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If your mom didn't have acne then she probably just doesn't understand what you're going through. It doesn't have to be really bad to cause you emotional pain because of it. Especially at your age because the people around you at school can be real jerks about it. Try talking to your mom again. And I know it can difficult to discuss because it's easy to be embarrassed talking about your acne, but if you can get your mom to understand, you'd really be better off seeing a derm as it could save you from getting scars which you could have the rest of your life.

But if she simply won't let you go to a derm, don't worry too much, you're among friends here and we'll help you as much as we can. Okay?

First, a few questions for you so we can better know what suggestions to offer. Are you a girl? Do you mainly get whiteheads, pimples that are all red, or cysts under the skin that don't go away for ages? Do you wear make-up? Do you touch your face often?

Okay, now on to the part you're waiting for - advice! Ditch the pads, toothpaste, and pore strips! Trust me, you're only hurting yourself with those. The pads might make things worse because you're scrubbing your skin too much or they can be drying you out too much. Toothpaste can dry up a pimple, but today most toothpaste is full of gunk for whitening and such, and you really don't want that on your skin, so be careful. And pore strips can irritate your skin. I've tried them, they're crap and don't get the blackheads out at all. So let's get you a new system, alright?

First we'll see if the redness and forehead pimples are made worse by your shampoo. Try switching to Head and Shoulders. For a lot of people, it actually helps with acne.

Now for some actual treatment. It seems like you've been torturing your skin, so let's try being gentle. You can actually get good results just by the cleansers you use. I suggest the following:

Oil of Olay for sensitive skin - for make-up removal or when you want to wash without the harshness of acne cleansers (good for washing around your eyes)

Clean & Clear Blackhead Clearing Scrub (SA treatment) - wonderful stuff for removing flakey skin and treating clogged pores

Clean & Clean Continuous Control (BP treatment) - prevents future breakouts

Now here's how you use them. Wash your face only twice a day, morning and night. Start with the Olay as your main cleanser since it won't dry you out, while the others might if you rush them. Use the blackhead clearing scrub either in the mornings or at night, not both, and start with only using it every other day until you get used to it. And don't actually scrub! Be very gentle, avoid around your eyes. Just wet your face (or have it already wet if you just used the Olay for make-up removal), put a little of the scrub in your hand with some water and rub your hands together a bit, then gently wash your face for about 30 seconds, then rinse thoroughly. Wetting your face and rubbing your cleansers in your palm first with a some water is the best way to wash with most cleansers. Give this a week, then you can move to using the scrub once every day if you have no dryness or redness.

Next, we add the Continuous Control. This is an important step since the combination of SA and BP treatments does wonders compared to using either alone. Wash with this at night (don't use the SA first). Just use a little, and don't leave it on your skin long at all. Just gently rub it on, then rinse it right off. Some people can't tollerate BP, so you should start off slow. You might even want to wash with the Olay after to make sure you don't leave any on your skin. Make sure your skin doesn't get red or itchy in a few hours. If it doesn't, you should be fine. Now for the next week, you'll use SA scrub one day, and BP Continuous Control wash the next. Alternate them. If you have no problems, start leaving the BP wash on your face for about 20 seconds before rinsing, and don't use Olay afterward.

If you have no trouble with redness or peeling, you can work your way up to using the SA scrub every morning and the BP cleanser every night. If you don't use make-up, you won't need the Olay anymore. But never use SA or BP products around your eyes or on your lips! So keep the Olay for taking off make-up, or for if you just have a dry skin day and need to skip the treated cleansers for a day or two.

This change from whatever you've been using could make you break out a tiny bit more during the first couple weeks as your skin adjusts. Stick with it for at least a month unless your skin gets much worse and keeps breaking out, but that shouldn't happen. You'll likely just get a few more whiteheads for a week or so, or you could simply start clearing up with no problems at all.

If you need more, get some BP cream (no stronger than 5%). Use it only at night and only a tiny bit on your pimples. After your skin is used to it, you can apply small amounts to your entire face a couple times a day. But I'd stick with only at night to avoid redness or itching from over doing it. You might also want to get a good moisturizer. I'd suggest Cetaphill for sensitive skin. Or get something with a sunscreen in it, because you should ALWAYS protect your skin from the sun, and this is critical when using acne products. You might try Olay or Neutrogena. If you have questions or concerns about certain products, ask us here at the board.

This is about the best you can do without a derm and without us knowing exactly what your skin problems are. I know I've talked your head off, so here's the rundown again in simple form:

wash face with SA scrub, pat dry gently
put on sun protection lotion
make-up if you use it (ask if you need make-up help)

use Olay for make-up removal
wash face with BP cleanser
use a BP spot treatment if needed
lotion if needed

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