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.
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.
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!