my bangs and was content for the most part.

Then, in June 2008, I was 15, and got my period for the first time (tmi, sorry.) Then, in July I moved to a warmer climate. After that my face just exploded. I don't know if it was because of my period, or the climate change, or a combination of the two.

I started using the Obagi Clenziderm system very consistently, morning and night. It cleared up really well, but I began to get cysts mainly on my chin, and at one point there was 8 on my chin all at once. My cysts go away pretty quickly though, lasting about a week maybe. I was clear except for the persistent cysts, but I was frustrated with Clenziderm for making my skin so dry and scaly, so I tried a different cleanser: Dermadoctor's AHA/BHA cleanser. Its reviews claimed it cleared cystic acne well, so I tried it. It worked all right for the first two months, and then I broke out really badly along my lower cheek area, on both sides. The hyperpigmentation is still there today from that breakout, but is fading.

Since then, I went back on Clenziderm, but left out the BP step that was drying out my skin.

I went to the dermatologist about 1 1/2 months ago, and he put me on birth control (Zovia). I haven't gotten any deep cysts since I've been on it, but a lot of little whiteheads and pustules have started to appear, as well as small pimples under the skin. Every pimple leaves hyperpigmentation, no matter how big or small.

Now to my breakdown today..

I got a new macbook in the mail today, for college which is fast approaching in August.

Foolishly, I opened up photobooth and my face popped up on the screen. I didn't even recognize myself. You could see every hyperpigmentation mark, every pimple; I looked like a monster. I thought my skin was doing all right until then. I don't want to sound dramatic, and I know photobooth isn't the most accurate representation of your skin, but still.

My mom came home from work then, and I usually can vent to her, so I told her what happened. Instead of saying something like, "It's okay, we'll find something that will work, I'm here for you." she says, "I don't know what to tell you. Nothing will ever work for you so you might as well just live with it."

I was seriously shocked. That's probably the harsh reality of things, but at least try to be supportive, you know?

This post is already ridiculously long, but now I'm just looking for advice.

Should I keep with the birth control for a few more months, and see how that works?

Should I switch to a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil, since switching to a regular shower gel worked for the acne on my back?

Should I go back to the dermatologist, or try to find another dermatologist? I don't have insurance on top of it all, so going to any doctor is expensive.

I seriously appreciate if you read all of this mess. I just needed somewhere to unload it all.

Thanks :)

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Hi everyone. I've been on the forums for awhile now, just reading without signing up. I reached a sort of breaking point today, and I'd really like some advice.

I suppose I'll start with some background info:

At around 14 years old is when I started breaking out. Not badly, just a forehead covered in little bumps and a pimple on my cheek every now and then. That was when I started trying out a myriad of products, like Proactiv, Clean and Clear, etc. I was never consistent with them, so I never saw great improvements, but I could cover my forehead with my bangs and was content for the most part.

Then, in June 2008, I was 15, and got my period for the first time (tmi, sorry.) Then, in July I moved to a warmer climate. After that my face just exploded. I don't know if it was because of my period, or the climate change, or a combination of the two.

I started using the Obagi Clenziderm system very consistently, morning and night. It cleared up really well, but I began to get cysts mainly on my chin, and at one point there was 8 on my chin all at once. My cysts go away pretty quickly though, lasting about a week maybe. I was clear except for the persistent cysts, but I was frustrated with Clenziderm for making my skin so dry and scaly, so I tried a different cleanser: Dermadoctor's AHA/BHA cleanser. Its reviews claimed it cleared cystic acne well, so I tried it. It worked all right for the first two months, and then I broke out really badly along my lower cheek area, on both sides. The hyperpigmentation is still there today from that breakout, but is fading.

Since then, I went back on Clenziderm, but left out the BP step that was drying out my skin.

I went to the dermatologist about 1 1/2 months ago, and he put me on birth control (Zovia). I haven't gotten any deep cysts since I've been on it, but a lot of little whiteheads and pustules have started to appear, as well as small pimples under the skin. Every pimple leaves hyperpigmentation, no matter how big or small.

