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Acne in Teens & Preteens
After trying antibiotics and retin-A cream for 4 months, with very
little result, the dermatologist has just recommended accutane for
my 11 y.o daughter who is in 6th grade. I have called our Family
Physician to discuss this with him before we begin treatment
(Accutane should be starting in May).
Can anyone share their recent experiences with this drug, especially
using it at such a young age? Did it work? About how long did it
take? Side effect experiences? (Note I did experience untreatable
acne as a teen-ager, her dad did not. Her older brother did, but
not as much)
Thank you. J.
I took Accutane at exactly your daughter's age: 11 yo (in 1991!
sheesh). It worked miracles for me, but I did require further courses
of treatment later. From what I recall, my acne was worse for the first
2-3 weeks, and then instantaneously gone. You can request a
cortisone/prednizone treatment for the first couple weeks she's on
Accutane to deal with the inital increase in breakouts. The
dermatologists always told me it was a necessary part of the process to
clear the pores - the prednizone pills just helped minimize the cystic
I finished a six-month course of treatment, and then I had no further
breakouts at all until I was 14 or 15. For the next two years,
breakouts were minor, and contained with Retin-A and makeup. My cystic
acne was back when I was 17, so I did another round of treatment then.
One more at age 24, at a lesser dosage. That's held for 6 years (and
puberty MUST be over by now, right?), so I hope it was the last. Side
effects during the treatment for me included more vulnerability to
sunburns and extremely dry, chapped lips. Nothing worked on my lips
besides Vaseline & Carmex, so stock up.
There's no lingering side effects. I didn't experience any depression
or mood swings beyond what a typical pre-teen goes through. I do have
some acne scarring from my teenage years. My husband assures me that it
is indistinguishable from my freckles, but I can see it. It would
probably be much worse had I not done the Accutane.
Not sure if they still do this since it's been 20 years, but when I was
11, the drug was experimental and my dermatologist tried to insist that
I take the monthly preganacy test required of users. (severe,
debilitating birth defects are the major side effect if one is to
become pregnant while taking Accutane) No way, no how, my mother said.
After a couple moths of arguing, I got a special dispensation from
pregnancy tests, but still did the monthly blood panels. After the
first month, it was no big deal. I'm a champ at giving blood now.
I'm always the one person writing in to say this, but for me, its true:
Accutane saved my self-esteem and social skills. Before taking it, I
couldn't look anyone in the face, wouldn't go to the pool ever, had
maybe two friends. After taking it, I left high school reasonably
popular, confident, with an understanding that crippling self-esteem
issues do not have to be forever. I know it sounds like a drug
testimonial, but Accutane IS a giant pain in the ass and it IS worth
every bit of the effort when nothing else works.
I would really read the side effects of accutane - here is one list
How hard have you tried topicals?
ProActiv has been working for us, and it really helped to have its'
inventor and her staff show us how to use it. Dr. Rodan is in Oakland:
Yes it takes time to use it, but you could use a reward system. My
daughter started in middle school and uses it still today, with no
harsh side effects. She has used it at summer camp, traveling in Europe
and on a 5 week wilderness retreat.
There are other systems that work too.
accutane should be a last resort
My 16-year-old son has been taking Accutane (Claravis) for just
4 months now. He tried almost two years of Tetracycline which
initially seemed to be working, then not at all. I was very
reluctant to have him try the Claravis, but our dermatologist
was very supportive. Apparently his acne is a pretty severe
case; it's taken 4 months, double-dosing three nights a week to
get over the horrible initial flare-up. He had to take a short,
low-dose course of Prednisone to bring down the redness after
the first 2 months. He now seems to be ''almost around the
corner'' as well put by our doctor. None of these drugs has had
any negative effect on him; he has a fasting blood draw once per
month to keep watch on triglyceride and cholesterol levels,
which are so far looking fine.
The only problems he's encountered are severe dryness of his
lips, and some dryness also around the cuticles on his hands.
This seems a small price to pay for the amazing improvement that
is manifesting on his skin surface. I really think now that we
waited too long to do this. I feel that a lot of what he was
feeling about his appearance was just shoved under the rug, and
that he was suffering a lot more than was visible to us, his
parents. I say ''Go for it.'' This drug has been used in some
form or another since around 1970 I believe. Teenage
self-esteem is a hard thing to go without.
Here are a couple of websites you might want to look at:
You are welcome to email me if you think I could help answer any
questions about the process my son is going through.
My 16.5 year old son has had pretty bad acne for a couple of years.
I have been very resistant to having him use Accutane because it
seems like such a dangerous drug with so many potential side
effects. He took antibiotics for 6 months about a year ago and that
seemed to help some but not that noticeably. His acne is not
outrageously bad but it really bothers him and he has been begging
me to let him try Accutane.
Please let me know if you have experience with your teenager using
this drug. Did it help? Did the teen experience side effects? We
have not yet seen a dermatologist. Our pediatrician said he didn't
think the drug was that dangerous.
Thanks for your feedback.
I thought Accutane had been taken off the market. See
I know a girl who was an athlete and it does something to joints or
ligaments. She fell while running ALL the time. Read the article - the
lawsuits are huge and serious, and Roche has lost them all.
Please see a dermatologist before trying Accutane. This is not
something a pediatrician can handle. My 16 year old daughter has
been dealing with acne for several years. Her acne is moderate and
currently in control. What does she do? 1) washes her face twice a
day with Proactive; 2) takes an antibiotic for 2 months and then
takes a break until she feels it's getting out of control again; 3)
applies a topical gel(Differin and another stronger than Differin)in
the morning; 4) applies Proactive's face mask on blemishes at night
and sleeps with it. Proactive recently came out with a clear mask
you can wear during the day. Haven't tried it yet, but the regular
mask reduces redness and helps blemishes heal. It's a rigorous
routine but worth it in the end. Acne can damage a kid's self esteem
and with work, it can be managed. Good luck.
Fellow Acne Mom
Over the last decade, I have worked with about 10 adolescents who used
Accutane and experienced moderate to severe depression, increases in
aggressiveness and suicidal thoughts and feelings, with no prior
history of these difficulties. These problems tended to lift fairly
quickly (from a few days to a few weeks) after cessation of Accutane.
Michael Y. Simon, MFT
Dear Worried Mom:
My son begged me to used Accutane. His acne too, in my opinion, was
not that bad, but he didn't want to go through High school with any
acne. A dermatologist we saw advised us that it was okay, but I had
severe misgivings. Luckily, we found a great treatment, not very well
known. It is called levulan blue light treatment....a photosensitizing
agent is applied to your child's skin, and they sit under the blue
light lamp for about 30 minutes. They cannot go out in the sun for
that day, so we did it on a saturday. Unfortunately, we had to pay out
of pocket for this. In my opinion, I think dermatologists push
accutane so much, because it is covered in most insurances. I think
accutance should only be used for Severe acne, as a very last
resort. It worked very well for my son. It didn't clear up every
single drop of acne, but it worked well enough for him to stop begging
us for accutance. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact
My daughter's experience with Accutane was different than the other
posters so I thought I'd give you the benefit of a different opinion.
My daughter had serious acne starting in 6th grade. Her father and I
both had acne as teens and residual physical scarring. After
consistent treatment with a dermotologist, and using various
antibiotics, which worked for a time and then stopped working, by 8th
grade the dermotologist suggested Accutane. After two years of
antibiotics and other topical agents, her acne was getting cystic.
So, after consulting with her pediatrician, she started on Accutane.
I was aware of the depression side affect so I watched carefully for
it. She had blood work done monthly because Accutane can affect the
liver. She was on Accutane for six months. No side effects, other
than dry lips and flaky skin. It completely cleared her skin.
Statistically, in 70% of patients the acne does not reoccur.
Would do it again.
Our daughter used accutane, for over a year, from ages 12-13. We
have very severe cystic acne in our family-- the kind that scars the
face and back deeply-- and tried everything possible before we went
this route. My daughter had no history of, or tendency toward
depression, and those who take it must get their cholesterol checked
every month (as well as take a pregnancy test). Our daughter's
dermatologist never treated accutane lightly; we understood it was a
serious yet necessary drug, in this case. This meant that our
daughter needed to see the dermatologist every month for follow-up
check-ups and if anything was amiss, they let us know (One month her
cholesterol was high, and the dermatologist slowed her intake to
every other day for a month. When it went back to normal, she
resumed her regular daily dose until the trematment was over).
It did all it promised to do, although our daughter had to take two
5 month courses (instead of the usual one), because of the severity.
A year later and all is well. We are so grateful for accutane (and I
wish that it had been an option for me). Again- it should be taken
only with medical supervision, but many people who dimiss it (or
say, ''just wash your face; this will help'') may not understand what
it means to truly have this kind of acne, and the miraculous effect
accutane can have on it.
- a mom who would make the choice again
My son's acne was really affecting his self-esteem (he is 15). We tried
dealing with it through his pediatrician, but it was months and months
of trying creams that were doing nothing. Luckily, he had a skin
irritation from swimming all summer that necessitated us seeing a
dermatologist. Again, he went for months trying the creams again.
Finally, the dermatologist offered him antibiotics. Several of the
options were scary, but we chose the least scary one: Tetracycline.
He's had wonderful results with this drug, with no side effects. I
don't know what antibiotics you were using, but I urge you to take your
son to a dermatologist. These doctors know what they are looking at;
not so with a GP.
Before you go the Accutane route I would strongly recommend you check
out Face Reality Acne and Skincare Clinic in San Leandro. My daughter
(now 21) had always had relatively clear skin until spring 2006 when
she developed major breakouts that started to scar her skin (and
impact her self esteem.) High school is trying enough without the
added stress of acne. We tried ProActive (which only worked for about
2 months) then I took her to a dermatologist who put her on an
antibiotic and RetinA cream regime for 8 weeks that resulted in over
drying her skin and clogging her pores. Next, the dermatologist
recommended Accutane. I, too, wanted to research alternatives before
going down this potentially dangerous path. My daughter's major
concern was to get clear before she started college that fall.
From the initial phone call to the consultation, treatment and follow-
up Face Reality Acne Clinic provided a professional and very
personalized approach towards my daughter's acne problem. It took
about three months for her to get clear, but she started showing
significant improvement in the first few weeks. The program required
an acne treatment ($75) every two weeks (I'm not sure if the price has
changed) and the consistent use of several products every morning and
evening. The cost of the products was reasonable ($120 for a 3-4
month supply.) As her skin adapted they needed to introduce another
product here and there, but it was still very reasonable, but more
importantly, it worked.
The Face Reality staff also encouraged communication between visits.
If my daughter was concerned about how her skin was reacting or
whether she was doing her routine properly, she felt comfortable
enough to call. She was always able to speak to someone knowledgeable
or get a prompt call back. They are professional, kind and completely
approachable to teens, who can be super sensitive to their acne issues
at this age.
My daughter has remained clear and still continues with her simple
skincare routine. In 2007 my then 17 year-old son started going to the
clinic. He, too, had great results and remains clear (99% of the
time) despite a less than healthy diet and stress related to being a
college sophomore. For more info you can visit their website
http://www.facerealityacneclinic.com/ It's a great resource of
information. Good luck!
Relieved Acne Mom
Has anyone had experience treating cystic acne?? My daughter has been diagnosed
with it and it seems to be a difficult form of acne to treat. It sounds like each case is
very individual. Am wondering what experiences people have had with it in terms of
treatment, alternative therapies and/or nutrition? We are being told to treat it initially
with antibiotics and then eventually accutane. Any recommendations, advice and/or I
would just like to hear what others have been through. Also, we've found a
dermatologist at Oakland Kaiser (Dr. Reisman) who we really like but if you have a
referral to another dermatologist who has treated it successfully, I would appreciate
hearing about it!
I started getting cystic acne in 1987 (age 13). I went through
the usual antibiotics, they didn't help much. I did start
Accutane in 1990 but had to stop 1 week in because it SEVERELY
dried my skin (corners of mouth were cracking making eating
painful). All along the dermatologists kept recommending to
wash ALOT, and use alcohol and peroxide based cleansers. I wish
I knew more at the time and had gone through with Accutane,
even if it meant sitting around the house all summer as the
temporary effect were miserable. People who did use Accutane
had great results. I'm still susceptible to cystic acne today.
Here are my observations from 22 years:
1. Need to reduce stress. Stress is a primary trigger.
2. Diet is second. Avoid lots of sugar.
3. Wash your hands with soap, not your face, to prevent
transfer. Washing your face can be too drying.
4. Avoid greasy foods, it's getting it on your lips and face
that is the issue, not the consumption
I suffered from cystic acne starting when I was 16 and getting
really bad in my late 20s. When I was young, it was treated with
antibiotics and topicals (because I only had one really bad
cyst), but as I got older it just got worse and worse and
antibiotics did nothing for me. I finally decided to go forward
with accutane treatment when I was 29 and it worked wonders!! I
actually wish I'd done it sooner so that I wouldn't have as many
scars. Accutane is a serious drug with side effects like severe
dry skin, constant chapped lips, and occasional headaches. But
other than that I was really happy with my decision. Nothing else
will cure this type of acne - nothing!
