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Euphoric

Have Been Struggling With Acne For 10 Years, And Nothing Works. Help?

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As the title says, I have been dealing with acne for about 10 years. I am a 21 year old female, and starting breaking out during puberty at the age of 11 or 12. My acne has always been particularly stubborn. I hhave visit the demotologist ever since I started breaking out, and have tried many products. My skin has never been completely acne free, but there have been several periods where my complexion was looking better... temporary. I always eventually break out again.

Over the last 2 months in particular, I have been breaking out like I never have before and I do not understand why. Most of the acne is occuring on my T-Zone, although I also have some pimples developing on my cheeks, near my ears, and right under my jawline on my neck (these locations are not common for me). I have never seen so many white heads on my face at once as I see right now. My face also seems like it gets more oily than it used to during the day. I'm not sure why this is occuring as I have not changed my routine in years, except for switching from Taz 0.1 cream to Taz 0.1 gel.

My routine is as follows:

Morning

Wash with Cetaphil gental cleanser

Apply Clindamycin Phosphate 1% lotion

Apply Neutrogena oil free moisturizer

Apply Neutrogena healthy skin enhancer (technically a tinted moisturizer but I use this as my foundation)

Night

Wash with Neutrogena visably even foaming cleanser

Apply Neutrogena oil free moisturizer

Apply Tazorac 0.1 gel

Take Sprintec birth control pill

In addition to my concern about my acne, I have also seen no improvement in the blackheads on my nose that my dermatologist said the tazorac should help with. Literally every single pore on my nose is clogged. If I try to squeeze any of them, a white substance comes out but fills back in overnight. Over the last year, I have begun to develop some of the same clogged pores on my chin as well.

I'm just so frustrated that even the strongest topical acne medication is no longer helping. My face looks worse than ever! My general complexion just looks awful on top of the acne and blackheads. I do have a dematologist appointment in two weeks, but what can I do in the meantime? Also, what are your thoughts on laser acne treatments or accutane? I plan on asking my derm about these options.

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Edited by Euphoric
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My only advice is keep reading, and keep trying.

The frustrating thing about acne is that because it is so closely linked to hormones, the actual direct cause is different for everyone, and so different things work different for everyone. Even more frustratingly, different things will work differently for you at different stages of your life, because your hormones are constantly changing.

Some people get good results from medicated topical treatments, some swear by diet changes and supplements, some find doing nothing works better than doing anything, some think antibiotics are great, some find hormone balancing medications are the way to go, some love all natural topical treatments. It's hectic, because for every product you find, there will be some people calling it a miracle product and some people saying it made their skin worse than ever. And they're all telling the truth.

Just keep reading. Get to know your skin and your body, and find posts where people describe their skin an what has worked for them. Compare yourself - is your skin like that? What worked for a 16 yo male with very oily skin is going to be totally different to what works for a 30 yo female with dry sensitive skin. Find stories that are like yours, and just keep trying.

And as for accutane and lasers - well I know nothing about lasers, but I'm scared of accutane. I know some people who swear by it, but the potential side effects and the number of people who got zero results are really high. But it's a choice you have to make yourself - keep researching.

You can do it!!

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I'm 22 and been suffering from acne for 10 years at least. I've been on every medication available to me including accutane. About a year ago I finally accepted who I was and how I looked. About 3 months ago my acne just blew up out of no where. It's made my emotions go all over the place and my confidence drop a lot. I also have other worries like birth control as I would like to come off this as I've been on it for almost 10 years now and my family members suffer a lot with periods, misscarriages and the older ones are having to have hysterectomy.

Doctors want me to go back in accutane although I am hesitant. I've also recently purchased the regimen and waiting for its delivery.

I was wondering if you are allowed to be on accutane and the regimen at the same time?

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My acne used to look very similar to yours. Nothing worked, except accutane, and even then my skin would return to it's previous state within a few years. The last products I had been taking were oral antibiotics and tazorac cream for 5 months - it wasn't doing any good.

