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acne questions--what Rx have you tried?


plansrme
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My 16 year old has tried all of the OTC remedies--acne.org, zinc, vinegar, you name it--whatever alternative remedy that has been suggested here, she has tried.  She has been seeing a dermatologist for about 9 months now, and I am frustrated beyond belief.  Her skin is not better!  She will try something for a while, have a reaction to it and have to try something else.  This has happened with the acne.org products as well as prescriptions.  She is currently on an oral antibiotic and a topical retinoid.  Her skin seemed to be getting better and then got worse and has stayed there.  My question is, besides Accutane, what prescription meds have worked for your kid?  The derm has not mentioned Accutane yet, but I want to know what else there is besides an oral anbibiotic and a retinoid.  She goes back to the dr in a couple of weeks, and I'd like to have some suggestions.  It is ridiculous that in this day and age, she cannot get her skin clear.  Frankly, I don't think dermatologists care any more about anything but middle-aged women who want Botox. 

 

ETA 5/5/14:

Just wanted to update this to say we have tried a couple of things recommended below and are seeing results.  Yea!  First, I put both her (my 16 yo) and my 14 yo on 10% sulfur soap for their faces (found it on my BFF Amazon) and, for my 14 yo's back, sulfur cream (also Amazon).  The 14 yo has much less severe breakouts on her face and a larger quantity of spots but less severe breakouts on her back and shoulders.  The sulfur soap and cream combo has done a great job on both.  Her shoulders are completely clear, and the middle of her back, where I have been less diligent about applying the cream (she can't reach the middle of her back), is almost clear.  She is a swimmer, so her shoulders are exposed more often than not and this is a big deal to her.  I am shocked that, as cheap as it is, sulfur is not more often recommended for acne.  Maybe it is because it is so cheap--who can afford to promote something that costs $5 for a six-month supply???

 

Second, I ditched whatever zinc we had tried and bought chelated zinc for my older daughter, the one with the worst problems and the one whose skin prompted the post.  She is only taking 2 15 mg tablets a day, instead of 50 mg as recommended (2 is all she can tolerate at a time, and the plan is to add in a third after breakfast soon--she has to take them with a substantial meal or she vomits), but her skin is much, much better.  She is still on the antibiotic and the topical from the dermatologist, but they were not cutting it.  I shoved the chelated zinc and sulfur soap at her and said the alternative was BCPs or Accutane with a monthly pregnancy test AND BCPs, just to ensure compliance with the zinc/sulfur regimen.  Her skin is not perfectly clear yet, but it is definitely better.  I would say that it is 75% better.  For two weeks' of treatment, that is really good.  We have seen temporary results from other products in the past, and they have either stopped working or she has developed allergies to them, but I am hopeful that she will be able to use these until the hormones (or whatever it is) level off.

 

Thanks to everyone for your comments.  I really thought we had tried everything short of major meds, but I am happy  to know that that wasn't the case AND  what the next steps are if these last-ditch efforts do not work.

 

 

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I know this may not be something you want to do with a teenager, but the birth control pill, specifically Yaz, has worked wonders for me. Throughout my teens and into adulthood, I have tried almost everything except Accutane. Yaz has been the only thing to make a significant difference.

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If she is PCOS-ish (irregular cycles?), then I would consider oral contraceptives (chosen carefully and specifically) and/or some version of a lower-carb diet.  If there is metabolic stuff going on, depending on severity, I might even consider metformin, though I'd prefer to try a lifestyle (diet) approach first.

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Our child takes minocycline (oral antibiotic) and a topical cream, acayna.

Also washes with Glytone (non prescript).

He gets moderate results, but we too don't want to try Accutane.

Truly, we're just trying to minimize scarring and hope he grows out of it soon.

 

:bigear:

 

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My daughter went on an oral antibiotic, plus three topicals... I'm trying to remember the names of them.  I think they are:  Clindamycin (a topical antibiotic), Benzoyl Peroxide, and I think Tretinoin.  Two of them are actually mixed together in one cream.  She is also on birth control pills (for the acne).  I know it sounds like so much.  We tried the natural approach for her, but it just didn't work over time.  Her acne became so bad, it was really terrible!  The dermatologist was great and started with the most gentle meds and doses first.  The only problem is that she tried to hurry my daughter through the products a little too quickly, and was really eager to move on to Accutane, but I REALLY didn't want to.  So, I kept insisting that we wait it out with the current meds, and at the four-month mark is when we finally started seeing changes.   Once it cleared up, my daughter  went off of everything and within 6-8 months, it all came back with a vengeance.  Again, it was really terrible.  She went on the same prescription routine and again, at almost exactly the four-month mark, it began to improve.  After about six months the doctor advised her to go off of the oral antibiotic, but she is still on everything else.  Her skin is about 95% clear and looks beautiful!

