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.
Thank you for reading! I hope this was helpful to someone out there! :)