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Old 05-16-2006, 11:29 AM   #1
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Dee74 HB User
Cystic acne.. Any advice?

My husband would probably get a little upset if he knew I posted this, but he's too embarrassed to ask anyone for help. So, I'm doing it for him..

He's 27 yrs old and he gets the cystic type of acne all over his body.. he has for years. And I do mean just about everywhere.. his face, scalp, shoulders, back, chest, butt, thighs, even in his ears sometimes. I've always had some type of acne to deal with since I was a little girl, therefore, I just don't even notice it until he gets upset about another new one. He has probably 5 or more at any given time and they take months to go away sometimes. He has many scars from these. He has such low self esteem because of all of this. He always says that he feels like a freak. He won't even go swimming in the summer anymore because he's so ashamed of it. Not to mention, these things HURT him.
I love him no matter what he feels he looks like, hell, I think he's gorgeous. But I would absolutely love to be able to help him in some way.. he's just suffering too much

Is accutane the only type of med for something like this? He refuses to go to a derm, basically because our insurance doesn't cover it and he feels it's not a necessity, therefore he won't "splurge on a cosmetic issue". Personally, I feel like it's more of a health issue instead of "just a cosmetic issue" as he feels it is. What would cause all of these cysts at once?


 
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:58 AM   #2
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Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

I would point out that when his cysts are keeping him from doing things he likes to do, then it's a sign of lowered self-esteem. It's a sign that his mental well being isn't as good as it could be. If seeing a doctor is what will make him happier, I wouldn't see anything wrong with that.

If money is an issue, you may want to start with your regular doctor. They can prescribe the antibiotics that might help. I'm not sure if they are able to prescribe topical meds, but it's a baby step he can take before seeing the dermatologist.

I'm not going to BS you, I think that because of the severity of his case he's better off at least getting an opinion of a dermatologist.

 
Old 05-16-2006, 12:59 PM   #3
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PBABY HB User
Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Hi Dee!

If his acne is as bad as you say, I would advise him to go to a dermatologist. I think a regular doctor would just give him a prescription for an antibiotic and send him on his way. He needs to know the root cause. Now, a derm may give him an antibiotic, too, but they can give a more in depth diagnosis and provide a more specific type of treatment for him.

Some other posters have brought up some other culprits-diet. How is his? I know my cysts are triggered by certain foods. Just something to think about.

Last edited by PBABY; 05-16-2006 at 01:00 PM.

 
Old 05-16-2006, 01:42 PM   #4
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Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Oh, I'm not exaggerating at all..

His diet isn't bad, really. He does have quite a bit of sugar each day with his coffee.. heck, I should say that he likes a little coffee with his sugar LOL.
He doesn't have oily skin at all, either. I have no idea what could be causing it..

I did a little checking into the dermatologist issue after I posted this earlier. Apparently, as long as it's deemed a medical issue, not purely cosmetic, it may be covered. So, starting with his regular doc would be a good idea, I think. He has an appointment for a physical next Monday anyway, and I'm REALLY hoping to go with him because I know for a fact that he'll be too embarrassed to bring it up.

Do you think it could be deemed medical instead of just cosmetic? I mean, they DO hurt like hell, especially on his scalp and the ones on his back. And he gets them everywhere.. so, I'm hoping he can get help. I highly doubt anything purely topical is going to do much for him.

 
Old 05-16-2006, 03:08 PM   #5
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Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Well, Iím around your husbandís age and still get those cysts. I get mine on my chest, back, and my face (every now and then). I play a lot of sports and sweat a lot and believe the acne on the chest is being caused by that reason and maybe even due to the really hot showers I take during the winter Ö summer, my chest usually clears up. It all went away for a few years and now itís back for some reason and Iím also trying to figure it out whatís going on.

