Wedding Hair and Beauty

Terrible Acne: Help wanted!

Hello Ladies!

So, my wedding is 9 months away, and I'm worried I won't get my face cleared up in time. Let me share my sob story;

I've had acne since I was about 15. I'm very pale and my skin is extra oily, hence anything that happens on my face sticks out. (i.e. I scar easily and they remain for a long time) Due to some terrible breakouts from when I was 19, I have some scarring on my cheeks and neck along with the normal acne. I've seen several dermatologist and natural-paths with little result. I've even had  an expensive laser treatment to reduce the redness which helped a little. Recently I decided to go dairy free, since many studies link adult acne to dairy products. I've seen some improvement but not much. 

 So that's that! I've tried almost everything (or so I think) in the realms of natural remedies and over the counter products. I'd be interested in hearing what's worked for you or for friends. 

Thanks so much!


Re: Terrible Acne: Help wanted!

  • This is not a natural remedy by any means, but Accutane changed my life. It is the most aggressive treatment, but it truly works and you will never have acne again. I did a 6 month treatment when I was 18 and even now, 4 years later, my skin is very clear. Since stopping Accutane, I haven't really done anything special for my skin. Now I can pretty much put whatever on my face and know its not going to break out. Seriously best decision I ever made. 

    P.S  I should add that I have absolutely zero health issues associated with my Accutane. I know it gets a bad rap, but did not have a single side effect. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker

  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Like the PP, I was on Accutane once.  It shrunk my pores and I now have less acne than before, but it didn't erase it all together.  Spectrogel did nothing for me, Proactiv didn't solve my acne and it actually irritated my skin.  I currently use Avene soapless gel cleanser on my face every morning and apply Avene Clearance K after I get out of the shower.  My best advice?  Try different products/treatments leading up to the day but on the day of, invest in a good make-up artist who can make your skin look beautiful.
  •  I use Benzagel before bed every night & swear by it! I haven't had acne in a couple of years since switching to it, and have just stuck with the routine of using it before bed. Depending on how bad your acne is, you can get prescribed Benzagel. Otherwise, the moderate version is sold in most pharmacy sections. 

     If you have some scarring from previous acne, I would probably just recommend using a decent brand of coverup. It's hard to know if, or when the scarring will fade. So rather than stress, I would look into that. I also used to find scarring was less noticeable with a tan too. Obviously a little more time consuming, but maybe something to look into! :) 

     Good luck to you!

  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    My skin sounds similar to yours and the one thing I have found that works the best is my Clarisonic. They're not cheap, but for me, it was worth it. It's a brush that you use with whatever cleanser you use. I doubt it will help with the scarring, but it has made a HUGE difference in my skin. I rarely break out, my skin is a lot less oily and my pores are smaller. It's seriously amazing and I would pay $1,000 for this thing.
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
  • I'd advise against Accutane. I know many people have had good results, but to me, the risks associated with it (such as severe depression) are just too high.
  • if you want natural remedy...try drinking warm lemon water in the morning too.  I had bad acne problem for yrs too. and the viet c in lemon helps a lot
  • Dma361Dma361 member
    10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    I'm on accutane right now, and would absolutely describe it as life changing. I'm almost 29 years old and have literally tried everything. Every natural, infomercial, drugstore, supplement, diet changing, prescription thing there is. Seriously. Ev. Re. Thing. Some would work ok for a little while, but that was as good as it ever got.

    I've been on low dose accutane for a little over a month (only 20mg a day...average for my weight is about 50). Within the first week, my skin was better than it has ever been. Even old redness and scars started fading. Right now, I am completely clear. I may get one random pimple on occasion, but they're not bad and gone within a couple days. I have never felt this great about my looks before.

    Side effects have been minimal. Dry skin and lips. Chapstick is your friend, and moisturize your face daily. I've had a few canker sores, but switched my toothpaste and have been ok. As far as the depression, make sure you have a support system that can watch for signs, and you'll be ok. I've had a little moodiness, but have also been under a ton of stress at those times (so who knows the cause), but nothing crazy. I take supplements daily to support liver health (milk thistle and another that I can't remember the name of). A positive one is that my hair is drier. For me, that's a good thing because I've always had super greasy hair, having to wash it at least once, if not twice a day. I could probably go four or five days and have it still be gorgeous.

    My wedding is just under 8 weeks away and I know that I made the best decision by finally trying this. I only wish I would have done it sooner. Good luck finding what works for you, but I strongly advise you to do your research, weigh your own pros and cons, and consider it.
  • I wouldn't use accutane because of how close you are to your wedding.  It will dry your skin out so much and dry your lips out so make up would be a lot harder to apply.  It takes a few months for your skin to go back to somewhat normal once you are off of it.

