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Monday, March 23, 2015

Adult Acne Part 2

Adult Acne

In this post, I shared my skin struggles - if you can't be bothered to read it (and I don't blame you) in a nutshell: I've had acne on and off my entire teen and adult life. It seemingly gets better for a good few years then comes back with a vengeance. In the past I have experienced less than stellar doctors, who pawned it off as something most people go through and offered next to no help. After a few years of mostly clear skin, with just the odd breakout my acne returned in October of 2014. I initially wrote it off as several things: stress, poor diet, climate changes due to travel and only admitted defeat in late December and began to seek out medical treatment.

Oddly my acne this time around is very different from anything I had experienced as a teen or young adult. In the past it was lots of small blemishes on my cheeks and t-zone coupled with excess sebum - grim in appearance but not painful, quick to heal and not prone to scarring. This has since manifested into large cystic blemishes which take weeks to fully disappear, leaving behind scars which vary from pitted indents to red marks. The red marks I can deal with, they fade over time but the pitted scars are a whole different ball game and may require laser treatment to fully resolve the issue. At the moment I only have two pitted scars (ice pick scars if you fancy a Google search) which appear to the naked eye as slightly larger than normal open pores - no big deal but if fresh scar tissue forms near such area it will expand, which is obviously less than ideal.

Luckily I now have a very understanding Doctor, who explained that acne medication has advanced since I was a teen. Gone are the days of Doctors quickly popping you on the pill and prescribing Clearsil from the local pharmacy - I wish I was kidding. Apparently there are several options in terms of medication at the moment, the real dilemma many encounter is finding a treatment that works for their individuals needs. Trial and error seems to be the norm for most, myself included.

Adult Acne

To begin with I was placed on Tetralysal Capsules (antibiotic) combined with Differin Gel for three months, the gel did nothing but irritate my skin further, the Tetralysal Capsules only worked for a short while then ceased to offer anything further. In my experience (which will not be true for everyone) rather than preventing blemishes from forming, the antibiotics healed the offending areas quicker than usual - which I guess is a start if nothing else. This may sound ideal but once said blemish disappeared, another two or three would quickly form elsewhere on my face. A viscous circle at best.

Currently I am on a course of Erythromycin which has been a little more successful - I have less blemishes, which equates to less scarring but my skin is still a long way from being considered close to clear. Today I had a follow up appointment and my Doctor explained that the next step is Roaccutane which admittedly I am on the fence about. I have a consultation soon with a Dermatologist to decide if I will embark with such course of action. I know some herald Roaccutane as the saving grace of acne skin problems but the idea of completely drying out my skin is not something I'm that overly keen to do. Rather than read internet scare stories, (Yahoo! Answers is a personal favourite for a good chuckle) I am going to wait until I speak with the Dermatologist and then make my decision. If I do decide that this is the best thing for my skin problems, I will chart my progress - I know so many are facing very similar skin woes.

Adult Acne

In other skin related news I will be beginning Microdermabrasion soon to help eradicate the red scarring on my face. I have went as far as taking a before photo, which I will "treat" you to once the course is over so there is a comparison point.  I've also became a dab hand at treating my acne prone skin, if anyone is interested I have a foundation/concealer guide along with a general skin care/tips post in the wings.

Reading back on my first acne post I am certainly in a better mind frame, no my skin isn't perfect nor will it ever be but seeing the small improvements over the past few months has really perked me up. I've also found it helpful and reassuring to talk to others who have experienced similar problems and resolved their issues over time. With acne patience really is a virtue. I'm not sure what help I can offer at this point, if you do have any questions feel free to leave them below and I'll be happy to help. Hopefully with my next update it will be nothing but good news. Fingers crossed!




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49 comments:

  1. I'm currently in such a similar acne rut. I was on that same combo, but found no effect of the antibiotics.. Currently on the pill and differin, but skin still horrendous! My next step is roaccutane i think, really worried about the crazy drying of the skin which i suffer from anyway.. Eyy dear xo

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    1. Isn't such a conundrum isn't it! A very lovely reader emailed me in regards to Roaccutane and apparently the screening test with the Dermatologist is quite intense which somewhat puts my mind at ease. Honestly I'm not sure it is for me for personal reasons but then again a little part of me does think my skin has reached that stage. I have a month before my appointment so plenty of time to do my research etc. I will of course post about whatever direction I do choose :) x

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  2. I was on roaccutane for 5 months and it did a great job clearing up my skin! Came off it in october and my forehead has broken out into cystic acne in February this year again... thinking of giving it another go!! Nothing else seems to work!

