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First, I want to say that in the end, after the benzoyl crŤmes, retinoids, and numerous antibiotics, it was Accutane that finally cured my somewhat severe acne. I'm not saying Accutane is for you and I'm not saying it will cure you. I just want to share my experience since I know many people are concerned about trying due to the various side-effects and bad experiences. I read these boards for weeks trying to figure out if i wanted to take it or not. It turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I admit that the chap lips were terrible, I even got chaffing in the inside of my nose to the point where it would bleed (you can use saline spray for this I learned towards the end of my treatment and it helped). My skin was pretty dry and for the first 3 weeks my acne was pretty bad, but after that first month my acne cleared up and I didnít have a SINGLE zit throughout the rest of the 6 month treatment (as opposed to 3 - 5 new pimples a day). It's been almost a year and my face is completely scar free, even though I still get occasional pimples, they are different that before, they go away quick and don't leave marks.

So there's a good Accutane story for those of you deciding.

However. I don't give Accutane all the credit for my clear skin. Around the time I started accutane I did a lot to try to stop my acne. So here's my bits of advice that helped me:

First for all you computer geeks (I am one myself and am assuming many other people reading this message board are):

WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU TOUCH THE KEYBOARD

I'm not kidding, especially if you play a lot of games or chat on AIM or sitting on your comp eating Lays or Cheez-its, a lot of your keys build up an incredible amount of dirt and oil on them. You can see it if you shine a flash light and look at it from an angle. I'd even recommend cleaning your keyboard and mouse with rubbing alcohol. Please trust me on this one, it helps ALOT. When using the computer and touching those dirty keys then touching your face you're just asking for it.

Which leads me to my second piece of advice that everyone has heard before but I'll say it anyway:

Don't touch your face.

It is extremely hard I know, but if you have enough self-discipline to tell yourself to STOP every time your inspecting a pimple or feeling to see if its gone down at all or whatever. It's still there, just deal. This is much harder said than done. Just try for 2 weeks and you'll notice a big difference in the amount and severity of acne and that should be enough to convince you to keep at it. If you REALLY need to touch a zit for whatever reason put a piece of tissue on your hand, it sounds stupid and meticulous, but its better than touching it with dirty fingers. Eventually you won't need to tell yourself to stop anymore, it's just automatic.

About food. My personal opinion is that food doesn't matter. My mother swears by it. I do think that greasy foods WILL aggravate your acne just because your greasy fingers get on your face. I still eat junk food, even cheez-its, I just don't touch my face, and I think it's all right.

Drinks are different. I found (by experimenting on myself I swear to god) that sports drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde MAKE me break out. I later heard that this is from iodine, which I cannot confirm, but it is reasonable because it also explains MULTIVITAMINS, which cause me to break out much the same as Gatorade. I don't recommend multivitamins at all, whether itís the iodine or whatever they caused me breakouts.

DRUGS AND ALCOHOL:
I don't think alcohol does anything. Even after a night or 2 at a buddies without showering and sleeping on the floor my acne always SEEMED better, but Iím not totally sure.

I can only comment on drugs I've done so...

Marijuana: I don't think there is a direct connection between the chemicals in pot and acne. Although, pot works in the same way as your keyboard. Touching dirty pipes that people are passing around with their oily hands then touching your face (and it's easy to forget to tell yourself no when your high). Hitting bongs should be totally avoided, or cup your hands around the top and let someone else light it. You can actually see stoners that use bongs a lot have a RING OF ACNE around their mouth. The tops of bongs are DIRTY.

Cocaine: You should stay away from this anyway, but yes it does cause acne for sure, especially after long term use...

Vicodin aka opiates: THESE ARE THE WORST. If you are worried about your acne stay away. They will cause break-outs for sure. Even my friends without acne say it gives them zits.

Last thing I'll touch on in this post is, I can't think of a proper word but "grooming habits" will work. Quit taking 2 SHOWERS a day. I asked my dermatologist about this and she said I was right, hot showers dry out your skin and cause people to create more oils, especially people who are too oily in the first place. Whether this is the case or not, too much showering doesn't help at all. Stop using normal bar soap. There are many different types of oil free face wash, some that are anti-bacterial as well which may help for some people. Don't tear your face to shreds. Rubbing your face with lufa might help, but scrubbing the Sh** out of it will not help. If you want to test get some type of shower scrubbing device and scrub a single zit with it like you normally do in the shower. I guarantee it will be red and inflamed and much worse than if you just ignored it. Wash your hands consistently. This is good for people who can't help but touch their faces for obvious reasons.

All this might sound too meticulous, but if you want to help get rid of your acne you should at least give it a try. It might help a lot for some and not at all for others, but its worth a shot. You do have acne, which means your skin / hormones aren't like people without acne. It's the **** you've been shoveled and you need to treat your skin with extra care.

REMEMBER THIS: Above all conquering your acne is about SELF-DISCIPLINE.

I'll make another post later with all the acne medications and treatments I've tried (which is a good deal). If you have any questions or want to prove me wrong about something go ahead and feel free to post.

GL





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