What ended up completely clearing my skin was changing my diet. It will be extremely difficult, but try going 3-4 days with no sugar, grains or dairy just to test it out. Only eat foods with low glycemic loads, so they don't spike your blood sugar. This is what I discovered to be the cause of my acne. The blood sugar spike from high carb / high glycemic load foods causes your body to produce insulin, and in response to that, additional hormones and growth factors that cause your skin to breakout.

It's been years since I discovred this and I'm still in shock that it was the problem the entire time. Most dermatologists refuse to admit any connection to diet, but within 30 minutes of eating any food with a high glycemic load (bread, etc) my skin will begin to form cysts and break out.

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I have had spots since the age of 15, but 10 years on, I found my skin had become so much worse than it ever had been before. It all got too much this year, when I regularly ended up in tears whilst putting on my make up in the morning - as it was so painful to touch my face, and it just looked so angry and inflamed. I'd constantly be back and forth to the bathroom at work, just to make sure my spots weren't on display - and to also apply pressed-powder to get rid of the constant shine I had, from having such oily skin. I put it down to a stressful job, lack of sleep, a busy lifestyle in London, and not being happy with my life - and that perhaps one day it would get better. I just didn't know what to do...

For years, GP's told me that I would 'grow out of it', and that 'it was my age'. They prescribed me all sorts of creams, and antibiotics, but nothing ever worked. 2 months ago, I was so fed up that I decided to go private. I had an initial appointment with a dermatologist, who said that he could put me on Roaccutane, but he felt that it was more deep-rooted than just being skin deep. He then referred me to an endocrinologist (hormone specialist) - as he suspected that I may have PCOS (polycystic ovaries). The endocrinologist had a look at my face, we had a good chat, and he sent me for blood tests. When these came back, he then referred me to get an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, they discovered that I did in fact have PCOS (harmless cysts on your ovaries, which increase your Androgen levels - male hormones i.e. Testosterone). Some women have a few cysts on each, but if you have 12 or more on each side, you are considered to have PCOS (I had about 18 on each!). The symptoms of this - as well as a number of other things - are oily skin and acne. On communicating with one other, and myself, my Dermatologist and Endocrinologist then decided that the best thing going forward would be to start me off on Spironolactone (to balance the hormones), and Roaccutune a month later - once I'd returned from a holiday in the sun (your skin becomes photosensitive on this drug, so it's not ideal to take it before a holiday) to double whammy it, and sort out the infections in my skin.

I have been taking the Spiro since Saturday, and plan to start the Roaccutane as soon as I return home at the end of this month. I feel as though my skin has slightly improved already - which I know can't be down to the drug this fast - however, I think because I finally see light at the end of the tunnel, I am a lot more relaxed about the situation, and I know that after 10 long years, I have finally discovered what has been wrong with me.

I am writing this, because I know for a fact that I will not be the only one in this situation, and I just wish that I had read something like this many years ago, so that I didn't spend the first half of my twenties going through emotional turmoil because of my skin. It's effected so many more parts of my life then I have ever realised - relationships, sporting activities, holidays, work, friendships - and to know that I am finally on the right path, has been a huge weight off my shoulders.

Good luck.

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My acne used to look very similar to yours. Nothing worked, except accutane, and even then my skin would return to it's previous state within a few years. The last products I had been taking were oral antibiotics and tazorac cream for 5 months - it wasn't doing any good.

What ended up completely clearing my skin was changing my diet. It will be extremely difficult, but try going 3-4 days with no sugar, grains or dairy just to test it out. Only eat foods with low glycemic loads, so they don't spike your blood sugar. This is what I discovered to be the cause of my acne. The blood sugar spike from high carb / high glycemic load foods causes your body to produce insulin, and in response to that, additional hormones and growth factors that cause your skin to breakout.

It's been years since I discovred this and I'm still in shock that it was the problem the entire time. Most dermatologists refuse to admit any connection to diet, but within 30 minutes of eating any food with a high glycemic load (bread, etc) my skin will begin to form cysts and break out.

