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14 year old dd and acne

(30 Posts)
Craggyhollow Tue 07-Jan-14 16:32:07

Poor dd. She's had spots since she was 8, just tiny ones. Now she's 14 she has loads of spots, on her back as well.
We've been to the doctors who prescribed a topical antibiotic which worked for a couple of months. She's been religiously washing with cetaphil twice a day and applying 10 percent benzoyl peroxide and they are just getting worse. She's refusing to go back to the docs and Tbh I can't see what else he could suggest. She hasn't started her periods yet so the pill isn't an option. She's a very keen athlete and I've read that accutane can lead to bad joint pain.

She's an exceptionally attractive girl, full of confidence, but I can see her getting more and more miserable about it.

Any advice or support welcome!

Craggyhollow Sun 12-Jan-14 17:51:31

am sure its a coincidence but

after a few days her skin has really cleared - still lots of pimples but they are very small and not red and when we did her make up for a party last night she only needed a bit of foundation and no top ups with concealer smile

she of course is convinced its the pills, bless her

Musicaltheatremum Fri 10-Jan-14 21:24:08

My son rowed quite competitively and managed roaccutane.
It changed my son and daughters lives.
My husband didn't have bad acne and I had and still do at 50, have great skin.
My daughter had a flare a year or so after roaccutane but it responded to antibiotics this time.

longingforsomesleep Thu 09-Jan-14 17:23:17

LadyofDunedin - yes, Dalacin is still available, ds uses it along with minocyline antibiotics. Neither seems to help much but he says Dalacin works better for him than Zineryt.

I guess it is easier for girls because they can tone down some of the redness with makeup but then you get sucked into always having to use it. At least with DS what you see is what you get and he doesn't have to worry about being caught without his makeup on!

LadyofDunedin Thu 09-Jan-14 14:27:37


Just wanted to send my best to your daughter.

I too had bad acne on face and back at her age, and right into my 20s. It was some time ago now, but I tried the benzoyl peroxides which burnt and dried out my skin, the antibiotics , and the topical lotions. I was on Dianette too.

As with everything, I would initially jump for joy at success, but this would be short lived as my skin got used to it.

One thing I found very soothing ( particularly on back) was the topical lotion dalacin- not sure if still available?? Was like a roller ball deodorant, and didn't sting like the others. I had the most success with that.

I have to say, I tried everything! No choc (don't eat much anyway!) etc. I find I take my make up off at night and put a hot face cloth on to cleanse - similar to your daughters LE routine.

My mother pushed for appointment with dermatologist for me back in the day, waited months! I thought it was a miracle solution, but sadly he said there were much worse than my skin - which I appreciate. But it was so hard for my confidence at that age!

I am now late 20s. I can honestly say age helped. I got to 21 and they reduced dramatically.

Today I still get congestion on my back from time to time, I use boots tea tree back spray and a body brush - really works. Depending on how aggressive your DD back is this may be abrasive.

I started taking lymecycline (spelling!) again in January after a bad break out. For the first time the doc said stress isn't a factor - me? Not so sure!

I guess if there was a miracle solution we would rid it for good. I've heard so much conflicting advice over the years, am not quite sure what to say that will help your dd - other than I know how it feels.

I once had make up done by a lovely sensitive lady at Clinique which really helped my confidence - maybe a wee boost like that would help? I've been fortunate to have nice eyes (stealth boost) and the kind lady focused the make up on these, made me feel better at the time!

All the very best to DD

ShesYourDaughter Thu 09-Jan-14 14:13:37

At the risk of invoking the over the counter gods.....

DD has outbreaks of bad spots, probably not technically acne but I'm not advocating a cure.

We have found the Lush face masks and scrubs really do help, the masks reduce the inflammation, and the redness and the scrubs just get rid of all the pore blocking make up and stuff.

Some of them smell quite nice too. The garlic one not so much!!

Craggyhollow Thu 09-Jan-14 07:35:10

Longing - that sounds like dd

Not huge painful lumps (that I had) on her back, just pimples

Plus aggravated on forehead possibly due to swim cap

I have started changing pillowcase every day plus towels hmm

Plus a new swim hat!

longingforsomesleep Wed 08-Jan-14 23:28:39

Oh yes - I remember the first time I took it my skin got even worse. I couldn't bear to look in the mirror. And then it cleared. Completely.

I have to really keep myself in check with my 17 year old ds. His skin is bad enough to warrant antibiotics (which aren't making a whole load of difference) and I think he makes it look redder and angrier than necessary because he won't leave it alone. But when I look at his face (fleetingly, sideways so he doesn't think I'm scrutinising!) I feel that old familiar panic and I have to fight to look at him objectively and calmly. It's not bad enough to warrant roaccutane. He has pimples on his chest and back but not the big acne style lumps that leave blood on your shirt (or blouse in my case). He also plays rugby and I think his scrum cap and having his head wedged in various places aggravates it around the sides of his face and forehead.

