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Acne And Possible Perioral Dermatitis? Advice Appreciated.

Hi all,

I am so glad to come across this site as I have been in tears the past couple of days over my skin. Is always reassuring to read other people's stories and realise I am not alone in this struggle.

Right now I am feeling really depressed over my skin, and I feel horrible even being down about it because there are worse things happening such as my Grandad who is dying, and here I am in tears over my face. I feel like the most superficial person.

I'll try and get straight to the facts. I am 26, female and live in New Zealand. My teenage years were uneventful in terms of acne. I wouldn't say I suffered from acne, because while I would get the odd pimple here and there, some months worse than others, it was never that big of a big deal as everyone else was dealing with pimples in varying degrees.

At 19 I went on the Pill (Yasmin) and for the 4 years I took it, my skin was stunning. I never had a pimple and my skin was smooth and even. I took it for granted and never imagined for a second my skin could be anything but clear.

At 24 I decided to come off the Pill because I wanted a baby. In less than 2 months, my skin had erupted in whiteheads, cystic acne, and just plain ugly lumps and bumps. My forehead was the worst. I ended up going to a skin specialist and was put on the skin care range A.S.A.P along with monthly microdermabrasion. Within a few months my skin was clear again.

The past few years have seen my skin alternate between relatively clear (the odd pimple and some redness left over from old ones), to full on cystic acne. It came to a head beginning of this year. I begun to go to the Caci Clinic, a skin care/appearance medicince clinic over here in NZ, and was put on the Dr Murad skincare range and once again had some treatments with microdermabrasion. While it cleared up my forehead, I was suddenly dealing with cystic acne along my jaw and cheeks. My doctor suspected PCOS (since I have been trying unsuccessfully for so long to get pregnant). My ultrasound showed the presence of small cysts but my blood tests showed that my hormonal levels were perfect. PCOS was ruled out.

I decided to pay for a skincare programme at the clinic called 'Reformaskin'. This would be 52 weeks of treatments such as microdermabrasion, VPL (variant of IPL), facials and dermal rolling. So far I have had 5 sessions of microdermabrasion with a glycolic peel. My skin was showing such promise. It was smooth and healing progressively. Then two weeks ago my forehead once again started to erupt. I have small bumps all over it, and some progress into proper pimples with pus that take a long time to heal. The nurse at the clinic said it wasn't as bad as I imagined it to be, but when you go from a smooth forehead to a bumpy blotchy one, is IS bad, at least to me it is. I am happy to deal with the red marks left over from pimples, as I know they always eventually heal. But bumps are so hard to hide at times.

I have my first VPL next week, and was really looking forward to it BUT two days ago I woke up to find these small blistery 'white heads' all around my chin and lips. Initially I thought they were pimples, but now I am not so sure. They are spreading rapidly and now cover my lips, chin, and up towards my cheeks. I can pop them and some white stuff comes out, but half an hour later it is back to being a blister type white head. I have read up on 'PERIORAL DERMATITIS' and I think this is maybe what it is because I have never experienced any type of acne like this before, and usually, if I pop a white head, it begins to heal. It is very bumpy, red and unsightly and I am terrified of it spreading any further.

Does anyone had any advice or personal experience with this? I am now unsure If I can get the VPL because I don't know if it will make it worse. I also have read that Doxycycline is the main treatment of perioral dermatitis, and if that is what I have, I can not be on doxy while having VPL as it can cause a reaction.

I have a doctors appointment for an unrelated matter on Tuesday and then have my scheduled appointment for the VPL afterwards, so I am hoping one or the other can diagnose this correctly. I am also hoping to see a dermatologist sometime this coming week.

Right now I am using the Murad cleanser, toner and sunscreen in the morning, and then the cleanser, toner, skin perfecting lotion and spot treatment at night. I also use the mask twice a week. My skin seems to like this routine usually, but with this new rash I fear I am doing more harm than good. Most days I wear a mineral powder foundation which has never seen me break out, but once again I don't know if I am worsening anything. I have a few events to go to soon so I am going to have to wear my liquid foundation (mix of Revlon ColorStay and MAC Studiofix) because I don't have the confidence to show my face as it naturally is.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Just writing this all down seems to have calmed me down a bit. This rash has probably affected me more than the acne has. I feel that with the acne, I have cleared it up before so there is hope to clear it up again. This dermatitis or whatever it is has me really down because actually seeing it spread and look worse and worse has me terrified of mirrors.

Thanks so much for reading.

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It is now travelling down my neck :( I have to go out after to my partner's work party. I have a face full of makeup on and it looks horrible. I'm so anxious right now. I'm tearing up every time I see myself in the mirror.

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