What to do for my extremely stubborn acne

tgreyztgreyz Posts: 1,627Registered Users
I can't remember a time when I didn't have acne. I know I've at least had it since middle school and I've been out of college now for 4 years. So that's at least 15 years. Enough is enough. I am so sick of it.

It was worse when I was younger, and isn't as bad now. But nothing seems to completely clear it. I long for clear glowing skin and it seems like unless you have a lot of money you can't make that happen. I'd love to be able to go to the dermatologist and get laser treatments, dermabrasion, chemical peels, etc.. but that is way out of my price range.

I have tried antibiotics, retin-a, cleocin, differin, benzoyl peroxide and most recently RCW's recommendations. I have had varying degrees of success with these products, but I still have acne. It seems to be very resistant. It varies from fine acne to cysts. I had a few cysts on my chin earlier this year for at least a few months. On top of that my skin is really oily and in the pores in my t-zone are huge.

Am I just doomed to live with acne for the rest of my life?
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Comments

  • Riot CrrlRiot Crrl Posts: 3,135Registered Users
    Accutane.

    Depending on your insurance it will not be more expensive than any other prescription, possibly.

    From the things you have tried, it appears you have been to a lot of derms or other docs. I'm surprised no one has brought it up, or maybe there is some other reason you don't want it?

    I'm not gonna lie, the side effects totally suck and it's kind of a pain to be on. But I swapped a few months of side effects for the result of it helping me forever, and it was worth it.
  • pelicanopelicano Posts: 580Registered Users
    I've struggled with my skin my whole life, and what I found helped me more than anything was adopting a more natural approach. :) Probiotics are fantastic (cleansing from the inside out), and essential oils. Oh and the oil cleansing method. Never did I think I'd put oil on my skin, but it has really helped.
    Sarah.

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  • hmkennyhmkenny Posts: 1,467Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    The only thing that cures the cystic variety is Accutane. I was on it years ago and I thought it was a miracle drug. Nothing else will stop it for good. You have to find a maintenance program and use it consistently to keep acne in check, even when you don't have a current breakout. I think sometimes people make the mistake of spot treating their acne, but that's only part of the treatment. You need to find a skincare program that will help you maintain clear skin, and in my opinion, accept the fact that you will still have occasional breakouts.

    Now your mileage may vary, but I swear by Proactiv solution. I've been using it for years now and anytime I have deviated from the program my skin has broken out. I have to be consistent with it though. I use the entire program everyday in the morning, even when there are no visible breakouts. I know it doesn't work well for everyone, though.

    You might want to visit the acne.org message boards. Lots of information there.
    3a/medium texture/normal porosity
  • multicultcurlymulticultcurly Posts: 5,136Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Trying the Perricone diet is worth a try. It helped clear up my acne and even out my skin tone. The biggest things I took away from that diet is to drink lots of water, cut out refined sugar and wheat, cut out soda and anything with high fructose corn syrup. Learn how to handle stress in productive ways. From my experience, one's diet, one's thinking, types of exercise and skin care products are all related in the cause of acne.
    3b/c, medium-coarse, low porosity, high density
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    tgreyz wrote: »
    I can't remember a time when I didn't have acne. I know I've at least had it since middle school and I've been out of college now for 4 years. So that's at least 15 years. Enough is enough. I am so sick of it.

    It was worse when I was younger, and isn't as bad now. But nothing seems to completely clear it. I long for clear glowing skin and it seems like unless you have a lot of money you can't make that happen. I'd love to be able to go to the dermatologist and get laser treatments, dermabrasion, chemical peels, etc.. but that is way out of my price range.

    I have tried antibiotics, retin-a, cleocin, differin, benzoyl peroxide and most recently RCW's recommendations. I have had varying degrees of success with these products, but I still have acne. It seems to be very resistant. It varies from fine acne to cysts. I had a few cysts on my chin earlier this year for at least a few months. On top of that my skin is really oily and in the pores in my t-zone are huge.

    Am I just doomed to live with acne for the rest of my life?


    I think it's time for Accutane, tgreyz.
  • ninja dogninja dog Posts: 23,780Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I had good luck with the regime at acne.com, too.
  • tgreyztgreyz Posts: 1,627Registered Users
    I had a dermatology appt scheduled for last week but they cancelled. I was going to ask about accutane. However my skin doesn't look extremely terrible so I wonder if they would even prescribe it to me.
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    tgreyz wrote: »
    I had a dermatology appt scheduled for last week but they cancelled. I was going to ask about accutane. However my skin doesn't look extremely terrible so I wonder if they would even prescribe it to me.


