My Skin Is Freaking Out!

Updated on December 15, 2009
K.J. asks from Boise, ID
28 answers

Ugh..I hate to even be having this conversation. I'm nearly 30 and for the past 18 months I have been having problems with acne and am also cursed with some additional (and very unwanted) facial hair that started with my pregnancy 4 yrs ago. It is so embarrassing and frustrating! I feel like I have tried everything and don't know what else to do! I have tried pretty much every skin care line out there, including Proactiv (which did not help). In the past year, the dermatologist has prescribed Differen gel, Minocycline and Amoxicillin (none of which helped). He also prescribed Vaniqa for the hair growth, but the pharmacist told me that it wouldn't work for me because my extra facial hair is too light and it's ridiculously expensive. I've had numerous blood tests to test hormone levels and I'm not overly stressed. I also don't have any known allergies and nothing has changed significantly in my life that I believe would cause these things to happen.

I'm so tired of not finding a solution, but it just keeps getting worse. I absolutely refuse to take Accutane and don't necessarily want to go back on birth control because we are ttc. Has anyone else had these issues? Is there hope for me? I would appreciate any help! Thank you much:)

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C.Y.

answers from Denver on

I don't know what to do about the acne. But for the hair growth, I have electrolysis done on a regular basis. It eventually kills the hair and makes it not grow back. Mine started out very heavy and I was going in every two weeks to have it removed. Now I go in every 2 months and the growth is very light. I'm on the west side of the Denver Metro area and would definitely recommend my electrologist. If you want her phone number, send me a message. Good luck with everything.

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D.M.

answers from Denver on

I would recommend you look into "The Paleo Diet" by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., a clinical
nutritionist in Boulder, CO. It is a book and they also have a website: www.thepaleodiet.
com. It is called the hunter/gatherer diet and is based on lean meats and fruits and
vegetables. He has a program for acne. My husband is a scientist and heard Dr.
Cordain speak and agrees with his premise. My husband went on the diet in a modified
version and lost 10 pounds and was fairly thin to begin with and is at an age when it
is suppose to be tough to lose weight. We haven't had acne problems, but believe it
is worth looking into for that. All the best of luck!

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T.J.

answers from Denver on

I had the same acne problem, plus I scar VERY easily, so I needed to deal with both of those issues. I went to a dermatologist and she started me on the Obagi Nu-Derm system and it's AMAZING!!! I'm also on an oral and topical antibiotic for the acne. Not only is my acne cleared, but I also got rid of all the scarring that I had. It isn't cheap, but for me it was worth it to not look worse (acne) than my teenager. Good luck.

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H.M.

answers from Colorado Springs on

I had the same acne problems too & I just turned 30. I noticed a HUGE difference when I started using the Clarisonic brush to clean my skin. It's expensive, but has made a BIG difference with my acne and skin clarity.

I waited until Sephora had a 20% off sale (they do it every 3-4 months) and bought it then. Beauty.com has a 20% off sale every couple of months too. If you sign up for emails from them, they'll let you know about a week in advance of the sale.

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S.L.

answers from Colorado Springs on

KJ - My skin the same thing after I got pregnant and until just a couple months ago and my girls will be a year old next month.
What I discovered is that if I used tea tree oil straight on the break outs - it would get rid of them in a couple days. Also, stop using moisterizer! It totally wreaks havoc on your face! if you need to moisterize, get pure vitamin E lotion from a health food market and use that with just a touch of tea tree oil in it. Give it a couple months and you'll be amazed at how your skin clears up.
OH! And changed your pillow-case every night if you can - if not - change it every other day.

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J.R.

answers from Denver on

You might try the MD Skincare pads (step 1 and step 2). I love them.

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S.L.

answers from Grand Junction on

Try getting rid of sugar in your diet . . . not fun especially during the holidays, but it worked for me . . . good luck

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R.S.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Where is the acne? I'm guessing it's all along your jawline, and possibly on your neck. I'm also guessing that it's painful, and big and cystic, not just your normal acne breakouts. If so, you may want to talk to a doctor about PCOS. I'm not trying to scare you, but unwanted facial hair and acne are two signs of PCOS. There are more signs as well. Some women have more symptoms, some have fewer. It's not a curable thing, just something to manage. I've been trying to manage mine after having kids. I've been to dermotologists recently, too and have tried Minocycline and other topical creams with NO help. Managing the PCOS has started to provide a lot of relief on the acne front. Good luck.

