Adult Acne is REAL

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Warning! This post will feature unflattering pictures of me. Try not to gag.. Seriously.

I'm sitting here trying to sum up my feelings in one post on my journey, problems, and dealings with adult acne. This has been a sensitive subject for me for the past year and one that has resulted in me sobbing and asking God, "WHY?" on the floor of my bathroom way too many times for me to keep track. I am this close to deleting it and taking down these raw, makeup-less, acne pictures of me off the internet. But, because this is a sensitive subject, I want to share it with you. DEEP BREATH, ELAINE. Okay, here goes..

Left: with make up on but before my acne break-out 1/11/11; Right: makeup-less during the break-out 5/19/11

I've never had a huge problem with acne. I had sensitive, oily skin and some pimples here and there but, overall, I had pretty clear skin. Early last year, I noticed my skin was becoming more and more susceptible to pimples. I would get 10 overnight. Treat them for a week. Watch them slowly fade. Then get 10 more over the next week. Little did I know that this would continue for another year. The problem was I was getting pimples faster than they were healing. I would get a pimple on TOP of a previous pimple. It was an absolute bumpy nightmare. No matter how much makeup I applied would disguise these hideous bumps.

I did some research a few months prior and was getting in the habit of using Paula's Choice so I started using their severe acne line. Looking back now, it didn't help but I kept thinking it was going to work soon, that my skin needed to get used to it. (NO. Wrong idea.) Crying hasn't started yet. I think I was too shocked and/or unaware that this would become a recurring nightmare.

A few months pass and I realize Paula isn't helping. Now I'm starting to panic. Nightly muffled sobs in my bathroom so Chase won't hear me. I'm angry at God for letting this happen to me. What did I do wrong? Why do I have to go through this? Why can't You make it go away? And then I feel guilty about my vanity, for caring so much about my looks. Rinse and repeat...

I went to several dermatologists and doctors about it. Was there something wrong with me inside? Was I sick? No. They all told me I was stressed (I was.) and prescribed me topical medications that also didn't work... By this time, it's been about 4-5 months and my face hadn't changed a bit:  it didn't get worse and it didn't get better.

During this time, my prayers to God have been limited to pleasepleaseplease make this go away, please make my stress go away, please help me to feel pretty again. Every time I looked in the mirror without makeup on just led to another sobfest in which Chase had to coax me out of. Finally, I asked him to give me a priesthood blessing. I couldn't do it by myself anymore. I needed divine inspiration. In this blessing, I was told that this was something I needed to go through so that I would realize my self-worth and self-confidence detached from my physical appearance and that this would all go away soon.. (and other things unrelated to my skin.) When I heard this, all I could do was cry. Soon? I'm pretty sure God and I had different senses of time. Soon to Him could be 10 years. Soon to me was 5 minutes. Okay, maybe a week. I was still comforted in knowing this wasn't permanent, that my face would get better some.day. But, still..

I did more research online. What the best medications were, what the best skin care products were. I started researching Proactiv. I had used it before but it never made an impression on me - probably because I never really needed it. I've been using it for a month now and I can already tell the difference. It is working wonders on my acne and I only have 2 pimples that are in the healing stages right now compared to 27 (I counted once..) What you see below is scars. No more bumps under my makeup! It actually looks redder than it usually does because I had just gotten out of the shower.

2/21/12

So what caused my acne?

Around that time, my mom had given me new Korean skin care products that made me break out a little. I also started a new job with an hour commute one way. (I HATE L.A. TRAFFIC.) I also made a change to my birth control. Stress. These were all things I was able to piece together. I don't know if these factors are for certain or not but I have a hunch it was a combination of multiple things that took a toll on me physically.

While doing research, I learned diet and fitness can affect your skin as well, which is why I've been working out and trying to eat right. I recently omitted milk from my diet. I was never a fan of milk except in my cereal, but when Chase and I lived with his parents a couple summers ago, I got in the habit of drinking milk regularly because that's all his family drinks. I read that cow milk has hormones that could affect you - not everyone - a select few perhaps. I decided to test it and started drinking almond milk. I still eat regular ice cream, yogurt, cheese and use milk when I cook for Chase and me or guests, but I don't eat those dairy products as often as I drink milk. I made this milk shift the same time I started using Proactiv so I can't vouch for its effectiveness. All I know is I'm definitely not going to risk it and switch back to cow milk now.

What products am I using now?

For my skin, I use Proactiv cleanser, toner, advanced blemish treatment (stronger than their regular formula), dark spot correcter (for scars), and green tea moisturizer.

For my makeup, I use Revlon ColorStay in Sand Beige and then Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Foundation Compact in Nude after with a stipling brush over my acne scars. I usually use about a layer each. Then I spritz some NuSkin moisture mist to tackle the dryness that usually follows later in the day when I have makeup on. For some cheek color, I swipe some Bare Escentuals Glee.

I also allow myself one makeup-free day a week for my skin to breathe, as well as washing my brushes weekly.

This works for me right now but I'm sure I'll adopt new products and/or ways later to accommodate my changing skin and body.

What should you do about your own acne?

Do your research! We're all different. What may work for me may not work for you and vice versa. For me it was trial-and-error with skin care products so it may help to keep track of all products you've tried, even the ones that have failed, as well as the date range. It wouldn't be a bad idea to take pictures of your skin to see progress or lack of too. And go see a dermatologist! Keep in mind that not all products they prescribe will work. Most of all, be patient. I'm the most impatient person, says everyone who's met me...ever. Know you are beautiful and you are not defined by your skin.

This post was inspired by this video. I was looking for makeup tips on Youtube on how to cover my acne and I loved how brave this vlogger was. You should also check out her additional tips video. My favorite tips were contouring and highlighting, doing up your eyes, and wearing lipstick.

Whew. I did it. Guess it wasn't that bad.. Now it's your turn.. I would love to know your tips and stories about acne.


UPDATE:  A sum of your advice and suggestions. Please do your research and consult your doctor/dermatologist before deciding on anything!!! We are all different so what may work for someone may not work for you.

178 comments :

  1. Awww Elaine, my heart just breaks for your struggle! I know those feelings all too well. I even teared up a little reading your words ... I just know exactly what it feels like to look in the mirror and cry and constantly ask God why the acne wouldn't just go away! I'm so, so sorry. It breaks your confidence, I know.
    But I'm so glad to hear you found something that's working for you! A number of my friends/family found Proactiv was helpful for them as well. It didn't work for me, but my cystic acne is so much better after my round of Accutane last year. It makes all the difference in the world to wake up in the morning and not see any new pimples.
    Just remember through all of this: You are so beautiful and funny and smart! There's no acne in the world that can take that away. This too shall pass. :)

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  2. i feel you! every time i look in the mirror (sans clothes) all i see is stretch marks and saggy town. having my kid kinda ruined me and it makes me cry. a lot. i too ask God whyyyy?? but then i get dressed and try to move on. you rock. this post is so helpful and awesome! as a side note: Topher had really bad acne when we met (6 yrs ago) and he took vitamin A in high does and used tea tree oil itself on his skin. it worked amazingly!

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  3. I've been so frustrated with my face recently too. While it's not everywhere, I've been getting pretty concentrated breakouts, especially around my mouth. I really need to do something about instead of just becoming more frustrated, but I am overwhelmed by where to start. I have concerns, too, about the ingredients in different products. I think diet and exercise is something that should probably change as well.

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  4. I completely understand you!  I struggled with adult acne for about two years, and I'm an actor so it not only affects my life but my career and livelihood.  I tried every cream, product I could.  I had just come off the pill too and doctors were trying to get me back on it to control my skin.  But I refused because I knew that was actually part of the problem. 

    Two years, and one amazing naturopath later, and I now get the occasional period zit.  It was a combination of food intolerances that had gone unaddressed, combined with the way the pill had completely thrown off my natural hormones, and the lack of functionality in my liver (which meant that toxins were continually released through my skin). 

    In terms of products, I use the occasional over the counter zit cream for those period zits, an herbal chinese cream to heal the skin, and all natural sensitive skin facial oil every day and night. 

    It's such a hard journey and such a difficult thing to talk about.  I applaud you!

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  5. Thank you for sharing, that must have been hard to pst pictures and share your story. I went thought he same thing in H.S. and know exactly how you feel :( mine just cleared up over time.


    http://jugglingchic.tumblr.com

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  6. Dear Elaine, I've been visiting your blog almost daily for months now. You've often been brave and honest enough to put yourself out there, including your skin care, and challenges that has caused. I think in this community of style blogging, we're trying present perfection, and beauty, and trying to minimize the aspects that are not considered "perfect" and "flawless" - I admire you for putting this out there. You're beautiful.

    xoxo
    www.natashafatah.blogspot.com

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  7. I went through this exact same thing. It was the most frustrating experience in the world to go to the doctor again and again only to get more topical medications that just didn't work. I just felt so sad all the time. I remember making promises with God. Making him deals if he would take my acne away. I even tried proactive with not results. Ultimately I ended up going on acutane. I know there are health risks and stuff but ultimately it was the only thing that worked. It cleared my acne and then I had a wonderful esthetician that was able to clear up the majority if my scars. You are so brave for sharing your story. Reading it just brought me right back to where I was a couple of years ago. Thanks.

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  8. I can't really empathize on the acne front-- I mean, I have had it for years, but never too bad. But I can empathize with the whole looking at yourself in the mirror and just falling apart at the seams. For me, it was looking at myself naked about four years ago. Stretch marks everywhere, depression sinking in more and more deeply each time I looked at myself. Now I can say that I am glad I went through that because I appreciate my body more and I got over the depression, but hating physical parts of yourself that you can't figure out how to change just makes you die a little inside.

    You are so, so brave to post this on the internet, especially with pictures. That is something I don't think I'll ever do. But just so you know, the first thing I noticed in the picture of you after your breakout was how lovely your lips were. That's not weird for me-- I notice people's lips and noses before I notice other features, but you seriously have the most lucious, perfectly-shaped lips. They are stunning. You are stunning. And so brave!!! Go Elaine!

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  9. I admire you for posting about something that has clearly been a difficult struggle. I'm glad that you have found a treatment that works. I have had acne my whole life (even well into my adulthood) and I find that decreasing stress is the only thing to keep it away. 

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  10. Vitamin A, got it. Thanks!!! Will look into it!!

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  11. Thank you for sharing!! I'm so glad you're able to control it now!!

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  12. That's what the doctors said too but that was also a year ago, so we'll see! I'm glad you don't have to go through it again!

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  13. Thanks for such an honest post! I still have oily, acne-prone(/occasionally covered) skin, but during college I really, really struggled with it. I've been on some prescription medication or another since 8th grade, but in college I finally tried treatments through and esthetician (basically "hygienically" having your pimples/pores squeezed), saw an actual dermatologist instead of my regular doctor, etc. Honestly? Nothing felt like it made much of a difference. It impacted my self-esteem for a very, very long time. It still does, though I think I've (mostly) stopped letting it make me feel like "I CAN'T EVEN GO OUT TONIGHT BECAUSE I LOOK SO DISGUSTING". Ugh. Acne. I know for me it always feels like NO ONE else my age understands, but I realize this isn't true.

    You are GORGEOUS. Best of luck on your journey to find what works for you. I'm still looking, but have also accepted that it's not the end of the world if this my issue. So many worse things out there.

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  14. Yeah, my dermatologist told me not to go on Acutane so I was limited to topical creams.. I'm glad it worked for you! And no complications, right? A few friends used Acutane and they told me the side effects so it always scared me a bit..

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  15. Birth control can REALLY effect your skin. I went off the pill and suddenly had acne as I had never had it, even in puberty. Went on the IUD (Mirena) and it got worse! The doc said the hormones in the IUD were virtually nonexistent after 3 months, so any side effects would dissipate after that. Well...8 months later and the acne is just as bad. I'll be having it removed at my next appointment! There are many reasons I don't recommend the IUD - this is just one.

