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Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Experience With Acne: From 2005-Now

Hey everyone! I first of all want to give a warning: this post WILL be long. I have had many people ask me about my experience, (what I'm using, etc) and to get the full effect, I will need to go into detail. If you have any questions and you do not want to ask in the comments below, please feel free to e-mail me @ HEATHEREAGLES@AOL.COM.

Ok! I am 21 years old (will be 22 in August) and I have been struggling with acne since I was 15. Now, when I was in high school my acne was mostly "white heads" or just regular pimples. My most common break out area was my forehead. After trying proactive, drug store face washes, etc, and nothing working, I finally consulted a dermatologist.
When I was 17 years old I went to my first dermatologist appointment. I went to a Dr. Smith in my town and to make a long, useless story short, he helped me none. He only wanted to prescribe the "high end" prescriptions to me, and would not settle for generic. For example: one of the creams he prescribed was $250. So I made an appointment with a well known dermatologist in my area, Dr. Girrard, and even though the wait was 2 months to just be seen by her, I waited. My first visit she prescribed me an antibiotic called Minocycline 200Mg a day, tretinonin cream .025%, benzoyl peroxide face wash 4%, and some expensive face lotion I never got filled.
The Minocycline made me so sick every time I took it, to the point where I would throw up! I eventually had to quit taking it. The tretinonin cream was meant to be a "spot treatment" for when a pimple would come up, but when I used it, it totally made my skin peel right off as if I were sunburned. The point of this cream is to make the skin produce new cells more rapidly, in turn, making your skin peel off. I used it for about a week or two, but I saw no results and I honestly didn't like the fact that my skin was peeling off. What REALLY cleared my skin up was the Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash 4%. After I started using that nightly, my skin cleared up automatically(within a month)!
I used the BP face wash for 4 years(until this year), but my acne started coming back about a year ago in 2010. This time my acne was cystic, which means under the skin. The kind of cystic acne I have starts under the skin (you can not pop this pimple, not that I recommend that, I'm just saying that's how deep it is) and then after about a week it would surface. (Note: some of my cystic acne never surfaced. Some of it went away on its own, and some cysts have been there for months.) My acne is really bad along my chin and jaw line now. It's also on my cheeks and hair line as well. I do get the occasional "forehead cyst" (which hurts very bad and always causes me to have a headache).
After dealing with this for a year, I decided to go back to the dermatologist. In April 2011 I went back to the doctor. She prescribed me Minocycline 200Mg a day (again), benzoyl peroxide face wash 10%, and Clindamycin Phosphate Face Wipes 1%. After taking a full round (60 days) of the Minocycline(which still makes me sick, I just started to get use to it eventually), using the face wipes once to twice a day, and using the face wash twice daily, I still haven't seen much progress.
I will say my acne has minimized some, but not much. A lot of people say "get on birth control" but I have been on the pill for 5 years now.(that was one of the reasons I got on it.) I think my face is tired of BP. I go back for a follow up appointment in July, so I will be sure to post and let you guys know the verdict.

What I would recommend from my experience:
  •  Your make up/moisturizer does make a difference. See if the label says "dermatologist tested" or "does not clog pores." I recommend getting something that says both!
  • Try benzoyl peroxide if you never have. Mine is prescription, but they actually sell BP 10% at CVS. It may dry out your skin in the beginning, but this did work for me for 3 years.
  • I have read success stories of people being on antibiotics like Minocycline, and their acne did clear up. I just don't think my body reacts well to it.
  • I do use salicylic acid 2% at night on pimples, and it doesn't always help, but it normally doesn't get worse. 
I tried to make this as short as I could. I did shorten some stuff a good bit, so if you have any questions please let me know! I tried to make this as "readable" as possible. I hope when I go back in July, we can try something that I haven't really tired yet. Having acne at 21 years old is pretty embarrassing. When I get my acne cleared up, I will then focus on scaring...I have quite a bit. :(
Thank you for reading! I hope this was helpful to someone out there! :)


  1. so brave of you to post this. i hope you find something that will help clear up your acne.
    good luck!

  2. Thank you so much Wendy! Thank you for reading!

  3. Thanks for posting! I'm almost 31 and didn't even begin my acne struggles until I was about 22. I tried the dermatologist, antibiotics, differin gel, etc. The antibiotics made me sick, and the topical treatments didn't help at all, but ended up making my skin raw and much worse! Proactive worked the first time I tried it, about 7 years ago, but I felt like my skin stopped reacting to it after a few months. Plus, the Proactive "auto-ship" stuff got to be pretty scam-like. :-/ I've tried so many different drugstore products, but haven't had much success.

    I'm currently using a salicylic acid face wash and BP treatment lotion. However, my skin is never "clear." I look forward to seeing how your follow up goes. Perhaps there's something new out there that a dermatologist can prescribe that wasn't available when I went to see a derm. several years ago. Best of luck to you!!!

  4. --mickeylush: Thank you so much for reading!! I know how you feel, and it sucks to try so many things and nothing work. I'm hoping my follow up will bring something new to surface. Best of luck to you as well! :)