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    1. Isn't it so bizarre, I know some people that did one round and still have clear skin years on and others need to do the odd run every now and then. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a suit all, cure all pill for acne ha! I hope the second time does it for you though :)

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  3. I can completely relate to this. I've been through the Tetralysal, and at first they were great but over time they stopped working. They made my skin incredibly photosensitive too - the slighting glimmer of sunlight and i'd burn! I decided against Roaccutane, and instead I now use a combination of Nlite and Medical Microdermabrasion as well as skincare routine i've found to work for me. It doesn't totally eliminate any spots, but it keeps my acne overall at bay and at least makes it manageable. I hope you find something which works well for you soon!

    Antonia x

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    1. Oh no :( that is horrid! I'm glad you have found something though - do you enjoy dermabrasion? I'm a little wary about trying it truth be told! x

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  4. I've had a similar kind of acne for ages now (since my teens and now I'm 22!) - I was also on tetralysal which did work wonders at first, however after a few years on it, it stopped making an effect and I was back to square one. I'm currently on dianette which I know is controversial but works really well for me, and have given up dairy in the hopes that that will make some difference as well. Roaccutane has always been my next step and I've had dermatologist appointments for it before but have always been unable to commit to the monthly blood tests, but I'm also prone to depression so have written that off as a no go area - I've seen so many amazing success stories for it though! And totally agree, an internet search is never a good idea! I hope things work out for you whatever you go for :)

    A Blonde Moment

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    1. If it works for you and you have a good doctor (which it sounds like you do) I too would take it if it was suitable for me and worked! I'm really glad you have found something though :) Roaccutane is a huge step isn't it there is so many side effects that really put me off. I'm hoping that the dermatologist will perhaps have another suggestion - here is hoping! x

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  5. Sorry to here this - I am in the same boat as you - acne since the age of 11, on and off various topical creams and medications for ages with seeing different doctors! I eventually went on roaccutane when i was about 16 (I am now 23), and it 100% helped. yes my skin was very dry but as soon as you are off it it returns to (a slightly less oily) normal. My skin was by no means perfect after, and still had the usual blackheads and breakouts but over the last year i think its definitely returning but im trying to tackle it with what I have at hand first! My friend who has a nearly identical story to me has just gone on her second course of roaccutane so will be interesting to see how she fares with that! Good luck with it all :)

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing Olivia - internet searches can be so vague so I'm really enjoying hearing real stories from real people y'know? I'm so glad your skin has been better with the treatment - all I want is normality if that at all makes sense? I have my fingers crossed for your friend and thank you again! x

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  6. I read your other post and I'm glad you did a follow up :)
    I have had acne since I was 11 (I am now 22 and will soon be 23 so this has not been an easy journey). If I go through my pictures from then till now, I can honestly say 90% of them is me with acne.

    Mine is moderate to severe, though it's not cystic... I was on a lot of things as well that did not work for me or only worked temporarily - differin nearly burnt my skin off.
    So I got on roaccutane... I'm not going to lie, for me, it was hell. It dried my whole hair so much I had to get a pixie cut so I could manage it, my lips in the middle of it because so sore and hurt I felt palpitations, I couldn't eat or sleep. Now, I don't want to scare you, but it's pretty heavy so, if you are eventually going on it, be prepared and just round up your oils, balms and all that stuff because it'll dry you up like a prune from head to toe. (I did though combine it with antibiotics as well because the acne was so severe back then).
    However, now I have been with perfect skin, not much scarring either... I've just gotten under the 6 month period of effectiveness after it and I'm still clear (I am continuing with a vitamin A treatment though but on a lower dosage (the daily recommended one) meant for everyday, but I only take it three times a week.

    But Alexandra did touch a nerve there, be careful with depression. This time it was no problem for me but I remember taking it back in highschool and I did fall into a depression and had to go off it...

    Well, I can only wish you luck! And I'd love to know your results on the microdermabrasion because I am interested but my skin is so sensitive I'm always afraid of it.

