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I'm new to the forum, but actually looking for some ways to help my 20 year old daughter who started suffering from worse acne last fall.

Up until then, she'd have pimples here and there--not small ones, but they'd be in isolation and scattered--maybe 2-3 on her forehead, 2-3 on her chin, 2 or so on each temple.

We didn't think it was a big deal. She used Phisoderm Antiblemish wash for about 3 years prior to that.

She had a bad breakout on the right side of her cheek last fall (left was clear), and we tried different things to help that bad breakout heal.

Slowly, it did, but by January, she was breaking out on the left side of her face (not as bad as the right), and now she gets pimples anywhere, anytime.

Through trial and error, we've found she can use Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, 2.5% Equate Repairing Lotion, and Clinique DD Moisturizing Gel, and she seems to tolerate those.

But the nasty breakouts still come. :(

I thought it was hormonal--had her to an endocrinologist who is testing her, but she ruled out anything reproductively that could be causing it.

I'm really at a loss as to know how to help her. I didn't have acne growing up (don't shoot me--I used Phisohex and Sea Breeze on my face--killed all those zits dead), so I don't know how to be of help to her.

Thanks for letting me vent and join the forum.

I guess my main question is this: Is there a way (without using antibiotic medications because she is highly allergic to them) that we can get her face clear? Anything I should change in her regimen?

I'm really at a loss as to how to help her.

Btw, the breakouts she's getting now are either those that look like they're under the skin and never come up, or the big, red ugly ones with a head.

Both types take forever to go away, and then they'll come up elsewhere.

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Welcome to the forum. I highly recommend your daughter to take a look around herself and see what its all about. Without, my struggle with acne would be that much harder. Anyway, on to options.

I personally believe than when treating acne you should start from OTC to prescription so that you can rule out what doesn't work.

  1. She might want to look into diet (maybe going dairy free for a month to see if that helps and/or gluten free). Paleo is a pretty popular diet that seems to work for some people here - it especially helps if insulin resistance is your issue
  2. The Regimen on this site. It seems to be successful for several members so try it out
  3. retinoids (from a derm)
  4. birth control and/or spiro

Just so you know, sometimes hormone testing doesn't show any issues but that doesn't mean everything is honkey dorey. Look around and read some logs - you'll learn alot

I applaud you for educating yourself on acne. I wish my mom could be of assistance.

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Thank you, Sasch83.

We have been doing some dietary things as well--gluten free, dairy free, limiting sugar as much as we can (she doesn't consume a lot).

She's a very petite person (5'; 109 lbs). She eats pretty healthy but I know she could step up her exercise.

Her skin is very sensitive, too. I know when I was getting her different face washes to try, even Purpose Gentle Cleanser left her face very dry.

Can you (or anyone) explain more about the retinoids? What is the lowest strength? She actually was to a derm who prescribed Ziana and also gave her tretinoin cream (0.05%) if the Ziana was too harsh.

When I asked him if she would have a reaction to the Ziana (because it's clintimyacin and tretinoin), how would he know what she reacted to, he dismissed me.

I was confused because he told me her case was mild. Of course it only looks like that when you visit the derm, right? I'm not sure why he prescribed such harsh stuff. :/

She has to be careful of *any* antibiotic--she has been tested and does have antibiotic allergies.

Honestly, after we visited that derm, I was very depressed.

I think there is a lower level of tretinoin or something which could be gentler, but he sent us on our way. All I could see was a neverending loop of visits to him. :(

So I feel like I'm back to square one.

We have been using the 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, but it doesn't seem to be enough (we've been doing this for several months).

Do you think we should bump up the level to 5%?

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2.5%BP is fine and a higher concentration could cause further irritation. Has your daughter tried using BP in the way that regimen recommends? If not and she can handle it, then it may be worth a shot. I would not recommend Ziana because it does have a topical antibiotic. The least irritating retinoid is Differin but i find not many have success with it. After that comes retin a or tretinoin .25 then .05 then .01. I used Atralin which is tretinoin.05% and found that it didn't irritate my skin - it never cleared me though.

Whatever you do will unfortunately be a series of trial and error. But def have her give the regimen a shot and if in 3 months there is no improvement, a retinoid would be my next suggestion

Oh and retinoids clear out pores and help skin shed properly but it is a sloooooooooow process and in MY experience, it doesn't do much for active acne

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