You have to go through a lot to get it now because some
politician's son supposedly got depressed while on it and a bunch
of teenage girls messed up and got pregnant. Don't believe the
negative hype, though. Accutane seriously changed my life! I am
now 33 and have beautiful skin other than some leftover scars.
Dr. Rudd in Berkeley (not part of Kaiser) is a brilliant guy for
acne problems. But in tandem with medical care, may I suggest
you have your daughter avoid all dairy for a week and see what
happens? When I was a teen, especially, my skin would only get
huge cystic spots when I ate a lot of dairy, and as soon as I
stopped, my face would clear up fast. I would try that before
accutane (which DOES work wonders, despite the concerns about
I have problems with cystic acne that didn't arrive until my late
twenties. It was really painful and hugely affected my quality of
Differin (a less irritating form of Retin-A) has worked amazingly
for me. It made my acne worse for the first 2 weeks as my
dermatologist had warned me. However, after that, I have had a
huge improvement. I also started out on oral antibiotics, but they
upset my stomach and the alternatives were more expensive than I
was willing to pay. I have a number of friends who swear by
Accutane and say that it cured their acne long term. It wasn't an
option for me since i wanted to get pregnant, but for a teenage
girl, it will probably be fantastic.
I've been down the dermatologist route with cystic acne.
Generally, we start with topicals (retin-A, clindamyacin, and a
couple others), move on to oral antibiotics, and then if that
doesn't work, on to accutane. My advice is definitely do the
accutane if they recommend it.
I'm sure you'll hear plenty of negative feedback on Accutane.
You have to manage the side effects, and the extra testing each
month is annoying. (Every month, they will want your daughter
to do a blood test and a pregnancy test to make sure she's on
track and of course, not pregnant.) But it was the only thing
that worked for me. If your daughter is anything like I was as
a teenager, you'll be noticing the acne affect her confidence,
self-image, and friendships. It can be really crippling to face
your peers if you're the only one with that kind of acne.
Taking the accutane was the only thing that restored my ability
to look people in the eye and feel somewhat confident about
I did courses of accutane when I was 12, 17, and 27. It may not
be a permanent fix for your daughter, especially depending on
her age, but it helped me through 5 years of puberty, and then
10 years into adulthood before I had to take it again. I can't
imagine where I would be if I'd had to deal with the acne all
this time. Side effects for me included severaly dry skin,
cracked lips, and being more thristy than usual. You have to
wear sunscreen because sunburns can be bad. But all of that was
worth it in my book.
I have an NP at Kaiser Oakland now: Claire Wing. I really like
her because she talks to me like I'm an equal decision-maker in
treating my skin. Most important though is that you have a
dermatologist who is willing to make adjustments in treatment.
Like you said, it is very individual. If Dr. Reisman sees your
daughter fairly frequently and is willing to tinker with the
medicines she is using to find the right combo, then he's a
It took me almost 20 years to figure out that my cystic acne was the result of eating
foods with a high iodine content. I eliminated all fish from my diet. Hard to do
because sushi was my favorite food - but, it is also loaded with iodine; the fish, the
kelp, the soy sauce. I made a list of *all foods* that are high in iodine and never eat
them because if I do, the result is a breakout of cystic acne. It is a sacrifice, but the
payoff is beautiful skin. Such a relief after YEARS of terrible acne.
- finally, acne free.
I had /have cystic acne, with a severe occurenece as a teen and
smaller recurrences during and after my pregnancies. One of my
brothers also had severe case, and my father, even worse. I
went through standard antibotics as a teen,and although my face
has a few scars,it is mostly ok.But my back that is so severely
scarred, I never wear anything with a low back or without
sleeves(including bathing suits),even today.
When it was clear my daughter inherited the condition, we took
her to the dermatologist, who after 6 months of entry-level
options, put her on accutane at age 13. When she started
treatment,she had already gotten 4 or 5 terrible cystic
breakouts, ones that infect close to a square inch, deep under
the skin's surface and are not only painful but definitely
leave scars. Plus she had over 50 blackheads on her back
(despite VERY careful attention to washing and topicals).I'm
hear to tell you that accutane is a lifesaver. She went through
two courses of it,which the dermatologist said was quite
unusual, but she finished the treatment with a TOTALLY clear
back. You have no idea how big it was for her to buy a dress
with an open back for the 8th grade dance. Not only has it been
a huge boost for her self confidence as a teen, but I know that
avoiding lifelong scars will benefit her forever.
Some of the earlier posts suggest that washing one's face or
certain dietary restrictions are somehow the key.
Honestly,these people have no idea what it really means to
carry this gene! Going on accutane should not be a casual
decision, but one that should definitely be made and monitored
by a doctor.... but severe, cystic acne is not the same thing
as getting a few zits.(My son has had a bit of regular teen
acne, which he has treated with topicals. It is NOT the same
thing as cystic acne!!To suggest that washing up or removing
dairy will take care of problem just doesn't understand the
nature of the problem). Accutane is carefully regulated; not
only did my daughter take a pregnancy test each month, but they
also checked her cholesterol levels and adjusted intake levels
I truly believe that kids should not have to suffer from
lifelong scars in today's world.If everything else is ok with
your child medically speaking (and she doesn't have a
predisposition toward depression),and she has a severe problem,
then she should absolutely seek this treatment.
- been there and relived it
My young teen has mild acne but it is a source of some stress. Seeking
effective treatments that are less toxic to her & the planet. The website
doesn't seem to have anything recent but hopefully there are ideas out
teen girl's mom
Keys soaps might be a solution. I like the island rx soap and the extra
healing serum ( not sure of the name, little roll on bottle). I'm a
former clairol/clearasil early 40s type who had her skin dried too much
by proactive (even when just targeting the acne area). I can't guarantee
this works for teen skin, but testimonials indicate it does. And the
ingredients run toward rosemary and carrot seed oils in terms of
'toxicity.' They one an award for best non chemical sunscreen--a product
I also like.
happy with keys
The best esthetician that I know of in our area is Kathy Stephens. She
only uses green, non toxic products and has worked wonders for both of my
kids throughout their teen years. She's very gentle and gets great
results. I always consult her (for both myself and my kids) instead of a
dermatologist. She is in El Cerrito and her phone number is:
Long Time Satisfied Client
I've had pretty good luck with Neem soap - Thera-Neem is my favorite. You
can also take Neem internally.
clearer every day
I don't know if it is green or not but my daughter has had great success
at Face Reality in San Leandro. I am a big fan of their procedures and
products. It is expensive because you pay for the visits and you buy
their products. They look at your daughter's skin, do some extractions
and change up to stronger products as the skin adjusts. It does get
pricy,since the products change as the skin changes, but I feel it is so
much better than the trade off of other options we tried before. And if
I consider how much I spent on dr. visits,the lastest advertised or
recommended acne products,antibiotics and Acutane which didn't work, or
didn't work for very long, I wish I had just given Face Reality a try
years ago. Not to mention that I have nagging worries about the Acutane.
My daughter is away at college now and calls them when she needs product.
She recently contacted them to get a stronger moisturizer since the cold
climate is drying her skin too much. Her skin is looki!
ng good with the continued use of their products. Check out their
website. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to talk with you.
My son is 16 and wants to try Accutane for his acne. His dermatologist
thinks that it is okay to use. I am really concerned, but my son
really wants his acne to clear up. He has been on the antibiotic
minocycline and also using Retin-A for the past two months, and it is
not really working well. I am interested in other parents experiences,
worries and opinions about accutane, especially parents of
My son took Accutane when he was around 16 and it worked
beautifully in clearing up his acne. My only regret was
that he didn't start it sooner. I believe that his
insurance required that he be on an antibiotic for one
year before Accutane could be prescribed, and that was a
long year. However, if he's already seeing a
dermatologist, maybe that rule doesn't apply. To take
Accutane, monthly blood samples are required so the doctor
can keep make sure that there are no negative effects.
Well worth it.
ProActive works well for my daughter. Also Dr. Rodan is in Oakland and
sees patients, I believe she has sold her interest in ProActive and
has a new formulation. What is really great about Dr. Rodan is her
specific instructions in using topicals. Generally when ProActive
fails it comes back to ''user error'' for my daughter. Before you go
up the ladder with pharmaceuticals please consider reviewing all
possible details of self care. Also has your son ever been tested for
allergies? Low level allergies can aggravate skin conditions. It is
often not something the dermatologist will acknowledge or pursue.
My daughter did Accutane and had none of the mythic side
effects. She had to be (even more) careful about the sun,
but the results were almost life changing. I grew up with a
brother who battled acne well into his late 20s when the
only treatment was tetracycline, and that wasn't very effective.
If my son had severe acne and wanted to use Accutane & the
Dermatologist recommended it or was willing to prescribe it
I would go for it, with or without insurance paying for it.
I know kids who have used it for more mild acne, and I think
that was a bit much.
Why not be known for some other feature?
I don't have a son, but my daughter had to use Accutane to
get rid of persistent acne that nothing else worked on.
It is even more odious for girls as there is the whole
pregnancy/birth control element to deal with monthly, but it
was worth it. She took the Accutane for 6 to 7 months and
her skin is perfect.
You do need to be on the lookout for some of the emotional
issues that can be side effects, but I think most people
take it and do fine.
If nothing else is working, I would definitely try it.
There's nothing else like it; it works for the vast majority
of people taking it, and it will eliminate the issue.
Please consider a high doses/day of Pantothenic Acid
(Vitamin B5)-- a very popular remedy for acne in Europe.
Not a multi B vitamin but strait on B5 only. As I
understand it, your body only uses what it needs and
discards the rest so you can't take too much. It acts as
a oil production blocker -- the kind that clogs pours
(sp?) on your face -- thereby eliminating many of the
infected pours (pimples). For my kids, I started with 500
mg in the am and one in the pm. After 2 weeks one child's
face started clearing; after 2 weeks with the second child
I've had to go up to 1000mg in the am and 1000mg in the pm
for longer. The first child only takes it now if she
really starts breaking out (she used to cover her cheeks
with her hands all the time -- she felt that ugly! It
broke my heart). She also uses products from Benefit in
between. The second child has always have more oily skin
and hair, so I think she just needs more. But she's never
had to cover her face or keep her head down because she
thought she was ugly. It's been amazing for my kids and
I've even turned it on to adults who have suffered all
their lives with bad acne (also gone the accutane way) and
have had great results.
This remedy originally came from a friend's pediatrician
who explained that if more dermatologist recommended this
remedy, they might lose a lot of business. I try not to
be so cynical, but you might not get buy in from your
doctor if he or she hasn't seen results given to him or
her from your local drug rep.
A Mom with Kids with Acne in Berkeley
I'm seeking a dermatologist that specializes in acne for my 11 year old
What products have people had luck with or found did not work?
She is even starting to have break outs on her back now. Her father had
fairly bad acne, so I would like to get some professional advice for her now
before any scarring occurs.
I'm sorry your about your daughter's acne. My girl started breaking out and I
researched this topic. The only 3 proven treatments are:
* Benzoyl peroxide with antibiotics, (Benzamycin)
She is almost acne free 1 to 2 pimples and months. You have to use this product twice
and day. Start slowly...you should start to see clearing in a week and every day it
gets better and better.
Also, I use a little tea tree oil - very effective.
Please, don't waste your money or time. Get the Benzamycin immediately. You don't
need to see a Dermatologist your regular doctor can prescribe this medicine for you.
My daughter is very happy about her skin now and thanks me all the time.
* Retinoids (vitamin A derivatives), for example, Retin-A, Differin, Tazorac, treat
blackheads and whiteheads, the first lesions of acne. The most common side effect is
irritation. (I don't recommend this)
* Antibiotics, either topically applied to the skin (clindamycin, erythromycin), or
taken orally (tetracycline and its derivatives) control surface bacteria which
aggravate and often foster acne. Antibiotics are more effective when combined with
benzoyl peroxide or retinoids)
Anyone had a teenager on this drug to treat severe acne?
Both of my daughters (15, 17) have been advised by a
dermatologist to use this for 5-7months. My main concern
is what if it causes birth defects in FUTURE pregnancies
when they decidde to have children 10, 15 years from now?
My daughter spent 7 months on Accutane last year. I don't
believe it has any impact on future pregnancies from
reading the binder of info you must read and sign off on
before your daughters will be allowed to take it.
(government requirement) I would warn you though, that the
drug is very impactful on mood. Depression is one of the
risks and while for her, it never was at the clinical
level, she just experienced the stress and pressure of teen
life much more intensely than she did in the year before or
the year since. (And this year really has had more of that
stress!) The drug just seems to sap them of their ability
to bounce back from adversity. It might be good to have
some of your treatment months fall in the summer when they
have less pressure to cope with. We did Sept to April and
it made for a pretty lousy year.
I took Accutane for six months or so when I was 18 (in 1990). I had my first
child at 23 (1995) and my second at 26 (1998). They were/are both perfectly
healthy and have shown no signs of any exposure to anything toxic. The
Accutane was more effective than any other medication, although by the time I
was in my early 30s I needed a second course, which I finished last year.
