Adult acne - please help (if you can)....

(46 Posts)
Chuckymuffin Tue 12-Feb-13 20:42:02

... I'm 35 yrs old and have suffered from hormonal acne since I was in my early twentys, getting to extreme levels when I was pregnant with DS (5).
I've tried everything, and please believe me when I say EVERYTHING - laser treatment, topical from doctors (creams/lotions), diet change (cutting out dairy/wheat), honey/lemon face masks, toothpaste, herbal remedies, herbal teas, soap and water, Dermalogica/any expensive products, products from America.... blah blah blah, the list (and money spent) is endless. Nothing has ever helped and even sometimes made my ugly, red, inflamed, painful spots, even worse.

I have no idea where to go from here. It's making me so miserable and down. I feel so ugly, and not only that, it's just so painful all the time. I don't wear make up because I always feel it makes it worse, but then I feel awful going out with my skin so bad.

I could go on but will spare you all by stopping there.

Thank you in advance for any words of wisdom/advice.

montage Tue 12-Feb-13 20:47:52

Things that I found helped were : going on the pill (can't remember which one was specifically helpful but the GP knew) and now using Johnsons clean and clear lotion twice a day - nothing else. A friend was put on low dose oral antibiotics which also helped.

I've been on anti biotics for mine, it was working wonderfully for me but sadly it's given me reflux laryngytis so I've stopped taking them.
I have recently found la Roche-posay effaclar a.I targeted break out corrector which actually dries spots up, nothing I've tried before has had this effect!

Chuckymuffin Tue 12-Feb-13 20:59:24

Thank you both. I have tried the pill and antibiotics, both made things worse.
Any products like Clean and Clear or Clearasil just irritate!

I'm a lost cause, obviously!

BabyRoger Tue 12-Feb-13 21:00:20

The only thing that worked for me was roaccutane. It worked very well after years and years of acne.

bonzo77 Tue 12-Feb-13 21:04:04

Roaccutane. Really the only thing for adult acne. Needs to be prescribed by a dermatologist so you need a referral. Changed my life. 6 months treatment 15 years ago and really almost perfect skin since. I also recommend being very kind and gentle to your skin, treat it as "sensitive" rather than oily/ spotty.

Chuckymuffin Tue 12-Feb-13 21:08:22

I've heard about Roaccutane, but not necessarily good things....

havingastress Tue 12-Feb-13 21:09:22

Another one for Roaccutane. I've had two courses now (over the last 12 years).

I know some people worry about the depression it can cause, but frankly, if your acne is that bad, you will not be depressed on it - you'll be elated watching the acne clear up!

I do think though that's why you have to be referred and you have to be bad really to be put on it. You need the dermatologist to agree it's bad, and it's not just you who thinks it's bad (if that makes sense)

Also try Proactiv. Bloody amazing stuff. In fact, I'd try this first, before the Roaccutane. You might just find it works for you, without whacking the heavy drug into the system (pretty sure it's ruined my liver, and I'm not joking). But defo use this AFTER the roaccutane if you get minor eruptions.

Seriously. The rest of it is just rubbish and won't make any difference at all to your skin. I know. I tried it all. In fact, I knew more than the GP!!! You need to clear your acne from the inside. Creams/lotions/potions just dust the top, doesn't stop it all brewing up underneath.

havingastress Tue 12-Feb-13 21:13:46

Ok. Bad points about Roaccutane:

It can cause depression.
Erm. You are depressed. You think you're ugly, your face is painful, you hide yourself..shall I go on? Seriously. Roaccutane will only cheer you up once you start noticing your acne disappearing. grin

It gives you bleeding lips and bleeding nose.
Yep. It can do. It did to me. However. Balanced this with..oh look, my skin is clearing up. grin

It can wreck your liver.
Umm. Yes. Can't defend this one. Mine isn't right since. I just don't drink now hardly to make up for it.

