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clairebear6292

Trial and Error - let's work together!

Ok, so I am have absolutely had it with this. Its ruining my life and it literally consumes my every thought. EVERYTHING in my life is suffering because I am obsessed with my skin...my school work, my friends (wait no, I don't have any of those anymore cause I never leave my house), my family, etc. I want it GONE!

So here's my theory: Everyone in this forum has severe acne (cysts or nodules or both). If we work together and tell each other what we're doing, products we're using, etc. then we can use trial and error to get rid of this!

Alright I'll go first.

18 y/o female. 130 - 135 ish lbs.

Climate: four seasons: currently winter. Acne is usually worse in the summer because of humidity but has been terrible and its the beginning of winter now :(

Acne type: Moderately severe, but more on the severe side. (mostly nudular, occasional cysts).

Topicals: Retin A Micro, Epiduo, Atralin.

Medication: Antibiotics: Doxy - took for 2 years plus did somewhat improve and keep it at bay but switched to Erythromycin because I was becoming immune to Doxy. I am currently on Erythromycin 400mg i take 3 times a day. 8 hours between each.

Regimen -

Morning: Wash face with Neutrogena Redness Soothing Face Wash, wait about 20 minutes for skin to dry then put some Epiduo on center of forehead, nose (just the bottom part where its really oily), somtimes on chin unless its really red or dry, same with cheeks. (they're so sensitive! Ugh!) Then wait about 5 minutes for this to dry. Then apply a thin layer of Milk of Magnesia all over face. (I have EXTREMELY oily skin) Wait for this to dry, then sort of brush off the white residue left over. Apply Meryl Norman Ivory skin tone foundation to spots and general redness areas. "Spot" my zits with Alamay light/medium stick concealer. Then dip a large brush in Clinique loose powder and go over whole face. If I can still see my spots really bad I'll dab a little extra powder on them. Finally, leave, but not without my oilblotters!

Night: (usually anywhere from 7 to 10): I try to do it around 8 though.

Wash face with Neutrogena redness Soothing Face Wash. Use heating pad on face for lesions (derm said this kills the bacteria in them) for 20 minutes - ish. Then use Retin A Micro gel .1 on whole face except for right beside mouth and avoiding the eyes and dry, peeling spots. Use Atralin .05 gel on sides of mouth every other night or so. Spot treat with Neosporin for scabs, Neutrogena Spotting gel and Neutrogena Sore pimple spotting gel depending on what type of zit it is, and Milk of Magnesia for painful nodules. Then go to bed and PRAY! No more of this please!!! :(

Other possible factors: 64 oz. of water per day almost always, diet is for the most part "healthy," trying to stay away from dairy although cheese gets me sometimes, no more milk at all, trying to eat more veggies and less fried. Haven't exercised much since I quit playing tennis but I used to be a runner. I haven't seen much difference in my skin from when I exercise and when I don't, although I know I should... going to try to start getting back into it over Christmas break maybe?

Welp, that't about it. Sorry for writing a novel but I really think that if we can all just work together and tell what's been good for our cystic acne and what's not worked, and other possible contributing factors that we can all beat this! Let's do it! :clap:

Als as a side note: When I visit my derm again in January I am considering asking for birth control as you an't become immune to this! Not really sure if my acne is "horomonal" its usually just as bad 24/7 as it is the week before but maybe not. It can't hurt right? Shew, here we go!

Please post your regimen, gender, type of acne, etc!

Also, I have a "sulfa" allergy. So that means no sulfonamides for me. (Bactrim, Septra DS, Spirononlactone, ect.

Edited by clairebear6292

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First of all, your topicals are not suitable for your type of acne. You currently are taking Epiduo and Retin-A, you should only be taking one of these if any at all. These types of topicals bring your acne to the surface, causing what looks to be a sever breakout. My suggestion would to get Duac topical gel for the nighttime, and Differin topical gel for the mornings so you wont be dried out.

You acne seems to be more hormonal then anything, so do not worry about your diet as much as you may be. Lastly, I suggest getting Cortisone injections for your larger bumps. Do not hesitate to schedule and acne shot appointment if necessary. Please contact me if you need any help!

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My acne was at bay for a while but now it's being a big bummer. Not sure what my 'trigger' is. My period doesn't start for another two weeks. I break out in smaller pimples usually and then about 1 or 2 persistent and routine cysts on the same exact places on my chin every time - not sure how to stop them.

I am 24. I take Ortho-Tricyclen.

For supplements I take a multi-vitamin every other day. I'm not a big eater and don't eat very unhealthily. Exercise moderately.

I haven't been treating my cysts or acne with anything - for a while I was 'clear' and just washing my face as usual, not touching my pimples at all and they would fade quickly. The past two weeks has been a real bummer since that isn't happening anymore.

I use a face wash by a brand called Vivienne, then their moisturizer or Eucerin Redness Relief.

At night same thing.

Sometimes I try to spot treat with the proactiv sulfur mask but honestly it's like my skin is immune to everything - I've tried BP, salicyclic acid (which now burns my face very badly), tea rinses, manuka honey, lactic acid peels, apple cider vinegar, and Epiduo. I even got desperate and bought a Zeno (did not work). So now I have no idea what to do. I bought the Origins Spot Treatment yesterday and it has been getting rid of the smaller pimples.

