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Is it ok to be aggressive with treatment?

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I feel as if the only way for my acne to go away is to dry the sh*t out of my skin until it is red and irritated. During the summer months, I apply acne products and then go outside in the sun. Although this irritates my skin, my acne is always never there.

I am not quite sure of the exact cause of my acne, but when people tell me to be gentle with my skin I never listen because I feel as if that never works.

Right now, I switch on and off between benzaclin and Tazorac every night. I use A LOT of product. The only face wash I use is a scrub (I use it in the morning and at night).  In the morning, my skin is always red and irritated, but my acne is dried up.

Is what I am doing OK? Does anybody else feel the same way?

Edited by nikkix3

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I feel sore just reading that! 

You've got yourself into a bit of a vicious circle:

By going in the sun, you are drying up your skin but this will cause it to flake off and block your pores. Except that you then scrub it and then you are taking away the protective top layer of skin and letting bacteria in.   

Not to mention that you will end up wrinkly too! 

Have you considered oral contraceptives? And try topical isotretinoin. 

Check our Dr Sam Bunting's videos on youtube.  She recommends a gentle approach - I like Avene products.  And use SPF!

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Benzoyl peroxide and tazorac are both excellent drugs. I don't think moisturizer is essential but I think it helps. I also found that sun exposure improved my acne but you might regret it later. Especially if you're fair skinned.

benzoyl peroxide wash can dry your skin better than benzaclin. 

Remember that consistency the key to clear skin 

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If you are using Tazorac without sunblock, you will regret it when you turn 30 and your skin suddenly starts aging much more rapidly than everyone else you know. Tazorac has tretinoin (aka Retin-A) in it, which sheds the outer layer of the skin, thus exposing younger skin and putting harmful UV rays that much closer to your epidermis where permanent damage at the DNA level can occur. This means premature wrinkles and sun spots. They're not cute. They don't go away. SPF 30+ every day, even if all you're doing is driving to school/work, no excuses. If you're spending a couple hours in the sun, SPF 50+ and reapply often. When you don't look like a wrinkled leather handbag by 35, you'll be glad you did. If you cannot commit to daily SPF, then you need to discontinue the use of tretinoin.

Ok, how to fix your skin cycle. Your skin sounds like my skin. I could swear my skin doesn't exfoliate on its own ever and is extremely difficult to clean. Go to Williams Sonoma and buy the microfiber dish towels. They're kind of expensive ($28 for two, or something like that), but they're huge and you can cut them in half. They make the best washcloths ever - super soft yet textured, perfect for gentle, manual exfoliation. Throw away the scrub. Switch to a good cleanser that will remove waterproof makeup without stripping the skin. I'm a big fan of the Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover. While you're at the store, buy a bottle of CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser (the bright green label). Also pick up the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM with SPF 30 for AM and the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM. First cleanse with the Neutrogena and wash cloth to break up and remove dirt, oil, makeup, sunblock and all the stuff that sits on your skin and may contribute to clogged pores. Be gentle. Second, cleanse with the CeraVe to remove any of the residual makeup removing cleanser. (Downside of cleansers designed to remove makeup: they sometimes leave stuff behind) Then apply your prescription topicals as recommended by your dermatologist. After applying the topicals, apply either the CeraVe AM or PM lotion. In the morning, you probably won't need to use the washcloth and Neutrogena; the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser should be sufficient. Hope this helps!

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