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  16. My skin has gone whacko on me in the last year, too.  I was using ProActiv and then stopped because a facialist/aesthetician told me it was too harsh for my skin.  That kind of sent me into a year of horrific breakouts trying desperately to find the right combo of stuff to keep the breakouts away. I found the regimen on acne.org so I have been using their tips.  I use plain old cetaphil with my clarisonic brush, then a thick layer of the ProActiv benzoyl peroxide repairing treatment (had it leftover from when I used the system).  Once that soaks in I use a layer of CeraVe PM face lotion.  I am already getting a lot less breakouts but my skin is pretty dry. I am hoping it evens out soon!  You are totally right, everyone has to find their own perfect combo.  I am kind of mad that I actually listened to that facial girl who told me to use salicylic acid because clearly benzoyl peroxide is the ONLY thing that keeps my breakouts away!  
    Kudos to you for sharing your story, adult acne pretty much sucks :( 

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  17. I admire you for being willing to talk about this issue. I've been suffering from acne since I was 10 years old (I'm in my 30s now), and even though it's 85% under control, it's still a struggle and I'm still very self-conscious about it and the scars it has left behind. For me, the cause is mostly hormonal. Nothing topical will fix my acne issues if my hormonal issues aren't under control and no oral medication that doesn't go to the issue will either. I was finally diagnosed with PCOD when I was 25 and going on BCP literally changed my life. My skin still isn't perfect, but at least for the most part I'm not ashamed to leave the house. I also find that cutting out sugars really helps me as well as exercise to keep my pores clear. Some people really react to gluten, but I'm not brave enough to cut that all out yet. Maybe one day. I certainly empathize with the pain you feel, those who have never suffered from acne have no idea. Your face is what you present to the world and I wish every night I was born with those genes that gave me perfect skin. I'd have so much more free time on my hands and spend much less money on beauty products.  I hope you've finally found something that works for you! 

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  18. Isn't it funny that the worst trials we have to go through, we end up appreciating after? It really does strengthen you no matter how much you hate it during that difficult time.. I'm so glad you got over that hump! It really is a terrible place to be in, no matter what anybody can say to you...

    I was thisclose to not posting it but after watching that video and realizing I wasn't alone, I thought I had to share my experience with others too. It's tough when you think you're the only one going through it but already in the comments there have been people with similar experiences (such as yourself!) We're all in this together.

    And thank you!! :D

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  19. I also struggle with adult acne. I have used Proactiv with luck, but I found that if I skipped using it a day, I would break out. Then I decided it was too expensive and that I didn't like using chemicals on my face so I researched natural alternatives. I now drink a glass warm water with 1/2 a lemon squeezed in it first thing every morning before eating anything. Apparently it's good for more than just your skin. Also, at night I use coconut oil (yes, the kind you cook with) as a moisturizer before I go to bed. And, I've been taking an omega/fish oil supplement. So far, I'm all clear with the exception of an occasional pimple. Hope this helps!

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  20. Please take this with a grain of salt. It might be slightly consoling or it might just be eye roll worthy.

    I have always had a clear complexion. Both of my sisters had bad acne as teens and deal with it every now and then as adults.

    I was the infertile one.

    They fall preggo whenever it suits them. Takes me years and many losses to get my miracle babies.

    Grain of salt. Just had to say something because this post was so brave.

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  21. Totally agreed! I'm 27, I never had acne except for a pimple here and there. I decided to go off my birth control, and within DAYS the acne appeared! On my face, chest, and back. I only stayed off it for one month before I decided to go back on. I've been back on for one month and the acne is almost gone. So crazy how quickly you react to it.

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  22. Wow.. 8th grade?? I can't even imagine.. I'm sorry you still haven't found anything that works. It is so frustrating, I know.

    And, yes.. It's not the end of the world. We still have healthy bodies, all our limbs, family, friends, electricity, clean water.. We're still blessed except for this little trial.. Good luck! Keep me updated! ..unless you already do on your blog. I'll check back. :)

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  23. Gah! I know! That's one thing they fail to really inform you about, I feel. All those horomones and then all of a sudden your body is supposed to readjust. Yeah, it's problematic..

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  24. Elaine, this post was AMAZING. You are so brave and I'm completely inspired by you. THIS is what blogging is all about. I've struggled with adult acne for years! Looking back, I can't believe that I ever thought my face was bad in my teens. I had things under control with a high-powered regiment from my dermatologist when I lived in Utah, but then I moved to DC where the weather does TERRIBLE things to good people and I've been shaking my fist at the heavens ever since. I have NO solutions other than vitamins, good face wash, clean pillow cases, and hands off. Sometimes, when things get REALLY bad, I'll use a paste of baking soda and water. It burns like the devil and shouldn't be done more than a few times a month, but it helps dry things up if you're oily. Perhaps I'll try Proactiv....desperate times call for desperate measures. Thanks again for this.     

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  25. Yeah, that's the worst part.. Everyone is different so you have to take everything you hear with a grain of salt. I'm still uncertain about the salicylic acid v. benzoyl peroxide treatments for me. Because anything strong dries out my skin too.. I do find that Proactiv's green tea moisturizer works the best. I used CeraVe PM face lotion too but it still dried out my skin around my eyes and mouth. Good luck!!

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  26. I've never commented before, but this hit home. I've dealt with acne since I was a young teen. I was mocked in middle school for having pimples! One boy even called me "Crater Face!" Everything would make me break out-- the weather change, eating chips (seriously), hormones, certain birth controls, Women's vitamins... It was bad. Topical solutions from the doctor make my skin ITCH. Nothing worked... until I learned to "read" my skin. Now, at 25, I finally have it under control. I found the right birth control (Yasmin), I take children's vitamins (I'm a teacher and it keeps the colds away), I use the Clinique skin line and make up, I exercise regularly, and I drink lots of water!! I also have "learned" what my skin is telling me. If I'm eating too much junk or not drinking enough water, the first place I can tell is my skin! 
    Thank you for this honest post!

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  27. Wow, since 10?? You are so brave!! It really is expensive.. My husband and I had no idea it would rack up such a bill trying to find the right products, figuring out it doesn't but it's too late to return it by the time I realize it.. Gah... I'm glad you were able to figure out the sugar part. I tried it once but I can't do it. :( I have too big of a sweet tooth. Slowly, but surely... Good luck with going GF!!

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  28. elaine! i love open honest posts. this was a gem of gems. 

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  29. Yeah, the CeraVe was like HOLY GRAIL moisturizer for a bit but now the flakes are coming back.  Still love it because it doesn't break me out, though.  Will have to check and see if my unopened ProActiv box still has some of the Green Tea moisturizer...

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  30. So interesting!! Thanks so much for the tips. I'll have to try out the water-lemon drink. I took fish oil supplements too but stopped. I don't think it made any changes to my skin when I took it. So glad to hear your skin is clear now!!

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  31. Thank you! They're just harder to write...to expose oneself like that...you know..

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  32. OH man...I read the title and pretty much blushed immediately.  Mostly because I'm not sure I could ever be brave enough to do a post like this, but I totally feel you on it!  My middle school and high school years were so face-yucky and I know that feeling of crying in the bathroom and the "why, God, why" as well.  As it turned out, I needed both oral and topical medications, many years, a lot more water in my diet, to get rid of my bangs, a polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis, and what eventually helped the most was being on birth control.  Starting to see a come-back that I don't love, so I'll be visiting a dermatologist soon to try and stem the tide that seems to be looming.  I love what you mentioned about seeing yourself as beautiful...it's a good thing our faces don't determine our worth...in a few more years, I'll have wrinkles AND acne scars!  It's a darn good thing hubby can see past that...I'm convinced he doesn't even notice my acne like I do.  Just the fact that you could put up so honest of a post for your readers is proof that you know your own heart and your worth...and look how many people are relating to it already!  Thank you, Elaine.

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  33. That's really interesting.. I wonder if there are other cases or even medical studies to back that.. Thanks for sharing something so personal and private.. Good luck and I hope things start looking up soon for you and your family.

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  34. I respect you like crazy right now- the bravery it takes to post this has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for your transparency, your positive attitude and for sharing so we can all commiserate (my acne isn't widespread but vicious when it pops up. I'm trying to manage with more natural products, but I may need to start looking into something with a little more gusto, the perma-zit look isn't particularly flattering). Thank you for sharing your story and your tips!

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  35. Yes! Clean pillow cases and no face-touching were two other things that I had to implement. Both are hard as I hate doing laundry and the face-touching you just don't even realize you're doing 99% of the time!!

    I also do the baking soda-water scrub. It doesn't burn for me but it does help with getting the dead skin off after my pimples heal.

    Good luck!!!

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  36. That's so interesting.. It really is important to listen to your body. Something I'm still learning to do! I'm glad to hear you know what your body/skin needs.

    I heard good things about Clinique. What products are you using? And I know they are also on the pricier side.. How often do you replenish your supply?

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  37. Thanks for sharing. I've always had acne, but kept it under control with generic Retin-A for years. Last summer I decided that I was tired of using harsh chemicals on my skin, so I stopped using the Retin-A and changed my diet. My acne got a little worse, but it wasn't anything terrible. Then in November I started having digestive problems, and I switched to the Perfect Health Diet (from Primal). My skin still wasn't clear, so I decided to try the Oil Cleansing Method. I loved the way it made my skin feel but I stopped using it after a got painful cystic acne on my temples and forehead. But it didn't go away, so I'm thinking it had nothing to do with the Oil Cleansing Method. I'm interested in alternative medicine, and I've read that fungal infections and poor gut health are related to your skin. So...right now I'm working on improving my gut health. My next step will be to see if I have a fungal infection.

    My husband has had to comfort me more then once, and God has definitely heard from me a bit in this regard. I honestly never realized how much my self-esteem was tied to my appearance. I'm working on it, but it's hard. 

    Thank you for sharing, Elaine! I'll keep you in my prayers.   

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  38. Check ebay too ;). That's where I go first, haha. Why is it so expensive! Sheesh.

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  39. Thank you so much for your comment, rach! It really is a multiple variables and factors that can't be pinpointed. It's so tough but, unfortunately, something we have to deal with and figure out. I hope this come-back isn't as bad and you can find good products and skin care routine!! Good luck.

    And bless our husbands' hearts.. They're the sweetest, aren't they?

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  40. Oh, thank you so much! You just made me tear up.

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  41. Elaine, how brave of you for sharing. I have acne, too. It started when I went off birth control a couple years ago, and it really sucks. I tried Proactiv and it didn't really work for me. I guess they forgot to tell me to ease into it, and it just super dried out my face (mostly my chin). Did that happen to you? I feel like I should maybe try it again. I've also heard good things about Aloette products, and that it can heal scars left behind by pimples. What I know for sure is that I spend way too much time applying makeup in the morning. I have to put concealer over my entire face and then foundation on top of that. I hate it!

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  42. Kayla @ Freckles in AprilFebruary 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Oh man, I so know those feelings of just pleading with God to pleeeease make my skin heal already! That was my teenage years..I had AWFUL skin. I fortunately seem to have grown out of it (mostly) but oh man, that pain is still very fresh. Bravo to you for posting about it! You're amazing.

    Also, I've noticed that if I change my pillowcase every. single. night. my skin looks better. I keep a small pile of folded pillowcases by my bed so I can sleep a night on one side, flip it over, sleep a night on the other and then change it the next night. My husband things I'm crazy but I swear it has made a big difference.

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  43. Thank you for sharing your own experiences! Have you seen one of those acne-face charts where certain sections of your face are connected to certain parts of the body? If you search for "acne face map," you'll see a lot of results for it. You should check it out.

    Good luck!! I'll also keep you in my prayers. :)

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  44. It didn't. Paula's Choice dried out my face like CRAZY though so I knew that had to go. You should try Proactiv's green tea moisturizer. It works so well and doesn't sting at all on sensitive areas such as around your eyes. I also use CeraVe PM face lotion and there's another one I can't remember - I'll have to let you know later. It was a bit pricier ($20) but it worked well but stung my eyes a little bit so I only use that around my moth.

    What I also use is NuSkin moisture mist after I put on foundation and I found that really helps! I spritz like 4-5 times. I got mine from Amazon. Hope that helps!!

    Good luck.

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  45. I've adopted the pillowcase technique as well! I'm not sure if it helping a lot but it seems like a hygienic thing to do anyway. 