I believe my acne is mostly hormonal so I have no idea how to curb it - it's been severe this entire year. I previously had none-mild acne that was completely hormonal, now my acne is all month. As a result the entire texture and surface of my face has changed resulting in enlarged pores, dully, ruddy looking skin and sagging with uneven tone and it looks 'dried out'. At 24. I look like a 45-year old with sun damage.

It's been tough to hold on to what's left of my obliterated self-esteem.

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The milk of magnesia is a bad choice as it is alkaline. Your skin is naturally acidic and is healthier if you use acidic products.

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Also, I have a "sulfa" allergy. So that means no sulfonamides for me. (Bactrim, Septra DS, Spirononlactone, ect.

Haha, lovely, same here.

With regard to cystic and nodular acne, I can only say that eliminating dairy was a clear factor, and I am currently wondering if the scope of my negative reaction to dairy extends to all iodine-containing foods. This reaction doesn't seem to be "unheard of," but I'm kind of surprised about how little it's mentioned on the forums.

Other than that, I have had absolutely no success treating cystic/nodular acne. It's admirably persistent and has no regard for any topicals I've used.

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Dahlia that's great! Im actually allergic to sulfur (the pills i've taken give me rashes) like septra, and spiro. Do you think that possibly applying sulfur topically wold be different? or should i just stay away fro sulfur i general.?

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Dahlia that's great! Im actually allergic to sulfur (the pills i've taken give me rashes) like septra, and spiro. Do you think that possibly applying sulfur topically wold be different? or should i just stay away fro sulfur i general.?

Sulfur is not sulfa. There is no cross-reactivity. http://www.itmonline.org/arts/sulfa.htm

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Wow really? Thanks wynne! I'm honestly very impressed. I was about to tell you that I'm vehemently allergic to Septra Ds which is a sulfonamide which in turn I thought was a "sulfur" drug but thanks to your article I learned that it is a sulfa drug appropriately labled as a sulfonamide. However it does contain sulfur, but the reason I'm allergic is not because it contains sulfur but because of the way my body reacts to the property of the compound. Wow i'm so impressed! This is definitely something to think about. I will definitely be going to get some acne free sulfur spot treatment for my nodules as soon as i can! :)

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Hi Clairebear --- I'm also totally fed up with this! It's all I ever think about (sigh) and I'm ashamed of the time wasted on this disease. But what can I do? I try to ignore it but as a woman that's basically impossible...cysts are painful and so hard to cover with makeup so I'm constantly reminded that I have them. Plus its embarrassing to look like a teenager at my age!!! This website has been a lifesaver...it's really good to share my frustrations. Here's my info...

59 yr old female 125-130#

Climate: 4 seasons - currently winter

Current status of skin: 1 small pustule healing on nose + 1 big cyst healing on chin (this is a good day for me - no new ones popping up yet...)

Acne Type: Inflammatory cysts and pustules most likely due to hormones. Cysts - usually 1 big one at a time on chin. While one is healing another one pops up (charming). Pustules - 1 or 2 medium sized ones at a time on nose or chin. Have had this type of acne since age 15. Much more severe before Accutane.

Topicals: Generic Tretinoin Cream .05% for one year and switching now to .1% on derm's recommendation.

Medication: Spironolactone 50 mg twice a day. Oracea (low dose - slow release doxy) once a day. Derms says I have to wean off Oracea this month. Was taking Bactrim for 3 years and it worked great but had to stop because can't take too much antibiotic according to derm.

Things I've tried: I have done everything I can think of to get rid of this but all I can do is control it more or less.

BP - worked okay but not on cysts and then it started burning my skin after 5 years even when reducing dose so I had to stop using.

Accutane - fantastic - totally clear but as soon as I stopped acne returned.

Salicylic Acid - stings, burns my skin, makes it red and does nothing for zits.

Sulfur topicals - I remember these as being real drying but not particularly effective for deep cysts...they were the only kind of topical available when I was a teenager.

Antibiotics - work great at full strength. Bactrim is the best followed by Doxy. But can't take antibiotics forever.

Hormones - Spironolactone has worked okay. I think it lessens the severity of the cysts and I get them less frequently...1-2 a month instead of 1-2 a week. While on birth control I had few if any cysts and the same with HRT but I have a familial history of breast cancer (aunts) and strokes (aunt) so my regular doc is hesitant to use them. However I'm getting a hormone level check and an endocronologist will assess if it's safe to try this route again.

Regimen:

AM

Wake up and look in mirror.

Shrink in horror at red spots and bumps.

Look more closely and notice new ones forming.

Get depressed and/or unconsciously start to pick at dead skin.

Wake up more and feel ashamed about picking.

Put concealer on spots so husband doesn't freak out.

Drink green tea.

Wash face very gently with Cetaphil Antibacterial Soap for no more than a count of 5. Leave sudsy soap on face while bathing (1-2 minutes). Rinse with lukewarm water.

