(Closed) Bees on acne medication; recommendations/ advice?

posted 5 years ago in Wellness
Post # 2
1591 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

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carnationsunshine:  I am so sorry you are going through this! Acne is the WORST! 

After I came off of hormonal BCP, my face exploded with cystic acne. I visited my derm and he prescribed an antibiotic and topical (that costed me $250 after insurance!). I didn’t see a huge improvement, the topical was wayyyy too harsh for my sensitive skin, and I wasn’t crazy about taking the antibiotics. 

I tried the acne.org benzoyl peroxide gel and have seen a tremendous improvement. IMO, benzoyl peroxide (either wash and/or the gel) is great for treating acne. I started “the Regimen” from acne.org and it’s been great. I use Cetaphil as a gentle cleanser, Bridal Party gel, and a light moisturizer 2x a day (I sometimes forgo the gel since it can be drying). 

The most important thing is to get into a routine. What you do now will be your skin months from now. 

I’ve also tried working in raw honey and diluted tea tree oil into my routine and it has helped reduce the appearance of my pores. I use it 2-3 times a week, every other day instead of the cleanser and Bridal Party. 

Good luck!

ETA: the only downside I’ve found of Bridal Party is that since it is overdrying, it strips your skin of its natural oils, which then causes an overproduction of oil. By the end of the day, my face is kind of greasy :/ I use the Clean & Clear oil absorption sheets to help with that.

Post # 4
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

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carnationsunshine:  I have sensitive skin that can break out easily. It used to hurt so much, so i can totally relate. I tried many products from Neutrogena’s Naturals line to Proactive. I have been using Murad for over a eyar now, and my face has never been clearer. I’m no longer in pain. I will get a pimple or two around ‘lady time’ if I indulge in my chocolate cravings. I make a big point of washing my makeup brushes every week, changing my pillow case every 3-4 days, having a designated ‘face towel’ for drying my face after getting out of the shower or simply washing my face, and using All’s Free & Clear laundry detergent. I also workout and drink lots of water every day. For me it was about what I could do to help the face wash work to it’s best ability. Murad can be expensive, but I have found that it is totally worth it for my skin. Obviously, everyone is different and what might work for some might not work for others – but i fully recomend Murad and looking at ways you can change things in your day-today life that will help. Happy hunting!

Post # 6
9575 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

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carnationsunshine:   cut dairy! That is huge. Cystic acne, especially on chin and jawline is hormonal, you are right to make the connection. I would start treatment of Vitex to regulate your hormones, and calm your acne. It is an herb people have taken for hormonal balance and infertility for centuries, you can get it at health food stores or vitamin shops. Its 5 bucks.  Do your own research on it. It will take a few months to work, if it suits you (which it does for most women but obvi not everyone).

Secondly, I would get a topical antibiotic/benzoil peroxide perscription gel. This will treat/heal but is not as good as fixing the root of the problem. Dont over use them as they are drying.

I know how much it can suck! good luck.

Post # 7
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

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carnationsunshine:  ugh acne is the WORST and my face is so sensitive. I’ve been on every medication in the book. Loads of them make me sick throughout the day which was irritating. I did accutane and my face was the worst it’s ever been for the 5 months I was on it, stayed clear for about 6 months and then right back to acne again so for me it was totally not worth it. I’m 25 and still having major issues with it. I did BCP and to be honest for me I felt it made my face worse even though my dr swore it would help. Nope. I tried proactiv, I tried the clarisonic (which I found makes me face worse than any other product I’ve tried with huge boil like pimples that stay for WEEKS. Talk about embarrassing).

I think I FINALLY have my face figured out for the most part after 25 years. I use Spa Technologies Sea cleanse face wash. It’s the only one I’ve found that keeps my face clear. The moment I switch I  break out and the moment I go back to Spa Tech my face clears up within a day. Then I use a heavy moisturizer at night. I finally figured out that all the products I was using to dry out my acne was actually irritating my skin and that it does much better with soothing products. Might be worth a try for you, but that’s not the case with everyone’s skin. Seriously for 25 years I was using harsh acne drying products and my face was NEVER clear. Never. Every since I switched to Spa tech with good moisturizer, I only have breakouts right before my period and they are pretty mild. Clear up about a day or two after I start.

It might be worth it to get off BCP and see if there is a difference.

Post # 8
893 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Accutane.  Don’t bother with anything else – go straight to the big gun and get rid of the acne forever!