It makes your joints ache.
Not for me it didn't, but again, oh look, your acne is clearing up grin

PM me if you want more info. I can only share my two experiences on it. I do know someone though who went on it, and frankly, in my opinion, only had spots, not cystic, painful, ugly, defacing acne like I had. I don't think they should have been given it. They really did suffer badly mentally on it. So I don't want to just dismiss the mental side effects it obviously can have. However, when you have suffered for years and had disfiguring acne, I really believe the pros outweigh the cons.


BabyRoger Tue 12-Feb-13 21:15:07

See a dermatologist. They will talk about roaccutane with you. I had not one single side effect from it - except that after one course my skin was completely clear.

thehumanegg Tue 12-Feb-13 21:21:40

Not a cure but I've found that paulas choice the best for non gimmiky stuff thats science based. Sorry if you've already tried that as you mention american products (available here but sadly more expensive). No magic bullet at all though I too have tried everything to find that! but I do feel it is the best at helping my skin function more normally whilst protecting the barrier unlike most acne products which as you say can make things worse.

Chuckymuffin Tue 12-Feb-13 21:23:26

havingastress - yes, I agree you have to treat it from within. My acne is completely hormonal and I've started taking Vitamin B complex again. I say again as I have tried this before along with evening primrose oil which are obviously well known to help with pre-menstrual symptoms. It didn't help 10 years ago but I thought being older it may help now...

I've tried Proactiv. It was on offer in Boots, but after time it just irritated.

To be honest, I haven't been to my doctor regarding my acne for many years as I never feel they're particulary interested but I do feel it's most probably getting to be my only option, and yes, I'm sure my acne is probably considered relatively moderate compaired to some peoples. My DS have never paid any attention to it before, me having had it all his life, but he has referred to it several times, which makes me think it has got worse.

Chuckymuffin Tue 12-Feb-13 21:26:10

havingastress - smile to second post!

Chuckymuffin Tue 12-Feb-13 21:29:38

thehumanegg - No, I've not heard of Paula's Choice. The product I used from America (10 years ago) was very high is Benzoyl Peroxide, which back then, you couldn't get products with BP in. Not over the counter anyway.

banterbus Tue 12-Feb-13 21:34:20

No advice but I can sympathise with everything you've said in your post. So watching with interest to see if there is anything I haven't tried!

Chuckymuffin Tue 12-Feb-13 21:37:30

banterbus - sometimes it's just a comfort to know you're not the only isn't it?
Nobody else I know (that's over 25) has the same problem.
It's very isolating.

LoganMummy Tue 12-Feb-13 21:39:29

I know EXACTLY how you feel. I became so desperate. After listening to a radio programme I went to see an acne specialist called Elaine Mummery. She really made a difference. Worth doing a google search.

banterbus Tue 12-Feb-13 21:42:51

chucky- yes it is a comfort. Its hard to talk to people in RL about it and I try to cover it up as best as I can. But it's severe on my back and chest too so I spend most of the year in polo necks! Seriously considering putting TTC on hold to try roaccutane but not sure how I'd explain that one to DH

I tried everything. The only thing that worked for me was Roaccutane. I know you hear some off putting stories about it but taking it was the best thing I ever did.

banterbus Tue 12-Feb-13 21:47:20

How long do you have to take roaccutane for? And does the skin then stay clear forever? It just sounds to good to be true after I've tried so many things with little effect.

Chuckymuffin Tue 12-Feb-13 21:53:18

Yes banterbus, I've worried about that too. I'm not TTC but worry like hell if I did get pregnant, plus, my skin is really bad when Pregnant so would worry if I got pregnant after taking Roaccutane my acne would come back anyway!!

LoganMummy - have just googled Elaine Mummery. She sounds very interesting....

