1. Main skin concerns/conditions:
Acne and oily/shiny skin. The acne is almost exclusively whiteheads.
2. Secondary concerns/conditions:
Blotchyness/irritability/persistent redness and sudden onset of dryness and flakes. Skin turns red extremely easily, especially upon washing or application of topicals like Benzoyl Peroxide. As such, facial skin is normally ruddier than my body. Also, despite being extremely oily, my skin is very prone to becoming dryed and flakey, again especially after washing or application of topicals.
Primarily Italian and Polish with minor German and Irish ancestry. Natural skin color is in the light tan/olive family.
4. Family history of acne:
Mother with moderate to severe acne during puberty and persistent but minor adult acne.
5. Attempted treatments (in chronological order):
- Oral antibiotics (Tetracyclene, Doxycyclene, etc.)
- AcneFree Severe System
- Powdered milk
- Acne.org regimen
- Dove Beauty Bar
- Witch Hazel
- Baking Soda
- Oil Cleanse Method
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Baby soap
- 10% Benzoyl Peroxide
- Eliminating dairy
- Sea Salt exfoliation
- Washcloth exfoliation
6. The good, the bad, and the acne:
Baby soap is probably my favorite cleanser to date, either because it doesn't strip my skin or because it leaves behind some sort of protective film (which in itself could possibly be a cause for concern). Even Cetaphil cleanser feels like it overly strips my skin without protecting it.
Most topicals didn't/don't really work for me.
Oral antibiotics produced great results until the often discussed "antibiotic resistance" occurred.
Accutane was a long, frustrating, painful, expensive journey that eventually got me clear...but the results lasted for less than a year. Not worth it. Ultimately though, it is possible that I owe the fact that I no longer get cystic acne to Accutane, and if that is the case I am certainly grateful.
The AcneFree system cleared my post-Accutane acne up, but ruined my bathmats, towels, carpets, etc. due to the fact that the cleanser has BP in it. Not a smart choice, IMO.
The Dove Bar somehow completely cleared my acne in tandem with Witch Hazel, but after a few months my skin began to regress back to an acne ridden state. It was cheap though, and the soap doesn't seem to strip the skin, although as I already said about baby soap, this could just be it depositing a filmy layer of moisturizers and protectants (glycerin) on the skin.
The Oil Cleanse Method made my skin feel perhaps the most supple, non-irritated, normal toned and all-around best it's ever felt since my pre-acne days, but after a few weeks I began to see a few cysts, something I hadn't seen since pre-Accutane days. Not cool.
Dan's Regimen (using all acne.org products) worked decently for me, but I quit it after my first round of products got used up because I honestly wasn't a huge fan of any of them. The cleanser still seemed too harsh for me, and the moisturizer felt like it never really soaked in, so I looked and felt shiny and sticky all day. The benzoyl peroxide was some of the best I've used though, so at least my skin was more or less clear. Dryness and flakiness was certainly an issue though.
10%BP completely nuked my skin into a red, scaly wasteland.
I tried cutting out dairy thinking my acne might be caused by it. It's not. In fact, in my experience I have had no experiences that seem to suggest my diet and acne are related.
The same goes for sexual activity. Even during periods where my libido seems hyperactive, my skin is no different from when I'm not masturbating or sexually active.
By far the worst things I've ever done to my skin involved manual exfoliation. This is the one thing that actually seemed to increase the number of breakouts and blemishes, not to mention ramp up the redness and oiliness.