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  46. Elaine, thank you for sharing this with us. I know how it feels. Just recently I started getting non-ablative laser treatments for my acne scars (I'm 30 and was still breaking out). My laser tech almost made me cry when I had my first consultation with her, telling me that something is wrong "inside" and a lot more stuff I didn't want to hear. Even though she wasn't very tactful I took her advice. I eliminated dairy from my diet (still have it once in a while), sugar, white bread (I only eat whole grain bread and pasta), soda etc. I did/am actually still doing a colon/detox cleanse. It's a two week cleanse...I take capsules three times a day and eat regular meals and snacks, but I'm watching what I eat. She suggested taking pro-biotics as well. My appt with her was back in November and I haven't had any breakouts since I took her advice. I just had my second laser treatment two weeks ago and two more to go. 
    I am a firm believer that diet, and stress, play a major role when it comes to acne (even though I still call her crazy lady I feel like she knows what she is talking about. She is 62 and has amazing skin).
    I'm happy to hear that your acne if clearing up.

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  47. I never had acne too terribly in me teens or during college, but I still remember how terrible I felt every time I did get some heinous red bumps. You add that to typical non-popular adolescent girl self-confidence and you end up with an awkward psychological mess that was me.

    So that's just a long-winded way of saying that I completely agree with the rest of these gals. It takes a lot of courage to be upfront about things about yourself that you're not comfortable with. I never knew you dealt with acne, I always thought you had fantastic skin.

    So thanks for sharing your story and pictures and bravo to you for being on your way to acne-free skin.

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  48. That's amazing!! I also took pro-biotic pills because I had a feeling it had to do something with me inside too even though nobody would tell me so. I stopped taking them. I think I got lazy.. I'll have to take 'em again. I'm glad you haven't had any break outs since November!!! That's so awesome!!!!!

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  49. *HUGS* This is so very brave and lovely of you to share with us. Brave because you are vulnerable and sharing it anyway. Lovely because you are being generous to offer information in case it is going to help someone else. I don't have anything much else to say, except that my hat is off to you. 

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  50. I have also struggled with acne in various degrees of severity since I was about 15 or 16. I've  pretty much tried all the major skincare lines for acne, and none of them were completely effective. I used proactive back in the day and it made my skin much worse, but I haven't tried their new formula. I'm to scared to actually. 

    Within the past year or two, I've stopped treating acne specifically. I switched to all sensitive, natural skincare products and don't worry about it nearly so much. I still have about as many pimples as I had before, but they don't bother me nearly so much. 

     I think treating acne as a problem or something to hide is a huge burden on our self-esteem. In reality, no one cares about how you look nearly as much as you do. I've found that focusing less on "treating" my acne has really helped me feel better about myself as a person. 

    It's helped me to look at myself through my husband's eyes. When he looks at me, he doesn't even notice pimples or other imperfections. It sounds like your husband is really supportive as well, which is great. 

    I know it's hard not to focus on in when it's staring us in the face every day, but I think it's really important not to let it define who we are inside or outside. Honestly, the only reason we see acne as a problem today is because of cosmetic companies who wanted to make more money. :-) People used to think freckles were ugly back in the day, and now they are seen as beautiful. Maybe one day people will think the same of pimples. :-)

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  51. I've never commented on one of your blog posts before, but this post really resonated with me. I've had severe cystic acne since I was about 15. I've tried every treatment imaginable. One treatment (accutane) has left me with various health conditions that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life (and it didn't even clear my skin!). I am now 24, and still suffer from adult cystic acne. It is much better than when I was a teenager, but it is still severe enough that people occasionally feel the need to comment on it. I have always felt extremely self-conscious conscious about my skin. Without makeup, I feel like a disgusting, ugly slob. I am grateful that you had the courage to post these pictures and to discuss the problems you've been having, and how you feel about them. Seeing other women struggling with similar problems and having the courage to talk about them helps me to feel better about myself. Thank you!

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  52. Thank you so much. :) Still nervous that it's all out...

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  53. Oh, totally! Acne is nothing compared to other problems out there. It's all vanity. I'm glad you have come to the point where you know you are beautiful regardless of your skin's appearance. That requires a lot of self-confidence and self-love. Thank you for sharing!!

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  54. You are so brave. This is the best post of yours ever in my opinion. 

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  55. Nikki, you are beautiful!!! Don't let your skin define you!!! I know that feeling with people commenting and trying to give you advice... One of whom is my own mother! Last time she came to visit, she would just take one look at my face, shake her head and sigh. It was TORTURE. I wanted that woman OUT OF MY HOUSE. But I know she meant well. She just didn't know how to communicate it in the right way. So don't let other people get you down! We're all in this together! Good luck!

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  56. Elaine thank you so much for being brave and sharing! You are not alone in the adult acne struggle. I get cystic breakouts around my period which have left me with some nice pitted scars that I will keep forever (boo). I hope the proactiv continues to work for you. You are still gorgeous no matter what :)

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  57. This is the best thing you have ever posted. Thank you for being honest and brave.

    xox

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  58. Elaine - such a bold post. Honestly, I applaude this as I suffered through a bout of adult acne at 25 and know that emotional rollercoaster it puts you through. I'm (knock on wood) happy to say mine cleared up after a good 1 1/2 years but not before Proactiv and antibiotics. Even four years later I still worry it will come back. Did you ever consider trying an antibiotic like Tetracycline or Doxycyline? I had tried both, and they did wonders for me - however I had a very traditional case of adult acne - around the mouth. They don't carry the heavy side effects of Accutane. I'm so glad you're finding something that's working with Proactiv however. Even a littler glimmer of hope makes you feel world's better doesn't it? 

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  59. Totally!! I'm a bit apprehensive about oral medication. I have an aversion with taking medicine.. I'll have to talk to my doctor about it. Thanks for the recs!

    And, SERIOUSLY. My confidence has boosted and I can already tell I'm happier from no more new pimples!!

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  60. Oh yeah, I'm 30 and I STILL have acne (though it isn't as bad), AND I am getting wrinkles too. There seems to be no glory day of a nice skin year for me. As a teen, the ONLY thing that worked for me was Accutane (which is pretty much pure poisin). Topical creams don't work either. but usually an oral med will. Oh, Proactove didn't work for me either. I hope it does for you. I know it may seem vain to some people, but I remember saying lots of prayers fo healing too. It's amazing how depressing severe acne can be. Especially when a friend whines about how ugly they are because they have 1 tiny zit in their hairline.

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  61. I never really had acne growing up. Here and there I'd get a blemish. Then, in college, after a few traumas that helped me develop PTSD and anxiety, my face was a zitty mess. I had never felt so ugly in my life. Nothing worked. ProActive actually made it worse. For me, it's mostly internal factors. In my mid-twenties, I went to get a facial and she mentioned Chinese face mapping. I looked it up, found my problem areas, and saw that dairy could have been a cause. I cut dairy completely--no cheese, no ice cream, nothing!--and the horrible cystic acne in my cheeks cleared up. Once, when I was on vacation and didn't drink enough water, my chin broke out--the area indicating that the kidneys are under strain. I was shocked. There really was some truth to it. I reintroduced dairy, and allow myself cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese, but eat lots of fruit to counteract the inflamation dairy can cause. If I am stressed and I can't cut the stress (ie: sell my child, disown my parents, win the lotto), then my diet is the first thing I adjust. And it works well with the right cleansers and makeup.

    I'm so glad you found a solution. Everyone is different and we all have to find the combinations that work for us. Now that my diet okay, I need to work on dealing with stress. Maybe yoga? Maybe winning the lotto? Haha.

    Thanks for posting this. Very, very brave. I admire it.

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  62. I have off & on acne issues & it has definitely made me feel very self-conscious. It's so brave of you to share about this & I am sure your sharing will help many others who feel the same way as you do. 
    I hope you continue to have healing from this. But when it's hard, just remember that more than anything, beauty is something on the inside, that shines through to the outside! :)

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  63. i am SO blessed not to have acne...the only bump i have on my head is where my brother leaned in to see something on the computer that i was showing him and i whipped my head around and ::headbutt:: i am so clumsy!
    you are BEAUTIFUL darling!

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  64.  I've also been on Acutane when I was younger. I had HORRIBLE acne in middle school. Everything is already more traumatic in middle school, add acne on top of that and it was the end of the world. Acutane completely cleared my skin. I am 24 now and acne free. There were no complications that I wouldn't go through again to have clear skin. My face was red, a little dry but after the treatment it was well worth it. I know it's a controversial drug but it worked for me. Let me know if you have questions, I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you have. I'm not sure if you are planning on getting pregnant but I know you should not get pregnant on Acutane. I was in middle school and there was NO CHANCE of that happening so that wasn't an obstacle for me.

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  65.  http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-dangers-of-vitamin-megadoses.html

    Please be careful with megadosing on A. Rather worrisome long term effects.

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  66. I'm so sorry you've had to struggle through this.  My daughter has a hormone condition (that apparently is from my side of the family, but I didn't know about it) and proactive is the only thing that helps her. 

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  67. I never had acne growing up either but for the past few years my skin has been a roller coaster. It certainly isn't as bad as some people have it - for which I am very thankful, of course - but it's still horrible to deal with when you're not used to such things/feeling gross/etc. ACNE IS THE ABSOLUTE PITS and you're awesome for doing a post about it. It's funny how many articles are written about teenagers & pimples but no one ever really tells you/talks about the fact that adults have issues with it too!

    I've read a lot of about the cow milk situation and have been wanting to give that a go... though, like you, I think most of my acne stems from stress, which you can only do so much about, of course.

    Regardless, acne is just that - acne - it may mess with our faces but it doesn't have to define us. I'm so happy you are getting some relief from it now and I hope that that continues! :)

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  68.  yep, always talk to your doctor first and make sure you get quality vitamins. good point!

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  69. Thanks for the post. I appreciate your open-ness on such a sensitive issue. I agree with everyone else, that you look beautiful with/without makeup. Truly.

    I had acne pretty bad in highschool and I tried tons of facial products, topical creams/gels, as well as a few oral medications. It was such an insecure time, and I totally remember how badly I wished it would go away. After everything was unsuccessful, I started on a low dosage of acutane. Thankfully, I didn't have any negative side effects from it (except maybe dry lips) and within a few months it cleared.

    I'm so glad proactive has been working for you and I hope you continue to realize your beauty and worth isn't contingent on the clarity of your face.

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  70. Thank you so much for writing this post and putting yourself out there. You are an inspiration. I come from a family of 7 and all the "adults" suffer from acne, some less and some more.  I am 25 and have two kids, I have oily and acne prone skin. I have tried so many acne medications and was getting so frustrated of everything I was putting my face through and all the money I was spending. I finally found a routine that works for me.( I really believe that our acne is not because our faces are dirty, I can wash my face 4 times a day and I will still have acne, what we put into our bodies also is a big factor- Garbage in = Garbage out). I started taking vitamins (vitamin D, flaxseed, omega 3, fish oil, calcium) I started eating more healthy.  I started using a clarisonic, with benefit purity cleanser, hope in a jar moisturizer and the retinol night treatment. I use Nuetrogena 2% salicylic acid treatment when ever I get the occasional pimple. My acne scars are slowly fading, and I am feeling great. It is great that you found what works for you. God bless you. 

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  71. Thank you so much for sharing with us! I had never had a problem, either, and went through a brief period (about 4-5 months) of intense acne 2 years ago, out of nowhere. I never really figured out the cause. I, too, tried Proactiv, but had an adverse reaction. My skin is very sensitive, so it dried my skin out very badly to the point of actual cracking! After that, I steered clear of all products with any kind of "active" ingredient, and luckily, it healed on its own!

    You're so brave to share with us, and are truly beautiful inside and out - no matter what! <3

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  72. This is hard, but also very inspirational. I'm so glad you didn't give up and found a product that works! You always look gorgeous! :D

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  73. Definitely stay away from the dairy! Fairly recently, my boyfriend stopped consuming dairy products because he realized it made his stomach sensitive and then.... poof! His acne problem pretty much went away too! He never even considered that the two could be linked.