Worked for me
Something to consider: Accutane can trigger attacks of
depression in those predisposed to it (at least it did with
me, in a very big way, after both courses of treatment I had).
My teenaged son has developed acne and it is very persistent. I am
concerned about scarring, and he simply hates it.
What have other parents/teens found that works? Also, does anyone
recommend a dermatologist and/or an aesthetician in Oakland who is good
with teenaged boys?
Both my teen sons(age 17 and 14) have acne and both are
treated by a local dermatologist. We all go to Dr. Warren
Dotz and think he's terrific. Older son had cystic acne that
showed up in his hairline. I was so worried it would scar
his face. He went through two rounds of accutane with no
side effects other than dry skin and lips. Both boys now use
various topical creams - tazorac which empties the pores,
and clindamycin a topical antibiotic. Younger son is doing
well with topicals. I am strong beleiver in help from a
great dermatologist. You have to be diligent with the
medicines and go to the doc regularly but it really pays off
with nice skin. I hate to think what would have happened to
my oldest without this help. It's a tender age to have this
happen to their skin and helping them out with good
dermatology care is such a great thing to do. Good luck,
Proactiv has helped both my daughter and my son with their
acne problems. It works rather miraculously. My daughter
tried many things first, which didn't work. When my son
started getting some acne, he started on it early and so
far it has prevented the acne from progressing at all. You
can look for it online: http://proactiv.com/
I also recently heard of a prescription skin cream called
Differin that can be gotten from a dermatologist. We
haven't had any personal experience with it, but I know an
aesthetician with beautiful, flawless skin who said this
cream cured her acne when nothing else did.
I hope this helps.
I highly recommend Amina at Face Magic (Pomona at Solano
in Albany. She's wonderful with teens.
My son also had a problem with acne. At first he tried
various brands of drug store products (cleanser,
astringent, exfoliant, antibiotic), which didn't work very
well. He moved on to ProActiv which also didn't work well,
even through he followed the instructions to the letter and
stayed with it for almost a year (at great expense).
Finally, we spoke with his regular pediatrician about his
acne, and she prescribed a prescription antibiotic and
retin-a to use with his regular cleanser. His acne cleared
up within 2 months and, although he has an occasional
pimple, his skin has been virtually clear for over 2
years. And our health insurance covers the medications
above our co-pay. Good luck.
Murad makes a acne treatment that I buy for every kid with acne that is close to
me. It really works. You can get these products at beauty centers, there is one in el
cerrito plaza and one on solano next to Peets. Warning they are expensive.
spot to spot
Your teens primary care provider (physician or nurse
practitioner) will be able to help. There are a number of
very effective topical preparations available. Acne is
really hard for teens. Make an appointment for him to be
My 16 year old just started taking tetracycline for acne. It is
the first few days, she has been upset anyway, and I am so
worried about how she will manage any adverse reactions at
school. She started over the weekend, but I think the next two
weeks will be crucial. Can anyone tell of their experience
using this drug? It is the first level of meds suggested by Dr.
Walker, after trying topical agents.
I presented a talk on acne after doing quite a bit of research on the topic. Use of
antibiotics has had mixed results. The latest published info: long-term ( 1 year)
use of antibiotics predisposed women to a much higher risk of breast cancer in one
large study. Some other methods to help deal with acne include a superlative diet
with lots of fresh whole foods, adequate protein, essential fatty acids, and 1/4-1/2
cup of lactofermented foods (cleanse the liver and colon; recommended by Dr. Tom
Cowan, MD). As acne has been called ''skin diabetes,'' avoiding all sugars (even fake
ones) can help. Grains and milk products can raise insulin-like growth factor-1,
which raises both androgens and insulin, plus stimulates sebum and keratin.
Special foods to use will be high in real vitamin A (eggs, organ meats, shell and
other fish), vitamins C and E, plus the minerals selenium and zinc (the ''ACESZs''). I
would add folate, niacinamide and chromium rich foods too. Supplements that
have helpful include 1 tsp Swedish Bitters at bedtime (more cleansing) and internal
and external use of beta sitisterol, the latter being a plant phytonutrient that
naturally lowers the provocative androgen contributing to most acne. Other topicals
that have a high success rate are tea tree oil (5% solution is as effective as 5%
benzoyl peroxide), aloe vera juice, and bee propolis extract. Exposure to UVB can
decrease acne, but our season at 38 degrees N ended in September for obtaining
this from the sun. Look forward to it in May, however.
Tetracycline works extremely well against acne, and I can't
remember experiencing any side effects other than increased sun
sensitivity. The problem is that there are obvious drawbacks to
taking antibiotics for an extended period of time ... but as
soon you stop taking the tetracycline, the acne comes back. So
I'd suggest getting some opinions from other dermatologists.
Personally, I've had wonderful results from Neutrogena's home
microdermabrasion kit ... but if your daughter has cystic acne
or rosacea, I wouldn't recommend it.
-- Long-time acne fighter
I took tetracycline for acne for several years, beginning in my
late teens. I used it in combination with Retin-A and Cleocin
(both topical agents). While this combination didn't completely
clear up my acne, it did help considerably. Has your daughter
discontinued the use of the topicals? I haven't heard of giving
just an antibiotic and nothing else, but I'm sure it depends on
the severity of the condition. I wish her luck. I know how
difficult it is to have problematic skin.
28 years ago, I started taking tetracycline for acne and
continued for about 4 years with no side effects then or now.
It cleared my skin quite a bit, but later prescriptions worked
better. Please email me if you have questions. Best regards,
Yikes! I had to respond to your post and share my experience, which was NOT
positive. I took tetracycline for acne for almost 2 years in college. Unfortunately, it
didn't do much for my acne at all. But it wraught havoc on the rest of my body, and I
am still paying for it 15 years later. Tetracycline is a VERY STRONG ANTIBIOTIC, and
taking antibiotics of any kind (even milder ones) for more than 2 weeks or so, can
be very harmful on your body in several ways. In the process of killing harmful
bacteria, it also kills the good bacteria your body needs to digest food, fight off
colds, flus and other illnesses, fight off yeast infections, and pretty much everything
your organs need to do to keep you healthy. Taking antibiotics for extended periods
of time, such as for acne, does not allow your body to replenish its good bacteria (as
it would do after a normal course of antibiotics, say, for an infection). It leaves your
body extremely weakened and susceptible to all kinds of things.
My personal experience was that the tetracycline did not help to clear up my acne -
but I was young and desperate and hated having acne, and I kept hoping it would
work and help it go away. As a result of the tetracycline, I got ulcers in my
esophagus because the antibiotics had eaten into my esophagus. The Physician's
Desk Reference says that tetracycline has to be taken with a lot of food or milk (not
something my dermatologist told me) and that it CAN cause ulcers (again, not
something the dermatologist told me). Needless to say, I was so surprised, and
extremely miserable from the experience, and it took several months for the ulcers
to heal (ouch). Needless to say, I stopped the tetracycline, and eventually the acne
went away on its own (more on that in a minute).
As a result of having been on antibiotics for so long, I had no good bacteria to fight
yeast, and therefore got yeast infections about every 2-3 months the whole time I
was on it (and later - I still struggle with them occasionally when my yeast gets out
of whack). I went travelling in Europe, and caught parasites because my body had no
way to fight them off since all my good bacteria was gone. The parasites went
undiagnosed for too long (the medical system... don't get me started) and as a
result I ended up with ulcerative colitis in my large intestine. That lasted 3 years and
took a LOT of work to clear up - I've been clear for over 5 years, thank God.
All this to say a few things: I am not at all saying that all this will happen to your
child. But what I am saying is that there are long-term reprecussions to long-term
use of antibiotics, especially such strong ones as tetracycline. If your child's skin
does not respond to antibiotics at all after a month, I would take her off them as
they are clearly not helping. Give your child acidophilus daily the whole time she is
on the antibiotics, to help replenish her good bacteria. And try to help her cut down
her sweets and bready things - so that she doesn't get an overgrowth of yeast in her
system. Yogurt is great for good bacteria intake.
If I had it to do all over again with what I know now - and I have learned a lot as the
result of all I've experienced health-wise - I would go see an allergist or alternative
practitioner to be tested for allergies to foods, because I am pretty sure that the
reason my body had acne in college was (1) because I was eating WAY too much
dairy and my body didn't like it, and (2) because my hormones were out of balance
and having a hard time being processed by my liver (this is actually something I am
working on now with an alternative practitioner with great results). Maybe my
hormones eventually got balanced and that is why the acne went away, or maybe I
eat less dairy and cut out caffeine - who knows. But I do know that the tetracycline
sure didn't help with the acne.
Also, the longer you use an antibiotic, the weaker it gets and the less effective it is
on your body. I am pretty convinced that after having used it for so long, it wouldn't
do anything to kill bacteria in my body if I ever had an infection that required
antibiotics. Ultimately, you want to ''save'' use of antibiotics for life-threatening
illnesses, so that they will actually work if you really need them
I would be happy to talk to you more about this if you have questions. As you can
probably tell, it is something I feel really strongly about. Feel free to email and I will
give you my number. And I would be happy to recommend some great people who
might be able to help with a non-medical approach to your daughter's acne.
I took tetracycline for acne when I was a teen. It was moderately
effective in reducing acne, but my acne was never especially bad.
I'm not sure what side effects you are worried about, but I
didn't have any of them.
However, one day, several months after after starting the drug, I
started itching intensely all over my body. It wasn't pleasant,
but neither was it excruciating--maybe comparable to the chicken
pox. Apparently it was an allergic reaction. Following the
dermatogist's recommendation, I discontinued tetracycline, took a
benadryl or something similar, and I was fine in less than a day.
I think he put me on a sulfa drug like Keflex next.
I hope this isn't alarming, because I didn't think it was big
deal then or now, and I would put my child on tetracycline for
acne if the dermatologist were to recommend it.
i took tetracycline for acne and had a hard time committing to
the eating restrictions (take around, not with, food; no milk,
which i drank at the time). but the worst problem was the yeast
infections. i don't mean to be gross, but i was thirteen and
didn't know why i was ''peeing cottage cheese'' -- it literally
flowed and looked like wet toilet paper clumps. for this reason
alone, i would definitely not recommend. why kill all the body's
Please advise re skin care products for a teen girl with
frequent break-outs, and many red spots (from picked-open
We are not interested in a ''medical'' solution. A friend's
child had severe mental side-effects from Retin-A, and this
is not uncommon.
Proactive web reviews indicate severe burning and skin
cracking as a side-effect.
Have you or your teen found any products that work?
I have a good friend named Gillian Christie who markets a
line of all natural, botanically based skin care products
by a Swiss company called Arbonne. She reports many
posaitve outcomes with her products. More info at
I have now had two children (teens) who have benefitted
from skin care/products offered by Katherine Leverette, an
esthetician who operates Solutions Center (510-893-7546).
The Center is near Laney College in Oakland. For years, we
have referred to her as ''the Acne Queen.'' She uses natural
products, explains a lot about skin care, and is a total,
Believe it or not, we have found head & shoulders shampoo
to work quite effectively. My family uses it all the time
when they start breaking out. Just wash your face with
it. Worth a try.
This to the parent who seeks products for their child's
acne. There is absolutely no product that will work if the
young person ''picks at'' his/her skin. The number one
factor in whether small blackheads become pimples is
contact with the hands. Bacteria and irritation are going
to win every time. Please help your kid train him/herself
to NEVER touch the skin on the face except when washing.
How I wish I'd been told this before I endured Phisohex,
Clearasil, Retin -A treatments, sunlamps, tetracycline,
chocolate-deprivation. A dermatologist taught me this and
my skin cleared up perfectly from that day forward.
I am looking for someone who can give me an education
regarding the benefits and side effects of taking
Triphasil -28, a low dose birth control pill, for control
of acne. My daughter was given these at the Berkeley
Health Clinic, without my knowledge, after she and I had
briefly discussed how these were offered as an possibility
for controlling her skin problems (which in my opinion
could be much worse, but her face was broken out much of
the month). When she originally brought it up I said that
I thought that hormone control for acne might be effective,
but seemed very intrusive for the body and I said I did not
want her to do it. However, Arianna went to the clinic and
the pills were prescribed, according to the clinic doctor
and Arianna, when we talked about it, both for acne and to
control menstrual irregularity, which she apparently has
been experiencing since joining the BHS crew team. I tend
to stay away from most medical treatments for my children,
and would like to know how to discuss the pros and cons
with my daughter, and to better understand any long-term
consequences of this. The clinic doctor said that as far
as they were concerned, there was no danger in low dosage
birth control pills, either immediate or long-term. Also,
if anyone knows the regulations regarding treatment of
minors without parental consent, I would also be interested
in understanding that better. The clinic apparently
supports kids with any kind of need for sexual activity
without contacting parents, which I actual would agree
with; but since this was another kind of treatment I
wonder where the parent fits in. Has anyone had
experiences of this kind? I want to support my daughter to
make informed decisions, and realize she may not always
agree with me. Thanks.