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    1. Hey :) ah thank you so much for reading both posts - I do have the tendency to ramble on! That is really wonderful to read - I bet it feels like such a relief! I'd be lying if I said I'm not scared - I've read all the usual horror stories and don't honestly know if it is the right direction. Then again I am by no means an expert so I do think going to the consultation is perhaps the best idea and then taking it from there :) Oh of course - I will update on all aspects of this post.

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  7. Hi, I've been following your blog for a while now and it really is amazing!
    I've had some serious issues with my acne medication.
    I'm 23 now and I got acne (the first sort you described) when I was 12 and I tried a whole bunch of lotions and potions (including Differin) that did absolutely nothing.
    When I was 16 I went on antibiotics (mynocycline) and through miscommunication with my doctor I was on them for 1 year straight which has left me with a very messed up digestive system plus it did nothing to help my acne (my skin still was of sandpaper texture, very granulated).
    At 19 I was put on the pill (which helped a tiny bit but not much) and 3 months later on Roaccutane, 20mg (calculated by my height and weight for a year) no excessive drying out (my skin was oily before I went on it though, I think all those horror stories are people on higher doses in America) you just have to moisturise properly especially around the mouth area I found and be careful of sunlight (I usually always tan but when on this I would burn) and for someone like you who takes great care of their skin it really doesn't cause that much trouble. My skin was absolutely gorgeous and smooth after about 3 months on it and throughout the rest of the treatment but 2 weeks after I stopped the year of dosage, my acne was back, I kid you not (exact same as before).
    Now I'm 23, about 3 years since I stopped taking pills to treat my acne, I have been left with very poor health (roaccutane exasperated the digestive problems started by the antibiotics) and still very acne prone skin which is now clear because of my skincare regimen solely. This consists of Neutrogena scrub and Neutrogena toner (the green ones), any face cream by Avène and the only acne cream that has ever worked on me, Epiduo. I'm also still on the pill and started avoiding drinking milk (which surprisingly I noticed my skin did get clearer when I did this, I still eat chocolate and cheese with no problems).
    All in all, please try Epiduo (Dermatologically prescribed) if you haven't already, I found that putting it on every night dries out my skin too much so every 2 to 3 night I put it on after my moisturiser and I'm good (my skin is no longer oily but rather combination to dry which I don't know if it is just the acne regimen or my natural biology at this point).
    I think you really have to think long and hard about this medication and how much you are willing to sacrifice for clear skin. I found that my doctor and dermatologist (the one I saw when I was 19 not the one giving me all types of creams since I was 12 since she had retired by that point) were way to quick to prescribe them to me and now I'm in very poor health with skin which was only made better by the creams I put on my face (I have of course since changed doctors and I no longer go to my dermatologist for my prescriptions but my new doctor who thankfully is a lot more reluctant to put me on anything, tablet wise, for my acne).
    I hope this helps you and I'm sorry to be another negative story on roaccutane but if I can tell someone my experience and help them avoid the Hell I've been through for "perfect skin" then this is it, best of luck :D

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    1. Thank you so much not only for the great, considered response but for the utter honesty. I really appreciate it :) I will certainly look into Epiduo as it does sound intriguing as for the Roaccutane I am not entirely sure it is for me nor do I think I will pass the tests to be allowed it due to past stomach problems. Isn't it so difficult to find a good doctor, one that wants to really help than pawn you off with any old medication. Thank you so much for the food for thought, I really don't think it is for me the more I read up! x

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    2. Absolutely! What is more disheartening was that this happened when I was 16 and still impressionable and thought doctors knew best :(
      Especially if you have had past stomach problems, I really would stay clear :/
      It's very hard to test for gut flora and healthy bacteria etc. in your stomach and know what levels are right for you since it's so individually based (plus near impossible to restore), hence, once messed up, it stays messed up, and you no longer have a normal stomach or digestive system. Plus, one of the side effects listed on roaccutane is permanent IBS which trust me is not one of the ones they warn you about; dryness, depression, easily burnt skin and deformed babies are their main concerns.
      Unfortunately I never had to pass any tests to be put on it, they just did blood check-ups every 3 months (because I was at Uni in Edinburgh at the time but my doctor lived in my hometown in Belgium, hence I would get them done when I came home, otherwise it would have been more frequent) but my blood always appeared normal.
      It really is a medication that needs a lot of consideration and when you've had acne for as long as I did (and many others) you start becoming desperate and that's when it can go wrong very fast :(
      Definitely see with your dermatologist if Epiduo might be right for you, it's topical treatment so definitely worth a try before getting into the very serious stuff :D