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  74. Wow, you are awesome for sharing this,,,,and beautiful;) I am so happy you found a solution. I guess pro-activ really does work. I also think that staying away from certain foods helps but in addition, adding anti-inflammatory foods can work wonders...walnuts or other nuts that contain omega 3's, salmon, blueberries, flax oil....I used to work in the health food industry and I swear diet really is HUGE;)

    Thanks for always being such an inspiration;)

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  75. thank you for posting on such a big topic! no one wants to talk about skin problems... and we all have them!  the only thing that has kept my skin clear over recent years is the rx cream, benzaclin.  never found anything over-the-counter that worked for me!

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  76. Hello, i have been reading your blog for over a year now and have never posted, but just had to this time.  I know exactly what you are going through and how much it hurts.  Please do some research on sugar and how it CAUSES acne.  My mother had been telling me this for years and my response was to tell her exactly what the docs and dermatologists told me, "sugar does not cause acne".  EXCEPT IT DOES and usually in people who have sensitive/oily skin!  I now believe this to be true 100%. After a lot of research on the internet, I stopped sugar for 2 weeks just to see. I used cetaphil gentle skin cleanser  like the derm. recommended and but put the differin gel away (in its place i used baking soda as a scrub 3 or so times a week, and lemon/lime juice 2 to 3 time per week also.  The results were amazing!!!!  Anytime i over do it on the cake, cookies, desserts etc. up they pop.  Once you have your ance under control its okay to have a slice of cake every now and then, but the second you overdo you're in trouble.  And sugar is in everything so you really have to watch it.  I will say a prayer for you, that you will continue to be strong and stay committed to finding what works for you. God Bless! P.S. I also had great success with proactiv :D

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  77. Girl, you are one of the bravest, baddest chicas out there. I totally give you some major RESPECT. I won't even post a blog photo if it's like SLIGHTLY in a disfavorable light (check out how vain I am!) so the fact that you will put yourself out there...be so honest...probably help a million girls out there struggling with the same problem...like I said, you're my hero. You are beautiful inside and out, Elaine! Thanks for the post...you're making me realize I should be more brave and open too!

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  78. It might be a stretch, but look up "fluroderma" (celluliteinvestigation.com has lots of info - promise it's not spam!). It might be a possible cause . . . .

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  79. I would never use Proactiv or any other kinda product like that anymore. While it gets rid of your pimples, by drying them out, it also dries the skin like crazy. It's the kinda product, ones you stop using it, pimples come back, and your skin is a dehydrated disaster. So it's not really curing you, put just temporarily helping you. And why that's the only thing it does for you, I totally understand you would keep doing it if nothing else works.


    I never had real bad acne, but always 2 to 5 pimples constantly showing up. Since I'm using natural/organic products only, my skin has cleared out, and get the occasional 1 or 2 pimples only during "that time of the month".
    Also, eat healthy, keep grease/fat away a max if you're not doing that already.
    And relax! Stress really makes you break out, if you have some time, do some yoga, or just try to meditate by yourself, take a bath with candles and a face mask, I dunno, do what relaxes you, but do it, it can only get better.

    And bravo for your courage to put pictures up!

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  80. I saw this blog post today and thought it may bring some insight from the underlying causes of acne. I struggled with it as a teen and got to the point where I started a round of Accutane to stop the breakouts. Birth control is a pretty big factor in affecting your hormones and can create an entire other realm of problems in creating an imbalance in your system!

    http://blog.birchbox.com/post/18517381062/the-leading-causes-of-acne-guest-blogger?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=statusupdate

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  81. I don't think I could ever in a million years post my own photos. I don't wear concealer or foundation but my skin is DEFINITELY not perfect. The last year has been awful. I finally gave up and went to the doctor. And like you, used a couple of failed items before he prescribed me Retin-A aka the miracle drug. I still get a pimple on occasion and it's SO HARD to not want to pick at them, but I'm trying. I also find that it helps to change my pillowcases once a week, a tip I recently got from a friend via twitter. Lastly (whew I am babbling!) I bought a Clarisonic. It's an investment for sure, but it's been amazing and can be used with most facewashes. You're awesome for sharing this. Really, really awesome.

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  82. I've never commented before, but I wanted to say you are so brave! I always had beautiful clear skin, strangers used to compliment me on it. Then I was found to have a medical condition (underactive thyroid) and I was given levothyroxine which I have to take for the rest of my life. But it made my skin awful. It really gets me down, and then I feel I am being shallow and then that gets me down even more. My tips would be to eat healthily, drink lots (water!) wash your hair often and keep it off your face and change your pillowcases regularly.  I hope your skin keeps improving (I'm sure it will) and when I am feeling down about my skin I will think of you and pray for you as well.

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  83. I have an adult acne post coming up soon. It will be scary. Very happy that you are upfront with your problem. You are so real. Seattle Beauty and Fashion - Seattle Girlie Blog

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  84. elaine, i feel your pain. this has been an on going battle for me for the past 6 years! some months are better than others, and right when i think i've grown out of this "phase" it starts back up again. i tried everything, including accutane (which i will NEVER go on again...the side effects just aren't worth it). it really is a hard battle...as much as popping pimples is fun, you get to a point where you just want to throw in the towel. 

    i'm currently trying a new product (nucelle...it's great if proactiv doesn't work) and so far so good. i hope things get better from here one out, and i appreciate you having the courage to post your sans-makeup photos, i certainly don't...it's comforting to know that there's someone else who's fed up with having alien baby fetus acne like me! 

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  85. I know itʻs been said, but I'll say it again: you are so courageous for posting this. Thank you for sharing! I've read through the responses and it's clear that your story hits close to home for so many of us. I'm 34 and still get a scattering of acne from time to time. I wasn't really impressed with topical prescription meds, as they seemed to work by massively drying out my sensitive skin. Nowadays I use washes from Aveeno and Philosophy that are gentle enough for everyday but exfoliate enough to cut down on the acne.
    Your description of looking in the mirror and feeling so distressed really resonated with me -- I felt the same way when I had stress-related hair loss several years ago. Like you said, these kinds of issues point at the need to realize our self-worth comes from the inside vs. impermanent external features. I'm still learning to deal with stress in healthier ways so it can be released vs. holding it inside where it can harm my body.
    Thank you again, Elaine! This is a beautiful post from a beautiful person. :)

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  86. Thank you for sharing this. I have been suffering for the past three years. Proactiv worked for me last year but my skin got used to it and the pimples came back. I've done the same crying-on-the-bathroom-floor routine as well. My doctors tell me that it's stress (OK, fabulous, not going away anytime soon) and I ALSO noticed a difference when I switched birth control pills (switching to Seasonique was when it all went out of control). I never had a pimple until I was 22 years old. I mean.. NEVER. Now they are all around my mouth and down my neck and chin.

    I have tried literally everything. I am taking an antibiotic to clear it up so that when I switch back to my old birth control I was on before going to Seasonique I can see if that is what made the difference.

    I have had a lot of success with Clinique's acne scar/dark spot eraser cream. It IS expensive but it seriously worked miracles with my acne scarring.

    Thanks for being open with us, looks like a lot of your readers can relate.

    ♥ B
    With Love From Michigan

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  87. Kudos to you for sharing this with us!  I feel your pain as well.  As a teenager I rarely ever broke out but as an adult in my early 30's, I feel like anything triggers a break out for me.  I'm constantly stressed at work which I'm sure does not help.  I started using Proactiv about six months ago and I absolutely love it.  It's really helped me with the breakouts.  I still get them but not as bad and they don't last as long.  I hope it'll continue to work for you and hope your acne clears up soon.  Might be worth a shot to go to GNC to see if they have any vitamins targeting acne.

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  88.  I would also like to add that I don't eat candy, drink pop, and I eat a very strict diet and exercise regularly. Everyone seems to be pointing out what you eat, which can play a role but as someone who has eliminated literally EVERYTHING that can cause acne from a diet, I'm here to say that doesn't always work......

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  89. thanks for this post, and my goodness i feel for you. i'm pretty sure i thanked god for makeup daily in my prayers for a few years there. i went through life with creamy dreamy yummy skin until about 21, when acne just popped up suddenly and stayed moderately bad (with ups and downs) for 3 or 4 years. then on birth control it got really really awful (especially awesome during engagement + wedding :/). 

    but, since i got pregnant about 2.5 years ago--gone. now and then i get a pimple or two, most likely from not being diligent with exfoliating or whatever. so i guess my advice to you is to have a baby? :) really though, it seems like it's got to be hormonal. unless you've drastically changed your diet or developed allergies or something. the question is, what to do about it? hormone testing? i don't know, but somebody's got to... anyway, good luck, and thanks again for posting.

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  90. Gosh, that's awful! It seems like processed and junky foods would be it. I hope you figure it out soon!!

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  91. Good point! I'll take a look. Thank you for your comment!

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  92. Oh, no!! I'm sorry to hear it was bad during your engagement and wedding! I'm sure your pictures turned out wonderful! That's the beauty of Photoshop. ;)

    That's what my mom said too - about pregnancy. Her sister had equally horrible acne but once she got pregnant, her skin just radiated. So a baby it is!!! :P

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  93. I have dealt with regular acne and breakouts ever since middle school. My breakouts usually consist of one or two pimples in my t-zone, but sometimes a giant one will erupt either right smack in the middle of my forehead or on the tip of my nose. I affectionately have named them "Unicorn" or "Rudolph", depending on which one wants to show up :).

    I have used Neutrogena products to help deal with it (all oil-free). My daily skincare routine consists of a daily scrub (The Rapid Clear Daily Exfoliating Scrub), then the Power Cream Acne Stress control face wash (mint green packaging) in the shower. Once I get out, I use the Rapid Clear Toner, and then apply an Oil-Free Sensitive Skin Moisturizer. Depending on how bad the breakouts are, I'll put a dab of the Rapid Clear Salycic Acid treatment on the pimple. Neutrogena also has a line of mineral makeup called "Skin-Clearing" that I use for my concealer and powder base. I'm really bad about washing my face at night, and my skin will sometimes break out in protest. I've also noticed that if I eat a lot of chocolate or fast/fried foods, my skin will break-out too.

    My brother also suffers from bad acne (worse than me) and he's gone the Pro-Activ route with good success. Arbonne has a line that I used for a little while that also worked, but I eventually went back to Neutrogena because it got to be too expensive and not effective anymore for me.

    Lastly - thanks for being so brave to open up about your struggles with this. I think there's not a woman out there who couldn't relate and hasn't gone through a struggle similar to this - be it with acne or something else about her body - as is evidenced by all these awesome comments.

    BTW, if you ever have a moment of downtime, you can read about my struggle with "The Unicorn" here. I think you would laugh :)

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  94. thank you so much for posting this! i have had mild acne since a teen, but it seemed to worsen as i got older, and my skin looked worse as the scars, redness, and underlying bumps were left behind. i can relate to the inner struggle, trying different products, asking God why and praying for healing.  you are right that stress, diet, exercise, and hygiene all play a part and we do need to do the best we can in those areas. for me, as a health foodie and natural woman, i was already doing pretty well in all those areas, so i couldn't understand why this was happening when i was doing all the right things. i also get acne on my back and sometimes chest, and i had read that hormones can play a major role in that kind of acne. also, my husband and i were having trouble conceiving, so we had a hunch something was not right.
     after looking up more about it, i got my hormones tested using a saliva test kit from dr.john lee's website (i do not work for them!!) and it turned out my hormones were out of whack as a 25yr old. since then, i started using a natural progesterone cream (emerita brand--also i do not work for, i am a stay at home mom!) and not only has my skin improved, but it has also helped my hormones balance out enough to conceive our first child, who is now 18months old! praise God! my skin is not 100% now, but my breakouts are a lot less severe.
    and the one last thing i will add for you and anyone reading, one of the single most effective things i've experienced to change my acne has been:  stop picking at my face!!  seriously, i know this sounds grows, but a lot of us do it in some way, whether it be squeezing, scratching, popping, etc. it creates more inflammation, spreads the oils and bacteria and creates more pimples and scars.  it has taken me years to get ahold of this sick addiction and habit, but i have seen the most improvement by not spending time in front of the mirror picking at my face.  people compliment me on how much better my skin looks and what im using. its a lot to do with what im not DOING anymore.  i used to believe that picking at my face would somehow help or make them go away faster, but the opposite is true. 
    i hope this helps someone and i hope everyone who struggles with adult acne knows that you are a beautiful creation made in the image of God, who deeply loves you inside and out! :) 

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  95. Bravo, Elaine! A wonderful post that has obviously helped a lot of people who struggle with this also.  I've never dealt with acne but I know the feeling of being extremely unhappy with a part of your body.  Lost 85 pounds a year ago but that was after a 20 year struggle. It helps people so much to know they're not alone.

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  96. thank you so much for this post, Elaine! I've been dealing with acne since the age of 15, and I'm now 30. I completely agree with your feelings toward acne...there have been many times within the past 15 years where I've broken down crying and wondered why this was happening to me.
    in my case, it's hereditary. my father had very bad acne until his mid-20s and has awful scarring. I was "lucky" enough to get that gene...though not lucky enough to have it disappear like his did. I wish and hope every day that one day I will wake up and my skin will be clear and beautiful!
    the strangest thing is, my acne actually CHANGED over time. it started with your run-of-the-mill pimples; they hung around for a few days and went away, then more would pop up right after. however, after I got to be an "adult", the breakouts were very different. my "regular" acne has changed into something more awful (in my opinion) called cystic acne. one pimple will literally hang around on my face for weeks...sometimes even months. and sometimes one will even come back, after I've thought it's already gone away!
    while I certainly can identify with your struggle, I will admit that I AM jealous that you've found a product that is working to clear your skin! I've tried just about everything...proactiv, neutrogena skin id, and just about anything you can get over the counter. while the combination of products that I currently use keep me from breaking out too badly, it doesn't seem to be doing much to make my situation better. I can only hope that I can find my miracle product one day soon! :)

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  97. Ya know when I tweeted to you that I knew what you were feeling, it was totally about my post where I showed my face on the blog for the first time.  So...we were KINDA freaking out for the same reasons. :)  Love ya though, even if it never clears up, and not because of anything that has to do with you on the outside.

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  98. Thank you!!! Couldn't have come at a better time!!!

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  99. I struggled with acne when i was younger and have been having issues recently. I did go on a mild medicated dose that helped clear it up and was milder than acutane.

    Recently, I found the side of my face and chin have been breaking out heavily and bothering me. It made me very self conscious. After thinking about my habits, I've found a couple of things to be very helpful: drinking as much water as possible. Also, cleaning and disinfecting my make up brushes and washing my pillow cases that my face touches. Make up brushes especially can cause break outs. While my acne is fairly mild, these small things have cleared my skin and really decreased my break outs.

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  100. I am glad I am not the only one who still struggles!  I have tried pretty much everything you have tried.  After awhile, I just kind of put my regimen together with different brands and products.  I found that if I do the following that my skin will have a lot less flair-ups: Remove make up, Wash (light exfoliate at night), use a toner that will balance the PH levels of my skin and close my pores, use an anti-acne gel/cream like salicylic acid, use a serum (this helps shrink my pores and get rid of scars, I'm using Origins' Plantscription), and then of course moisturize with a non-oil base moisturizer (always making sure to wear SPF during the day too).  I still get the occasional pimples, but it's not nearly as bad as it has been before.  
    Thank you for your post, I really enjoy all your blog!
    Mindy @ Nautical Stripes

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  101. Elaine, I want to tell you that I admire your courage for showing all of us that acne affects us all. :) Acne is a problem for me too, it's good to know no one's alone.


    http://www.hctroisp.blogspot.com

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  102. Elaine, I am one of your 2% IIRC--I am 51 years old and have struggled with acne since the 8th grade. Currently, finally, I have the occasional pimple. I wash with Cetaphil and a dry washcloth. I use Dan Kern's products from acne.org--the benzoil peroxide EVERY morning, his moisturizer at night or his AHA cream. I use Biore Dual Fusion SPF 30 moisturizer under my makeup. I use a Clarisonic in the shower with Neutrogena Power Cream cleanser. I also get a deep facial once a month, because I have a lot of clogged pores.

    When I faced two stressful life situations (the same stressor both times) I broke out a lot under my jaw line.

    I read a book about acne a long time ago that explained the typical emotional reaction to having acne, primarily, deep shame.  This helped me put my emotions into perspective.  This is also why everyone says you are brave--because acne sufferers are so deeply ashamed of their condition and of themselves, and you chose not to be ruled by shame by posting pictures.

    I too found that dermatologist's products never helped me. Vitamin A did not help. Giving up sugar did not help. I haven't been able to try giving up dairy.

    Thanks for opening up a conversation!

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  103. That is SO interesting. I'd love to know what that book is. Thanks for your comment!

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  104. But you have such a pretty face! No way you were freaking out!!

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  105. Oh, Erin, my heart breaks for you!! I'm sorry you still have to go through this. It really is unfair.. I hope things start looking up for you soon!! You should look into Paula's Choice. Even though it didn't work for me, I know it has worked for a lot of other people. I will keep you in my prayers!

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  106. Hormone test?? That sounds like it would be right up my alley... I KNOW there's something off inside my body. Nobody else can tell me what it is though so I may have to check it out. Thanks! And thank you for sharing your experience!

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  107. I think it is so inspiring that you shared your struggle with this.  I've had moderate adult acne for a few years, but in the past couple of years it's cleared up.  I'm not really sure what changed but maybe it was breaking up with a boyfriend who wasn't good for me...?  Anyway, I went through some of the same feelings you expressed.  I felt depressed about it and I would just pray and pray for it to go away!  And I used to notice EVERYONE's skin and compare it to mine!  I don't really have any great advice or thoughts to offer, just that I know this struggle and I think you are really brave to share your full self!  I think sometimes it's hard for us as girls to completely separate our self-worth from our looks - I know that's a weakness I struggle with sometimes.  I'd still rather not ever have acne, but I'm grateful to have opportunities to learn how to separate my self-worth from having to look pretty.  I think you are beautiful no matter what, and I just love that you shared something so personal.  So thanks!

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  108. I cheap and natural alternative is using aloe vera leaf! You can get a huge piece for around $1 and it lasts forever in the fridge. Just slice off the green outside and rub the gel on your face. I feel like it really helps moisturize my face while also tightening my pores, plus it's completely natural and chemical-free!

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  109. Thank you for the brave honest post! When I was in law school I started breaking out more than ever before. When realizing my facial lotion had mineral oil in it I switched and my skin got better. After limiting milk intake, getting of the pill and throwing out make-up except make-up Bare Minerals (with the occasional use of Clinique's stay matte pressed powder) my skin has been amazing! Just thought I would share that. :-)

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  110. I dont know if you already did it, but what I recomend you that worked for me was to stop to take any product with milk. I just take soya milk and above cheese. As weel pork, butter, eggs...tried to change your diet.  the problem comming from inside, any product that you will use it is not going to solve your problem. Take care and luck

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  111. Hi I have started reading your blog and you are am inspiration to all of us for being so brave in sharing with us on your story. I totally understand your feelings except it didn't happen to me in the face but my hair. One day, I woke up and found myself with bald patches on my scalp. I was too stunned to know what is really happening. My mum sorted of freak out when she found out, wondering what was I doing to myself. I went to seek out hair loss treatments, not knowing this is a condition that not even medical has the solution to it. Finally I went to the doctor and it was diagnosed as alopecia areata. Can't really find the reason for it, it might be stress or immune system problem. The whole cycle for the bald patches to grow hair takes a year. It's been 2 years, the situation is so much better now. It is one big challenge for us but we are stronger now, aren't we. :-)

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  112. Stephanie SandersMarch 1, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    Hi Elaine,

    Do you use a lot of products that are scented? My Dad has an entire skin problem where if he wears "perfumy" products he breaks out, maybe something you put on your face or wash your clothes in affects your skin? Maybe switching to "free of dyes and perfumes" and unscented soaps and lotions would help?

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  113. such an honest and brave post. i know how it feels to have acne too. good that you've found a product that suits you! =)

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  114. this is brave of you to share something that makes you feel so vulnerable. i hope you know that you are completely beautiful, in each of these photos above and also that there is nothing wrong with your feelings about wanting it to go away. i think every woman has had some point in her life where her physical appearance doesn't match what she wants for herself on the inside--whether it's a breakout, or a few extra pounds, or (in my case) going bald and getting rashes from chemo. somehow those changes to one's outward appearance are the things that feel most hard to take. i remember when i was sick, it was going bald that bothered me the most--i hated feeling ugly, i didn't feel like myself, i felt like everyone could see that i was sick on the inside. and then i felt down for being superficial about my baldness when there were a lot of other things to worry about. after a while it helped me to do what you did, too, and try to take a step back from it and remember that goodness comes from the inside (even if we also want it to show on the outside!). i think as women, we can be very hard on ourselves about our appearances. we are so often told (implicitly or explicitly) that it is a woman's job/strength/power to be beautiful and it can be deeply troubling to feel like we have so little control about what happens, and to feel uncomfortable (physically and mentally) when we have a skin or health issue.
    anyway, i'm really glad you've found something that helps. i think you are completely beautiful no matter what, and i hope your skin keeps clearing up because that is what you want. big hugs!

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  115. uberchicforcheapMarch 1, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    So. Brave.

    I struggled with serious acne for years. It was worst when I was engaged. I remember crying in the bathroom because I didn't want that acne making an appearance in my wedding pictures. I went on some serious antibiotics to get rid of them which then started giving me migraines (worst thing that has ever happened to me).

    I applaud the honesty in this post. Too often we think bloggers lives are perfect, it's a beautiful reminder of how human we all are.

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  116. You are so brave - I commend your openness on this sensitive subject. I'm so glad proactiv is working well for you! I used to use it, for several years actually, but the new formula didn't work as well for me (go figure?) so I had to stop using it. I've suffered with acne since I was about 14 (I'm in my late 20s now) and it is not an easy thing to deal with. My daughter just turned 3 and it's an awful thing when she points to my breakouts and asks me "mama, what's that?" and I tell her it's a booboo, and she asks if I fell down (since that's how she gets booboos). I know it's stress (I work full-time, am writing my PhD dissertation, and have a husband and a 3-year-old, lol), but I consider diet a factor too - I have also made the switch to almond milk (which is DELICIOUS!). I recently started having more severe breakouts again and I went back to the dermatologist - I'm on 2 topical treatments, and I use a tea tree oil face wash and/or baking soda to wash my face, and a homemade toner with apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, and lavender essential oil, and I've been using just 100% aloe gel as a moisturizer lately, which I like.  I try to keep the rest of my skincare routine as natural and gentle as possible since I'm on prescription-strength topicals. I've actually found that a daily scrub of baking soda is not too harsh for me and has helped clear up my skin more quickly. I've seen improvement,and I'm glad you are too. I also pray that my acne will go away one day, but regardless, we both must remember that we are beautiful, inside and out - even when we don't feel that way (maybe especially when we don't feel that way). You are most definitely not alone in this struggle and if I happen to find a magic cure I'll be sure to share it with you ;-)

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  117. Hey Elaine, I went through some unfortunate acne struggles every few years: 18, 23, 26, and right after I turned 30.  The most recent one was horrible.  Mostly concentrated on my jawline/upper neck, and some of it trickled up to my cheeks.  It was really bad between September 2010-January 2011.  I was under a lot of job stress, but I should have been more happy.  I was newly married and doing well in my career, but there I was, standing in front of a room full of college students (who all seemed to have better skin then me), with a pimple "beard."  And I started to get wrinkles around my eyes too.  I went to a derm but I refused to go on anything too strong.  The stuff they gave me (azaelic acid) just made me itchy and kinda hairy (not dark but it seemed like the light hair on my face got longer.  Argh!).  I tried every kind of elimation diet (no sugar, no wheat, no dairy, no booze), but no luck there.  My mom, who is a acupuncturist, sent me a bunch of herbs.  I started using this stuff  (http://www.makeupartistschoice.com/catalog/TCA_Peels-22-1.html) on my scars after things calmed down a bit.  And using Paula's Choice, but only the 2% BPA liquid.  (I wash with Desert Essence facial wash, which unfortunately dries my skin under the eyes).  I finally started clearing up by end of December and my scars have mostly faded.  I am mostly clear now, with the occasional period set of 2-3 pimples.  I will never have "good skin," but I am pleased to have less horribly embarrassing skin.  I don't wear make up, though, because I just hate the feeling of something on my face that isn't meant to be absorbed.  
    I fear that I'll get another monster break out again.  Luckily, my husband is very supportive and nice.  And I will start using hard core stuff right away in response.Stay positive and gorgeous, lady!

