The Acne Thread: Share your stories, products, & tips!

xlana

O.G.
Sep 26, 2006
5,949
581
New York City
I know there has been a lot of acne related threads in the Beauty Bar, but I didn't find one communal thread where everyone can just come in and give their general experiences, acne stories, experiences with treatments & products, and ask for help. As a person who is suffering from a sudden onset of adult acne, I'm interested in hearing the stories & experiences of other tpfers who have suffered (or still suffer) from acne; what products did/do you use? Which one of those products worked or didn't work? Did you go on accutane? What medications did the derm prescribe you & did it work? What's your current routine? What do you do when you suddenly get major breakouts?

I just want to hear everyone's personal stories when it comes to fighting acne. I hope this thread can be a resource for people who suffer from acne since as of right now all the threads on acne are so segmented. So, instead of posting yet another thread on asking for help with acne, I thought I would create a new thread where everyone can come in and share their experiences.

Here is my personal story & tips to also get us started!

My story:
I'm in my late twenties now but I never suffered from acne until I was in my mid twenties. I actually had great skin. Then after making a move across the country from California to New York for law school, I started getting really bad acne. The cystic kind where it never broke the surface of my skin and had the potential to breakout from the same area again. It was really painful & stressful for me. It got so bad that I had to see a dermatologist for the first time in my life who actually recommended that I go on accutane. I didn't want to go on accutane unless it was absolutely necessary. I was open to anything else to get rid of it even if the process was slower (antibiotics, topical treatments, supplements, going back on birth control). My derm prescribed me a 50 day dose of doxycyline & retin-a. It worked for about 6 months and my skin was completely clear, but then around the end of the summer my acne started coming back. It's not as bad now as it was before I went to see the derm, but I don't have clear skin anymore either. Right now I'm using Panoxyl cleanser which is yielding amazing results, I'm hoping that I can kick my skin back into gear by using the wash once a day and retin-a at night. I'll update the thread if the combination of the two really makes a difference down the road.

My tips that have worked for me:
-Don't wash your face more than twice a day! I know it sounds crazy, but if you have acne prone skin you most likely have sensitive skin as well! Washing your face less often and with gentle cleansers might help with a reduction in breakouts. I only wash my face once a day currently with Panoxyl at night, and Bioderma in the morning. If I have a very bad breakout spell, I only use Bioderma & retin-a -I don't even moisturize.
-Sometimes opting for products that are catered towards sensitive skin is better than going for the harsh products traditionally geared towards acne prone skin. I think this is especially true if your skin is inflamed or red from irritation. So instead of using 5 different acne products, just have one acne fighting product that is coupled with other simple & gentler products.
-If you're going to exfoliate, exfoliate gently!! Opt for a gentle mask that exfoliates (I like Kiehl's Biological Peel) rather than something like St. Ive's Apricot Scrub.

Products I've found that worked:
Retin-A (I use 0.1%), products with tea tree oil (the Body Shop & Desert Essence make great products), Panoxyl (my new discovery!), Bioderma (probably the best gentle cleanser out there, a true HG product), Cetaphil cleanser, Avene products.

Products that haven't worked for me:
Products with salicylic acid as the main active ingredient, Murad sulfur spot treatment, Bare mineral's rare minerals sulfur powder, Murad clarifying cleanser, Clinique Acne Solutions Emergency Gel-Lotion, Demadoctor Ain't Misbehavin' Medicated Acne Cleanser.

Sorry for the long post! I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone else's stories, experiences & tips!! Ideally I'm hoping that everyone would post their personal story, share their tips, and then update in this thread to let everyone know how their skin is doing. It would be especially helpful to update after changing something up in their regime whether it is going on retin-a, trying a new cleanser, etc.
 