Now to my breakdown today..

I got a new macbook in the mail today, for college which is fast approaching in August.

Foolishly, I opened up photobooth and my face popped up on the screen. I didn't even recognize myself. You could see every hyperpigmentation mark, every pimple; I looked like a monster. I thought my skin was doing all right until then. I don't want to sound dramatic, and I know photobooth isn't the most accurate representation of your skin, but still.

My mom came home from work then, and I usually can vent to her, so I told her what happened. Instead of saying something like, "It's okay, we'll find something that will work, I'm here for you." she says, "I don't know what to tell you. Nothing will ever work for you so you might as well just live with it."

I was seriously shocked. That's probably the harsh reality of things, but at least try to be supportive, you know?

This post is already ridiculously long, but now I'm just looking for advice.

Should I keep with the birth control for a few more months, and see how that works?

Should I switch to a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil, since switching to a regular shower gel worked for the acne on my back?

Should I go back to the dermatologist, or try to find another dermatologist? I don't have insurance on top of it all, so going to any doctor is expensive.

I seriously appreciate if you read all of this mess. I just needed somewhere to unload it all.

Thanks :)

Aww man, I'm sorry your mom responded that way. Sometimes people don't mean what they say when they've had a bad day or something else is on their minds.

Keep with the birth control as it did seem to stop the deeper cysts. There are other kinds, too, I don't know much about that one and its effectiveness in regard to acne.

Switch to a gentle cleanser for sure! That alone helped my skin amazingly, threeish years ago when I found this forum.

There are so many options for over the counter stuff; I'd try some of those first for a few months each before you go back to a derm or a doctor, considering that you haven't insurance.

You still have many options to pursue. Again, please try each one for a few months before you decide it won't work. Benzoyl peroxide as used by the acne.org regimen is quite effective for many. Some people (like me) clear up on glycolic acid alone. Or a beta hydroxy acid, salicylic acid. AHAs include lactic, glycolic, etc.

Just start reading around the forums and I know you'll find many good ideas. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but there's a cure/remission here for you somewhere. Take time to let the information sink in, think about it, then ask questions you need to; we're here and understand and are quite happy to help. :)

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Thank you so, so much. Any kind of support just makes me feel so much better.

Yeah, I'm sure she was stressed from work, and my constant skin complaints don't help, I'm sure.

I might try Cetaphil (the one for oily skin I assume would be best for me). Or I might just order the regimen supplies, if my parents would allow me. The BP in my last system did work for me, but I wasn't moisturizing on a daily basis, so that's what probably caused the flaking. Plus, I believe it was 5% and not 2.5%.

Thanks so much again. I'll look around the forums for info on gentle cleansers, etc.

:)

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I myself use Cetaphil for Sensitive skin. My skin is very oily. The cleanser cleans just fine and I like that it's also hydrating. My skin never feels like taut parchment paper after cleansing with Cetaphil.

I also recommend taking warm, not hot showers. Hot showers can be irritating to acne-prone skin. In general, people with acne do have sensitive skin even if their skin doesn't react to things strongly; the tendency to acne does however cause acne reactions if something irritates or scratches the skin (like scrubbing cleansers with sharp, jagged edges such as St Ives Apricot Scrub...ie, don't use that!)

If you do decide to try the regimen, I'll cut and paste my 'blurb' on it as the most important links are in it (oh so conveniently and with no need for tons of typing!):

Start here for the Regimen step-by-step directions.

Please be sure to read the What to expect page as that helps you see what's normal when you're starting out with the Regimen.

The Biggest Mistakes page will help you determine whether or not you should add that product or change up something with regards to the Regimen.

If you continue to have trouble, Having Trouble? will guide you through a series of questions that will help you pinpoint areas of concern with your use of the Regimen.

There's also a series of Frequently Asked Questions that address the most frequent questions that regularly come up.