 

I have another daughter whose acne isn't as severe who has had success with more natural products, such as tea tree ointment (topical), zinc pills, and coconut oil pulling.

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I've had issues with acne since I was a teen because my hormones are wonky, and the only thing that ever worked was going on the pill.  Yazmin worked the best for me.  On the pill, I don't even have to wash my face with anything besides water and it still doesn't break out.

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I would try birth control pills. She may need to take the continuous dosage. My dd ended up on Accutane, but acne came back after she was off of it for a year. She now takes continuous bc to control it. She tried regular dosing, but that week she was off it would flare up. She still has some pop up, but it is in the normal range, not what she usually gets.

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We tried a zinc tablet but it didn't work. In a last ditch effort, I bought a different one, chelated zinc, and it has made the difference. I think that's the only thing that's helping him right now. I don't remember all the prescription meds he tried but none of them worked. We are still quite frustrated. I think the same way as you do. There should be some medication that works. Our derm never talked to us about Accutane. I hear so many bad things about it though.

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My daughter went on an oral antibiotic, plus three topicals... I'm trying to remember the names of them.  I think they are:  Clindamycin (a topical antibiotic), Benzoyl Peroxide, and I think Tretinoin.  Two of them are actually mixed together in one cream.  She is also on birth control pills (for the acne).  I know it sounds like so much.  We tried the natural approach for her, but it just didn't work over time.  Her acne became so bad, it was really terrible!  The dermatologist was great and started with the most gentle meds and doses first.  The only problem is that she tried to hurry my daughter through the products a little too quickly, and was really eager to move on to Accutane, but I REALLY didn't want to.  So, I kept insisting that we wait it out with the current meds, and at the four-month mark is when we finally started seeing changes.   Once it cleared up, my daughter  went off of everything and within 6-8 months, it all came back with a vengeance.  Again, it was really terrible.  She went on the same prescription routine and again, at almost exactly the four-month mark, it began to improve.  After about six months the doctor advised her to go off of the oral antibiotic, but she is still on everything else.  Her skin is about 95% clear and looks beautiful!

 

I have another daughter whose acne isn't as severe who has had success with more natural products, such as tea tree ointment (topical), zinc pills, and coconut oil pulling.

 

Clindamycin and BP are two to which she has had allergic reactions.  I know--nobody has reactions to these, but after a while, they made her face swell up and itch.  She tried cutting back, spacing them out, etc., but once she reacted, that was it. 

 

Has your (or anyone else's) daughter had any side effects from the BC pills?  Did the derm prescribe them or make her to go a ob/gyn? 

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We tried a zinc tablet but it didn't work. In a last ditch effort, I bought a different one, chelated zinc, and it has made the difference. I think that's the only thing that's helping him right now. I don't remember all the prescription meds he tried but none of them worked. We are still quite frustrated. I think the same way as you do. There should be some medication that works. Our derm never talked to us about Accutane. I hear so many bad things about it though.

 

 I will go back and see whether it was chelated zinc she used.  I know she didn't like taking the zinc because she had to remember to take it with food, a lot of food, or it made her nauseated.  But if it would work, I am sure she would have sucked it up.

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Our child takes minocycline (oral antibiotic) and a topical cream, acayna.

Also washes with Glytone (non prescript).

He gets moderate results, but we too don't want to try Accutane.

Truly, we're just trying to minimize scarring and hope he grows out of it soon.

 

:bigear:

 

Haven't heard of acayna.  Will check it out.  Even moderate results would be better than we're getting now, frankly!

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The only thing that worked for me as a teen was Accutane. Anti-biotics, Retin-A, BCPs - none of that helped. Only Accutane. The only side-effect that I had from it was exceptionally dry, sensitive, chapped lips. And it was worth it. My only regret was not going on it sooner. My severe acne was a constant source of embarrassment to me, and I still have some scars from it (though thankfully they did fade over the years) which I hide as best I can with makeup. I know there is a lot of fear of Accutane, and I understand that. But I wanted to give you one success story in case all else fails.

