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Hi everyone! I have been reading the boards for a while now, and finally decided to jump in and post because I am more than fed up with my skin.

First of all, my face was flawless all throughout my teen years- I was constantly getting comments on how pretty my skin was. Sadly, those days are gone :- . Now that I'm 19, my face is constantly breaking out, not to mention all of the red marks left from past flare-ups. The acne isn't too severe, I almost feel like I'm being vain for getting so upset about it, because I'm sure it's not nearly as bad as some. However, it is bad enough that I will not leave the house without makeup, and with summer coming up I want to be able to feel comfortable swimming without foundation on. Also, I keep looking at pictures of myself just a short while ago, and it makes me so angry to think this had to happen!

I have been trying to figure out what could have caused this for quite some time. I began exercising regularly at a fairly intense level in March of 2002. I was wondering if this may have been the cause, but my acne did not start until Nov. of 2002. Then I wondered if maybe it just took a while for the effects of exercise to take place. Normally, I would not have considered this to be the cause, but I have read that intense activity can cause acne. Also, around the time my acne began to flare up, my periods became quite irregular. Many months I would not have one at all, and others would be extremely light (almost non-existent). This is why I think it may have something to do with the amount of exericse I'm doing, or maybe just my hormones.

My diet is very healty, mostly just fruits, lean meat and vegetables, so I'm pretty sure that's not the culprit. I've been on and off B5, but it didn't seem to be working and it was a constant hassle so I quit. I do try to take vitamins such as fish oils, EFA, a multi-vitamin, E, A and Zinc, but I've read that fish oils can cause break-outs, as well the the iodine in the multi-vitamin. So, I decided to quit taking them and see if there's any improvemnt, which there's not yet, but then again it hasn't gotten any worse either.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I am so fed up with my face, I really want to find out why this would happen so suddenly. What would be the best way to go about determining whether my acne is hormone related? Would I go to a regular Doctor and have blood tests done?

Thanks again for any advice, Pam :)

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You sound just like me!! I know exactly how you feel! I too had beautiful teen skin. Now, at 24, Ive been battling acne for two years now. It's horrible. Like you, I love playing sports and im dreading not wearing makeup this summer while playing sports. I even dont go out some nights becasue of it. It gets me so depressed. I dont want ot deal with this crap at this age. Right now, im using differin every other night and azelex on other nights. Im also on doxycyclene- two pills a day. 50 mg each. So far, like you, im trying to clear up old acne red marks and trying to prevent new ones. It's been such a battle...and I feel like i've changed becasue i dont wwant to go out as much and I hate that. I'm in the same situation as you. I look at old pictures of myself and cant believe hoe great my skin once was. My acne is very persistant..when one pimple clears up..the next day another one pops out. Someimes I wonder When it will end????

Please write back....we should talk more about this.

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your basically where i am today. I had clear skin when i was 18 or 19 years old. When i turned 20, bam, it kicked it. Broke out. I just broke out from no where, never in my life did i think it would happen, but i did. Now im trying to deal with it.

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Hi, Goldman.

Wow, two years is a long time! Here I am complaining about 6 months. If mine continues for two years, I don't know what I'll do! I know exactly how you feel about not wanting to go out sometimes, this happens to me too. I have a friend who has beautiful skin but complains about her freckles, and I hate her for it! Not really, but I am so jealous that she has practically never had a pimple in her entire life and she does nothing to her face. I used to be that way too, but not anymore! I've told her to be thankful for having clear skin, but she always tells me that my zits will go away, but her freckles are there forever. She has no idea! I've also come to believe that my skin is the reason I haven't had a date in a while. I used to have a number of guys interested in me, and I've pretty much always had a boyfriend since I was 14. The funny thing is, when I broke up with my boyfriend of two and a half years is when I started getting acne. I was sure, however, it was only from the stress of the breakup, and that it would clear up once it was over. Nope, I've had it ever since.

I've been to the derm, but it wasn't very helpful at all. He barely even looked at my skin and just prescribed me Differin gel, and when that didn't work, Retin-a Micro. I hated that stuff, it made my skin so dry that it looked even worse. I quit using it before I could tell if it was working, I just wanted my old skin back! How has the Differin/Azelex combo been working for you? I believe I have azelex also from the derm, I just hate those drying topical creams! I've never been on any type of antibiotics because my mom is so against them, she believes they are bad on your system.

Currently, I decided to try my old routine that I got off once my breakouts begen, which consists of Paula's Choice Products. I use her cleanser morning and night, 2% BHA and 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide at night, and 1% BHA in the morning under my foundation. Last week I was thrilled with the results, but I could still feel some pimples under my skin that are now surfacing this week :) . I keep hoping that this just means it's working, but I don't want to get my hopes up because every time I've thought my skin was clearing up, it turns around again in a few days. But I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Thanks for the support Goldman and asianguy! It's nice to know there are people going through the same thing. :-

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I empathise with you! I'm 19, and have always suffered spots/acne since i was 13. Its recently been flaring up a little which just frightens the hell out of me. It's terrible, I always think of the worse case scenario and i get convinced its gonna get worse..and it will never go away..it drives me crazy!! I think its due to stress cos i literally am sooo off my feet these days and i have every other symptom of stress to match.

Im in my third week of using an antibiotic lotion from the doctors and even though i'm still getting spots, i like to think its improving.

My advice to you is.. Keep with a routine for a while until you give up. It quite often takes ATLEAST a month before you notice real results. Also, stop living in the past. Yes this is very very hard, but things change. And just because you don't have the perfect skin you once had, it doesnt mean you are any less of a person, and it certainly doesn't mean it will never return! You also can't expect instant results. Spots are horrible, they rip away your confidence completly. BUT your friend is right, they will go. Just keep perserveering and stop expecting a magic cure. 9 out of 10 people suffer spots at some point in their lives, its one of those horrible yet suprisingly common things that no one really talks about!

