I started getting acne around the age of 12, and I wasn’t very worried. Where many of my friends faces turned bright red and had dozen of little white pimples all over their faces, I just had a few bumps here and there. The problem was, by the time I was 16 most of my friends were acne-less or close to it and I had the same amount of acne as ever.
My acne was never white or blackheads, but instead it was large bumps under my skin that often hurt and gave me chronic headaches, and they lasted forever. A single patch of acne would take weeks or even months to heal, and I really tried everything in the drugstore. I tried creams, and masks, and face washes, but all I got was patches of dry skin. By the time I was a senior in high school I had had enough. I was determined to get medical help. Unfortunately this took until the summer after my first year in college to get and appointment.
So, my first tip and my primary tip is: GO TO THE DERMATOLOGIST!
The dermatologist was the only person that was able to give me what I needed. If you can in anyway afford it; go. For me, the only cost was a $40 copay per visit plus the costs of medications. Besides the medications, she also gave me some peace of mind. She assured me that I hadn’t done anything wrong or irrevocable. That my type of acne (hormonal cystic) is extremely hard to cure, and that acne is more chronic than most people think. Most adults have acne.
The second thing she gave me was medication; an oral antibiotic. The first kind she gave me didn’t work; it just made me nauseous. The second kind she gave me worked and it is what I am on now. This costs like $15 from a pharmacy.
The other medications she gave me were Finacea and Epiduo. These are both topicals meant to get rid of any acne that appears and to get rid of the redness on my face (because in addition to acne I also have red hyper pigmentation) and because these are both brand names that were expensive. One was $100 and the other was like $60. I got these in May and it is now October and I still have plenty left. When I am done with these though, I may try going back to drugstore acne creams since I don’t get much active acne.
What has changed since May is that I no longer have any cystic acne. I now only get the occasional white head that is easily treated by the topicals. My skin still has a lot of red dots (pigmentation)but it is getting better and fading. Unfortunately this takes a long time to go away. My skin is also no longer dry and is back to its oily self.
Other products I use:
I wash my face between once and twice a day. Sometimes in the morning I simply splash my face with some warm water and pat dry instead of doing a face wash. Otherwise I like to use the Biore combination skin balancing wash. I also have the neutrogena oil free acne wash but since it is really drying I only use it once to twice a week if I start breaking out. I also exfoliate with the St. Ives apricot scrub about once a week.
If you get anything from this I want you to go to the Dermatologist even if you do not have cystic acne; see what they say. Also I want you to know that while some people just have to wash they face every once in a while to clear their skin that is not true for everyone; you are not weird and you are not doing anything wrong.