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Hi Niven

The severity of your acne is very similar to mine. I only have maybe 3 active pimples on my face, but the red marks make it look much worse than it really is. I also have "good" weeks and "bad" weeks. During the good weeks I think, wow, whatever I'm doing right now is really working! But then I am back to the drawing board as soon as I think that. It's so frustruating.

I find it interesting that no one here addressed your antisociability. I found that forcing myself to go out with friends has definetely helped my mental state, if not my acne.

Face the reality. Yes, your friends will notice. But after a while, it'll become just as unapparent as any of the other stuff we see on people's faces. The more you hermit yourself inside, the more depressed you will come. I know it's hard. I go out with friends almost every night, and the hardest part is getting myself to step outside and face them. For the past two months I've sheltered myself until I said, I have to get out of this damn apartment.

I went away to college for three months which is even harder, because the last time my friend here saw me, I was clear! I can totally see them noticing, but at the same time, they still treat me the same.

Your friends will do the same. And if they don't, I seriously recommend finding new people to hang with. They're not worth it.

Right now I am also on a regulated diet. I don't think diet is causal to acne in all people, but it can be in some. If anything, I am eating healthier than I ever have in my life, which is a good thing in the long run. We'll be thanking ourselves later, that's for sure. (I eat no dairy or breads, and only eat chicken and fish, vegetables, fruits and soy products. I also drink a lot of water and decaffeinated green tea).

What I found is my birth control is what caused my cystic acne on my jawline and cheeks. Pardon me if I missed anything but I can't figure out whether or not you're a boy or a girl, but if you're a girl, it might be a hormonal problem. My doctor today just gave me sample packs of Yasmin which is supposed to repair what the other birth control (Alesse) did to my face. I'm deliberating as to whether I should go on it.

I am also going to try topical retenoids. I have sample tubes of Tazorac 0.1% (Tazarotene) Cream and Avita (Tretinoin) 0.025%. I'm going to start the Avita tonight and see how that goes.

I wash with Cetaphil cleanser, twice a day. I take a gram of Vitamin C, 50 milligrams of Chelated Zinc, Vitamin E (forget how much) and Advil when I have inflamed pimples (decreases the redness).

I recommend washing your pillow cases at least once a week, or using plain cotton tee-shirts (that have been washed) if you want to save on water costs. If you use styling products, make sure it has as little contact with your skin as possible. Styling wax, especially.

I'm also around a lot of environments where there's smoke (shows, bars, clubs... around my friends). It's hard because you can't just stay away from it, but try as hard as you can.

Good luck. Maybe we'll find a cure together. I know how you feel, as I am 19 as well. It's supposed to be the prime time of our lives, and I'm sitting here wanting to rip my face apart and cry. But I try really hard not to, and it pays off.





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