 

Now that said, one thing I did not try at the time and would if I had it to do over again: a low-carb diet. At that time, I not only had teenage hormones messing up my skin, but I was eating a very high-carbohydrate vegetarian diet. As an adult (I should mention that my acne did come back somewhat after I went off the Accutane, but never anywhere near as badly as before!) I went on a low-carbohydrate diet, and discovered much to my own surprise that I stopped getting the monthly breakout of acne on my chin that I had always gotten with my periods. That, and a BHA gel have worked wonders for me as an adult. Now as a teen, my acne was so bad that I don't know if either one of these would have helped. But I would certainly give them a try.

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Clindamycin and BP are two to which she has had allergic reactions.  I know--nobody has reactions to these, but after a while, they made her face swell up and itch.  She tried cutting back, spacing them out, etc., but once she reacted, that was it. 

 

Has your (or anyone else's) daughter had any side effects from the BC pills?  Did the derm prescribe them or make her to go a ob/gyn? 

 

No, no side effects from the BC pills.  The derm prescribed them.

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Clindamycin and BP are two to which she has had allergic reactions.  I know--nobody has reactions to these, but after a while, they made her face swell up and itch.  She tried cutting back, spacing them out, etc., but once she reacted, that was it. 

 

Has your (or anyone else's) daughter had any side effects from the BC pills?  Did the derm prescribe them or make her to go a ob/gyn? 

 

 

I have one dd who cannot use any of the acne meds. Fortunately, she doesn't have a real problem with acne. But, if she uses anything medicinal on  her face it turns red and itches. She tends to have strong reactions to anything with sulphur, and does react somewhat when taking many antibiotics. Not enough for the doctors to call it an allergy, but...we try to avoid them! For her face, she tends to stick with foodstuffs. Honey and yogurt make great masks. (Honey is antibacterial; yogurt goes after the yeast.)

 

The dermatologist should be able to prescribe bc pills for her. They have a very slim chance of side effects. The dosage they use tends to be very low. If you do take her to an ob, they don't have to do an exam (unless she is s#xually active in which case you would probably want her on them anyway). They just chat and write out the script. I think bcp should be tried with all girls before Accutane. After all, they pretty much insist they be on bcp in order to prescribe Accutane in the first place!

 

I have had one dd (taking them for a whole different reason/super heavy, painful periods with huge emotional swings) who has to be careful about which pills she is on. Some brands cause her to instantly hit severe depression. But, the right one keeps her moods level. Hormones are kind of a crazy thing.

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My son has been using Amoxycillin along with topical Epiduo as needed He has only needed only small amounts of the cream to clear things up and isn't on it routinely. 

 

ETA--sorry, just read your post again and it sounds like this is about what she's already using.

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I've used all of the things previously mentioned in the thread except chelated zinc.  I've only used regular zinc with no luck.  Tea tree oil only makes my face worse.  What I'm currently using is a script sulfur wash (w/my insurance oop is $5.00)  I also use Finacea gel (topical cream).  It says takes approx. 4 weeks to see results and I'm only into it two weeks so we shall see.  My dermatologist has always promoted the use of sulfur products as the best in treating acne, many of which are ooc.  I found a sulfur cream called Prosacea at Walgreens.  It's basically sulfur but what i love is it's clear, I don't notice any smell and I can wear it under cosmetics during the day.   I have said for years that it seems wrong with all the medical advances that acne seems to be so difficult to treat for so many.  Best of luck in finding a good treatment!

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DD20 tried various antibiotics, but they just made her feel sick and did nothing.  The dermatologist prescribed YAZ (BC pills) and a new washing regime (Cetaphil cleanser twice a day followed by a good layer of Cera Ve cream (thick) at night).  That was the method with the best success for DD - only the occasional pimple.

 

Until she went off to college her freshman year and came up with a terrible case of cystic acne (think dime sized lumps).  DD20 went on Accutane and that worked miracles to resolve the cystic acne quickly with no side effects other than very very dry skin.  She's off the Accutane now and doing great again just maintaining with YAZ and lots of moisturizer.

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My dd developed terrible acne in high school.  She first tried acne.org, over the counter acne meds, etc,...nothing helped. It only got worse & started to scar.

 

Went to the dermatologist at 16 yo. He prescribed oral antibiotics & a topical cream, which cleared up some of it, but not everything. He also gave her something to fade the scars (it worked).

 

Dd found out she had PCOS at 17yo. Obgyn put her on a low dose BC pill, and her acne cleared up completely as a result.

 

She went off the pill at 20, & the acne gradually came back. When she had another PCOS episode that landed her in the hospital recently, her obgyn put her back on BC pills. We're expecting her skin to clear up again.

 

She could help herself a lot by going on a low carb diet & exercising more to help the underlying hormonal/ PCOS issues. Maybe when the college stress is over, she'll try it (hoping!).

