Blog: Acne - 20 years of suffering
by #16236

Acne and Topical Lotions and Potions

A summary of all the products I've used over the years, and their results.

Date:   2/27/2008 2:51:42 PM   ( 14 y ) ... viewed 3618 times

I've tried just loads of topical creams and lotions. Really, you'd have thought I would have learnt after 20 years that nothing I put on my face is going to cure my problem, right? I still keep on trying.

Prescription drugs:

1) Dalacin-T (contains Clindamycin)
This was a firm favourite for a while. I like the solution - the cream didn't really work for me, but the solution helped me feel like my acne was under control. Sadly the solution has been discontinued, and I just don't think the cream is as effective. I've been prescribed it loads of times. The only trouble with Dalacin-T was that it never really, completely, cleared my skin. It just made it better. Obviously that's great for confidence, and feeling that you can go out in public without people staring at you, but it didn't FIX things properly. And really - can you spend the whole of your life using an antibiotic lotion?? As i've got older, Dalacin-T has got less effective in general (hence why I ended up on Limecyline before Christmas).

2) Zineryt (contains Erythromycin)
This is much harsher than Dalacin-T. In fact, I had to stop using this as it dried my skin out so much I couldn't smile for fear of my face cracking. Ouch. Did it work? Not as well as the Dalacin-T. And then when I did get spots, my skin was so dry that the soreness and redness seemed to be worse and more obvious than ever. Concealer was a no go, as my skin was too flaky to put it on. Overall a rubbish attempt. Stopped it after 4 weeks, as I didn't think I'd have a face left if I continued.

Over the counter solutions

1) Benzoyl Peroxide
Teenagers favourite. I tried this in my teens and it dried my skin out (a bit like Zineryt!). It says it does on the pack, and to use lots of moisturiser, but using the moisturiser seemed to cause more spots. I gave up on this pretty quickly. In my twenties I stumbled across a website that suggested that Benzoyl Peroxide was THE cure, but people weren't using enough of it. Apparently you have to use loads, and really massage it into the skin. I went out and bought more, and tried this new method. Exactly the same results. Really dry skin, really painful spots.

2) Triclosan
Used to be the favoured ingredient of Clearasil (still is?). Didn't really do anything at all. I think this product is aimed more at people who have less than average hygiene and really just need an anti-bacterial.

3) Salicylic Acid
The ingredient of choice these days. It's in everything, including all the high-end beauty products for oily skin. I've tried various, but recently of note the Garnier Pure range. I bought the whole lot - cleaner, toner, moisturiser, and thought I'd give it 4 weeks to see if it was any good. One of the problems of salicylic acid is that it makes your skin ultra-sensitive to sunlight. I don't go out in the sun anyway, as have really pale skin, but felt extra-paranoid every time any sunlight got on my face. Results? My skin overall felt smoother, which was nice, but less spots? No, not really. Still the same. Sigh.

4) TCP
Old favourite, and I have to say it's still my emergency treatment of choice when a spot comes up. It smells like a hospital, and the smell lingers for hours (I dab it on with a cotton bud and never get it on my hands). It's excellent at drying up the spot without completely dehydrating your skin, and is the only thing I ever put on a spot if I have to squeeze it (yuk!). Anything else just makes more pus come back. I've never tried it as a facewash (diluted), as the smell is too strong, and I have to go to work, but at the end of the day, people without spots don't have to wash in TCP, so I don't think that I should either - it's just not a feasible long term cure.

5) White spirit and Dettol
Both have effects similar to TCP if you dab a little on neat, but again, you couldn't wash in them - they're probably lethal for your skin, and the smell alone would empty the bus the second you got on it.

Natural stuff

1) Witch hazel
Very drying - kind of like the natural alternative to benzoyl peroxide. Dried my skin out, and didn't stop the spots.

2) Tea tree (several brands)
Smells lovely, but didn't really do anything, sadly. I've always been a big fan of natural products, so was hoping this would be wonderful, but it didn't seem to make existing spots disappear any faster, or prevent new ones from occurring.

3) Medical grade lanolin
Extracted from sheeps wool. The purest I believe is the Lansinoh brand. I know this seems counter-intuitive, as it is in fact a bit like putting sheep-sebum on your face, but I wondered if the whole problem boiled down to my skin not producing enough sebum to protect it from bacteria or something, or maybe it was too dry and needed more oil to calm it down...? Either way, it didn't help, it just made my face feel really greasy - but most interestingly, it didn't seem to make anything any worse.

I've tried several other bits and bobs over the years, from yoghurt and lemon home-made face wash, clay and mud face packs, various organic and non-organic cleansers, olive oil soap, normal soap, and muslin and flannel face cloths.

At the end of it all I've come to the conclusion that my skin just has spots. Consequently I should use a gentle product with no "treatments" in it, and get on with finding out what's causing them.

I can recommend the Dr Hauschka toiletries (but not too keen on the normalising face oil), and am currently using dermatologica products for sensitive skin (not oily skin - I have to stress that I don't think salicylic acid, or any other anti-oil and congestion product is the answer, it just upsets your skin).

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