Since I have been breaking out more recently I have made it a point to cut back on my sugar/dairy intake, although I do not want to eliminate those completely as I am underweight and I don't want to risk losing any weight.

I'm thinking my acne might be more hormonal than anything. My most problematic areas are my chin and upper lip. My forehead is usually a little bumpy, but not too bad.

I really am starting to hate the way that tazorac feels on my skin. It worked well at first, but over the long term my skin quality has really decreased, especially on my chin. My skin seems to have this pink hue often, and I think it's because the taz is such a harsh medication. When I was at my best, my treatment was 500 mg cephalexin, sprintec bc, and retin-a cream. Maybe it would be worth returning to this treament and seeing if my skin improves.

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My acne used to look very similar to yours. Nothing worked, except accutane, and even then my skin would return to it's previous state within a few years. The last products I had been taking were oral antibiotics and tazorac cream for 5 months - it wasn't doing any good.

What ended up completely clearing my skin was changing my diet. It will be extremely difficult, but try going 3-4 days with no sugar, grains or dairy just to test it out. Only eat foods with low glycemic loads, so they don't spike your blood sugar. This is what I discovered to be the cause of my acne. The blood sugar spike from high carb / high glycemic load foods causes your body to produce insulin, and in response to that, additional hormones and growth factors that cause your skin to breakout.

It's been years since I discovred this and I'm still in shock that it was the problem the entire time. Most dermatologists refuse to admit any connection to diet, but within 30 minutes of eating any food with a high glycemic load (bread, etc) my skin will begin to form cysts and break out.

Since I have been breaking out more recently I have made it a point to cut back on my sugar/dairy intake, although I do not want to eliminate those completely as I am underweight and I don't want to risk losing any weight.

I'm thinking my acne might be more hormonal than anything. My most problematic areas are my chin and upper lip. My forehead is usually a little bumpy, but not too bad.

I really am starting to hate the way that tazorac feels on my skin. It worked well at first, but over the long term my skin quality has really decreased, especially on my chin. My skin seems to have this pink hue often, and I think it's because the taz is such a harsh medication. When I was at my best, my treatment was 500 mg cephalexin, sprintec bc, and retin-a cream. Maybe it would be worth returning to this treament and seeing if my skin improves.

Your acne is probably hormonal, and I'd bet it's being triggered by consuming foods that spike your insulin levels. I promise you I'm not wasting your time - eat only meat and vegetables for 3-4 days and see if you have any new breakouts on the 3rd or 4th day. No dairy, grains, legumes or sugar - they will all spike your insulin and cause your body to produce hormones / growth factor that trigger acne. Just to give you an idea how important this is, I'm so sensitive that after months of doing this diet with clear skin, if I have one piece of bread or a glass of milk I'll start developing cysts within an hour.

...but I know what you mean. I'm also very skinny and I have to eat lots of fat to stay at a decent weight with this diet. I always buy extremely fatty ground beef when I make chili for example, and leave all of the fat in the pan after frying the beef. Just find a chart that lists the glycemic loads of different foods, and only eat the low ones....but don't eat dairy either! They have a low glycemic load, but spike your blood insulin directly through other mechanisms.

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I've struggled with acne for 16 years and counting. There's not much you can do but adapt to it.

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Hello euphoric I agree with some of the others' post about it being horminal in nature possibly.if u go back to the antibiotic riute, I noticed you took cephalexin somewhat successfully but just 500mg.that dosage is on the low side for acne.standard is 500 mg twice a day.any of the ccephalosporins that cover skin should work well for u with right dosage.try askibg your derm. For duricef 2 500 mg a day.works great for acne.ive mentioned to others before too-for many years successfully I treated my severe acne with broad spectrum antibiotics and with each dose took 400mg of ibuprofen directly.it worked like magic while taking antibiotic alone alone helped some but with ibuprofen never broke outagain until rresistance to the antibiotics manifested.other antibiotics for you. Ceftin vantin omnicef spectracef ceclor cedax velosef.good luck to whatever you decide. Incidentally I took accutane twice wirhout any results and male so no hornone oprions

