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Doxycycline and Benzoyl Peroxide Log

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Hello! I've been reading a lot of random posts on acne.org for a while now, and recently went to a dermatologist and decided I would share my experience with others. I will probably update once a week.

DESCRIPTION: I have large red pimples and deep, refilling sacs of acne on the right side of my face, a fewer number on the left side, blackheads/whiteheads/the occasional pimple on my chin/forehead. Nose is essentially clear. I am 20, female, and while I've had acne since puberty started, it recently became much worse within the past few months. Because I've picked at it incessantly, my mild acne became inflamed and began leaking a foul-smelling yellow discharge. Now I have numerous hyperpigmentation marks on the right side of my face.

DIAGNOSIS: Cystic acne and inflammatory acne

TREATMENT: Doxycycline 100 mg twice a day, Benzoyl Peroxide 5% gel twice a day. Two month treatment.

DETAILS: I am to take one doxy pill in the morning and one at night (preferably without food, though some may be taken to combat nausea). I have to avoid certain vitamins and minerals within 2-3 hours of taking this medication because it may interfere with absorption. I have to drink plenty of water while taking this pill to prevent esophageal/stomach ulcers. I also can't lay down within half an hour of taking the pill. My doctor also prescribed medication for yeast infections in case they arise while taking this pill. As for the BP, I wash my face twice daily with Dial Bar Soap, then apply a THIN layer of BP 5% gel. Lastly, moisturizer is applied.


The above is just a general outline of what I'm taking and why. Every Monday I will hopefully come back to update this blog! This is my second day -- so far I don't have anything to report other than some side effects of doxy: I feel a little bit like I might throw up about an hour after taking it (it's a vague feeling, and I haven't actually thrown up yet). Eating a meal before taking it, or nibbling on a snack afterward and sipping water, seems to help. Meanwhile, the BP is causing my face to sting and peel and turn red. However, it is drying the hell out of any large white zits I have.

See you Monday!

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Nice start!! I am thinking to take doxycycline as well ( have an appointment with my doctor on Thurs) And my situation is VERY similar to yours. One of my biggest problem is picking! I just can't help. So i remind myself whenever i look into the mirror. Hope we can get better soon!!

Edited by shan3
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i am on doxy now and i think after almost 2 months its starting to kick in, ha!! my derm said to always take it with a full meal and plenty of water. also if you take probiotics or eat yogurt with live active cultures (dannon greek) you wont have to ever worry about getting a yeast infection while taking doxy. i have taken mino, amoxicillin, bactrim and now doxy and have never got a yeast infection so if you dont like yogurt then take a good probiotic and you will be fine. good luck to you!!!

Edited by Karen Howz
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Thanks for the support, guys! :D shan3, maybe we can both stop picking if we just have some perseverance! It's so difficult sometimes though...

Karen, I've been contemplating yogurt/probiotics and I've heard that you can't take these close to the times when you take doxy. Is this true? I'm highly considering one of these options for overall health, regardless of the presence of any antibiotics.

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Thanks for the support, guys! :D shan3, maybe we can both stop picking if we just have some perseverance! It's so difficult sometimes though...

Karen, I've been contemplating yogurt/probiotics and I've heard that you can't take these close to the times when you take doxy. Is this true? I'm highly considering one of these options for overall health, regardless of the presence of any antibiotics.

If you take a probiotic do so at the exact half-way point between your antibiotic doses.

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Overview: Benzoyl Peroxide has caused irritation, but has dried some of my zits. BP issues are beginning to resolve themselves. No adverse health effects of doxycycline. Pimples still coming and going at their regular rate -- doxycycline isn't having an effect yet, but I have to wait a full 4-6 weeks, so this is normal. I need to stop picking!

Details: Boy oh boy did the BP start stinging for a little bit! I started my applications twice per day after washing my face, and at first, my skin was very red and painful. A lot of skin flaked off, no matter how much moisturizer I applied, and several people kept commenting on how tired I looked. My entire face was fragile -- one night I applied a bandaid and when I took it off the next morning, it hurt terribly! I also made the mistake of applying some BP under my eyes... NEVER DO THIS! The skin there turned red and crusted over terribly. Right now I'm not sure if I should apply BP to my entire face or only the affected areas -- for now, I'm just focusing on the affected areas.