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    3. I am so sorry this happened to you but commend you for warning me (and others) without being forceful nor scaremongering! I've had a lot of problems as a child and young adult with my stomach so I think I will steer clear. The pro's don't outweigh the con's this time and I know there is other options out there :) I will do, I think I will do a post all about my Dermatologist experiences as I think it is quit a grey area!

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    4. Thank you!
      Definitely, I look forward to reading it since as you say it's such grey area and everybody's experience seems to be different :)

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  8. I Like your blog very much! I found your posts very interesting! And also I like your beautiful photos! I know that blog requires much time, but keep doing it!
    I’ll be happy to see you in my blog!)

    Diana Cloudlet
    http://www.dianacloudlet.com/

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  9. I've been on so many types of antibiotic, including erythromycin and lymecycline. In the end I gave up; I now take vitamin e, fish oil and agnus castus - all of which keep my hormones and acne in check. Of course the vile time of the month and stress spots appear, with the randomers that appear too but essentially, all is bearable. I cannot recommend stripping it all back to basics highly enough!
    The Life of Ashi

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    1. Ah that is so interesting! It may just be my next step as it is beginning to feel like I have exhausted all other options at this point! x

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  10. I hope the treatments work for you! I went through a period of HORRIBLE skin, which I but down to hormonal swings caused by the copper coil, it made my periods super heavy, and every time I had one I burst out in cystic spots all around my chin, it was horrible, felt like my skin never recovered. I found the same as you with doctors and pharmacists being no help and one even telling me there was nothing I could use to make my skin better - clearly he wasn't paying attention in pharmacy school! What I found helped my skin was sudocrem (I wrote about it here (http://www.beaucience.co.uk/2015/02/magic-spot-solution.html) and also using natural oils as a moisturiser, almond oil, hemp, apricot etc. In the end I decided to get the coil removed (Although the doctor said this would not improve my skin consequently) but guess what... IT DID! haha... I went through a phase again of getting spots, but not cystic ones, and I think I had just dried out my skin so much it was rebounding, have been cleansing with oil and using lots of homemade moisturiser and my skin is glowing (I probably shouldn't have written that, I think my skin heard haha!). Wish you luck on your skin journey!

    www.beaucience.co.uk

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    1. Haha way to show him and I mean that! Thank you so much for not only sharing your story but for the link too! I will sit down tonight and read it - all help is very welcomed. Thank you again :)

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  11. I have no experience with Roaccutane, but there is an Aussie Youtuber Jodi who did a few videos on her experiences with Roaccutane, very in depth and informative.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/jodik76
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ongSHWtCMeI
    I hope this is of interest
    thebeautybloss.com

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to find those links, I really appreciate it! I will sit down and watch those tonight! Thank you again :)

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  12. Acne is such a nuisance! I've also been struggling on and off of it, last breakout was last Autumn, and it endedin January, when I decided to go to the doctor. He prescribed me Benzaclin, and I used it for a few days and got rid of the acne :)

    I'm now left with scarring, like you. Hopefully I don't have any of the pitted ones. Can't wait to see your results! Stay strong!

    MsBubu

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    1. I am so glad it worked for you :) oh if you had pitted ones you'd know about it - when you put make up on it sinks right in there and makes them quite obvious haha! So I think you had a lucky escape :) ah thank you so much - will keep you updated!

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  13. I just wrote a really long post about my skin but it just deleted! Anyway here is the short version;

    I had cystic acne from 14 to 29. I went on the pill which made it a bit better. Then at 28 I tried topical antibiotic which helped. Then I went back and got oral antibiotics for 3 months. They didn't seem to help much, maybe towards the end of the course. But I don't know because in my last month of taking antibiotics I started using a product by Kiehls called the overnight peel. My cystic acne cleared up and went! 6 months later I am still free from it and not taking any antibiotics or medication. I had an appointment for a dermatologist to discuss roaccutane but I cancelled it.

