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  1. Hello, I've been on Diane 35 for three years, I used to have VERY oily skin (seriously, it was dripping oil) and occasional pimples. The pill has helped to improve my skin a lot and I never had any side effects. But for the last few months my skin became very dry, mainly my forehead which is flaky. My skin is sensitive and I have rosacea, so the only products I use are Cetaphil moisturizing cream and cleanser. I wanted to know if anyone else had this problem while on Diane 35? And if you have any suggestions of another birth control pill? Thanks
  2. Today marks a new chapter in my acne journey with PCOS. I have found this forum incredibly helpful throughout my decision-making/research process and would like to contribute as well. Let's call this a little experiment shall we... To begin, a bit of backstory: I started getting acne when I was seventeen years old due to fluctuating hormones and diet (isolated to my forehead thankfully). However, upon cleaning up my diet by eliminating processed junk foods and sugar, I was fine in a year or so. With that being said, I have never had a regular "time of the month" (I'm currently 22). It got especially bad this past year, and that is when my bad hormonal cystic acne began forming (only on my cheeks...my forehead, chin and jawline are all clear). I was determined not to go on the birth control pill, as I wanted to deal with the problem naturally. I went to a holistic doctor, worked with acupuncturists and special facial treatments. Nothing seemed to help. I eliminated dairy, gluten, refined sugars and ALL processed foods. It got to the point I even eliminated any inflammatory foods (ex. tomatoes, citrus fruits...even strawberries for goodness sake!) But there was absolutely NO improvement. In fact, this past week...everything has worsened. *It's also worth noting that I have not had a visit from mother nature in over three months. Ever since this cystic acne breakout on my cheeks, my menstrual cycle has been horribly irregular* SO...I went to see my doctor and explained my troubles. She recommended seeing a dermatologist (as if I haven't already tried every topical ointment and cream in the universe and been seeing a dermatologist for years). She diagnosed me with PCOS due to my acne, irregular cycle, some excess facial hair starting, depression, and a few other symptoms (I am very thin however and have never struggled with weight- so we shall see how the birth control pill affects my weight). I asked my doctor if I could go on the birth control pill for an extended period of time. I am aware that things get worse after getting off the pill, so I intended to stay on it for fifteen to twenty years, or until I decide to have children. This is a completely personal choice of mine, as I am in an on-camera career where acne is simply not acceptable. I am quite nervous to start this pill, but I have so much hope that this will work out in three months or so. I am completely aware of the side effects, but this is so important to me for so many reasons. I have heard it gets better before it gets worse, so I will be seeing a wonderful woman who does facial treatments (specifically designed for healing the skin and not just extracting pimples) twice a week until my hormones balance out. I will also be continuing to manage PCOS symptoms as if I weren't on the pill by eating a low GI diet, getting sufficient exercise and undergoing acupuncture therapy...so hopefully if I decide to come off it sooner, I will have an easier time stabilizing my hormones. I will try to post some photos of my progress and I intend to keep weekly updates here for anyone interested. I know for me, the infamous "initial breakout" was a huge fear of mine...so I will be sure to document exactly when that affects me and how severely. Also FYI, the pill I am going on is Yasmin. I have heard great reviews about this pill for acne and PCOS, but of course only time will tell if it works well with my own body. I wish you all the best of luck with your own acne journeys. Despite all the emotional struggle (and DAYS I have spent crying over such a superficial issue), we are all beautiful and special human beings. We'll get through this together! Love you all xoxo
  3. Hi gang! My background: Lurker for close to 10 years, almost as long as I have had acne. I am a mid-20s college student raising a sibling. In other words, I have no time. I want to look presentable, though. This is why clearing my skin naturally is so important to me. I also don't wear makeup.. so it's magnifies the issue. I'm a hard INTJ, if you dig MBTI. That means I'm typically anxious and tense, which I'm sure is a big part of my acne. BCP (Yasmin) cleared my skin in my teens. Went off of it because of some of the possible side effects, then went on Spiro, which worked perfectly. However, I want to heal my body. I don't want to be on medication forever. Both my parents have adult acne, so I could be looking at hard cysts on my face with other inflamed red rolling hills until I hit menopause. I was going to do Accutane, but stopped when I realized I would have to go back on Yasmin (i.e. my skin would be perfect on yasmin so I doubt the accutane would cure me.) I am using the Neutrogena light therapy mask right now. It is helping but I doubt it will help as much as I need. I eat a diet of chicken, vegetables, and glucomannan/oat fiber (non-soluble fibers that fill you up and pass right through.) I have always had chronic constipation, so I take Miralax. When I don't take it, the inflammation gets worse. I have noticed that if I eat a ton of vegetables, my skin can get inflamed. This worries me. When I don't eat, or eat tiny portions to keep myself from starving, acne is reduced. But how can I sustain that? It doesn't seem possible. I know tanning and sweating/working out have helped in the past, but on this diet I have no energy to work out. I am scared of how hungry it would make me. No, not anorexic. I'm 5'6 and ~140. If you have read this far, my heartfelt thanks. I am so grateful for this community. Acne is such a difficult disease to deal with in the modern world-the shame, I mean. MY QUESTION: Is there anything else I can do for my acne naturally? Should I just suck it up and go back on Spiro?
  4. Has anyone tried Vitamin A?

