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BOSSE1234 Posts: 14
10/2/13 5:14 P

I've had a lot of the same problems as you have with acne. Personally, I didn't find any of the drugs from the derm helpful. However, I did get several chemical peels which were helpful. As for OTC cleaners, I've had a lot of luck with Clinique as I have sensitive skin. Cutting out dairy can also be helpful. If you don't want to completely cut out dairy, try drinking 1 or 2% as it has lower hormone levels than skim. It sounds weird, but I've found it helpful. You should probably discuss your concerns about the meds with your doctor as they may have other ideas as how to help you. Good luck!

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
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10/2/13 3:23 P

Have you tried the oil cleansing method? You can google it to find details. Some people recommend a complex mix of special oils, but I just use plain old olive and it works very well. That plus some basic toner will take you a long ways.

I also like the Burts Bees Herbal Blemish stick, which is mostly tea tree oil.

Have you tried BB cream to cover? I don't wear makeup very often, but I find that BB Cream actually seems to improve the condition of my skin. I use the L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier.

HIP-WITCH Posts: 9,534
10/2/13 8:48 A

I'm hearing others say Proactive is not good but I've known others who swear by it and noticed some really beautiful skin with these people. They sell it in vending machines in Japan it's so popular there.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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10/1/13 2:09 P

I have taken *literally* every standard acne medication on the market. From 2.5% benzyl peroxide all the way up to Accutane. If I hadn't been 8 years old when I started, I probably would have blogged about it and become famous as the girl with the most persistent case of acne ever recorded. My acne survived the nuclear bomb that Accutane is and the only thing that kept me from going for a second round was that the law changed and increased just how many steps you have to go through in order to get the prescription filled. College made that a bit impossible so BC got my face mostly straightened out.

All that being said, the only things I had an adverse reaction to was the salic acid (my skin seems to prefer basics) and an allergic reaction to minocycline because apparently I'm allergic to that class of antibiotics. Zero other adverse reactions over the course of 12+ years of treatment. If treatment makes your skin worse, it's not treatment and you need to go back to the derm to try something else.

I *strongly* echo the suggestion to see an actual dermatologist since he/she will be able to to more than just throw antibiotics at it. Also, it might be worth seeing and endocrinologist (doctor who specializes in hormones) to see if your hormone balance is out of wack. Finally: emoticon

Edited by: LEC358 at: 10/1/2013 (14:13)
10/1/13 1:03 P

I cut out dairy for a month (not completely, but I ate it less than one meal a week). My skin looked a lot better (but not perfect). I added it back in and my skin got worse. It could be coincidence, too. However, I have been reading about a connection between dairy consumption and acne. I am going to cut it out for another month to see if my skin clears.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (244,271)
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9/28/13 4:30 P

I know that some have relief WITH Tea Tree Oil, but a lot of us can't use it.

Over-cleaning your face - especially with facial scrubs that can be abrasive (some use ground up sea-shell or similar) can aggravate the problem.

As far as a previous poster's comment to stay away from drugs and when you stop taking them they come back ....... that is often sooooo untrue. One of the most common meds used is low dose birth control, and none of those I know who have been prescribed them for this purpose have had acne return, apart from the very occasional little breakout which happens with most people.


ALORTA SparkPoints: (7,363)
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9/28/13 12:48 P

Proactive is bad...
they send waaay too much so you end up paying for stuff you don't even open,
THEN it takes half an hour (once you went past hold) just to ensure the rep that yes, you REALLY want to quit, NO you do NOT need to think things over, NO you do NOT want to (now) talk about changing the schedule, and NO, you don't want to hear their 'tempting' offers to try and keep you on -____-;

KNUCKLES145 Posts: 16,056
9/28/13 12:45 P

I got a pimple this week, first one in years. and was like what am I supposed to do now lol

KKLENNERT809 Posts: 10,742
9/28/13 12:37 P

I finally outgrew my acne-there are some good things about aging!

