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Hello! Please help!

I am 31 and never had acne before - the odd pimple maybe in my teens but that's it - have always had normal skin, no problems. About 18 months ago I had a few stressful things happen and since then started getting bad spots on my temples and around my mouth, and a couple on my cheeks which leave red marks which never heal.

After wasting $$ on products which never worked (didn't try proactive though), I went to a dermatologist who gave me Duac for twice a day, and Differin at night. The first few days these didn't irritate and I eagerly awaited results..

I am now on day 10 and I wish I'd never started. My skin hurts, all day, all over - not just the spotty places I put the creams on. Its made no difference to the spots, but it has changed the rest of my face completely. Under my eyes looks terrible - so aged - and my cheeks are so flaky. But the worst is the pain - it feels like I have terrible sunburn all day. I tried a very gentle moisturiser (neutrogena) but the pain after I apply it is too much. My face is not too red, but it is a different color from my neck.

I think I preferred having spots and a pain-free face, than the same spots and constant burning! The only time it stops is late at night before I have to wash it again (with Clean & Clear gentle sensitive skin wash). Even putting water on it hurts. When I cry or go swimming its hideous!

Is this normal??? I haven't read anywhere it being so bad. I did read on here that Differin and Duac should only be used on oily skin - my skin wasn't oily - is this why I'm having problems?

I'm thinking of trying the Clinique system - the mild face soap, Clarifying Lotion 2, and Dramatically Different gel. I'll continue to use the Differin/Duac in smaller quantities and perhaps less often to see if I still get the burning or not. I just want to use nice products on my face which will soothe it, and feel at 30+ the products on the 'teen' skincare aisles shouldn't be for me! The other side effect from the Duac/Differin is that my 'fine lines' are SO much more noticable - my husband even notices it. Anyone have any comments on Clinique? I'm going to get some "bare minerals" powder from bare escentuals to try and cover the spots up a little too - can anyone comment on that?

I am new to all this acne lingo and would REALLY appreciate any advice you could give. Its getting me down so much, worse than the acne did! The dermatologist said "acne grade 2" but wasn't really helpful - just wrote out the prescription and said to come back in two months.

Thank you in advance! Sorry this is so long!

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