    Hey everyone! I've been dealing with moderate acne for about 8 months since quitting the birth control pill. I've tried A LOT of over the counter and prescription medications/treatments to try to get my skin clear again. I've come across a lot of information about taking vitamin A to treat acne. Has anyone had any success? I understand that because vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, it is possible to take too much... And over time you can develop liver damage. So I'm making sure to be extremely careful while approaching this. Just hoping someone has some input Thanks so much!
  5. Hello everyone! I'm really hoping someone will have helpful input and maybe even a solution After being on it for 5 years, I stopped taking the birth control pill about 8 months ago and have developed moderate-severe acne on my cheeks and chin. Mind you, I didn't have an acne issue before starting birth control or while I was on it. I'm starting to get really frustrated though, because I figured if I gave my body time to acclimate my hormones would eventually balance themselves out. My acne actually seems to be getting worse and I'm starting to panic especially because I'm starting to scar. I've tried numerous over the counter acne treatments, face washes, moisturizers, not washing my face, the acne.org regimen, doxycycline, a vegan diet, and more. I'm currently taking vitamin A and vitamin D to see if that makes a dent. I've also been going to acupuncture for the last 2 weeks to see if they can balance my hormones naturally. I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ANYMORE. Any girls out there have a similar experience? HELLLLP PLEASE
  6. 10 days with Diane-35

    It´s soon to post big changes. I´ve only been 10 days with it! The only thing i started to notice is a headache coming out of nowhere... hope it´ll go away soon. And i think i´m gaining weight? I´m in good shape, and i do exercise often but... it´s just my feeling about it! I will continue posting. Thanks for reading! (Also, for the acne, i´m taking Treclinac, a topical form of antibiotic and vitamin A that my derm prescribed me... it worked amazing on my skin! I use it at night. The only bad thing is that i have to put my sunscreen on everyday, but... i hope it´ll help as well!)
  7. Day 4

    I took my 4th pill today. The closed comedone rash I had on my inner right cheek from Spiro is now more prominent and pinkish...it's purging, I guess. Some were inflamed near my ear/outer cheek the other day and cleared, now it's slowly moving inward. Depressing, but there is nothing I can do. I'll pay close attention to how my skin progresses to make sure no actual brand new spots are forming from Sprintec. I'm going to use Bentonite clay and hopefully these inflamed cc's will be calmed down by tomorrow and not get any worse. I can't deal with any more scars or PIH, I'm at my wit's end. I regret taking Spiro every day...I never had cheek cc's before. But, at least most of the back breakout from it is 85% gone. I'm looking into doing a chemical peel with SA for my uneven skin texture and tiny bumps...have to do more research. But my uneven skin tone is so upsetting that I might just go for it before I begin Accutane. It would do me good. From all the trauma and constant red marks, my skin looks so mottled, and makes the acne appear worse even when it isn't.
  8. is the pill bad for you?

    I have battled with acne for half of my life. I got my first spots when I was 9 years old and developed severe acne by 13. I'm 19 years old now and despite my best efforts NOTHING I have tried has been a 'cure'. Though my skin is better than it once was (it stays moderately clear until the week before my period in which it breaks out then I spend the next few weeks trying to clear it again, only to have it break out again next month) it's still far from okay. I have tried the following treatment: -washing face 2x a day with good products, cleanser, toner, moisturiser -Doctor prescribed topical gels creams etc- this never cleared me only made me red and sore -Using a more sensitive approach with gentle natural products- felt great at first but of course didn't stop me breaking out -laser treatment- literally did nothing, big waste of money -Antibiotics from doctor -benzyl peroxide, gylocic acid, salysilic, retinol etc -face peels -holistic medicines (omega fish oils, zinc etc)- also agnus castus which totally fucked up my periods -birth control pill I've also had blood tests after having no periods for 5 months to rule out pcos etc, everything came back normal I'm looking back on all this and feeling pretty bummed (naturally). Literally have no idea what else I can try! I'm just about to start uni and feeling so depressed at the thought of having to deal with my skin for another year. It's made me so insecure and self conscious all my teenage life and so really hinders my ability to be confident. As my acne is mostly hormonal I feel I have two options at this point. 1. Try the pill again 2. Continue as normal and don't go back on the pill Looking back on pictures of when I had been on the pill for roughly 1 year, my skin did look better, however I know it was never clear and still did break out. I went off the pill basically because I was sick of taking tablets and had been told the told that the pill is actually pretty bad for you. Made sense at the time but is this really true? Does the pill mess up your hormones? I know when I stopped taking it it surely felt that way. But I can't help feeling what if I had stuck it out longer, would my skin have completely cleared up. Also feels like this past year of trying to get my hormones back to 'normal' will have been a waste if I go back on the pill. I'm rambling, basically should I just go back on the pill or find another way to deal with my hormonal acne? p.s. sorry that this post is a mess, I'm feeling a bit of a mess too. p.p.s if anyone tells me the key to clear skin is to stop caring about it I will find you and I will fight you
  9. Wondering if anyone can help me.. I have been on Yasmin for nearly 8 months for birth control and to help with acne. However, when I recently went to get another pack of pills, they told me Yasmin is now called Lucette. After some research I found out that Lucette is actually a completely different pill that has the same active ingredients as Yasmin but is much cheaper to produce and therefore more cost effective for the NHS. At first I was annoyed that I was lied to by the doctor, but I'm willing to give them a go. Has anyone experienced any side effects changing to this pill? I'm particularly worried about my acne coming back
  10. Week 12

    From the album No Meat, No Dairy, Gluten-Free, Sugar-free Diet

    Here's Week 12 update on my skin! Hormonal acne showed up this month around my jawline for the first time in a month but very minimal (two?). Seems like I break out more during ovulation. Other than that, hyperpigmentation seems to have faded a little!
  11. Week 10

