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austra last won the day on November 16 2013

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  1. austra

    Spiro...my Last Hope

    Oh, I'm sorry to hear you've had a hard time! Acne can really suck the life out of you. I wouldn't give up on spiro yet if I were you though, hormonal acne takes forever to clear out. In my experience when I've been on the pill (or pregnant, which also cleared me), my acne has only fully gone away after about 8-9 months, until then I've been prone to very bad breakouts, even though they started to become less frequent after a few months and pretty rare (but not non-existent) towards the end of that time. I'm sure it can take even longer for some, so I would try it for at least a year before giving up, assuming you can wait it out without being too stressed about your skin. Are you trying anything else besides spiro to help with your acne? I think it would be a good idea to try topicals to help with the inflammation, so you don't have to live with new emerging bumps that can be really stressful. Or oral antibiotics are an option too, but they wreak havoc on your gut flora, so topicals would be better in that sense. BP and topical Dalacin (which needs a prescription, at least where I live in Europe) have both worked great for me (BP in small amounts allover acne-prone skin to prevent cysts and Dalacin as a spot treatment to heal breakouts). They're not a cure, but they could help with the symptoms while you wait for spiro to do its thing (assuming it does work, fingers crossed!).
  2. austra

    Help! Cyst Scarring?

    Please don't call it a scar if you mean just the dark pigment. That's hyperpigmentation, not a cyst scar. It should fade on its own, although I guess mild peels or e.g. Retin-A might help speed the process.
  3. Hey there, Austra! Long time, no talk. I most likely won't pursue any more treatments to reduce the appearance of my scarring until May of this year (one year after stopping my Accutane course). But when I do begin to undergo treatment again, I'll certainly post the results here on the 'Org. What options are you considering to treat your acne right now? Sorry for the late reply. I'm looking forward to hearing from your treatments from May onwards. I may not be commenting that often as I have very limited time to browse the internet these days, but I will definitely be following your progress! Hope you're well! My acne treatment is now at a standstill since I can't do much while breastfeeding. I'm keeping inflammation sort of under control with BP and topical Dalacin, but my skin is getting worse, back to its former state. Having a child made me realize how hormonal my acne is, and it was amazing how completely clear I was at the end of the pregnancy and shortly after labour, and then seeing how it's coming back now and there's practically nothing I can do. I suppose I'll either have to try to get on Accutane or go on birth control, but I don't know which route to take yet. My son is now almost 10 months and I'm not planning on weaning any time soon (possibly until he's 2 years or so), so I'll just have to deal with topicals for the time being. It does suck though, I really miss having completely clear skin, even though I know it could be much worse than it is now, and the BP does actually prevent cysts (and thus scarring) pretty well.
  4. austra

    Scabs...and Picking...

    I got most of my acne scars by picking at pimples (fairly harshly to be fair) and then picking the scabs. I've got a lot less scarring ever since i stopped picking at inflamed spots (unless there is a clear whitehead, in which case I do it as gently as possible) and whenever there is a scab, leaving it alone. So please, if you don't want acne scars and I'm sure you don't, do not pick your skin. However, sometimes if you have picked an inflamed spot, I've found that it's best for healing skin if you can avoid a scab to begin with, as scabs aren't really that useful for healing. So now if I have picked at something, I put a hydrocolloid bandage on it right after picking and keep it on for one night - this is usually enough to prevent a scab and it heals nicely (with a bit of flaking skin for a few days though, which you could prevent by having the bandage on for longer). Another good thing to do is moisturising - either the picked skin or the scab.
  5. austra