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S.W.

answers from Salt Lake City on

The best skin care stuff I have ever used is Paula's Choice. It is wonderful! My skin is finally free of the little bumps and breakouts I fought for years. It's all very research-based with no hype (the creator, Paula Begoun, does independent reviews of cosmetic products and is the author of "Don't Go to the Makeup Counter Without Me!") She lists an acne-fighting plan on her Web site you might like to see. Honestly, I can't tell you what a relief it's been not to feel the urge to try "the next big thing" in skin care because I know I've got the best--I don't even feel tempted at department stores anymore. I wish I'd had this as a teen-ager. Oh, and it sounds like you're pretty sensitive, so you'll be glad to know all Paula's Choice products are completely fragrance-free and appropriate even for people with rosacea. Check it out at www.paulaschoice.com.
As for the extra hair (sorry! such a pain, I know!) I know several womem who have their faces waxed regularly. You may be too sensitive, but that's what works for them. I'm a fan of "sugaring" my bikini line in the summertime, which is similar to waxing but gentler, since it pulls hair out in the direction it grows. Nicer salons are likely to have someone who is trained in sugar hair removal.
The other suggestions about checking your thyroid for a hormonal imbalance also seem reasonable.
Best wishes!

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J.N.

answers from Salt Lake City on

As we go through pregnancy, and as we reach our 30s, our skin can change. I've been dealing with ups and downs in my skin too - sometimes it's still very oily, other times its suddenly dry. EEK!

You said you've tried just about every skin care line out there. How long have you stuck with it? When you first start a new skin care (especially if you are going to something high quality from something cheap or nothing at all) your skin can actually seem worse for a few weeks. It is adjusting to the new system, and purging all the yuk from before. I started using Mary Kay when I was in my early 20s and I think it took over a month for my skin to settle down! I have always been very acne prone and oily, and nothing has completely gotten rid of that (I have cystic acne, too) but once my skin got used to the new routine I had a lot less acne and I felt like my skin was no longer suffocating under the oil.
Mary Kay is a skin care system, rather than specifically an acne treatment system like Pro-Active, but they do have a couple of products specifically to treat acne (a toner to reduce breakouts, and a gel to put on any zits that do show up). I've really loved it (that's why I became a consultant).

I hope you find something that helps you love your skin again!

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S.B.

answers from Provo on

I've been struggling with acne still since adolescence. I recently discovered Acne.org and it's recommended regimen: using a gentle cleanser, lots of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, and moisturizing. I've just started it a week ago, so I can't say anything about results, but it's worked for lots of other people. I agree with another response, it takes time. Also, something I'm not very good at, is being very diligent in doing your skin care regularly, every day!

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J.S.

answers from Denver on

For the hair, if it has some pigment in it, laser hair removal will work and has been a God-send for me personally. The most affordable and convenient place I found was Electrology & Laser Lab South - ###-###-#### - 7800 S Elati St Ste 302 in Littleton, CO 80120. For my chin & upper lip, it was $35 per session. The first time, the hair removal lasted a month, the second time, it lasted a couple of months. I just went in for the first time in over a year -- it had taken that long for the hair to come back. Most people only need 6-7 treatments, and you just come back whenever you feel like enough hair has come in to justify another treatment.

If you decide to do it, just an FYI: if you're currently tweezing you need to stop for a couple of weeks (you may shave instead) before the treatment so that you can be sure all the current hair follicles have come in and can be zapped. After the treatment, the hair takes a couple of days to fall out. I wouldn't recommend tweezing then either because the hair is so brittle from the treatment it breaks off and is just frustrating to deal with. You can just keep shaving and that will take care of it till it's all fallen out.

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A.M.

answers from Denver on

Hi K J. First of all, I can completely understand! I began having problems with acne around 17 and kept thinking it would go away with age. But, no, it continued. I found that its really a combination of hormone balance (despite what the test say is normal) and diet. Your skin is a representation of what's going on internally. In my late 20's, I discovered eating a more alkaline diet and a supplement that provides your body with tons of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and essential fatty acids. It is organic and it is a whole food, meaning that nothing has been altered or synthesized in it. Its liquid and tastes really good so it is easy to take. Once I began eating more alkaline and started taking this supplement, I saw a night and day difference. I no longer HATE getting my photo taken and have stopped worrying about people staring at my acne when I see them. What a world has opened up. Plus, I have more energy, am sleeping better, and my allergies have lessened. I would love to share more info with you if you are open. You can email me at [email protected]____.com or send me a private message. I have spent my life studying nutrition and health and would love to see if I can't help you figure this one out :)

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K.D.

answers from Dallas on

I have acne myself and am in your age bracket so I know how you feel!
I think the best possible thing you can do for yourself is to only use an acne cleanzer TOPS 3 times a week, and the other 4 days you should only use a wet washcloth to clean your face. I noticed that washing my face with soap everyday made my acne worse not better. Also, only use a washcloth once and then consider it dirty, bacteria can develop on it and using it again before washing it makes acne worse. Also, never use 'scrubs' on your face, anything with little particles that feel like sand will just clog your pores. Buff puffs are terrible, they always make me break out, so don't use those either.