    From the album No Meat, No Dairy, Gluten-Free, Sugar-free Diet

    Seeing improvements! Fading hyperpigmentation red marks :) Experiencing ovulation atm but breakouts are minimal! No breakouts along jawline; some around mouth, temple area but that's it. Also, stopped eating eggs a week and a half ago so diet is definitely Vegan (alongside Gluten Free)
  12. Hi fellow women and acne-sufferers, Long a** post ahead. I know that there is a massive thread on the horror stories of women explicating the brutal aftermath of quitting the Pill for good, but thought I'd share my own story since it's been an emotional rollercoaster for me, one of the most life-changing decisions (physically, mentally, emotionally) for me up until this time in my life. I'm a 26-year old female, who was on the pill (and have extensive logs in my post history of beginning hormonal contraception pills for acne and menstrual regulation at the age of 17-18.) for over 7 years. I did not choose to come off of it because I wanted to get pregnant (like the main motivating factor of many other women who decide to quit the Pill in the first place. I don't even have a boyfriend right now). I chose to do it, because through some string of events, and my body and mental state slowly morphing into a different person as a result of artificial hormones being pumped through my blood stream for short of a decade, I was ready to maybe try life from a different approach- being single, unemployed, suffering from complicated grief after a loved one passing, may have contributed to this decision. Smart one. I took my last pill in July 2014. Yes, I was nearly a whole different age group back then. Quick synopsis of the different brands I've been on and my brief opinions of them (I was also on generic versions of all 3 of these at some point or another): Yasmin/Ocella - really great. Little side effects. Maybe should have stayed on this one if I had known I would be on it so long. Ortho Novum/Necon 1/50 - I recommend young women to never go on a dose of Pill this high unless medically needed. No serious side effects, but remaining on levels 1/50 at this capacity caused my hair to thin, eczema wreaked havoc. I had clear skin though. Ortho Tri Cyclen/Tri-Sprintec - possibly the worst thing ever created to humanity. Ever. The 3 tiers of varying levels of hormones and the effects after being on "normal" pills for 5 years is part of the reason why I quit. With this pill, I literally enjoyed none of the positive effects you are supposed to have while on the pill. No clear skin. No regulated cramping. No PMS control. No light periods. What a sh*t shoot. Anyways, the first three months off of contraceptives were fine. I like to deem this the "trick" period. When you're on hormones for that long, after you quit your last pill, you will have traces of synthetic chemicals still in your body, so for a few cycles, your body will still be acting like it's controlled. And then, it stops. All normalcy I mean. 3 months in, the skin starts to break out. Your face. Your chest. Your jawline. Your back. Places you've never had acne before. I have NEVER had a problem with cheek, jawline, or neck. These are the key spots which indicate that your hormones are out of balance. For the past 1.5 years, my jawline has been imploding with nodules the size of quarters. It's only started to calm down the past 3 months, meaning the entire jawline (both sides) are not lined with 5 or 6 nodules, now it's only 1 or 2 here or there. The acne is back from your teenage years, only you're not a teenager anymore and you're supposed to look presentable at your 9-5, but instead now have your boss and coworkers looking at your forehead, at your chin, at your pimples. And you're breaking out, but part of your face is also dry as a tundra, because this is also another side effect of your body coming off the Pill. Dry skin. My forehead for maybe 9 months was so dry, that I was applying 3 different types of moisturizers to affected area, and it would still peel, and my makeup would still settle in, and cake and emphasize the fact that my skin was the sh*ttiest of all. It would itch, and I'd be itching my skin, and flakes would peel off. Funny thing is, I don't even have dry skin. I don't have combo skin, my skin is pretty f***ing oily. So irony beats me. There's basically an unsaid agreement that you quite possibly have the worst skin in the office. And there's only so much you can defend yourself with, "This is not normal! I'm coming off the pill! Just give it some more time, I promise you won't have to look at my beat face like this!" The scars are bad too. I hope to God they are not permanent and my topicals and creams and dietary habits will heal them over, but there’s some good icepick ones in there that look like somebody has been poking my skin for the fun of it. When people look at you, they look at your scars all around your face. And there's the judgment from your family. Your mom and your grandparents who remind you, every time they see your face, that your skin sucks. In a nicer, but no less annoying, tone. There's the acne, that's one thing. And you would think, you would THINK that would be the main reason why I am writing this overly drawn out post. Well that and I'm on a forum called acne.org. But no, it doesn't stop there. Where should I begin next? The hair. Ladies, the hair. I have been known as the girl with, the hair. Quite nearly all my life. Rupunzel-esque hair, nearly flowing well past my bra line, sometimes nearing my waist and it being shiney, and thick, and I would get complimented on it frequently. Hair is and was and will be my “safety blanket” in terms of self-esteem and I’m not afraid to admit it. Well, another thing they don’t warn you after coming off the Pill, while I’m on the brink of tears writing my experience over the past 2 years. When your body goes through a major hormonal adjustment (pregnancy, quitting synthetic hormones for example), your body enters a kind of “shock”. Meaning your hair will fall out. And it won’t fall out immediately after quitting, because the growth phases of hair are generally delayed 4 months or so after the change in your life is made. My hair enters Exogen (or Shedding phase) maybe 8 months after quitting the Pill. My hair falls out at a rate so shockingly excessive for perhaps ~3-4 months or so that I no longer style my hair because every time I touch it, hair falls out. After showering, my hair falls out. When combing my hair, my hair falls out. Chunks of hair are coming out. I touch my head, and not a strand or 2 come with it, maybe 15-20 hairs, in tufts come out and I’m thinking f****, I’m going to be bald at this rate. I quit blow-drying my hair for perhaps a month, quit putting ANYTHING in it, that will involve me touching my hair because of how few strands I have left. There was one point where I looked in the garbage, and the entire bin was filled with my hair. After one shower. I have pictures to prove it because I went to the UK during this time, and I have never looked so ghastly ill in my life. A Paleur, with thinning hair, and losing weight from the depression. At 25 years young and counting. I believe that I have come through from the Telogen phase (resting stage) and in the past month, my hair is finally starting to regrow, a healthy re-growth. That’s after about 14 months. Beginning to grow. Let me add in that, I have never had extensions in my entire life. I got them 2 months ago. I paid $600 to have a woman put human hair into my hair because of how depressed, self-conscious and anxious I was to have no hair left. I cannot wait to have a full head of hair of my own again. So there’s that. And then, there’s the emotional/psychological aftermath. The PMS, anxiety and insomnia are incomparable. I think for the entire year of 2015, I did not sleep one soundless night. I have bags under my eyes, and fine lines which have developed, and been frequently commented, that I look tired. Aged. I have always been mistaken as the “baby-faced” girl, with the big eyes, and the clear, light skin, didn’t look like I worked a day in my life. Now, over the past year, I am getting none of that. I have been propelled and aged by 10 years? That people are saying I look 30+? Cause my skin is horrible, and the splendid physical blessings of youth have vanished. I am beginning to sleep through the nights and wake up with the alarm clock. I might attribute it to a new house, but waking up 3-4 times a night, sometimes every hour last year did not help. Felt aged, look aged. My anxiety was also triplefold. I would worry and suffer from paranoia, and feel like everyone was against me. And the racing thoughts. The thoughts where I would hold my head in my hands because it was painful to have to bear. The anxiety and mental stress added to the hair shed. The dietary changes. Nothing too dramatic here, but dairy now exacerbates my acne and my face and it’s never been a problem for me in the past. I used to drink glasses of milk a day and it contributed to my strong and shiny hair and poreless skin and now I can barely drink 2 glasses a week without my face imploding. Another important thing is the libido. But perhaps this was one of the positive reasons I quit. While on the pill, I did not have an inkling of a desire to be with men. No sexual drive, happy as a bird (maybe because I had clear skin, good hair, nonetheless, huh!) to be single. Coming off the pill, maybe when 3-5 months, my libido starts up with a BANG. That sex drive I knew in high school. I have been attracted to nearly every. Man. In. Sight. Men I wouldn’t have liked before, certain races, ethnicities, height, etc. The attraction is strong, and it’s almost of a quality of a pre-pubescent boy humping nearly everything in sight, and it doesn’t help that I have looked horribly grotesque that I can’t get a guy to hit on me for the past year +, that my standards are dropping lower and lower due to extremely high libido. Anyways, that felt good to get off my chest. I am beginning to see the storm let up, and I’ve read extensive stories of women who have quit, and one notably on this board that said the acne let up after 11 months. After 11 months, I was hoping that would have been my hard deadline as well, but it’s been about 17 months for me to see *slight* improvement and hair regrowth. A year and a half. Ain’t too shabby isn’t it? This entire experience feels like the real life version of the movie Limitless, with Bradley Cooper. The Pill is the equivalent of the NZT drug, you are SO focused, you are so regulated, physically, mentally, you’re controlled sexually, you don’t have anything to worry about and you LOOK great at the same time. Your boobs maybe even increased a size or 2. And then, the moment you come off of it, you even tried to quit once or twice in the past to no avail. The moment you decide to go au naturel, everything comes falling down. The Pill is literally the NZT for women, I have some days where I want to call up my pharmacy and down a whole pack just to get that “promised” feel back again, but I know that will never be forever and I will have to face this dreaded re-adjustment phase sooner or later. It’s been a hoot.
  13. From the album No Meat, No Dairy, Gluten-Free, Sugar-free Diet