AmandaCooper Tue 12-Feb-13 21:54:31

Roaccutane. I suffered nose bleeds and cracked lips throughout the course but my goodness was it worth it. It took two courses but it cleared my skin up permanently.

thehumanegg Tue 12-Feb-13 21:56:24

Like I say - not a cure for when I've huge flareups but I do trust it to be doing something good for my skin.
Mine only seems moderate as is sometimes clear but have had it for 20 years - it does really p**s you off after a bit doesn't it - especially with pit marks over the years.
Hope you do find your magic bullet.

banterbus Tue 12-Feb-13 21:59:23

Well things that have worked in part for me, in case this helps anyone else... mario badescu aha shower gel, mario badescu spot treatment dries up whiteheads overnight, its like a pink chalky thing in a bottle. Also putting loads of 2.5% benxoyl peroxide does help but gives me dry itchy skin and bleaches my clothes and bedsheets!
And sudocream left on overnight and gently exfoliated off in the morning helps to take some of the redness out.
Hope that helps.

Glimmerberry Tue 12-Feb-13 22:01:38

I've found the simplest, cheapest things work best (after spending a fortune on everything else).

The Regimen
And Vit B supplements (some people recommend high dose Pantothenic Acid, which is Vit B5, I think).

Chuckymuffin Tue 12-Feb-13 22:05:43

banterbus - yes, I have many stained clothes and bedding!! Sudocream and Germoline are good for a short time.

Blimmer - I've recently looked at Pantothenic Acid.

BabyRoger Tue 12-Feb-13 22:08:07

Just re the roaccutane and pregnancy. I took roaccutane 10 years ago. I had one course, I wasn't on it long. Can't remember exactly but only a couple of months or so.

It cleared it completely. I have had two children since then and no recurrence at all.

I took Roaccutane for 3 or 4 months (can't remember exactly as it was 5 years ago) in those 5 years since I've had less that 5 spots (not 5 outbreaks, 5 spots)for me the transformation has been amazing but it's not the same for everyone.

banterbus Tue 12-Feb-13 22:11:03

Glimmerberry- I found that worked better than anything else for me but I found it fairly expensive, and had to pay a custom charge once so didn't order the products again. Plus the issue with the BP bleaching everything in sight :-(

LaurenLaverne Tue 12-Feb-13 22:12:13

I agree with Glimmerberry, I had great success with that website. It recommends benzyl peroxide cream, but with very gentle face washing and moisturizing.
My acne wasnt terrible but it was v persistent/hormonal/cystic. I had tried lots of things, including creams which had benzyl peroxide. They seemed to make my face dry and flaky. This doesnt happen with the stuff im using now.
Maybe worth a try before going for the Roaccutaine? Good Luck smile

banterbus Tue 12-Feb-13 22:13:25

This is really helpful to see everyones comments re: Roaccutane. Might give me the strength to go and see the doctor for what feels like the 100th time about my skin.

Lostonthemoors Tue 12-Feb-13 22:19:54

Definitely see a dermatologist. My dsis had terrible skin problems and kept getting incorrect diagnoses from gps. She then saw a dermatologist and got diagnosed with rosacia and is so much better now after antibiotics.

havingastress Wed 13-Feb-13 13:00:56

Banterbus - Go for the 100th time and ask for a referral.

It usually takes about 2 months to start making a difference, but it can vary from person to person.

re. pregnancy, you have to sign to prove you are on proper contraception, and from what I can remember, if you were to get pregnant, you have to abort. That is because of the severe birth defects it could cause.

I think you have to wait min 6 months after taking it for the drug to get out of your system before getting pregnant.

Anyone who hasn't suffered with acne really doesn't understand the mental pain and anguish it can cause. Get some roaccutane and change your life. smile

Thewhingingdefective Wed 13-Feb-13 13:14:30

I am like you ChuckyMuffin. Same age and have had acne for more than twenty years. It is a little better than it used to be but my back, neck and shoulders are scarred from me picking. I wear polo necks a lot.

The only things that have really helped me were being pg (but the acne returned after) and going abroad - the sun and sea really cleared it up.

I spent most of my teens and early twenties on different BCPs or ABs, with fairly poor results.

I really think I will have acne all my life.

