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[SIZE=2][FONT=Garamond][SIZE=3]I have suffered from mild acne for as long as I remember. It had bothered me as much as it does anyone, but at some point I developed a condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which nearly incapacitated me at some point. In my quest to combat acne, I tried a number of things, and the onset of BDD brought incredible urgency to finding a cure. Here's my conclusion. Prescription drugs work, but only for a relatively short period of time. This includes both antibiotics (oral and topical) as well as Differin-type gels and cremes. Oral antiobiotics (as well as topical Clyndamicin) work for about a month, perhaps two if one is lucky. As long as their effect wanes, breakouts inevitably return. I used Differin, as well, and in retrospect, it may not have been worth it. I did have a mild initial breakout -- mostly, whiteheads -- and then, in a matter of several weeks, accompanied by an unprecedented level of oil production on my face, I noticed a reduction in blackheads and some, though not nearly all, whiteheads. Yet this lull was also short-lived, and new blackheads and whiteheads again began arriving in full force.
What I do now is quite simple and seems effective. I use a salicylic acid treatment (to clear out, unclog pores, reduce oil) and a benzoyl peroxide treatment (to deposit an anti-bacterial solution into these now-clear pores). I also apply a mask every night to improve the tone of my face. The result is that I have been consistently clear (knock on wood) for months. Sure, some blackheads occasionally creep up, but they are very small, do no harm and are easy to extract. One other tip: try, try, and try very hard not to touch your face. I know that refraining from doing so altogether is impossible, but try as much as you can. Stay away from this board, too. And, remember, if your anxiety, discomfort, and misery over acne become impossible to bear, if it affects your daily routine, reduces your capacity to work, and you end up spending hours before the mirror, if nothing concerns or interests you, it may be time to see a psychiatrist and take action sooner rather than later.

Finally, here are the products I use.
SA: St. Ives Apricot Medicated Scrub -- this is simply the best scrub, nothing comes close.
BP: Clean & Clear 10% Wash -- I am not married to this one, but it seems to be working. It is harsh and drying at first, but it gets better in a matter of two weeks or so. I have few doubts, however, that a less potent solution would work just as well.
I also use the celebrated Queen Helene's Mint Julep Mask. It is wonderful indeed; while it does not "rinse away blackheads" as it claims, it does wonders in drying up pimples, reducing visibility of spots, and improving the tone of the skin.
Note that all three products add up to less than $10.
I use both SA and BP in the morning and at night. I apply the mask before going to bed and keep it overnight (put something on your pillow to protect it).

I sincerely hope there will be another person who will find this helpful. Remember to be consistent and patient -- don't switch from product to another after a few days. Use the same routine religiously and it should help. It is SA *and* BP that work; neither of them alone is sufficient.

Good luck to all.[/SIZE]
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