After a few days the vast majority of the redness and pain went away, but the flaking persists. I continue to apply moisturizer right after applying the BP. This greatly helps with irritation. However, I find that the BP dries out my zits much better WITHOUT moisturizer. Sometimes I've been tempted to skip the moisturizer even though my face looks like crap, but I promised my dermatologist I wouldn't.

At first when the flaking was really bad, I gently exfoliated with a TINY amount of St. Ives Blackhead and Blemish Control Apricot Scrub. It worked wonders to remove the dead skin, but left my face somewhat raw, so I limited the usage to only when my skin was just awful. Right now my skin is a lot less flakey than when I started.

As far as I know, the doxycyline isn't affecting me yet -- at least, I can't see any results. I have a decent number of pimples on my chin, jawline, and the sides of my face. The BP tends to reduce the size of my pimples and prevents them from painfully bursting, which is wonderful. I sometimes slather on some additional BP to some of my bigger zits about halfway through the day.

I am trying VERY hard not to pick at my skin (this caused most of the severity of my acne). This is a very tough challenge. Even when not picking, I'm still running my fingers over my face. However, I'm more aware of what I'm doing, and even though I pick every day, I'd say I've cut back a little bit by talking myself out of it and reminding myself that picking caused my acne to get this bad in the first place.

If anyone has questions, comments, suggestions, etc please feel free to post! Thanks!

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Overview: Improvement! Cysts have reduced in size, some recurring pimples have disappeared completely. No more redness from BP, though there is still flaking.

Details: My parents were the first ones to call out the improvement. I am away at college most of the time, but visited them when I first went to see the dermatologist and I am home now for break. They said they saw a stark difference, noting that the portions of my face where I have my cysts look less red and not as puffy, and my skin was clearer overall. I hadn’t really noticed this change, probably because I had been scrutinizing my face in the mirror several times a day, whereas they had a two-week gap.

I’ve switched face washes. Originally I was using Dial Soap, but I then remembered something my dermatologist said about using a low-concentration BP facewash if I had the chance. Well, I’ve made the switch over to a 2.5% BP wash. I only did this yesterday so I can’t say there are any changes.

I am still applying the BP gel to the problem areas on my face, leaving the rest of it alone. If I ever see or feel a new zit begin to pop up in an area, I immediately apply BP gel. This dried out one forming zit and turned it into an itty-bitty blockage before it even fully surfaced, so I really like this method.

I am still picking at my skin, and need to stop this immediately!!! I ended up picking a small blackhead on my forehead a few days ago, and it grew into a large pustule that ended up leaking foul liquid. At least I’m more aware of what I’m doing, but it’s so difficult to end this, especially since my face is peeling. If I’m not picking at my zits, I instead pick at the skin flakes or at my nails.

Now that some of my pimples are gone, I can see areas where I have scarring. It appears to be boxcar/rolling scars on my cheeks. I’m not too pleased about this but at least the acne is clearing, and thankfully the PIH will fade in time.

Feel free to leave comments!!!

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Overview: Setbacks. Face was clearing, but then a full-face breakout occurred. Different lotion?

Details: This week I not only did battle with one of my biggest cysts, I also had a breakout in various areas of my face. At first I got scared, wondering if the doxycycline had stopped working. However, I now think that it's because I briefly used a different lotion. I had come back to college, and in the transition from home to apartment I misplaced my regular lotion. Not thinking, I substituted with St. Ives Collagen Repair Lotion. I LOVE this stuff... However, as far as I know, it's comedogenic. I only used it for two days, but I now have breakouts on my forehead, both side of my face, above my lip, and between my eyes. It's not pretty. I'm back to using my regular lotion now and hopefully will see some improvement. HOWEVER, I don't actually know if this was the cause of my breakout. I have one other idea...

As mentioned, I did battle with one of my cysts. This thing has several heads, and thusly several sinus pathways under the skin. It had slowly been shrinking and pain had been going away thanks to the doxy. Finally, it came to two heads, both right next to each other. I tried my absolute hardest not to pick at it, and though I did pick at it slightly, it's thankfully a lot less than what I usually do. So far it seems like it's going to stay with me for a while as the heads go through a strange process of leaking and scabbing over. However, what if after touching/picking I then touched other parts of my face? Did this cause the breakouts? Possibly. I'll update next week and hopefully everything will have calmed down by then.

If anyone has input on this matter, please comment! Thanks for reading!