    Hello! This is week 4 and I'm super excited to update on how my skin has been doing. A couple days ago was ovulation (sorry tmi) and lo and behold I broke out into some hormonal acne around my mouth and some on my cheek. You can see they emerged two days ago (photo attached below), leaving a lot of redness. Today, however, my skin is looking a lot better. The breakouts have flattened out as they've bled and "purged" already so my face is just red marks at this point. In addition, I purchased a 0.5 mm dermaroller which I tried out today!! It hurt and left my face red for an hour or so but I definitely see my face is a little brighter (might be just in my head). But the bumps are minimized and all I need to combat are my red marks. I have a feeling I'll break out again before my period in two weeks but I'm hoping for the best through my diet. CHANGES MADE: DIET: ALSO, I don't know if this is a common trigger food for acne but I consumed half a package (natural, no salt) of peanut butter in the last week--correlated to my breakouts? Peanut butter is dangerously addictive. But scared, and not willing to take the risk, I've stopped eating PB and any alternative such as almond butter. If I don't breakout before my period this time around, I'll know peanut butter may have contributed to my ovulation breakouts. SKINCARE ROUTINE: I used to think that the more moisturizer I used the more supple and smooth my skin would be. WRONG. After a certain point, your moisturizer will clog your pores. Key is to apply only the necessary amount. I've used 1-2 pumps of Cerave Moisturizing Lotion which probably has been conducive to a lot of my clogged pores. So, keeping my usage of moisturizer minimal. Instead, if my face feels like it could use a little bit of moisture I apply some alcohol free witch hazel ALSO, noticed my conditioner has some pore clogging ingredient despite the fact that it's SLS free, Paraben free, and natural so I've decided to stop using that as well. A lot of my acne is temple/hairline so there might be a relation there.... -___- Will update again next week Below is Week 3.5 (ovulation, as noted before) and beginning of Week 4 (today). You can see my marks have flattened and my breakouts are less noticeable. Week 3.5 Week 4: TODAY
  14. PICTURE JOURNEY 2012-14 MY BATTLE WITH ACNE

