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I went through a bout just like this a few months ago. They really were sore and I felt like crap. Having said that I've always been prone to the odd few spots before period. But this was pretty bad.
In the end I went for a topical antibiotic gel- Duac. Used that for about a month and also changed my makeup removal from face wipes (I know, I know) to oil cleansing with a waxy balm (Trilogy Make-up Be Gone) and hot cloth, followed by Trilogy Rosehip oil as a moisturiser.
The Duac definitely killed the worst of it but I have to say the cleansing/moisturising regimen has made a huge difference since. I don't think I've gotten a single spot in a good 5 months, and I used to at least get one or two a month.
But bottom line is you may need a medicated cream or gel to shift those buggers.
I'm thirty and getting the same problem after having had zitless skin throughout my tends and twenties. For me it's down to one or the other (or a combination of) starting vaping and starting a stressful college course. Any environmental changes or increased stress for you lately, OP?
What are u currently using to cleanse and moisturise? U need to treat ur skin as sensitised right now and do not even consider using anything designed to treat spots because those red sore angry ones are completely different to ur usual "acne" breakouts
Having the same problem OP and having pored (!) over threads here and Caroline Hirons cheat sheet on cleansing, I've bought a load of new products and am trying to start a proper routine to help my skin. Only started Thursday though so can't tell you if it's helping!
Yes defo the rich foods etc over Christmas could be to blame as the same thing happened to me! I also use dermalogica ultracalming cleanser its great! Not sure the cheap Avon toner and spf are good idea though it could be the use of them over the years that has now resulted in the angry breakouts, the skin may be reacting to the perfumes and cheap fillers etc.
My acne continued out of my teen years. I had two rounds of accutane, second one when I was 19 and it came back when I was 20. Couldn't have had a third round so I had to experiment with natural remedies. I cut out dairy and started taking evening primrose oil for another health problem and suddenly my skin was the nicest it's been since I was about 10. Wish I'd thought of it years ago!! I also take turmeric which is an anti-inflammatory so good for acne. But honestly, I think diet plays a bigger part in acne than people realise, if I do eat small amounts of dairy now my skin reflects it the next day. Never going back!