    My skin wasn't "that bad" either when I took Accutane. I went to several different derms before I found one who would treat me. Finally I found one who said, "Of course I'll give you Accutane. You get just as scarred from 3 or 5 or 10 acne cysts at a time as you do from dozens". She was the greatest doc. They're not all great though. Some are jerks, just like in any area of medicine. So, you may have to look hard to find a good one. Explain to the doc that you have already been through the typical acne arsenal of meds, for years and years, and nothing has worked for you and that you'd like to try Accutane and finally get cured.
  • echokittenechokitten Posts: 1,751Registered Users
    Umm, RCW correct me if I'm wrong but you don't need a Derm doc to RX Accutane. When I worked at Planned Parenthood I could swear that the overseeing Phys. tx a couple of our patients with cystic/mod to severe acne as long as they were on BC also. Especially if the old standbys of Ortho Tricyclen (can't seem to recall the other one) didn't work.
    Cincinnati Ohio>>>Coarse protein sensitive 3a, Jessicurl WDT as a leave in, Biotera gel, White Boots, PW= coffeecurls

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  • tgreyztgreyz Posts: 1,627Registered Users
    One more question, does accutane work on all types of acne? I get a cyst or two or three sometimes but my biggest problem is whiteheads, fine acne, some that form under the skin with no head (not sure what they are called) etc...

    I had a dermatologist that wanted to prescribe me accutane back in college. I should've went on it, but I was afraid of all the side effects and I do have depression and I hear that makes it worse. I should probably just try it though and hope my hair doesn't fall out and I don't go crazy.
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    echokitten wrote: »
    Umm, RCW correct me if I'm wrong but you don't need a Derm doc to RX Accutane. When I worked at Planned Parenthood I could swear that the overseeing Phys. tx a couple of our patients with cystic/mod to severe acne as long as they were on BC also. Especially if the old standbys of Ortho Tricyclen (can't seem to recall the other one) didn't work.


    It's up to the individual doc. It's possible to get an Rx for any drug from any type of doc, but a lot of non-derm docs are scared to Rx Accutane, because of the risk of birth defects and other issues. Accutane requires very close management, and they just don't want the liability. They simply don't know enough about acne and treatment types to feel confident Rx'ing something that could potentially get them a lawsuit.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    tgreyz wrote: »
    One more question, does accutane work on all types of acne? I get a cyst or two or three sometimes but my biggest problem is whiteheads, fine acne, some that form under the skin with no head (not sure what they are called) etc...

    I had a dermatologist that wanted to prescribe me accutane back in college. I should've went on it, but I was afraid of all the side effects and I do have depression and I hear that makes it worse. I should probably just try it though and hope my hair doesn't fall out and I don't go crazy.


    Yes, it works on all types of acne.

    Generally, I think people find they have more confidence and feel overall better about themselves when they have clear skin.
  • a.l.i.c.e.a.l.i.c.e. Posts: 673Registered Users
    Yasmin BC pills cleared up my skin like nothing else. Some curlies noted that it messed up their hair, but it didn't seem to have much effect on mine.
    botticelli-ish bob.

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  • LoloDSMLoloDSM Posts: 3,778Registered Users
    I've battled acne since my early-20s and have used almost every topical medication, every antibiotic, and finally Accutane. Loved Accutane. The risks were totally worth it.

    A few years after Accutane, my skin started breaking out again, and I didn't want to start back down the path of ointments, antibiotics, etc., so I switched to what is essentially Curly Girl skincare; no silicones and no sulfates. I use Dr. Hauschka, but Weleda is also good. The Dr. Hausckha is expensive, but it helped my skin immensely with the dryness and irritation caused by acne medications, and now I don't have to use the harsh products anymore. My skin is also much calmer. I have an occasional breakout, but it's nothing like it used to be. You can buy Dr. Hauschka at Whole Foods or online (I get it at www.2020skincare.com) and you can get Weleda at Wal-Greens.

    I know how hard it is to have acne. Good luck to you!
    Loose botticelli curls and waves
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  • multicultcurlymulticultcurly Posts: 5,136Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    LoloDSM wrote: »
    I've battled acne since my early-20s and have used almost every topical medication, every antibiotic, and finally Accutane. Loved Accutane. The risks were totally worth it.

    A few years after Accutane, my skin started breaking out again, and I didn't want to start back down the path of ointments, antibiotics, etc., so I switched to what is essentially Curly Girl skincare; no silicones and no sulfates. I use Dr. Hauschka, but Weleda is also good. The Dr. Hausckha is expensive, but it helped my skin immensely with the dryness and irritation caused by acne medications, and now I don't have to use the harsh products anymore. My skin is also much calmer. I have an occasional breakout, but it's nothing like it used to be. You can buy Dr. Hauschka at Whole Foods or online (I get it at www.2020skincare.com) and you can get Weleda at Wal-Greens.