RE: Birth Control Pills and Acne
1. I prefer Dr. Katie Rodan MD, 510 763-2662 and her Proactiv
system. 1-800- 950-4695. Properly applied - use enough and
every day, follow directions it works wonders. We found that we do
not use enough to be on the monthly delivery. We get shipments
once or twice a year. We do see Dr. Rodan once or twice a year
also, though our insurance covers the visit. Proactiv is over the
2. There is a lot of free literature in the library and on the internet to
treat this naturally, though I do not know the best direction for this.
Cleaning the face with non-allergic, non irritating cleaners is
always important no matter what method you choose.
3. Hormones and no danger? Read the insert on the prescription.
There are many current trials on hormones that have not been
completed. The ones on hormones for older women have had
results so negative that they were discontinued. Once I was asked
to sign a release from a doctor for PUVA treatment, which many
people use. The doctor was assuring me that there were ''no
dangers''. I then asked why he wanted me to sign a release? I took
out my pen and notebook and started to draft a statement that the
doctor would assume any and all damages that may be incurred
using PUVA, and he asked what I was writing. I told him, that I
would sign his release if he would sign mine. My appointment
ended really fast. Everyone's definition of ''danger'' might not be
4. Do you really want to train your kid to take a pill every day if
there are effective alternatives? If this is a last resort because she
has difficulty being consistant with topical treatments, will she
remember to take a pill?
5.Your teen needs to really understand the Birth Control Pills do
not protect against HIV. Teens are one of the fastest growing HIV
positive age groups.
6. I have dealt with the Dr. - patient thing too. My sense is you are
responsible legally for her decisions until 18, and you remain her
mother forever. Before our next doctor's visit, I will leave it up to my
daughter to tell me if she wants me to remain with her. We ususally
split the time with her ped, but she is not always comfortable alone.
I highly recommend the Acne Clinic in Walnut Creek. This
place offers a safe non-medical alternative to clearing up
acne and staying away from birth control pills when not
needed.I went to them for my daughter with GREAT results.
What meds have worked for your teen?
Though there have been many previous postings about acne, I
am wondering if anyone out there has found help! We have
been to a Dermatologist and have been following a
prescribed course of antibiotics, topical solutions etc.
all to no real success. I have ordered the Proactiv line
of products and am considering the use of birth control
pills which have been suggested by the dermatologist. My
daughter is feeling very desperate and I want to do whatever
I can to try to help her. What has worked for others?
Make an appointment to see Dr. Katie Rodan MD, 510 763-2662 ,
she is in Oakland and takes many insurance carriers. You can call
to see if she takes your insurance. ProActiv is her line and she has
had very few failures. It might not work if the steps are not followed
properly, One of her assistants can review how your daughter uses
the system and help her make adjustments. We were doing one
thing wrong and when we corrected that - boom it works perfectly.
Sometimes in person instruction is better than an product insert.
We went through every antibiotic and every topical alternative for
our son (who was 15 at the time). He had cystic acne, with intense
red areas, swelling--it was a very difficult time. We finally bit the
bullet and put him on accutane. I know how controversial it is, but
it is the only thing that worked. And months after finishing the
course of treatment, he remains acne free.
There are so many safeguards now that we decided that it was
worth the slight risk involved to save him from further emotional
trauma and physical scarring. Dermatologists must be certified in
order to prescribe it, and your child has to have regular lab tests.
Everyone I've spoken with who has a child who has used it, or who
has used it him or herself (it's amazing how many people I know
who have used it or knows someone who has) swears by it.
I'm so happy and relieved that my son looks like himself again, and
is no longer embarrassed or disfigured by acne. It's worth looking
into for your daughter. Best of luck to her. (Please feel free to
email me if you have questions.)
The main advice I have about acne treatment is that not
everything works for everybody, and it's certainly worth it
to experiment with ''natural'', non-medical treatments before
going the drug route. However, everyone reacts differently to
every treatment, and if your child is already getting
physical scars (not to mention the emotional ones) from
severe acne, you might want to explore Accutane. Actually, if
you are already being seen by a dermatologist, and various
antibiotics haven't worked, the doctor will usually suggest
Accutane. As controversial as that drug is, it is actually a
cure for acne in most patients. It has been a miracle drug
for my teenage daughter, even though I am uncomfortable with
medication that isn't absolutely necessary.
Acne is a ''hot'' topic for me, having suffered my whole
life with severe acne that has been resistant to all meds and
treatments, both Western and alternative. The only thing that
worked for me was in 1966 (!) when I took a high-dose
estrogen birth control pill that cleared up my skin but
caused terrible side effects (migraines, huge weight gain,
edema,depression) that forced me to quit. I am in my 50's and
still have acne flare-ups, plus my face is badly scarred.
People who have never experienced severe acne may not
realize that not only does it cause emotional distress, but
it is also quite painful to have huge infected cysts all over
one's face, back, chest, and arms. No, it is not a life
threatening condition, but it sure makes day-to-day life
tough, especially for sensitive teens. Please don't let
people give you a hard time if you decide to go with
something as heavy-duty as Accutane.
When my daughter developed acne when she was about 12,
we tried Proactiv first, which worked great after about 3
weeks. After about 7 months, though, even with diligent use,
the products didn't work anymore. The pediatrician prescribed
a topical cream, which worked for awhile, too. Then came the
dermatologist, and a series of topicals and antibiotics which
all worked for awhile, then lost effectiveness. Her skin
scars easily, and she already had several purple ''pits'' on
her face. I finally gave my OK to Accutane, and although she
still has scars (that will supposedly fade with time), she
has perfectly clear skin now. Those of you who have suffered
from true, severe acne know what a miracle that is.
Whatever you try from the advice you receive from this
list or from the archives, remember that any treatment
usually takes at least 3 weeks to work.
To the concerned mom who's dealing with her daughter's
acne - my advice is to keep trying. My son went through
treatments with clearasil, benzoyl peroxide, minocylin,
tetracycline,benzamycin gel, and retin-a - none of which
made a dent for long. What I didn't realize is that cystic
acne can get very bad very fast, so while we were ditzing
around with these remedies, he was getting worse. He is now
on accutane (the generic version) for three months now (the
full course is 5-6 months), and his skin is almost
completely clear, except for some scarring. It is a scary
drug and I wouldn't recommend it if your daughter is
already prone to depression or unable to talk about her
feelings. It has been (rarely) linked to suicidal feelings.
I monitor my son's mood closely (this just means that I pay
attention, not that I interrogate him...)and he's required
to get monthly or bimonthly blood tests. It is also a very
expensive drug, although covered by most health plans. The
good news is that it works when nothing else does. I wish
you luck in your search.
Re: the Proactiv system, my wife purchased it, both for her
self and our younger son (now 21!!). It works well for my
wife, but not so much for my son-- the difference is (no
surprise) that you need to be pretty disciplined in your
usage-- our son runs around so much (college student,
active social life w/ erratic hours), that he doesn't use
it appropriately and doesn't get the same results. Hope
Dear Concerned Mom:
I don't know whether techniques useful for males are also helpful for
females, but if they are, then you should know that my sixteen-year-old son
has just begun using an over-the-counter twice-daily wash on the strong
recommendation of the parents of one of his younger friends, who claim (and
their son's face apparently proves) does wonders: Clean & Clear( Continuous
Control( acne cleanser by Johnson & Johnson.
ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES. The unique ingredient is benzoyl peroxide, which is
neither hydrogen peroxide nor any another other kind of peroxide. As I
understand it, no other product contains this particular kind of bleach,
and, in using the facial wash twice a day, a small amount of bensoyl
peroxide remains within the skin pores, which inhibits the development of
acne, whose growth depends in part on bacteria. The benzoyl peroxide kills
the bacteria, so no acne can develope.
- acne developes over approximately three months (or so I'm told), it takes
about ninety days for the twice-daily wash to show its full effects:
perfectly clear skin
- the active ingredient is a kind of bleach, it's recommended that anyone
using it sleep on white pillow cases; while normally my son enjoys deeply
colored flannel bed fittings, he has no problem whatsoever using white
pillow cases -- at least for the summer!
Please also note that, while our very good friends highly recommend this
cleanser, our own son has just begun using it, so we cannot personally
attest to its effectiveness. Nevertheless, on seeing how well it has worked
with our friend's son, we are eager to spend the summer testing it. If you
decide to do so as well, our best wishes on your daughter's success!
My daughter, 12, has recently started to get acne. What meds (over the
counter or prescription) have your found that worked?
My daughter uses Clean and Clear compulsively and it keeps her face in good
shape. I have to buy her TUBES and TUBES of the stuff -- for her backpack,
locker, gym bag, volleyball bag, etc., but something is working. Maybe
it's just washing her face often.
My daughter is using Bezamycin gel (it's actually a cream) which works
great. It is a brand name prescription medication however and it's VERY
expensive (like around $90/jar) so it's only practical if your health
insurance pays for it. However, if they don't, I've discovered that it
contains 2 active ingredients; one is over-the counter (about $3 a tube)
and the other is a generic prescription (so a lot cheaper). (What a scam
those drug companies have got going!) I can't remember the names of the
two active ingredients, but any pharmacist can tell you.
My daughter's acne responded well to Proactiv. This is a kit with several
parts that must be used daily for decent results, so your child must be
motivated. The best price we found was through WonderfulBuys on the web.
You can join a "club" where they will ship the stuff to you every 2 or 4
months, and you get free shipping that way. Here's their e-mail address,
or you can just go search the website (wonderfulbuys.com):
In reply to the mother asking about acne medication: my daughter has used
ProActiv for the last two years with good results. I can't recall offhand
their website address but if you search for it, you'll find it. It's
relatively economical especially in comparison to prescription medication,
about $50.00 for a 60-day supply of treatments. I think their start-up pack
is the facewash, lotion and spot treatment. It may take a month or so to
see results, depending on your daughter's case. In this case, anyways, you
can believe the infomercial hype.
Both of my kids have had acne and have been treated by a dermatologist
over a period of 3 years. Many of the prescription topical applications
and oral medications worked in varying degrees and for varying periods
of time. I have learned that the combination of medications in relation
to the specific kinds of acne present make a difference. Also,
sometimes the acne becomes resistant to the medication. Unless your
child's acne responds to over the counter benzoyl peroxide, I recommend
you find a dermatologist (who hopefully is covered by your health plan).
My older son ultimately took Accutane, and I wish he had begun it much
sooner. None of the other treatments helped very much and those that
did help stopped working after a while. He finished his 5 month course
of Accutane last March, and his skin has been clear since then. By the
way, he had relatively few side effects - slightly raised cholosterol
level and dry lips.
Other medications that have been helpful are oral Minocyclin, Bactrim
(though my son turned out to be allergic to it), topical Tazorac and
Xerac AC, topical Benziclin.
My son started developing a few pimples around 12 1/2. The following
year they were more frequent and lasted longer, but would eventually go
away. When he was 14, the pimples seemed more intransigent. I took him
to see a dermatologist, Dr. Greta Clarke on Milvia Street. She
prescribed two creams, to be applied on alternate nights. The first
cream, BenzaClin (clindamycin-benzoyl peroxide gel) is stored in the
refrigerator. The second cream is Differin (adapalene). They didn't
seem to work at first, but after a month his skin completely cleared
up. He continues to use the creams to forestall new pimples and there
appear to be no side effects, although I have not researched the
toxicity of these drugs. We're very happy with the results of this
regime. I only wish I had taken him to the dermatologist earlier, but
it's hard to tell if acne is a problem that will go away or if it will
get worse. Good luck.
I have found that an easy and cheap acne treatment is to dab Hydrogen
Peroxide on your pimples after cleaning your face with gentle cleanser. Do
this preferably at night.
My son developed pretty severe acne so after trying all the over the counter
products we went to his physician and ended up over a period of many months
going through all the progressively stronger prescription medications for
acne up to the maximum allowable dosage for Acutane, which is pretty scary
stuff. He had to go off Acutane eventually because they can only prescribe
it for a certain period of time, then you have to wait 6 months or so before
they can represcribe it. After the Acutane, he tried Proactiv and that's
when his skin finally cleared up completely and has been clear now for
probably a year without any follow-up care. Wish we had tried Proactiv
I have had great luck with an infomercial product called Proactiv Solution
It has helped my teenage daughter's acne tremendously and is also great
on adult acne.
Accutane and Depression
Does anyone have teenagers that have used the presciption drug for acne
called Accutane? I recall reading somewhere that it has been known to
cause serious depression and even suicide with teenagers. I have a friend
who has a daughter that began using it and caused serious depression soon
after. Anyone with information on how to reverse the side effects would be
To the person who wanted info about teens and Accutane:
My daughter took Accutane for the entire treatment last summer and early
fall(about 16-20 weeks). She was fine while taking it, and it really
cleared up her skin. I was very concerned about possible depression because
I have a lot of it in my family, but the doctor assured me that this side
effect was rare. So far, she's been okay except for the usual ups and downs
Regarding Accutane and Depression:
I do not know of depression associated with Accutane. You can look up
information on most drugs, their uses and any warnings on line or
through a physicians desk reference (PDR) which should be in most
Counseling is obvious as a suggestion because there may be deeper
reasons which the Accutane only sparked.
