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What worked for me - 25 year old male in UK

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Just over a year ago, aged 25 (male), I started breaking out mildy/moderately with all kinds of acne, from annoying whiteheads to big angry inflamed cysts etc. I’d never really had much acne in my teens and it was a big shock. I thought it would just go away again, but after several months it was worse than ever and really affecting my social life and mental health.

I tried all kinds of over the counter stuff with pretty much zero improvement, some things made it worse, and I learnt the hard way with salycylic acid and burnt my face. My anxiety about it also led me to compulsively pick at my skin, despite knowing that it would only make things worse, I just couldn’t resist the temptation to try to squeeze them away. Obviously this left red marks, which took months to fade away. 

So I went to my GP (UK). I felt silly wasting her time with a ‘cosmetic’ issue. But 1 year later, I am really glad I did. I was given Differin, but from reading the reviews on this forum I was too scared to use it for fear of an awful initial breakout and no guarantee of improvement long term. I went back and was given oral antibiotics instead (Lymecycline). They work slowly but there is no initial worsening, after 6 months my skin was pretty good, just getting the occasional spot, one a week maybe, which healed fast. Your GP probably won’t let you take antibiotics for more than six months, which is fair enough, I was scared that my acne would come back, and come back worse (again from reading reviews on the internet). When I stopped the pills it started coming back. 

So I took the plunge and started using Differin (0.1). Every third night for a few weeks, then every other night, then after about 2 months every night. I’m not saying that it will work for everyone, but the clinical research shows that it will work to some extent for most people. You wouldn’t believe this is you relied on online reviews. It has seemed to work for me. After 6 months of antibiotics and 6 months of Differin (which you can use forever), my skin is fairly clear. It’s not perfect, but I don’t have to worry about it obsessively anymore. I’ve reduced Differin to every other night or 3 times a week. Always accompanied by a heavy moisturiser. 

I still don’t know what caused my adult acne and to be honest I don’t really care. I don’t want to experiment with lifestyle changes and cut out dairy/alcohol/eggs etc. I eat healthy enough food and exercise lots, drink lots of water and green tea (because I like it but it also has lots of antioxidants). I have no idea if any of this helps, I just do it because it is generally healthy and makes me feel good.

My advice would be not to try to find a ‘cause’, because you will never really know and the never ending online searching is more likely to get you down than make you feel better. Don’t look for solutions you can buy over the counter, they are expensive and they don’t work (some might treat existing spots quite well but they won’t stop them forming in the first place). If adult acne is getting you down, get to your doctor ASAP and tell them - they will want to help you and they can help. If appropriate for you, take oral antiobiotics and topical retinoids together. I wish I had. This will probably be more effective than using them one after the other like I did. 

I used to trawl through these forums looking for hope and I didn’t really find much, and it sort of depressed me. I now realise that people who find a way to get their acne under control probably don’t come back here and post as much as people who are desperately looking for something that might work! I haven’t been here for several months.

So I thought I would come back to say what seems to have worked for me. My skin is not perfect at all, but it’s not getting in the way of my life anymore. What worked for me won’t work for everyone (and my acne was never ‘severe’), but I hope that this post might help some people face up to the fear of going to the doctors to ask for help. It was the best thing I did. 

Big love to all xx 

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I am kind of in the same situation. I've been on Lymecycline and Epiduo for 3 weeks . But I've havent seen any big different. A matter of fact. I'm afraid it even gotten a little bit worse :( When did it get better for you?

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My biggest annoyance is the availability of products in the UK.. As a 37 year old female with acne and sensitive skin a lot of the amazing products that Google alerts me too are USA products and cheaper, especially make-up. One moisturiser I can recommend is Clinique redness day relief cream.. At £41 a tub its steep but I have been using it every night for a few weeks and have noticed a difference in redness and scars plus it doesn't dry the skin out. 

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