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  118. Thank you for doing this, Elaine! I know how the whole adult acne thing feels first hand. I've been struggling with acne ever since middle school. It seems like no matter what I do, it will just come and go. One day, I'll have perfect skin, then the next day I'll be super broken out! One of the things I do, among changing bedding every so often, washing my face, using masks and scrubs, and taking omega3s, is trying to avoid eating soy products. Soy causes hormonal imbalance, especially in women! Also, I spot treat with tea tree oil. It's antibacterial, so it fights the breakout from the source. I used proactive for a long time, but recently I think it's been drying out my skin too much which causes more acne, so I've been experimenting with other stuff. When my acne goes away, it ALWAYS leaves dark scars, so I'm currently searching the market for something that will fade my scars. I've tried a few things, but they don't seem to do much for me. It's a constant battle, so I'm right with you in the fight, girl!

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  119. Thank Elaine soo much for sharing this!! I don't have acne and I hope I will not have, but if I will then for sure I want to be as courageous and honest about this whole thing! I think sharing your story, even though it was hard, helped a lot of people to get motivated, encouraged, comforted and for sure not alone...Im glad it's getting better in your case, wish you to get better sooner than SOON ;))

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  120. Elaine, I'm so glad you posted this.

    I'm 19, I had always had reasonably clear skin till one night there was a crop of tiny pimples  which grew swollen and red in a week. More than your physical appearence, I think acne scars you emtionally too. And it may seem stupid and vain but I cried so much about it and my self esteem reached rock-bottom.Its been 6 months, many trips to the dermatologist and tonnes of prescribed medicines but they are gone now and all that is left are scars.I completely understand what you've been through and I love that you've written this. Sharing this right away for girls just like me, who can be inspired by you.http://www.sunkissed-style-file.blogspot.com  

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  121. Elaine, you are so brave and honest, I admire this so much.  And obviously, a lot of people do too.  I had terrible acne as a young teenager, just awful.  Didn't have money to spend on products.  When my friends would talk about their couple of tiny pimples and makeup stuff, I would be silent as I was too embarrassed to ever call attention to my acne.  I mean, obviously everyone could see it there on my face; why did I need to talk about it?  It contributed to my shyness as a teenager, and it didn't help my inability to date or have the boyfriend I yearned for in those years.  Eventually, it got better as a young adult, but I'll always sympathize with teens and adults with acne. Those Proactiv commercials look great, I'm so glad it's helping.  Thank you for sharing and for not yanking this post from the web though I know you were tempted to!

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  122. This is such an inspirational post. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you to post about this, write about this, and most of all, live through all of this. I am so sorry for all the pain you have gone through and I'm so glad to hear you are getting better.

    I can understand somewhat how you feel. I had lots of acne when I was in high school and was teased a lot. I had much more acne then any of my friends, and since I have pale white skin, the red bumps were very noticeable. My school didn't allow us to wear any makeup, so I had to go bare faced to school everyday. I recall getting SEVERAL huge zits (not just pimples, I'm talking about the big mountains) on my nose. I would have so many big zits on my nose, that they all kind of united and become one huge zit path. It was terrible. I was teased. I would cry. It was horrible.

    I aplaud you so much for your bravery and for sticking in there. You are beautiful inside and out. Simple beautiful.

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  123.  Oh.my.goodness.  I just stopped BC too, and I am now in the same boat as Maggie was.  Same age too. :)  Well, I've actually had problems my whole life with it but had it under control with medications from my dermatologist.  However, they've gotten a thousand times worse now off the BC.  I understand your struggle, Elaine!  Thanks for sharing--I'm right there with you and still trying to sort it out....all over again.  My husband used Accutane in high school, so I'm pretty sure our future kids are doomed. :(

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  124. Melissa H. JohnsonMarch 1, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    I also was on Acutane my senior year of college (it's a vitamin A analog). Major side effects are possible risk of depression, dryness, sensitivity to light, and serious birth defects. You need to be on two forms of birth control while on it. I didn't experience the depression, but my siblings did and had to be taken off it because it got really really bad for them. The only issue I had was drying out like crazy. I seriously HAD to have chap stick at all times or my lips would be in pain and look like ground hamburger all day. I had to wear sunscreen on days I would be out a bit (winter time is best to take Acutane) . And I always carried Lotion. My skin is really nice now. The only issue I have now is that I am experiencing dry hair. This happened around the same time I moved to LA so I don't know which one had the effect. But for me Acutane was useful.

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  125. I actually still wonder if Revlon Colorstay foundation was what caused the horrible acne I started getting in college. Everyone's just like "Oh, that's part of being a teenager" - and I saw a dermatologist for years, who, in retrospect, sucked. She had me on oral antibiotics for YEARS! - totally a no-no, topicals, tried to talk me into Accutane, got mad when I said "No way"... NEVER talked to me about what foundation I was putting on my face. Started grad school and went to Student Health there - they gave me a rundown on basic skin care, and I decided to stop wearing cheap foundation all over my face. Spent the extra ~$20 on a bottle of Prescriptives foundation, and stopped using such harsh acne products on my face so it wasn't so dried out all the time. Voila - skin cleared up!!

    Doesn't have to be Prescriptives, but now, if something is going to coat my face for ~12 hours a day, every day, I suck it up and pay a little more for quality foundation. Sure an extra $20 feels like a splurge, but the bottle lasts a *long* time, and you save COUNTLESS dollars in acne products, prescriptions, doctor's visits, plus all the stress and mental anguish, etc... I see I'm not the only one, others also complain about Revlon Colorstay causing horrible breakouts on MakeupAlley: http://www.makeupalley.com/product/showreview.asp?ItemID=13842 . But of course everyone's different, so what didn't work for me might work just fine for you.

    I also love Purpose moisturizer (not sexy, but I love it): http://www.purposeskincare.com/productGuide , Clean and Clear Morning Burst facial scrub, and the Olay Clarisonic-imitation brush thing: http://www.amazon.com/Olay-Professional-Advanced-Cleansing-System/dp/B0043OYFKU , plus witch hazel. Basically, I am extremely careful about what products I let touch my skin now, and always make sure I moisturize a lot, to cut down oil production (counterintuitive, but it's true). But again, that's just what works for me, YMMV. Best of luck!!

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  126. Hmm.. Interesting.. I may have to look into Prescriptives then...

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  127. I commend you for your bravery for posting this. It's so easy to hide your flaws when people only know you via whatever you choose to post. No one can ever say you are anything but authentic.

    If it makes you feel any better, I had no idea you had acne until you mentioned it. I have very, VERY large pores, but you can never see them in photos. So I imagine that most of those people we think have perfect skin, don't.

    Lastly, you are beautiful with or without the acne. Don't ever think otherwise.

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  128. The hard part about Prescriptives is that it used to be in all the major department stores, but it's online-only now - but I've been wearing it for 10 years now so I know exactly what I want (shade, formulation, etc) and can just reorder. But I'm sure other quality department-store type foundations would offer similar benefits. I just mean that spending a little more on high-quality foundation - since it will be sitting on your skin all-day-every-day - is completely priceless in terms of benefits!

    I also found that too many acne products were actually hurting my skin more than it was helping, because having my skin dried out so much by acne products was causing it to pump out more oil, leading to more acne, leading to more acne products... a vicious cycle. Now I am far more gentle to my skin, and it is really paying off. I've finally discovered a combination of products that works for me, and if I "cheat" on it too much by trying something new on a whim, I seem to pay the price with an acne outburst... and I'm 31! So I stick with what works for me. I'm just far more careful about what I allow on my skin now. MakeupAlley is *very* useful for user product reviews of pretty much anything: http://www.makeupalley.com/

    Again, everyone's different, so what worked for me might not work for you! But I have DEFINITELY been where you are... for years... but turned it around with careful product selection and reading ingredient lists... and am very thankful to have done so!! Trust me, there is hope!! Best of luck!! :)

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  129. e!  you are so awesome!  do you even know how many people you are helping with a post like this?  you probably already have this, but i really like the proactiv refining mask for spot treatment.   so what if i look like i have white out on my face.  it works really well.  bravo, e!

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  130. I know someone who had eye complications because she did Accutane twice.  Wish I remember exactly what the complications were.  It was well beyond light sensitivity, and I think she had to get surgery.  However, I do know others who did Accutane just once without any complications and with great results. 

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  131. I've had constant influx of acne since my first pimple at age 13. At 16 or 17, I started using ProActiv. It resulted in a noticeably less number of pimples, but they were never fully gone. At 18, while still using ProActiv, I started having the worst breakouts I had ever experienced. I started washing my face 3 times a day and using spot treatments every chance I got but nothing worked. My self esteem was sunk. Finally I gave Skin ID a try, and have been using it for 3 years now. It works, but not perfectly. I can only think of 2 separate times while using it when I've had a perfectly clear face. Unfortunately, all the salicylic acid treatments I use have made my face extremely dry, so now I have acne *and* dry skin. It's not ideal, but I live with it. I am lucky that I have an incredible boyfriend who makes me feel great about myself- even comfortable enough to go out without makeup in public sometimes!
    My story isn't one of triumph over acne. I've tried just about everything with no amazing results. It's about not tying up my self-worth into my looks.

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  132. Mariana Santarem GomesMarch 1, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    I really, really feel you in this post. I had perfect skin and took care of it to perfection and it was my pride and joy. Until I had this crazy allergy when I was 18, in 2009, and my face felt like is was exploding.... it didn't get as bad as you (I'm so sorry to hear about your suffering :(), but it made my face all red and sometimes it would hurt to even wash it in the morning. I tried everything possible with the help of a dermatologist - and also, just like you, cried and cried. I felt like a prisioner of my skin.


    In January/2011, my doctor told me my only choice was to go the Accutane rote, since EVERYTHING failed before it. I was pretty scared, but my dose was light and I just finished the treatment last month. My skin looks SO much better, no pimples at all! I have some little marks from the previous acne, but I'm more than wealing to live with those. I still am scared it might come back, but I'm really hoping it will be lost for good!

    I'll be cheering that Proactiv will clear your problem once and for all. Never give up hope. You'll have a perfect, beautiful skin.

    Thanks so much for having the courage to share your history with us. It really shows that you already have a beautiful soul. 

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  133. You're so brave to put these pictures online. Thank you for sharing :)

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  134. I know I'm just repeating what others have said, but you are so brave!! So much of blogging is putting on a happy face and pretending to be perfect. I've been very lucky to have relatively clear skin most of my life, but shortly after high school, I got my tonsils out and was put on steroids and developed steroid acne. I remember crying at night about my face and not wanting to leave the house because I felt so ugly. My high school boyfriend had severe acne, and I never really noticed it because I thought he was gorgeous with or without pimples, and you are utterly gorgeous, too. I've had weight problems for the latter half of my life and have terrible stretchmarks, and your post has inspired me to try to feel less self-conscious about them. We're just human, after all, and our scars should be a reminder of what we've gotten through, not a reason to be ashamed.

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  135. Hi Elaine,
    I really feel like you need to get off of birth control completely. I had some skin issues for several years and after i changed my diet (i am now a vegan) and had the gyno take me off all birth control the problem completely disappeared. and i am telling you i did the same thing went to a bunch of doctors and i tried everything else. my problem lasted for years and it was really really bad. you are probably getting pulled from all directions right now but i hope this helps. also, take your vitamins, and no, you cannot "overdose" on them. thats a myth for the pharma and FDA companies to keep us paying big bucks for drugs.