HOWEVER, regarding reversal of depression caused by a nutritional
imbalance or drug reactions, there are some nutritional approaches as
well. In her book, The Diet Cure, Julia Ross, who runs a large drug,
alchohol and diet addiction recovery program in Marin, outlines the uses
of amino acids her clinic uses (suplements found at most whole
food/nutrition stores.) and which ones work to offer support for each
set of problems (depression being one). This is also a great reference
for those dealing with issues of diet (and dieting) related mood swings,
obsessions, cravings, and mal-nutrition (often a part of female teenage
eating patterns). She also addresses hormonal shifts, food allergies,
etc. which could be at the root of the acne problems. I would
investigate the nutritional side of the issue immediately. While I was
using them for allergy reactions, the few amino acids supplements I've
tried worked almost immediately.
In 1998, there was a Medscape warning about accutane (
http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety.htm) "isolated reports of
depression, psychosis and rarely suicidal thoughts and actions."
"FDA and the drug manufacturer are strengthening this label warning,
even though it is difficult to identify the exact cause of these
problems. Such problems could already be more common among the patient
populations likely to be on the drug. However, because some patients
who reported depression also reported that the depression subsided
when they stopped taking the drug and came back when they resumed
taking it, the agency and the manufacturer felt the strengthened
labeling was warranted as a precautionary measure."
My understanding is that this possible side effect needs to be
balanced with the depression involved for teenagers with severe acne.
More info here:
About.com - Accutane
There have been postings in the past regarding taking the prescription
drug ''Accutane'' or isotretinoin for acne. Saw this article regarding
a new national registry for all users of this drug because of the
severe danger the drug poses during pregnancy. The article also
chronicles other specifics about the treatment that people should be
Natural Remedies for Acne
I would appreciate recommendations of natural or less-toxic
approaches to a mild case of adolescent pimples. I've checked the
digest, and was surprised to see this hasn't come up on the teen list!
I have worked with a number of parents who introduced their teens to Super
Blue Green Algae (Aphanizomenon flos aquae) and have had great results. One
man told me that his back acne cleared after one week.
I have had a good experience treating acne with a Chinese Herbologist
in San Francisco who is a skin specialist. Her name is Prof. Jialing
Yu, and her office number is 415-337-0308. Both my 14-year-old neice
and I have been very happy with her treatments. She gives Chinese
herbs which are all natural. The treatment is on the expensive side,
though, so may be overkill for a mild case. But if you are wary of
Accutane or antibiotics, which you would probably get at a Western
dermatologist, this seems to be a safer approach.
Acne in Adults
I am a 40-year old woman who has been dealing with painful
adult cystic acne for a decade. As background, I use
ProActive, I am Retin-A and Benzoil Peroxyde interolerant,
and I have been on and off acne-related antibiotics. After
a recent bout, my dermatologist has recommended I go on the
generic form of Accutane (Accutane was pulled from the
market last summer, but generics are still available). I
would love input on the following:
Accutane (Isotretinoin): There are numerous proven and
claimed side effects to the medication which make me
hesitant to use it, despite the praise as an acne miracle
drug. La Roche claims it pulled Accutane b/c the generics
were eating into their profits, but I suspect there is more
to the story given the $25 million verdict awarded this week
to a man who developed ulcerative colitis from Accutane.
Please share your experience w/ the drug. What side effects
did you have while taking it? How long did it keep your
acne away? Have you had any conditions/issues occur after
taking the drug which you suspect are linked to the drug?
Accupuncture/Alternatives: I am exploring alternatives to
the drug, and I would love to know of a good accupuncturist
with experience treating acne or other skin conditions. I
am open to other treatments as well.
Acne isn't supposed to come with wrinkles and saggy
I took Accutane twice (at 20 and again at 23) and it was the
only thing that truly stopped my acne. I hated to resort to
taking such a harsh drug, but I was to the point where I
didn't want to leave the house because of how I looked.
People who have not suffered from terrible acne rarely
understand this. I followed dr.'s orders and was extremely
vigilant about birth control and sunscreen, and did all the
regular labwork recommended. I suffered no ill side effects
from Accutane besides dry lips, and now at 39 only rarely
get even a pimple or blackhead. no more acne
After trying many options (retinA, benzoyl sp? peroxide,
tetracyline, etc.) from 7th-11th grade, I went on Accutane
in high school. I have only positive things to say about
the results. Yes, my hair and skin are not as oily as they
were pre-Accutane (but for me that was a positive) and while
on it I had really dry skin and lips, but I didn't have any
other side effects.
I did go on a briefer stint in college as some acne had
returned, but it was never to the adolescent state. Again,
no side effects.
Let's just put it this way: I got a comment that I had a
'peaches and cream' complexion. I NEVER thought I'd hear
I don't know if the kind of acne makes a difference with
regard to outcome, so I'd talk to your MD about it, but I
would use Accutane again in a heartbeat given my previous
experiences with it. thankful to be post-acne
I had multiple rounds of Accutane treatment in my teens. my
family has a horrible history with acne and my mother and
younger brother also went through rounds of Accutane. For
me, it was the most painful experience and I would seriously
urge you to consider all other options. Unfortunately, I
don't have any experience with accupuncture in this area or
any other solutions that you haven't tried already. I quit
smoking cigarettes and tried to follow a stricter regiment
with antibiotics and topical solutions, which has kept my
skin very clear recently and I am so thankful to whatever it
was on my path of medication and topicals that ended up
working. From what I remember of my time on Accutane, it
very much felt like I was taking something very dangerous
into my system. The pills would come in individually
partitioned foil sections with a piece of paper you would
have to pop out bearing an image of a pregnant figure with a
red line through it. Scary image, but I kept on taking it.
My skin dried out so much that I developed cracks in my lips
and the skin on my face would flake off. I had multiple
nosebleeds in a given week and I suffered from extreme
embarrassment from the flaking of my skin. I was in high
school, after all. I made it through one course and had
somewhat recovered from the side effects but still had very
painful, severe acne. My doctor offered another course of
the Accutane and I agreed, feeling like I was at my wits
end. After the whole ordeal, I really felt that I had
suffered major depression as a side effect. In fact, there
were several lawsuits that surrounded the suicidal feelings
some people felt as a side effect of the drug. I would
strongly caution you to be careful with generics. This is a
dangerous drug. I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions for
you otherwise, but I hope that there is something out there
for you that alleviates the struggle that you are going
though. Good luck.
My daughter took accutane last year (a generic) and I went
in with a very cavalier attitude that the mental health
claims surrounding Accutane were all a result of a
coincidental suicide of the child of a prominent person. My
daughter began a normal dose for her body weight and within
two weeks began to have severe mood swings with odd suicidal
overtones. She also suddenly stopped eating and became
super skinny. She had Never had any depression or mood
swings prior, nor had ever had any eating issues. I
discontinued the med and watched her closely. The
depression abated a few weeks after stopping. Meanwhile, I
researched a bit of the 'evidence' that has not fully borne
out the claims that people become suicidal on this med even
though it is on the package insert. I was loathe to
completely discontinue the medicine as it really worked and
gave her truly beautiful skin. I reintroduced accutane on
very very low sporadic dose and her skin has remained really
clear and she has not had a recurrence of mood swings or
There are some that theorize that depression can be
triggered and abated by shocks to the brain system (an
abrupt change in homeostasis). For whatever reason, I KNOW
that this med did trigger this severe reaction in my
daughter. I'm not sorry that we used it but I would suggest
that you have really good support and really monitor your
mental health. Anon
I feel your pain. Don't live with cystic acne anymore! I
did accutane twice, many years ago. No difficulty with
depression or any of that, only very dry skin and worse acne
for a few months. The first time I did it didn't really
improve, but I did a second course and the acne greatly
improved for a few years at least. Over the years I've had
ups and downs with my skin through pregnancy and such.
However I have now found a light therapy, blue light with
levulan. It definately clears up my skin for several months
at a time. It takes a few treatments the first time but now
I just do a maintenance tx every 6 to 12 months. Look into
it, I think it's great. good luck
I also had adult cystic acne that was incredibly painful not
to mention unsightly. I was put on Acutane for a 5 month
duration, and looking back, I would not do it again. I
developed night blindness, which affected my ability to
drive, I had recurrent nose bleeds, amongst other bleeding
areas like cracked skin between fingers and corners of the
eyes... 10 years later, my eyes are extremely dry where I
have to use eye drops daily. I had a feeling of bone pain
upon waking in the morning. It felt like when I stepped out
of bed my bones would shatter. I also developed elevated
liver enzymes. My skin was SO dry Vaseline was needed but
didn't help. Yes, my acne went away, but to this day, my
skin is still extremely dry. It wasn't worth it for me. I
wish I would have been able to manage my skin through
professional facials ( think European facials with
extractions), diet, and natural means like herbal remedies.
Good luck! J S
Believe it or not, I had success with a homeopathic solution
I got at Whole Foods. Cheap, no side effects. Vitamins
(especially B vites) helped, too. KC
My sister and I both experienced rather severe cystic acne
as adults. After Retin-A didn't work for me, my
dermatologist recommended Accutane. I was too afraid to take
it after seeing what happens to a fetus if you get pregnant
while you're on the drug, so I went with a very strong dose
of antibiotics instead. The antibiotics worked for a while
but the acne came back when stress in my life ramped up
again. It finally went away after I went on birth control.
My dermatologist would have required me to be on birth
control before prescribing Accutane for reasons mentioned
above, which led me to wonder if some of Accutane's
effectiveness is really due to birth control leveling off
Then my sister started taking Accutane without taking birth
control (she wasn't in a relationship at the time and
convinced her doctor that she wasn't at risk for becoming
pregnant). It eventually worked for her but she experienced
severe dryness while she was on it - dry lips that no amount
of chapstick would relieve, dryness on the inside of her
nose, etc. She also still has scarring on her cheeks.
Neither of us had tried acupuncture, but since there aren't
side effects it's probably worth a try. I've heard that
oregano oil capsules can help with acne and hormone
imbalance but haven't tried that either.
I had horrible cystic acne since I was a teenager and I went
to Bina Jangda, LAc who has been the only person that could
do anything about it. I've tried everything. Literally
everything. Acupuncture worked. Her herbal knowledge is
impressive. She hand-made an herbal toner and a nightly
herbal mask which helped control the acne between
acupuncture sessions. I could see visible reduction in the
size of the acne after each treatment. Treatments are 1hr
and 15min to 1 1/2 hrs long. She accepts insurance which
covered most of the expenses for me. The herbs were
out-of-pocket. I'd give her a try. Her number is
510.393.7565 www.binajangdalac.com RL
Ugh, tough decision. Accutane is scary, but cystic acne is
truly, truly awful (and physically painful too!). I was on
accutane for about 6 months in 1997-98. Prior to accutane,
I'd had horrible cystic acne on my neck, shoulders, back and
buttocks. Accutane made it all go away, and it has never
come back (12 years later). I don't remember any
particularly bad side effects. My skin did dry out, and I
had to be extra-vigilant with sunscreen (which I am anyway).
I did not take birth control while on accutane. I was
celibate at the time and convinced my doctor let me skip
birth control if I came in once a month and took a pregnancy
test. I also have some hormonal imbalances (low thyroid)...
all of this is to say that I suspect that with further
research, they will discover that there is a hormonal
component to some people having depression and other bad
side effects and other people doing fine on the drug.
At the time I was on accutane, none of the
depression/suicide risk was known (or at least I didn't know
about it). If I were deciding whether or not to go on it
today, I think I would probably really work at exhausting
all my other options before making the choice to try
accutane. Hope you find a solution...
I'm suffering through adult acne after stopping my birth control pills
for about 6 months. I used to have a bad case of acne when I was
younger, and then my skin was under control (because of the pills, I
guess) and now I'm going through it again. (I'm 45.) I hate seeing
acne and acne scars on my face. Help!! Should I go back to the
pills? What over-the-counter products work for adult acne
(hormone-related, I think)? Murad? Proactiv? And what product can
help with the scar? If you have success with certain dermatologists,
I'd appreciate hearing about that as well. Thank you!
Laura Cooksey of Face Reality Skin Care in San Leandro is an esthetician
who has specialized in acne for years. She came to this specialization
when she started experiencing her own acne as an adult, and I was
surprised to learn that people come to her clinic from all over the Bay
Area (as far as Santa Rosa!) and consult with her from places around the
world regarding the products she provides. She has been a godsend to me
- literally no one would even suspect I had ever had a serious problem
with adult acne.
You can reach her at 510-351-1842. Her website at
facerealityskincare.com also has a lot more information, including
useful articles about acne.
elizabeth at alexander pope works great with adult acne she helped with
I'm looking for recommendations, especially products to help with
teen acne or adult acne?
