| | GENERAL RULES when it comes to acne
I have read a ton of different website, blogs, and forums on "The best way to get rid of acne" and if your like me you probably have tried ALOT of different things. At this point I know id personally harvest goat urine on a full moon and then bathe in it while chanting hymns if it meant i could be acne free. I HAVE tried almost everything and like I said READ everything (all that information is so overwhelming all those ideas and different cures). OH and i have a team of doctors from derms to endocrinologists all the way to natural paths. Ive seen acupuncturists and I've even been to a medical psychic. So believe me whatever your going through I've been there. ANYWAYS, I thought I would give my opinion of a general "rule of thumb" when it comes to curing acne. So here it is....all of which I have done!
My skin: HIGHLY Sensitive (no makeup (not even mineral I've tried them all), moderate to severe cystic, tons of scarring (all types of scarring variations) AND I have Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome
The first thing I wanna say is as frustrating as it sounds it really is just about doing one thing after another until you find the right thing for you. Our bodies are all so different and while some could be missing 1 simple vitamin that when taken by that person, could end up curing their acne while others are genetically doomed. Ive been dealing with this for about 5 years and I'm 25 now. The only downside (if your like me) is, it means that more times then not it has to get worse before it gets better but knowing that makes it difficult because how do you know when it ACTUALLY is making it worse or if its just a temporary thing. GENERAL RULE IS: Try it for 1-3 Months for oral and 1 month for topical UNLESS it says that it is proven to take "x" amount of time before it will start to work. But if you have severe side effects with your health like for example I am HIGHLY sensitive to any kind of birth control so I went off of it 5 years ago. Anyways, I recently decided to give oral Birth Control a shot again. I knew "Diane" would come back up as soon as i swallowed it so I tried lower estrogen pills like try-cycline Low" and Alesse" But i Ended up getting really sick. I did give "Alesse" a shot. Was aiming for 3 months (they say thats how long it takes for your body to get used to it) I lasted a week. I was nauseous EVERY DAY had flu like symptoms, heads aches and dizzy spells and then had the worst most painful break outs on my cheek. 12 very inflamed pimples in 2 days. Yea...that was the end of that. It came down to choosing quality of life over torture for 3 months. I might have tried a little longer if I didn't have the sick feeling because I know breakouts are a very common thing to have happen when your trying to get rid of the but its summer and I'm not going to spend it sulking in bed. Moral is if its durable do it if its not, don't put yourself through it. Find something else.
General Rule #2: Topicals vs Orals
Very mild (Some white Heads and blackheads occasional pimple) Topicals are great. Just basic like Neostrata oil free products or cheaper clean and clear. Natural home made masks or even on spot treatment like 'Bye Bye Blemish" or even a clean and clear coverup stick. People with this kind of acne don't generally need a super strong topical like an over the counter Chemical. I tried Dr Hauschka and a bunch of other organic lines. I had a terrible experience with cystic acne break outs with this. But I also have Severly sensitive skin to anything botanical or organic, tothe point where I can't even where makeup I used to where almay and benefit cosmetics but eventually it stopped agreeing with my face.( I tried all the minerals out there and found that the ones with "Bismuth oxyclorhide" like colour science made me break out but "Jane iredale" tends to be generally ok as long as it doesn't have sparkles)
Medium acne (Black/White Heads, millia, and at least 1-3 break outs a week)
STRONG topical. Bad habits tend to be consistent with this type of acne and the following 2 types after this blurb. Bad habits like, greasy hair around face, not changing pillow cases enough, bad face cleaning regimen, dirty work environment. I had the doctor concoct a really strong topical of random stuff but mainly salicylic acid (probably some benzoyl peroxide somewhere in there too) but strong topicals prescribed by a doctor generally are really good and beneficial for people with this type. Ive done a topical strong vitamin A, that really strong concoction my doc made and some other industrial strength creams and gels. Too many to list...all were great except mine turned out to be more internal.
Severe acne (Black/White Heads, Millia and at least 3-6 break outs a week or more) This is a good indication that its more of an internal thing and a topical won't be sufficient enough for it. you have to combine with an oral. It Usually happens when you have hormonal imbalances (higher testosterone) (puberty or P.C.O.S, thyroid....list goes on), Diet, allergies, genetics either way an oral treatment along with a good topical can possibly take care of this. Ive done tetrai-cyclin with a topical, doxycycline, spironolactone (androgen blocker) Birth-control. And some stuff my natural path described (Sea-buck thorn, teas, cleanses (sugar cleanse was GREAT), greens plus perfect skin). I saw an allergy tester and found out I was allergic to a certain type of Mold so I couldn't sleep on "Feather Down pillows or Feather Down Duvets" as that may have been causing my skin to break out. ( Did you know sometimes acne is our bodies way of getting rid of a toxin in our body that is not handling properly like poor digestion or breathing in certain dust.) I also went of wheat and gluten (Ok well i Minimized it majorly) and cut out dairy and sugar substantially. Again all great if you have severe acne.
Severe to Cystic acne (Severe and cysts on face)
This is where its genetics or hormonal. No topical will help you. and most orals will not work. The only real answer (and believe me I'm a HEALTH NUT) as terrible as it is, Accutane. I mean how else are you going to beat genetics.....or hormones that you have no control over like P.C.O.S. In most cases you'll have to do a couple treatments and maybe take some lower "Maintaing" dosages but it works assuming your on the right dosages.
Believe me this is my LAST resort. I know it'll work I just really did not want to go down this route but if theres one thing I've learned about myself and in others who are going through this, is that sometimes you have no choice.
I also wanted to mention that i Had a terrible experience with Hormonal acne (acne around the jaw) when I was on the merena IUD but all in all that was it. It went away almost as soon as i got it removed but now the acne has migrated to my cheeks.
Just in case anyone has that.
I know theres so much out there from treatments to "theories" and face maps and diet tips and types and blah blah blah but just knowing your acne. the types you get when there more noticeable (stress, period, age....ect) you can learn what type you have and then deal with it accordingly. For example I had no idea that topicals don't work when you get into certain "grades of acne" because it then becomes an internal thing.
OH and in regards to Microderms, acide peels, facial and lasers My best advice is, if your acne i is even a LITTLE bit of an internal problem DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THESE UNTILL YOU GET THAT DEALT WITH. unless your just doing to relax because i have spent over $13,000 canadian dollars on different types
Microderms, chemical peels, fraxual laser (2 different types and 2 different places) for different amounts of sessions, v-beam, levulan (basically a very high dosage of acid on your face followed by red laser), and the worst co2 (where they burn off all your skin on your face) and believe me unless you get it the acne "problem" dealt with, its all a waste. Because not only did my acne get worse but my scarring did swell.
At the end of the day its hard because everyone says minimize what you do to not over aggravate your face yet i don't want to spend my entire life waiting months to try the next thing. I kind of want to try em all at once and see what works...even though clearly thats not smart on so many levels. These are the most general rules I can give because if you know those at least you know which direction to go in. I started with the topicals and worked my way up to the fact that accutane was my only way out. Being that i have P.C.O.S and probably some weird genetic gene. But this came after years of research tons of doctors and even some "Non-offical" ones. AND TONS of research.
So there you have it. Something I wish I would have found when I first started down this path.