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Adult acne - anyone been successfully treated?

(87 Posts)
becstarlitsea Thu 27-Aug-09 17:46:13

Drives me up the flippin' wall... I"m 36 fgs, I've got wrinkles and acne at the same time, it just ain't fair!

I've had it since I was 26 (didn't get acne at all as a teen, it waited for me to graduate uni before setting in...). I have been on long-term antibiotics (which worked while I was on them, but acne came back), Dianette (brilliant, but dr says I can't take it any more due to other health risks), and currently use Duac gel.

I feel unreasonably miserable about it particularly as I'm getting older my skin scars more easily so every time I feel the 'bruise' feeling under my skin I know that I'm likely to have another scar soon...

Whatever anyone has done that worked, whether diet/lifestyle or medical I'd be very happy to hear about it.

June2009 Thu 27-Aug-09 18:32:30

I've taken two different pills which got rid of it:
- dianette (this is actually an acne treatment that happens to be a contraceptive.)
- yasmin

becstarlitsea Thu 27-Aug-09 19:30:54

I was on Dianette but the doctor says I can't take it any more as I got a side effect with a long fancy name that I can't remember the name of, but was basically just a blinding headache which got gradually worse over a few months until I couldn't sleep or do anything but cry with pain. I'm not allowed to take any combined pill for the same reason. Dianette was brilliant - I had no acne at all the whole time I was on it and the headache thing didn't start until I'd been on it for over a year - oh those were such happy days!

bunnynbumblesmum Thu 27-Aug-09 19:51:55

hi was hoping to find a thread like this, my story is that i had more than my fair share of teenage spots but then when i was 17 full blown acne (the type that hurts when you smile) sad. ended up on roacctane (spelt wrong) bit of a wonder drug but you need to get it prescripted at hospital. are risks, liver probs etc, and NO alcohol at all!!! worked like a dream and when i stopped my skin clear for 3 plus years. since mid 20's skin but crap, was on long term antibiotics and worked but made me really sick, not been on anything for a long time as wasn't that bad, but flared up big time, done pretty much same as you in past, now on topical lotion called zineryt and seemed to be working well but had another flare up. think i've been in denial for a while and been low, my diet/lifestyle are terrible, drink way to much, smoke, crap diet and zero excercise. never get enough sleep either. before i go back to docs am going to give myself a month of trying an improved lifestyle, then see how it is, whats your lifestyle like? would be good if we could post each other from time to time for support, progress. would be good to have someone to talk to as am really low about it, it bloody impacts on all areas of my life and makes my confidence very low. Sorry sound like a right miserable cow am not really, just bad day today, promise not to moan to much in future hmm

mathanxiety Fri 28-Aug-09 05:54:05

I recommend an American site called There's a regimen there for treatment, plus info on products available in the UK. The site has discussion boards, clear instructions and a hopeful attitude. My own acne has improved 95% since starting the simple routine on the site. And you can drink and smoke and do whatever else you like while you do it. wink
That's acne.ORG.

IrritableGrizzly Fri 28-Aug-09 07:35:12

I had a thread on this a while back - I have had acne since my teen years and am now 35. As you say, very depressing to have spots and wrinkles at the same time. I am so envious of people with lovely clear smooth skin.

My spots are almost exclusively on my chin, which means they are caused by a hormone imbalance, but as I am bf I can't do anything about it. I have a topical cleanser that was prescibed, called Acnederm, and use Neutrogena zit cream.

I found these websites helpful..
This one has lots of natural remedies and things to try, lifestyle tips etc
I think everyone with acne should read this one. It's quite longwinded but really helped cure me of my zit picking/squeezing habit, which was making them look so much worse. I am positive that if you don't squeeze them they clear up quicker and don't go all red and scabby - that's my personal experience. I only found this out after 20 years of squeezing blush and now they look quite a bit better.

Would be very interested to hear of things that have helped other people.

Josie123 Fri 28-Aug-09 07:50:17

I am 32 and still plagued by acne. I had it from age 13-17 and had Roaccutane and then went on Dianette from age 18-25 and my skin was fine, I was so much more confident! Came off Dianette to TTC and my skin was awful. After I had DS went straight back on Dianette but am now TTC again so of course my skin is terrible. I don't think people realise how sore spots can be, I have one on my neck and if I turn over in bed it wakes me up as its so sore!