Edited by hatori
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Sorry for not adding a post on Monday! I've been very busy studying for a MAJOR exam coming up. Tomorrow I'll edit this post with my update. I've got plenty of good news, so make sure to check it out!
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Sorry for all of the very delayed posting! College studies have been killing me slowly. I'm going to combine the two most recent weeks in one post, notably because the change between them is minor.


Overview: All major cysts are gone. GONE! Face is clearing everywhere -- my last breakout (the one possibly due to a lotion switch) is under control and essentially gone.

Details: Remember how I mentioned doing battle with my biggest, baddest cyst that had surfaced? I won! The thing went through a strange cycle of leaking, scabbing, leaking, scabbing, etc. Eventually it just got smaller, leaked less and less, and then peeled away. I think what really helped were two basic things: no squeezing, and making sure to gently wash/take care of the area when it leaked. Something that I've done in the past is I've squeezed things to the point of feeling a pain under my skin... then everything would get out of control. I made sure not to squeeze AT ALL! At times I couldn't help gently picking at a scab flake or just running my fingers over it (it's hard to break old habits) but NO SQUEEZING! I notice now that whenever I have a forming zit or a cyst just sitting under the skin, it gets SO much worse if I do anything forceful to it at any stage. Avoid this! Next, whenever it started leaking its fluid (sticky, smelly, foggy fluid!) I would gently wash the area with a little bit of my BP 2.5% wash and then apply my BP 5% gel. I think this greatly helped as well. Biggest cyst: DEFEATED!

As for that breakout I had a while ago... it was just normal zits, and I just faithfully followed my routine and waited for them to go away. At one point several of them got worse because I accidentally put force on them, but over time they just either faded back into my skin or leaked/scabbed. No big deal. Really, everything on my face is so much better when I just leave it alone!

So, what do I have now? One active zit on my forehead that is going away, some clogged pores I don't really care about on my forehead (I find that the oil plugs have a tendency to just fall out randomly if I leave them alone -- I think the BP is doing this, but I don't know), nothing on my nose, a few unnoticeable white/blackheads on my chin (impossible to see unless someone is WAY too close to me), hyperpigmentation on both cheeks (especially the right), and finally what I would like to call "cyst remnants." I don't have any large or deep cysts under my skin anymore. Instead, what I have are a variety of much smaller bumps just under my skin where the cysts usually were. I think this is just stuff that's left over, and that it'll come to the surface soon (and hopefully not return!). As I run my fingers over them, they feel like whiteheads. They are small, firm, not painful. Also, they're not noticeable! All that's really noticeable on my cheeks are the hyperpigmentation marks.

So, all in all, I believe that my cysts are mostly gone. I hesitate to say completely gone -- I think it's too early to tell. One could easily come back. But anyway, right now I feel like I just have "normal" acne, and that it's fairly mild! It feels good not having a leaking face. ^_^

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Overview: Honestly, no change except several very tiny "pimples" on my nose. Other than this, no active cysts or zits. Hooray!

Details: Hmm, I really don't have much to say for this week. There are only two things worth noting, and I'll start with the first. OH, and an update on the cyst remnants.

My nose has several very tiny "pimples" on it. It's also been abnormally greasy for a few days (actually, my whole face has been like this). I have two theories as to why this is happening: 1) it's been getting warmer and more humid lately, and 2) I'm about to have my period. Either way, the extra oil on my face isn't very noticeable, and the mini-pimples on my nose are nearly invisible, so I'm just going to leave them alone. They're already shrinking away.

My other update: no zits or cysts! Nothing! Yay! :dance: I do still have white/blackheads, and also those strange "cyst remnants." I left a post on one of the acne boards about this, and one of the responses I received essentially stated that these were indeed the remains of an old cyst. This user then stated that he popped them and spot treated instead of waiting for them to go away. Another user, meanwhile, postulated that they could be little whiteheads.

Well, guess what? I think I have BOTH! Several times I have very gently scratched at my face and would end up removing a traditional oil plug, the solid kind you find from whiteheads. At other times, however, I have instead ended up removing what I can only describe as a tiny dead layer of skin with a patch of soft white material attached to it. This would flake off easily on its own and then leave a painless, clean groove in my skin. I believe this was a surfaced "cyst remnant." Since then I have inspected my cheek very closely and have found several spots on my face where the skin was VERY thin and I could see a small white patch underneath. Though not ready yet, I believe that these will also eventually rise up to the surface and peel away. I don't know how long it will take, but I refuse to force them along! Patience has gotten me much further than picking and forcing ever did.