Iíve been to derm and he put me on 2 topical creams and taking minocycline for a few months now. It has been helping, but Iím not liking the idea of taking meds for something I might be able to manage on my own. After looking back, Iíve starting to realize that it might be my health style that is causing it
.
After thinking what I have done differently over the past year, Iím starting to think stress and sugar are the main culprits. I used to never care about all this and it never stressed me out, but now I stress out every time I get a new cyst, which seems to lead to another and so on Ö if that makes sense. I was also consuming a ton of milk with my whey protein shakes and the creatine I was on this past year. After reading some other posts, I'm thinking the whey protein and creatine has been a problem and decided to cut that out as well as decrease the amount of milk I drink. I believe all this has been helping, but need to give it time before I can maybe get off these meds.

Overall, you need to look at your husbandís overall lifestyle. It may be sugar, stress, way heís washing his face, or his overall hormones. Itís probably good idea to go to the derm and go from there or just start changing a few of his habits and see if something heís doing has been aggravating his acne.

We are all just as curioius as you are and hope you keep us updated. Let me know if you have any other questions and I can go into more detail about some of the stuff Iím doing.

Last edited by Dont_give_up; 05-16-2006 at 03:12 PM.

 
Old 05-16-2006, 03:51 PM   #6
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Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

I'd try diet - cut back on sugar and simple carbs. And try to figure out if there is a specific trigger. For me, it was oranges. I used to get cysts everywhere too. Eliminating oranges reduced it by at least 90%. And I learned about it from a coworker who got cysts only on her chin when she drank OJ. So that makes 2 people. That was 15 years ago. Since then, I usually had one or two on my back at any given time and even that went away when I recently cut out the sodas and cut back on simple carbs.

There are a lot of positive stories from people if you search for diet and digestive cleanse threads. Some of which are 70+ pages long though. In the middle of one of those long threads, I've bookmarked this post:
[url]http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=306789&page=51&pp=5[/url]
I think this guy is right. Not just about the glucose and insulin, because that I've read over and over. But that the solution is fiber.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PBABY
Now, a derm may give him an antibiotic, too, but they can give a more in depth diagnosis
They might, but I doubt it. This board is full of people for whom dermatologists have done nothing. Doesn't mean you shouldn't try though. Sometimes they do help.

 
Old 05-16-2006, 08:24 PM   #7
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Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Regular doctors CAN prescribe topical treatments as well. I just went today and my dr. gave me a RX for Benzaclin. Not sure how well it works, but I guess it's worth a shot.

I get cystic acne as well, but only on my forehead. What I think helps the most is treating it from the inside. Which means a lot of fruit and water. I also squeeze half a lemon into every glass of water I drink, extra if I've just eaten something like chocolate. It does help but you need to be consistent with it. I skipped a couple of days (I've been doing it for months now) and I got 3 cystic pimples because I didn't keep up. Now that I've bought more lemons (limes work well too), they've gone down pretty much all the way in just a couple of days. They do leave scars though, and I'm not sure what to do about that yet.

 
Old 05-17-2006, 04:43 AM   #8
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Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Thanks everyone I really appreciate you taking your time to help me/him out!

As I was saying before, his diet really isn't bad, but it's definately not good either. He drinks coffee with the huge amount of sugar for breakfast, eats sandwiches for lunch, and then whatever I cook for dinner.. usually some type of meat and then a side or two. He eats no fruits other than maybe one apple a month.. no fruit juices either. The only veggies he will eat is potatoes (which, IMO, don't count since they're starch) and corn.. that's it. He's quite the picky eater, that's for sure. He does drink ALOT of soda though.. like 3 a day.. sometimes more, sometimes less.

He had the cysts when I met him and didn't drink coffee then except maybe twice a month. I turned him into the coffee addict he is today I'm sure he's always been the soda drinker though. As far as food goes, he definately eats better now than he did when I first met him. Back then (while in the air force), he was living off of ramen noodles and fast food. He was a REALLY heavy sweater back then (discharged in 2000) since he was a firefighter/EMT. But he's not now at all. He had more than just cysts then, though.. he had other pimples on his forehead and body, but I just didn't see them, ya know?