I'll tell you what makes me feel better.. Search on the internet for people like Cameron Diaz and even Britney spears. Cameron has spoken openly about her acne breakouts and that it shouldn't make girls feel ugly. After all, she's still exceptionally beautiful is she not? See, even she gets spots!

As for the whole boyfriend thing, I don't think it's anything to do with the spots thats making the difference but probably your confidence. I doubt boys went out with you purely for your skin!!

Anyway, I'm finally going to tell you to do what im doing.. accept your spots but reasure yourself that you are doing all you can and that they will eventually go. Find a good make-up range that covers them but doesn't make things worse. That way, i promise that NO ONE will see what you see first thing in the morning! Infact, i bet no one really notices anyway! Also, don't spend too long lingering in front of the mirror, and as soon as you've washed/put make up on try and forget about them for the rest of the day. Everyone has something that troubles them, it may be dandruff, weight, whatever. Finally, remind yourself that atleast it's not cancer you've got and that unlike cancer, one way or another, it will go away..

keep safe,

Claire xx

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I am in the same boat as all of you. I didn't start breaking out until I was 22. It's been about seven months since the whole thing started. I don't have severe acne, but mostly pimples here and there that I can't seem to control, and I also can relate when you say you feel vain worrying about it because other people have it pretty bad.

I was also put on Differin Gel at first, and when I changed dermatologists, he told me that Differin is too strong for my kind of acne, which is mainly mild. So, he put me on Doryx (oral antibiotic) and I'm using Duac gel on my face. It's a combination of Clindamycin and Benzoyl Peroxide. This new regime is working wonders. I rarely get pimples anymore, and if I do get a blemish it's usually this tiny thing that it's pretty much invisible when I use make-up.

I also feel my face when I wash it and it's so smooth, and what I do is I run my fingers gently over my skin to feel for underground bumps that may possibly become zits, and when I find one, I put ice on it for about three times a day, fifteen minutes each time, and it never surfaces as a pimple.

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Hey there Scamp,

Soory I havent written in a while....Ive been busy

Just wanted to tell you that differin/azelex combo is doing ok...im on doxycyclene though as well. Azelex burns al ittle when you put it on at first, becasue it tends to do that in sensitive skin, like mine. Your mom is right about the antibiotics, howwever, they re only not good for you if you are on them for a very LONG time. Im trying it for just a few months. Im already on it alomst three weeks. Maybe you should ask your derm about the azelex/diffein combo.

Try to hang in there. I totally know how you feel. I feel as though my boy situation has been bad since my acne, but i only feel its becasue I wont go out as much, not becasue of my actual acne. i just hate hoe it makes me feel ugly and not confident. it really ruins my day and puts me into a depression.

You so right though, i too have a friend who complainds about her skin which is flawless....It also makes me so angered. But, everyone always thikns their skin is the worst. It's just human nature to always pick out bad things about yourself.

Please do write me back. Also, ask your derm to maybe start trying differin/azelex, even antibiotics for a bit. I hope that we too can look in the mirror one day, and like what we see!!!

All the best,

Me! (Sorry for the spelling errors, I type really fast)

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I can sympathise. I had flawless skin throughout my teens...until I was 19. Then I got pretty bad acne, mainly on my forehead. Topical treatments never worked for me, neither did specific diets or antibiotics. I found a really lovely dermatologist who suggested it might be hormonal, telling me that it is pretty common for a lot of women to only first experience acne at 19 or 20. I was put on dianne-35 which cleared up my acne after using it for 3 months. After staying on it for 2 years with totally clear skin I decided to stop. I'd been having bad headaches and feeling a bit moody and thought it might be because of the pill.

Well, my acne came back as bad as it used to be. After 3 months of being off dianne I've decided to go back on it. It was the only thing that really worked for me and overall any side effects were negligable.

In the future I might try Orthotricyclen as an alternative but my dermatologist told me that, for acne, dianne is usually more effective because of the unique type of progestogen hormone it contains.

Anyway, Good luck!!

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I also had clear and perfectly clear skin throughout my teen years and also had many guys going after me. But we all know that of course it isn't just because of the skin. Its takes the whole package. I then started to have a few pimples now and then when I turned 19 and I would have one or two at times until I was 21. Soon after, I started working (out of college) I began to see more pimples at a time. (could be stress, don't know) I went to a derm. He gave me REtin A..........AND BAMP!!!!! it became worse, worse then ever, everything was coming out....breaking out big time. Eventhough It really wan't as bad as most accutane takers, I took accutane and it all became clear again. HOwever, side effects were not mild. VERY dry, EYES< LIPS>>>>>>everything. At one point, my vision was bluurred and stopped taking Accutane. I also experienced depression, which I never had before. It kept my skin clear for may be another 8-9 months, and then the acne comes back mildly again. I really don't know if accutane had done me any permenant harm. (I regret taking it)

I do really think that it is hormonal, I have tried birth control pills, but find that it is not worth taking. There are side effects. Also, I really don't want any medication to effect my mental or brain function, or make me physically weaker, its not worth it. Intellegence is one thing I would not compromise.

When you say that you're getting less guys asking you out, it probably had more to do with your confidence than you complexion. You're probably feeling less confident because of your acne and it shows.

Just try to keep it under control and hope that you grow out of it. It could actually go on until you're 25-26. I'm 24 now 25 soon and still get a few pimples now and then.

I now really don't think that stress was really the cause, since I had a friend (who also used to have clear skin)who didn't work when I did and still broke out big time when she turned 22. Its the hormone.


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