As for facial hair, buy a tweezie or a nice pair of tweezers and tweeze after a shower, it won't hurt as much. A magnifying mirror helps so you can see everything better. I found that hair removal cremes do not work well, and they make me break out so they are probably won't work for you either. Hope this helps, good luck!

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J.B.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I feel for you. I had the worst acne problem. The only thing that ever worked for me was the accuatane. I know that stuff is HORRIBLE. I hated it. I was on and off for years. When ever I moved somewhere and there was a climate change there went my skin. Luckily I grew out of it. After I stopped I was so scared it would come back. One of the things I would use is rubbing alcohol. It is rough and drys out your face like crazy, but I haven't had an outbreak for a long time!! Good Luck I hope you find something. Having acne is not fun at all.

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K.S.

answers from Denver on

Hi, read through most but not all of the responses. I can definitely relate to you, I have struggled with acne for way too long (I'm 37 now).

I did accutane in my early 20s, it did work, but I would never do it again (way too risky, didn't realize this when I was younger) so I'm with you there. It is a risk. And if it makes you feel better, it wasn't a permanent fix.

I do have skin problems again, and the most drastic thing I do now is called i-p-l. I think it's for 'intense pulsed light' or something. It's really not dramatic at all. It's basically a laser, it just feels like they are snapping a rubber band on your face. But no swelling, no redness, nothing. Once I'm done, I'm done. It lasts for 6 months or a year. Really works for me. It's about $300 per treatment, and only your dermatologist would know how many to recommend.

Good luck!!

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S.S.

answers from Denver on

I can't comment on the facial hair...you poor dear.
However, I have discovered that anything carbonated and anything with high fructose corn syrup causes horrible acne for me. I never touch anything containing either of those. Hang in there!

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A.J.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Hello KJ,
I know you said you've tried most everything, but have you tried the Jafra products. I sell them and I have had great success with The Calming Dynamics, and the Control Dynamics line of skin care with folks in my area. Where I am the water is so hard and mineral laden that lots of people have skin problems of one kind or the other. The Control Dynamics line has helped people who are from 18 to late 20's with their acne, and the Calming Dynamics has helped people in their 30's and 40's and such with their rosacia and other skin problems. I would suggest giving this line a try, but if you prefer a less expensive approach I would suggest Baby wash for cleansing and baby lotion for moisturizing, and skip any exfolients all together because they can aggravate the situation. For the excess hair growth I would suggest buying and epil tool that pulls the hair out at the root. I have used one for years and it works very well, and over time the hair growth has gotten less and less and now I only have to use it twice a month. Hope this helps.

A. J

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K.M.

answers from Billings on

Did you try garlic? It's a natural antibiotic that I've heard helps with acne... probably worth a try since the cost/ effort is low. It's available in capsule form, alternatively, you can chop up a raw clove and swallow it with appplesauce. Good luck!

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K.B.

answers from Salt Lake City on

May not solve everything, but try adding flax seeds (especially) and other antiinflammatory natural foods to your diet, while reducing/eliminating processed simple carbs like sugar. Seems to help not only my acne, but my overall tone.

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D.H.

answers from Denver on

Hi KJ,

I had a problem very similar to yours, in that recently my skin started to break out . I am 42, I have been stressed, and had changed my skin care products, so it was hard to determine what was causing it.

Then, I realized that I had run out of vitamins on vacation and hadn't gone shopping for new ones. Once I started taking my vitamins again, my skin cleared up, and is back to great! I take Folic Acid, 1000 mg, Vitamin D 5000 iu, B complex, A good probiotic, Calcium, and Omega 3-6-9. Don't know if you should take the same thing, but that's what works for me.

As far as the facial hair goes....a good pair of tweezers are a girls best friend.

Good Luck!

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M.C.

answers from Denver on

HI KJ,

Your hormones are probably off balance. I read a great book called Breakthrough by Suzanne Sommers. It is awesome and talks a lot about hormone loss causing most all problems in our bodies - weight gain to alzheimers. You should check it out. I have a great Chiropractor that does work w/ bio-identical hormones which are much much better for you than synthetic hormones or birth control pills. It is pretty affordable - around 250.00 for the saliva test to find out what hormones you are lacking.
Let me know if you would like his number. He is in Parker CO.