Gently moisturize with Neutrogena Lotion for Combination Skin (very light and totally non-clogging - I double checked with company). I'd use SPF but they all break me out and make my skin pump out tons of oil. I wear a hat.

Put on Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder Foundation. This is the most amazing make-up - it really covers the red. I first use a tiny brush to dab some on the spots, blend in, and then use the product brush to put the powder all over. Then I use Neutrogena Healthy Skin blush.

Look decent eneough to go out and greet the world without too much embarrassment.

During Day Keep peeking in mirror to see how my skin is doing (...a bad habit I'm trying to break with little success...). If I have a very active cyst it's everything I can do to not wash again and check on its status (ugh). I'm usually successful in fighting this urge unless I'm home alone.

PM

Wash same as AM. Try not to pick anything (I'm getting better at night...morning is my downfall...). Wait 20-30 minutes and apply Tretinoin Cream. Put on powder to conceal spots - pure vanity and I can't stand seeing anything red. I think I have acne PTSD. Pray for a miraculous healing.

Diet I've tried every kind of anti-acne diet out there. What's worked best for me is avoiding sugary foods, alcohol, dairy, red meat, and junk foods. Basically a natural, low glycemic diet. It seems to lessen the inflammation.

What I'm trying next I'm scheduled for a hormone level check this week. My derm upped the Tretinoin to 1%. After getting off of Bactrim and getting cysts again I'm trying some of the OTC products to help them heal faster (Neosporin, Cortizone, ice, etc.).

Pet Peeve Why can't modern science figure out a medicine that works and is safe for longterm use??? Doctors treat acne as if we'll outgrow it but obviously some of us never do and we need effective medicines that stop it so we can get on with our lives!!!

Edited by cvd

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I'm going on 23, and tried it all.. did the minocyclin My painful cysts would last for months at a time, so I had to get shots in my face several times when this would happen. I took Accutane in 10th grade. 7 months instead of the usual 6, doubling up the dosage the last 2 months..it came back just a bit less severely, but was given minocyclin again, was given every kinda birth control, wash, topical treatment, etc over time, but NOTHING would get it under control. It's totally genetic (from my dad). I'm female, by the way. 6 years after Accutane, my new dermatologist is suggesting I do round 2 accutane (you can only take it twice, or liver damage) and he said that the 2nd round of it usually does the trick. Did the blood work, paperwork, got the birth control, etc, so on my next apt I have the option of starting Accutain..again. I'd rather not because the birth control ur forced to take kills my stomach, it's a hassle every month to get your refill (must do pregs test & online test each month) and I remember the horror of my severely chapped lips......SO, I was given the sulfameth (which ur allergic to :( ) to take until next appointment. I have not gotten a hard painful knot since I started it about 2 wks ago. Also got a wash and creams (haven't used creams/gels) Anyway, what I have learned is that with the sever cysts, they start so deep that topical treatments really don't do crap. If you've never done Accutane, DO IT, get it over with..if not totally clear take it for A YEAR, that is what I should have done. I have an appntment to get a new acne laser treatment done in early January and it seems VERY promising. It's $125 a treatment though, and best results with 5 treatments. I have done a dif type of laser in past that was for scars before this new laser was out. I was getting good results.. I have had several chemical peels since I got off that accutane, and wouldn't suggest them. In summary, DON'T waste money on the creams & gels. Oral meds and laser treatments are THE only things worth the investment that will help to cure the acne along with the scarring.

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cvd - Bless your heart! :wub:

You deserve clear skin. I wish I could say I know how you feel, but I couldn't even imagine having to deal with this awful disease for that long. I've had it through highschool and I'm so done with this. It makes me never want to get married or ever have another boyfriend! I'm nothing short of ABSOLUTELY COMPLETELY obsessed with my skin. Literally everythng revolves around it. And I mean literally. Its the first and last thing I think about before I fall asleep and after I wake up. If I'm making a decision about anything, even something miniscule, my first question is, how will this impact my skin? The thought of having this until I'm 59 makes me want to crawl in a hole and never come out! I can't imagine what you've gone through! You have to be a trooper!

Pet Peeve Why can't modern science figure out a medicine that works and is safe for longterm use??? Doctors treat acne as if we'll outgrow it but obviously some of us never do and we need effective medicines that stop it so we can get on with our lives!!!

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I tried everything with my first dermatologist from tazorac, epiduo, differin, along with various pills. they all seemed to help my "typical" acne but my cysts along my jawline never went away.. they then wanted to put me on accutane, but my parents thought that there was other option than to go on birth control etc at the age of 15.

I then went to another dermatologist, who saw me one time gave me atralin, and put me on minocyclin. With the next visit she noticed my cysts on my jawline were not going away, so she told my mom they were scars, since i had them so long.. she told us the only way to treat them was laser or cortizone shots. That day she told us that the shots were the best way to make sure they were gone. Yes the are a tad painful i just had i think my 3rd round of shots, in very small doses. and my cysts are 99% better. They are flattening and going away. Plus if you are scared of the pain they can give you numbing cream which i used this time and it really helped!!!

Sorry if it's a lot, and you can message me for me info :)

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