Sunflower2014

New Member
Feb 8, 2013
4
0
Hi there

I know exactly what you mean about acne coming up when you least expect it, when I was in high school, I had amazingly clear skin, but then when I hit 23, my skin began breaking out horribly and still have intermittent acne issues today. I am 28 now and see how this was stress-related for the most part but could be reduced. I also sometimes cystic acne it was painful and so embarrassing.

For products, just like you, I went to the dermatologist but nothing helpful there, right now, I used a lot of acne products from Neutrogena and the cetaphil moisturizer is gentle and effective on my skin. Unlike you, however I have had some great results with Salicylic Acid such as this cleanser I'm using from phskincare http://www.phskincare.com/skin-care-products/ampm-acne-skin-care-cleanser/ and the spot treatment is pretty fantastic as well especially on my cystic acne that loves to show its face before my period.

OMG, you are soo right about the washing your face thing, I nearly stripped off half of my skin by overwashing thinking that I would get rid of the excess oil producing my acne, huge mistake that I'm still paying for now :crybaby: because since then my skin has become thinner, and while it has regained part of its thickness, today, it could be so much more youthful and resilient. So people, please dont wash your face more than ONCE a day, it'll take time for your skin to show results but it will adjust and be healthier and happier in the long term.

Toodles :jrs:
 

cupoftea91

Member
Dec 21, 2011
335
4
Australia
My skin hates salicylic acid and I dont really like to use benzoyl peroxide because I believe it creates more scarring. Tea tree does not do anything for me either.
Also beware a lot of these acne cleansers such as those from clean & clear and Panoxyl contain mineral oil which some can find more detrimental to their skin in the long run.
Glycolic Acid, particularly Neostrata products, a gentle sunscreen during the day and a non comedogenic cream cleanser to remove your makeup before cleansing with a more potent gel or foaming cleanser at night is the best bet.

Please be careful about using salicylic, tea tree, retinol, B.peroxide, Glycolic, Vit C etc all at once because a lot dont interact well with each other.
 

fufu

JoanElfen(Instagram)
O.G.
Feb 21, 2008
4,432
11
Singapore
I only use mainly Sothys skin care products. I use to have bad breakouts and this product helps my skin lots.

Other than that I will say drink lots of water. I like to drink green tea and occasionally have green bean soup. Take vitamin c daily if missed out on fruits.

Be happy too :smile:
 

gillianna

O.G.
Dec 27, 2005
8,400
2,168
My son's acne flared up again. He did accutane last year and it cleared up his face. But then he joined the swim team this fall/winter and I think the chlorine really messed him up. He also have very sensitive skin- so shaving can irritate it. He has a new dermatologist appointment this week. Will have to see what products they feel might work. I think he was using a heavy moisturizer when he did swim and it clogged his pores. I feel so bad for him because I know he is frustrated. I have a drawer full of prescription creams from the past dermatologists and can't say any of me were great. One product worked and the drugstores here said they could not get it-it was a prescription tan colored cream. I wonder if our insurance just did not want to pay for it. Hopefully progress will be made this week.

I also think the winter indoor air is drying while the outdoor cold makes your face get windburn. I do use humidifiers which seem to help. Wish their was a permanent answer to this problem.
 

GoGlam

Member
Feb 8, 2012
5,771
653
I'm another poster that had great skin through my teens and into the beginning of college. I think I screwed it up by having some late nights and not washing my face here and there after being out too late/too lazy and tired to wash. The problems started around age 20, I'm now 25. I have to say in the last two years they've been the most prominent.

My skin goes through cycles. It can be 98% clear then for two weeks I will have pimples that are deep and don't break the skin/make it to the surface. I usually end up squeezing them, even though I know I shouldn't and I'm sure the cycle repeats partially because of this.

I have tried clarisonic, witch hazel, environ, murad, peels, amore pacific, philosophy, green tea/lemon juice paired with a clinical brand, and dr. Brandt. The list goes on. Part of my problem is I tend to not give a product more than 3 weeks with my skin. If it doesn't seem to be working, I'm on to the next thing.

