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Finally Introducing Myself.

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So, after years of visiting this site and studying the forums I finally decided to register and share my story. Currently I am a 22 years old student, but I will start my acne story from the beginning.

It all started when I was around 13, which is understandable since it coincides with the onset of puberty. As far as I can remember myself from those days, the acne (more like barely visible pimples on face and a bit on my back) weren't that serious but I would get teased about it in my class sometimes which didn't really bother me since more than 50% of males in my class had similar problems. I must admit that I didn't have the best hygiene at the time and I used generic bar soaps to clean my face - didn't know better and wasn't really worried much about it to research the internet.

Things were getting worse as I was nearing the end of elementary school (age of 14) and I started to stand out with my pimples. Still, they weren't that bad and it didn't alarm me much. And then (I'm sure many of you can relate) the high school happened. That's when acne basically took over my life. Painful pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts on face, back and even chest. I didn't know what to do, and my parents encouraged popping them and disinfecting whenever possible (they said they had similar problems at my age). Looking back, that was probably a terrible mistake, but I don't think it made any difference in the long run.

We (me and my mom) finally decided to visit a dermatologist when I was 15 or 16, since I had this "inactive" cyst next to my nose for months. The dermatologist gave me some cream/face wash (can't remember) but I didn't really follow her instructions as I was pretty irresponsible. Later on, we would periodically visit the doctor and she would always recommend some other cream that didn't really work out for me (I remember using antibiotics, BP washes etc).

After that, I kinda gave up on the doctors and started experimenting with products by myself, which didn't work out either. I was popping them constantly as they were irritating and I was ashamed to go out with some of them.

Then, the worst mistake happened. At this time I had moderate to severe acne on my face and pretty severe acne on my back (age 17). My dad heard of this cosmetician (or however you say it) and we made an appointment. We wen't there and it all seemed promising, the cosmetician had all these fancy toys and was promising much so we decided to go with it. She gave me some face wash and a cream which dried my skin like crazy but actually did make my acne better. Also, I was visiting her monthly (or bimonthly) for "cleaning sessions". I guess it made sense to clean my face and put some peels on it, but it would have just a short-term effect and she promised that it would clean up 100% eventually. But the really problem was that she popped my back acne, which were mostly cystic. After some time my parents finally lost faith and I stopped going to this cosmetician (age 18 at this time). Luckily, my face skin is pretty resistant and oily and all those aggressive acne popping didn't leave scars on it... But I can't say the same for my back - the scars were (and still are) pretty terrible.

So, I was nearing the end of my high school and starting college and my acne were at their worst (plus the scars). I hoped that the acne would be gone by the time I started college and that I could start over and make good impressions - boy, was I wrong. So I went and made an appointment to a new doctor at the hospital. We agreed to start me on Accutane (I just turned 19 and was already a user of this site), I was terrified but felt like it was my only option.

I can't quite remember the dosages (I think they were like 40-60 mg - I was pretty skinny at the time), but I used it for 5 months (November 2009 to April 2010). It did clear me and it was a relief, but I still felt anxious and self aware about my skin since it was so flaky, pale and dead-looking. Also, I was constantly worried by the possible Accutane side effects and my grades wen't down - I felt I couldn't concentrate as good as before and also had some muscle aches. I was looking forward to finish the course and let it leave my system so I could enjoy summer and real life without any worries again. But, by the end of July 2010 the pimples were back. They weren't nearly as terrible as before but I was worried that it was just a start. The pimples were mostly all whiteheads. I think I started using salicylic acid and was popping them gently so my face was manageable.

In September 2010 we went to a family vacation to the seaside and I got sunburned (it was worst in my hair skin region since I didn't figure to put sunscreen in my hair). That resulted in a terrible, terrible whitehead rash wherever the skin got burned. My hair was literally full of them, it was unbelievable. I felt so bad and angry. After the burns healed and I got home and started the new year at college my skin got better than ever, didn't have any pimples appear at all. People (and girls) were complimenting my "fresh" look and I was feeling great all of a sudden. I thought that those constant whiteheads were over. But, a month later they were back. Also, I noticed that I had much more moles on my body, especially my back - didn't ever figure that one out.