Thanks and good luck!

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S.B.

answers from Boise on

Have you tried Zap-it?

It is made in Idaho. It is not as harsh as most of the other products. It is also less expensive than Proactive.

S.
www.changingstores.info

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G.L.

answers from Denver on

Dear KJ,
Oh my dear I feel your pain! I have been pregnant 7x. I have never except 1x had breakouts during or after pregnancy...Until this last baby. I started getting more noticeable hair & acne/breakouts. Not during pregnancy but after. Just in the last 6 mo. or so. It has really bothered me also. But I knew it was hormones. Even if your levels look ok (normal range) many things can affect your body. And many times thyroid is the cause. It's the "brain" of the whole body.

My solution was to get my thyroid checked & sure enough it was off. FIXED! Alternate an acne skin care line with a normal skin line. To keep the breakouts under control without overdrying. I personally use Clear Advantage every other 2-3 days alternating with NutriminC anti-aging line. If I have a bad blemish I use the Clear advantage spot treatment & it has worked wonders!

Now for the extra hair. I have dark hair, fair skin. So it really bothers me. I knew again hormones were the culprit (it can take awhile for your body to regulate itself). Also if you have been on birth control for this time that could be the reason for the excessive facial hair. I have gone on a natural hormone replacement called Prolief. It can take a few months to kick in, but it has worked for me. Plus it helps with stress dealing. The hormones can be our friends or foe & even if off the slightest bit they can cause us grief. Again soemthing that a DR. says is within normal range can be ABNORMAL for us. Plus it has been know to help in the baby-making field ;). I hope this helps and I am confident that it really may be a solution for you. Take care, G

I did want to add I do TOTALLY agree with the first response. Being that skin care is my business it is very TRUE that skin goes through a purging. That's what allows beneficial ingredients to be absorbed & pollutants/toxins to purge. Anything with mineral oil will clog pores & cause breakouts. Also as I tell each of my clients when starting a new line make sure to only use that line exclusively, not with other components from other lines. Also it takes about 3 weeks for your skin to adjust to a new line. It is normal to have dry/flaky patches, breakouts & sometimes red areas. But it will calm down about the 3 week mark. Also our skin shows EVERYTHING. Hormones, stress & diet.

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T.C.

answers from Provo on

Very simple!

Have your Dr. prescribe Benzoyl Peroxide Face wash 10% (not over the counter, the stuff from the pharmacy works better). Use it daily or as you need it.

Do NOT take accutane! It doesn't work and it destroys your skin.

For facial hair do electrolysis. If you need it for your upper lip however, laser is better (and not too expensive for that small area).

Good Luck

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D.W.

answers from Colorado Springs on

KJ,
I totally feel your pain too- you are not alone on the acne issue!! It's horrible to feel like you suddenly have junior-high skin again!
I have noticed diet really affects my skin. Avoiding pasteurized dairy (yogurt is not as bad, because it's cultured), sugar, and any processed fats has really helped me, as well as taking a multivitamin and cod liver oil for the omega-3's. Seriously, when I've been skipping the cod liver oil, I really start breaking out in deep, scarring acne.
It sounds like there are tons of good ideas here, but you might consider working with your diet and a topical treatment at the same time, trying to heal things from the inside and outside together.
Best of luck!

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M.R.

answers from Denver on

Try the herb Maca for the hair growth. I complained to my acupuncturist recently about hair on my face and she told me to take Maca, since it helps control hormone fluctuations. I can't say yet whether it works, but I love my acupuncturist and she has called it right in the past.

I also have struggled w/ acne for, like, ever (I'm 36)...and one of my favorite products is a supplement (in capsule form) which I special order from the Vitamin Cottage. It is called 'Beautiful Skin' and is made by 'Crystal Star' (also here: http://healthyhealing.com/Default.aspx) I love this stuff! Within a couple days of starting to take the pills, my acne clears up, scars start to heal and my skin feels soft and smooth.

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S.R.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I have tried probably everything and finally did accutane and it was the best thing I ever did for my acne- it just worked. But if accutane is out of the question right now (I understand), then you need something: there are a few things you did not mention like Retin-A or Tazorac or Finacea. You could try these. Don't do Benzoyl Peroxide if you already tried Proactiv. It is basically the same thing. The only thing that helped for me as far as diet (and I have gone long periods of no sugar) is wheat grass shots. I could actually see a difference in my face the next day. Sounds like your acne must be hormonal, like mine. So sorry and good luck. Oh, and also, you could try switching dermatologists. I have seen three or four and they all are so different. It may not hurt to see what another professional would suggest.

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