My acne is killing me

posted 2 years ago in Wellness
Post # 2
810 posts
Busy bee

Interested in this topic because I hate my freaking face… Damn acne to hell. 

Post # 3
1503 posts
Bumble bee

So I suffer with acne, and do still get the odd hormonal breakout around that time of the month. The thing that has helped my skin the most is actually stopping using acne products. I literally just use Simple facewash and that’s it and my skin other than one or two pimples is completely clear. I think the acne products and washes were not helping and were actually making everything worse, when I started using a gentle facewash within a few weeks my skin started to get clearer and it’s now the best it’s ever looked since before puberty. 

Post # 4
337 posts
Helper bee

Oh dear. ๐Ÿ™ 

Some types of BC can work as androgen blockers and help reduce acne, but it seems it made no difference in your case?

As for topical treatments, retinoid gels worked well. If you want to try natural products- tea tree oil did, too, but if your acne is very bad, then it may not be that useful.

A dermatologist might be able to prescribe Isotretinoin, but that’s usually supposed to be a last resort, so he/she might prescribe other medicines first.


Post # 5
1505 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

Im so sorry Bee. My brother was taking some prescription pill after he tried Proactiv because his acne was really bad (got it from my Dad), and it was a miracle. His acne went away. But it was a prescription pill and it might interfere with your BC…I dont remember the details or the name but it was definitely a pill 100%. 

Post # 6
337 posts
Helper bee

 Some other things that worked- cutting out dairy products, washing the face with a face wash only once (at night) and using only water in the morning.

Post # 7
867 posts
Busy bee

I feel your pain. I know exactly why you’re going through. I’ve had horrible cystic acne since I was about 11. I have tried everything, including Accutane twice (and I almost did it a third time!).  My skin has cleared up significant in the past 6 months and these are the changes I’ve made:

-ortho tri cyclen. I’m taking BC for the first time in my life (I’m around 30 also like you) and I think this has helped a lot. I’m still extremely oily, but I don’t break out much anymore.

-cut out dairy and most refined sugar. I know it sounds crazy and new age but I think there’s a connection between diet and acne and this seems to be helping me.

-I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis. I only wear makeup when I really want to look good. So when I’m going out with my fiancé, parties, etc. but not for going to work. Even just using bare minerals, I always felt greasy and clogged by the end of the day when I used to wear makeup.

-I have less stress in my life. I work out regularly. 

-I have simplified my skincare routine. I think I used to go overboard with products and my skin flipped out. I use a gentle cleanser in the mornin, PTR glycolic serum, and some benzoyl peroxide during the daytime with a mineral based sunscreen…be careful with sunscreen as many of them can cause acne. At night I use a gentle cleanser plus a medicated cleanser (salicylic acid), combined with more PTR serum and differin (a retinol, which is OTC and very powerful and helpful to me. Sometimes I’ll use clearogen sulfur product. I’m very oily so I frequently do not need moisturizer. I stopped using anti aging serums because I wasn’t able to tell what was breaking me out. So I just went back to basics with simple products and acne fighting products.

sometime I will take antibiotics before and during my period.

i recently had the VI Peel with purify, and it was great.  I also just had CO2 laser resurfacing 3 weeks ago to address the acne scars I have all over my face from 20 years of cystic acne!

Here is what I looked like a year ago. I was in pain and frequently crying about my skin. My skin has been much worse than this for my whole life:

So for whatever reasons, my skin is much calmer now. Here is my before and after laser resurfacing:


Post # 9
273 posts
Helper bee

Nuva Ring-  completely cleared my hormonal cystic acne.  Is that one of the BCs you’ve tried?  If not, I would give it a try!  That, and rx retinol.  Perfect skin.

 Now that I’m ttc and therefore off both, my skin has never looked worse or been more painful. So also following for ttc/preg safe options!

Post # 10
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Have a dermatologist check it’s actually acne. I THOUGHT I had acne. Turns out it was rosacea that came with acne-like skin but needs completely different treatment.

Post # 11
20 posts

I’m also 40 and still get light facial/neck acne and moderate body acne. My dermatologist prescribed me Tazorac which is a very strong retinoid. It’s so aggressive that I can’t use it daily. Lots of red skin and peeling. But it does the job. My sister even commented on how clear the skin on my back was. 

Post # 12
724 posts
Busy bee

Oh bee, I completely remember the pain of acne. I had horrible cystic acne as a teenager. Some cysts would last for MONTHS, and I’m not exaggerating because I would see a cyst on my nose at the beginning of a semester and it’d still be there by the end. For me, birth control worked. But I tried EVERYTHING before then. I hate how people assume people with acne don’t wash their face. My skin care routine was so careful and I used all the most expensive products and my skin was still crap and painful. Now I hardly do anything and I very rarely have a pimple. I think, if it’s gotten to the point you’re willing to deal with severe consequences, ask your dermatologist about accutane.

Post # 13
205 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - City, State

I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with this for so long. I also had never experienced acne until my mid-20s, and when it came it arrived fast and HARD. Like, I still have no idea where it came from. Hormones? Stress? Food allergy? No clue. I was super self-conscious for ~2 years. The pimples were around both cheeks and my chin, and they were an angry red. Before then, I was comfortable not wearing makeup everyday. Since I’ve cleared my skin, I’m getting there again (it’s taken some time for the scars to go away, but I’m relieved that they mostly are gone). I tried many different treatments, medicinal and holistic. If anything, I tried too many different things in a short amount of time, wanting to see and feel results quickly—this likely led to my skin’s revolt and I eventually toned down on the treatments and stuck to a specific routine with certain brands that I introduced one at a time. I really noticed a difference when I started on Advanced Acne Therapy from CVS ( Suprisingly, one of the less expensive treatments I tried that actually worked. In addition to that, I started using witch hazel as my toner, a rose serum, and an organic face moisturizer. Hope you find what works for you, Bee! I came to realize the hard way that I had to find my own products and routine that worked for me. Recommendations are helpful, but identifying what the cause is and then finding products and life changes (more sleep and water, less stress, using this, not using that, etc) that work for you is the hard part.

This was August 2016:


This is today:

Post # 14
1761 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I actually have two stories for different types of acne. My sister started getting acne when she was only 12 and throughout high school she had painful, nodular/cystic acne that spread from her forehead to the middle of her back. It was absolutely horrible and oozing all the time. Our poor mom thought it was just a phase and gave her some cream for the first few years, but nothing got better, so she went to a dermatologist. 

Around the same time, I was 22 and had never before gotten acne, but I got it bad. Nothing deep and too spread out, but it was concentrated around my jaw and mouth, and it was impossible to cover up with makeup. So I went to the same dermatologist just for some insight. 

For my sister, the dermatologist put her on minocycline, clindamycin, and a benzoyl peroxide mix of some kind (I can’t remember exactly). Almost overnight, her acne disappeared, but the benzoyl peroxide left her face peely and itchy and horrifying. He took her off that and upped her minocycline dose a little. She’s been relatively clear ever since, with some breakouts on her back and neck every once in a while. However, the poor thing has some scars that won’t go away. 

For me, I got clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide. He also referred me to a specific red clay mask I could buy in a drugstore. Instantly, my acne disappeared. I only get one or two pimples a month now, and it’s always about a week before my period starts. I went off the clindamycin around a year ago and use a basic Clean & Clear benzoyl peroxide cream with the face mask. No problems. 

I hope this is somewhat helpful! I feel for you! ๐Ÿ™  Good luck!

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