    Hey guys, I've had a long battle with acne and I think I've finally come to some understanding of why I had it and what factors in my life it was related to. It's easier to pick out these things in hindsight, but at the time I really did not know and made some really stupid decisions. I'd like to share with you the picture progression from Feb 1, 2014 to present day (technically Jan 17, 2016, but close enough!). I'll add some of my insights on the mistakes I made that made my acne worse, though what I'm writing is meant to be rather unstructured/free flow so it won't be as nicely organized as some of the posts on this forum. My hope is that I can help you in some way, and perhaps together we can derive new understandings from parts I may not have thought of myself :). The pics unfortunately do not completely capture the severity of my acne. In many of the pics my skin may look "clear" but I remember at the time always feeling like there was room for improvement and also never wanting to leave my place without makeup on. I have slight redness on my face, was once upon a time diagnosed with mild rosacea, though I think it's gotten worse over the years. Also, sometimes the lighting made my acne look much milder than it was. I'll start with a brief history of myself, my acne, and other circumstances during the past two years that may be of interest: History I am in my early 20s now. Have had acne since forever, though it wasn't always this bad. I took antibiotics for two years beginning in college, and then it gave me a serious digestive issue that I still deal with today. Unfortunately, I can never take antibiotics again. After the antibiotics, I was on the birth control pill for 2 years. This helped my acne immensely! I normally have oily skin, and this reduced oil production and made my skin soft, smooth, and clear. Eventually, I wanted to get off it because I just didn't think it was good for you to be on for too long. I got off the pill in May 2014. A few months later, my skin started breaking out in large cysts, painful ones (See Aug 22, 2015 pic - this was just the beginning) which I had never dealt with before (I was 21 at the time). I put on 15 lbs by Nov 2015, and previously had not really paid close attention to my weight. I believe the beginning of all my cystic acne problems was related to going off the birth control pill because it messed up my hormone balance, but the persistence of the acne was related to my own personal diet/lifestyle factors. Since I resized all the pics, you might not entirely be able to tell that I was putting on weight, but in the normal sized pictures I can see the extra weight on my face. Around Aug-Dec 2014, I was dealing with a staph infection on my nose. This resulted in large cysts/boils on my nose, which I tried to treat with ACV and pretty much all those staph infection treatment options out there (clindamycin, honey, ACV, dieting, etc.) except oral antibiotics, of course. It went down on its own, and my belief at the time was that I was one of the unfortunate people who was populated with the bacteria and would have to deal with recurring infections. Aside from clindamycin, I didn't use any other topicals (had tried certain gels and creams before, but I didn't want to deal with the dryness and redness that comes with using them. In April 2015, my chin suddenly broke out in terrible cystic acne. I had little whiteheads, boils, large ones that were so painful that I could feel them pulsating. Again, since the pictures are 2 dimensional, you can't really see them protruding, but believe me, they stood out. I could feel people staring at my chin when I talked to them. I was very antisocial at this time and spent my time studying for exams. I was diagnosed with PCOS, and had slightly elevated testosterone (54 ng/L when the range goes up to 50 ish I believe) and low progesterone. I had trouble sleeping (low progesterone), craved carbs all the time, didn't exercise enough, and was generally rather sedentary and depressed. I remember having severe mood swings at the time, where I would imagine terrible things happening. There was no good reason to feel depressed, but my mind would wander and create imaginary tragedies in the real world and they would depress me. Around April, I weighed around 125 lbs, though my highest was in November 2014 at 132 lbs. In June 2015, I started long distance running and haven't given it up since. I have lost weight and now weigh somewhere between 115-117 lbs at 5'5'' - about what I weighed in high school. It helped my acne, but I still continued to break out. I was sleeping better too after exercising more, and eating regularly. Due to health reasons, I decided to follow a more rigorous diet, which helped my health condition and also my acne. There was low point around August/Sept/Oct 2015 after which I've fixed things and feel fairly certain that I won't experience one of those breakout again. Also, do note that I had put iodine on my boils/cysts/acne (it does help but it's no miracle) so it makes them appear darker and bigger than they actually are. So, the question is, what happened? And why did I have those horrible breakouts? I feel like there are a few major explanations as to why: Diet Back in 2014 and early 2015, I was eating a high carb diet. I do not eat any junk food because my digestive system cannot handle it, so even though the foods I was eating were considered healthy, the proportions in which I was eating them were not. When I was studying for exams, it was most convenient to eat rice cakes and peanut butter as a snack. At the most, I would eat 2 bags of rice cakes, aka about 200g carbs, and top each one with peanut butter. I would eat upwards of 1,500 calories of peanut butter, and as you can imagine this is not very healthy. I think this diet was related to the staph like breakouts, because all the omega-6 fats in peanut butter contributed to an inflammatory response in my body (and also I noticed that when I eat too much high fat foods, it makes my skin oilier the next day). High carbs lead to insulin spikes, and thus can affect testosterone and progesterone and other hormones - I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I believe there's a pattern in my hormonal chin breakouts and eating too many carbs and ultimately gaining weight. What I can say is that whenever I get addicted/eat too much carbs/sugars for an extended period, several other things happen, including: I start having sleeping problems, gain weight in the belly area, feel lethargic, breakouts on chin mostly. I love nuts and nut butters, and this really made my acne worse. I am the kind of person who will eat 1/3 jar of peanut butter in a day. And yes, I do not feel good after eating that much, but my eating habits are my own problem. Most nuts are high in omega-6s, meaning that eating say, 1 cup of peanut butter means I'm consuming 36,000mg of Omega-6 fatty acids. This is a LOT! And it is inflammatory. So it makes sense that I was breaking out. Looking back, this is very stupid of me, and anyone would say that eating so many nuts is not good, but given the circumstances at the time and how easy it is to overeat nuts, I did not realize my mistake. My current diet takes into consideration the omega-3 and omega-6 balance. I eat mostly salmon and eggs, some chicken. I eat nuts sparingly, and the only ones I eat without minding portion sizes. I watch my carb intake, I definitely don't eat 200g in one sitting. And I noticed that I don't crash after meals anymore so I take it that my insulin levels are no longer spiking my blood sugar like they used to. Exercise After I started exercising, this made a difference in my skin. It helped me sleep, so mostly I'd say it had a beneficial hormonal effect. Also, the sweating process is apparently good for your skin. However, my diet seemed to have the greatest impact because exercising alone didn't prevent or reduce acne, but changing diet alone does reduce acne. Where I Am Now My skin is much better than before, for that I'm grateful. I am just waiting for the scarring and hyperpigmentation to go down. I started using retin-A and aczone a few months ago, and it made me break out more for a while, but that is slowly going down. I still break out but they are mostly smaller ones that go away in a few days as opposed to a few months. Whenever I eat too much sugar, my chin flares up again. So I make sure I have a balanced diet. From all the acne, my nose and cheeks have this persistent redness to them, I'm not sure if this will ever go down. Also, do remember, it's not easy for me to put my face out there. I'm very embarrassed by my appearance these past few years, because I feel like it is a reflection of me not being able to take good care of myself and "letting myself go". I would be mortified if someone I knew saw them. I don't like being seen without makeup, and even with makeup I am self conscious. However, I felt that this could help many of you if you've been on the birth control pill, taken antibiotics, tried the topicals, have cystic acne, have anything that looks like what I had, or were curious to see how I figured out what was causing my acne. Feel free to ask me questions and I'll try my best to answer. Good luck! And remember not to try anything extreme - I've tried week long water fasts, using undiluted ACV on my face, holistic remedies such as turmeric, painting my face with iodine, large diet imbalances, etc. I found that the best remedy was living a normal routine life - sleeping and eating at the same time, making sure each of my meals has protein/carbs/fiber/fats aka balance, adding a moderate amount of exercise, and keeping my skin care routine simple. It hasn't cost me any excess money to clear my skin.
  15. Going off the pill acne