I feel I've been most successful using clarisonic, peels (lactic, glycolic and salicylic acid), and one of my environ moisturizers from the AVST range. I also feel that I was successful when I was using lemon juice as a cleanser, green tea as a toner and a few of the clinical products. Problem is, traveling was hard because to use the green tea, it had to be in ice cube form and it all grew to be a nuisance.

Right now I cleanse with Anthony for Men Glycolic cleanser (I'm a woman, but it was recommended by someone in sephora). I use it with my fingers and sometimes on the clarisonic. I do a light peel about once a week (don't use the clarisonic 2-3 days prior or after) and moisturize either with anti-aging SPF 20 murad for acne prone skin or environ AVST 1. I used amore pacific recently but for $150 a tiny jar, it wasn't working well enough. My skin is ok now and hopefully getting better.

Do not want to go on any medications. Am willing to take supplements. I've heard taking iodine supplements helps. Anyone heard? My mother thinks I have a vitamin deficiency and I think she may be right. My breakouts are mostly in the "hormonal" areas--on the jawline and cheek/cheek bone area.

Any suggestions are much appreciated!
 

GelTea

Coupon Code Stalker
O.G.
May 16, 2009
1,471
2
SF Bay Area, CA
Hi xlana!!! Gosh, the last time I saw you your skin was perfect, glowing and beautiful (2010 maybe?).

I've also suddenly have had to deal with mild adult onset acne. Similar to GoGlam, 98% of the time my skin is pretty clear, with deep cystic acne flare ups. Hormones and lack of sleep have played a huge part in the flare ups - I think because my immune system is compromised and can't fight off any type of infection that occurs, including acne-causing bacteria. Of course, this is based on very general observations and not good science, which would require me to log my acne occurrences. :P

A consistent beauty routine - including cleansing & moisturization/sunscreen, diet, sleep, exercise, relaxation - seems to help the most.

As far as products:

-Skinscript Blemish Control Cleanser - (can only purchase through my esthetician). Look this one up. It's truly awesome.Yes, it has salicylic & glycolic acid & tee tree - but it is surprising calming, not drying and is concentrated, so just a couple of drops goes a long way. 2x a day

-Clarisonic Mia w/Acne Brush - 1x a day with my Skinscript Cleanser

-Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40 for day

-Oil of Olay Regenerist Microsculpting Cream Unscented or Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream

I also like Ole Henrisksen the Truth Serum for extra brightening, but my routine is already on the high end of my budget, so it's an occasional treat and I'll wait a couple of months between each bottle. Most of my products are natural, i.e., paraben free, etc., which I actually did NOT do on purpose.

Hope things have been going well for you in NYC & law school!
 

GoGlam

Member
Feb 8, 2012
5,771
653
Hi xlana!!! Gosh, the last time I saw you your skin was perfect, glowing and beautiful (2010 maybe?).

I've also suddenly have had to deal with mild adult onset acne. Similar to GoGlam, 98% of the time my skin is pretty clear, with deep cystic acne flare ups. Hormones and lack of sleep have played a huge part in the flare ups - I think because my immune system is compromised and can't fight off any type of infection that occurs, including acne-causing bacteria. Of course, this is based on very general observations and not good science, which would require me to log my acne occurrences. :P

A consistent beauty routine - including cleansing & moisturization/sunscreen, diet, sleep, exercise, relaxation - seems to help the most.

As far as products:

-Skinscript Blemish Control Cleanser - (can only purchase through my esthetician). Look this one up. It's truly awesome.Yes, it has salicylic & glycolic acid & tee tree - but it is surprising calming, not drying and is concentrated, so just a couple of drops goes a long way. 2x a day

-Clarisonic Mia w/Acne Brush - 1x a day with my Skinscript Cleanser

-Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40 for day

-Oil of Olay Regenerist Microsculpting Cream Unscented or Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream

I also like Ole Henrisksen the Truth Serum for extra brightening, but my routine is already on the high end of my budget, so it's an occasional treat and I'll wait a couple of months between each bottle. Most of my products are natural, i.e., paraben free, etc., which I actually did NOT do on purpose.

