Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Acne: The Perpetual Bane of My Life

Now, acne is something I happen to have lots of experience with and I have tried a lot to combat it.  I have big zits, little zits, black heads, white heads, milias, deep painful zits, hormonal zits... and I have tried lots of stuff to get rid of them. I will describe some of my experiences briefly... 

Accutane - Didn't do anything postive for me, did hurt me some.  I had no fewer pimples while I was on it and my skin was a oily as ever.  I did have some side effects from it- skin tearing issues (and the scars to match) and night blindness. I still have some night blindness issues.  Please don't take this drug, there are just too many side effects and not enough benefits (even if it does clear your acne) to justify taking it. I wish I never had.

Proactiv - We've all seen the informercial (except this one dermatologist I had).  It can help and it's a good first step.  I hate how expensive it is and they have terrible customer service. What's more it didn't really work for me. That said, I do really like the 2.5% repairing lotion. I still use that stuff daily. 

Murad - Gave it a good shot. Initally some some clearing up, but my skin seemed to get used to it and it quit working pretty quickly.

Bioelements - I used the "Great skin in a box" system. I like the mositurizer (gel stuff) but it just didn't work to well

Biodroga Puran - No real help from the cleanser/toner. However I did have a puran facial once that did wonders for me. I had one again a year or two later and it did do much. I think it might have had to do with technique. Regular facials are too expensive and time consuming for me anyhow.

Antibiotics - They are the cheapest and most effective thing I have ever used. On the downside you are not suppose to use them all the time.  Full strength amoxacylin works well form me. These days they have "micro dosing" which I have not tried, but it seems like a good idea if that's the only way you get relief. 

Zeno - That stupid thing was way too expensive and didn't do squat. I don't really get the type of zits it is suppose to help, but I tried it anyhow (I'm desperate). Now the head needs replacing and I'm not wasting my money again replacing it.

Benzamycin (benzoyl/erythromycin cream) - nothing and is messy

Erythromycin cream - not helpful and messy.  Would dry on my face really badly, looked terrible, couldn't cover with makeup

Tazorac (retinoid cream) - only made things worse. And believe me. I gave the tazorac a good long try and finally couldn't take it anymore. I kept thinking "I'm breaking out, but it will stop and get better, it's darkest before the dawn" I couldn't take it anymore after about 6 months. I was getting married in a couple of months and couldn't risk it.  I also gave a sample of Differin a try. I wasn't impressed enough with the sample to waste my time with it. 

Spironolactone - This stuff may have helped my acne some, I could never really tell, but if it did it wasn't much. However, it did wonders for my oily hair. I could go days without washing it and it never looked oily. That was awesome. Since going off the the spironolactone, my hair is visibly oily in 8 hours, also I have more dandruff. It should also be noted that this stuff can cause birth defects. I stopped taking it when I got married just incase. Clear skin is not worth the risk (same thing with accutane).  

Clearsil/Neutragena/Clean and Clear/Almost everything else you can get a Wal-Mart - Nothing good useful, however I do really like the Olay daily facials. They are pretty good, but not a cure. I like them when I'm traveling since they are dry and won't spill out all over evertyhing.  

Birth Control Pills - I have taken both Ortho Tri Cyclen and Yasmin and both are suppose to help with acne and I don't really think either did much if anything for me.  

Regular Facials - Yes, I think this helps, especially if you've never had them. But they can be expensive and time consuming. To save money I would go to the local esthetician school and get them for like $12.  

Glycolic Acid treatments - I did 6 week series of these and don't think it did much. 

So what worked for me... as mentioned above some benefits from facils, antibiotics, and proactive benzol peroxide lotion. Additionally, I found the cleanser for my skin: Philosophy's Purity Made Simple Cleanser.  I started using this stuff about a year and a half ago and in a week I saw a big turn around. I really can't say enough good things about this cleanser. And surprising it has plently of stuff in it a dermatologist would disapprove of (fragrances, dyes, potent herbal ingredients). But as anyone that has stuggled with acne knows, dermatologists don't know everything.

The only things I don't like about Purity is the price (slightly on the expensive side) and I have to order it off the internet because there aren't any stores around here that sell it.

In addition to the Purity Cleanser I use the Proactiv Reparing Lotion and Olay Regenerist Daily UV Defense moisturizer (and their under eye moisturizer).  I only wash my skin once a day or the dry parts get too dry and the oily parts just produce more oil to make up for it.  I also use the Olay Regenerist Microdermabraision kit weekly or every couple weeks for extra exfoliation.  

I like the Olay Regenerist stuff a lot. I seem to do better on it than any other moisturizers I have tried. I tried the Philosophy Hope in a Jar moisturizer (hoping to repeat the success I had with their cleanser), but it left my skin too dry. 

In the winter my skin gets drier and I sometimes moisturize at night with the Olay Regenerist Night Cream.  It keeps my skin from flaking off.  

Oh, and always use sunscreen.  

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