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elle241

Adult Acne.... Am I Stuck With This Forever?

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Hi! I’m a 27 year old adult acne sufferer and wanted to share my experiences and woes, in the hopes of maybe gaining advice (or support if nothing else)! My skin type is mainly dry, with an oily forehead.

A history of my skin issues: My skin was very clear and stable while in my teens. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that my skin gradually got worse and worse. I noticed that I was consistently getting numerous cystic pimples a couple times a month at least, so I thought ok, I’ll just get pro-activ and that will fix it. Not that simple. At first I think it maaaybe helped a little bit, but with increased use, my skin actually started to get worse. Looking back, it’s hard to say if I even used the stuff properly (I certainly never consulted a doctor or derm about it) and I was probably over-exfoliating and not moisturizing nearly enough. I used pro-activ for a couple years at least, I was scared to stop using it, and my skin slowly got worse and worse. My next attempt to solve the problem was trying random birth controls including Yaz (don’t do it) which helped a little bit in the skin department, however it turns out I am extremely sensitive to hormones in other ways so the side effects (hair thinning, mood swings… and more) made my life a living hell. So any benefit toward my skin that was gained by going on birth control was not worth it.

After coming off of birth control my skin was in a horrific state. My next step was antibiotics. I was prescriped Benzaclin (a combination of BP and Clindamycin) which worked wonders for a few months. The odd small, superficial pimple still appeared but the deep nasty cysts were gone. But it didn’t last. I tried going back on Benzaclin maybe 8 months later and it did nothing.

Apart from these “major” attempts at solving my acne, I should also mention I’ve tried every product in the book (expensive high end ones, natural DIY ones, etc) and I’ve switched up my cleansing routine more times than I can possibly remember, and spent a complete fortune doing it. I’ve also gone for expensive facials and treatments which have given me some hope, but not a whole lot. I have also changed my diet + exercise + water intake which I feel has improved my overall complexion but not periodic breakouts.

So where I’m at right now: I’ve given up the harsh ingredients like BP. I’ve tried to switch to only gentle products for sensitive skin (right now I’m using Dermalogica Ultracalming cleanser and it’s the most luck I’ve had), and I exfoliate (using beta-hydroxy cream, not a physical scrub) once or twice a week. The longest I tend to go without a huge breakout is a maybe a month, and then I’ll usually get like 4-5 huge nasty cysts that will leave scars and screw up all the progress I’ve made.

So now, the conclusions I’ve come to, for me, are:

1) Switching up my daily cleansing routine too much, and adding too many products, is not a good thing, and usually results in a really bad breakout. Consistency is good.

2) Doing too much is just as bad as not doing enough.

3) Harsh products, for me, do provide a quick fix but worsen the problem in the long run.

4) The healthier I am overall, the better my skin looks in general and the better it heals.

My biggest fear is that there is something else I could/should be doing, or something I haven’t tried, which could improve my skin. I don’t want this cycle to continue and to be left with a face riddled with scars. Is there anyone who has had a similar situation and can provide some suggestions? That would be awesome. Thanks for reading through this long-winded post!!

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Spironolactone has worked for many people who don't want to rely on birth control. It works as an androgen inhibitor.

Using a really gentle cleanser and moisturizer is probably a good thing for your skin right now as it needs to heal.

When you say scars, do you mean pitted or raised scars, or just hyperpigmentation (because that will fade)?

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i agree with SiriBai spiro is amazing stuff and works so well. i would check with your derm about starting it but if the derm doesnt want to prescribe it then you can see an endocrinologist that will help you with that.

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thanks for the tips! :) I've never tried Spironolactone... if I can avoid having to rely on a drug as a solution, that would be ideal. I'm seeing a naturopath soon to look into ways to balance my skin through diet and supplements (can't hurt right?) which is kind of my last resort before I go back to using antibiotics OR trying Spironolactone.

As for the question regarding scars... I have a couple subtle pitted scars that aren't super noticeable from far away, but a ton of leftover red marks from cysts that last on my face for 6+ months.

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Get clear !!

