21 And My Consistent Struggle With Acne - Naperville, IL

I have been struggling with acne since puberty. My...

I have been struggling with acne since puberty. My first battle with acne ended with pitted scars on my cheeks, temples, and jawline. I have used a plethora of creams, face washes, and oral medications, including Accutane. I started using Retin-A Micro .04% once a day on 2/5/14, along with using Cephalexin 500mg, twice daily. It has been a little over a week of using it and I have noticed some dryness around my nose and chin area, but not too bad. I have also started breaking out a lot on the lower half of my face including the front and back of my neck. Hopefully this is just the purging process. Fingers crossed.

2 Weeks In And My Results Thus Far

My acne is far from cleared up but I have noticed that the small spots come and go quickly. I'll have spots at night and by morning they are around 75% cleared up. I am still experiencing major purging in the areas that I normally get acne, but also on the corners of my nose and forehead. The cystic acne on the right side of my face and neck is clearing up gradually but there seems to be way more cystic acne sprouting up on the left side of my face and neck, which is quite uncomfortable. I can't wait to get past this part of the treatment! Is there any cleansers, toners, moisturizers, etc. that anyone would recommend? Specifically something that helps ease dryness and tones down breakouts.

6 Weeks In And My Results Are..

Well it's been a few weeks since I last updated my review and I have to say that not much has changed. I'm still breaking out on the bottom half of my face. Still have very deep cysts on my cheeks, jawline, and neck. I am still using Retin-A Micro every night because it hasn't made me overly dry. I heard about the oil cleansing method so I have started washing my face at night with a castor oil/sunflower seed oil mixture and I just wash my face with water in the morning. I noticed that since I started doing this cleansing that my dry spots from the Retin-A are not as dry and the oil on my face does not get as bad throughout the day. I just want to be done with the purging process already, but I'm going to stick with it for now.

Over 3 Months In.

Just a quick update. Skin is looking absolutely horrendous. I'm to the point where I don't want to go out in public and I want to call into work everyday. I have made a dermatologist appointment to see what else they can do. A little background information: I can't be on birth control to help with my hormonal acne; why? I have a history of blood clots. Back on track now.. I got to the point where it was bearable to put Retin A Micro on my face every night, but then my face started to break out in spots where I don't normally get anything like my forehead and n