Hope things have been going well for you in NYC & law school!
Will look in to some of these products!
 

GelTea

Coupon Code Stalker
O.G.
May 16, 2009
1,471
2
SF Bay Area, CA
Will look in to some of these products!
I love the SkinScript cleanser.

A good esthetician is ESSENTIAL. It is so hard not to pick at pimples. I try to wait for my esthetician to take care of it, because after the extraction she zaps it with one of those infrared lights that helps heal it up. She will also do extractions at no cost for regular customers (if it's just a couple) on sort of a semi-emergency basis, no appt., and will do a quick cleanse and take that thing out!
 

GoGlam

Member
Feb 8, 2012
5,771
653
I love the SkinScript cleanser.

A good esthetician is ESSENTIAL. It is so hard not to pick at pimples. I try to wait for my esthetician to take care of it, because after the extraction she zaps it with one of those infrared lights that helps heal it up. She will also do extractions at no cost for regular customers (if it's just a couple) on sort of a semi-emergency basis, no appt., and will do a quick cleanse and take that thing out!
My mom buys all sorts of professional machines so I actually have the lasers, lights and all that. I need to use them more; sometimes I get lazy! I don't trust aestheticians.. They leave marks on my face no matter how much they steam it etc. I continue to "purge" after and it sucks! Where do you go?
 

lv_forever

Member
Jul 5, 2007
2,717
2
I think it's the law school thing, lol! I started getting cystic kind when I started law school too and had them on and off throughout. They were mostly on my jawline so they weren't visible but they hurt! I also went to a derm, and my face actually got worse because of harsh products and medication. What worked for me was being very gentle with my face, and using glycolic acid (I think I have shared this on some other thread). I also got lymphatic drainage massage from an aesthetician which I think was a huge help. It's been 4+ years and my skin is acne-free without any special products or regular facial appointments. Not even during my pregnancies did my face break out. I do use glycolic acid gel consistently however, and avoid any harsh treatments on my face.
 

GelTea

Coupon Code Stalker
O.G.
May 16, 2009
1,471
2
SF Bay Area, CA
My mom buys all sorts of professional machines so I actually have the lasers, lights and all that. I need to use them more; sometimes I get lazy! I don't trust aestheticians.. They leave marks on my face no matter how much they steam it etc. I continue to "purge" after and it sucks! Where do you go?
You're right, there are a lot of a/estheticians that can't be trusted to not leave marks. My acne scars are completely self-inflicted :nogood:, but my esthetician, Nadia, has NEVER left a mark. She runs her own place, NB Beauty, in San Mateo, CA, which is about 15 miles south of San Francisco. Recommended with no hesitations. If you are in the area, look her up!
 

ladyash

O.G.
Jun 5, 2010
5,147
61
32
Canada
I'm afraid to go places and have my skin taken care of because I mark VERY easily. I have realy pale translucent kind of skin so even the pimples that I don't touch still leave marks. I'm trying to get the ones on my cheeks to clear up. I had a ridiculously bad break out in December all over my cheeks the really deep cystic ones and now they are gone but the red marks are still visible so I have to cover them with makeup :sad:
I had perfect skin until I turned 18 and then my body decided to go crazy. Everyone used to be jealous of my skin in high school because it was flawless and now it's like they jinxed me or something because it hasn't been completely clear in years! I need my skin to wake up and realize that I'm an adult now!

I use tea tree oil scrub once a week and neutrogena face wash for acne prone skin. I also use a rose water toner before bed to remove any other dirt or oil that might be on my skin before I go to sleep. It works pretty well until around that time of the month when I break out like crazy. Most other times it's under control. Now if I could just get the red marks to fade away I might be able to start making some progress towards reducing the amount of makeup I use daily!