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fadedjay

26 - Hit Rock Bottom - Any Advice

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Hey eveyone,

I am 26 year old male, who has moderate acne. I've kind of hit rock bottom after trying Isotrex (Retinoid) for over 4 months.

Things aren't really getting any better, below are some things things about me and what i have tried.

Acne: Moderate (See pictures - will upload later tonight). mainly blemishes/whiteheads bigger pimples every now and then.

Observation: forehead clear, temples clear, blackheads on nose (not really too bothered about this), acne on upper cheeks/inner cheeks next to nose, sometimes on chin but generally really small whiteheads.

Skin type – oily nose and forehead (nothing major) really dry cheeks and mouth area - flaky skin always. - Dry skin seems to be a major issue for me even after exfloiation,

Shaving - I shave with an electric trimmer sometimes this may cause issue's as I sometimes get whiteheads after trimming but generally I think its okay

I have tried most of the OTC stuff BP, AHA, BHA, sulfur soap, without any success. I have been on 3-5 different anti-biotics around 19-21 and they helped slightly but not like what people say about them i.e. getting clear

I think my main problem is dry skin which is causing most of my acne as most of the whiteheads i get a usually covered in flaky skin or in a dry area. I like to try moisturisebut i am not sure it that causes my whiteheads for me. I have had dry skin since puberty i remember when i started getting acne around 15 nothing changed in my regimen and my skin all of sudden just became dry.

Even without the retinoid i had dry skin, all i use is Dove Sensitive face wash no acne wash etc.

Diet wise i took an intolerence test and something showed up like gluten but I removed that for a while and it did nothing and even consuming bread etc has no real effect. I generally eat clean fruits, veg, meats, no eggs, very minimal diary, small about of wheat. I have cut diary out and soya for months and had no change in my skin was the same pretty much even oil production on my nose was the same.

I have attached some pictures that look alot worse in real life but its the best camera i have at the moment.

Any help would be appreciated as at 26 this is kind of getting a bit too much emotionally.

Edited by fadedjay

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Have you ever thought that it could be due to ingrown facial hair?

I don't really have any ingrown hairs to be honest, my hair is generally curly but never comes back on it self and into the skin. Quite alot of times though a whitehead has a hair straight through it but i am guessing that makes sense if the hair follicle is blocked.

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I get those on my mustache area. Haven't figured out a Way to stop it. You don't have any acne that I can see and your skin looks super clear.

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You don't need curly hair to get ingrown hairs, basically when you shave you tug on the hair slightly, pull it out a bit, cut it and then when it goes back down it has been cut below the skin line and can become ingrown. Razorblades designed to give you a close shave purposely cut them under the skin line as it were. I would try exfoliating the area regularly and ensure you are using a good shaving cream. Tea tree oil is really good for ingrown hairs to you can dab some of that on them. Try googling it and see what tips come up.

You certainly don't have acne or bad skin, so dont stress.

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I dont see what are large spots or anything I agree its probably irritation from something whether your hairs or shaving or a product.

I dont mean to downplay it but your skin looks good on these pics.

I dont have terrible acne really but I know the emotional stress it causes in any degree :-(

I have to take anxiety meds because of this crap, I wish I could chill out and NOT CARE. Better yet NOT get acne!

If I were you Id Ive tried changing my diet, cutting out everything, seemed to help at first but lately, dont think it matters.

I know my acne is largely hormonal being a women I can take birth control and spiro and all that which may help.

I am probably going to take accutane soon but its a scary idea.

Just musing sorry, I wish you luck with these spots whatever they are and try to relax and be happy.

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hey all,

thanks for the replies.

The pictures don't really highlight the redness well.

I don't think i get ingrown hairs as i use an electric trimmer which only cuts to 0.5mm so the hair is still above the skins surface.

I think regardless of the degree of acne its the emotional issues it brings, i can't stand people who face stare at my old work place they used to. Also i am very self conscious at being around people now a lot more than i used to be.

In my early 20's i was fine with it due to the fact that you think 'hey i will grow out of this im still young' but it hasn't.

happend

I have a derm referral on the NHS which will take forever. My GP said the next step is accutane or another retinoid.

Jay

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Dry skin is usually a sign of compromized skin barrier function. When the skin barrier function is compromized it allows too much moisture to escape the skin. It also makes the skin more prone to inflammation.

Moisturizers can help to repair the skin barrier function. The ones for facial skin are usually formulated to be 'acne safe'. Try to find some that contains vitamin E and green tea. Vitamin E protects the skin against inflammation. Green tea can reduce sebum production and is also anti-inflammatory.

