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Riddle me this.

21M, been prone to acne my entire teenaged years. During high school I would get it all: surface redness, whiteheads, and even the deep in the skin ones on my jaw line. Started using ProActive during college, and it more or less cleared up. I would still get the occasional two or three pimples breakouts once every few weeks, but that was it.

Cut to a year ago, I left to go study abroad in Bonn, Germany. Within weeks of getting there, my acne completely vanished. No major lifestyle (stress, sleep, diet) changes that I can think of. My acne just out and out disappeared. I even stopped using ProActive.

Fast forward six months to August 2011 and I move back here in Madison, Wisconsin. I've more or less returned to the same level of acne problems if not worse than pre-study abroad. Occasional to constant breakouts of 2-3 pimples on my cheek bones and forehead with a tinge of redness returning.

This has me completely baffled. I am forced to believe something is irritating my skin here in the US that wasn't in Germany. Has anyone else experienced this sort of change in complexion, or have some insight as to what the deal on this is?

Might it have been a food additive that's not used in Germany? Or climate? Or some product that I am using in America (shampoo, laundry detergent, body wash) that would irritate my skin? Are there any known acne-causing culprits that are present here in the US, but not in Europe?

Edited by AmerinEuro

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I spent some time thinking about this last night and trying to come up with some more differences. For one, I spent a heck of a lot more time outside in Bonn, and I don't ever almost ever closed my windows the entire time I was there. (Previous apartment tenant smoked indoors.) That's opposed to the climate controls and the cold, dry Wisconsin climate over here.

Still, I don't know why that'd cause so drastic of a change. I also realized that in Germany I had completely cut soda out of my diet. Again, I don't know what that would do to affect my complexion. What was interesting was the number of things that I could think of that would have had a negative effect on my skin in Germany, but didn't.

  • I drank a lot more alcohol; beer and wine specifically

  • I was exposed to more second hand smoke (Wisc has a ban)

  • I had a terrible bed in DE, so I had less sound sleep

I know for a fact that stress is a trigger for me. In DE I definitely had less intense, but higher duration stress as opposed to my schooling here where it is intense, but short durations of stress.

Edited by AmerinEuro

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