May 25, 2010


dear adult acne,
i hate you.
i hate how you make me feel.
and especially how you make me look.
aren't there teenagers you should be harrassing?


my name is noelle.
and i have acne.
if only there were a 12-step program to cure this problem.

i'm in quite a predicament.
each year i declare.
"this is the WORST my skin has ever been."
and it is.
since 2006 my skin has been on a fast and furious decline.
[wasn't this supposed to stop when i was 18?]

i've tried...
birth control - which made me sick and partly crazy.
blood pressure medicine.
topical ointments.
mario badescu regimens.
dr. brandt.
the murad solution .
acne free system.
all natural almond honey scrubs.
facial steamers.
mineral makeup.
professional facials.
drinking almost only water (and a little diet coke).
and countless others.

and i'm fairly confident, the only remaining option is accutane.
i just can't.
i'd rather fall off my bike and bust my elbow EVERY WEEK.
so what can i do?

1. do you know any good treatments for cystic acne?
2. have you done accutane?
3. should i just deal with morning sickness and crazy and try birth control again?
4. if you were me, would you buy accutane from an online pharmacy in turkey that doesn't require a blood test? (it's come down to that...)

i'll eat plants.
i'll sleep with banana leaves on my face.
i'll give up chocolate.
i'll do whatever it takes.
except have people steal my blood...


becca said...

i feel ya. have you tried giving up dairy? i hear that helps a lot of people, and i'm semi-trying it myself.

noelle regina said...

but what my dear would i put on my cheeseburgers?

if you hear it helps, i will ABANDON dairy all together to see. but i'm not hopeful.

Meredith said...

I know you have tried antibiotics, but did you try Septra? Worked beautifully for me for 7 years (since sophomore year in high school). I stopped taking it because I didn't need it anymore.

You do have to have your blood drawn, but only every other year or so...

Just a thought!

Jylare said...

I did accutane in high school and it worked magic for me. I've hardly had a zit since. But you HAVE to take 2 types of birth control on it because it causes serious birth defects if you get pregnant. And just close your eyes and sing when your blood is being drawn. That's what I do. Or just think how pretty your skin will be.

Amanda said...

birth control made me crazy for the first two weeks. and i had to change a year in because it made me crazy again. but it gets better after 3-6 months. and i haven't had acne since. what do your sisters do?

Amanda and Matt Dalton said...

I had the same problem. I don't believe birth control works for everyone's skin- It didn't give me perfect skin. Accutane scares me- from what I've heard from those who tried it, it may make you feel even crazier than you did on BC. That said, what's worked like magic for me is getting monthly "medical" facials at my dermatologist. Your insurance may cover it. That, and my dermatologist told me not to use moisturizers from department stores- not Lancome, Laura Mercier, nada. I am totally loyal to Skinceuticals now, love the stuff, and I've had great skin since I started this regimen six months ago. Good luck!

Katie McNeil said...

arggggh cystic acne. i suffer from it as well. i've been on accutane twice. once in high school, another time right before our wedding. the stuff really works but it's intense. think dry flaky skin, sensitivity to sun. if you did it I'd suggest doing it during the winter months when you're bundled up anyway.

but maybe the easier route is to go back on birth control. try out a few different brands to find one that you feel good on. it really helps clear my skin. I just went off it a few months ago and even with my past accutane use my skin has started breaking out again.

good luck, I know the pain! and i also hate getting my blood drawn! i'm nauseated thinking about it.

Amanda and Matt Dalton said...

oh, and I totally forgot the best part- the best face wash. Use a glycolic acid wash. Not on your eyes though, so you'll need a separate remover for the eye makeup. It takes dirt, oil, makeup, anything off your face and refines the skin each time you use it, keeping fine lines and sun spots at bay, as well as acne. I will never ever stop using this product:

Lars said...

My friend uses Burts Bees skin does wonders for her acne. Hope you find something that helps. I have heard pros and cons on accutane. Sometimes it takes several rounds before it gets better.

Anonymous said...

I've done Accutane 3 times. Plus I've done everything you listed and then some, including laser killed sebaceous glands. Accutane is bothersome and sometimes painful, but it works beautifully!

Jordan Lydia said...

i make my own skin care regime.

my skin has never been better. i'll facebook you. its quite detailed.

emily Stoddard said...

I did accutane 3 years ago and it worked really well. Yeah, I had to do it for 6 months, and yes, my skin and lips were so dry, but it was SO worth it. I was TERRIFIED of needles, fainted every time I saw one. But I took the opportunity to conquer my fear, and by the end of the 6 months... i was watching them draw my blood and still til this day, I can without feeling light headed (I even give shots to people in the dental office). I would suggest being under the supervision of a dermatologist with this medicine, since it is a dangerous drug. Part of the blood work checks the condition of your liver. Don't get it from Turkey. My dermatologist also let me do the generic brand (Amnesteem)and it worked perfectly and with my co-pay was only $10 a month! If I needed to do it again, I would! good luck!

