Help! Fed up with adult acne

So I no longer have the waistline, energy, or hair (among other things I remember fondly) I had when I was 17. Why the %^$#^do I still have the skin?

I’m a 40 yr old guy, fercryingoutloud, I’m supposed to have a midlife crisis, not worry if a zit will break out before the prom. My acne isn’t catastrophic, but it’s definitely noticeable.

I want to go all Apocalypse Now-gunships-at-dawn-with-Wagner on this face of mine. Please help me select my weapon platforms. So far I’ve been using the Johnson & Johnson line of products, and Tersaseptic shampoo & face wash. They’re OK for slowly stopping an outbreak after the fact, but skip one nigh, and you’re behind the 8-ball again.

It seems all the other products I see marketed are being sold as/by cosmetics companies, which are, IMHO, famous for their pseudo-science quackery (slimming cream, anyone?)

I don’t care about wrinkles. I certainly don’t want to moisturize. I don’t want something gentle, I want to nuke this from orbit. So what really works? What has some good clinical data behind it? What can make this go away and, especially, stay away?

Go see a dermatologist. There’s a whole range of drugs that do wonders, from antibiotics all the way up to Accutane , which is the big gun in this case. But the good stuff is all prescription-only so you’ll need to see a doctor first.

This is worth a shot, because it has worked for me and others I’ve spoken to, although it sounds crazy.

Stop washing your face. Don’t apply any medicated treatments to it. Leave it alone, just rinse it off with warm water morning and evening.

This, of course, may not work for you, but I’ve noticed if I don’t wash it with harsh cleansers, don’t apply tons of zit zappers, and keep my hands off of it, my skin clears up.

And good luck. Acne’s a bitch.

Tell me about it. At one point I was ready to get busy with the pliers and sandpaper.

I think it was around then that I decided if I broke out when I was doing all the “right” things, I ought to try the “wrong” things. For instance, using moisturizing lotion on a pimple instead of trying to dry it out with benzoyl peroxide. I have had some success with this. (Another thing I’ve noticed is that nothing works all the time).

**RedRoses’ ** suggestion has merit too. If nothing else, you might try diluting the products you use. It sounds crazy but I think it’s helped me.

If you get those painful, hard lumps deep under the skin, try a cold pack. If you catch the bastards early, you can vanquish 'em just like that. If you don’t catch it fast enough, you can at least reduce the redness and swelling to the point where people don’t ask if you’re growing an extra nose.

I also see a dermatologist and he’s helped a lot, but I still have to stay vigilant.

One more: [del]If[/del] When you go to squeeze something, wrap your fingertips in tissue. You get better traction and it keeps the mess down so you can really see what you’re doing. Yeah, the mess is fascinating in its own right, but when you’re right in the middle of an operation you need the visibility more. Try it.

I heartily recommend avoiding Accutane. I have been on it twice and will never do it again, never never. I feel your pain. It is nasty stuff.

But some antibiotics are very helpful.

As a girl, I know there are big differences in our situations – hormones and stuff. But a doctor will help with that. Ask about a Z-Pack (Zithromycin).

This may already be what you are using, but I recently switched to Purpose soap, with good success. I still get the occasional big ugly one, but I spot treat those as they show their ugly little faces. Also, I know this isn’t dermatologist recommended, but sunshine does a great job drying out pimples. My acne always got better when I was spending more time in the sun, regardless of what I was doing.

Apply hydrogen peroxide to your face after washing it, morning and evening. This has helped me, and has even helped my teenage son significantly. It is cheap, easy and effective.

I could have written the OP…well, except for the bit about the hair, for which I am grateful to my father*. I don’t think it will ever go away completely, but I keep it in check with products whose active ingredients are salicylic acid - face wash , shave cream, and moisturizer (dry is bad). When I get a pimple (and it is usually a Mount Kilamanjaro-sized job), I’ll break out the benzoyl peroxide until the red is gone.

*I know it is usually the mother’s side of the family where one looks for hereditary hair loss patterns, but if that was true for me, I’d be bald. Instead, it is all there, just like dear old dad, who kept most of his until he was approaching 60.

Accutane. Accutane, Accutane, Accutane.

You have to put yourself under the care of a dermatologist, but it WORKS, like nothing else.

And, fortunately for you, you’re male so you don’t have to worry about the risk of birth defects.

How does a z-pack work? I know I took it once for something unrelated, and my skin looked gorgeous, but do they keep you on it indefinitely?

I’ll second the “stop washing” suggestion. I wash my face with simple warm water in the shower and avoid soaps. I only soap my face if it’s greasy or oily from working on the car or something.

I suspect it has something do do with the oily/dry cycle.

My ex used the ProActive product advertised on TV. It really worked for her.

You’re gonna get as many different ideas as there are replies to the thread, I’m afraid… I tried OTC acne products, prescription products, and some of the “unconventional” ideas like moisturizing creams and cold cream. No dice. I still had cystic acne all over my chin.

ProActiv. That’s what cured it. I only use it once a day, so it isn’t even very expensive. It’s what worked for me.

I’ve been there and I’m still there (I’m 32). As for prescriptions, I did Accutane, which worked but has really bad side effects (dry, cracking, painful skin and lips). Retin A cream and gel worked well, although you have to go through a dry, peeling, redness period. Antibiotics can help. Also there’s a medication called Differin which I haven’t tried but is similar to Retin A, I think.

Definitely go see your dermatologist if OTC benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid products are not working for you.

Also it is very important to use a mild face wash and don’t scrub your face. I recommend Eucerin gentle hydrating cleanser.

Some people have recommended ProActiv. All ProActiv is is 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, which is the same as all the other benzoyl peroxide products you can get at any drugstore (for much cheaper). Just look for 2.5% - not 10% like a lot of them have. That can be too harsh.

The thing that worked for me was going on a diet.

I have no explaination as to why, but changing my eating habits via a weight reduction diet seemed to have permanently cured my tendency to acne (which was more of an occasional thing).

At the age of 50 I finally decided to nuke my acne from orbit too. I went to a dermatologist, who prescribed a four-month course of Accutane. It worked like a charm, and 5 years later my skin looks WAY better than it did when I was 20. Or, hell, 15. I wish I’d done it years ago.

I do understand that Accutane has some serious side effects, but for me dry skin is a benefit. I love not having oily skin (well, not AS oily, anyway).

No… it isn’t just benzoyl peroxide. There is also a very abrasive cleanser, and an astringent with salicylic acid. I think that the gritty cleanser does a lot to open your skin up to the salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. I used both ingredients before, in other preparations, and got no results.

I’ve had some luck with using various scrubs, with or without salicylic acid. I had to use it every day, though.

As a teen in theatre a lot, my skin got really fed up with the dry-oily cycle and all the theatre make-up mess. I would break-out in a spectacular way.

Strangely, shea butter helped a TON. On the face, not in the pie-hole.