3 Months In Continued.

And nose. So I started going every other day and still no change. Forever burdened by acne.
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I saw several others comment about dairy/sugar, I completely agree. You will notice improvement if you get rid of dairy, in a few weeks. It will come back if you reintroduce it. Also there in an amazing organic skincare line called Eminence Organics, I love all their products, but for acne try; mineral cleanser, pear/poppyseed microdermabrasion, Hungarian herbal mud mask, and eight greens mask and moisturizer. Once you try eminence you will never want to put anything else on your face!
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Try a vi peel for acne.... You may need something to get deep in your skin... I've had acne for 15 years on and off... Retin a to me personally did nothing I broke out more and they say it's your skin purging the bad acne out however it never got better for me over time. Only products that worked for me to control my acne was OTC Panoxyl face wash 10% benzoyl peroxide, morning and night. I also use clean and clear 10% cream for acne. Helps a lot for me. I just got my first vi peel for acne and so far it seems to be helping... The dermatologist never helped me. I went every week every other week, no help. I would steer clear of putting the oils on your face... Just use moisturizer for your skin type.. Also, I heard but haven't tried. That certain retin a works better than others. I hear. Vi peel has a good one I am looking into trying.
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All throughout high school and college I struggled with disgusting cystic acne. I literally spend hundreds of dollars on make up, creams, cleansers, washes, oils.. everything! I was put on so many different kinds of medications from the dermo, but nothing seemed to work out. I would always be stuck with the negative side effects instead of seeing improvements with my acne. I decided that I would try the "all natural" way and let me tell you..It's amazing. I did a lot research on taking fish oil, specifically Fermented Cod Liver Oil. It was my last resort before I took the chance with Accutane. I got a bottle of the FCLO from Green Pastures. It is a tad expensive ($48 per bottle), but over the solid month that I took it I saw major improvements. My acne wasn't completely gone, but the nasty, huge cystic planets that I was getting totally improved. There was an initial purge, but this stuff really does clear everything out. I think the key is to take it every.single.day. about 1 1/2 table spoons. I like to take it at night so I don’t have to deal with the fishy burps. I’m working on my second bottle now, and I only take it when i'm on my period, or when ever I feel like a breakout is coming. I also take Wild Yam Root - from WholeFoods and Zinc every other day. You’ll find the best deal off their website. Do a little research too! They have a a lot of good information, and other products that are pretty sweet. I have the Blue Ice Beauty Balm which works wonderfully on feet, hands, skin and lips! For the Fermented Cod Liver Oil I like to get the Cinnamon tingle. Get the oil, not the capsules! I didn’t think my diet had anything to do with my acne but after I stopped (well, limited) my intake of dairy I noticed the pimples around my forehead/eyebrow region cleared right up. I hope this helps a little bit!
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I also take cod liver oil (capsules) and also began taking zinc not long ago. Ive been on retin a since winter and am on my third 20g 0.1 tube and I can honestly say it has sort of saved my life. When I first discovered it online I was really desperate and searching acne cures and treatmentd every day to find the best one. I was also a compulsive picker which was probably even worse of a problem than the acne itself. I have acne scars but all of them were preventable. The retin a gave me hope. I noticed changes right after the first use and so I stuck with it and used it almost every night religiously for the past 5-6 months and my skin is so much better now especially on my forehead which was my most problem area and it got rid of all of the blackheads I had there as well as under the skin pimples. Yes there was some 'purging' and my skin looked bumpy and I had whiteheads after shower and my (clogged) pores looked noticeably bigger but with continual use (and no picking) the gunk naturally came out and my pores went back to their original size. So now I am on retin a and also supplements, I also like to drink green tea and only rarely eat any dairy products. I dont wear much makeup and dont use too many products or scrub and clean as much as I used to. So maybe its a mix of these things that keeps my skin clearer although it isnt 100% clear I dont mind, it happens, thats life, im still a teenager, pimples are normal and no one is perfect
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I don't typically post on these type of sites...different things work for different ppl. But...I thought I would tell you about myself. I had tried EVERYTHING (or so I thought) to help my acne. Many scripts (oral and topical) later, I still had acne. I searched and searched and even went to a holistic doc. What finally worked for me? Cutting out dairy and sugar!!!! I also take a zinc supplement nightly. If you are having no luck with your acne, it's always worth a try. I am gluten free also, (I have been for over a year bc of my stomach) but it can sometime be a culprit also. Good luck!!! My thoughts are with you!
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I'm sure you've been given SO much advice, you're saturated! But, for me, after trying everything over the counter, and Rx (including Accutane) I am living proof that the following two products will change your skin, (you can use Retin-A with them if you choose, but won't need it for acne any longer): 1. GNC Saw Palmetto ("Standardized" 160mg). Make sure you get the "Standardized" as the store has two formulas. 2. Alpha Hydrox 12% Souffle serum. I promise within 1-2 days, you will not believe how your skin will turn around, and all new breakouts will come to a complete STOP. I promise! Saw Palmetto is $19.99, and A.H. Souffle is about $12.00. These will be the best investment you've ever made to your skin. If you can't afford both, the Saw Palmetto alone will change your skin forever. I take 2-3 per day, and I noticed a reduction in oil, and no new breakouts, -overnight. Yes, overnight. Old spots will heal and go away, and you will not get any new ones. This really, really, really works.
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Please go to GNC, buy Saw palmetto (Standardized!) 160mg/each. THIS WORKS! I promise. It's a $20.00 investment that works almost immediately. It lowers our DHT just enough, to stop acne. Please try this. I am living proof that after a life of acne, and all the Rx's, topicals, accutane, over the counter, behind the counter, and EVERYthing else in the world, this really, really works. Please try this before you give up. I promise you will feel a difference in the oil and acne you produce, overnight..
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Can I ask how old you are? I'm 40 & still deal some with acne. I read about Saw Palmetto but it seems it's for men only. I'd be scared if for men it might make skin worse & cause excess facial hair. Do you know?
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I'm 55. I have had chin cystic acne since I was 16. Nothing has worked until the Saw Palmetto. Saw Palmetto acts in the same way that Spironolactone reacts in our body, only it's natural. Saw Palmetto lowers testosterone, (which is why men who have prostate issues are told to take it). It would not make you grow facial hair, or cause more acne, because it's actually lowering the effects of testosterone, (vs. raising it). Hope this helps! Ps. Ulta carries Alpha Hydrox, for those interested in adding it. These two products have been a miracle for myself & my sisters.
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I'm always willing to try anything that may work. I know retin a has been my saving grace the last 8 or 9 months & has kept me about 95% clear. But the downfall with that is dry & flaky so I have to compensate with more moisture. It's like a constant struggle & sacrifice. What I wouldn't give for beautiful skin.
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I completely understand. I used Renova/Retin-A for years, and had beautiful skin everywhere but my chin. It's such an emotionally scarring condition to live with. It's wonderful to look in the mirror every morning and see a clear chin. Another side effect is that your hair won't get as oily, nor will your body skin. I've also noticed that I don't lose as much hair in my hairbrush as I used to. All since beginning the SP.
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I feel your pain...I was on birth control for many years and always had pretty good skin during that time...so nice that people would compliment me on it...Well now I don't need them anymore and even in my late 30's I stuggle with hormonal acne...I broke out really bad and had those same feelings of wanting to just hide in a corner somewhere...its so hard, you try to be strong about it and suck it up patiently waiting for improvements but some days I just had to have a good cry...right now what has calmed it down for me is the use of anti biotics along with tretinoin cream (generic retin A) at night and some sort of acne wash and benzol peroxide cream in the morning...I also must stay away from eating chocolate and anything with egg yolks because as I learned from my mom who also suffered with adult acne these foods trigger something...I also will eat pizza and some other foods with cheese but for the most part I don' t consume a lot of dairy and for milk I do soy or almond...I also eat very few processed foods and drink lots of water...so far now that my acne is under control (small bumps here or there) using the tretinoin cream at night and washing with acne wash in am is enough...if it should flare up again i'll probably go back to some anti biotics till it clears once more...I also take probiotics too btw...best of wishes to you, know your not alone in the struggle...You will find what works for you, just don't give up!!!
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You should try salicylic acid home peels you can find on amazon (I use the 20% by perfect image, you may want to start out with a lessor percent like 10). Leave the peel on for 1-2 minutes to start and work you way up. I do a peel about once per week or every other week and it has done wonders for my cystic acne and acne scars. Make sure to use sunscreen daily, sunscreen is an absolute must because your skin will be much more sensitive to sun rays. For a sunscreen, you might want to consider a powder sunscreen as it may be less irritable on your skin, but if you are doing well with the sunscreen you're currently using then just keep using that. Hope this helps. I wish you the best girl.
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Susansmelyansk, what type of acne scars did you have from your cystic acne?
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Hi, I had terrible cystic acne that would not respond to topicals and oral antibiotics. Someone finally diagnosed me with hormonal acne. It went away with addition of spironolactone 100mg daily to my oral contraception pill. I have very few small occasional breakouts now.
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I'm sorry to hear you are feeling concerned with your progress so far and this has got you down. I struggled with severe cystic acne from the age of 18 to my mid 30's. Turns out for me it as all triggered by the food I was eating. I started by eliminating things slowly from my diet, the first to go was cheese and milk, I saw an improvement but still fought the battle. I then cut out all meat and only ate chicken and tofu.. and cut down on processed foods, saw huge improvement. I worked with a traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner where he gave me teas (that tasted horrible) but cleared up my skin and from there I went vegan and my cystic acne is gone. Have not see one in over 7 years, my skin is clear all that remains is my scars, but even those have improved over time. 