I'm really really hoping he's going to let me go to the appointment with him Monday. He's just so self-concious (did I spell that right?) and I feel so bad for him. My acne used to be so bad in high school that people called me pizza face So, been there, done that.. It's such a horrible feeling when you feel like everyone automatically sees the acne, and that's exactly how he feels.. judged by everyone.

 
Old 05-17-2006, 05:31 AM   #9
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Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

If they're taking months to go away, that sounds like a zinc deficiency.

drop by the vitamins and supplements board with the same question, i think you'll find an answer.

 
Old 05-17-2006, 07:31 AM   #10
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PBABY HB User
Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee74
Oh, I'm not exaggerating at all..

His diet isn't bad, really. He does have quite a bit of sugar each day with his coffee.. heck, I should say that he likes a little coffee with his sugar LOL.
He doesn't have oily skin at all, either. I have no idea what could be causing it..

I did a little checking into the dermatologist issue after I posted this earlier. Apparently, as long as it's deemed a medical issue, not purely cosmetic, it may be covered. So, starting with his regular doc would be a good idea, I think. He has an appointment for a physical next Monday anyway, and I'm REALLY hoping to go with him because I know for a fact that he'll be too embarrassed to bring it up.

Do you think it could be deemed medical instead of just cosmetic? I mean, they DO hurt like hell, especially on his scalp and the ones on his back. And he gets them everywhere.. so, I'm hoping he can get help. I highly doubt anything purely topical is going to do much for him.
Hey Dee!

The medical issue/cosmetic issue is kind hairy, in my opinion. Back when I was going to the dermatologist, my insurance covered the visits, antibiotics, and creams that she gave me. It was the "extra" stuff that my insurance wouldn't cover that my derm offered-cortisone injections, acne facials, etc. But that was just my insurance. Other posters here may have had different experiences with their insurance. I just know how it was with mine.

Funny b/c they paid for medications for acne (which some insurance companies DO consider a cosmetic issue) but they wouldn't pay for a medication that I was prescribed for a really bad skin yeast issue I had. Go figure....

Oh, and reefbrake made a good point-zinc. I wouldn't expect it to be a cure all, but it is good for inflammations of the skin. I take it each day to keep the bumps on my chest from both appearing and getting inflammed.

Last edited by PBABY; 05-17-2006 at 07:34 AM.

 
Old 05-17-2006, 11:28 AM   #11
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Angela1416 HB User
Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

I have found that artificial sweeteners cause my cystic acne to be worse, especially splenda (aka sucralose). I also think that sodas contribute to my cysts as well. Lately my face has improved a lot, I had quit drinking sodas, but when I had a soda two days in row I got about 5 cysts on my face. I am starting to see the connection.

My health insurance has always covered my dermatologist visits, but not anything cosmetic like facials or non-prescription products.

So, did your acne go away by itself? Do you have scars or did they go away?

 
Old 05-17-2006, 12:19 PM   #12
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lindanm HB User
Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee74
Thanks everyone I really appreciate you taking your time to help me/him out!

As I was saying before, his diet really isn't bad, but it's definately not good either. He drinks coffee with the huge amount of sugar for breakfast, eats sandwiches for lunch, and then whatever I cook for dinner.. usually some type of meat and then a side or two. He eats no fruits other than maybe one apple a month.. no fruit juices either. The only veggies he will eat is potatoes (which, IMO, don't count since they're starch) and corn.. that's it. He's quite the picky eater, that's for sure. He does drink ALOT of soda though.. like 3 a day.. sometimes more, sometimes less.
Yep. Simple carbs. I didn't want to believe in the low carb diet thing either. Especially with everyone around me going on Atkins. I love carbs. Bread, cheese, pasta and cheesy filled pasta are exactly what I crave. But it's just everywhere I look now about how glucose/insulin does so many bad things to you including stimulating the overproduction of testosterone which stimulates the overproduction of oil. It also ages you. And there's also stuff about it causing inflamation at the cellular level impairing the skins ability to exfoliate and therefore become clogged. I think that's one of Dr. Perricone's claims, but I've read it elsewhere.