Anyway, that was my week! Soon I'm going to schedule another appointment with the dermatologist.

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Thanks, Gordon94! ^_^


Overview: My face is greasier than normal, and I've had around five zits pop up. No returning cysts, thankfully!

Details: I have yet to schedule another appointment with my dermatologist. I tried calling his office and someone told me a secretary or someone else would get back to me, but it hasn't happened yet. I'm going to try calling again tomorrow.

I've had several zits pop up all at once. One on my forehead, one between my eyes, one on my left cheek, and two on my right cheek. All of these came at once and now they're all going down at the same rate. They haven't caused too much of a problem but they're a bit sensitive right now. I'm just going to pretend they're not even there and let my body plus the medicine take care of it. So far so good. I'm not too upset and don't consider this a huge set-back. I never expected my acne to clear up completely -- that's just unrealistic at this time, especially given my family history. However, I had expected my cysts to clear up or at least improve, and they have, so I really can't complain.

My skin is still quite oily. In the last post I mentioned this and several blemishes on my nose, which is usually clear, and attributed both of these things to an upcoming period. Well bam that happened so we'll see if the oiliness goes down by next week. The blemishes on my nose already have. If not I'm attributing it to the warmer weather.

Other than that, nothing else has happened except a giant blackhead fell out of my forehead one night when I was showering and left a visible hole in my skin! Blackheads have been falling out periodically since I started my treatment, but this one was ridiculous. I used to squeeze them all the time, but now I haven't and it's really strange watching them leave on their own at random!

See you guys next week! As always, feel free to leave a post or send me a message!

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Overview: I've been put on doxycycline for a longer amount of time. Face is about the same.

Details: I have absolutely no update on how my face is doing. Everything is exactly the same, with some zits coming and going while no cysts have reappeared.

I was supposed to have an appointment with my dermatologist right around this time but unfortunately he's booked until late June! I"ll see him on June 28th, and until then I've been told to continue taking doxycycline as I've been doing. That means I'll take the doxy for a total of just under FOUR MONTHS, rather than two. Sheesh! I'll update you as I go along.

That's about it for my ridiculously short post. I simply don't have anything else going on with this. See you next week!

Edited by hatori
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Overview: No new zits this week. Two on my right cheek are healing themselves as well as two on my jawline. Also I've changed my regimen a little bit.

Details: Okay, so as mentioned above, I've changed parts of my regimen. I've stopped using lotion completely since my face has been ridiculously oily lately. I've also stopped spreading BP gel on my forehead and cheeks. Instead, I'm just spot treating. I'm doing this to compensate for the loss of the lotion. We'll see how it goes.

Other than that, once again I don't have much to update you with!!!

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BTW after those Cystic are gone.. and my are doing the same too.. did you get a lot of red marks? and brownish ones? cuz thats pretty much what i have on my face

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After yet another delay, I am here to post! But first, a question to answer:

Gordon 94: Yes, unfortunately I do have those marks. They are fading very slowly. It's hard for me to tell so I rely on the observations of others. At every spot where I've had a cyst I have a red or reddish-brown mark. I'm going to talk to the dermatologist about it when I see him next.


Overview: A couple small zits here and there, no real changes as usual. However, I've noted that wounds/cuts/scrapes/some acne spots heal faster when I DON'T use the BP!

Details: As mentioned, I've just got a few small, run-of-the-mill zits. Nothing to worry about! BP spot treatment seems to be working just fine on them.

Since I've stopped applying BP to my forehead, I've had two small lesions there from tiny blackheads that turned into zits since I stupidly picked at them. Well, one of them I applied BP to regularly, the other I did not. It seems to be that the one I applied BP to was redder than the one I left alone! Interesting... I might start experimenting and seeing if I can get these results again.

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Yeah i got a lot tooo... and somehow i'm growing acne and nodular around my jawline and chin.. making it worst... and i think my long hair is causing some new acne to form on the back of my neck.. is that possible.. even if i wash my hair every single night?

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That's entirely possible. A few years back I decided to have bangs and it caused my forehead to break out quite a bit, even though I washed my hair every day. It never really went away until the bangs were gone, unfortunately. You might wanna ask members around the site about what they did so that you can keep your hairstyle.
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Oh well i'll just switch to a new hairstyle then.. a short one.. and btw.. like you know how there are skins right on the edge of your eyes right? and i got some red marks on both side.. but when i touch it its smooth though... should i use something Retin-A to cure the red mark and cut the hair so it won't reach there???