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A while back there was a poster here who was a herbalist and she always suggested that acne is also a sign of a sluggish liver.

Perhaps try a multi-pronged approach and also add a liver cleanse. It can be as easy as 2-3 glasses of water with lemon juice in it taken in the evening or castor oil packs.

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This has always cleared up the toughest acne for several generations in our house:

 

1. Never touch the face with hands. Never lean on a hand when resting the head.

2. Wash entire face with Dial soap.

3. Apply Cleocin T to entire face. (topical clindamycin liquid), prescription only.

4. Apply Sulfacet R to actual pimples. Prescription only., stinks for awhile because it contains sulphur.

5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 twice daily. May need an extra Dial wash if sweaty during the day.

6. Wear only noncomeogenic make ups. No foundation until the face is clear.

 

It is now very hard to find the Sulfacet R, and one may have to have it ordered. Since it stinks, it is not a popular regimen. To me, it only stinks for about 10 minutes. And the results are so worth it.

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Has your (or anyone else's) daughter had any side effects from the BC pills?

I have migraines, and any type of BC that contains estrogens makes the migraines more severe and MUCH more frequent. But if your dd doesn't have migraines, then I don't think this is a consideration. (i.e. I don't think BCPs cause migraines, but can be a trigger for people who already have migraines).

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This has always cleared up the toughest acne for several generations in our house:

 

1. Never touch the face with hands. Never lean on a hand when resting the head.

2. Wash entire face with Dial soap.

3. Apply Cleocin T to entire face. (topical clindamycin liquid), prescription only.

4. Apply Sulfacet R to actual pimples. Prescription only., stinks for awhile because it contains sulphur.

5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 twice daily. May need an extra Dial wash if sweaty during the day.

6. Wear only noncomeogenic make ups. No foundation until the face is clear.

 

It is now very hard to find the Sulfacet R, and one may have to have it ordered. Since it stinks, it is not a popular regimen. To me, it only stinks for about 10 minutes. And the results are so worth it.

 

She is allergic to the clindamycin, but we will certainly track down the Sulfacet R.  Thanks!

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We like Aczone.  Dd has also used Veltin and occasionally she will use clindamycin.  She has a face wash and moisturizer that are wonderful and also a peroxide gel but we purchase those from the derm office.  Light Therapy has been close to a miracle for her though.  I can't tell you how much light therapy has helped both her acne and her eczema.  Now, she just washes her face and moisturizes and uses the other prescription products as needed.  Usually, she has a spot or 2 that needs to be treated rather than her whole face.  She does have flares periodically around her hormones, but nothing like before the light therapy. 

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We like Aczone. Dd has also used Veltin and occasionally she will use clindamycin. She has a face wash and moisturizer that are wonderful and also a peroxide gel but we purchase those from the derm office. Light Therapy has been close to a miracle for her though. I can't tell you how much light therapy has helped both her acne and her eczema. Now, she just washes her face and moisturizes and uses the other prescription products as needed. Usually, she has a spot or 2 that needs to be treated rather than her whole face. She does have flares periodically around her hormones, but nothing like before the light therapy.

Does she have this done at a spa-type place or by the dermatologist? How often?

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This is going to sound nuts and simplistic, but I would imagine it's worth a try:

My DH had horrible acne in high school and college; Accutane was a last ditch effort and turned out to be the only thing that worked for him.  So when my daughter had acne that seemed resistant to the many OTC treatments we tried and that looked like his cysts and severe acne, he thought me taking her to the Clinique counter was useless.  But, their system worked in 3 weeks' time.  It might be worth a try because it's relatively cheap and has no side medication effects.

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Strictly anecdotal, but I used to belong to a weight loss forum (T-tapp) and the eating plan for T-tapp included drinking two 8oz cups of water at night as hot as you could stand without burning your tongue  with a quarter organic lemon squeezed into each cup for liver support for weight loss but MANY people on that forum swore it had healed their acne and even their children's acne and so on. That was a huge thread that went on for months about how well that worked on acne. The water suggestion above made me remember it.

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I have migraines, and any type of BC that contains estrogens makes the migraines more severe and MUCH more frequent. But if your dd doesn't have migraines, then I don't think this is a consideration. (i.e. I don't think BCPs cause migraines, but can be a trigger for people who already have migraines).

 

This is good to know.  There is a history of migraines in my husband's family, and she shows no signs of them so far, but still--good to know it could be a trigger.  I would love for something besides BCPs to work, so I am hoping something else on the thread will be the magic pill for us.  If not, though, we'll consider BCP.

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