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I am a 26 year old female--soon to be 27--and I have suffered from acne for over 15 years. I don't have deep cystic acne--just an ever-present, annoying affliction of zits--anywhere from 2 to 20 at a time.

For years, I used topicals, birth control, and antibiotics, but after hearing the warnings about antibiotics, and being terrified of Accutane, I started to seek alternatives. After 10 Smoothbeam treatments with no improvement, I finally gave up and found a new hot-shot dermotologist in New York City who uses Photodynamic Therapy (generally used to treat cancer) to treat acne.

She covered my face with a topical and had me "incubate" for 45 minutes before zapping me with a V-Beam. After three treatments my acne was meant to be in remission. On my third visit, she was so discouraged by my results, that she put the solution on my face, incubated me for 45 minutes, stuck me under the blue light for eight minutes and still zapped me with the V-Beam. My skin got clearer for about two weeks and then the acne came back full force. My doctor can't believe it. She's cured people with far more severe acne than mine and I'm the only she hasn't sent into remission with this therapy.

I'm a little discouraged at this point but I know that we just have to keep trying things. In two weeks, I'll get another treatment. I take a birth control pill called Aless that helps control my hormones. At night I wash with Plexion and wear Tazorac Cream; in the morning, Clindagel. Oh, and I've been taking Vitamin A,

I'm ready for a differece. I'll keep you posted.

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I tried that too and it didn't work. Only thing that has ever worked for me is accutane. My derm only did one treatment then said it wasn't going to work after looking at my results.

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Have you tried cutting dairy out of your diet? I know many people disagree with the theory that dairy can cause acne, but I have found that I get fewer zits when I stay away from dairy and chocolate.

Also, adding zinc, magnesium and vitamin c to your daily intake might help.

And using a really, really gentle cleanser can help. I'm not familiar with the one you've listed, so don't know how gentle or not it is. I'm sure you've been through many, many products, so probably this advice is not needed. wink.gif

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Hi, I can't believe you actually got 10 Smoothbeam treatments! That must be some sort of record. I'm very sorry they didn't help you, however I have a theory about why that is. It seems that some people have acne primarily because of hyperactive oil glands, and others because of hyperactive p acnes bacteria. Since 10 SBs would virtually (albeit temporarily) wipe out your oil glands that would point to the bacteria as the culprit.

Long-term use of antibiotics makes p acnes very strong and hard to treat, so I assume that’s what has happened to you. I suggest you try only doing things to obliterate the bacteria, (not antibiotics, they only make them stronger) such as benzoyl peroxide as outlined in the regimen, or possibly Azelex. (Azelex may take a few weeks to kick in though) You would need to also be very careful about getting bacteria on your face, since one kind directly causes acne, and all the others can needlessly use up the BP and the resources of your own immune system. The light zappers also kill bacteria well, if it seems to do the trick, you might be able to find one to purchase that you could use daily.

. Always wash hands before applying anything

. Don’t directly touch your products or makeup until it is out of the container

. Always dry your face with tissues or a clean towel

You would know within a couple of weeks if it will work out. I realize that you have a doctor for these things, but please at least consider my suggestions.

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Peachy, I agree with the previous posters. Try eliminating or cutting down on dairy if you eat it and try the Benzoyl Peroxide regimen on this message board to combat the P. Acnes bacteria. Both have helped me a lot.

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No cheese and chocolate?? Woah! Slow down! I may be desperate, but I'm not crazy . . . biggrin.gif

Seriously, thanks for the advice; I'll see what I can do . . .

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Maybe just cutting back on dairy? I still use my french vanilla creamer in my coffee, but I don't drink milk anymore. Also, I cut waaaaaay back on eating cheese, but didn't eliminate it entirely from my diet.

The chocolate thing is a little harder, but if I don't buy it, then I can't eat it. biggrin.gif

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Unless something has somehow changed, (growth hormones or antibiotics in cattle feed? mad cows?) dairy products do not cause acne. They proved that around the time when I was just a twinkle in my dad's eye.

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OG, there is some research that does suggest hormones are responsible for the acne-dairy link:

Acne and Dairy Products

by F.W. Danby, MD, FRCPC

By way of introduction, I am a dermatologist. After training in Toronto, I practised in Canada for 24 years and then moved to the United States. My credentials include my Canadian specialist certificate, my American specialty 'boards', a few scientific papers, the conduct of 23 clinical trials (several of them on acne medications), well over 2000 personal cases of acne treated with isotretinoin, 23 years as Chair of a division of dermatology and teaching medical students in a Canadian university and now two years teaching about acne at an American medical school.

I have had an active interest in the interaction of hormones and the skin and when I saw David Collins's web site I sent him along a copy of a presentation that I've been developing and presenting intermittently to various groups of dermatologists and other doctors for over ten years. David asked me for a summary in layman's language, and so here it is.

Basically, almost all dermatologists agree that hormones are the driving force behind acne. Everybody pretty much agrees that the male hormone 5 alpha dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the final molecule that turns on the oil making cells, even in women. The problem is that there are multiple sources of hormones that turn into DHT - some of them are accepted by almost all dermatologists and some are not, at least yet.

Generally, the male hormones that come from the testicles and from the ovaries and from the adrenal (stress) glands are accepted, but there is another source that has been investigated incompletely but that clinically appears quite important.

The story goes back to the mid 1960s when Dr. Jerome K. Fisher, a dermatologist in Pasadena, California, collected dietary histories on over 1000 consecutive acne patients. He found acne to be related to the amount of milk consumed and was able to compare his patients to a much larger group of 5227 teenagers whose diets were studied in New York City. The acne patients in Pasadena consumed 50 to 300% more milk than the teenagers in NewYork.

Other scientists, working in Wisconsin USA, Germany, and Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow) showed in the early 1970s that milk contains progesterone; that is a product of the cows' pregnancy; and that there are other hormones in the milk of pregnant cows, particularly in the butterfat fraction. Also, it was shown that the enzymes necessary to convert these hormones to DHT are present right in the oil glands themselves.

So there is a chain of events that leads from the cow getting pregnant; to her being milked; to getting pregnant for her second calf while she is still being milked; to you taking the hormones into your diet as milk, cream, ice cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, pizza, lasagna, cheeseburgers and the rest; to the hormones being absorbed into your body, going to the oil gland receptors, converting to DHT and turning on the cellular activity that creates acne. So why is this not common knowledge?

Well, first of all, Dr. Fisher's paper was never published. It was presented as his admission paper to the prestigious American Dermatology Association but we do not know if he ever got it ready for publication .We do know that his research on pregnant cows' hormones came to a halt because the cow he was using to test the milk during her pregnancy miscarried and the testing was incomplete. The researchers who did the work on hormones in milk were not interested in acne and never took their work further. The researcher who did the work on the enzymes shifted his career interest to other things. And nobody seemed to see the thread linking these findings until I noted the relationships about 15 years ago.

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