  • I have been using the un-bemish regimen from Rodan & Fields. Look the up on google for their website. It has changed my skin forever. It is pretty pricey but it's the only thing that has really worked for me. It cleared all my blemishes and it has also vanished my dark spots and scaring from acne.
  • I also was on accutane at age 21 and had immediate results. The only side affects was dry lips but you learn to moisturize a lot. 8 years later I'm still pretty clear. I would ask your dermatologist they will put you on birth control and you have to draw blood every month but most people only have to go through one treatment. A clarasonic is good but you will have purging of the skin. Have you tried retin a?
  • If you are done with Accutane after six months, you will absolutely be fine to apply make up at the 9 month mark by your wedding (or even 7 month mark--the drug leaves your system after 3 weeks of stopping it).  I did a lose dose accutane treatment and it also changed my life.  I had occasional acne in my 20s and topicals worked; then when I hit 31 I got bad hormonal acne and NOTHING would work.  Finally did accutane and my skin is clear and beautiful now.
  • Amen, girl!  Acne is a PITA!  I had great skin until I turned 30, then all hell broke loose.  It's wrecked my confidence.  Try going on an oral antibiotic until your wedding.  It'll take as long as a few months, so start now.  My dermatologist has me on clindamycin lotion 2x per day, BenzE Foam 1-2x per day, and a strict washing direction of mild cetaphil only.  I was buying all kinds of scrubs to literally try to scrub my pores clean.  The dermatologist said I was making it worse by scrubbing so much, so it would make my skin more oily.

    Also, check in with your OB-GYN.  There could be something hormonal triggering your acne that the pill or something else could fix.

    Hang in there!
  • rklinge0 said:
    I wouldn't use accutane because of how close you are to your wedding.  It will dry your skin out so much and dry your lips out so make up would be a lot harder to apply.  It takes a few months for your skin to go back to somewhat normal once you are off of it.

    Definitely agree about the dry lips part. That was my worst (and only) side effect and I could see that being a big problem for the wedding. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker

  • My son's on accutane right now, and it's such a PITA for me to get for him every damn month, and he's a male!

    To use Accutane now, you have to sign up with the IPledge program, fill out their online form or call in every month and your doctor also MUST call in monthly so you can renew your script.  I'm not sure if it's just my doctor, or with every doc, but my son has to have a blood draw every single month about a week prior to his doctor's appointment to check various levels in his blood.  Then tack on the doctor's visit. 

    Yes, it is working for him.  However, he used to be on the 50mg dose, but starting having serious chest pains and joint pain, so he was taken off of it, and put on a 20mg dose.

    As a woman, accutane is just a massive pain.  You have to be on birth control to be on it due to the serious risk of birth defects.  Honestly, just having it in my home freaks me out a little bit (granted, we're TTC, so the ONLY person in the house who handles it in my son). 

    But the hoops you have to jump through are seriously obnoxious.  So much so that I wish ANYTHING else would work.

    I also have bad acne; granted, not as bad as yours sounds.  And, like a PP, I've found I'm prone to overwashing my face which dries me out.  So, I'm trying to find a happy balance right now since my wedding is about 6 weeks away, and I've currently got some HELLISHLY gnarly pimples/acne/whatever happening right now with the potential to scar.

    Good luck finding something that works!!
  • Hi Megan,
    I had bad acne since I was 16 and I went to 5 dermatologists!! and just only one helped me.
    Check out Erma Benitez. She is in Los Angeles. She will help you for sure. You need to stick with one doctor.. Good luck!

  • I am in the same boat, OP.  Pale skin, acne since 14 (I'm 22 now).  

    Have you tried using tea tree oil?  This sounds conterproductive, adding oil to your face, BUT it really is working for me.  Tea tree oil kills bacteria, and really makes your face smoother and brighter while doing so.  I've only been using it for 4 months, and my face is WAY better than it was!  I wouldn't say it has cured my acne, but it sure helps control it.  

    Secondly, I would advise against Accutane - I was never on it myself, simply because of the severe risk of birth defects, and because of the risk of depression.  My brother, however, decided to go on Accutane (simply because he was too young to father any children who would then potentially have birth defects) - it helped his acne tremendously, but he stopped taking it before the last of the doses.  He was not doing well in school, his appetite decreased, and lost interest in many of the things he usually loved doing - the depression from the drug hit him hard.  He also grew tired of having to take the required blood tests every month before the next dose of Accutane.  I hated watching him suffer like that, and I would not recommend Accutane to anyone.  

