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extremelyfrustrated

Need Your Help - 28

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hey folks. I am male, 28. I have had acne since I was 15-16 years old. From 17 to 20, it was terrible - tried accutane and every remedy under the sun - nothing worked. Magically, my skin cleared up from 22-24, but then the acne came back (slowly) from 25 to 27. At 27, I visited a dermatologist (best of the best in NYC) every month, taking a prescription and using a topical - which helped clear things up slightly, however the side effects of the prescription were depressing - and I grew more frustrated as my issues continued. In May 2011, I gave up on the dermatologist (surprisingly the results are not very different now, without meds/topicals). I am now 28 and am in need of some help.

My acne has a few characterstics: I commonly get breakouts on equal sides of my face. My face is extremely oily - so much so that an hour after washing my face - friends will ask me why I am sweating. I have blackheads that refuse to go away covering my nose - and if I were to squeeze just about any part of my face on my nose/cheaks/chin - whiteheads galore. While cysts are not as common anymore - I occassionally get 1 or two in random spots (face, neck, pubic area, back - though never more than 1-2 total at one time). Strangely, my break-outs tend to appear in mirror-images (i.e. one on my left forehead and a breakout in the same spot on my right forehead). Lastly, my breakouts tend to travel - a year ago my breakouts were surrounding my lips, then they moved to my chin - and currently they are covering my forehead.

Not sure if this description helps. I have read through the website (along with literally all of the internet) searching for answers on what to do. I am hoping someone here might have some ideas. Full disclosure: I have lost faith in any sort of prescription or topical as these have not solved my problems for 10 years. I've read a lot recently about changing diet (I must confess my diet isn't the best as I sit at a desk working for 70+ hours per week) - but would welcome your thoughts/suggestions on the best way to improve things.

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Can I ask who you saw in NYC? I live in Manhattan and m curious who you saw. If you can you should post pictures of your skin so we can give you more detailed help. Also what're I currently taking and applying?

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i would most definitely suggest looking into changing ur diet. have u seen an allergist? i havent but i do suffer from seasonal allergies. ive been wanting to get a screening to see exactly what my triggers are. if u have suffered for so long & tried everything u might have an allergy to something, so it might be worth seeing an allergist. and then go from there! in the meantime try eating healthy. drink plenty of water & get ur regular sleep & exercise. if u make small lifestyle changes towards total health u might start to seen some improvements in ur skin. i only suggest this because i am a firm believer in a healthy lifestyle being the key to success and happiness, especially when it comes to our bodies & our skin specifically.

u said u work a lot but that doesnt mean u cant eat healthy and exercise. it just takes commitment! u can do it!!!

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First thing that came to my mind was have you tried changing your shampoo? That may be why you are breaking out on both sides of your face and body. Pureology zero-sulfate is one I would recommend. Also, steer clear of conditioners since that can cause breakouts.

Also, either your face wash is not strong enough or it is too strong which is why your skin gets oily so quickly. I know you said you don't want to use topicals and I felt the same way. But once I found the right topical like tretinoin in the right percentage (0.05) with the right cleanser, i could see a difference. When I used to go to the dermatologist, I used products they gave me but found they were too drying so my skin would burn or become extremely irritated and wouldn't properly receive the medication they gave me. I would rather encourage you to see a good esthetician because they will help calm your skin and teach you how to use the right products on your face.

For me, once I got my skin to shed regularly without irritation - using a gentle salicylic acid cleanser for face and another for body, that seemed to be the trick. Also like everyone says, exercise and eat healthy. It sounds like you work a lot and your body is probably very stressed.

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For me, once I got my skin to shed regularly without irritation - using a gentle salicylic acid cleanser for face and another for body, that seemed to be the trick. Also like everyone says, exercise and eat healthy. It sounds like you work a lot and your body is probably very stressed.

Great post! I agree about SA. I've always been scared of it but its truly changed my skin.

Edited by Murph89

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hey - many thanks all for your replies. the words above are to say the least at least very encouraging. Let me try to address all of your feedback:

Derm. in NY: Robert Butka (office at South Street Seaport). I thought this was the best derm. I had ever visited - however, they seemed to try to convince me that my acne after a year of topical/prescriptions was not that bad and I should be happy with the improvement (we never got to a "clear" time period that i was happy with).

Diet: I must confess, I'm terrible here. I drink red bull / coffee / soda throughout the day and try to mix in gatorade/water occassionally. Most of my meals involve pizza, deli sandwiches, etc. I have been away from the gym for about a year now.

Pics: attached. My camera does not do me justice - I will try to take snaps with a better camera tomorrow. One pic shows a cyst on the back of my neck. I have no clue why these appear, however, on average I get one of these per month in a random spot (center of neck, center of forehead, on the nose, on the back). I can't make sense of why/when these occur or what I can do to prevent them. Forehead: pic is not very clear but shows breakouts on the right side of forehead. Face: currently my face is clear however this is just a good week. A better zoom would show blackheads on the nose and whiteheads under the skin everywhere else. I grew out the beard to cover small breakouts along my chin/neckline. Neck: perfect example. I woke up this am and my neck was clear - however by the end of the day this random breakout appeared. This happens almost daily to me (always in a different, random spot).

Regimen: Honestly, I am so frustrated right now that I don't follow a regimen. Last week my skin was very dry one day. I applied a moisturizer at night - only to wake up the next morning and have terrible break-outs everywhere the moisturizer had been applied. I find that there is no significant difference on whether I use a cleanser or whether I just dab my face with water - which perhaps contributes to my frustration/confusion at the moment.