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  136. i didn't even really have acne in high school, and then it creeped up on me in college (so rude!). the worst my face has ever been was back in december-ish of 2007. i remember because i flew to alabama with josh to visit his grandparents and i was meeting them for the first time (we'd just gotten engaged), and i was SO embarrassed to be meeting them and have acne covering my entire face. shortly afterwards i started using some sort of benzyl cream i got from the doctors (it came in a pot and had to be refrigerated), and it worked really well. it was like $50 for a jar though, so after my skin started getting better i eventually stopped getting refills for it. i still struggle with acne (thankfully not as bad as it was at my worst). i use clinique's 3 step acne solutions cleansing regimen, and i use clinique's acne solutions foundation. i think the foundation really works to prevent breakouts, and i don't feel guilty about wearing makeup because it is actually helping instead of making the problem worse. i definitely recommend that foundation, it's worth a try if you're interested. i'm glad you're getting your skin back on track. best of luck my dear, it's no fun at all!!

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  137. Elaine, I've been reading your blog for a few months, but haven't commented on any story before.  I first want to thank you for your courage!  I recently suffered from an outbreak of acne for a number of months, and had a hard time letting my own husband see me without makeup.  Obviously this post has been a blessing to so many people, so bless you for that. I am 24 and was incredibly frustrated with my horrible cystic acne all over my face.  I ended up being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, which definitely triggered my acne (as a result of a hormonal imbalance).  I went on birth control a few months ago, which has cleared my skin considerably.  I'd like to reiterate those who've posted on how hormones have effected their skin condition.  I'd recommend looking into hormone imbalances. 

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  138. I am so, so, so moved by your bravery. Thank you!!! I don't know if I'd ever have the heart to do that.

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  139. I've been reading for a long time, but I rarely comment, I'm so lame. But I am so grateful for this post! Thank you for sharing this!

    I've struggled with acne ever since junior high, and I always kind of hoped that once I turned 18, it would magically vanish, but here I am at 20, still acned-up. I 100% know your pain! It always hurts whenever someone says something to you - you know they can see it, why do they have to talk to you about it? I was approached by one of the kiosk people in the mall about my skin and it made me want to die, I was so embarrassed! (Though he said the skin around my eyes was good, as if that made me feel better. . .)

    I've tried so many different things! My pediatrician gave me all kinds of topical gels, I tried some antibiotics, I tried Proactiv, and nothing helped! I spent 4 months in India and as everyone else said great things about what the humidity did for their skin, it just made my acne worse, and gave me scars, which I had never had before! I've been back a year, and I had hoped they would fade by now. No such luck.

    But I have had some success with stopping breakouts! I read this blog post (http://vixenvintage.blogspot.com/2010/08/my-skincare-routine.html) and decided to try it. Now, it's just cold cream at night (gets rid of all the makeup and is so moisturizing!) and some generic Cetaphil in the morning. So many less breakouts! And my skin is so soft, when it has always been so rough!

    I'm still having a hard time finding a good moisturizer and some foundation that covers my scars without being too thick and flaking off. I will have to try this NuSkin mist, it sounds wonderful! (Is that what they're always spraying themselves with in Korean dramas???) I just got some new moisturizer and something to help with the scars. Hopefully they are what I need.

    I hope Proactiv works for you! You are wonderful and beautiful  and so, so brave and I am so grateful for this blog and all the love and effort you put into it! Thank you a million times over!

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  140. Elaine, this is such a brave, wonderful post. I want to commend you on taking such a personal risk and putting yourself out there talking about something painful. I really appreciate you addressing the subject: adult acne is a huge problem, and I can only imagine how awful it must be. Stay strong! 

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  141. Elaine this is very brave of you. Society can be so harsh and easy to judge but we all stand by you through this struggle. I hope you know how inspirational this is.

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  142. Girl, I hear you loud and clear!  I guess I've been blessed in that I've never had acne quite as bad as that, but I'm almost 20 and I've still got "teenager skin."  Thanks for posting this and reminding those of us who still struggle with acne that we're not alone!

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  143. Way to go!  Kudos for your bravery! 
    And since we're sharing stories....
    I've had bad acne off and on since I was 17 and I'm turning 30 in a month.  I've tried every topical cream under the moon and have been on Accutane twice.  The first time, not so bad.  The second time....I had crazy depressed thoughts like wondering what it would be like to jump off a cliff or slit my wrists.  I slept with my bedroom light on because I was afraid of those thoughts that only came at night.  It off it made about 1/4 of my hair fall out.  I found out afterwards that my roommates were calling home crying to their parents about how bad I looked and that they often said to each other that they would never go outside if their skin looked like mine.  I watched almost all of my guy friends in college disappear.   Awesome.  And then I cleared up and then I broke out again.  It's come down to only birth control working and recently I've found it makes me crazy and I'd rather deal with zits this go around....we'll see how long this lasts.  Mine comes from the horomones others have mentioned.  And yes, apparently gluten can also play a role.  But I love bread too much.  The feelings everyone experiences are real.  And they can hurt.  Somewhere along the line my mom told me I have zits because I'm so awesome and beautiful that Heavenly Father had to somehow even the playing field out a bit.  That's the perspective I like to keep! (even though some days it's harder than others)Good luck to everyone!  We can all be one big happy zit faced crowd!...but hopefully not for too much longer!

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  144. Elaine, I used to have the same problem. But then my gynecologist told me that there are five different progesterones and different birth control pills use different ones. Different progesterones affect people differently. I switched birth control pills to one with a different progesterone, and now I am break out free. I would also recommend getting on a pill where you take 4 packet of pills and then have one period (i.e only have a period every 13 weeks) because it keeps your hormones more stable.

    That is the only thing I have done to go from horrible acne to clear skin and you have nothing to lose if you are already on the pill. I don't use any products on my skin.

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  145. I have adult acne too, but it's under control now. I tried product after product my whole life (okay since I was 11) and I finally found what worked for me. Here is what helped me:
    Clean and Clear Oil free cream cleanser. Does not dry your face out like most soaps. Dry face = more acne. Oil free lotion with spf. I use Neutrogena cause you can buy a two pack for cheap at Cotsco. Then at night I use Nuetrogena Rapid clear spot treatment on my trouble areas. Then the most important step: once a week I make a orange lentil face mask. Crush dry orange lentils in a blender then store in a airtight container. Once a week mix a small amount in a small dish with a bit of water to make a paste with an oatmeal like consistency. Apply to washed face. Let sit for about an hour then gently wash off. This has made such a big difference. It clears out all the black heads, and I get less zits popping up, because my skin isn't clogged up. I got the recipe from Makeupalley.com 
    This routine saved my skin! Try it! 

    Laura
    Born To Be Styled

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  146. Christa, I don't even know how to respond to that! I'm so sorry you went through such a hard time. You ARE awesome and beautiful and don't let anyone tell you otherwise! You are not alone!! Thank you for sharing your story!

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  147. I'm glad to hear you found something that worked for you! I had acne in my teens and I too tried everything, all the acne washes and nothing worked, even stuff prescribed by the doctor didn't work. I even tried Proactiv for a year and it did nothing for me - maybe they've changed their formula in the, well close to a decade ago I tried it. What fixed my acne up was going on the Pill. Nobody really understands how important it is to have 'perfect' skin until you go through it yourself, sure it's superficial but feeling good about yourself is also about looking good on the outside and if you don't feel like you look good on the outside, you won't look good on the inside.

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  148. This was a really brave and confronting thing to write and provide images for and I commend and admire you greatly for it. On the Internet, everything is about anonymity and artifice and to have someone as lovely, talented and intelligent as you detail your struggle against against problem skin is very reassuring to a woman like me (also a sufferer of adult acne).

    I've found diet is very significant to the state of my skin and like you, milk affects my skin in a negative way. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into a very private part of your life, it was both reassuring and helpful.

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  149. I always appreciate how real you keep things around here - 100% authenticity. You are so brave to post these pictures, and this is why readers love you and stick around. I would also consider more dietary changes...I had pretty terrible skin until I found out I was gluten intolerant, and then later eliminated dairy as well. I take a lot of probiotics for gut repair + high quality fish oil and my skin's never looked better. Might be worth consulting a naturopathic doctor?

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  150. This is such a wonderful article. I have been going through this as well and have changed a lot of things in my life to ensure my skin stays the way it was prior to breakouts. I have scars everywhere as well, but I have come to the realization that make up is not always the answer. My make up regimen has changed as well. I went from taking atleast an hour to put make up on to just wearing mascara. Anyway thank you for posting this article. It makes me feel better about myself knowing that I'm not alone with suffering from the same issue. 

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  151. Thank you do much for being brave and posting this! I've delt with acne since I was 11, and I'm 18 now so having acne is really all I remember. I've tried everything- the nasty Accutane, other antibiotics, Clinique, etc. Last August I saw a YouTube video about a new technology called Isolaz. It's done wonders on my skin, but not without a steap price. In Canada, a set of three treatments cost around $500. I'm finishing up my third round because I've had enough! I'm taking some docycycline and just starting a new cream, Tactuo, which is a miracle worker! I've always taken good care of my skin and I hope and pray that my skin will be clear, and I hope the best for you!

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  152. I totally appreciate your post! Went through a similar experience last year when I had acne attacks for several months. It got to a point that people were constantly asking me, "What happened to your skin? You didn't used to have that many pimples." Of course, those comments are not helpful at all.

    The pimples haven't gone away completely but it has become more manageable now. I'm thankful to my dermatologist who shares my values and has gone through a similar experience as well (fairly ok skin during adolescence then breakouts during early 20s).

    Even though it has been a fairly traumatic experience for me, I know that I still have to be thankful for going through this so that I can fully realize that one's beauty does not rest on one's physical appearance. Sure, it's nice to have straight teeth, long and silky hair, as well as clear and rosy skin but a woman's worth and beauty is so much more than that. I guess it was a reminder also that I needed to focus my energies on things other than my own vanity.

    For everything that happens, I guess the optimism that we bring into it helps a lot by thinking that everything works out for the good as the Lord has said. He can heal and turn what is broken into something beautiful.

    P.S. Appreciate also your guts for writing about something very personal to you. Must have taken a lot of courage on your part.

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  153. Please consider this... EPIDUO. it really does wonders. Trust me. It has helped countless people. It's on the pricey side... but i'm forever grateful for a clear face

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  154. Elaine, thanks so much for the post. I too suffer from adult acne. I've had a pimple here and there as a teen but I never paid much attention as I thought I'd one day grow out of it. Then in my early twenties I started getting persistent acne around my mouth that fluctuated with my menstrual cycle. But the rest of my face was clear. Last year when I turned 26 I was going to grad school part time while having a high stress full time job and entering into an unfulfilling relationship, I put myself under such stress that reflected all on my skin. I was breaking out everywhere, forehead, jawline, neck, around the mouth, chin, temple...I'm still struggling with it but have got somewhat better today than the end of last year when I was too embarrassed to even visit home to let my parents see my face. 

    In short, I think the main reason for acne is our body can't handle all the stuff we put into it, let it be certain foods and stress and emotional distress. The underlying issue is a not-up-to-par digestive system and compromised liver. There are certain things we can do to correct the problems internally. Exercising is one to flush out the toxins caused by emotions.  

    Talking about diet I think we need to keep our diet as clean and simple as possible. I made myself a promise to never eat any food that I can't tell how it was made. This includes all cookies, processed food, junk food, chocolate, nutrition bars etc. I started this new routine of drinking a smoothie made of two plum tomatoes and one part of celery. Green colored food can calm out liver. So I'm trying to eat more green apples and green grapes etc. I also cut out all grilled food because it had too much heat in the making. I was told to stop eating the following foods that produce a lot of heat by a Chinese doctor: beef, lamb, any seafood, mango, and lychee because these food also have a lot of "heat" and we need to calm our body. It's hard to part from my beloved seafood and cookies but I think because of the special ways our acne prone bodies are we need to try to eat simple and clean and stop overworking our bodies. 

    Sleep is very important to maintain a healthy liver. 

    Also I was told to give myself a belly rub nightly to help with digestion. It's basically using your hands to massage your belly in a circular motion for 5-10 min. You may hear things move in your belly and remove "blockages". 