I had terrible acne when I was in my early 20's. The best thing
I've ever used(that wasn't RX) was the Pro Active Repair
Lotion and the toner.( They have a cleanser that has scrubbing
beads but that was too rough on my skin and caused me to break
out worse). I've noticed at the Hilltop Mall they have a
vending machine where you can buy the products individually. I
would just use the Repair Lotion at night and in the daytime
use an oil free lotion (Neutrogena makes nice ones that don't
break the bank). If you have health insurance that pays for a
dermatologist I would take advantage of it , they could
prescribe a retin A cream that would help clear up the acne and
help with any scarring. Both of these methods helped me a great
Acne free now and happy
I have had acne on and off since I was a teen (mostly chest,
back, and neck). I did a course of Accutane when I was 18 and
again when I was 33. Since then (3 years), I have been able to
control it with an over the counter lotion from Neutrogena,
called ''Oil-Free Acne Stress Control,'' applied once daily
(twice a day is too drying). I buy it at Longs. My 13 year
old daughter started using it too when she developed the same
type of acne and it seems to be working for her as well. We
didn't see results until we had been using it for about two
weeks. We use a similar foam cleanser in the shower. The
active ingredient in both is salicylic acid; you can find other
products that contain it. Good luck.
I have found the Murad line to be very effective and
affordable. They have different lines depending on how
aggressive of a treatment one needs. I had tried many things
and at the risk of sounding cliche this was what truly worked.
If treating light acne I would suggest their ''gentle acne
treament'' as the regular one is very strong and can be a bit
irritating if your acne is not too severe. However the regular
line is excellent for severe acne. Best of luck.
I have been suffering from acne for 20+ years--I am now a 36 mother of two
and tired of bad skin. I have tried everything--
from Accutane to Tetracycline to Mario Badescu to Proactiv. I am looking
for a good dermatologist in the East Bay area (preferably Lamorinda/Walnut
Creek) and/or product recommendations.
Tired of Teenage Skin
I also am a 36 year old mother of two with relentless acne! Accutane and
everything else didn't help much. I saw Dr. Melinda Meyers on Ygnacio Valley Rd.
in Walnut Creek for two sessions of blue light treatment with levulan. It held my
acne at bay for 14 months, at which time a new round was necessary. Anyways I
think this is a really effective treatment, Dr. Meyers is very knowledgeable about
the procedure and other cosmetic acne procedures. It doesn't last forever, but no
acne treatment does, unfortunately! pretty clear now
I have been fighting mild to moderate acne since I was a teenager
(I'm 22 now). Recently my acne has flared up quite a bit although
it's not horrible enough to do something drastic such as Accutane
or Proactiv. I need some advice on a)finding cheap products that
work for acne or b)finding a dermatologist that sells cheap
products that work. Thanks
One product: PROACTIVE! God this stuff is good, and it really works. I
rarely break out anymore(I'm 40 yrs old!), and I just tried this product
on a whim. You just have to be consistent with it. On top of that never
scrub your face with a wash cloth, use LUKE warm water and pat dry. Dr.
Rodan(see below) told me I was washing my face the wrong way all these
Proactive costs about $38 for two months, but I've been able to stretch
my treatment package to 3-4 months(and I use it everyday).
Call Katy Rodan's office in Oakland at 510-763-2662 (she's the proactive
dr) and see if you can buy the package straight from her office without
an appt. Then you don't have to pay shipping and handling. It's about
$39, a bit more than you want to pay, but worth it.
Some years ago, my primary care physician prescribed a topical ointment
I think was called Differin (not sure of spelling) which helped my mild
case of adult acne. He said it was mild enough for his twelve year old
daughter to use. It worked well on my oily skin. During the past couple
of years, I have also started to wash my face morning and night with
Purity face wash which seems to have been keeping any breakouts at bay
Proactiv is just 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. There are other products made
my Cosco and Neutrogena that have the same ''system'' that Proactiv
touts. The only thing that is over-the-counter that works for acne is
benzoyl peroxide, some people believe that salicylic acid also is
effective. Otherwise you need a perscription for retin-A type products,
topical antibiotics, or oral antibiotics...not all of which are
expensive. It is very difficult to get accutane these days, even for
those with cystic acne Pediatrician
I have had a lot of luck with the Clean and Clear line (at Target,
They have both benzoyl peroxide meds, and salicylic acid ones, so you
can pick which one irritates your skin less (I like the s.a.
ones, because they don't bleach my clothes!).
You don't say what kind of skin you have, whether it's dry or oily or
what, but my normal-to-dry skin breaks out less if I make sure it's
well-moisturized, and that I clean it only with stuff that doesn't strip
my skin. So: no harsh soaps, only Cetaphil in the morning, and I use
Noxema pore-refining cleanser at night, before night cream.
Oral antibiotics are the most effective, and don't cost much, although I
am concerned about the long-term effects after I took them for years. I
wouldn't call Proactive ''drastic'' - the active ingredients are the
same as in other over-the-counter acne lotions (either benzoyl peroxide
or salycylic acid, I'm not sure which) but in lower doses and with
moisterizers. Lotions only work if your acne is very topical and you
use it constantly. Otherwise you'll need to take something orally. If
you don't want to take antibiotics, some versions of the birth control
pill can be helpful, but certainly not cheap unless you have health
coverage. And there's accutane - one course of it will last 10 years!
But not a good idea if you are prone to depression or have any chance of
getting pregnant anonymous
I have had good luck with the Neutrogena On-The-Spot salycilic acid gel
that is supposed to reduce redness in 8hrs. I have also had good luck
with this sulfer based ointment that the aesthatician at Azul Spa
recommended to me; it is sold at the spa but I haven't seen it anywhere
Other than that, I highly recommend seeing your dr. I had a two year
bout with what I thought was cystic acne, but being a mom I never made
time for myself to go to the dr to have it treated professionally. Then
this last spring I developed bacterial pneumonia. It was treated with a
pretty strong antibiotic that cured the pneumonia quickly... and seems
to have had the very happy side effect of clearning my acne. I'm sure
they don't normally prescribe this medication for acne, but who knows
what else they are using these days!
spot free for 3 months!
Try Paul Penders Herbal Citrus Fruit Exfoliant. It is a product you
apply twice a day, leave it on, and it results in very effective
exfoliation, much better than I was able to achieve using scrubs, or
standard hydroxyacid lotions. It really changed my skin dramatically-
cleared out old buried blemishes and very few new ones appear. It is
~$13 for 2oz which will last a couple months- you should see results in
that time if it is going to work for you.
The only thing that has ever worked for me is birth control -- ortho
tricylen. Unfortunately, I never found any other product to work. I
went off the pill for 6 months hoping to control it some other way but I
wasn't able to even with a dermatologist's help. Acne runs in my family
-- my mom (50) still struggles with it! So, at least for me, it's
definately hormonally- related and not something that can be fixed
easily with topical stuff anon
A few years ago I had a terrible case of acne and tried everything over
the counter. The only thing that really worked was the Clean and Clear
Continuous Control acne wash ($4-5 at target). Its benzoil peroxide so
it will make your face a little red and bleach your clothes. I would
just use it at night as a cream on my zits and leave it on all night
(not as directed on bottle). My acne went away in a few weeks (maybe a
month). Now I only occasionally get zits on my chin so I use the Clean
and Clear Advantage saliclic acid cleaner daily. I wash the rest of my
face with a regular cleanser and just use this on my zit prone area.
I've been acne free for over a year (even through a pregnancy) I only
get a zit or two when I don't use the cleanser. Its good stuff.
I would also recommend drinking lots of water, not touching your face at
all, and make sure the phone doesn't rest on your chin when I'm talking.
Also, you should use a separate towel to dry your face after a shower or
washing. (Its probably not good to dry your face with the same towel you
dried your armpit with the day before) anon
A dermatologist, Christine Avakoff, recommended I have 2
treatments of Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy to treat my acne,
acne scarring, and red skin. I am in my mid 30's and have had
acne since I was a teen. I am ready to do more than over-the-
counter topical solutions. I have used Retin-A for years, with
very little success. My searches as to the pro's/con's of Light
Therapy have led me to advertised website only; I have not been
able to locate any cautions/dangers of this type of treatment.
I am looking for input from those who have any experience with
photo light treatment for acne, or any other useful treatments
for acne, acne scarring (mild), and rosacea.
I haven't tried blue light therapy, but I had tremendous success getting
my sometimes uncontrollable acne under control with Laura Cooksey. She
has a skin care clinic in San Leandro, but it is worth the drive. She is
an esthetician who specializes in controlling acne, and can offer a
combination of in-office treatments with at-home products (not over the
counter stuff) that are very effective. She has a website at
www.facerealityskincare.com that talks more about what acne is and how
she treats it.
I have done 3 courses of the blue-light therapy over the past three
years. I have also suffered from acne since my teens.
In the past some accutane courses held off the acne for years at a time
but eventually wore off. While nursing my first child my acne returned
three years ago and I did a blue light course in SF. It worked
immediately and my skin was clear for nearly a year until I became
pregnant with my second child.
Don't know if it was the pregnancy or if the effects just wore off
eventually. My acne came and went during pregnancy and again returned
when nursing my second child. I did another round of blue light at a
different clinic and it had no effect this time. I then learned about a
new procedure that uses the blue light with a chemical called levulan
that is supposed to be much more effective. I did 2 treatments of this
last fall and my skin has been basically clear since a month or so after
the second treatment. What they do is scrub your face, apply the
levulan, it's in a stick form like deoderant, then it incubates for
about 1 hour, then they put you in front of the blue light. You're not
pretty for about a week. Your face is red, really sensitive, swollen
then it peels like a snake. You can also experience breakouts and lots
of whiteheads during this time as everything is coming out. But the
results are great. It also helps with fine lines and discoloration. I
highly recommend it and will do it again if my acne returns. I did it
with Dr. Melinda Meyers of Walnut Creek. It's $250 a session. Good
My daughter has done the blue light treatment at The Laser Center of
Marin. They suggested an 8 treatment regimen which we did. Her face
has cleared wonderfully and we now go back every couple months for a
followup treatment. They are in Corte Madera (415-945-9314) or
I have a combination skin (oily aroung chin and nose and dry on
the cheeks). I usually get acne like one or two would appear
right before my period and would disappear in a day or two but
since last month I am getting cystic acne on my cheeks. I have
never had cystic acne before. It is painful and ugly and takes
like a month or more for it to disappear. I am not sure why I
got it suddenly at this age. I haven't changed my diet or my
face wash (proactive). I am guessing that it is because I am too
stressed this semester as I am taking the MCAT, working and a
big course load. I still eat healthy and get at least seven hour
sleep every night as usual.
Did anyone else have a similar experience with sudden cystic
acne breakage? If yes then what did they to to cure it. My
dermatologist recomended topical retinol, oral contraceptives,
and/or accutane. I have never used any of these before and am
aware of the side effects. Has anyone used these and have gotten
good results? Has anybody gotten steriod injections or have them
I am avoiding coffee, chocolate, sweets and any fatty food. I
have heard and read that diet affecting acne is a myth. Is there
anyone who thinks that diet makes their acne worst? Also does
cystic acne leave permanent scars r bumps?
definitely related to stress.
adult acne happens. and cystic acne is most common starting at 20 years old.
as you are pre-med, it would probably be best to consider going on birth
(pills or vaginal ring) to regulate your periods, so you can skip periods for
and spring break, etc... most MDs (women) I know are regulating themselves to
few periods per year as possible e.g. 1 or 2 using continuous cycling of birth
pills, or the vaginal ring.
cystic acne definitely scars! get it treated. after birth control, I would
antibiotics and if it is bad enough then accutane...
Sophia, adolescent medicine MD
I developed cystic acne at 24. It took me ten years to decide
to use accutane - ten years of mild to moderate acne,
antibiotics, benzoil peroxide, and more and more scars.
Accutane is the only drug that permanently helped me.
The first course improved my face a lot, but after about 3
years I decided to try another. That course improved my face
even more. I then tried another course after that, about 2
years later and have had virtually no problems since.
You may be told that additional courses won't improve your
acne, but this was not my experience.
During the teatment my lips got severely dry, so dry that they
blistered. But a good dermatologist who has experience with
Accutane will know how to treat the side effects. I went to
It seems that doctors in the US are more reluctant than doctors
in England and Europe to prescribe Accutane. An article out of
England that my husband found said that doctors there treat
even mild cystic acne with Accutane because of the
psychological distress cystic acne causes.
Hi, I have cystic acne, though mine did not come on suddenly.
First for the bad news: I'm 40 and I still have it. The good
news: There are many effective treatments for cystic acne. You
should also know that you are not causing it! No, you aren't.
No, it's not what you're eating. And no, it's not necessarily
from stress. It's a hereditary disease.
In terms of your course of treatment, Accutane is kind of like
the nuclear bomb. It will work, but you might want to try
milder options first. I wholeheartedly recommend combining
topical Retin-A and oral birth control pills. I definitely have
cystic flare-ups around my period. When I was taking BCPs I
didn't have them much at all, but for other reasons I can no
longer take BCPs and now I get a cyst or two every month. When
I get them, I get a same-day appointment with my dermatologist
(if your derm is serious about acne, he/she should have same
day appointments available) and I get a steriod shot. It's not
the world's most pleasant experience, but it's not like
childbirth either, and the cyst is gone in 1-2 days WITHOUT a
scar. In short, the shots are great.
