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Can't Tell What On My Back Is Active, What's A Scar, And What's Pih?

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Hi all! 21/male here

Question #1:

I'm having some trouble figuring out what the best course of action for dealing with my back is—because I'm not exactly sure what the problem is...

Long story short, my face is relatively clear, but my back and, to a much lesser extent, my chest are sort of a mess. I used to pick at/pop back acne (I know, I wish I could go back in time and yell at myself), but I've stopped that, thank god. I know that there is some active acne (pretty big and read, which I believe is indicative of cystic), some PIH, and some scarring. But it's hard to tell which are which—it's all sort of the same red color, if that makes any sense.

How can I tell the difference between a scar and active acne? I have some red marks that are not smooth (i.e. they are raised a little bit), and thus aren't PIH, but also don't really look/feel like cystic pimples. Are scars ever red? Or does the redness indicate that these are indeed active pimples?


Question #2:

How would you recommend I address my back just in general? I've been on minocycline for a lonnnngggg time, and it doesn't really seem to be preventing breakouts on my back. (It's hard to reach certain parts of my back so I think antibiotics might be a very solid option—but please correct me if I'm wrong.)

I have an appointment with my regular doctor in three weeks and was going to ask him if I could try amoxicillin, which my mom and several friend had told me has worked for her in the past. Any thoughts? I figure that even if it only works while I'm on it, I'll at least be able to see what is scarring vs. what is active by observing what clears up while I'm taking it.

I've also requested refills of retin A and benzoyl peroxide, both of which I tried briefly for a month like three or four years ago (before my back became a problem). I don't really know a lot about these products, and I don't remember how well they worked for me in the past, but I figure it doesn't hurt to at least have them. Thoughts?


Thanks so much guys! I know this was a long read, but it means a lot that you would lend me you insights!

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Scars are indents/holes/dents in the skin or there's raised scarring. Red spots/discoloration is normally either PIH or PIE, or if its white, its hypopigmentation. Yes scars can be red. Normally in time it will go away, but nonabrasive lasers such as IPL or vbeam can helpspeed up healing of the red marks. If you have a raised spot, it may not be scarring it could be a cyst. And that's good you stopped picking at your skin- I still catch myself scratching at my skin when I get anxious. But yeah, just really really try not to touch and pick at your skin, your skin will like you much better lol. And as I'm a natural person, I would be recommending probiotics, diet and a lifestyle change for acne lol. I'm not into the conventional route for most health issues, so hopefully others can help you there XD

Oh and I don't recommend putting benzoyl peroxide on open wounds/ picked acne spots. I read in another post that their doctor said it can cause the skin not to heal right and can cause scars, like it either interfered with collagen or the fibroblast production... I can't quite remember lol. Good luck! :)

Edited by NomNomWaffles

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