He is very self conscious but it doesn't seem to impact on his social life or willingness to play sport. If it ever does we will be back to the gp and if he won't refer him to a dermatologist I will pay for it myself - even if we have to remortgage to do it!!

Maryz Wed 08-Jan-14 23:15:14

Your post describes exactly how ds felt, longing sad

Except he couldn't trowel on the makeup - though I do know he was tempted to take some of dd's.

His dermatologist is great, really "gets" him. And ds too pointed out that he felt suicidal before he started on roaccutane. some of the depression/suicidal thoughts attributed to the drug seem to occur very early on in taking it, and ds said he thought it might be that people thought it would work straight away.

He said his very worst time (misery wise) was the first two weeks taking it - he had thought it would be instantaneous, but it got worse for two weeks before improving rapidly (as the doctor had said it would, but of course being a teenager he hadn't listened).

AffineWatercolourist Wed 08-Jan-14 23:04:23

Watch out with benzoyl peroxide as it too makes the skin very vulnerable to sun damage. (Also, have you managed to get any recently anywhere? Everywhere I've tried says there's none available due to a 'manufacturing issue'.)

longingforsomesleep Wed 08-Jan-14 22:54:25

Maryz - I agree entirely! It always infuriates me when people come on acne threads and start talking about over the counter remedies, dietary changes or gentle face washes which cleared up their 'acne'. I know they're trying to be helpful but honestly!!! My acne cleared up when I got married - maybe that's the solution? hmm.

Roaccutane does get a bad press and I do believe that there are occasions when it can have really severe side effects. But you've got to decide which is the lesser evil. In my 20s I regularly felt suicidal over my acne. It severely curtailed by social life, my work life (called in sick when it was really bad) and my self-esteem. I had it on my face, neck, chest and back. The first thing I did on waking was to put my hands to my face to see what had erupted overnight. The only thing apart from roaccutane which really worked for me was sunshine (hot sunshine abroad not UK!). I baked myself whenever I got the opportunity and of course now am worried about skin cancer!

The side effects I experienced with roaccutane were very dry skin (fantastic being able to slather moisturiser on my previously greasy face), extremely dry lips and night sweats. I was not aware of any joint pain at the time though I am now (I don't know if there is any link) - but I'm in my 50s with a family history of arthritis etc so may be no connection. Taking roaccutane was fantastic and completely changed my life. It was wonderful to get out of bed, have a quick wash and go to work. Previously I would spend at least an hour in the bathroom trowelling on make up. I did take it 3 times as the acne did reappear - though not immediately and less severely each time.

As I'm sure you know, you have to be prescribed roaccutane by a dermatologist. I suffered for about 12 years before I found a gp who would refer me. I then saw the same dermatologist for a number of years and it was wonderful to be able to access someone who knew what was what and who was hugely sympathetic. He helped me so much I wrote to him a few years after I'd been signed off because I wanted him to know what an impact he had had on my life. Quite literally, if he hadn't helped me to control my acne, I would never have had the confidence to get together with DH and would never have had my wonderful family.

Maryz Wed 08-Jan-14 22:00:25

I think it depends whether it is spots or acne.

Spots can be helped by diet, skincare and topical antibiotics.

True acne can only be cured by treatment of the sebaceous glands to prevent them from producing gunk [medical term obvs grin]

Apparently you can tell the difference by looking at the skin with some sort of lamp - with acne you can see the infection well under the skin.

Acne can only be managed by surface treatment. It can be cured by (a) growing up and (b) serious medication such as roaccutane. Apparently the pill can help a lot (though obviously not for boys).

Best of luck to your dd Craggy.

Edenviolet Wed 08-Jan-14 21:53:45


Edenviolet Wed 08-Jan-14 21:53:27

I had horrible,horrible spots as a teenager and was massively depressed about it.

I had erythromycin for a while which didn't work that well and zinger yet lotion which burnt.
Tea tree oil also burnt my skin and spot lotions eg clean and clear, oxy etc were all too harsh and my face was always spotty and red and sore.i washed it twice a day and it was awful.

Then I stopped using all that stuff, got a mild fragrance free facial wash and a moisturiser that was fragrance free and non pore blocking. I washed my face every evening and rinsed it for ages and ages before putting on the moisturiser.
I also started drinking lots of water and with every meal ate a bowl of the following-watercress, cucumber and raw carrot. I also took a multivitamin and iron and within weeks my skin was 95% better after years of spots and soreness. I have pcos so that may have been a factor but the diet and skincare change helped no end.

Craggyhollow Wed 08-Jan-14 21:46:19

That's good to hear. I definitely have it in the back of my mind. Very glad to hear it has worked for your boy

Maryz Wed 08-Jan-14 21:19:21

ds is also an athlete.