AmandaCooper Wed 13-Feb-13 20:42:21

banterbus I found I had to try everything else first before I got the referral to the consultant dermatologist for roaccutane, so yes you do have to be persistent - and then there's the wait for the appointment. But it's worth it.

expectingno2 Wed 13-Feb-13 20:49:02

I feel your pain. I have just started with witch hazel and tea tree toner and spot wand from boots and that is def helping. I was using benzoyl peroxide and was getting sore and the boots stuff has def calmed my skin down

Chuckymuffin Sun 17-Feb-13 20:41:20

I've now gone back to using Simple facial gel and vitamin E oil, which makes my hair greasy but that's better than dry flakey skin and bleached clothing from benzoyl peroxide gel hmm

After reading lots of posts I think my acne probably isn't as bad as some, I don't have it on my back or shoulders, but my acne is very cystic and so painful. I can't bear to look in the mirror at times. Nobody that has not experienced acne can know how that feels.

I am going to go to see my doctor and see if she thinks I'm worth sending to a dermatologist.

Fingers crossed...

Andcake Thu 07-Mar-13 19:29:56

Not a total cure but b complex helped a bit but had to have a strong dose so either h&b b50 or b100. Mines definitely hormonal. Worse in second half of cycle. Bad in early pregnancy then perfect from 2nd tri then throughout bf.

Titchyboomboom Wed 13-Mar-13 01:22:15

My acne cleared a little when I started the 5:2 diet

clattypatty Wed 13-Mar-13 02:25:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

banterbus Mon 02-Sep-13 21:04:55

It's been a while since I wrote in this thread but I thought I'd give an update. This conversation just about changed my life so thanks chuckymuffin! I went to my gp and asked to be referred to a derm which he did. There was a delay when the referral got lost in the post...

Long story short I'm nearly at the end of a 16 week course of roaccutane and my skin has completely cleared up. Even the texture/scarring has significantly improved and I now NEVER get spots.

This summer has been the first time since I was 11 that I have been able to truly relax and not think about making excuses for why I'm not going swimming, or why I'm wearing a sleeved top on the beach!

My only regret is that I didnt ask for a referral sooner.

tywysogesgymraeg Mon 02-Sep-13 21:07:36

The only thing that worked for me was Roaccutane. Don't believe all the bad things you hear about it. It changed my life (at least you should believe them, but the drug works wonders, and bad effects are rarer than we are led to believe).

elQuintoConyo Mon 02-Sep-13 21:17:03

Just found this thread in active! Thanks for posting back, banterbus I too have dreadful skin and have been wavering over roaccutane. Did you have any side effects? A friend took a course of it years ago (about 15 years ago) and got very flakey skin, including dandruff, as all the skin flew off - that put me off a bit! Did you experience that?

Glad you had a lovely tutleneck-free summer smile

I NEED something too. But I can't have roaccutane (wonderful though it is). What is the next best thing?

I find for emergencies (job interview the next day etc) then covering my face (and back and chest and neck) in neat tea tree oil has an amazing effect the following day (After a long shower) but if I repeat it after a couple of nights my skin is used to it and it doesn't work any more.

banterbus Mon 02-Sep-13 21:33:05

I have had some effects but overall the benefit hugely outweighed the negatives. I have suffered with very dry lips which crack but I can keep it mostly at bay by applying vaseline several times a day.

My nose has been very dry on the insides and I have had to pick my nose 10 times more than usual!

Whatever you do do not wax while taking roaccutane. I stupidly had my eyebrows waxed and it was so painful and it took away layers of my skin. I had a bright red monobrow for a week!

Other than that I've felt no different. Before I would experience more pain/inconvenience from huge spots so this has been a walk in the park!

tywysogesgymraeg Wed 04-Sep-13 10:17:23

My skin was incredibly dry and flaky while taking Roaccutane, but I kept slapping on some rich moisturiser, and it was liveable with for the end result. It was only temporary, while I took the tablets - improved immediately I stopped them. It was 10 years ago, and like everyone else my skin is next to perfect.

If your GP won't refer you, do you have the funds to see a dermatologist privately? It would be worth it IMO to remove the angst, depression, lack of confidence etc that acne can cause.

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