I've struggled with persistent cystic acne for 13 years. I am finally crystal clear (I get a small breakout if I stray away from my regimen or eat the wrong things but whatever sometimes you need junk food!) now I'm no expert, but I do know what it's like to cry when you see your face without makeup If this is you, read on!

Now, after visiting the dermatologist many many times, I've had some short-lived success. The only thing that has given me consistent success is changing what I put into my body. Ever feel like you are taking amazing care of your skin and still breaking out? That's because our skin is a direct reflection of our health-acne is a symptom of a bigger problem: lack of nutrition!

Many people have food intolerances and don't know it. So we eat the same things day in and day out and our body tries to eliminate them (via our skin for some people like me and you). Some common triggers: dairy, gluten, processed sugar (me), corn (me). By eliminating corn and corn products-read labels!! And lowering sugar intake while adding whole food nutrition via my diet and juice plus capsules (life saver! Also helped with weight loss for me)...I am totally clear and confident. Check my profile for before/after pictures.

Regimen:

Eliminate corn products in diet

Reduce sugar in diet

Take juice plus capsules

Eat mostly non processed foods

Topical:

Am: wash with cera ve sensitive skin wash

Moisturize with Jergens for face spf 15

Almay clear complexion makeup

Mac bronzing powder

Pm: wash with cera be sensitive skin wash

Moisturize with neutrogena oil free

Treat with acne.org treatment (3 times a week)

I've done the regimen without the diet change. Helped but did not keep the giant, under the skin cysts from forming! Hit me up for any questions you have

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elle241, on 23 Mar 2015 - 17:12, said:

thanks for the tips! :) I've never tried Spironolactone... if I can avoid having to rely on a drug as a solution, that would be ideal. I'm seeing a naturopath soon to look into ways to balance my skin through diet and supplements (can't hurt right?) which is kind of my last resort before I go back to using antibiotics OR trying Spironolactone.

As for the question regarding scars... I have a couple subtle pitted scars that aren't super noticeable from far away, but a ton of leftover red marks from cysts that last on my face for 6+ months.

I know how you feel. I saw a wellness doc who had me eliminate many things from my diet and made me buy all these expensive supplements and my skin just got worse and worse. I spent tons of money and ended up worse off than before I started going there. Had I just gone on spiro when my derm wanted me to I could have avoided a lot of the scarring I have today. I tried every single thing I could before I realized that medication was the only thing that was going to help me.

There are various things you can do for the pitting such as needling or subcision or peels but in time the scars might look better as well. For red marks you can do IPL or V-beam which work well for those. Good luck to you!

Edited by tracy521

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An update to this post...

Shortly after I wrote this entry, I acquired 2 last-ditch effort prescriptions, Clindamycin lotion and Differin. I used them both, especially clindamycin, religiously for the next 2 months and I saw no improvement... actually some of my cystic flare-ups, particularly on one side, got worse. My skin really felt inflamed and I began to think that the Clindamycin was actually causing extra irritation so I discontinued using it but continued using Differin.

After that, my skin has continuously improved and right now (4 months later) it's the most stable It's been in a very long time. It's been over 6 weeks since I've had any breakout, and the last one was hardly severe. I don't know if its the Differin, the summer weather, the results of a consistent routine or a combination of all of these... I've also added zinc supplementation - but whatever it is, i'm going to keep doing all of this and hope that it continues. I've learned that my skin does not react well to weather changes to I plan to increase my skin's hydration in the winter (it gets very dry here where I live during the winter months) maybe with a heavier-weight moisturizer.

Wish me luck!

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Good luck elle241.

I had advice from one pharmacist that zinc supplementation can be quite helpful for adult acne.

I also had a work acquaintance who was about to get married and start a family...she had quite severe cystic acne but didn't want to take and pharmaceutical medications while planning a family. She started using Epiology wash and cream and it really made a difference for her. Her painful cystic acne came under control and she was really happy with the results.

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Did you see that on Beauty Review they were trialing epiology and it had heaps of great comments. Loads of people with adult acne had commented that it had helped with redness and healing of scars.

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