    Severe Cystic Acne After Pregnancy And Birth

    I'm sorry to hear about your situation, katie27! I know how horrible it is having to deal with bad acne. I assume you must have been on birth control before your pregnancy? If you get back on it after you've stopped breastfeeding, it will most likely clear your skin again. You just have to find other solutions to deal with skin problems during pregnancy and breastfeeding that aren't necessarily as effective, but keep things sort of in control. I'm nursing now and started getting some acne a few months after birth (I also had moderate and stubborn acne before I got pregnant that had continued for years ever since I came off the pill, it all cleared during the pregnancy). Now I've managed to keep my inflamed acne in control with topical bp (to all acne-prone areas, bought from this website actually) and topical clindamycin (as a spot treatment). Then after I've stopped breastfeeding (which might be a while, as I plan to breastfeed long) I might go on the pill, or try spiro or accutane. On a related note, does anyone have advice on what you can do about hormones WHILE still breastfeeding? Doesn't it mean that birth control pills are out of the question? I assume that herbs and spiro would be as well, right?
  6. Just dropping by to say hi and I hope you're doing well, CherrySoda! And I'm on-and-off following the forums again, so I look forward to reading about your possible future treatments. I've been away for a long long while due to having some other things (namely a little person soon turning 7 months) taking priority in my life. I'm not pursuing scar treatments anymore - I realized that when my skin is completely acne-free and in great condition otherwise, my scars don't actually bother me anymore. However, I am starting to have acne again and even though it's sort of in control right now, I still have to look for more options to treat it.
  7. Sorry to hear about the possible granuloma, tricia! At least it seems like you're in good hands, so hopefully it will heal well. Do you know what the usual treatment plan for this is? Is it just cortisone shots + antibiotics, or is it going to be surgically removed?
  8. My derm did tell me on January 8th that my sebaceous glands will once again begin to produce oil (thus, moisture in my skin) once I am finished with this course of Accutane. I suppose once that starts to happen, my scars won't appear as they do now. The current dryness I'm experiencing really does make the edges of the scars look a little "harsher", if that makes any sense. I am doing well, thank you. I have been saying in this thread that I will create another thread on Acne.org devoted to my experiences with Accutane. But since the beginning of last month, I have been so busy with finals, and then the holidays and trips to see family, it seems like I have to keep postponing that goal. I really do need to, though. I just started my third month of isotretinoin, and it's such a good idea to maintain an online journal in order to keep track of one's experiences with the medication. Congratulations on your pregnancy! That is so wonderful (plus, you have that added bonus of acne-zapping hormones). Cheers, austra! I'm sure your skin and scarring will look better once the accutane dryness is over. I'd be very interested in reading your journal if you decide to start one, since I am seriously considering it for the future and am trying to read up on it more. It's completely understandable not to have time to keep such a journal though, even if it's very helpful I still wouldn't have energy/time for it myself. And thank you, I'm very excited about this new phase in my life! It's so great to have much more important things to think about than how my skin looks. I only hope I can accept and deal with my scarring in such a way that my child will never pick up on how much it has bothered me and how self-conscious about my looks I've been because of it. In the end there are far more important things in life than some scarring.
  9. austra

    Acne Scars :(

    I've got similar scarring and 3 TCA crosses with a professional didn't help at all.... I'm not saying Cross wouldn't be worth a try for this type of scarring, but don't give false hope that things would get dramatically better since that's not certain at all. Chances are the OP would get at least some improvement with Cross though, but it's best to try a test spot if possible first and definitely go to a professional. I also think I got some hypopigmentation from Cross that showed up around 1.5 years after my last treatment. It's fairly mild, but still worth keeping in mind. Hardly any scar treatment is risk-free.
  10. I've read some accounts of it happening, and that it's supposed to revert back after you finish, but I don't have personal experience unfortunately. Hope you're doing well, Cherry! Good luck with accutane, I bet it's wonderful to say good-bye to break-outs for good! My skin is currently doing much better due to pregnancy hormones and topical clindamycin so I haven't got much new scarring recently, but I may face the same treatment in the end.
  11. Keep using the petrolatum jelly and just wait for the scabs to fall off on their own. You can't really do anything to expedite this process, you just have to bear with it and let the scabs do their own healing - messing with them might cause permanent scarring. Be very gentle with your skin and avoid touching the scabs. Try to sleep on your back if possible, and don't let water hit your face directly in the shower. The scabs should fall off in around 3-14 days, depending on how deep the damage is, most likely within 5 days. You'll be fine, don't worry!
  12. austra

    Best Treatment To Get Rid Of These Scars?!

