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Types Of Acne That Develop As One Ages...share Experiences, Please!

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I'm wondering if as adults, anyone else here has noticed major differences in *types* of acne they get as they aged. I thought I'd share my acne's "evolution" as time has progressed. I'm a female, so be forewarned that I might mention some woman issues here... Any males are free to share their experiences, though...

In my teens (12-20) my acne was mostly inflamed, filled with pus. Lucky me, I hit puberty early, and had acne about two years before most other people my age. I could sometimes get large, deep cysts. If I happened to have a "successful" extraction, the lesion would heal quickly and disappear.

My most common methods of treatment were antibiotics from the dermatologist, topical Azelex and Erygel. I was on amoxicillin, tetracycline, cephalexin, erythromycin-- if my dermatologist stopped an antibiotic, my acne would come back. I would get the worst acne around my nose, chin, forehead (T-zone) with breakouts on my back and chest as well. My skin was generally oily despite the weather, but it would heal relatively quickly. I rarely had allergic reactions, although I would occasionally get peeling from the topicals.

From ages 20-26, my skin was in a weird flux. I had lost a lot of weight around age 21 (too much) and my acne was better.. I had stopped having my period. Eventually I gained some weight back, and my period restarted. My skin went from the pus-filled, quickly healing acne to hard, numerous, deep tiny cysts that would not pop nor heal. They became more likely to grow on my neck, my jaw line. Antibiotics stopped working altogether. Topicals seemed to do nothing. Popping acne seemed to cause a vicious cycle, and the lesions would grow back after I thought I had "drained" them.

26-27, I had a brief vacation from acne while nursing my son. Note that I don't recommend getting pregnant to curb acne!

The bad skin came back shortly after I stopped nursing and resumed menstruating, and the tiny, hard, non-healing cysts returned. I did have the Mirena IUD put in, so I'm not sure if it aggravated my acne. My skin was drier and I had to be more careful about causing reactions with harsh cleansers. I had occasional scalp breakouts. My back became horrendous with numerous tiny pimples. My skin was oily during the summers, but still needed moisturizer at times.

Age 29, I had Accutane (with a different dermatologist, in a different state), and the acne disappeared until a month after I stopped. Still, the hard, numerous pimples. Fast forward two-three years. They were back in full force, deep, and one dermatologist described them as "tiny cysts". They became horrible around my jawline, my neck, and close to my ears. My current dermatologist (back in PA, where I live now) was puzzled after various other treatments and prescribed Accutane again. I had the Mirena taken out shortly after stopping the second round of Accutane.

Knock on wood, my acne hasn't been as bad as it was prior to my second round of Accutane, although it is far from perfect. As an adult, antibiotics seem to have no effect. The only useful treatments seem to be somehow linked to exfoliation (Tazorac, for example). It's as if my adult skin doesn't want to shed, my hair follicles constantly get plugged up, and this results in tiny hard lesions that never heal. I rarely (knocks on wood) get really huge painful cysts anymore-- just many small persistent, treatment-resistant ones.

I have to be judicious about what treatment I use when I break out. As a teen, I would repeat the same routine every day. As an adult, I can't be a robot when caring for my skin. Sometimes my skin requires milder cleansers like Mustela and Cetaphil-- other times I need more foamy cleansers to cut down on the oil. Sometimes I have to skip my topicals because my skin feels too raw or dry. Popping certain zits can be futile, since they inevitably grow back.

Any thoughts on acne differences as one gets older?

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Hey, im glad ive found a place that i can share and hopefully resolve my insecurities. I started getting acne around 14 but it was never anything i worried about as it always went away up until i was 19, it was basic pimples and the odd red lump that was abit sore but would then burst. Now that i am 20, more often i have got these skin coloured bumps which i think are pimples that just wont come to the surface. Looking at people on the street etc. You do see many 40 year olds up> usually that have 2 or 3 of these skin coloured bumps, even my mother has 3 but i just dont want them and am sick of them. The 1st one i got ive had for about a year and a half and after having it for a year i squeezed it hard, it became a scab, when the scab came off it got smaller but now its redder then it was. There dosent seem to be any puss inside so i dont know how to treat them. I get them on my jawline, neck and t-zone. I think it sounds like what yours are like, I hope we can bounce some stuff off each othere and we can all be dandy :).

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I had acne as a teenager as well. I also lost too much weight around 16, my period stopped, and they put me on birth control so that I had a semblance of a period despite being extremely, alarmingly underweight. My skin cleared up completely, and remained mostly clear even after returning to a healthy weight, until I went off birth control about 2 years ago. Then it went C R A Z Y. Like - if skin could be psychotic, then my skin was Patrick Bateman.

Antibiotics did very little for me as well (except give me raging yeast infections - sorry guys). As for the "tiny cysts", I had the same thing - they were small hard bumps all over my face. In the light, my skin had an almost rash-like appearance. When I stopped using antibiotics and started using topical tretinoin, bp and spironolactone, some of the little bumps went away (especially the ones around my mouth, chin and jaw) and some of them turned into large cysts and pus-filled nodules. Oddly enough, I stopped having "normal" pimples, by that I mean, I stopped having the kind of pimples that start as small red bumps, come to a head, then go away after a couple of days. My acne consisted of black-heads and milia on my upper cheek-bones, and painful cysts and nodules about the size of dimes on my cheeks that stayed inflamed for weeks only to return a couple of months later. I went on accutane in December and like you , I am keeping my fingers crossed.

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As I get older and older I notice that my acne is getting better & better. In my teens (I'm 22 btw) my acne was of course horrible . Cysts and blemished all over my face & body . For the past two years my acne has been quietly disappearing . I remember my back was filled with blemishes , but I hardly have any now. I get a few whiteheads there and there, but nothing to severe . I'm pretty sure my acne is caused by hormonal imbalances & since I'm towards the end of puberty my hormones are chilling out. My dad was the same; had horrible acne in his teens but went away in his early/ mid twenties. I'm talking through a male expirience, but I can tell women have it differently. Since women have mestrual cycles their hormones go crazy & there's where acne kicks in . ( in my personal opinion , but my gf tends to break out during that time of the month) . But hey hopefully your acne gets better ! I promise it will just don't give up !

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