Here's a helpful list on Finding Supplies. You can use Dan's products or find the needed gentle cleanser, 2.5% Benzoyl peroxide product, and a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer at a local drugstore.

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My sister and I have suffered from really bad acne. I went on accutane after I tried literally everything else. My sister chose not too, being a female I believe the side affects can be more harsh. She went on birth control and now has almost perfect skin, it really is amazing so I would say stick with that for awhile. Good Luck...I think it will work for you.

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wow. your macbook must have an awesome camera! My skin looks perfect on my laptop's crappy webcam :P

and like someone else said you should try the regimen. Maybe try changing your diet/taking some vitamins to see if it helps. Eliminating cow milk and taking zinc significantly helped me.

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wow. your macbook must have an awesome camera! My skin looks perfect on my laptop's crappy webcam :P

and like someone else said you should try the regimen. Maybe try changing your diet/taking some vitamins to see if it helps. Eliminating cow milk and taking zinc significantly helped me.

haha, I know right? I was all excited to take pictures with my webcam so that it would blur my skin a bit, but then I was like, "since when do laptops have HD cameras?"

I ordered the regimen, and I'm pretty excited. I'm going to try to cut back on dairy as well. I've tried taking zinc previously, but it actually made me constipated (again with the tmi)..which I read could happen if you take it in large amounts. I was only taking 30mg a day though, so I don't know.

Thanks for the reply :)

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you should try not eating starchs , sugars and oils( olive oil is good). its a little hard to do but my acne cleared up and i feel healthier, make sure to eat protiens( fish is the best, always eat at the begining of the meal) and lots of greens. also make sure to drink LOTS of water. btw got it from the acne perscription but you dont have to read it, it only helps with meal plans and supplements. good luck!

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you should try not eating starchs , sugars and oils( olive oil is good). its a little hard to do but my acne cleared up and i feel healthier, make sure to eat protiens( fish is the best, always eat at the begining of the meal) and lots of greens. also make sure to drink LOTS of water. btw got it from the acne perscription but you dont have to read it, it only helps with meal plans and supplements. good luck!

I tried this kind of a diet and my skin has drastically changed 3 months later (and I had moderate acne). It really did clear up.

I'd also recommend seeing if any veggies/fruits break you out. Oranges did it for me. I've heard some people can break out from bananas, kiwis and strawberries. And some people can break out from squash and potatoes. If you're not allergic to apples, you can try eating 2 of those each day-I find them really helpful. Pineapple is also one of my favorites. I also like eating carrots, broccolli and sugar snap peas. Having a bowl of cabbage (or pre-shredded cabbage mix) is really good too. Apparently the sulphur in it is good for the skin.

I also get by drinking lots of cranberry juice. It can be an acquired taste, but you can drink other 100% juices too, if your skin will allow it.

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DEFINITELY try a new cleanser, i have somewhat oily skin and used cleansers for "oily" skin and man they should outlaw those cleansers they strip oil and moisture from your skin. Dry+oily skin = breakouts like crazy. Plain oily skin doesnt cause that many breakouts, I have this one bar soap for skin that works something amazing for some reason, it lathers and cleans well but doesnt over dry my skin. Drinking tons of water helps my skin stay supple.

For the macbook i got a tip for you straight out of hollywood......vasoline. put a tiny bit on your finger til your finger is just slightly slippery and rub it on the cam itll soften it like a crappy cam will and just use the crappy laptop as an excuse (i use thinkpads =P mac drools)

oh yea my mom makes comments like that too, she said i looked like a monster with my acne however my mom is retardedish so shes not very smart... at all. My friends mom is an alcoholic yet way smarter than my mom but id rather have retarded stupid than drunk crazy.

Edited by Cabron
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This may be a little late, but have you tried the cleanziderm normal to dry system? I don't really have dry skin myself, but I was worried that the normal to oily system would dry me out too much. I had some systic acne before, but the system worked for me in about a month and now everything is gone! The cleanser is super gentle and the BP is strong enough, but not too strong which may have been your problem.

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