    I truly believe that the reason it has not come back is because I am not using any exfoliating face scrubs or washes anymore, which irritate skin and damage the top layer, but instead I am using this chemical exfoliant which works overnight but is not damaging or drying. I get the odd spot which I can deal with. But as I am not on medication anymore, my skin is not dried out or irritated, it's soft and smooth.

    I have only tried the Khiels one which works for me, but try a chemical exfoliant for your skin before resorting to roaccutane.

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    1. Blogger is the worst for that! When you do get time to re-type I hope you do as I'm sure many would not only read it but appreciate the advice :)

      I actually use Pixi Glow Tonic which exfoliates using AHA's and like you said I do feel it makes a difference. As much as I enjoy it I am in the market for something new so this will have to be my next purchase. Tonight I will sit down and read all about it but thank you so much for bringing it to my attention!

      If you do re-type the post please let me know as I'd love to read it :)

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  14. I am currently recovering from a real bad acne season in my life. so I feel your pain! Try drinking protein once every day, it does help with healing, i can see a difference in just 2 weeks. Sending a big fat hug to you!x

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    1. Sorry to hear that, I hope it is healing? I will certainly look into it and see what it can offer me :) thank you so much for the heads up! You too lovely! x

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  15. Your articles would be much easier to comprehend if you used commas when necessary. Just some constructive advice.

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  16. I've just read www.carolinehirons.com post for today on just this subject. I would pop over there and have a read of her acne/meds article that went up today, and also check out her cheat sheet before considering another medication. My daughter suffers with acne also and I've pointed her in the same direction.

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    1. Thanks Gilly, I will do just that! Good luck to your daughter too :)

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  17. Coincidentally I was just reading a blog post by Caroline Hirons about acne, I'd definitely recommend you head on over, she's helped my skin no end.

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    1. I will check that out :) thank you so much for flagging it up!

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  18. Hi! Just want to start off saying I love your blog and read it every day!

    I have been dealing with acne and oily skin since I was 12 or 13 years old (now 26) and I have learned a few things along the way. My acne was pretty bad and it didn't help that I had a dermatologist in the beginning that wasn't very competent. When I was around 15 and all antibiotics had failed (along with creams like differin) I decided to try Accutane. 2 taplets every evening for 6 months. My skin was in horrible state for the next 5 moths (severe pimples,dryness,chapped lips, dry eyes and just very sensitive). But finally things cleared up (but I was left with some scars) and my skin was good for the next 2-3 years.

    Then the acne came back and I decided to go to another dermatologist which saved my skin (and mental health along the way). She started by treating it with differin and antibiotics which didn't work so she wanted to try accutane again. I was not up for it and told her about my previous experience. She than said that my bad reaction to accutane was most likely just due to too high of a dosage and therefore my skin was just showing an allergic reaction the whole time. The previous dermatologist just didn't care about my complaints and didn't take me seriously. So I decided to try again accutane and me and the new dermatologist just monitored my skin and the reaction to the drug very carefully. Plus the dosage was lower. My acne cleared up with no bad sideaffects in just a few weeks! For some reason my skin doesn't handle completely quitting acne medicine so for the past two years I have taken 20 mg accutane twice a week just to keep my skin from going back to previous state.

    Sorry about the whole rambling! I just really wanted to say that accutane can be an amazing medicine that can completely save your skin :) You just have to be really careful and if your skin is not getting better after few weeks of taking it, something is probably not as it should be.

    Wish you all the best!

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    1. Hello :) thank you so much for your kind words about my blog and all the time you took not only to share your story but to give me advice. I am sad that you had to go through all that - it really is true that finding a good doctor is easier said than done, some just don't care! I am glad for us both that the tides have turned and that we now have better medical guidance :) I am going to the derma soon to see what they say but have been told due to my stomach problems I may not be suitable. Fingers crossed that I will have some good news to share soon :)