    Hello beautiful people! I am Jennifer, a 21 year old girl from Hong Kong. I started having really oily skin and developing mild acne about a year ago after I took the plan B pills. The acne was not too severe but was enough to destroy my self esteem. Then two months ago I finally decided to try going on birth control pills because I have heard so many wonderful stories about how they clear up people's acne. During the months when I took the pills, I also started using the treatment of Acne.org. At first my skin stayed completely the same, not better, not worse, but then I made a big mistake by skipping the 7 day period gap and I started a new pack of pills right away (because I was scared of having my hormonal level fluctuating during the period). So during my second pack of pills, I started to have serious breakthrough bleeding which brought me severe cystic acne that I never had before. The bleeding kept going on for two weeks until I finished the second pack. Now I have already stopped taking the pills for about a week now. And I have had my normal period after two weeks of breakthrough bleeding. My skin cleaned up a bit during my period but now the cystic acne is back again. Overall my acne is definitely even worse than before I started taking the pills. I want to go off the pills, but I have also heard people saying that the after the pills acne can be very troublesome and tough to get rid of. It may be weeks or months or years until I can have my normal skin back. I am very lost. I am planning on going to the doctor's but I am not sure what kind of treatment I should ask for
  16. From the album Quitting Birth Control Pill :)

    I don't know if my hormones have started to stabilize but my face is definitely improving! Only a few active pimples on my cheeks and others on my right temple. Those temple pimples took sooo long to surface; I don't even know why they are there in the first place -___- Small whiteheads around my mouth (hormonal) but that's no biggie compared to the deep-rooted hormonal cysts I used to get on my cheeks. The red marks have SLIGHTLY started to fade on my cheeks which is great. Also. I didn't apply benzoyl peroxide for two days because my face was so dry (but not breaking out). It actually kind of helped I think in terms of my redness overall. I think it's good to take a break from benzoyl peroxide if you feel your face is SUPER dry and red. No pimples emerged during this time I didn't apply BP
  17. From the album Quitting Birth Control Pill :)

    So it's Day 43 and divided between the good and bad news. Good news; the left side of my face is basically acne-free and I only have the red marks left from past acne. So yay! My right temple acne cysts have started to surface so they don't look so great now but hopefully will be fine in the next week. Bad news; the right side of my face has started to break out tremendously into skin-color cysts that have started to become red and inflamed. They're mainly located on my right jawline and cheek area, but mainly jaw. Such stubborn acne. I've never experienced these jaw cysts before but since stopping the birth control pill (and the latter of using it) there's just been so many of these flare-ups. I don't know if it's because I sleep on the right side of my face or what not but the fact that they're focused into the jaw/lower cheek area really makes me think they're hormone induced. So I'm going to watch what I eat more strictly. Basically foods that don't trigger hormone imbalances (but it's weird because my left side is FINE :/) For those newly viewing my gallery, I stopped the pill 43 days ago so a month and a half ago and these are the flare-ups I'm experiencing post-quitting. Hope you can gain some insight if you're planning on stopping the pill or considering it! Till next time
  18. Bcp Changes Brain Structure

