Here is a little back story on me: I have had acne since I was ten years old. It started as the occasional bump on my chin or the end of my nose. By the time I was thirteen it had spread to my cheeks and I had learned to never leave the house without a thick mask of make up.
I don't have it as bad as some. I do a pretty okay job of hiding it. But I have had people (mostly younger kids) come up to me and ask what was wrong with my face. I guess I'd describe it as moderate to severe.
From 13 onward I saw a dermatologist. I have probably been on three or four separate antibiotics over my life. I actually learned to swallow pills specifically to take these antibiotics. My regimen was always some pill in chorus with some prescribed topical gel. I have tried retin-a, differin, and I believe there was another that I can't remember. The pills usually helped a little bit until my body got used to them, but the gels I could go without and never notice any difference.
I am now 21 years old and I'm tired of all this nonsense. I was on cephalexin twice a day for a while and I would say that is the clearest my skin has ever been, though it wasn't perfect. Unfortunately, after using it for about three years, it started to become less effective. My dermatologist said that was normal and I needed to switch to a new antibiotic. The new antibiotic made me sick and that was pretty much the last straw for me. I didn't really want to spend the rest of my life alternating between antibiotics.
I slowly weaned myself off of this pill last year and started using a salicylic acid face wash twice a day and a very large amount of benzoyl peroxide at night. This seemed to work really well for a while, but over the last few months I have begun breaking out so badly that some days I have wanted to cry thinking about leaving the house. I tried cutting out all of the harsh chemicals and used a plain face wash twice a day and my skin broke out in huge, painful cystic acne that I have never had in my life. I then tried the acne free severe kit and although it seemed to be working well the first week (my boyfriend actually commented that my skin looked really nice) it seemed to start breaking me out. I stuck with it for a while, and after not seeing much more improvement, I added some other products to my regimen. Unsuccessful. Out of desperation, I have slathered so much benzoyl peroxide on my face over the last few days that my skin is flaking off- and my skin is not at all sensitive to benzoyl peroxide.
At this point I literally have no idea what else I can do. I can't think of a single product I haven't tried. I really don't want to be on any oral treatments anymore and my dermatologist never had any other suggestions for me. Is this really it? Is this really just something I have to live with?
My question is: is there anybody in here that has made miraculous strides with their acne simply through topical means? If you don't mind sharing, what are your regimens? What has worked really well and what has been completely terrible? I realize that everybody has different skin, but I need to compare notes because I am simply not doing well enough on my own.
My skin is not sensitive at all and not prone to dryness, just very very TERMINALLY oily.
Thanks a lot! I am really glad this group exists.