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A Story and Diary of my battle against acne

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So today I finally saw my Hospital Dermatologist/Specialist after waiting 5 weeks for my NHS Referral, I don't really know if I'm happy or not.

So he asked me to explain my entire medical history with acne, everything I've ever been prescribed, taken, used etc.

He took me off Duac Cream (5% BP + Clindamycin) and put me on Epiduo (2.5% BP + Adapalene/Differin), again to use once a day. He also put me on Tetralysal/Lymecycline tablets, which I was on when I was younger which did keep my mild acne at bay, which I don't really understand as I thought I'd grown resistant to it as it sort of 'stopped' working, but the derm knows best right? He said my cleanser should be fine (Simple) but that I should try and not moisturize too much, and only use a tiny bit when my skin was dry. He gave me a sample of 'Aquamol' and said his personal recommendation was 'Dermol 500'. He said if the Epiduo irritated my skin too much to try switching to Cetaphil Cleanser (but not the moisturizer).

I was hoping for a different antibiotic, say Minocycline which I've heard great things about, but hey. Standard UK procedure now, back in 3 months for a revaluation of my regimen, I pick up the meds tomorrow, bit nervous about experiencing the dreaded 'Initial Breakout' from the Differin, but my skin has got so shitty lately I really don't mind.

I'm also stopping taking my Cod Liver Oil, as I think it's doing nothing for me, just going to make sure I eat Salmon & Mackerel a few times a week.

Let the adventure continue....


Breaking Out :(

Breaking out really bad. I'm giving duac until the 14th October, if I'm still breaking out, I'm switching back to Oxy.

Long Term - If I'm still breaking out by Christmas, I'm going to try and get put on accutane.

Praying atm that I clear up a bit by my Birthday next week :(


An update!

Wow can't believe it's been 9 months.

Okay, so I found the 5% Panoxyl too strong, so switched to the 2.5% version. I used this religiously morning and night between October 2010 and around May 2011, although my skin mostly cleared up - the redness was unbearable, it was worse than having the acne! So in May I switched to only applying BP at night, and only applying moisturiser in the morning, (putting BP directly on the actual spots in the morning too). For me, this combination was the holy grail. I still used a lot of BP, although no where near as much as Dan recommends, from the Panoxyl tube I went from the tip of my finger to my second 'Finger-Knuckle', so half a fingers worth.

My skin was as clear as it had ever been, but then disaster struck.

PanOxyl decided to stop manufacturing. From June until now (September) Panoxyl 2.5% is out of stock everywhere in the West Midlands. I had to switch to 'Oxy on the Spot'. It worked, but I found it made my face look greasy, it also has some questionable ingredients in there, and was not available on Prescription, and is £8 for a tiny little tube that barely lasts 2 weeks! Although it did seem to work, I went to the doctors to ask what other BP they had on prescription, and my doctor led me astray and said I should try 'Azelaic Acid 15%', that many people who were on Panoxyl had switched to that and it worked as well as BP but without any of the side effects and it was much less harsh on the skin'.

I tried it, and after 2 weeks, I was breaking out, it made my skin look SO greasy it just wouldnt absorb, so I stopped - I went back and told her, and she put me back onto DUAC Gel, something I had used up until Sep 2010 as you can read in my last blog.

It's now 5 weeks down the line and I'm still breaking out. Im going to give it 5 more weeks and if I havent' cleared up, I'm going to go back to Oxy on the Spot.



A History

I've suffered with acne since I was around 14. It was never that bad, but I was on an antibiotic who's name I have forgotten for around 18 months, which worked fine at first but them the effects wore off, I was then switched to Tetracycline antibiotics for around 24 months which worked again to begin with but then once again it stopped being effective.

Now aged 17, I was put on Duac Cream - a combination of Antibiotic and 5% BP. After 8 weeks with no results, I almost gave up, but then miraculously my acne suddenly healed. I was on Duac cream for around 12 months and then once again, it stopped working, but this time it REALLY stopped working. My skin went as bad as it had ever been - People began staring, I became quite depressed and started skipping school, became rather reclusive. It ruined my 18th Birthday, and for around 3 months until February. I had no life. Sticking with Duac eventually it did begin to clear up, very very slowly, until by June my skin was once again not that bad, just the odd flare up every now and then.

I then tried experimenting a little, I gave up all dairy products for around 4 weeks and found my skin if anything got a little worse, so I stopped that and went back to eating dairy products (I felt foolish for buying into the whole 'Diet causes acne' scene which I'd slandered for so long, never again)

Then, in September, after a bad breakout. I decided to stop using Duac Cream, I thought 'If I'm going to have bad skin, I might as well not have to put up with the side effects of Duac at the same time (bleached clothes, red skin).

For around 4 weeks my skin stayed the same, moderate acne.

Then however, it started to get worse. I decided to take a new approach. I payed £44 (€52 / $70 US) for the much hyped Clinique 3 Step Anti-Blemish Program, which consists of a Cleanser, a Strong Toner like thing, and a moisturizer. It cleared my acne up a little, but did make my overall skin much nicer (tighten, less oil, less shiny, smooth), but did little for my actual acne (I would recommend this for those with slight acne). I managed to claim back £30 as a refund for it not working (which is amazing, Clinique really do treat their customers well).

I then switched to using Panoxyl 5% Water-Based BP (Aquagel), which I'm still using today.

My current regimen is

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Bar for Face (which I'm just using up the last of)

Panoxyl 5% Benzoyl Peroxide

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer

I do it twice daily, only applying the BP to my actual spots at night to avoid red-face.

My skin at the moment is breaking out bad again, and I plan to try and build myself up to two equal sized applications of BP a day, and I'm switiching Cleanser & Moisturizer to see if that helps as I'm not happy with my current ones.


I also used to have shoulder & back acne, however I cleared that 90% up by using a tanning bed once a week - I know some slate tanning as being bad for the skin, but I use a low SPF sunblock and only tan for 10 minutes a week, and it is the only thing to ever heal my body acne, unfortunately, it has no effect on my face.

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