He plays a lot of sport, and plays rugby at a high level. the Roaccutane hasn't stopped him and he's been on and off it for three years. Roaccutane gets very bad press, but if you read the more recent stuff about it, much of it is unfair.

Very few have joint pain - the worst ds has had has been dry skin, which he has learned to control.

The thing is, the pain of being called "acne face" and "spotty" and having opposition teams ask if he had leprosy was much worse than any physical pain could ever be.

If your dd's isn't so bad, then fine. But ds got to the stage that he was refusing to go out, refusing to wear swimming togs (his back and chest were bad), refusing to take his jumper off in school because there would sometimes be blood on his shirt etc. If your dd gets like this, ignore a sports coach and talk to a dermatologist. And don't leave it too late - ds has managed to avoid scarring, he has a friend who sadly hasn't.

Craggyhollow Wed 08-Jan-14 21:13:40

I am very reluctant to go accutane as she is a v good and quite successful athlete

He coach said please don't as the joint pain can be horrendous

Obvs if she got really ground down by it I would see what dermatologist said

Maryz Wed 08-Jan-14 19:42:04

ds2 was put on roaccutane and it has been miraculous.

Having said that, the acne recurs when he finishes a course, so he is now on his third go, but it has changed his life.

If this a/b makes no difference, and it is true acne no amount of antibiotic/washing/dietary changes will make any difference. You need a referral to a dermatologist.

We went privately, which cost a bloody fortune, but was worth every penny.

Craggyhollow Wed 08-Jan-14 13:54:17

So reassuring thank you x

lbab1702 Wed 08-Jan-14 13:19:47

That's great news Craggy, that's the same antibiotic my DD has. She initially had a very bad back and forehead. Her forehead cleared quite quickly with occassional outbreaks after about 3 months, but she develpoed a new lot on her cheeks. Her back has taken about 5 months to clear with just the occassional single pimple, and while her cheeks cleared significantly by the 5th month it's only in the last month that she's had no new outbreaks. By the way, she also has been using the Liz Early cleanse and polish and loves in ( well worth the cost ). Fingers crossed you get the same great results we have.

Craggyhollow Wed 08-Jan-14 12:17:44

well she now has a 2 month course of lymacycline and I have just ordered her the liz earle cleanse and polish set so that she feels a bit 'treaty' rather than a medical case. will report back!

longingforsomesleep Wed 08-Jan-14 08:18:59

Of course it could be MrsBright that you just grew out of it in your 30s!

MrsBright Tue 07-Jan-14 23:18:38

Aside from the antibiotics, just be careful about harsh chemicals/soaps/scrubs etc. Sometimes it can simply exacerbate skin that is highly sensitive.

I had bad skin from 10yrs onwards - chronic spots, blocked pores etc. Only in my 30s did I realise that all the 'acne' washes etc were making the problems worse, and maybe even causing the problem. Switched to Simple (everything) and baby shampoo. Now I rarely have a break-out. Try it for a few weeks - see how she gets on.

longingforsomesleep Tue 07-Jan-14 22:30:19

Oh yes, do go back to the doctor. They will want to try various things themselves but if nothing they prescribe works then they should refer your dd to a dermatologist.

Huge sympathy here. I suffered with terrible skin in my teens, twenties and early 30s. It took Roaccutane in my 20s (three times) and it was very effective. Being pregnant in my 30s was the only thing that really nailed it on the head though! Roaccutane does have side effects and while these may not materialise in some people, they do in others - so be warned. In my 50s now and suffer from bad joint pain and wonder if it might be related? (or maybe it's an old age thing!)

I'm now watching my 17 year old ds wrestle with bad skin and it's breaking my heart (probably more so than it would have done if I hadn't had such bad experiences myself). We had a lovely shopping trip and lunch yesterday before he went back to school which was only marred by the sight of him standing in front of the teenage skin products in Boots then turning to me to say hopefully, 'mum - do you think any of these might work?' sad

He is on antibiotics which don't seem to be making any difference. But I'm interested in Ibab's comments that they can take up to 6 months to work. He's been taking his current lot for about 3 months but it sounds like it might be worth persevering?

Floralnomad Tue 07-Jan-14 17:24:51

My DD had a course of roaccutane at 13/14 after trying several lotions and potions from the GP ,best thing we ever did . She coincidentally has CFS and it didn't make her any worse taking the roaccutane so I wouldn't personally be too concerned about that side of things .My son had roaccutane at 16 and it also worked really well with him and aside from dry lips neither had any side effects and it's done wonders for them from a confidence POV. They both inherited crappy skin from my DH .

CaptainHindsight Tue 07-Jan-14 17:21:08

The only thing that worked for me was Dianette which happens to be an contraceptive too.

My skin was clear within 6 weeks!

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