Issues: I have done a ton of research and it seems everyone is keen to emphasize the diet and lifestyle. However I must confess: since Jan, I have tried at least 15 times to transition to an all water / all fruit/vegetable / no cheese / no sugar drinks diet. Everytime I start to transition though, my breakouts actually get worse! I can't understand it - and the frustration that comes with just makes me lose hope altogether (and I end up giving up on the change until trying again the next week).

I hope this info helps. Please let me know your thoughts - I really need some independent feedback on what the best course of action may be. Thanks in advance.

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I would stop using that moisturizer that made you break out completely because most moisturizers will cause breakouts especially if it has a white consistency. (which i learned the hard way) I highly recommend Bioelements cleansers - the Decongestant Cleanser and Spotless Cleanser and their Equalizer (it is like a toner but no alcohol so it will hydrate your face without making you break out). You may want to find estheticians who use that line so you can test out the products, just go to a spa/salon that sells the line and buy it quick and easy, or find the products directly on their website. For people with acne, I really believe tretinoin is effective as a night treatment but with the right percentage, try Tretinoin Cream 0.05% (not retin-a micro or gels). After a while, you will see that it will help diminish the appearance of scars and improve the texture of your face. I recently wrote a post called "What Has Helped Me" which provides more details about my routine.

In addition to changing your shampoo, try to have a consistent skin care routine so your skin is not too dry but is shedding regularly. I hope this is somewhat helpful. Good Luck!

Edited by dreamers

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First off. You gotta change your diet. What you put into your body really does effect your skin. Weird how your skin got worse when you tried before, but it might have had to do with products you were using. Get on a regiment. Find a cleanser, toner, exfoliater, and moisturizer. An exfoliant is extremely important in that it sheds dead skin to prevent pimples, unclogs pores, reduces red marks and scars and reveals youthful skin. I highly recommend Paula's choice 1% salicylic acid aka BHA gel. Its amazing stuff. I truly believe all of those are keys to getting clear skin and maintaining clear skin. Stress is also another factor with skin. I find when I'm stressed, my skin shows. No question! I am jealous of your beard though!

I use aveeno ultra calming foaming face wash twice a day because my skin was very red and inflamed. It has completely reduced any redness I had. I still have a little redness around my nose that I have had for years, but it's something I just have to deal with.

Use Paula choice 1% BHA every night

Moisturize with emu oil after the BHA dries

My skin is virtually clear after battling issues for the past 4 months.

Edited by Murph89

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i wonder if the breakouts u had when u switched to a toxin-free diet were due to ur body releasing the toxins thru ur skin. ur skin is an organ & part of its job is to purge ur body of stuff it doesnt need. ive been switching over to a healthier diet free from processed foods & i make sure to take probiotics everyday to get my gut in good health. i have been doing this since May this year & i noticed that my skin seemed to go completely crazy before it finally began to calm down a couple of weeks ago. just last week i started using all natural products that are free of skin irritants. i am noticing a little bit of improvement everyday. i do use moisturizer, it is a honey product with all organic, natural ingredients and i absolutely love it!!

so this is to give u encouragement that if u do slowly begin dietary changes ur skin might seem worse but it WILL get much much better!! u can start with drinking water and eating seeds & nuts with raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruits for an energy boost. it's very easy to buy in bulk & then put some in a baggy to carry with u all day. also, if u take the time to prepare ur meals in advance & buy lots of food from NYC farmers markets ur body will begin to feel so much better. thus u will begin to feel better mentally as well. u can do it!! i believe in u EF!! leftover from dinner the night before is an easy way to avoid having to think about lunch the next day. fruit smoothies made w/kefir are a great way to get ur fruit & fiber & vitamins & protein & PROBIOTICS all in one. theyre quick & easy to make so it's great if u dont have time to make a full breakfast or dont want to spend the money. then w/ur baggy of energy boosters ur set til lunch! which could be leftovers from dinner the night before. i have a very busy friend who prepares what she needs for the week on Sunday so that she doesnt have to worry about meal-planning later. so u can do it!!

of course dietary changes are only part of what will help ur skin. other posters have also provided product advice that look extremely promising to me so good luck to u!!

http://www.grownyc.org/ourmarkets

http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket

Edited by ramblinrose

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hey folks - thank you so much for your replies. i guess for me i realized that i needed to reach out to someone for help (thus my posting) and it is re-assuring and encouraging to read through your feedback. based on your feedback i am going to attempt a three pronged approach: 1) diet, 2) exercise, and 3) the caveman regimen. I have read through other pages on this site about the caveman regimen - and the amazing thing for me to realize is that i have been performing a science experiment on my face every night and morning for 10 years+, and i still continue to have the same issues i have always had. i did not realize this - but for the past two months, i have not been scrubbing my back or dousing it with BP - and amazingly, it has cleared up by 95%. at least for one day - i have now built up some confidence to try a new approach going forward. i will keep track of my progress and see how this turns out going forward.

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Try changing your diet. Cola, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, refined sugar, junk food are all liver stressors.

Get a good juicer and start juicing mixed vegetables. Organic carrot, cucumber, celery one glass daily. Juicing book website have some great recipes. You can also try drinking wheat grass juice from amazing grass/jamba juice. Very powerful juice.

Homemade kefir/yoghurt, cooling fruits like apple, melons and Yoga helps a lot.

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You're probably on the right track eating caveman-style. Switch your coffee to green tea (effective & inexpensive) and TRY get more sleep. My occasional breakouts only turned into acne by using chemical acne "treatments" and cleansers. That stuff can be brutal on skin and BP is so drying that it actually causes MORE oil production--creating a vicious cycle.

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