I am using Lush products to wash my face and thats it, can't have anything due to TTC. I often have lots of sore red ones on my chin which don't even get a head sometimes, just become massive red sore lumps. I have PCOS so my spots are all hormonal and I don't think they will ever go as my PCOS won't ever be cured sad

I feel really down and spots are the bane of my life. Today I have lots of little ones around my hairline and a few on my jawline/neck but the ones on my chin have gone - but left red marks behind which are just as noticble as the spots!

You are not alone - unfortunately!


EleanoraBuntingCupcake Fri 28-Aug-09 07:55:13

worth looking at your diet. i had acne rosacea. i stopped eating spicey foods - ginger, garlic, chilli etc. i don't using any cleansers except when i am removing makeup. and moisturise with dr hauschka in the morning. i have recently cut back on dairy.

the hot food thing made a huge difference and i now occassionally eat spicy foods but if i go overboard i can see my skin change.

good luck

SaucyMoo Fri 28-Aug-09 16:51:24

i started having acne in my early 20s and it became worse after having children. gps given my Duac which has worked wonders, been on it 2 months and now she has prescribed me a differnt gel whcih i can get over the counter as she said i shouldnt have an anti-biotic gel for more than a few months...hopefully those zits will remain under control..but yes they are so horrible an painful so i can understand what youre going through

kittymax Fri 28-Aug-09 18:00:52

Room for a fellow sufferer? I know just how miserable spotty life can be. I always wanted to be pretty like other girls/mums.

I was put on Dianette for my skin years ago. It helped a bit. Had to come off it cos I started getting headaches and GP said it was dangerous to continue using it (or any other pill). Next it was antibiotics. Then went to live in Spain for a while, skin was better but not spot free (never has been).

When we reluctantly came back from Spain, skin got much worse because I have PCOS and insulin resistance so not supposed to have a lot of carbs. Because I was so depressed I just though f**k it, and started eating less restricted diet.

Went to GP, she gave me Duac gel and omg - for the first time in years skin is getting better. Day by day, the blackheads are getting fewer, and I only get tiny little painless spots now. My acne is due to hormone imbalance, will prob always need something from GP to manage it, but delighted with Duac gel. Some people can eat healthily and still have spots (been there done it).

If you're not happy, go back to GP as there are other treatments. Maybe you need to be referred to dermatologist. I've heard laser therapy is good, but don't know if its on NHS.

Wish I had been given Duac gel years ago as I'm 36 and no, spots and wrinkles aren't funny! But now I'm nearly pretty, and you can be too! Hugs xx

raindroprhyme Fri 28-Aug-09 20:43:22

Hi i have had terrible acne since 12 i am 27 now.

I have been on dianette but same as OP not allowed any longer will try Yasmin and apparently there is 2 others as well after this baby is born.

It is worth getting a referal to a dermatologist. They can prescribe Roaccutane.
It is a nasty drug which has awful side affects but is the only thing that has worked for me.
I have had 3 course of this drug over the years and was blessed for the first time with clear skin after each treatment.
Unfortunately after every pregnancy it returns with avengance.

My dermatologist has said i can have another course as soon as i am not breastfeeding etc but it is so strong i am reluctant to do it until i know i have stopped having babies.

At the momment i am doing the Oil Cleansing Method which has really made a difference. I still have spots and get hormonal outbreaks but they are easier to manage and much less inflammed and sore.
DH no longer has to wake me up in the night because i am clawing my face to bits.

To all you fellow sufferers please get referred. GP's can be very dismissive of acne and in my opinion are worse with adult acne.
Get thee to the dermatologist, the different treatments that can be offered are wide and varied.
Also ended up referred to gynae as they thought it might be PCOS or Endometritis(sp).

Good luck

Aloe vera straight form the plant is very soothing.

minibar Fri 28-Aug-09 21:17:53

Hi there
Another fellow sufferer here. I can't tell you how many times I've cleaned my teeth and washed my face with the light in the bathroom off so that I don't have to see my awful face.
I've had cystic acne since I was about 14 (am now 35).
For me it is exacerbated by hormones and stress.
The only thing I found that worked was a topical product called Dalacin T. I stopped using it for a while when I was pregnant with DC1 and when she began to wean 12months ish, the acne became worse than ever before. It was so dreadful people used to stare at me on buses, etc. I once remember counting 11 cysts, each about the size of a grape, on my face.
I was referred to a dermatologist who said the only thing to take was roaccutane. But I didn't want to give up breastfeeding and knew we would want another child quite soon.
So I asked for dalacin T again although my derm said it wouldn't work. It actually did, although I very occasionally get a cyst/large bumpy pimple that can last for up to 4 weeks. And as others have noted, my skin doesn't heal as well as I get older.
It does suck, but it's good to know I'm not alone!

