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Hello everyone,

Let me start by giving a quick summary of my acne. At around 15 I started getting the occasional pimple her and there, but never anything too serious. However, about two and a half years ago when I was 17 years old my acne worsened dramatically. Within a matter of a couple months of this first big breakout, it got to the point where I felt the need to see a dermatologist.

My derma prescribed me a mixture of Clindamycin Phosphate and Benzoyl Peroxide. This helped to initially calm the new influx of acne I had coming in, but after a few months the effectiveness diminished. I then was prescribed tretinoin 0.025% (Retin-A) and I began using it immediately. The first four months that I was on Retin-A was the worse my acne has ever been; specifically my jawline and the area under the corners of my mouth were affected. I even began getting a few cystic nodules at this time. After nearly six months on Retin-A my complexion began to improve. Not satisfied with the results, I went back to my dermatologist, and she then prescribed me Doxycycline Hyclate to take once daily. At this same time I began using a 10% Benzoyl peroxide wash. This combination seemed to work wonders for a while. My acne improved greatly to the point where I only had a few blemishes at all times (aside from some minor scarring). It may be important to point out that I also cut out dairy completely at this time. Though, to maintain this regimen, I had to use a TON and I mean a TON of moisturizer. I would have to apply loads of this Neutragena Sensitive Skin lotion multiple times per day. During this period I also became sort of obsessive with picking every pimple I ever got. In fact, I was (and still am) so OCD about this that I would often try to force whiteheads to pop when they were clearly not ready, and in doing this I would cause my skin to break and therefore scab. (I know this is counterproductive, but hey, I'm admitting that it's a problem of mine).

Soon, I moved to college and was forced to limit the amount of time and energy I was putting into my skin. My new lifestyle and living situation first led me to discontinue my use of the antibiotic. I weened myself off of it well, and my skin didn't really seem to get any worse from this. I then began slowly eating more dairy, and I started to become less strict with my regimen (going nights without Retin-A, skipping the benzoyl wash, ect) mostly because I couldn't keep up with the dryness. I simply could not maintain this lifestyle of drying the hell out of my skin and then spending twenty minutes applying lotion every morning and night, all only to maintain mild acne as opposed to severe. 

Soon my acne worsened again slowly. I then started using the Benzoyl Peroxide wash only every other day to try and combat dryness, while using the Retin-A 5-6 nights per week. I also cut out 90% of dairy again and began taking 2000 IU Vitamin D3 supplements once per day. This has led me to where I am now. At this point I'd say my acne is mild, but to be honest it is really affecting me emotionally. I feel like my acne is always in the back of my mind whenever I'm talking to people, out in public, or really doing anything. I often find myself comparing my acne to other people's, and thinking of how people are judging me based on my skin. I have a meeting to meet with a new derma this Friday, and I'm hoping they have some advice. Currently, I'm considering doing a course of Accutane just because I'm so done with the physical and psychological effects of acne.

If anybody has any advice as to some possible treatments that seem fitting for someone with my story please share! I've included some pics of my skin below as well.


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Hello! I hope everything is well for you today. Thanks for uploading some pictures of your skin.

First ad foremost, I am not judging you for your skin ;). If you knew the shit high school put me through, you'd be sitting down in a chair and feasting from a huge bowl of popcorn wide eyed, begging for more stories XD.

Well, I have to be honest with you and say that you should probably cut out 100 percent dairy, and practically all of the sugar you eat. This includes sodas, sports drinks, high fructose corn syrups, most packaged smack foods, and sweetening your coffee (use honey, or organic jelly or jam instead). Dairy and sugar caused all my acne, and basically leaving that stuff out was much, much better for me in the long run. I ended up sleeping better at night, had no phlegm (mucus) in my mouth or throat... which I use to think every now and then was normal, and the oil on my face reduced dramatically. I use to speak to a lot of men at the gym, and they all told me similar stories when they cut out their protein drinks and switched to fresh vegetable/fruit juices.

Gods, I have been on BP most of my life, and lotion almost acts like its enemy sometimes, lol. The burning and dryness was too much for me, so I always ended up slathering on more lotion to ease the pain. That was way back when I was doing it of course. If the dryness gets to be too much for you, then please know that I found that more lotion did not clog my pores. This was just me, of course. Look for gentle, fragrant-free lotions at your local pharmacy, and don't be afraid to grab the common brands. This is something to wane off of eventually, but at least you'll be able to sleep at night a little better for a few months until you figure out what may be going on.

Although I don't advocate it, Accutane DID work for my older brother, when he was a few years older than you are now. His acne is similar to yours, and he even had cysts bigger than mine. He had scary side effects, however, and had to get his blood tested constantly, but in the end his acne went away for good and as far as I am concerned it hasn't returned in almost 10 years. It scares me to say that to people though, because there were risks involved, and furthermore acne is telling you not to eat the stuff you are eating anyway because your body can't digest it properly. He is not in the best of health, and continues to eat dairy products despite what his skin told him. I would seriously make sure you are confident in your decision to do that before actually doing it.

When I was in college, I was full-time, and also a full-time worker. My schedule allowed almost no time to cook for myself, but I made friends in the best way and we all shared our cooking schedules (whenever possible), as well as fruits and vegetables. There was a lot of car pooling, kitchen trading, and recipe making, but you meet awesome people the whole time and end up doing awesome activities that you realize people don't even care what your skin looks like in the end. And when it clears up, you'll have even more fun!

I quit seeing my dermatologist. The weekly/monthly money I spent with them for my medicine was transformed into the food I ate instead. If I can blast through the cysts I did with all that shit going on, a family that didn't support me AND learning everything all by myself, then I'm pretty damn confident you can too ;).

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