    It's unfair that we have to experience this but in retrospect I think it's also God way to remind us to take care of our bodies. Acne has made me very health aware and also made me very humble and appreciative of the presence. Before my breakout, I used to never liked a lot of things about my appearance but after the breakout I realizes that things could get a lot worse and we should really treasure what we have now. Also don't let the acne take over your mood. Instead of staring at those acne, start appreciating the other gorgeous features you have. If we only focus on the few dark spots in our lives, the dark spots will cloud over our lives. 

    Anyways, I wish you and all the readers a speedy recovery!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  155. I'm going to be passing on second hand information. (I'm lucky I've only had a short bout with adult acne)  
    You mentioned that you use one NuSkin product -- I'm going to recommend NuSkin 180 face wash, with an occasional NuSkin Exfoliant scrub and Epoch Glacial Marine Mud.  My BF's husband swears by this combination.  He used to use Proactive, but didn't like the harsh chemicals. I just bought this combination for my niece who, now 21, has not had clear skin since she hit puberty.  I'll check back with results if you like. 

    Personally, I'm using the 180 face wash and exfoliant scrub... for the past 3 months, and now, I don't even get my monthly period pimple!  Haven't seen it in three months. (it was the pimple that showed up in the same place, like clockwork.  Now, without it, my period seems to sneak up on me...but I'll take that over the period pimple... usually one on my left cheek and one on my neck! 

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  156. Hi!  How are you doing today?  I just want to say that I stand with you by your side understanding exactly what you are dealing with.  I am around the same age as you and I NEVER had severe cystic acne before until August and I am still struggling with it.  I struggle everyday.  A lot of the acne is gone but now I have severe scarring, spots, etc.  It is all over my face like yours.  I just want it to lighten.  Every doctor wanted me on Accutane but I was too scared.  But I don't want to be dependent on makeup forever.  Right now I am using Retin A micro, but its been almost 2 months and is doing NOTHING just making me super oily.  Have you ever used?  Any thoughts as to what is good for spots and scars?  I used to use Proactiv for years but I never had this type of acne before so I am not sure if it will even help.  Also, now my skin is so sensitive.  But I regret stopping proactiv....does the dark spot corrector work?  What are your thoughts?  THANKS and I understand exactly where you are coming from .  Thanks for sharing cause it makes me realize I am not alone in my struggle.  I always ask God why...it is the hardest trial to go through and the longest.  I always struggle with wondering what others think and I always feel like no one will like me.  It has killed my self-esteem and I struggle with staying with a product...i have no patience!  Thanks for listening!

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  157. I really appreciate how brave you were to come forward with your story and pictures. I am suffering with the exact same problem. I have tried everything you have and have even found myself sobbing over this too. It's painful and itchy :( I'm 27 not on birth control- I think it's part of why I have messed up skin now since i used to be on it. I can totally relate girl. I'm gluten free, dairy free, going sugar and yeast free. I am so fed up... I think I will pay to get this allergy testing done since my hormone test came back "normal", which I was shocked!

    My dermatologist just but me on niaciniamide, and I'm now starting evening primrose oil and zinc combo. I know everyone is different, but my acne flares have improved A LOT, but i still have redness and scarring :( I wish us both a ton of luck with this! <3

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  158. You got a priesthood blessing for ACNE? Seriously? As someone who struggles with adult acne, I can understand the frustration. But my goodness, acne. Maybe it's time to re-prioritize and realize what's important. Because in the long run, it isn't external beauty, and it isn't your face......

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  159. I don't think being a stranger and one time lurker on my blog qualifies you to have a say in what personal struggles I bring to my God.

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  160. Nothing is too great or too small for a priesthood blessing. Heavenly Father knows what's important to us and I am sure it is flattering to him to know that we can go to him for ALL things. As an esthetician I have comforted clients sobbing over their skin. I have been in that position too and I know how hard it is. I've turned down dates, events, you name it because I was hiding behind my skin. Thank you for posting this beautiful blog!

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  161. I just bought Proactive based on your recommendation. Hopefully it will work!

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  162. yay! please keep me updated! feel free to email me too!

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  163. As a woman, I feel that we put too much pressure on ourselves to attempt to match what we see in magazines and television. I mean here we are posting up pictures of ourselves in our outfits that we want to share with the rest of the world. And I am guilty of not sharing a photo that I didn't like because of my skin or my pose or even my outfit...my point, thank you for sharing one of your vulnerable moments with us. I think it's a great reminder to all the women (and men) out there that we're not living such a glorious life as our blog reflects.

    Last summer, I went off bc and a few weeks later I noticed breakouts in areas where I would almost never have acne. I wasn't stressed since it was the summer and I was eating healthy and drinking a lot of water. So I started changing my pillow cases after two usages thinking that it was dirty because of the oils in my hair. I'd sleep on one side one night, and the other side the next night. My cousin, who had what I say perfect skin throughout her teenage life, mentioned how she started having breakouts after going off bc. Her gyn even mentioned how this was a possibility since bc changes our hormone levels. Anyways, I'm happy for you to have found something that works! I've been using Proactiv for about 9 YEARS and when people find out, I feel ashamed. I am not one of "those" people with perfect skin as I wish I could be.

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  164. Thank you :) That is so nice of you!!!

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  165. With your kind of beauty, you would still turn heads if you were covered head to toe in acne.

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  166. i had pretty bad acne and still have some but this helped!
    1.i use Acne Free face wash and toner
    2.i use which hazel as a toner
    3.i use strait Tee Tree Oil on acne i also use natral lavender oil i dab it on before bed and in the morning under my make up
    4.i use nutrogena skin clearing micro clear blemish cover up which has salicylic acid so it is oil free and will not clog pores
    5.i wash my make up brushes with my face wash once a week.
    6.i use clean&clear dual action mousturizer and use more than is comfortable couse i found that most of my acne was comeing from dry skin which i did not think i had couse my skin was so oily.
    hope it helps

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  167. Like many of the of the other commenter, I respect and admire you for this post. I am so glad that I stumbled across it. Mostly because I have been strugling with acne too. Going to dermatologist, trying so many different product, cutting out different foods etc etc. It is a patience game! It is alot better now though. I don't know if I could have been as brave as you and put my bare face up for everyone to see.
    I am so gald you did though, and shared the personal experiences of prayer and tears! If I ever got upset about my skin i would think that I was selfish or supperficial and that other people have way bigger problems, I should be more grateful...but it's nice to know you had similar feelings to me.
    I tried Clinique acne solutions which helped alot! But it still wasn't becoming completely clear. Then I saw a deratologist and she said that the ingredient are really bad for your skin and strip away the natural oils, which in turn creates pimples. So, I started using products from her skin care range (clearglo.com.au), including the srub and mask (helps to heal the scarring). The first month i had a few extra breakouts (she said this would happen because me skin had to get used to not being stripped of oil) and I am now also use a 'breathable' foundation (jane iredale) so my skin doesn't get clogged up (the dermatologist said that my acne was being caused from wearing make-up everyday). So now my skin is still getting better and it has a nicer healthier glow too. Still a couple of break outs, but i think time will heal them.
    Oh and I've also been doing Yoga every morning which has helped alot! And trying to eat healthy.
    Hopefully this can help some of you!
    BJ xx

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  168. Elaine, thanks so much for the post. I too suffer from adult acne. I've had a pimple here and there as a teen but I never paid much attention as I thought I'd one day grow out of it. Then in my early twenties I started getting persistent acne around my mouth that fluctuated with my menstrual cycle. But the rest of my face was clear. Last year when I turned 26 I was going to grad school part time while having a high stress full time job and entering into an unfulfilling relationship, I put myself under such stress that reflected all on my skin. I was breaking out everywhere, forehead, jawline, neck, around the mouth, chin, temple...I'm still struggling with it but have got somewhat better today than the end of last year when I was too embarrassed to even visit home to let my parents see my face. 

    In short, I think the main reason for acne is our body can't handle all the stuff we put into it, let it be certain foods and stress and emotional distress. The underlying issue is a not-up-to-par digestive system and compromised liver. There are certain things we can do to correct the problems internally. Exercising is one to flush out the toxins caused by emotions.  

    Talking about diet I think we need to keep our diet as clean and simple as possible. I made myself a promise to never eat any food that I can't tell how it was made. This includes all cookies, processed food, junk food, chocolate, nutrition bars etc. I started this new routine of drinking a smoothie made of two plum tomatoes and one part of celery. Green colored food can calm out liver. So I'm trying to eat more green apples and green grapes etc. I also cut out all grilled food because it had too much heat in the making. I was told to stop eating the following foods that produce a lot of heat by a Chinese doctor: beef, lamb, any seafood, mango, and lychee because these food also have a lot of "heat" and we need to calm our body. It's hard to part from my beloved seafood and cookies but I think because of the special ways our acne prone bodies are we need to try to eat simple and clean and stop overworking our bodies. 

    Sleep is very important to maintain a healthy liver. 

    Also I was told to give myself a belly rub nightly to help with digestion. It's basically using your hands to massage your belly in a circular motion for 5-10 min. You may hear things move in your belly and remove "blockages". 

    It's unfair that we have to experience this but in retrospect I think it's also God way to remind us to take care of our bodies. Acne has made me very health aware and also made me very humble and appreciative of the presence. Before my breakout, I used to never liked a lot of things about my appearance but after the breakout I realizes that things could get a lot worse and we should really treasure what we have now. Also don't let the acne take over your mood. Instead of staring at those acne, start appreciating the other gorgeous features you have. If we only focus on the few dark spots in our lives, the dark spots will cloud over our lives. 

    Anyways, I wish you and all the readers a speedy recovery!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  169. Great post. This is such a hard thing to deal with (and I like you feel shallow for letting it get to me). I didn't have much acne as a teenager but have periodically as an adult - usually not huge volume, but cystic (ie gigantic, very swollen and uncomfortable). I did ro-accutane which is intense, but did make everything perfect for 3 or so years. I've since had some relapses usually just before my period, none of the over the counter stuff works, because it's oriented towards oily teenaged skin, which is not what I have. I've found differin works, and I don't need to use it every day. The next challenge is getting rid of the scars.

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  170. Thank you so, SO much for this post, Elaine. So many people have to manage acne, and not many people talk constructively about it as you have. I'm so grateful that you have shared your experience because it is inspiring. I especially appreciate your note that says not to allow ourselves to be defined by our skin. It's an often hard but really important thing to remember.

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  171. Thank you for this blog post I cried readingbit because its what i'm going through right now reading your story sounds like i'm reading about myself besides the getting clear skin part :( i'm 32 have 3 kids was so excited for summer to start then right before at the begining of May I started breaking out horrible bad just in the tzone chin nose forhead cystic white head back head pustles papular every kind! Its been very depressing I have been stuck in my house all summer so far not wanting to take my kids out anywhere and that hurts the most :( I am almost to the point of taking accutane but i'm very scared of oral medications I did just start UNBLEMISH by Rodan & fields I been on it for 12 days now & its getting worse but I did read it can go through purging worse before better so I'm hoping thats whats happening i'm very impatient I cry everyday several times a day for the last three months I feel like i'm at the end of my rope....but thank you so much for this blog it gives me hope!! You are beautiful & I hope to be again one day... Tina

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  172. I just found your blog through Pinterest and I love it so far. I think you're very brave to go public with your skin concerns. I've dealt with adult acne for as long as I can remember. I've had about one years worth of being clear, when I was living in Hawaii none the less. Socal hates me though, with it's dry desert weather (which is okay I hate it back just as much.)

    You are absolutely right, there are so many different things for different people. There is no one size fits all cure. Our bodies are telling us something isn't right and it's our job to see what it is. It may be dairy, lack of exercise, stress or random hormones out of joint.

    So mahalo! Even though this post is more than a year old its still making it's mark in people lives :)
    -alyx

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  173. I used Cerave for years, but stopped using it because I found better results with Citrus Clear products. Typically whatever the dermatologist gives me works for a while, but then stops. Now that my acne has become a lot more mild. I've been using Citrus Clear every day and it really helps a lot. I felt like Cerave was only moisturizing and not really cleaning, but I really feel clean and refreshed after using the Citrus Clear Face Wash. I'd recommend it to any teenager who just wants their freaking acne to go away for good.

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