bunnynbumblesmum Fri 28-Aug-09 21:20:47

just read all you posts girls and is so good to be able to hear about others who are going through this. Advice is great as all tried and tested by your lovely selves. Still going to try and give myself a month of being very good regarding diet and lifestyle and was meant to start it today but again didn't!!!!!!!!!!!!!This has been going on for a years now that i'm going to be good and eat all the foods that are meant to be fab for your skin, think cos have just got so use to having it i've just got into a rut. Just read new year resolutions from last few years and all start with clear skin, followed by ways to try and achieve it. Had a little sob as so want to not be the one on a night out/at work/out shopping/anything in life really who is the spotty one sad
wish me luck and will post tomorrow to say if i have finally managed to have a healthy day hmm

ib Fri 28-Aug-09 21:30:07

I had acne rosacea. I got a topical treatment from the US (Skintactix) and together with zinc supplements (which they recommended) and omega oils it basically got rid of it - now only get the odd spot around my period or if I get lazy about the topical treatments.

The treatment is just a very mild cleanser with salycilic acid as the only active ingredient (and in low doses at that)

ClaudiaSchiffer Fri 28-Aug-09 23:35:38

Hi, I've also had big bumpy painful boil (ugh ugh ugh) type acne on and off since teen years - now 41. I was on Dianette which was brilliant for a long time, also had topical anti-biotic lotion from the doc - also very good.

But . . . what really really worked for me (and I've posted about this before, so please ignore if bored) was acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine.

Because my spots were hormone related the pill helped but was obv no good when I was ttc. So I went to see these people and it was fantastic. It did take a few months to completely cure it, and it was pretty eye wateringly expensive (but pre-kids and I was working full time) but it did completely sort it out AND because it sorted out my hormone imbalances i'm sure it helped me finally get pregnant!

Acne is awful, and distressing and embarrassing. I do feel for you. Now I get the occasional spot but so far not nearly as bad as they used to be.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 28-Aug-09 23:42:07

I was on Dianette but it was starting to make me depressed. I switched to Marvelon (another oral contraceptive pill) and that seems to work just as well for me. I do get rosacea though, but thats controllable topically).

becstarlitsea Sat 29-Aug-09 10:49:04

Thank you all so much for joining this thread - I feel much better to know I'm not alone! The websites are great - have looked at them and written a little action plan for myself.

I won't go the Roaccutane route just now as I'd still like another child, and if DH announced he was ready too, I'd be on a TTC thread the very next day grin

I think the main things I'm going to do are trying the regime along with a zinc supplement, and a low GI diet. And, most importantly of all, I'm going to try to leave my skin alone and stop picking. This is going to be REALLY hard for me - it's compulsive and I think it's linked to how angry I feel with my skin sometimes, I literally attack it. Which is no doubt why my acne gets worse and why it's scarring. But I think some of you might understand how I feel? I need to stop though, and am going to do so starting today. This is Day One of the 'Becstar Doesn't Touch Her Face' experiment. I already feel a bit tearful which is weird.

Has anyone else suffered from 'helpful' comments from non-acne-sufferer friends and family? I've had quite a few comments, of which the all-time classic was from my MIL 'You know becstar, I hope you don't mind my mentioning, but you've got quite a few nasty spots. I've never had them myself - what you have to do is wash every night with soap and water, and always take your make up off. That's what I do and I've never had spots.' (To which I stifled the reply 'Oh really MIL? And there I was rolling around in chip fat every night before bedtime - I guess that's where I've been going wrong???')

When my acne is bad, I look in the mirror and all I can see is spots. My DH tells me he can't see them, that he just sees my face, but with me it's the opposite, I can't see my face, just spots - like a constellation of ugly stars with just a void in between. Even the spots that other people can't see because they haven't come up yet - those ones that are really sore and throbbing and you get that sense of dread at what they're going to be like?

Well, I'll keep you all posted on my progress, and perhaps we could keep this thread as a place to get support, tell each other things that have worked and have a moan about it if it's not going well?

purplepeony Sat 29-Aug-09 12:50:23

My DD aged 20 had a 4 month course of Roaccutane- dermo said it was hormone related and would not go until her menopause! unless treated radically. tried all the Pills ( made her feel ill and sick) and topical stuff- no effect.

Have you seen a specialist?
Sorry, have't read all posts.

