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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

help! adult acne, sensitive skin

I'm a 26-year-old female and have had crummy skin since I was 13 that seems to just get worse and worse.  My skin is sensitive and dry.  I get lots of little white bumps, never-ending clogged pores, occasional big sensitive zits, and occasional deep cystic zits.  I do not have health insurance/money to see a dermatologist, but I've only been using grocery store products up to this point, so I would like to try investing in some higher end products that might work better.


My current routine:

-Cetaphil cleanser, always use washcloth (tried using clean hands, makes acne much worse - dead skin and grossness build up like crazy)

-Neutrogenia moisturizer for sensitive skin

-Neutrogenia exfoliating scrub 1 or 2 times/week (salicylic acid I believe)

-little bit of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide every other night or so (too much makes me rashy)

-have been using maybelline foundation, but think I'm going to switch to something else because I think it's making my skin worse

-some kind of makeup remover wipes


Diet:  Overall, pretty healthy.  Hate milk anyway, but I've been cutting way back on cheese over the past few months.  Have a weakness for nightly glass of wine and once a week pizza.


I am SO frustrated and ready to fix this!!  I am HIGHLY prone to itchy, gross rashes, and it seems like every time I try something new, I get rashy.  I tried a tea tree oil routine for 3 months, and it didn't help (maybe made it a little worse).  Occasionally I'll get the urge to be proactive and try something new, and often I will end up with a rash on my face.  I've settled on my current routine because it at least doesn't make things worse, but things don't seem to get better either.  Going totally without makeup seems to make things a little better, but not a lot better (and damages my confidence immensely).  Once tried a sort of clarisonic rip-off brush and it gave my a terrible, terrible rash.


Also get clogged pores on chest, shoulders, and quite a lot on my back.  Clogged pores turn into zits if I pick at them (unfortunately I have a problem with this).


Suggestions from anyone are soo greatly appreciated!!!  I'm being brave and attaching pictures in hope that someone will have some insight on what I'm dealing with.  Thank you in advance!



Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

I'm on the same boat as you. Same age. Same age when acne started popping up. The degree of acne on your photos even look like mine. However, just two months ago I went to see a dermatologist despite it being $75 a visit and with the combination of pills and a cream, it has gotten better. At least new large cystic pimples haven't popped up (yay!) and when rare new mini pimples form, they go away quicker. When I first went to see a dermatologist years ago, what he prescribed for me didn't help and even my family doctor didn't help. So I will say that even if you can't, try to go to different dermatologists to get different opinions. I know it's expensive, but in hindsight, it cuts down on a lot of products you use like right now I just use a drug store cleanser, sunscreen, and that cream that the dermatologist prescribed. Nothing else. That beats spending $100 every 3 months on high end products. I hope this helps and good luck!

Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

It really is trial and error, unfortunately. I've read through the posts, and things that work for some people don't work for me at all. My breakouts are mostly hormonal and the only food that impacts my skin really is sugar candies, but it could be helpful to try cutting out certain foods to see if it helps (and maybe try to do them one at a time so you know which ones making a difference). I've been using cosdna dot com recently to help determine which products are most likely to cause acne or irritation, and that's helped a bit.


The only cleansers that have ever worked for me are Boscia's Purifying and Clear Complexion. They are gentle and good for sensitive skin. Still trying to find a scrub or mask that doesn't cause red bumps on my face.


Good luck!

Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

I had the similar issue till the age of 26. I switched between a lot of brands and moisturizers. What helped me was the Shiseido White Lucent cleanser toner moisturizer kit. It reduced and after six months stopped the breakout. I have been switching between Shiseido and Clarins White plus since then or using an origins mask for extra dry skin times. Clarins works much better on my skin Vs Shiseido but shiseido helped fix my problem of breakouts like no other brand.


I gave a try to clarisonic last month but it started my breakouts (now in control). 



Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

For makeup, I think you should use a tinted moisturizer like Laura Mercier's oil free with a non-comedogenic powder on top for more coverage. Maybe the Bare Minerals Matte.

Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

Even if she does obtain insurance through the ACA, there is a very high deductible and she'll have to pay out-of-pocket for any doctor's visits or prescriptions. It's basically a very expensive catastrophic insurance plan.


From the looks of your skin, it seems as though your makeup might be breaking you out or you are not getting it all off. Do you use the wipes and also wash after? If not, you should do that. You should also not eat ANY dairy or wheat or processed foods.


If you can't go to the dermatologist, I suggest using this cleanser


It should clear you up pretty quickly.


Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

Thanks for all the feedback!!! Smiley Happy


Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

You could be allergic to benzol peroxide.. 

I would suggest a facial for your skin with extractions to help unclog some of your pores. Doing it yourself can cause scarring and may not be the most sanitary.  


I recommend getting a BHA Serum. Renee Rouleau has great ones on her website, but I can't post the link. The BHA serum will exfoliate the skin and help with your congestion issues. 

As far as cleansers I would suggest a gel or a foam cleanser so it is not so clogging. Also upping your exfoliation to about every other day, looking at your skin I can tell you have some dead skin call build up. 


