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Hey everyone,

I'm about to share a ton of information, but I hope some of you can read through it and hopefully maybe even learn from it. 

I'm 31 years old and have pretty bad cystic acne. I don't really get tiny pimples. Just anywhere from 2 - 5 really bad, deep, longlasting cysts in various spots on my face. They generally last a minimum of two weeks to sometimes over a month. This is kind of a last resort for me.. actually posting my own problem to the forum. I've been reading the posts and forums and reviews and doing research, but I still haven't come up with a solution. Like most people on here, I'm trying to narrow it down to the most likely causes and try different things. But nothing has worked over the years. I'll make a short list of the things I think could be causing it and the methods I've tried. 

Topical and Oral Medications:

Proactiv (teenage years and a couple different stints beyond that):
Never really seemed to address the core problem. Made my face red when younger and did very little to nothing for recurring cystic acne in recent years. I actually feel as though it damaged my skin long-term each time I used it.

Tetracycline (500mg 2xday):
This did work briefly as a teenager but since I've come off it it has never been the same. Had virtually no effect in recent years.

Tretinoin:
Tried this about 4 years ago. They told me to stick with it for 4-6 weeks otherwise it might cause damage. I could only handle the redness for about a week and stopped. Might have caused damage.

Natural Remedies (have only tried these over the past 9 months or so):

Clindamycin:
This definitely worked the best of any topical or oral medication I used, for about 6 months, but then cystic acne started occurring again and it seemed to have no effect. Whether this had to do with me somehow building up an immunity to it, I have no idea. But I haven't used it since, partially because my new insurance doesn't cover it.

Honey Mask:
Initially made and maybe still makes my skin look healthier overall, but hasn't stopped the cystic acne. I've been consistently confused over which type to use as there is contradictory information everywhere online. I've used filtered organic honey and raw honey. Both have more or less had the same effect, which is minimal. 

Ice:
Tried using either ice in paper towel of plastic wrap. Tried anything from leaving on the affected area for 15 seconds on and off, to maybe 2-5 minutes at a time. There was a short period where I was icing my whole face indiscriminately and that, like the honey, seemed to help slightly overall but did not fix the big problem. Also encountered a wide range of contradictory information about how long to apply and in what way.

Exercise:
Going to the gym does help stress levels, but it's not clear if it has any impact on the bad acne. The sauna may or may not have contributed to some inflammation. This one is kinda up in the air.

Apple Cider Vinegar:
Started doing this very recently and it seemed to be helping significantly overall.... until it wasn't. There may have been factors that just overwhelmed it (occasional drinking, occasional diet lapse) but it doesn't stop whatever the core problem is. It seems to make noticeably more of an impact than honey and ice though.

Major Dietary Changes:
I became gluten-free for a different health reason, but along with that change also started taking dairy, red meat, pork, nuts, and even eggs out of my diet. Those were all seeming triggers for me. Hell, even gluten-free grains like GF bread, corn tortillas, or GF frozen waffles seemed to have a negative effect. Which got to the point that had me thinking... well what the hell can I even eat??? Almost everything I eat is organic and hormone-free. I don't think I can sustain myself on only greens and vegetables. I mean shit, even fruit like bananas seems to spike my sugar levels in a way that isn't helpful. I'm really at a loss with this one. I feel like I've eliminated enough, but still no major impact. It does, however, get even worse when I eat said eliminated foods.

Tap Water:
I even considered whether tap water could be the cause... I live in Portland, OR which is supposed to have great tap water. But ever since I've lived here my acne has been badly cystic. Not sure if that's a coincidence, but I've even considered ordered five gallon jugs of filtered water and a tap. It very well could be that I damaged my skin with Tretinoin right before I moved here. This is the kind of confusing thought process I have CONSTANTLY though! Trying to figure out the cause when there could be so many different factors. Like could showering even be a cause because of the water and/or heat? Should I wash by only splashing my face and not direct shower stream contact? Warm or hot (or even cold) water? These are all things I think about.

Vitamins and Supplements:
Most recently I've been using a food-based men's multivitamin from Kind Organics, and even more recently taking a B12 supplement, Omega-3(with D) fish oil capsules, and 20b-count probiotics. Before that I was eating sauerkraut as a probiotic. All of these seem to help with cognitive function and energy and things like that, but no noticeable impact on acne. The Kind Organics vitamin has palm oil I think.. and a couple other ingredients which I fear could be triggers. But I see a lot of things as a potential trigger.

Stress:
I am a highly stressed person, and of course one of my primary stressers is acne. That's a cycle in and of itself, but I am generally pretty stressed overall. Taking acne out of the equation though would have an equally as beneficial and inverse positive loop though. And that's why I'm here right now trying to get to the bottom of it. Exercise in the form of cardio and light weights and yoga, big dietary changes, natural remedies as topicals, and medications ingested and topical have not helped. It's very stressful.

I hope you can all at least identify, and glean some useful information from this. I feel like some of these things are pretty universal among acne sufferers.

If anyone has any advice or suggestions on any of this, anything I haven't tried yet or ways in which I can modify the things I've tried, I would greatly appreciate it! I've stayed pretty consistent with most of these things to no avail. I'm willing to try anything.. from even bigger diet changes to more and better exercise, to even using the computer much less.

Really, any suggestions would be great. Thanks.




 

Edited by elpretentio

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