    Your scarring is so mild that treatments are unnecessary. If you're seeking perfection, you could try some make-up meant for scars like Dermaflage. I don't think there's anything wrong with your skin though, just be happy you didn't get anything worse.
  13. austra

    Anyone With Fraxel Restore/ Repair Experience?

    I think it's pointless to go through an invasive laser procedure like Repair with such minimal scarring. So I'd recommend Restore instead, or chemical peels (done by a professional). I don't know if there's anything that helps large pores permanently, but chemical peels at least make the skin texture look great for a few months. And imo large pores aren't something you should try to correct. Chances are you are the only one who notices them.
  14. austra

    Progesterone Cream And Breaking Out

    I am not referring to sagging breasts - sagging sadly happened for me after carrying and breastfeeding two babies! What i mean is the feeling of "let down" which is when a woman is lactating, and ready to breastfeed the baby, there is a feeling (for some women) that accompanies the moment when the breastmilk starts to flow from the nipples. It is also called the milk ejection reflex. It is a very distinct tingling/pressure feeling for me. I get the feeling of let down, but have no milk to eject. Hormonally, let down is caused by oxytocin, but i believe that progesterone somehow plays a role in lactation so it makes sense this is a side effect of using NPC. I am off everything right now, even topical BP. My back looks horrendous. I am going to keep a fairly detailed journal of food/stress/breakouts during my next few menstrual cycles so I can talk to my primary care doctor. i fear this is out of her depth and that she may not have good referral sources, but we will see. Emily, I appreciate your sophisticated approach in addressing this problem. I now understand what you are referring to with letdown and you are correct that oxytocin is involved in the process by stimulating the contraction of milk producing glands in the breast. Oxytocin is probably not involved directly with acne, although it can cause a decrease in cortisol levels if levels are excessive. This typically only occurs with exogenous administration. If ptosis occurred after having kids, then this is another indication of estrogen deficiency. The most commonly observed complaints/physical signs of estrogen deficiency are: Complaints Hot flashes with night sweating Beast ptosis Hypo or amenorrhea Vaginal dryness/itching Physical signs Pale face small breasts breast ptosis (sagging or droopy breasts) There are many others-these are the most common. PCOS is usually more associated with a progesterone deficiency (estrogen dominance). A quick lab test will give you a good indication of the probability of PCOS. In premenopausal women. PCOS is probable if: LH > FSH and E1 (estrone) > E2 (estradiol) on day 21 of your cycle. It usually takes about 3 cycles to see the effects of any hormonal modifications on a menstral cycle. It will also be interesting to have a better idea if most of your cycles are short or long. When everything is optimized, then cycle length should be 28 days. The range you provided earlier is outside of the optimized cycle. It's going to be very difficult to find a physician that will understand all this. My take is that your best approach is to try and find a doc that is interested in bio-identical hormone replacement. Ask around at your medical group. Logging everything is a great idea while you are trying to sort this out. What helped me, was not giving up (I've been at this for about 25 years). Physicians are not really adept at solving chronic problems. If you are a non-responder to their usual algorithm, then a persistent, open minded approach to evidence based alternatives will eventually help you. It's absolutely critical that your doc test for the correct hormones. If you don't know, then I can give you a list to consider. Sagging breasts after breastfeeding are caused by estrogen deficiency? How about normal aging and loss of tissue elasticity due to all the physiological changes. I generally agree that restricting carbohydrates can help with break-outs, at least it did with me, but I had to stop due to some health issues I thought might be related to the low-carbohydrate diet.
  15. austra

    Urinating Blood

    Definitely call your regular doctor today or tomorrow. Also mention the accutane. I would say that in your case this is probably a 'harmless' side effect of accutane drying your mucous membranes and causing the bleeding, or you may have bumped the area or something like that. However, noticeable blood in urine (macroscopic haematuria) is usually taken very seriously as it can be a sign of cancer (especially in the elderly) - that's why it's always important to research the cause of haematuria with cystoscopy and other methods to rule out the more serious causes. You should go to a doctor and have everything checked to be on the safe side.