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I am currently using Oilatum natural face repair not sure if its giving me whiteheads. I may try cetaphil but most moisturiser tend to break me out any body recommend any good ones with the least amount of ingredients in it?

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I don't have a solution but I would suggest the problem is hair related.

The areas where your beard is comprised of thick terminal hairs seem clear. When these terminal hairs die a new anagen hair is germinated which is strong enough force its way to the surface.

Looks to be a problem where terminal hairs blend with vellus hairs. When these hairs die and replace themselves, being so thin they are prone to ingrowing and are a total bitch to treat as they are so fine it's hard to see them.

Source: I'm plagued with this nightmare also.

Edited by 13yearsofAcne

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The beard area doesn't really get much acne its just where the softer hairs are.

I think i may need to trim my upper cheeks more regular so the hair is much shorter and manually try exfoliate so the hairs don’t have any dead skin around them.

any body else?

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Where the hairs are thinner (vellus), new anagen hairs may be too weak to reach the opening of the follicle as intended and instead grow into the skin causing swelling and inflammation. Distinguishable from true Acne Vulgaris as the presence of a comedonal plug is not necessary.

The second hair from the left in the attached image illustrates what I'm getting at.

Edited by 13yearsofAcne

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cheers for the pic,

it could be that and a mixture of just normal acne.

Either way since the pics on sunday my right side is a mess i have broke out in 3 big whiteheads from the damn moisturizer f**k annoying!

Aveeno, oilatum never seem to work and there supposed to be for sensitive skin!

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For years I thought that I had dry skin too. No matter how much moisturizer I used, I still had flaky skin between my eyebrows, nasal folds and under my chin but my skin felt so oily underneath. It was really confusing and frustrating!

Then a couple months ago, I stumbled on Dr. Cynthia Bailey's blog (dermatologist), and I read all about seborrheic dermatitis (facial dandruff). I used a zinc pyrithione facial bar soap once daily and it cleared up almost instantly!

I can't say with any certainty that it's what you're dealing with, I just mention it because it's a possibility. I was thrilled when a $10 product cured what so many others didn't.

Now I'm left with oily/acne prone skin opposed to oily/flaky/acne prone skin, score!

I should also add that the seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a yeast overgrowth. Head and Shoulders also has the pyrithione zinc, anti fungal creams can work (but probably better to try gentle first) and oil of oregano has been shown to help.

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Have you addressed your breakouts with a strict diet change? Because that is your first step to getting rid of your acne. I'd strongly recommend checking out the nutrition section of this site, cause it is loaded with helpful info. Many people with acne severely underestimate the power of proper nutrition. And that goes for cancer and chronic illness as well. And there are some very basic things you can add/eliminate/replace that will have a huge effect on the quality of your health and your skin.

You can also make a 100% natural homemade moisturizer using ingredients that are great for acne prone skin. If you're interested i'll post a couple recipes. I would always advise someone to only use 100% natural ingredients on their face. Chemicals are irritating to the skin and cause long term damage

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I really have to agree that it is a hair-related problem. I've noticed other guy friends of mine get similar looking bumps near their facial hair and I'll even get an occasional bump like that where I shave my underarm (TMI I know but I thought the info might be useful to you!!)

Oh! and a good oil-free moisturizer that I noticed does NOT break me out or make my skin feel greasy is from Alba botanica. It's called "Hawaiian facial moisturizer" or something of that nature. It is a little pricey but it is an AMAZING light and airy moisturizer.

Also if you are on a really tight budget check out a little itty bitty skin care line called "Skin by Ann Webb." You can google it and find her online store. These moisturizers are all super light and aloe vera based so they don't break you out and if anything help with redness.

Good luck finding a solution!

Edited by Lia Rae

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Hi Fadedjay

I'm assuming your pics don't show what your acne really looks like...cause if those pics are accurate then I'd have to agree with the poster above that you have the clearest skin on this site! So I'm thinking those pics don't show the redness!

I really like DML lotion. It is available without a perscription and was developed for people with sensitive dry acne prone skin. It is not thick or greasy like Cetaphil lotion and will not break you out. You probably would benefit from using Dan's regime or something similar to it. I personally like using a BP cleanser instead (less bleaching). The one I use (listed below) used to be a perscription cleanser and is specially made to keep on working after rinsing. You could also add in a topical antibiotic in the morning and a retinoid at night. For me using a topical retinoid alone never got me clear...my acne was too deep. But used in conjunction with the BP cleanser and topical antibiotic (Cleocin-T) it works great. You may have to use a multi-prong approach versus just one medication. This is what finally cleared up my skin. I had lots of derms over the years try to treat my acne with just one medication and it never worked. A multi-prong approach may be what works for you too.

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