Ryan and Laura said...

I did accutane too during college- after I was RA. It worked really well, hardly a zit since. I didn't have the crazy dry skin but I did get super high cholesterol and some pretty bad joint pain as side-effects. I had to go completely vegetarian for a month or two due to the cholesterol. It kicked my immune system so bad that it brought back my auto-immune disease which was not fun, but I really like not having zits all over my face now :) Good luck!

Heather Ashby said...

I did Accutane a few years ago and as you probably know you have to be on BCPs at the same time (and use another form of BC). It works really well in the end, but you will be a nightmare for 6 months. Blood draws may be the least of your worries. Raw, dry, scaly, red skin... Dry eyes. I had bad mood swings (maybe it was the BCPs maybe it was the Accutane, who knows). Oh and Accutane will make your acne much worse before it will get better so you could end up scarring pretty bad. Honestly, I am happy I did it but it was a bad 6 months...

noelle regina said...

so difficult to know.
i just want to do something that will finally work. everytime a cyst shows up (or refills, is that TMI?) it's weeks of creams, cover up and feeling kinda crappy about the state of my adult skin ...

things i'm buying on amazon tonght.
1) a multivitamin
2) jojoba oil (this one scares me jlsg)
3) skinceuticals moisturizer

and i'm going back on BC. (poor matt)

Jordan Lydia said...

seriously i love adore jojoba oil. use it all over my body as a moisturizer. natural sunblock... :)its a carrier oil and is amazing for just about everything. and it makes your existing acne heal faster... if you're really hesitate i would try it on a discreet area first.

you must purchase a separate bottle of VITAMIN A. a multivitamin has only 2500 iu of vitamin a, you need around 25000 iu to really control it.

i sent you another facebook message.

and bc is the plague. hate hate hate.

Jordan Lydia said...

oh another note. if you go off dairy don't go to soy...switch to rice milk. soy can cause cystic acne too.

E.F.G. said...

why don't you try #1-3 and cut back on (or cut out) the dairy and THEN try BC?

for the record, and i realize i'm not living in your skin, i havne't noticed this decline. you always look radiant so it's hard to notice cysts. plus, for better or worse, they don't come to gross, popable heads.

annie said...

Okay, I know I'm late to comment, but I posted about this same thing on my own blog a few days ago, and here were some suggestions:

- stop eating dairy
- the wonder bar ( is really supposed to do wonders; I've been reading about it all over the blog world, but haven't tried it myself
- Aveda's acne facial + their products for acne prone skin
- DDF acne scrub (which you can buy online or at Sephora)-- this is what I'm doing now, and it's helping

Here's what I tried in college (and it worked, but I was too lazy to continue): washed my face nightly with Cetaphil, followed by witch hazel/alcohol as an astringent, followed by Maalox (yes, Maalox) as a facial mask.

Would love to know what works for you, especially if you decide to go on Accutane. I've been too scared to go on it myself...

Lauren Kay said...

Every time I complement someone on their skin I find out they did accutane. No joke. Blood test are annoying but your skin would be gorgeous. Flawless. My dad is a dermatologist. He put my mom on it about 10 years ago because she was still having acne at 40, she's so happy she did it. (Don't do it from Turkey!)

corrine said...

accutane scares the crap out of me. i took it in jr high and had severe gastro-intestinal issues when i got off of it, that took me out of school and had me in-out of the hopsital for 3+ months. the only thing that cured me from the stomach problems caused by accutane was a crazy cleansing diet.
but anyway, i highly recommend trying a few different birth controls! i had to try 3 or 4 before i found one that didn't make me feel crazy and cleared up my skin and didn't increase my appetite. my skin is all cleared up now that i found one that works for me. hopefully this will work for you too! :)

Marci Joy said...

I'm still prone to break outs, etc but have been using cetaphil nightly with sabons facial scrub 2 x's per week and I'm noticing an improvement - which surprised me b/c cetaphil is so gentle. Also- have you tried switching your makeup base?

noelle regina said...

marci joy...
i was hoping the egg white soap would cure me. it did make my skin feel AMAZING - but cysts still came. i use cetaphil in the morning and a glycolic wash at night. and switched over to mineral makeup...

Julie said...