Drinking lots of water will help as well, water is a natural detoxifier for your body and not drinking enough can cause breakouts. 


Lastly, drugstore makeup is great because of the cost, but it is not for everyone. If you purchase new foundation look for a product that contains salicylic acid and that are non-comedegenic.

Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

Hello... Fellow acne and sensitive skin sufferer! I am 27 and have been dealing with the same for many years. I now have a great skin care regimen on rotation. Some products are expensive. Some are not.


remove makeup: yes to tomatoes daily clarifying cleanser For my first wash (only in PM)

-- please note that I double cleanse, once to remove makeup, the other to clean my face.

2nd cleanse: I found a great cleanser by a new all natural company called "brightside skin care" that contains activated charcoal which helps to draw out impurities. Works wonderfully! It's called a foaming cleanser, but that is misleading as it does NOT foam, thought it does suds up plenty.


toner: I only use this PM 3-5 nights a week after cleanser. I use the Dior toning lotion for sensitive skin. It is wonderful... And expensive, but totally worth it. 


Oil/serums: I follow toning with Tarte maracuja oil. It has a high amount of vitMin C which helps to brighten pigmentation spots. It also calms my face down after washing/toning. 


moisturizer: so important, although sometimes I don't always need it at night. I use Kate Somerville 's goat milk cream which is formulated for sensitive skin. A little really goes a long way. I probably use this 3-4 times a week in the evening. 


And as for my diet, i cut out dairy and cut my wheat intake way down. The more wheat I eat, the more I break out. I would say you should really mess around with diet. And as for makeup, I've had great results with the Dr. jart black label BB cream. Ask for a sample first. It's one of the only liquid foundations that don't break me out. And for mineral makeup, bare minerals MATTE is a godo option because it lacks the bismuth oxychloride found in the original formula... which is responsible for over a year of issues in my skin. Good luck!

Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

I have sensitive skin too, and only recently I found products that seem to work for me.


I use the FAB Ultra Repair Cream (which is great for dry patches and doesn't break me out), and their Daily Face Cream for the areas that are normal to oily. As a cleanser I use their regular one and sometimes Bioderma Solution Micellaire for removing my makeup.


I think the biggest thing that helped my acne was washing my face every morning and night - throw away those makeup wipes, it'd do you wonders! I would also suggest stop using the more "advance" products, meaning anything other than a cleanser and moisturizer, and see how it works - when the skin is irritated, some stuff that you may be able to use later just make things worse.


Cutting off milk also helped me a lot - but that includes all types of cheese - cream, yogurts, you name it. You might want to try cutting off gluten and soy as well.


Good luck!

Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

I've struggled with acne most of my life too! I have to deal with acne marks and pitted scars. That being said, right now I probably had the best skin ever had my whole life. My routine might not work for you, as I don't have particularly sensitive skin, but here are some ideas for you:


I clean with my Clairsonic Mia 2 only at night, because using it more than once a day dries out my skin. I use Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel with it, but I think any gentle cleanser will do.


I then dab on Clinique's Acne Solutions spot treatment gel (they've renamed it Clinical Clearing Gel) on any breakouts AND what I think will become a breakout. If you catch the pimple early before it fully forms, the gel treatment pretty much kills it overnight or in a day. The active compound is salicylic acid, which may or may not work for you.


I follow with Kate Somerville's D-Scar (for my acne marks and pitted marks). I know people say that topical ointments will never help with the pitted scars, but I've been using this product since November 2013 and  there has been a difference in the severity of the pits, my pitted marks look much, much better. One tube has lasted me about 2 months.


I then finish with Lancome's Advanced Genefique Youth Activating Concentrate. Because I'm not getting any younger. Smiley Tongue


If I'm going outside, I use Lancome's Bienfait UV SPF 50 sunscreen. This is the only one that doesn't look like a white mask when I put it on, and I don't break out from it!


I hope this helps - I've always wanted perfect skin when I was a teen. Now that I'm older, I've learned what works and what doesn't work for my skin and I'm sticking with it! Best of luck to you in finding the best regime for your skin!

Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

I thought because of stupid Obama care everyone is required to have health insurance or you get a fine. 


If you can't afford a dermatologist, try to save up some money & find a groupon/liviging social/gilt city deal for a facial at a med spa. Although your facial would be done by an esthetician, they do have doctors in the office & can give you a prescription Retin-A. That's how I get mine. It's $50 for a tube that lasts me about 4 months. 


You could try an OTC retinol treatment, but they are more expensive & take longer to work. My favorties are from Skinceuticals & Peter Thomas Roth. Those are the only two that I know of that have the highest concentration of retinol allowed in an OTC product. 


Another option is to go to a CVS minute clinic & pay out of pocket for a 15 minute consultation and get a prescription through them. It would all be out of pocket & I'm not sure what the costs are, you could try calling them and ask. 

Re: help! adult acne, sensitive skin

I noticed you don't have insurance. Are you planning on getting it any time soon? I only ask because the only thing that worked for my acne (had it for over 10 years) was Accutane. However, I don't think it's really obtainable without insurance. I know that isn't very helpful right now, but if you do end up getting insurance soon I'd highly recommend trying to get on Accutane.

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