    Well, this is unsettling http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/oral-contraceptive-pill-associated-changes-brain-structure Also, if you are on the pill and feel depressed, anxious, crazy, or overly jealous of your boyfriend, those are all side effects of the pill. These are interesting stories http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Anxiety/birth-control-pill-causing-anxiety--depression/show/4614
  19. From the album Quitting Birth Control Pill :)

    Hi everyone so it's Day 24 and I just finished applying my benzoyl peroxide. I can say now that my face is finally getting used to the BP and my acne is flattening out and I am seeing improvements! I didn't know how long I was going to have to deal with the red marks (hyper pigmentation) but I can see some red marks SLIGHTLY lightening. I think it's because of the dryness and the peeling of skin which sheds the layers. It's weird. My face feels tight and dry but it feels USED to it. It's kind of red overall but not irritated red. The pimples on the side of my face have decreased, I think there's only a few on each side and the rest are just marks. Then again, some clusters might flare up again so I won't get my hopes too high up! hahha Unfortunately my temples have been breaking out -_____- Might be my hair but I didn't really focus on applying benzoyl peroxide there so I'll start... Towards any makeup users out there, you'll probably understand when I say you know your acne is better when your makeup starts looking better! Of course the red marks are hard to conceal--I only use minimal Almay makeup+ its concealer--but when the pimples reduce in size, makeup looks great! Keep up with the regimen everyone! It'll pay off once you get past that initial hurdle.
  20. From the album Quitting Birth Control Pill :)

    So it's the 24th day but I wanted to make a quick collage of Day 13, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18 so you can see the very slight but existing progress! haha Had the usual flare up around Day 13+ Day 16 but by Day 18 you can see how it's subsided a little. Keep posted for more updates!
  21. Day 10 Meh.

    From the album Quitting Birth Control Pill :)

    So anyways. ha. I found an easy way to remember the Day # since beginning the regimen. By approximating that I started March 1, I can just look at the day # to figure out which day it is on the regimen. Yay! So it's Day 10. So this is my face so far.... A couple days ago the left side of my face broke out into a huge cluster of red pimples, all accumulating into a Y (look at photo) Which totally creeped me out the day they emerged. I thought it was from a horror movie or something, seriously... It has subsided a bit but you can still see the red Y lined clusters there... AHHH anyways... So I broke out in that horrific Y cluster on my left side and a few pimples on the right side of my face a few days ago. boo hoo and I'm kinda starting to see new few pimples arise today... T______T I don't know if these breakouts will go away soon but I'm scared for when the post BCP madness hits! (hopefully it won't and this is it) HOWEVER! since using the benzoyl peroxide, pimples have decreased in size and I can actually see them healing. Super speedy progress in recovery. And those awful trio of pimples that were underneath my mouth are GONE! left with dark marks but at hey at least they'll stop haunting me. My chin acne is completely gone (left with hyperpigmentation bleh) and my forehead acne is gone and I don't break out on my nose (thus my side photos only). So definite improvement I'm seeing! Also, my face is no longer red and irritated. Yes, it's dry but my face no longer hurts YAY! (Still once a day benzoyl peroxide and a finger length amount)
  22. From the album Quitting Birth Control Pill :)

    Hi everyone! Today I decided to start an acne.org blog on pretty much a whim. I hope by doing so, there is someone out there who can benefit or grab some insight when joining, or continuing on this challenging yet hopefully rewarding, journey. Anyways, quick recap on my skin. I was using the regimen back when I was 13 and it cleared my skin up completely, so I decided to revisit the benzoyl peroxide. I used to be horrified at my skin during that time but lo and beyond, my skin was never bad as it is now. -sigh-....I used to complain about how my skin was SO AWFUL then, and yes, maybe it was, but nothing compared to all the clogged pores, cysts, whiteheads I have now. This is my face now. I've used the benzoyl peroxide for 3 days now and my face is red and irritated and slightly painful. ALSO!! I quit birth control yesterday, which I've been taking for 2.5 years (?) mainly because I've started breaking out like crazy in the past five months. Previously, my birth control had kept my face super super clear, but it's causing nothing short of severe backlashes. What I have now is a TON of hyperpigmentation and of course the whiteheads and clogged pores. I used to never have acne on my chin but my chin is now super prone to be clogged which leads to those red, painful bumps we all loathe. The only area I don't get acne is on my nose and most of my forehead. The reason I decided to not switch the type of pill is because I really want to stop taking hormones. And before switching to a higher estrogen dosage or anti-androgen pill (which would probably clear my skin but maximize the screw up of my hormones), I wanted to stop messing with my body's natural cycle. Getting of the pill later in my life would result in a SERIOUS pizza face. Getting of the pill now, eh it sucks but hey, rather now than in my 30s. In terms of how my skin is reacting with the benzoyl peroxide now, it hurts a bit. Feels tight, red, splotchy, sensitive. I don't remember it being so irritating on the skin back when I was using it in 2008, but I probably only remember the good of my face clearing that those little side effects I deemed insignificant to even remember. I'm hoping my skin is the same as 7 years ago in a sense that it can overcome this initial detriment. My current regimen: 1. Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser 2. 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide 3. CeraVe moisturizer Please follow me on my journey if you are interested! I'll try updating every few days or when there is some noticeable change. If you have any questions, please comment below Have a great day everyone!
  23. From the album Quitting Birth Control Pill :)