DNCLFRN4 SparkPoints: (866)
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Posts: 9
9/28/13 12:07 P

The one you want to do is stay away from the drugs. Differn only resolves the problem until you stop taking the pills. If you want some help go see a esthetician and go for monthly facials. I am a esthetician and i have seen the wonderful things that facials can do to help clear up skin problems.

Also find a dermatologist that pairs up with a esthetician on staff. Derms and esthi both focus on skin but both fields focus on different things.

Also using all those drugs have major effects. You cant get anything waxed and your skin thins and becomes dry and waxing could lead to many complications.

Try taking a natural step. FACIALS!!! Tea tree oil. Try to stay away from cleansers with benzyl peroxide. Also try a professional line for a cleanser Like Aveda, Bioelements, and Dermalogica. All three of these lines have a amazing acne line. Drug store lines are not always meant for people with acne problems also stay away from proactive. Proactive does the same thing as the drugs once you stop using it the problem will come back.

ANARIE Posts: 13,179
9/28/13 3:33 A

Just a comment on how the really uncommon side effects get attributed to certain drugs:

There's a new type of flu vaccine coming out this year that's made without using eggs, so it's safe for people who are allergic to eggs. The side effects warning includes migraine headache and slight weight gain.

Those are probably my fault.

I was in the research study for this vaccine about 4 years ago. I went in to a research lab in mid November, and they weighed me, did a quick general physical, took blood to make sure I didn't already have the flu, and gave me either the vaccine or a placebo. They also gave me a diary and a thermometer. I had to record my temperature twice a day for about 6 weeks and write down any medication I took and why. Then I went back in, explained any notations in the diary, and got weighed and had another physical.

I took ibuprophen once in those 6 weeks because of my regularly scheduled monthly migraine. I *always* get a migraine three days before my period. But because it happened during the study, even though I could have told them what day it was going to happen, it still had to be reported as a possible side effect. I also gained 3 pounds. The study went from a few days before Thanksgiving until the week after New Year. Do you think there's ANY other possible reason besides the vaccine that might have led me to gain weight over the weeks including Thanksgiving, Christmas, 2 family birthday parties, and New Year? But according to the rules of medical research ethics, my Christmas cookie weight and my New Year Fritos-and-onion-dip binge weight have to be listed as possible side effects of the flu vaccine.

That doesn't mean that side effects don't occur. If you're afraid of the medications, don't take them. But you do have to keep a sense of perspective-- yes, there might be a tiny risk of serious side effects from the drug. But there's about an equal chance that your acne might start a runaway infection that would unexpectedly kill you, or you might have so many blemishes that you don't notice a cancerous mole. In either of those cases, you could be listed as a victim of side effects of NOT taking the medication!

HAPPYLISA17 Posts: 213
9/27/13 8:06 P

Go to and invest in some Apple Cider Vinegar tablets. This can heal your skin from the inside out, but takes about a month to see changes - at least that is how it was for me.

LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
9/26/13 2:38 P

My skin seems much clearer when I take a multi-vitamin and a vitamin E capsule every day.

You might keep a food diary and look at improving your diet to help your skin to be healthier.

DMJAKES Posts: 1,635
9/26/13 2:11 P

I'm 51 and my face still breaks doc said that I should look on the bright side, because many women my age were already experiencing the drying/thinning of the skin that happens when oil production slows down in middle age. It's hard to do that when you see that c--p in the mirror every morning.

Anyway, I did the Accutane years ago. My dermatologist recommended it when the usual topical/antibiotic treatments did not get rid of the painful under-the-skin blemishes I was getting. It cleared up my skin for a couple of years. The acne did, however, eventually start to return, but never as bad as it had been. While I had none of the side effects on the list, I would save Accutane as a VERY last resort. Since then, I was on a very low-dose antibiotic for quite a while (which worked great) until one of my liver enzyme levels rose to a number that concerned my gp. He made me get off it, and it eventually went down to within normal levels. I'm just using the topical stuff right now (can't think of the name and I'm not at home), and it does make blemshes clear up faster than normal, but I'm not convinced it does much for prevention.

As long as things don't get completely out of control again, I'm content with the methods I'm using now, I guess.

I probably should try some food elimination experiments and see if I'm sensitive to anything.....