Fiber and exercise help process the glucose properly. And if you aren't getting fiber in your food, you can try supplements. Metamucil drink mixes or psyllium husk tablets. An apple a day.

And vitamin supplements like the aforementioned zinc. I take 500 mgs of vitamin c several times per day. I think it has made any cysts I still get heal much faster. I think that 90 mgs they say is our RDA is really what we need at any given moment in the day to produce and repair cells.

 
Old 05-18-2006, 04:59 AM   #13
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Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Well, an update here!!!

The hubby actually brought it up last night that he is definately going to mention the issue to his doctor. He's tired of feeling "ugly", as he put it. He wants to discuss his diet and ways to change it.. I hope that they can figure something out and get him back on track so that he can get his self-esteem back again. It's so hard watching someone you love go through the inner pain that acne tends to bring on in just about everyone that suffers from it


Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela1416

So, did your acne go away by itself? Do you have scars or did they go away?
Honestly, I think alot of it has been age, but mostly, I absolutely SWEAR by the aspirin mask thing that so many people have been raving about. I've been doing it for quite a few months now. It has worked miracles on my skin. The thing is, I don't use it as a mask, as it's way too drying for my skin.. I just use it as a scrub every other day.

Here's my usual facial routine - Every morning and evening, I cleanse with Basis facial bar soap. It's super gentle and has never dried me out (I have very sensitive skin) and then moisturize with Purpose oil free moisturizer. After that soaks in well, I smooth on a light layer of PersaGel (I think it's by Clean and Clear) over my whole face. Now, I mentioned the aspirin scrub before. I do this every other day in the morning right after cleansing and before the moisturizer. While I'm cleansing, I dissolve about 6-8 aspirin with a few drops of water in a little dish. After washing my face, I lightly scrub with that, rinse it away, and proceed with the moisturizer and then the PersaGel. I do the same routine at night, minus the scrub. Also, at night, if I have any really big zits (which is really rare for me now), I use toothpaste! It's another thing I've swore by lol you have to use the plain white paste kind and just dab it on the pimple and wear it overnight (I read about this in a magazine). For me, it REALLY helps shrink them faster.

Seriously, my face has never been so clear. I also use the aspirin scrub on my back and chest and it's made a huge difference there as well!

BUT, it doesn't work for everyone.. my hubby has tried it and it hasn't made a difference for him at all. He hasn't tried using it as a mask though, so I don't know if that would help him.

Unfortunately, I do still have scars. Every pimple that I've ever had in my life has left a scar. It can be the tiniest pimple and I won't even touch the darn thing, yet it will still scar. I think it's my irish blood lol

Last edited by Dee74; 05-18-2006 at 06:49 AM.

 
Old 05-19-2006, 10:32 PM   #14
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Erica in IL HB User
Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee74
Well, an update here!!!

The hubby actually brought it up last night that he is definately going to mention the issue to his doctor. He's tired of feeling "ugly", as he put it. He wants to discuss his diet and ways to change it.. I hope that they can figure something out and get him back on track so that he can get his self-esteem back again. It's so hard watching someone you love go through the inner pain that acne tends to bring on in just about everyone that suffers from it
Congrats on the progress! I hope the doctors can find treatments that will clear him up.

I wanted to add that I notice my acne gets worse if I eat too many corn products. If I see modified food starch or high fructose corn syrup on a label, then I'm likely to break out. I've switched to diet soda because of this.

 
Old 05-25-2006, 12:31 PM   #15
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Re: Cystic acne.. Any advice?

Well, he went to his appointment.. his doctor gave him a 10 day dose of 500 mg Keflex to be taken 3 times a day. No dermatologist referral.

Personally, I don't think this is going to work lol

 
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