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Been On Retinoids For 2 Years, Still Getting Acne

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I've been on varying degrees of retin-a/tretinoin for 2 years for Mild-Moderate acne. I've tried both the name brand and generic. Acne got better for awhile but never completely went away. Lowest isn't strong enough and the two stronger ones are too harsh on my skin. I'm currently on the lowest strength but it doesn't completely get rid of all my acne and I'm just tired of my pimple-redmark cycle. It also still makes my skin flaky after 8 months of use.

I've had acne for the longest time (~10 years and I'm 22 now) and nothing works. Not birth control, topicals, or antibiotics. My acne isn't severe but I am ALWAYS left with red marks that last for MONTHS sometimes over a year because I am extremely fair skinned. I have about 3 pimples right now and a bunch of small clogged pores but I have maybe 20+ red marks. I'm sick of nothing working and I want to get off my retinoid. I'm trying to make an appointment with my derm to request isotretinoin(I'm aware of all the side effects, birth defects & Ipledge) but my school schedule conflicts with her available appointments, so I won't be able to get an appointment for over a month when I'm out of school. I also don't even know if she will prescribe it for me or if it'll work.

The main thing I want to do right now is ween myself off of my retinoid & maybe try a more gentle natural approach for awhile till my appointment. I was thinking of washing with oatmeal as a possibility. Anyone have any ideas or comments? I just came here to rant, get help and talk to people who understand my frustration. smile.png

My Current Regimen


-"Wash" face with water

-Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Refreshing Toner
-Tea Tree Oil on spots

-Meow Cosmetics Mineral Foundation & Concealer


-Cerave Foaming Facial Wash

-Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Refreshing Toner
-Cerave PM
-Tea Tree Oil on spots

-Vaseline over red marks/scabs/popped pimples

I also make sure to get at least 65 oz Water & I take a Multivitamin, extra Calcium and Vitamin D + No Dairy

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Retinoids are very strong. And can be very irritating as well. You tried it...and it didn't work. So i'd go ahead and scratch that off of your list of things to try, you know?

Acne is so much trial and error. While some people may have success doing one thing, you might have a totally different experience. I like your idea of switching to something natural. Nature is extremely powerful. I always say to people that 'we are nature, and our bodies crave nature to heal/function properly' Within nature, there are loads of different approaches both topically and internally for you to experiment with.

Give the oatmeal wash a try. Many people swear by it, and i've rarely seen anyone describe a negative experience with it. You might also check out a toner that i make using green tea/green rooibos tea. There's a thread on this in the mild to moderate acne section. Another option is to experiment with Virgin Coconut Oil. Unlike other oils, it is solid below 78 degrees. This means that on your face, it will remain liquid and won't clog pores. It's loaded with great things for the skin, and you might consider applying this after your oatmeal wash if you go that route. Or even after the green tea toner if you decide to try it as well. It doesn't take a whole lot at all to do the job.

Also many people fix their acne entirely by radically addressing their diet. There are many foods that are somewhat universally agreed upon to be a trigger for acne. And many more that are agreed upon to help it. The nutrition section is loaded with discussions like this, but again, i'm not sure how far you've gone down this road yet already.

80%-20% Alkaline forming vs Acid forming Diet

I don't consume:
*Whole grains
*Refined sugars
*Table salt
*Vegetable oils
*Processed/Fast foods
*Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)
As well as the pesticides/herbicides that come with them

My philosophy: Less externally, more internally

Even taking long hot showers in chemically treated tap water is too harsh for acne prone skin

(And that's without a face wash)

This site is absolutely loaded with info on curing acne internally

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