I'm gonna cut the story from here as I didn't really make any progress from that stage. I had clear(er) and breakout periods. Wen't to the dermatologist numerous of times, research products on my own, try changing my diet and lifestyle as much as I could etc. Some of these things would help but they wouldn't get me clear and were quite short lasting solutions.

And to the conclusion. This year I gave a chance to a young promising dermatologist at a private clinic. She told me to take Minocin (minoocycline 100 mg - 10 day course) and Triacneal (retinol cream). Minocyclines made me clear in a matter of days and it was great. A month passed and I was only using Triacneal for treatment and it was going fine, I was delighted. But after 1.5 months the whiteheads broke out on my face and back overnight and I was in the same position. I was too disappointed and didn't want to pay and visit the dermatologist again (stopped the retinol cream since I started noticing light scars after pimples while on it).

Over the summer my friend invited me to a trip for 5 days. I was terrified since I look horrible in the mornings and need like an hour to get my face together, but I wanted to go so bad. So I remembered Minocycline pills and quickly went to buy them. They basically stopped new pimples from the first pill I took and cleared up my face in a matter of days - completely. *Forgot to mention that I'm suffering from whiteheads in my hair too, which are horrible (terrified when going to get a haircut)*. So the hair and back whiteheads were a little more stubborn under Minocycline pills but they almost cleared up too. After a month since finishing my new 10 day course, they were back again.

Which takes me to the present (just turned 22). My acne are nowhere as bad as they were when I was in high school. But they are still pretty persistent and disgusting - sometimes I get tens of whiteheads on my face in the morning (mostly on nose). And the ever persistent hair whiteheads and back whitehead/pimples. I'm so tempted to buy Minocycline pills again but they are just a temporary solutions and I understand that my acne could become immune to it, also antibiotics have their side effects.

My skin gets very oily and my relatively short hair gets visibly oily overnight. Also, after Accutane I suffer from dry skin and constant flaking (not visible when I apply moisturiser or when my face gets oily few hours after washing it). I have noticed that my skin heals slower too and that some longer lasting red marks tend to appear after pimples.

That's my physical status, but the emotional is much worse. I feel I'm depressed, self-conscious, anxious for years and years now. I love going out and being active but I just can't because of acne - instead I'm just a computer addict who spends most of his days in front of the monitor. It's killing me inside. All sings show that these are hormonal young-people's acne and that they should go away any year now, but I'm terrified when I think they could be adult acne and follow me my whole life.

God, this turned out to be so long. Well, if you hanged in there until the end or at least read parts of it, please do share your take on this or ask me any questions you want. Sorry for the eventual grammar mistakes.

Kind regards, fellow acne sufferers ^.^

Edited by jbaker990

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yep..... antibiotics could really give you bad ibs..... i know i did.... i am currently taking accutane and it's been ok so far coz the accutane prescription here, where i'm from is different than in the u.s, you can say kinda like a modified course........

anyhow, just like you, i was also an outgoing person, fun,friendly, until my acne..... depression also took a toll on me and as a result i was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder just a few months back......... yep.... those dark days full of fear, dread, shame,guilt,disgust...everything.... i've been there and still am.......

all i can say is hang on... don't give up...be patient with your skin.... STOP PICKING...... it'll do more harm to your skin!!!!!!!

research like crazy and weigh your options.... a little advice, choose products that you will use on your skin with the least amount of chemicals in it..... it'll really help.....

post anything, rant out... so you can get the bad crazy crazy out of your system.....

Cheers to you....good luck and God Bless on your journey!!!!!!!

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Yeah, the actual name of what I took is "Roaccutane" as I am from Europe. But it's the same as Accutane, from Roche. Are you getting clear? How's the dryness? I was thinking about trying a second course but I don't think it's worth it and I'm almost sure pimples would come back after the medicine is out of my system.

I hope you are doing better psychologically, hopefully your treatment will work so you can be "free" again. I remember my clear days on Accutane, I was like "Is it really gone... are they really not appearing anymore?!". It was great, but unfortunately not permanent in my case.

