I've been battling acne forever. I've done everything from antibiotics, Accutane, laser treatments, and chemical peels, but I still haven't figured out the secret to eliminating acne for good. I've gotten pretty darn close, though. Lately I've been using the Clarisonic -- which is really great at cleaning out my pores. My skin is very sensitive and gets irritated easily, so I've been using Neutrogena Ultra Gentle cleanser and CeraVe moisturizer because of a recommendation from my dermatologist.
That combo has been great for me, but anytime I get a breakout my skin gets super red, which makes the breakout look worse than it actually is.
I have to use concealer just to make my skin look even. It's very frustrating since the makeup clogs the pores that I'm trying to eliminate the bacteria from. It's a never-ending acne circle.
I went to my dermatologist last month to get Microdermabrasion -- which I highly recommend for anyone who has bumpy or dry skin, because it cleans the sh*t out of your pores. Before I left, she wrote me a prescription for Spironolactone and gave me this face wash:
It's called T2 wash, made of sulfur and tea tree oil, but doesn't smell like rotten eggs, yay!
When applied topically, sulfur makes the skin dry and causes it to peel. That sounds scary, but it is actually a good thing for acne sufferers. Sulfur prevents pore blockages from forming and reduces skin oiliness.
Tea tree oil is an oil distilled from the leaves of the Australian melaleuca bush. Honestly, anything from Australia sounds fancy. It's usually used as a spot treatment for acne, since it kills bacteria that even benzoyl-peroxide cannot, but it also calms your skin and reduces redness. I can say that after the first night using this, my face was noticeably less red.
Spironolactone is a medication I've used in the past to treat hormonal acne. I took it for a month last summer and it did wonders for my jawline acne, but it slowly started to return. I just got another prescription filled, which my dermatologist said I could take for as long as I felt I needed it. Spiro was initially made for high blood pressure and heart problems, but it also works at getting rid of acne. It's a diuretic that gets rid of excess water and salt in your body, so I've been peeing a little more than usual. It's also used for people with low potassium levels, so I was advised against eating too many bananas. If it's a medication that you're able to take, I highly recommend looking into it.
Hormonal acne has been a huge problem for me since I stopped Accutane. I could literally put a slice of extra cheese pizza on my face and the only place that would break out is my chin/jawline area. My dermatologist told me that jawline acne is always associated with hormones. Birth control pills are supposed to help with acne as well, but I haven't found one that's quite as effective for hormonal acne as Spironolactone. I'm currently taking Gildess Fe for birth control. I was taking Loestrin Fe for three years, but my insurance stopped covering it (thanks America) so I opted for the generic version, which has been great. You don't want to see me off birth control pills. I'll cry at bank commercials or if I don't find a parking spot close enough to my apartment.
I've tried everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, for acne. I'm very happy with what I'm using currently. The tea tree oil and sulfur wash is zapping my zits very quickly and not leaving pesky red marks. You can get tea tree oil on its own, because it's used mainly for spot treatment. If you don't want to drop $35 on the T2 wash here are some cheaper tea tree oil products with great reviews:
It feels like I'm on an eternal search for acne clearing products. Here's a recap of my current regimen:
-20mg Spironolactone for hormonal acne
-T2 Sulfer and Tea Tree oil wash in the morning
-Neutrogena Ultra Gentle wash at night
-CeraVe moisturizer morning and night
I had microdermabrasion last month and my dermatologist recommends it every 2 months. I'll probably see where my skin is at in 3 months and reevaluate my need for it. I paid $150 which I believe is the average cost.
Are you using tea tree oil or sulfur already? Do you have the perfect face wash/moisturizer combo? Let's hear it!