    So it's been around 6 days since I started incorporating Acne.org (BP) into my regimen, and my face is SUPER dry and I've broken out into 3 pimples on each side of my face -_______- One gigantic one on my right temple and the stupid triplet pimples underneath my mouth (right) have started to become whiteheads. They hurt a lot. I don't think my acne is due to the weaning off of birth control because it's been less than a week since stopping the pill (they usually say the acne kicks in a month after stopping the pill?) So it's either the dryness of the benzoyl peroxide or my makeup covering it. For the first three days I used benzoyl peroxide only at night and a small amount but yesterday night I didn't apply benzoyl peroxide since my face was SO SO dry (I also took a bath last night and exfoliated a bit and didn't want to apply bp on raw skin). I don't necessarily plan on using benzoyl peroxide tonight, either. My face is just so SO TIGHT AND HARD TO MOVE AHHH They say oh, if you have sensitive skin, start off with bp ONCE a day but who says we need to endure the dryness and irritation and redness from even the BP once a day? I'm going to start with once every couple of days, at a pace my skin can handle; because with all this dryness, I can't even apply makeup without it floating to the top and cracking and caking. I also bought the Almay Smart Shade Foundation yesterday with its concealer and have been using that starting today. It's lightweight but doesn't weigh on my skin like other makeups do. Sure, my skin isn't concealed fully, but it doesn't feel like paint on my skin (Well now it does because my face is super dry). Also, I go to class in the morning to late noon and I wash my face when I go home to remove my makeup. Sure, it may not be good to wash my face three times/day but I use a gentle cleanser (not removing might clog my pores too). Sorry for the rant. I'll update again once I see some new change. Hope you all are having a great day!
  24. Cystic Acne And Hormones

    I wanted to wait awhile before I posted my experience with stopping my birth control pill and my acne. I had tried numerous dietary changes to try to fix my cystic acne, some showed a little promise (avoiding caffeine) but nothing was stopping the cystic/nodular acne completely. I stopped taking my birth control pill may 20th, it's July 27th now, so nearly 2 months later and I have not had a cyst since stopping. Amazing. Still dealing with hyperpigmentation but I've had 2 normal periods as well, each time I only got 1 pimple during that time. So for anyone experiencing cystic acne while on the pill, it could be the pill. My doctor did give me a script for a different birth control pill to try "Trinessa" but I am araid to even try another one now. I had been taking birth control pills since I was 18 and who knew they were probably exacerbating my acne the entire time -_- I had suggested quite some time ago to my dermatologist that maybe it's my birth control pill that is causing my severe acne and she blew it off and said all birth control pills work the same so it doesn't matter which one you're on. So frustrating. I attached some pictures to show the difference in my skin. Even the bad pictures don't truly show the severity or pain of the cysts/nodules since they were all under the skin, I do have some light powder on in the newer photos but the difference is there. Also, all I have been following for a regimen is cleansing with clearsil ultra 2x a day, Olay moisturizer 2x a day and tazorac at night to fade the red marks.
  25. Feeling GREAT about my skin... finally! My derm and my doctor both said to let the spiro work for 3 months and then reevaluate my progress once my body and hormones have been able to adjust. At this point, this is the best my skin has looked in years. I'm absolutely amazed. There's not even one spot underneath my skin -- before I would have cysts forming every few days that I could feel when I washed my face. And now my entire face feels smooth. I went through some ups and downs, and I think it was just my body adjusting (and since I also switched my birth control pill in the process) but at this point I feel great. I have maybe 3 spots on my face right now, but they couldn't even be called pimples. They are just little pores that are blocked. It's a miracle! Granted, it wasn't an overnight miracle, and over the last 3 months I definitely had some days where I wanted to give up, and before my spiro treatment I struggled for 10+ years (basically since high school) with problem skin. So overnight ---- not so much! But I do finally feel like I've found the right mix of treatment. I have a lot of hyper pigmentation and a few scars that still need to heal, so I'm still a little dependent on makeup to cover those spots, but at least there aren't new breakouts forming. And anyone who has struggled with cystic acne can probably relate --- I don't care how red my face is, as long as I don't have huge bumps that are painful and swollen, I'll consider that a good day! I've also learned an important lesson to let my skin heal on its own. All those years I was picking and squeezing and irritating my face was only making things a million times worse. I've realized that my body will take care of a clogged pore within 3 days, and if I squeeze it that will only create a scab and a scar and not heal any faster at all. The only side effect of the spiro I've noticed to be lingering is the fact that I lost about 15 pounds. I used to weigh about 125 and now I'm around 110. I didn't change one thing in my diet or exercise, but I think the fact that its a diuretic just means I don't have any water bloat anymore. Not a bad thing! And my breasts feel bigger -- almost a little swollen? -- but they don't hurt at all, just seem to fill out my bra better. That's also a good thing I guess. I'm slowly stopping the doxy, I don't think it was helping at all anyway. So right now I'm taking 100mg spiro in the morning, 100mg doxy in the morning, my birth control pill (Sprintec) and using tretinoin cream .025% at night. In 2 weeks I'll stop the doxy altogether. My advice to anyone who's struggling is to stay positive and be patient. It can take a while to see results with any program. And now I realize that less is more --- I used to try a bajillion products and all that really did was dry out my face and cause redness and irritation. Now I use moisturizer in the morning and at night, and no harsh astringents or creams that will dry out my face. It always seemed counter-intuitive to me, why would I moisturize my face when it's already oily? But now I know that maintaining a balance - not using too much product and not leaving my face too dry - is really the best approach for me. Okay enough rambling for now... I'll update in another few weeks with what is hopefully lasting results!!