I do hate when I don't feel like going anywhere just because of my face. When my classes start I'm forced to go out frequently so my mood isn't that bad, but I hate having to think and worry about my face trough the whole day. Also, the morning look at the mirror is always terrifying.

As for picking, I developed a phobia when it comes to touching my face throughout the day, which isn't such a bad thing. But I do mess with my pimples after I cleanse my face (morning and before bed), since I can't stand to have some of them on my face. I'm working on restraining myself but it's hard since most of them are whiteheads which look terrible and are easy to pop. The real problem I have is with picking my hair pimples which is making them worse, but they are so damn itchy and annoying.

I am researching a lot, but the biggest problem is that everything is so expensive so I can't experiment that much. Currently I'm using Clean & Clear Gentle Cleanser (no sulfates, ingredients seem good), Benzaknen Cream (BP 5%) and SebaMed PH 5.5 baby cream as a moisturiser. Trying to eat better and avoid trash food as much as possible, also I started actively going to the gym few months ago.

Thank you for your response, it really means a lot. I wish you the very best of luck in your fight against acne, too!

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Hey there, i'm so sorry you are going through this. Acne is exhausting isn't it? Reading your post i can see you have been through so much. Hang on in there, you'll find a way through this.

My Derm said he had treated a guy who had been on roaccutane 7 times before it cleared him up completely.

I know what you mean about not going anywhere because of how you feel your face looks. I have that feeling most of the time. I look at my acne and I can see how it is damaging, eating into my skin. I curse my body for doing it to me, just want my skin to function normally. It's so hard and extremely lonely when everyone around you clear. You still have a chance to grow out of it, you're still young. Did your parents suffer with it? Did it go away for them?

There's another member on this board whose acne migrated to his scalp after being on tane. Check out his website: http://www.acneeinstein.com/about-me/

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It sure is. Yeah, that's why I'm tempted to redo a course of Accutane. My acne are nowhere nearly as bad as they were pre-tane. Now, they can almost be considered mild to moderate at most, at least on my face. I feel like my first course should have lasted a few months more, or at a bit higher dosage. But who can really know, maybe my acne would "calm down" anyways, unrelated to Accutane intake. But the side effects of poor skin healing (wounds don't have to be from acne) and weakened concentration are something I don't need right now.

I think I'm going to give a chance to a new dermatologist for a few months before considering anything else. The thing with them is that they are expensive and you aren't even sure if they are really telling the truth and trying to help you or they are just out to take as much money as possible from you. And the free public hospital dermatologist seem like they don't really care much, they just offer you a treatment and send you on your way. At least that's the situation where I live currently.

I'm curious what my life would be if I had healthy skin. Surely we all think about that... Oh, anyways...

About my parents - I did notice small scars on my mom's back (near the shoulders) but she never really explained how she got them. Then one day my dad told me that mom's dad (my grandad) once explained him that she had terrible back skin problems when she was young - I can only assume that she had cystic acne. Whenever I asked her about having acne problems she sad she didn't, so who knows. It doesn't even matter because clearly she grew out of it.

On the other hand my dad has oily hair and skin just like me. He admitted that he had acne problems but never described them to me. I'm not sure how severe his acne was but he was clear on every picture I saw of him when he was younger. He says he doesn't remember when his acne stopped, but he connects it with the period when he started dating (I guess we can all assume what he means).

They are such a mystery, but what I do know is that they got clear and it didn't follow them in their adult years, whatever they had. I've read that hormones should definitely normalize at 25, if not earlier, so I will surely find out if it is genetic at that point.

I will study the site. I actually started drinking Green Tea today - I see that it is one of the main subjects on the site. Oh well, we just have to keep on fighting!

Edited by jbaker990

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Drinking green tea might help but I find it more efficient to just wash my face with cold green tea. Try not to pick at your acne please, because that bad habit made my acne so much worse. Have faith in genetics; maybe your acne will clear up in time just like your parents' did. So stay positive and keep fighting! :)

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