Post # 9
922 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - Vineyard on Long Island

Isotretinoin. (Also goes by many generic names.)  I was on Claravis, which I believe is a brand that makes the same isotretinoin medication that commonly goes by Accutane.  I had really painful cystic acne from mid-high school until about 7 months ago (I’m 25).  The acne looked horrible, was tough to cover up since it was so inflamed, and my skin (usually my jaw line and the part of my cheeks closest to my ears, sometimes down the side of my neck) was so tender and sensitive that my fiance couldn’t kiss me becuase it was too painful for me.  I’ve tried every topical cream out there, from proactiv to murad to clinique to epiduo and a bunch of other prescription creams/gels/etc.  Finally, I did my own research and found isotretinoin and asked my derm about it.  It comes with a lot of side effects (I only had excessive dryness, but other people report headaches or joint aches) and paper work you have to fill out, and it can cause horrific birth defects so you have to take a pregnancy test every month you’re on it and you have to confirm that youre using two forms of birth control every time you visit your doctor.  But it has a 95% success rate after 6 months of taking it at full does (the doses are by weight and if you tend to be more sensative to medication, you can take smaller doses, and it may just take you a few more months to finish the regimen).  As for the remaining 5% – if your acne comes back after the first round of taking it, you can go back on it for another few months, and then the success rate goes up to 97% or 98%.  And success is defined as no more acne for life. 

I just finished up 7 months of treatment (my first two months were at half doses) and my face is clear.  Clear as in not a single pimple.  I honestly am not marketing anything, but this medication has been a game-changer for me.  I was actually able to purge my medicine cabinet of all the leftover acne goo I’ve been hoarding trying to find somethign that works.  Now all I have to do is use a mild cleanser twice a day and moisturize.  It’s wonderful.

Post # 10
400 posts
Helper bee

Accutane! I had horrible cystic acne for years and my doc put me on it when I was in high school. It’s typically a last resort for acne because the side effects can be harsh but I wish I had done it sooner! I’ve been off of it for about 5 years no and still no bad breakouts. Its a miracle drug.

Post # 11
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I have had bad acne since puberty, and have tried almost everything under the sun for it.

Before going to the dermatologist I tried ProActiv (worked until they reformulated, now it just burns my skin), the Acne.org regime (also burns my skin, and eventually makes my breakouts worse), Murad (also does nothing), and a variety of other treatments. Eventually I decided that I needed to see a dermatologist.

With my derm the first thing we tried were long term antibiotics. They did almost nothing for me, I’ve heard they work for some people, but I’ve never actually met anyone that was an antibiotic success story. The next thing we tried was Spironolactone, it’s a hormone blocking drug, and a mild diuretic. It was my miracle drug, for a little while. It made my face completley clear, it was seriously amazing. Unfortunatley it also came with the unpleasent side effect of making me have my period constantly. I bled for 3 months before I finally figured out that it was the drug, and went off it. That was a sad day. I went back to my derm, and she suggested taking it starting a week before the start of my expected period, and then stopping when my period starts. This helped a bit, but not enough to continue taking the drug when my perscription ran out. My derm perscribed some different topical treatments, but most of them just burned my skin, and I eventually gave up on that route.

My derm’s next step would have been accutane, and I am not comfortable taking it, both becaue of the side effects, and because it probably wouldn’t be a long term solution for me. Acne runs in my family, and I know of at least 10 family members, including my Dad, who took accutane. It cleared their skin for anywhere from 1-5 years, but they’ve all had their acne come back just as bad as it was before. I’m not willing to go through the accutane treatment when there’s a good chance my acne will come back afterwards. The possible side affects are not worth it to me. 

I’ve now accepted that I will always have some acne. I have improved my skin quite a bit by giving up all of the harsh cleansers and lotions I was using, and not wearing makeup except for special occasions. Giving up benzoyl perioxide and salycilic acid did wonders for my skin. I thought I was sore from my acne, but I think it was from the harshness of the products I was using. Giving up makeup was hard at first, but it also helped clear my skin, and now I feel perfectly comfortable without it. I also switched to using The Body Shop’s tea tree oil line, and my skin was very happy with that. I still have acne, but my skin is not red and sore, and I just get small pimples now, not large cysts like I used to. For me I don’t think I will ever have perfectly clear skin. My Dad is nearing 60 and still deals with pimples (although much better than when he was younger). Accepting that and treating my skin gently has been the best thing for it. 


Post # 14
698 posts
Busy bee

Accutane is the ONLY answer. Don’t waste your time with anything else. Topical creams, diet changes, face wash etc will not work.

You have to be exteremly confident and TELL THE DOCTOR. “I want Accutane and know this is my only option after years of fighting Acne”

Post # 15
1463 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015 - Holly Hedge Estate

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carnationsunshine:  I don’t know what your diet is like but it can make a big difference in acne. too much dairy will make me break out around my chin with hormonal acne. In general, whenever i have been eating a lot of dark leafy greens, brussels sprouts, vegetables, grains and fish- my skin reacts beautifully.

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