My suggestions would be to use very gentle cleansers and moisturizers, and make sure to wash your face twice a day. Dab dry, don't rub.

CJGODESS101 SparkPoints: (30,781)
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9/26/13 10:01 A

I started getting acne after being off the pill. It took about 2 years for the acne to get really bad. I did everything, started with a cleanser, then doing monthly facials, scrubs at home. I finally went to the dermatologist last fall to get some help. I just couldn't keep paying $70 per month just to get a facial. I told her I didn't want to put anything into my body, I hate taking prescriptions. She gave me a retinoid and clyomidicine. The retinoid helps turn over skin quicker and the other is an antibiotic to help clean the skin of bacteria. I used the retinoid every other day, and other daily. I also used a facial moisturizer twice per day. I went back after 2 months and we added an oral antibiotic, which I take once a week. I have now been pretty much acne free.

CARILOUIE SparkPoints: (94,856)
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9/26/13 8:50 A

I've been going to the dermatologist for my acne for YEARS - I've tried almost every drug out there! Through my own research, I've discovered what works for me:

- cut out dairy. Since I stopped putting half and half in my coffee and started drinking soy or almond milk, I've noticed a HUGE difference in my skin. I mentioned this to my derm, and she acknowledged the research out there about dairy and acne. (I think I had never heard about it from a doc because nobody makes any money if they tell you to stop drinking milk.) I still use a retinoid a few times a week, but it's basically for maintenance and wrinkle-fighting.

- 1 or 2x/week using a Clarisonic. More than that and it irritates my skin, but it really gets my skin clean and smooth.

Take this as you will - I am sharing because I know how it feels. I wish you the best.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,236
9/26/13 6:51 A

i'm also going to second that it's easier to find horror stories than actual results. basically the people who go on these meds and they work fine for won't go on the internet and randomly share their experience. people with horror stories will, as part of an effort to figure out what's wrong.
think of just customer service in stores. if you have an unsatisfactory experience, there are tons of review websites and whatever blogs and social media you have to share your experience. but for stores to get you to fill out a feedback survey they have to tempt you with a chance to win a few thousand dollars. happy, satisfied customers consider the situation ended without giving feedback.
i can understand wanting to do this without just using a pill to fix it. but if you haven't found something that comes anywhere near close, it might be time to try the pill fix. do talk again to your doc [both for a milder version if you can get it and to make sure this is a short term and not a long term fix and that there is a plan to transition to you off of this once your acne is under control] again though.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
9/26/13 3:24 A

Well, I agree with Anarie. You have a diagnosis-acne. Sounds like you've had the problem a long time as you said it got worse in January (9 months ago), after you went off the pill. It sort of sounds like the pill was helping because things got worse after you quit taking it. You even said you expected this to happen.

You've been to the dermatologist today (edit--well, first you said dermatologist and then you said nurse practitioner) and it sounds like the diagnosis has been confirmed (acne) and that you have been given an appropriate treatment for it--antibiotics and a topical retinoid. Then, it sounds like, instead of discussing potential side effects with your doc, you went home and did a bunch of looking on the internet. Honestly, you cannot believe the vast majority of what you read on the internet. Also, despite what you may have read on the internet, things like antibiotics, birth control pills, retinoids, etc. are real treatments and they are among the most effective treatments for acne. Have you considered that some of the "natural treatments" you say you have tried these past nine months may have well caused the escalation of your acne?

There's nothing terrifying about the medications you've been prescribed and the vast, vast majority of people for whom they are prescribed take them without any serious side effects. You have way more of chance of dying in a car accident (or getting hit by a car while walking or riding a bike, etc.) than you do from taking/using these medications, but I'll bet you still drive, walk outside, etc. and I'll bet you aren't terrified every time you come near a car. Do you ski? Climb ladders? Ride a motorcycle? Skateboard? Go places where there are people (because being around people is a great way to get an infectious disease and lots of people die from infectious diseases)? You have a lot more chance of dying from these things than you do from using the medications your dermatologist prescribed. I'm really just trying to put things in perspective here.