In terms of Accutane: I did a long course of it in my 20s and
it cleared me up (mostly) for a decade, but the effect does
wear off after a while. In exchange I had the most unbelievably
scaly skin - my lips were literally peeling off -and joint
aches that kept me awake at night for my entire course of
treatment. Hence my nuclear bomb analogy.
Retin-A: Takes some time to get used to. You may be red and
itchy with some flakiness at first, but your skin, especially
at your young age!, will become accustomed to it over the
course of a few weeks. And you know, it's good for preventing
wrinkles too, though you're probably not concerned about that
Lastly - don't get microdermabrasion. It seems like such a good
idea for those of us with acne scarring, but it's really not.
First of all, cystic acne scars are deeper than anything
microdermabrasion can reach. Secondly, and most importantly,
the procedure can cause dormant cysts to become more active.
Hope this was helpful. I feel your pain!
At 22 years, I too had a bout of cystic acne. I was in grad
school at the the time and under quite a bit of stress. One of
my classmates took me aside and told me that there were many new
treatments available to treat acne (this was in the late 1980s).
B I remember being quite taken aback by her frankness because I
didn't think my complexion was all that bad. Anyway, she gave me
great advice and I consequently went on Accutane for six months
which resulted in gorgeous skin until I got my first real job a
year later. The working environment was so stressful and I had
enormous self doubts about my abilities. The cystic acne
returned with a vengeance and much to my mortification, I
overheard my boss gossiping about my skin at work! I decided to
go back to Accutane for another six months and the second course
of treatment really did the trick. Over the next 15 or so years,
occasionally I would still have breakouts but they were so much
easier to manage. I also think with maturity I have learned to
be more confident and to handle stress better. Hope this helps.
Been there too
I would definitely re-examine what you are eating. Are you
eating enough greens, less white flour, etc? Resting? I read
somewhere that when your internal organs are overloaded with
expelling toxins and wastes your skin is the next stop. For me
too much sugar, caffeine, and bad oils are the culprit.
Check the types and quality of oils you use in your food
(rancid oils do a lot of damage to our system). EVO and
coconut oils are the best things for skin. Stress is another
skin spoiler, but you have a heavy load and unfortuneately it
comes with the territory.
I would definitely say that because you live a stressful and
busy life you need to take extra good care of your self through
eating, exercise, and relaxation. The prescription stuff never
worked for me and I have really managed my acne with the
above. Check out nutrition tips from the book ''Nourishing
Traditions'' by Sally Fallon.
Cystic acne no more.
I haven't been ''officially'' diagnosed with cystic acne, but mine
sounds just like yours. The only thing that I have found
consistent about it is that if I eat gummy candy (jelly beans,
gum drops, etc.) I will surely break out. Not that I don't break
out other times, and not that it doesn't go away for a few
months at a time. I used to think sunlight helped, but it
doesn't seem to any longer. I'm not willing to use accutane, and
can't take birth control (though I still had it when I was) so I
just try to keep my face clean (I swab with rubbing alcohol) and
not touch my face or eat the offending candies. And that seems
to keep it down.
I've battled acne for years now and have done many many
conventional treatments, most of which have not helped. It
seems to come and go but has been pretty present the last five
years, and I'm in my 30's! Has anyone tried accupuncture and
if so what were your results? I'm ready to try anything, I'm
so sick of this! Thank you in advance.
Sara Rankin of Alma Acupuncture in Oakland specializes in ''Facial Rejuvenation'' which works really well for many skin conditions (wrinkles, blemishes etc.). She has a lovely office close to Piedmont and Broadway in Oakland. She takes insurance for medical conditions (Alta Bates and Kaiser Plans for example). Reach her at: 510 593-7514.
Although I don't suffer from acne, I had another skin problem for several months for which I consulted an acupuncturist. It went away after a few weeks. I saw Dr. Robert Zeiger, a great acupuncturist and doctor of oriental medicine that I can highly recommend. His contact info: (510) 843-7397, 3031 Telegraph Ave., Suite 106.
Sorry to say I tried acupuncture for over a year for my adult acne with no results. I kept at it because my insurance covered the treatments, so I wasn't paying out of pocket. I just started taking tetracycline (again) and using tazorac (a new retinoid cream). Its too soon to say if these will deliver the results I am looking for, but so far better than the more natural routes I have tried over the years...
I don't know anything about acupuncture for acne, but I will share our experience. My son is now almost 16 years old, and he had struggled with acne as soon as he hit puberty. Then last year, when he joined the football team, he developed an awful facial rash, no doubt exacerbated by the sweaty helmet and chin strap.
He had tried all the antibiotics and face creams perscribed by several dermatologists until it looked like accutane, a medicine not without significant risk, was our final medical option. Not wanting to go that route, we looked into unconventional approaches. After doing some internet research, it seemed that some people benefit from removing sugar from their diet. My son decided to try it at the encouragement of his medical researcher dad, and--what do you know--his face cleared up!
He still has quite clear skin 3/4 year later (and yes he is doing football this year again). He eats no sugar or honey or molasses, etc. When he wants a sweet he eats no-sugar-added ice cream or cookies with no sugar. Thanks to the popularity of Atkins Diet, you can find lots of substitutes. He still keeps his face very clean and showers twice a day and uses the topical creams. He feels he is happy to give up sugar to have normal skin.
Hope this helps. I know what a frustration it is.
Sugar free mom
I haven't tried acupuncture for acne, but I'm a student of Chinese Medicine. A teacher at my school, Dr. Yu, is supposed to be great. She specializes in dermatology (and teaches it). She teaches at ACTCM 415.282.7600. I'll try to get her # and post it for you.
Dr. Yu is a dermatologist (Chinese Medicine - acupuncture and
herbs) in San Francisco. Her number is 415-337-0308.
I hear she's great.
i've had wonderful luck with Proactiv for the past 10 years or so. it
In my previous life when I was on 'the pill', I did not need to worry so much
about regular break-outs on my face. I then went off the pill to become
pregnant and the break-outs were uncontrollable! Then during pregnancy my
skin was soooooo happy again! But now I've given birth and the teenage-like
acne has returned. I have my hands full with a 2 month-old and don't have
time to do anything more than just wash my face in the shower (when I get
one!) I'm currently using Neutrogena daily face wash but I guess I need
something stronger. Any recommendations for something I can use on my
face that won't dry it out but will control the blemishes? My skin doesn't seem
to be either dry nor oily nor combination. I'd call it ''normal'' except I keep
breaking out. I really don't have time for anything more complicated than what
can be accomplished in the shower....
too old for pimples
I have also had problems with adult acne and have resorted to
trying many different things. Currently I have been using an
acne bar from Clinique and also being a sometimes showerless
parent, only use it in the morning. I have had very little
breakouts since I started using this line early in my
pregnancy. To help prevent dryness I also use their moisterizer
which can be put on quickly after I shower. Both products can
be a little pricey but they last a very long time so in the
long run are not much more than what you are currently using.
Hey there. I don't think you necessarily need something
stronger to take care of your acne, especially if you have
normal skin. why don't you try something less irritating than a
traditional acne control wash. my skin cleared up when i
stopped using a daily scrub stopped washing my face with a
soapier product. Instead, I use Cetaphil twice daily (sometimes
three depending on my activity) and moisturize with an Aveeno
product. Then, I only used a facial scrub once a week. This
regimen has worked very well. I too am experiencing acne
related to my pregnancy and got a prescription from my primary
care doctor for topical Eurithrimycin pads - they look a lot
like stridex pads, but they don't dry out your skin. basically,
it's applying antibiotics to combat the bacteria in your skin.
It works very well and i bet you could get several months worth
that should help you until your skin returns to normal post-
pregnancy. Good luck!
I had the same problem you did. Pretty good skin before pregnancy,
glowing, gorgeous skin during and then rotten skin and hair after giving
birth (and for about a good 8 months afterwards). Realize that your body
is going through hormonal changes that affect your skin and hair,
usually it seems for the worse postpartum. These things do seem to
When my skin was at its worst I got desperate and actually ordered
Proactiv after seeing the infommercial and I LOVE it. It doesn't dry my
skin out and the three step system has been easy and really effective. I
also take 400 mg of vitamin E every day and that seems to help, too.
You can order Proactiv online. Check it out...
I'm sorry to have to say it, but what you need cannot be done in the shower.
Washing your face is not enough! You need something to put on your face
*after* you wash that will kill the bacteria that cause the acne.
I have had persistent acne since I was in my teens. While it's not as bad as it
was then, I still break out, even though I am now 35! Well, I *would* break out,
that is--I don't now. However, the ONLY thing that works for me and my
stubborn acne is a BENZOYL PEROXIDE product. Here's the thing a lot of
people will probably recommend something with salicylic acid. The problem is
that salicylic acid works only on acne causing bacteria that are not very far
beneath the surface of your skin. I know for me, salicylic acid did NOTHING and
I found out that this is because only Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) gets the DEEP
Ok- you don't want your skin dried out, and BP is rather on the drying side.
The thing to do is to STAY AWAY from regular, over the counter products (like
Clearasil and Oxy). These products tend to have WAY more BP in them than you
really need. It turns out that a 10% BP product (usually labeled ''extra strength'')
isn't any more effective than a 5%, which isn't any more effective than 2.5% !!
The only difference is that the 5% and 10% BP products will dry your skin out
much more than a 2.5% BP solution. Also, over-the-counter products tend to
have a bunch of other ingredients in them that *I* think are bad for your skin
(aluminum derived ingredients, tints and other stuff - yuk!).
After much searching, I found a terriffic BP product that is pretty much nothing
but a water based cosmetic gel with 2.5% BP. It works GREAT, and it doesn't dry
out my skin as much as the other stuff. Of course, I do also put on a
moisturizer - but I would do this anyway as I DO have combination skin.
I would recommend staying away from those acne treatment *systems* (entire
lines of products - face washes, toners, creams, gels, etc. etc.) especially if you
want to avoid drying out your skin. Besides, these are often overkill and may
take up more of your time than you need. Of course, if your acne is bad
enough, you might NEED an entire system to treat it, but I have found that I
really don't need all that stuff, and my acne is pretty bad if it goes untreated.
The product I use is ''DDF'' (Doctors Dermatologic Formula) Benzoyl Peroxide
Gel. I buy it online from a local cosmetologist (based in Orinda), Mary Gilespie.
She has an e-store www.skin911.com. She ships very quickly and her stuff
is reasonably priced (the BP gel costs pretty much the same per ounce as what
you would pay for over the counter products - you pay more by the tube
because they hold twice as much), and she give great customer service. I
couldn't be happier!
I too have adult acne which recurred after I went off the pill
and got better while I was pregnant -- and afterwards I was
right back to being the only adult in the room with pimples. I
have no plans to go back on the pill and don't want to do
tetracycline, but I did find a skin-care product that has helped
tremendously. I get my brows waxed at White Rose in Oakland (on
College near Claremont) and the owner there recommended the
Karin Herzog Vita-A-Kombi cream (she gave me samples first and
then I went back and bought it). I am usually quite skeptical
of any ''skin care system'' that promises great results and then
at every stage tells you that you must buy yet another product;
however, she recommended one thing and said that was all I
needed. My hormonal surges are sometimes still stronger than
this lotion, but it is far more effective than anything I've
tried and I am so happy to be done with Clinique, Origins, etc.
(The only downside is that it has hydrogen peroxide in it, so
when I'm not careful the tops of my eyebrows get a little
I have suffered from mild acne my whole life (like you better
when on the pill or pregnant). Acne medications like benzoyl
peroxide and Retin A make my skin peel horribly. The last
dermatologist I saw suggested using an over the counter facial
soap with salicylic acid (2%). Aveeno and Neutragena have
these products although they are sometimes hard to find (I have
purchased them at Walgreens). I have also found generic brands
as well which are a bit cheaper (Rexall pharmacy in El
Sobrante). The liquid face soaps have 2% salicylic acid while
the bar soaps only have 1%. Initially I was washing my face
twice a day with the liquid soap, and it was a bit drying. Now
I wash once a day (in the morning), and my acne has
disappeared. Good luck!
I feel your pain. I've had bad skin since I was 15, with flare
ups depending on the time of month or how many hormones were
surging through my body. My skin was glowing and perfect during
my first pregnancy, and alarmingly acne-riddled during my
second. I was then diagnosed with acne rosecea (hey, wrinkles
There are several routes you can take, but some of them are best
left until you wean your newborn. After I weaned my son at 9
months, I started a low-dose course of antibiotics and Metrogel
lotion, prescribed by my dermo, which got my rosecea under
What you can do now is try Eucerin pore-cleaning gelwash every
night. It's non-drying and seems to be keeping my skin under
control. Also, make sure you have a good skin cream/sunblock on
every day, as sun exposure also seems to affect adult acne.
Again Eucerin prodcuts are good and affordable. Good luck!