Don't give up, you can fix this and you will, just keep at it. 

Keep us posted ok :)

Take care!
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What else are you using on your skin atm? Describe your daily skincare routine
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I use CeraVe Daily Hydrating Cleanser at night and just wash my face with water in the morning. I've been using Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 during the day and Aveeno Night Cream. Any new suggestions are welcome!
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Dont worry about it all too much your skin really isnt as bad as you think. Youre really pretty! You are also very lucky to have freckles because then if you do get any scars or hyperpigmentation it isnt as visible. You seem to have the typical hormonal acne around your cheeks and chin have you checked for anyhormonal abnormalities that may be causing it?
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Currently I am just using The retin a every night. Sometimes I apply a cream afterwards but it seems to work better if I don't. I moisturize in the morning however and throughout the day if I look flakey. I like using Savlon antiseptic healing cream on inflamed areas and just in general I like to apply a thin layer on my face and let it dry naturally. It feels better than applying a normal cream because I know it won't give me spots (it will prevent infection and promote healing) only disadvantage it may not be super moisturizing and it contains alcohol but had minimal ingredients and works fine so ill stick with using it. I know that when you have breakout youre suppise to use non comodogenic water based creams but they just never moisturize me enough like a slightly greasy cream would
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I'm sure you've heard this, but chin acne tends to be hormonal acne, especially if they are cysts. I didn't read every comment on this thread, but if you haven't tried birth control, it could really help. I've had a lot of luck with ortho tri cyclen (or the generic) but not other kinds. Do you have any symptoms of PCOS other than acne? Just a thought!
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I've struggled with acne since I was 11 years old (and I'm 24). My doctor gave me minocyclen and it has totally cleared my skin up. It took about a month but with a combo of retin-a, I'm actually excited every morning to see no gross blemishes. I would definitely try it if you haven't!
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At night, should you wash your face, wait for it to dry and then apply the tretinoin/retin a followed by your moisturizer. Or can you wash, moisturize AND THEN apply tretinoin. My skin is uncomfortably dry and I really hate sitting around waiting for it to fully dry before applying tretinoin. Also, this is week 7 of therapy for me. My chin is HORRIBLE, absolutely horrible and far worse than it's every been. It's been practically peeling off and I only use tretinoin every other day. Am I doing something wrong. I try to use only a small amount. I have to admit that I have been picking at it. It's just flakey that I want to scrub or peel it all off. HELP!
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I know its best to get a prescription but the ones I order are great and work fine. The ones I order are a-ret by invida which is produced in india where you dont need prescription for tretinoin
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Be careful not to keep switching products and trying different stuff. You have to stay consistent or your skin will go crazy. I used to do that. I'd try this then that then something else & would constantly break out. It took me about 4 solid months of being on the same routine before my skin cleared and now stays about 90% clear. Be patient, let your skin heal itself. Don't over wash either that just dries it out. Don't scrub, it aggravates acne & makes it worse. Believe me I speak only from experience.
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