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  19. Hi! I'd like to tell you about my experience in case it is useful to any of you. I struggled with acne during my teens and early twenties and I also had two types of acne. In my teens it was on my cheeks. In my early twenties it was on the jaws (around the place where boys' beards are). Both times it was cystic, The only solution for me was the pill. I'm still taking it because whenever I've tried to stop it has come back. Now I'm too scared to stop taking it. I know every case of acne is different but persistent acne seems to be related to hormones. As for acne scars I'm trying CO2 laser later this week to get rid of them. If it wasn't traumatic enough to suffer it, then you get scars as a souvenir... :(

    http://memoriesofthepacific.blogspot.com.es/

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  20. I've been on Roaccutane and had one course - after awhile though my skin went bad again and my doctor recommended a second course, apparently this happens often. I didn't want to though. It worked amazingly but there were the extras to deal with - regular blood tests at the hospital and very dry and red prone skin (my arms used to get red just rubbing against paper when writing!). Good luck with what you decide to do xx

    Ramblings of a Beauty Bird | Beauty Blog

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  21. I've been on the pill now for I'd say around 15 years, maybe longer, to control my acne. I say to control it but actually it may be fine now, but I'm too scared to come off the pill in case it just comes back again. Even though I'm on the pill I do often have a problem with my chin and after years and years of breakouts, some of which have been horrendous (a couple of years ago I got Impetigo), I'm left with quite a bit of pitted scaring on my chin. I've always considered having some kind of treatment like a dermal roller I think it's called, but I've always thought is it worth it when I still keep suffering from breakouts that are just going to damage the skin again x

    Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

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  22. Aw I really feel for you because I went through this too. When I was studying beauty therapy I remember asking my teacher why I still had acne, and she said you'll grow out of it. By the age of 25 I was still suffering. So I ended up seeing a dermatologist (thank goodness) and he prescribed me Roaccutane. My skin has been pretty amazing ever since and I'll be 35 this year. I've written lots about this on my blog too. I hope you manage to sort it out. I'm evidence. That it can get better. : ) x

    Carly's Beauty World - UK Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

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  23. I can totally relate to your struggles. I came off the pill over 6 months ago and skin went from being a little spotty to massively spotty particularly around my cheeks and jawline at 23 years old. I was stuck on tetracycline for 3 months and noticed no difference. Then they put me on Dianette (a contraceptive) which has left me with great skin after a month, but the side effects are just not worth it (headaches, depressive episodes, nausea, increased appetite) especially as I can only be on it for 18 months max. That's just not a long term solution!

    So I'm coming off Dianette and have been prescribed Duac gel - I guess I'll see how that goes! I hope the new treatment will work out for you!

    Tara | Headline Beauty xox

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  24. I'm halfway through my (first?) course of lymecycline/tetralysal. My GP finally referred to a Dermatologist in November after months of blood tests and trying Zineryt, then Dianette. Now I'm in the Dianette and abx, but I dint feel they've made a massive difference. It's all so demoralising, isn't it? I'm hoping the dermatologist has a magic bullet up her sleeve when I go back next month.

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  25. I had the exact same problem, I've given up with the doctors because it was just causing further problems. I'm currently trying products from Sebamed and it seems to be working so well! xx
    adelesmith.co.uk

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  26. I have had a similar past with my skin. I won't go into detail - but now at 24 I just went into a new dermatologist and begged for help. I've been started on a temporary round of antibiotic and put on two topical creams - as well as a low dosage of benzoyl peroxide and sulfur soap. I wasn't going to document it on my blog - but this post from you made me feel so comfortable about my adult acne - that I may want to share with others as well. xx

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  27. I've struggled with acne since I was about 16/17 and for almost for years while on Dianette my skin had completely cleared up and was fine for about 3 years up until just recently which is really depressing. One thing I found helped with scarring is the Body Shop's Vitamin E intense moisture cream, even though I have oily skin, it wasn't too greasy for me and I did notice a difference. Apparently a Zinc supplement is supposed to help so that's my next thing to try now.

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  28. Hi! I'd like to tell you about my experience in case it is useful to any of you. I struggled with acne during my teens and early twenties and I also had two types of acne. In my teens it was on my cheeks. In my early twenties it was on the jaws (around the place where boys' beards are). Both times it was cystic, The only solution for me was the pill. I'm still taking it because whenever I've tried to stop it has come back. Now I'm too scared to stop taking it. I know every case of acne is different but persistent acne seems to be related to hormones. As for acne scars I'm trying CO2 laser later this week to get rid of them. If it wasn't traumatic enough to suffer it, then you get scars as a souvenir.
    Ruby
    hairfreeme.com

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