I have absolutely been there, so you have my sympathy. I tried
facials (for me, a total waste of money) and all sorts of
expensive and inexpensive products, and the only thing that
really ever worked for me was Benzoyl Peroxide. If you haven't
already, consider the Proactive line of products, which uses non-
irritating amounts of Benzoly Peroxide. I used the cleanser,
repair lotion and mask and got great results (I did not,
however, shell out the money for the daily moisture lotion,
figuring that the Oil of Olay that my dermatologist had
recommended was good enough). I should warn you that after a few
years on Proactiv, it stopped working (apparently, my skin
adjusted), so I switched to a lotion with a higher percent of
Benzoyl Peroxide, and it did the trick. One more question Now
that you have your baby, have you considered going back on the
Dear Acne sufferer,
HI, I am a Licensed Acupunturist/Herbalist/Nutritionist Mom. It can be so
difficult to deal with things when you are a new mother. I totally identify
with you when you say you don't always get a chance to take a shower!
My non-kid friends couldn't seem to understand that when I first had a
baby. I just wanted to say about the acne that it is usually associated
with diet. I know it might be hard right now, and you may have already
heard this, you don't say, but you really need to avoid fried foods, greasy
foods, spicy foods, coffee, red meat, cut way back on sugar, dairy, no
sodas. On the other hand, do eat lots and lots of greens, whole grains,
fruit, and fish, especially salmon and cod. Another thing is that anything
that you put on your face that has petrochemical based products, such
as fragrance, can interact with the sun to cause outbreaks. Stick to
hypoallergenic products with no fragrance. This includes your laundry
detergent! Fragrance can stay in your sheets and cause problems.
Those anti-static sheets in the dryer are the worst! If you want a quick
topical, grapefruit seed extract has some of the highest anti-bacterial
effect, higher even than bleach, better than tea tree oil, and is all natural.
As a last resort, if you feel you must resort to a hormone treatment, use a
natural progesterone cream. If you'd like to know more about why, feel
free to give me a call. (510) 306-0067
Rhoda Climenhaga, L.Ac. rhodacm at earthlink.net
Definitely try Proactiv Solution (www.proactivsolution.com). I was skeptical but
when nothing else worked, and I'm still amazed at what a difference it has made.
during pregnancy and nursing,too. Really, it works. Good luck!
Go see a dermatologist. None of the over the counter stuff
works very well. I saw my first dermatologist when I was 16
after years of acne. I've had it under control ever since and
never felt better.
I am a Mary Kay beauty consultant and also had the same
problem. I have been using a blemish control cleanser ($10)
twice a day and have been free of breakouts.
Give me a call or go to my website for further information
At 41 I also still have acne (the horrible undergrounder-painful
type). Thought it was gone for good after undergoing Accutane
treatment 20 years ago, but no, it recurred several years ago. I
currently use two different kinds of cleansers and a topical
medication prescribed by my dermatologist... but had not reached
a completely zit-free state till I discovered the wonders of
Vitamin A and Zinc! If I'm starting to break out (like around my
period) taking a zinc supplement (just the RDA dose) and drinking
carrot juice for a couple of days really puts a halt to the
breakout. Works for me...
Hi. I'm 5 months pregnant and have acne. I know it's hormonal, but it has NOT let
up and I don't remember it being like this with my firstborn! I am trying Proactiv (for
a month or so) and it helps some, but I am experiencing acne still and have
significant dark/red scarring. I don't wear makeup, and anyway, it seems to draw
even more attention to the problem when I do apply. Can anyone recommend
pregnancy safe treatments - for the scars in particular?? I have heard about facials,
aestheticians, laser treatments... but I know nothing of these things. I also don't
have an unlimited budget. I live in Alameda and would appreciate a nearby
recommendation. THANKS! Ugly Momma
I had luck with products including alpha and beta hydroxy acids, not
benzoyl peroxide, specifically the neutrogena acne patches and olay
''age defying'' cleanser. the zits stopped being so huge and raised
after the baby was born, but the red spots remained for awhile, but were
helped almost immediately by the age defying wash.
anon zit mom
Hi - please check - I am pretty sure Proactiv has retinol and therefore
should NOT be used during pregnancy. I am also pregnant and have acne. I
went to see Francesca at Alchemy Skin Spa in North Berkeley in Walnut
Square and she has some fabulous all natural products that are totally
affordable and are working really well. Her number is: 981-9881. She is
also a mom and is really gentle and highly professional.
Hi -just wanted to add - I had increasingly bad acne in both my
pregnancies - and to my dismay after my second stopped breast feeding it
got worse - I went to several ''top-notch''
dermatologists, went through two rounds of antibiotics, a ton of creams
and gels all to no avail - zits, some large and painful but - especialy
rash-like, small bumps all over my cheeks, forhead and neck persisted -
both derms suggested accutane.
Last weekend we were at a wedding and the woman next to me mentioned
she'd had this problem and it turned out to be a dairy allergy - I'd had
a dairy sensitivity after my first was born but it manifested as stomach
cramps, gas etc.. - I didn't have those symtoms with the second so never
considered the allergy possibility (strange that the docs didn't either)
- the happy ending? After only 5 days dairy free my face is almost
completely clear! - no kidding after 7 months of creams, lasers, and
pills - I stop the cheese and milk and presto - I have my face back - of
course this may not be your situation but just something to think over,
your body changes so much during pregnancy who knows what can happen-
wish I'd tried it sooner.
I have terribly acne caused by pregnancy and would love to
hear what safe remedies others have used for this problem.
What products did you use, and can anyone recommend a
dermatologist who knows how to safely treat prenatal acne?
I also had a lot of acne when I was pregnant. Try the Proactiv
acne products. I have been through all sorts of acne
treatments, including Accutane multiple times, and Proactiv was
very effective for me! Good luck... and congratulations!
When I was pregnant, my back broke out pretty badly. My
acupuncturist suggested that I take acidophilis and it really
helped to clear it up. I bought the most potent (and most
expensive) kind from her, but it was well worth it!
Hi, although I don't remember all the details of your original
post, I want to warn you about using Retin-A, Retinol, the
generic version Trentoin, or its derivative Accutane, during
pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks. It has been proven
to cause birth defects, most likely to the ears of the fetus. If
you have any doubts, do a google search on ''retin-a & pregnancy''.
Also, COQ-10 isn't safe either.
All this highly chemical stuff, even though it's just applied
externally, does get into your system and cross the placenta. My
dermatologist who prescribed this for me never mentioned it, by
Wrinkly Pregnant Lady
Hi, I wanted to respond to the pregnant woman asking about help
with acne I HIGHLY recommend Proactiv Skin care. can be
Having battled acne myself, I have tried EVERYTHING. this was
the only long term solution for me. Results start to show in a
Best of Luck
My baby is 10 months now and everything is fine except for the
severe skin problem that I've had for at least 4 months
already.I didn't have anything like that even in puberty.
My doctor blames hormones and suggestes to ''wait and see'' ( she
did thyriod hormones testing - seems to be fine) but I wonder
if Moms out there had the same thing and how did they handle
Will facial help? Homeotherapy?
I had really bad pre-natal acne and couldn't (and still can't due to breast
feeding) use Retin A so I started using Proactiv Solutions. It seems a little
pricey but the bottles of products last for a really long time. They have a
cheesy website (proactivsolution.com) that you can order from and you can
become a member (like the Hair Club for men). The membship is a lot more
flexible than it sounds on the site and you can call the 800 number and talk to
someone about the options. It is working for me and I hope it works for you
too because acne whatever the cause is a bummer.
My prenatal/postnatal acne did not go away until I stopped
nursing. If you are nursing, this might clear up when you stop.
There are 2 natural products which some people have found very
effective for acne formulated by Dr. Berman -- Aboriginal Gold
and Dr. Berman's Mineral Mask. I have a validation from a
Beverly Hills/Hollywood esthetician named Lyn Bresnahan about
both products which I can email to you if you would like to read
it. Her cystic acne was cured with Aboriginal Gold. Also, Dr.
Berman develeoped the Mineral Mask to treat his teenage sons'
acne. I can also provide more information about both products
if you email me.
I have been struggling with adult acne since I was in my early
20's. I've tried everything and it just seems to get worse as I
get older (I'm 35). My last dermatologist told me it probably
would continue in this manner until I was 40 (ugg). I'm so sick
of it! The worse part is the break outs on my arms and back. The
face stuff has been controlled moderately with Retin A. I'm
considering using Proactiv on my arms and back. Has anyone had
success with this? How long did it take to see results? Should I
give up using Retin A on my face and just go with Proactiv?
Where do you buy it for the best price?
Thanks in advance!
The dermatologist that created Proactiv, Dr. Katie Rodan, has an
office in Oakland. I found ProActive was helpful, but I
needed more help and she is quick to find whatever solution works
for you. (She may coordinate the product with something else, or
help you find a new product altogether) It can sometimes take
a few weeks to get a first appointment, but in my case, it was
definately worth it. She is located at 3300 Webster st. The
number is 510 763-2662.
Another product you might want to consider is Obagi NuDerm
products. They are used in conjunction with Retin A and have
been wonderful in controlling my acne. I'm 35 and have been
plagued with acne and hyperpigmentation since I was about 18.
I've also used Retin A on and off for many years with some
success but this stuff has done wonders. I originally started
to use Obagi for my skin discoloration but, to my surprise, my
acne was gone in about 3 weeks. I've been using it for about 7
months now and have had about 3 blemishes the entire time (where
I used to break out about every other week). It's expensive
stuff but it goes a long way. The 2 month supply really lasts
about 5 months. Dermatologists will try and hawk the stuff but
the best prices I found were on the internet. Check out
www.centerforskin.com. Best of luck to you !
- acne no more
My aunt does a lot of research in the cosmetics field and she
turned me on to Paula Begoun, ''the Ralph Nader of cosmetics'',
who's written several books about skin care and beauty products
(reviews and a good deal of debunking) including ''Don't Go to the
Cosmetics Counter Without Me'' which you can probably find it at
the library. She rates pretty much every cosmetic and skin care
product under the sun, from drugstore to department store to
info-mercial product lines. I've learned to trust her research,
and her take on most of the ProActiv line is that it's overpriced
for what it is.
Meanwhile, one of the problems with Retin-A is that it's in a
*cream* formulation, the base of which can actually clog pores
and cause break-outs. (Pretty smart, huh? What are these people
thinking?) I believe they're working on a gel formulation, but
don't know when this will become available.
In her book ''The Beauty Bible'' Begoun discusses skin care issues
and may have some more viable suggestions for you. Have you
considered Accutane? It's an oral medication and I would think
of that as a last resort, but the results are often amazing. (Do
not even CONSIDER Accutane if you are thinking about becoming
pregant as it causes severe birth defects.) I've had horrible
acne most of my life and it cleared me right up about ten years
ago. When it started to flare up again recently, along with
Rosacea, I began taking Jasmine oral contraceptives and that's
made a huge difference both in the acne on my face and on my back.
Another acne sufferer
I have been reading up lately on PCOS, which is polycystic
ovaries syndrome (or ovarian syndrome)- and one of the phenomena
that goes into the diagnosis of the syndrome is persistent adult
acne (in women) that responds poorly to treatment. PCOS is
often treatable. It might be worth checking out with an
endocrinologist, instead of a dermatologist, if this could be
contributing to your acne. Just a thought, because PCOS is on
I had stubborn, ''not terrible'' but painful and constant acne
starting into my teens, which (contrary to what I'd been
advised) did not abate well into my twenties. When Accutane
came out, having tried every topical treatment available at
that time (the 80's), I jumped right on the bandwagon. What
a relief; by the end of the course of treatment, about six
months as I recall, the acne was gone, and I have had great
skin ever since. So while I have no information about
Proactive (sounds, from the website, like it's pretty effective
stuff), I can certainly recommend Accutane in case Proactive
doesn't work for you. Accutane does interfere with embryonic
development, so you have to take care not to become
pregnant while taking it; otherwise its side effects are mild
in most people (I experienced dryness of the eyes, for
instance). If I had it to do over again, I'd still try every topical
agent available first, though. Good luck!
I swear by Proactiv. After 17 years of trying every
prescription, over-the-counter and department store acne
treatments, this was the only product, aside from Accutane,
that actually worked! I have had acne my entire life along with
extremely senstive skin. I had seen the infomercials but always
dismissed them as a lot of hype. When my skin flared up again
after my daughter was born, a friend recommended this product.
I was skeptical but after a week of use, my face was totally
clear. I started to get compliments on my ''perfect complexion''.
It was a dramatic difference with no side effects. I use the
cleanser 2x daily, the toner 1-2x and the lotion as needed. I
can sometimes get dry or a bit irritated with the lotion so I
cut down on the use. I have been using this for a year and
aside from occasional monthly zits (1 or 2 only), this is still
working wonders for me. I use it just on my face but assume it
will work just as well on other parts of the body. As far as I
am concerned, it is a miracle.
Acne in Children
My son is 5 and a half and he is already getting blackheads and
pimples! Breakouts are mostly around his nose and happen about
once a month. He washes his face twice a day with soap.
Should I be applying a benzoil peroxide treatment at this early
age? Or a tea tree oil cleanser?
Thanks for any advice.
You should consider taking your son to a dermatologist for a
checkup. The dermatologist might have a better way to treat the
acne and/or the underlying cause than you could yourself using
I'd stay away from tea tree oil. It is highly allergenic,
especially once it has begun to oxidize.
Former Tea Tree Oil Fan
this page was last updated: Aug 7, 2011
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