    Good luck!  Use your best judgement!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    Mr. Bean Flipping the Bird
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer

    For everyone advising against Accutane, there are risks, but not everyone has a negative effect from it.  Every medication has risks, but you just need to weigh the positives and negatives.  That being said, I was on Accutane several years ago. Yes there are a lot of hoops to jump through while on it.  It helped tremendously while I was on it, but afterward my acne returned.  We had some concerns about depression since I already had a history of depression, but I never had any problems while on it. The only negative effect I had was pretty major dehydration, but that was easily solved with drinking a lot of water and using moisturizer. But, in the long run it wasn't a permanent fix for me, like it is for most people that have success with it, but I also have no regrets about taking it. So, whether to take Accutane or not is a decision to be made between her and her doctor, not strangers on an online forum. You don't know her situation, what she has tried, what risk level she has.  For some people, it isn't an option because the risks are too high.  For some people it works amazingly and is a great option.

    That being said, I have had some success in the past with antibiotics. But, I'm guessing if you've been to several dermatologists, you have probably already been this route. These days I find moderate clearing (not complete though) just staying very hydrated, using a good moisturizer 2X daily, and a gentle exfoliating wash. I also will sometimes just scrub with a wet wash cloth while in shower to exfoliate, rather than using washes that can dry it out. My face had always been dry and flaky, along with pretty significant acne, but drinking a lot of water (I shoot for a min. 70-80 oz./day) has made a huge difference with both problems.  And it's the healthiest treatment you can try.


  • I used to use ProActiv, and still keep the lotion and toner as spot-treatments, but have had much more success with a more gentle routine.

    I use the Cetaphil cleanser for combination skin and a CeraVe moisturizer twice daily.  I use a cheap knockoff of the Clairisonic once or twice a week (with the gentle cleanser!).  If I need to, I use a low % benzol peroxide (ProActiv) toner or lotion only on the problem areas.  I also drink 1/2 to 1 gallon of water a day, and the combination of a more gentle cleanser and being hydrated has helped a ton. 
  • The neutragena version of the clarisonic works wonders!!
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Accutane was a life-changer for me. It's a pretty serious treatment, but it sounds like you might be in the category of folks who are really just that sick of having such bad acne.

    I had acne starting from when I was 9 years old. Like, I looked like a teenager with a bad break-out before I had even hit puberty, and it got worse from there. I tried every treatment available at the time, including antibiotics--the only thing I didn't try was birth control, and it was because I was so young.

    I went on Accutane when I was 13, and again when I was 17. During those 4 years, I had almost no acne, but it started coming back again when I was 16 (although not NEARLY as bad as before). After the second round was over, birth control was enough to pretty much keep me acne-free. Like, really acne-free. Now that I'm off bc, it's back again, but it's so manageable (and I'm so good with concealer) that you can't notice very much of it.

    Accutane is a 5-6 month treatment. Just about everyone dries up--I could go days without showers, I couldn't wear contacts without using rewetting drops constantly, and my lips chapped unbelievably. After my second round, I ended up with a permanent side effect; lower back pain/stiffness (but it's mild and infrequent).

    I did not experience any depression. Most people I know who were on Accutane, myself included, were SO MUCH HAPPIER without acne. It was the opposite of depression.

    So basically, it's 5-6 months of your life, take lots of vitamin E and use lots of chapstick/lotion, and enjoy your new skin.
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~
  • I had tried Proactiv when I was younger but I found it to be a bit harsh. As another user stated, I love Unblemish from Rodan+Fields. My husband and I both use it and it was so effective that I joined the company. Truthfully, the selling point for products and business, was a risk free, 60 day money back guarantee. I honestly never knew my skin could look so good! I hope everything is working out for you!

    Here is the Unblemish


  • A year ago, my doctor prescribed Spironolactone. I have adult acne that didn't show up until after college, and Spironolactone has been a life-saver. The only side effect is having to pee more often because it's apparently a diuretic. It ]hasn't been officially approved for acne treatment yet, but it's a common thing prescribed by doctors and dermatologists. I didn't trust Accutane because I have a history of depression, so this was a great option for me. 

  • I agree that Accutanes benefits outweigh the risks. Bad acne can be incredibly depressing and I'm sure it is that much worse with a wedding coming up. They say Accutane puts you at risk for depression but for me when I was 17 it did the opposite. If you want to pursue it start now. They might make you try other treatments first and you'll want to begin and end it before your wedding. You also should not drink while on it because of liver damage. My only side effect that I know of was super dry lips and hands. My face was dry but nothing lotion couldn't fix. My hands got a rough dry rash but Aquaphor cream fixed that and was also good for the lips. I'm not too worried about birth defects unless you get pregnant while on it or right after but all the warnings can be scary. My skin is not perfect now but it really did work miracles for me, and quickly.
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards