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Adult Cystic Acne That Nothing Touches (what am I missing here???)

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I had acne all though highschool, but it was always mild whiteheads/blackheads that didn't scar or cystic acne that faded after a week or so. 

When I started college, things got worse. When I turned 18 the flareups were often but manageable. To treat it, my dermatologist recommened finacea, then added a retenoid gel, then spirotolactone (sorry for any mispellings, I'm on my phone), and an array of antibiotics. The only option she says I had left, since these only lessened the acne on my forehead, was accutane. Since my acne is so persistent, she already believes I'll have to repeat the process/it won't last. Since I saw no progress, and one of the previously mentioned products left nasty scarring, I stopped all but differin, which I get from my gen. practitioner. Since, I've changed my diet for months, religiously wash pillowcases, don't touch my face, stay hydrated, use gentle cleansers, used essential oils-- nothing has lasted. I'm going into my junior year of college, and I constantly speak in front of professional audiences/crowds. I feel like all people see is this acne I can't shake. My skin is tight and painful. It keeps getting worse.

I'm willing to try anything at this point.

I only wear make-up 3/4 times a year (nothing seems to cover this anyways, so if you have any make-up suggestions, I'll take those too). I wash my face with oxy at night and follow with cetaphil moisturizer (as rec'd by the old derm) and follow with the differin. In the morning I wash with just cool water, use an alcohol-free witch-hazel, then apply a daytime cetaphil moisturizer. 

Does anyone know what I need to change to fix this mess? When this clears up, if ever, can I fix this scarring?





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Ahh I feel like I wrote this. First off, I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. Acne SUCKS, especially when you work your butt off trying to treat it, and it seems like nothing works.

That being said, after having cystic acne since I was 13 years old, (now 28) I finally found a regimen that works for me. It was the last topical treatment I was willing to try before I committed to going on antibiotics (which I really didn't want to do).  It's called Unblemish by Rodan and Fields and I SWEAR by it.  I've attached my 1 year results.   Obviously this isn't an overnight solution, but within 5 months I had completely clear skin.  But the difference with this was I saw small improvements every week, which motivated me to keep with it.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out! I've used every over the counter product you can think of, so I feel your pain.


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Have you tried changing your diet? I recently went completely dairy free and I've had amazing results. I always thought it was a ridiculous notion that something like that would change my acne but it has. I never had a lot of dairy anyway but I was eating enough to affect my skin. I only figured it out after adding a lot of high protein (whey) and my skin was the worst it had ever been. I had to go totally dairy free for a month to see results, no dairy in anything, but its working!!! It's worth a try. Good Luck!

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My daughter who is now twenty has been suffering with acne for many years. We tried everything. Dermatologists to natural products to no dairy to expensive oils etc. I have to tell you all because I also suffered until after menopause, It was her diet. She is a very healthy eater, smoothies with peanut butter, fruit, protein powder and all that. So it wasn’t that she ate a bad diet. She always had allergies to many foods including nuts and soy however if nuts were cooked they didn’t bother her so she ate peanut butter liberally. Also, soy is a big part of a vegetarian diet which she was on for a while. She started having more severe allergic reactions to foods and had to stop eating them altogether. There are ZERO PIMPLES on her face and body now. I have read that those two foods in particular can cause acne. Apparently the jury is still out. But I am telling you this is her solution. She happens to be a very disciplined person so it is not very difficult for her. She also uses a 5 percent  benzoyl peroxide product once a day on her face which keeps those tiny nose blackheads at bay along with monthly facials and acid peels to even out her skin tone because of the marks the acne left behind. If you say to yourself well maybe it was those things and not her diet, she had all that stuff before and she still had those constant pimples. Read about the nut and the soy connection and see what you think. Good luck people. Acne sucks. 

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Hey friend (fellow acne sufferer/ acne scar sufferer/ I know this is hard and together we all can be through this). Let me start by saying, the comments above are absolutely right when it comes to diet. 

1. Dairy products in general are huge problem for acne. Sugar is also another massive problem. Processed foods (things that have more than 5/6 ingredients in my opinion/ fast food/ candy/ foods that are grown organically).Gluten/grains/breads.


Solution to this is to eat for natural foods (vegetables, fruits, coconut oils, avaocado, nuts, legumes, squash's). These will help change the terrain of your internal body and reduce inflammation in the gut.

2. Some daily remedy’s I’d suggest are Powder form of tumuric with water twice a day. Apple cider vinegar, again twice a day. Vitamin A, Omega 3s, Zinc, and vitamin D3. But the most IMPORTANT one of all is lots and lots of WATER!!!!!! All day and everyday.

3. One thing that helped me is changing your laundry detergent as it irritates the skin and will cause you to break out. Especially if you get oily skin easily and have sensitive skin. Get a detergent with no scent/no soap and don’t put in those dryer sheets as they also with irritate your skin!!!!

4. Lastly, your daily cleaning regimen is huge as well. Recently I started using little water to wash to pat my face clean gently and it’s improved my acne immensely. But you have to experiment and see what works for you. Remember “Less is more”, at least in my case.



I hope this helps you! Remember to update us all on your progress. Sending love and positive vibes your way!!!

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