I just happened upon your blog and this was the first post I read - I have suffered from severe acne since I was 12 (I'm 23) and it has def gotten worse in the twenties. I've tried a whole bunch of crap like you - except for birth control - and I refuse to go on Accutane. My friend's mom is a big essential oil freak/seller and put my her on a regimen after trying everything too - After 3 months not only did she stop breaking out but it got rid of all those red spots/acne "scars" that she had. We always had similar skin during college and tried the same things together so I thought it would help me too - I've only been on it a month (and I also changed over to BareMinerals bc foundation was too much already!) and I have seen amazing results. Its a combination of a monthly digestive essential oil cleanse (pills you take every day - these are what make the difference) and a facial regimen. The company is called doterra. ( It's a little pricey and becoming a member is the best option, but I definitely swear by it. My skin is just so much healthier and more radiant as well as the acne clearning up. Also, is a great site to learn about the regimen.

Hope it helps!

bob said...

okay, i use origin's checks and balances face wash and it works like a dream... plus, i change my face towel all the time - like i'm a little ridiculous and have a special small towel that i use just for my face when i get out of the shower. i also ice my face before i go to bed to make my pores small and skin tight. it probably doesn't really even do anything, but it feels like it does so i continue to do it. :)
sleep helps - are you getting any? sleep, ice, and origins products - they are three favorite skin remedies. loves!

Chelsea said...

go to a dermatologist. my mom works for an awesome one it atlanta, and now that hear all the regular stuff they can do, i cant believe all the nutty stuff people try. if you go to a good one, they should be able to set you up on a skin care system that works best for your skin. plus, if youve got a giant zit they can inject it and it will be gone the next day.

Mr. Marbles said...

I vote Accutane- but then again I am not a woman and I was not married when I was on it so the 'no pregnant lady' signs on each pill really didn't bother me. But I went from being a leperous Harry Potter to being not that. And it's been almost ten years now with only the occasional zit. And it's only once a month that they take your bloods.

Heather Lee said...

Hello hello I don't know if you remember me from college but we were in the same freshman ward? Or maybe just the same building? Anyway I remember seeing you around. Saw your comment on Caitlyn Wilson design blog. Been reding your blog for the past ten minutes. Love it, Ioved the what you don't see post. As for this post, get pregnant. If at all possible. My skin is always best during pregnancy. And I have had two:)

Anonymous said...

So, I totally don't know you, but admit that I might blog-stalk you! Some of my friends are friends of yours! Anywho...I was having the same problem and starting using Boscia(found at Sephora) at night and then using Cetaphil in the morning. I rarely get anything anymore. My face feels so much better.

liso. said...

don't do accutane!

i finally did it in college when i no longer had to have my parents' consent - and it messed me up... it definitely cleared up my skin, and fortunately i didn't have the horrible drying side effects that they warn against - BUT i did have some major depression that set in. and i completely forgot the warnings, and thought i was just a psycho with crazy mood swings.

years later, my dad brought up a lawsuit in europe somewhere about a kid who'd committed suicide while on accutane - don't know how it turned out, etc., but now, years later, as my face is slowly starting to break out more, i would never, ever again go that route... (and that's with a needle phobia - the needles were nothing compared to what happened AFTER)

good luck with whatever you decide to do... that's just my story...

Anonymous said...

I also have never commented but I think your blog is so witty and cute!

I did accutane twice and, like others have said, I honestly think it is the best solution out there, even if it is a little scary. I think that a lot of the mood swings people report from it (from women) could be a result of the requirement to be on birth control pills--not necessarily due to the accutane itself. (Also, my derm said that one of the accounts of a kid committing suicide on it got a lot of press because his father was a famous doctor--I'm not really convinced that it is a common occurrence or that accutane can be blamed, but who knows, I guess.)

The blood tests suck and I did have some unpleasant side effects like joint pain and blurred vision at night...but now that it is all over I'm SO glad I did it. This weekend a friend was complimenting me on my skin and was shocked when I told her I used to have bad acne. I don't even have any scarring.

One last thing: I HATED some of the kinds of BC I tried but I love Yaz--I don't feel like I have any side effects and I think it actually reduces my appetite.

Good luck!!!

Bbells said...

I get cycstic acne and my friend who is a physicians asst. reccommended i go on an anxiety drug it block a hormone that is released when you have anxiey and that hormone is known for causing acne. If you think you might be an anxious/nervous person and maybe thats why you get breakoouts you should maybe ask for a low-dose of an anxiety medicine and see if it improves. I did accutane and it did not get rid of the cystic acne that was being caused by my stress hormones.

Alyse Bitty Hair said...

Hey this is Bitty Sarah Jane's cousin I somehow came across your blog, and this post. I had the exact same issue Adult acne sucks. BUT I found a cure and my skin has never been better after suffering year after year for about 7 years and after going on acutane and birth control. If you want you can email me if you want more info. It's just too much to write as a comment.

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