Yeah but the weird part is... i barely get acne on my forehead.. and T zone anymore... just the other parts...

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I do NOT recommend putting ANYTHING near the eyes. Also, I have no experience with Retin-A so I don't really know what to suggest for this... ;_;


Overview: I've got those tiny bumps again on my nose and I feel like I'm gonna get my period soon, so that makes sense. Meanwhile, I've got a bit of a break-out on both cheeks and the right jawline. No cysts.

Details: Those silly little bumps on my nose are back! And, as expected, I feel like I'm going to get my period within the next few days. I don't really have a set schedule... for many years my body has been very irregular with menstrual cycles. I only really know when it's about to happen because I can just "feel" it. Now I can look at my nose and figure out when I'm gonna get it! lol

A variety of zits popped up all at once on my cheeks, both sides. Are these also related to my period? I looked back at a log from a few weeks ago when I had my other occurrence of nose acne/period-induced acne, and I also had these exact same zits pop up. Usually when I get random zits they pop up at different times, go down at different times, and are in different locations. But these that I'm experiencing all popped up at the same time, are affecting my face symmetrically, are going down at the same time, and are THE EXACT SAME as the ones I had when I got my period before. This is really interesting! I'm definitely going to ask the dermatologist about this one! In the meantime I'm trying hard not to pick (as usual) and since there are quite a few zits clustering around each other, I'm not spot-treating -- instead, I'm applying to the entire surface of my cheeks. I'm leaving my forehead alone, however, since it is essentially clear.

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Delays, as usual! I've got finals, sorry. Anyway, I've lumped these two weeks together.


Overview: Breakouts galore on both cheeks! What's the cause?

Details: As stated above, I've got some decent pimples on both cheeks. These aren't small or passing things: they're deep and painful. They're not quite on the level of cysts or nodules, but they've been hurting and haven't been easy to deal with. I've also had a zit or two on my forehead, and one on my chin. I'm not sure what's up, but I've got a few hypotheses:

1) Shampoo switch a few weeks ago, and now new zits are popping up.

2) Weather is HOTTT! My face started getting very oily a few weeks ago. New zits now because of it?

3) I changed my regimen a while back.

At any rate, I'm annoyed and a bit discouraged. Plus, I've also been picking again, which isn't making things any better. I've just been really stressed lately and not taking care of myself like I should. I'm going to immediately switch back to my original routine of applying BP to all areas, and I'm going to stay with it even if my face gets better. At least until I talk to my derm.

Wish me luck! (On finals and with my acne!)

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Overview: Breakouts everywhere... I'm quite discouraged.

Details: I've got new zits on my forehead, both cheeks, jaw line on both sides of my face, both temples, and even one really awkward and painful one on my right earlobe. What in the world is happening?! Is this still whiplash from when I decided to spot-treat with the BP rather than apply it everywhere? I sure hope it's that and nothing more. I'm very upset about this. Is the doxycycline not working anymore? Mehhh...

I had to buy a new tube of BP gel. It's ten percent instead of five. I couldn't find five at a cheap price. I'll probably be starting the new tube this week and I'll let you guys know how it goes.

I've been picking lately, which is bad. Very bad. I'm well aware of how this is making things worse. I'll try harder at not picking. Right now I just can't stop thinking about my acne, and so I can't stop touching it. Must have self-control!

I've gone back to the Neosporin and bandaid night treatment for open/picked zits. I can't remember if I posted anything about this before but basically at night before bed I'll clean any "wounds" I have and then dab some Neosporin and a tiny bandaid on the spot. Usually that makes everything heal much faster.

Update on my next appointment: It has been switched from late June to early July.

That's it for this week!

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Overview: Acne has calmed down greatly.

Details: That miserable breakout I last mentioned has calmed down. Many zits have either gone away or are hard to see and aren't causing much of a problem. Thankfully I didn't get any cysts during the breakout. The zits were annoying but they were never on the level that the cysts were.

I'm starting to get used to the BP gel. This is a much thinner, more watery gel. It makes application easier and faster, and it doesn't leave a thick layer like the other gel did. It's also drying out my skin a bit, which I'm sure I'll adjust to soon.

That's it for this week. Not much here other than my little recovery. See ya next week!

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