Yes, your skin is a reflection of what is going on in your body. The underlying cause of adult acne in women is excess oil/sebum production. The excess sebum and unshed epithelial cells clog pores. Bacteria thrive in that environment and this causes infection. The antibiotics are to treat the infection. The differin works to exfoliate the extra dead cells that are there and which are helping to clog your pores. I think it also has an anti-inflammatory action. Certain birth control pills can help to reduce extra male hormone production by your body, which is a frequent cause of extra oil production in adult women...

Edited: If you aren't happy with who you saw today (and I am confused now about who you saw), make an appointment to see a board certified dermatologist and do make sure you are actually going to see a dermatologist, not a nurse. A dermatologist will probably still prescribe things like you've been given, but will know the dose/dosing schedule that will be most effective for acne. For example, a dermatologist will likely wean you off the antibiotics slowly instead of discontinuing them abruptly and may use a different dose than you were prescribed by a nurse. An actual dermatologist may possibly choose a different antibiotic or combo of antibiotics, not because the ones you were prescribed are dangerous, but because s/he may feel that another one would work a little better.

Edited: Make sure you wear sunscreen when you are using a retinoid as it will make you more susceptible to the effects of the sun because it exfoliates the dead skin cells off, leaving the cells underneath more exposed. If you weren't told this today, it is a sure sign you should see someone else because I cannot imagine a real, competent, board-certified dermatologist not telling you to wear sunscreen while using this product.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 9/26/2013 (03:58)
ALORTA SparkPoints: (7,363)
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9/26/13 3:11 A

how old are you?
One other thing that might be a cause of persistant acne is a hormone imbalance... so especially if you have a lot of unwanted hair (upper lip, chin, arms) you might want to get that checked, too.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (244,271)
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9/26/13 3:07 A

The other things I meant to ask were:

Is your hair greasy and/or cover your face? If so, this can aggravate the condition. IF it is greasy, don't use a hair conditioner.

Do you wear make-up? If so, you might want to go without for a while - that was one that caused nasty flare-ups on me (allergies and clogging the pores)


SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (244,271)
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9/26/13 2:52 A

Have the basics such as your diet, been checked? Using the Nutrition Tracker for EVERYTHING that you eat MAY help if there is a dietary component to this. have you been checked for allergies - food and contact via soaps etc.? Do you wash using soaps, frequently? This can sometimes aggravate acne.

I USED to suffer from terrible acne as a teenager but that came right. Something that I learned a long time ago was that dabbing a little skin toner, toothpaste, damp soluble aspirin (salicylic acid) or mix it with a little lemon juice to make a paste and then apply it; or perfume directly onto the spots helped to dry them up. For some, this doesn't work, but it may be worth a try (toothpaste at bedtime :-)

The other is your concern about medication. I can understand it, but sometimes it is a hormone imbalance, and that is where the contraceptive pill comes in. Generally it is a very low dose one. My (now ex) son-in-law was prescribed it when he was 18-19 yrs, and it worked wonders. Mind you, it didn't fix the scarring, but that is understandable.

I DO understand your concern about side-effects, but do remember that just because a side-effect is listed, it doesn't mean that you WILL suffer from that. A lot of people don't! You are more likely to hear horror stories from people than the good ones, merely because people by nature will often voice negatives but not positives. ANYTHING at all that you put into or onto your body has the potential for serious consequences. Medication for this isn't really a band-aid - those I know who have been prescribed the pill for it have only needed to take it about a year.

You saw a Nurse Practitioner - I would be inclined to ask for a referral to a Dermatologist (if toothpaste etc. doesn't work) and ask for allergy tests, too.


Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 9/26/2013 (02:57)
ALORTA SparkPoints: (7,363)
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9/26/13 2:38 A

I would say to give the antibiotics a shot, at least for a while, and of course if anything unwanted starts happening, go see the dermatologist or a primary physician and they'll help fix it.
Monocycline and Clindamycin are actually quite safe and quite effective.
I've taken Monocycline's brother (doxycycline) all my life for whatever infection comes about since I'm allergic to Penicillin and its derivatives. I've probably taken a course of it over 100 times and nothing has ever happened (besides getting better ^_^)
Yes, these are drugs, and thus have a slew of possible side effects, but the worse ones are really rare. That or caused by improper use; overdose or use of expired drug. The drug companies are required to mention something if even one person in millions had it, so don't think people are dying of taking these things.
Most likely what will happen is that monocycline will make you more prone to the effects of the sun (tanning/burning) and your stomach may be a bit upset. The third one I'm not familiar with, but you should also be taking probiotic pills between antibiotics to recolonized your intestinal bacteria to avoid diarrhea, etc.

A nurse practitioner is not a doctor. See a proper dermatologist; they might be able to properly diagnose you.

Edited by: ALORTA at: 9/26/2013 (02:39)
MCPEDIGO SparkPoints: (85)
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9/26/13 2:35 A

I realize these are normal prescriptions but that does not make them any less dangerous and there are endless horror stories about each of them. I know that the natural, holistic approach isn't yet a completely widespread action but I do think its what is best for me.
She said herself that they're not cures they just help for the time that you're using them.

She said she can't give me a diagnosis but I believe that is because she is not a diagnostician and was a nurse practitioner, not that there is no diagnosis. I think the "system" has come to expect that people want band-aids for their problems and not a real fix and I think that's why I was given prescriptions and not a diagnosis.

Has anyone had experience with this same thing? Are their doctors out there who do want to diagnose rather than prescribe? How do you find them??

Edited by: MCPEDIGO at: 9/26/2013 (02:38)
ANARIE Posts: 13,179
9/26/13 2:22 A

Actually, you DID get a diagnosis. Acne isn't caused by dirt. Cleansers don't fix it. Acne comes from a combination of bacteria and overactive skin cell growth. Your cells are replaced faster than they slough off, and bacteria gets trapped under the excess cells. Your doctor gave you antibiotics to fight those bacteria and a topical lotion with an ingredient similar to vitamin A to promote healing. That's basically all that can be done; you don't want to slow down the cell growth, so you mainly go after the bacteria.

When I read your first paragraph, I was going to say, "Go to a doctor for antibiotics," and then I read in your second paragraph that you had done exactly that.

If you're worried about the medications, go back and ask the doc if there are milder antibiotics you might take, and whether you really, absolutely need the Differin. But there's nothing weird about being given these medications for acne. They are what cures acne. As you have found out, cleansers don't do the trick.

TANITHSEH1011 Posts: 217
9/26/13 12:53 A

I have heard that detoxing can help clear the skin because Acne can be caused by toxins building up in the skin (the biggest organ in your body). I didn't really track my skin during my first ever detox so I can't really qualify. I suppose you could try that and see if it helps.

As far as finding a different doctor it may depend on your insurance check to see who they cover then look online to check out what folks have to say about those physicians. Also talk with whoever your physician is about your thoughts and beliefs they can't force you to take any treatment you do not want.

Good luck.

MCPEDIGO SparkPoints: (85)
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9/25/13 11:32 P

I was on the pill for about 5 years, I quit this last January. The June before last, in 2012, I randomly broke out. The problem escalated throughout all of the last year and I tired Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Hydrogren Peroxide, all different brands of facial cleansers ranging from natural to medical grade. I quit the pill as I said in January and my acne got even worse, which I expected but I didnt expect it to continue to escalate 9 months later. Alas, it has but I have fully convinced that I should not be on the pill and I do not think that chemical treatments are really the right route. I have been using natural treatments suchas tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, lime ,etc. No improvements.

I went to the dermatologist today and was prescribed Differin, mynocycline, and clyndamicin. Upon researching them I found few results that indicated that these gave significant improvement and all of them have very serious and terrifying side effects, up to and including death. My derm said if they didn't work that she wanted to try accutane, which is as or more terrifying as everything else combined.

I don't want a chemical band aid, I want a diagnosis, and I want a real, healthy treatment. I believe what they say, that your skin is just a reflection of what is going on in your body. Where can I find a doctor that agrees with my perspective on this? What can I do?

Any advice at all is much appreciated.

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