Success With Proactiv For a While - Chicago, IL

I've had acne since I started puberty around age...

I've had acne since I started puberty around age 10 (lucky me!). I remember my dad taking pity on me and going to the drugstore with me to look for something (he bought me Clearasil 10% benzoyl peroxide). I used to use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball as toner, and tried to dry the oil and pimples off. This just made my acne worse, as I got older, my skin would be dry, flaky, painful and full of pimples.

I did see a dermatologist in my 20s and took antibiotics, used prescription products (Emgel/Erygel, a liquid benzoyl peroxide, retin-a) and my skin cleared up nicely. I changed jobs and had no prescription coverage w/my insurance, and stopped using those products after running out. I stayed clear for a while, but in my early 30s, I started breaking out badly again. I'd gone off the pill due to blood pressure issues, and that let the hormonal acne loose.

One night watching the Proactiv infomercial, I thought "why not?" The drugstore products weren't helping much, and I ran out of retin-A (I'd bought a bunch OTC on a vacation to Mexico), so the Proactiv seemed like a viable option. I got it at the $19.99/month rate, and it arrived fairly quickly. I started using it, and within a week, my skin texture had gotten smoother and the blemishes were healing. Within a few weeks, I seemed to stop developing new pimples, and by 3 months in, my skin was amazingly clear!

I used it for a few years, but then my hormones started going awry (I later found out I had hypothyroidism and PCOS), and my acne came back. I switched to Proactiv's salicylic acid formula (a gentler formula they'd come out with), and this seemed to work really well for my skin, which seemed to be getting more sensitive. Ultimately, my hormone issues ended up being too much for the Proactiv, and I got more cystic acne on my chin, and went to a new dermatologist. This doctor put me on doxycycline for 2 months to clear up my active blemishes, and spironolactone for ongoing treatment (I have reviewed spironolactone separately, and it is often used in treatment of PCOS, too!).

I was using natural products from Lush to get me through this rough patch, and they were very effective for me. It's several years later, I now use a vitamin C cleanser from Avalon Organics, PCA Pigment Bar for the old acne marks and dark spots, a light moisturizer at night and only need the occasional dab of Lush's Greased Lightning tea tree oil based gel for the little pimples I might get once every few months, and they dry up right away. And sunscreen! Granted, I am now 46, and it took me a long time to get really nice skin, but it's worth it to keep looking till you find what works for you. Proactiv was great until my hormones went nuts, so I'd definitely recommend it as a next step if you find drugstore remedies aren't working, as You most likely don't have to deal with the rampaging hormonal imbalances of PCOS!
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