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Like you I'm female, I'm 23, and I've been suffering from acne since I was 13 - although the severity of the acne has fluctuated alot. I've tried various topical treatments and antibiotics and so far nothing's really changed. My skin is in a similar state to yours - although I have less active acne than you, but my skin tone is uneven and I have some scars. Your skin itself looks good and it doesn't look like your acne is too inflamed so you shouldn't have too much of a problem with scars.

So my skin has started to improve recently, and I would have a couple of suggestions that might be worth trying if you haven't already:

  • Although acne is certainly not caused by diet alone, I agree with L470 that diet does affect your skin. I have switched my morning breakfast milk for a non-dairy alternative and I try and eat less sugar and refined foods. Not that I'm giving up pizza or chocolate anytime soon, just eating less. I also eats lots of fruit and veg. I've definitely noticed that when I have a lot of sugar I will get acne - not so sure about the rest of it though. But it's worth trying, right?
  • Exfoliation. The chemical kind. This can be really gentle and inserted into your daily routine. I'm currently using a range of products that contain glycolic acid, including a cream that goes on at night. I've been using this range for the last 7 weeks and my skin is less oily and I've had less breakouts. My skin looks more even too. You could also consider having a glycolic acid peel.

I would probably advise against laser acne treatments and accutane - but I haven't experienced either so this is purely a personal preference. If you're thinking about it I would see if you can find some threads of people who have used these treatments. Seems to me that accutane is not 100% effective and has lots of possible side effects, while laser can be very expensive with varying levels of success.

Also, in regards to real acnekillerz post above, I would say be very careful with antibiotics and ibuprofen. Taking antibiotics regularly can be bad for you, and you can develop an immunity. Taking ibuprofen regularly, especially in large doses, can cause stomach problems, which can be quite painful.

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So I visted my dermatologist this past Monday, and I have changed up my regimine slightly. She seems to think that the "acne" on my forehead is actually an overgrowth of yeast... perhaps due to my use of the clindamyacin topial. I have been instructed to stop using it, and am now washing my face with ketoconozole shampoo every night in place of my exfoliating wash. And I am now using finacea (azelic acid) in place of the clinda in the mornings. Still usuing the tazorac gel at night, and still on sprintec birth control. It's only been 4 days so I haven't noticed a huge change but we will see how it goes. I'm feeling optimistic.

I don't have very many active pimples on my face right now, but what really bothers me is the hyperpigmentation left behind. I do not pop or pick at my pimples but they still always leave marks behind. My dermatologist said it is probably because of my olive skintone. =/

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Birth control is what eventually helped me, but you have to give it time. I don't think it really kicked in until the end of the third/beginning of the fourth month I was on them. You have to give your body time to adapt to the hormones. It kinda felt like it started working over night, suddenly I had clear skin(of acne, still had a lot of red marks) after struggling for the longest time. I have now been on birth control for 5 month, and the acne is showing no sign of returning, though I'm scared of what will happen if I go off birth control. I am all for treating the root of the problem, topicals and stuff doesn't really get to the root of why you have acne. Also I had minimal side affects. Hope this helped :)

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Birth control is what eventually helped me, but you have to give it time. I don't think it really kicked in until the end of the third/beginning of the fourth month I was on them. You have to give your body time to adapt to the hormones. It kinda felt like it started working over night, suddenly I had clear skin(of acne, still had a lot of red marks) after struggling for the longest time. I have now been on birth control for 5 month, and the acne is showing no sign of returning, though I'm scared of what will happen if I go off birth control. I am all for treating the root of the problem, topicals and stuff doesn't really get to the root of why you have acne. Also I had minimal side affects. Hope this helped

Thanks, but I have been on birth control for about 6 years so it would have helped my acne by now if it was ever going to. =/

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