Not sure how long you have to not conceive after Roaccutane, but maybe worth finding out?

itsmeolord Sat 29-Aug-09 13:02:34

Hi, I have PCOS and have had adult acne which is hormone related.

I saw a dermatologist, referred by gp. He prescribed Retin-A gel and a topical antibiotic lotion. Both of which I had to use for 12 months.
The Retin-A gel is for the scarring.
He also recommended using a very plain cleanser, ie no perfume or colour together wih a plain moisturiser.
He said to apply the cleanser morning and night and to remove with a clean flannel dampened with very warm water. Then apply moisturiser after use of lotion.
Finally he said you really have to get your eight glasses a day of water. It flushes out any toxins and keeps the skin hydrated which means you can use a light moisturiser.

I now have really clear skin, I do get the odd spot when my hormones are running riot but no more than anyone else. They go faster as well and are less noticeable.
I have stuck to the routine that the dermotologist prescribed and I also make sure I drink my 8 glasses a day.
Finally I just try to make sure I don't touch my face other than for washing.

I use Tesco value cleanser and moisturiser.
I keep make-up to a minimum and use a powder type foundation if I wear it rather than a liquid. I use brushes to apply any make up including concealer and wash them once a week.

The dermotologist said that for anything to work you need to stick to it for 12 months and use that 12 months to get used to a very simple cleansing routine.

itsmeolord Sat 29-Aug-09 13:04:27

Sorry, should have said the topical lotion was called Dalacin.

SaucyMoo Sat 29-Aug-09 13:13:09

ahh i had those nasty boil type sspots that last a month..had one on my wedding day on my forehead, theyre so big you cant cover them up because its like a big bump...i really thought i was the only one who got them as i didnt know anyone else with such huge spots. anyways as i said earlier Duac seemed to work for me. I think acne is nearly always hormone related..u can have a good diet and it may help a teeny bit but the hormones play a huge part..good luck!

IrritableGrizzly Sat 29-Aug-09 16:23:05

Becstar, I completely understand what you mean about attacking your skin. I've done that soooo many times - started out thinking I'll just give it a small squeeze to empty it out and then end up doing it harder and harder until it's bright red and bleeding...awful.

The day I decided not to squeeze again I was also worried, but it's actually very freeing, as you don't have to spend so long looking in the mirror, judging if they're ready, doing the deed and then checking afterwards! I just cover them the best I can (using L'Oreal Minerals concealer - great stuff!) and then try and forget about them for the rest of the day. Not too easy sometimes, but I'm trying my best not to stress about them as that probably makes them worse.

This may be TMI, but the thing I was always worried about was having a big whitehead that popped on its own while I was out and people would see it blush. That has never happened. If they do get a head and are obviously ready to pop, and this may sound weird, I push it from the inside with my tongue (my spots are all on my chin) or sort of move my chin around and make very odd faces! until it sort of pops and leaks out a little, and then it usually clears up soon after, and with none of the horrible redness. I'm sure that sounds totally bizarre, but trust me, it works!

(BTW, I only do the weird face/tongue thing in the privacy of my bathroom!)

The chinese medicine sounds interesting, I may give it a try. Good to hear other options from people who know what you're going through smile

mathanxiety Sat 29-Aug-09 23:49:37

Oh yes, the 'helpful comments' are a joy, aren't they. I remember waking every morning and looking at the new crop on my face and feeling Why ME???sad When I discovered it felt so good to actually have a simple and inexpensive plan to deal with the problem, and this alone helped me to relax. I found the discussion boards there very supportive, especially about the psychological and emotional effects of acne and the makeup hints.

saramoon Sun 30-Aug-09 20:14:52

My spots have changed over the years. Used to be horrible big ones at uni and always on my forehead and chin and cheeks. Then when i started work in my 20, all round my jaw line. Was on Dianette for a bit but the hormones drove me mad. Now it is roseasa - spelt wrong - say the doctors, very red cheeks - and forehead at times - really lumpy spots that don't seem to come to a head but come and go, hormonal generally. Was given Retin A about a year ago and was told to use it for a few months and it did help. Went to the doc again a couple of months ago cos it had got bad again and another doc said to try anti biotics which i haven;t and i did tell her i didn't want to. May go back again to ask if i can have some Retin A again. I hate it and I too envy people with that lovely clear, non pore skin, as i have never had it.

bunnynbumblesmum Mon 31-Aug-09 19:31:21

hello everyone, started my healthy eating plan, been eating shed loads of fruit and veg and drinking tons of water. skin staring to look better already ie no new spots woop e do grin
going of to check out web sites that have been mentioned xxx

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