    I know how hard it is to have acne. Good luck to you!

    Which products by these brands did you use? Were you breaking out badly when you used them?
    3b/c, medium-coarse, low porosity, high density
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  • tgreyztgreyz Posts: 1,627Registered Users
    Well I woke up Friday with another lovely cyst on my chin. I'm fighting the urge to pop it with a needle. So far I'm winning the battle but they tend to stay around for months and I don't know if I can resist the urge for that long. I made another derm. appointment for the end of June. Hopefully they will give me accutane.
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  • ZinniaZinnia Posts: 7,339Registered Users
    tgreyz wrote: »
    Well I woke up Friday with another lovely cyst on my chin. I'm fighting the urge to pop it with a needle. So far I'm winning the battle but they tend to stay around for months and I don't know if I can resist the urge for that long. I made another derm. appointment for the end of June. Hopefully they will give me accutane.


    Since it is a long weekend, apply the BHA to it several times a day. I occasionally get one and applying the BHA several times a day really help.

    How can you pop it if it doesn't have a head?
    Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
  • LoloDSMLoloDSM Posts: 3,778Registered Users
    Which products by these brands did you use? Were you breaking out badly when you used them?[/QUOTE]

    My skin started breaking out again last fall when I switched to a moisturizer that contained silicones. I started getting cystic acne again, and had to use a topical antibiotic which made my skin irritated and dry. The antibiotic cleared up my break-outs, but I hated how it made my skin look at feel. That was when I threw out my dermatologist's advice on skin care (Cetaphil which contains SLS and moisturizers with silicones). I do not remember if I had active breakouts when I started the Dr. Hauschka, but I was still struggling with my skin. Once I quit using the moisturizer with silicones (combined with a topical antibiotic) the breakouts stopped pretty quickly.

    I use Dr. Hauschka's Cleansing Cream, Cleansing Milk, Facial Toner, and Rose Day Cream. These are the products for dry, sensitive (me), and mature skin. Once my skin was under control, I quit using the antibiotic. I only use it sporadically now if I think I'm getting a breakout somewhere. If you're interested in the Hauschka products, they sell a trial kit for $20 which is nice.

    I have not used the Weleda facial skin care. I base my recommendation on the fact that Dr. Hauschka and Weleda are both BDIH-certified. That is, they are both biodynamic, vegetarian, contain no SLS, no silicones, and no parabens. If you look up BDIH-certified products, they have some of the strictest standards for safety.

    I hope my original post was not misleading. I don't know if I can say that the Dr. Hauschka cleared up my acne, but it has certainly helped my skin. It is no longer red, irritated, dry, or breaking out. Since using the Dr. H, I've had three (only 3!!!) individual blemishes. !!! That is a miracle for me. I think I was drying out my skin so much to fight the acne that my skin was overcompensating with extra oil which led to more break outs.

    Sorry for the novel. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask or PM me if you have any other questions. Unfortunately, I am an expert in acne. :thumbdown:
    Loose botticelli curls and waves
    No silicones/no sulfates since March 2008
  • notegalnotegal Posts: 560Registered Users
    A friend of mine just asked me what to use on really bad acne. I'm not really sure of any real good products other than I just use Aveeno all of the time.
    He started taking new allergy meds and said he noticed it happening more now that they are changing the meds so much. Any product suggestions? Anything cheap or at least something that won't break the bank? :icon_smile:
    Thanks in advance.
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  • CurlyGina2CurlyGina2 Posts: 1,048Registered Users
    I think I'm going to go on accutane too. But oh, the hoops they make you jump through to get it, and even moreso if you are a woman of child-bearing age :sad8:. According to my derm, I would have to get bloodwork EVERY month!?!? AND visit her to get a script every month. With work, I don't have the time for all of that right now, maybe in the fall.
  • mlystewmlystew Posts: 65Registered Users
    tgreyz wrote: »
    I can't remember a time when I didn't have acne. I know I've at least had it since middle school and I've been out of college now for 4 years. So that's at least 15 years. Enough is enough. I am so sick of it.

    It was worse when I was younger, and isn't as bad now. But nothing seems to completely clear it. I long for clear glowing skin and it seems like unless you have a lot of money you can't make that happen. I'd love to be able to go to the dermatologist and get laser treatments, dermabrasion, chemical peels, etc.. but that is way out of my price range.

    I have tried antibiotics, retin-a, cleocin, differin, benzoyl peroxide and most recently RCW's recommendations. I have had varying degrees of success with these products, but I still have acne. It seems to be very resistant. It varies from fine acne to cysts. I had a few cysts on my chin earlier this year for at least a few months. On top of that my skin is really oily and in the pores in my t-zone are huge.

