Hitting my one year anniversary and I couldn't be happier. My skin barely breaks out, and if it does, it's a tiny clogged pore and is gone within 2 days. I haven't had a cyst in a really really long time, I can't even remember when. Such a drastic difference from last year -- I would literally have 4-5 large painful cystic breakouts on my chin and cheeks at all times. Dermatologist visits happened almost weekly, so I could get them injected with cortisone to ease the swelling. I'm so happy I stuck with the spiro and made the decision to stop taking antibiotics. And I'm also very happy that I never took accutane, even though my dermatologist told me numerous times I "needed" it. Looking back, here are the factors that I think helped my skin improve:
- Moisturize in the morning and at night, every day! I like cerave AM and PM, it's gentle and really effective without being greasy.
- Don't pick, ever!!! This was the hardest thing for me. I used to squeeze and pick and do all sorts of icky stuff to my face, and it never ever helped. It always made it worse, and I have the scars to prove it
- Don't use harsh ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide if you're using any kind of tretinoin cream. These ingredients were making my skin so much worse - they were not helping at all.
- Use tretinoin cream every night, and always moisturize after.
- Eat veggies and fruit and drink water! If I have a crazy weekend and eat a lot of carbs and junk food and alcohol, my skin always suffers. It looks dull and I have clogged pores and it takes a few days to get back to normal after that. I really noticed how an organic, healthy diet that is low in sugar has helped my skin look and feel great.
And of course, use the spiro. I think my hormones played a large role in the ups and downs of my breakouts, and now that they are under control, I hardly think about my skin anymore. Literally, my skin was ruining my life. You can read some of my earlier posts to see just how bad it was -- but I was basically depressed and always worrying about my makeup covering up my inflamed red skin and who was looking at me and it totally took over my every thought. I didn't want my boyfriend to sleep over (see me without makeup?? no way!) and I didn't want to go swimming in the summer and all sorts of other activities that I really missed out on. Now, I'm living with my boyfriend (with a ring on the way soon I think ) and I hardly give two seconds of thought to what my face looks like. My best advice is to stick with your treatment, be patient, and have hope, because I struggled for a long long time, basically from the age of 15-29, and I promise it can get better if you find the right solution!