    Am I just doomed to live with acne for the rest of my life?


    The best advice I can give you is to start inside out. None of those topical treatments worked because you need to heal yourself on the inside.

    If you can, start eating more healthy fats (believe it or not, saturated fats aren't that bad for you, so don't be afraid to have some), eat more vegetables and fruit (more vegetables than the fruit because fruit has a high sugar content), and exercise.

    Then, use things like aloe vera gel, jojoba, oil, and honey on the affected area. It may take a long time, but your skin will be truly radiant. :)
    3B and lovin' it:wink: Livin' naturally and healthfully.
    Hair care essentials:
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  • mlystewmlystew Posts: 65Registered Users
    One more thing, lots and lots of water!
    3B and lovin' it:wink: Livin' naturally and healthfully.
    Hair care essentials:
    1. Good 'cone free conditioner
    2. Cold water
    3. Aloe vera gel
    4. Shea Butter
    5. Resilience!
    http://www.snhbw.blogspot.com
  • VTmomVTmom Posts: 2,487Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    CurlyGina2 wrote: »
    I think I'm going to go on accutane too. But oh, the hoops they make you jump through to get it, and even moreso if you are a woman of child-bearing age :sad8:. According to my derm, I would have to get bloodwork EVERY month!?!? AND visit her to get a script every month. With work, I don't have the time for all of that right now, maybe in the fall.

    Yeah, that's the way it is with accutane, and you won't be able to get around it - it's what the derm has to do by law. It is very time-consuming. I think my son probably needed a second course of accutane, but by then, he was in college in PA, w/o a car, and it would've been impossible to jump through the hoops.
    The smallest deed is greater than the grandest intention.

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    Just think I used to worry 'bout things like that,
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  • pelicanopelicano Posts: 580Registered Users
    But surely that tells you what a nasty drug it is..? Sounds seriously scary to me (and I do know how awful it is to have v bad skin, believe me).
    Sarah.

    Based in the UK. 2-something (2b?) hair. Very porous, fine and brittle/fragile

    Hair loves: Drip drying, glycerine, shea butter, oils
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  • Riot CrrlRiot Crrl Posts: 3,135Registered Users
    Yes it's horrible. It's very inconvenient and did very strange things to me. My skin got worse before it got better too.

    But it worked. And the package insert is a pretty entertaining read. I liked the drawings of the birth defects.
  • battinlashbattinlash Posts: 1,850Registered Users
    Riot Crrl wrote: »
    Yes it's horrible. It's very inconvenient and did very strange things to me. My skin got worse before it got better too.

    But it worked. And the package insert is a pretty entertaining read. I liked the drawings of the birth defects.

    I remember those drawings! Babies with deformed heads! They were really serious about not taking it if you thought you could get pregnant. I ended up passing on the Accutane but the info stuck with me!
  • Riot CrrlRiot Crrl Posts: 3,135Registered Users
    One of them is extra noses, amirite?
  • va_candiva_candi Posts: 849Registered Users
    I second what all the fellow Accutane users said. I had the worst acne for as long as I can remember. I used the generic form of Accutane (Isotretinoin), and I haven't had a problem since excluding the rare pimple (not cyst) around that time of the month. It sucks having to go to the doctor every month and getting the blood work done, but the cysts I had were painful and gross. It was well worth it, and I would do it again if I had to.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    CurlyGina2 wrote: »
    I think I'm going to go on accutane too. But oh, the hoops they make you jump through to get it, and even moreso if you are a woman of child-bearing age :sad8:. According to my derm, I would have to get bloodwork EVERY month!?!? AND visit her to get a script every month. With work, I don't have the time for all of that right now, maybe in the fall.


    The FDA and the makers of Accutane have set up that close monitoring, not the individual docs, as a means of preventing the very serious birth defects associated with Accutane. Usually the doc can do the script renewal by phone after the blood tests come back each month though, rather than a visit.
  • CurlyGina2CurlyGina2 Posts: 1,048Registered Users
    CurlyGina2 wrote: »
    I think I'm going to go on accutane too. But oh, the hoops they make you jump through to get it, and even moreso if you are a woman of child-bearing age :sad8:. According to my derm, I would have to get bloodwork EVERY month!?!? AND visit her to get a script every month. With work, I don't have the time for all of that right now, maybe in the fall.


    The FDA and the makers of Accutane have set up that close monitoring, not the individual docs, as a means of preventing the very serious birth defects associated with Accutane. Usually the doc can do the script renewal by phone after the blood tests come back each month though, rather than a visit.

    Oh, I know, by 'they' I meant the FDA and the IPledge program, which was implemented in the last couple of the years, but I assume that people have always had to go to lengths to get accutane, at least once the side effects of it were found out.

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