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Hi all. I have been a long time lurker of this board, but have decided to post a few questions of mine, and hope to vent a little.

So, another Saturday night here, and once again, I find myself alone, in my room, afraid to go out in public, even to a friends place. *sigh*

Before I begin, I should perhapes describe myself a little, and my typical face regimen. I am 18 years old (19 in January), work in the retail business, am not going to school this year (taking a year off), and have what I would describe as light to moderate acne. I live a fairly stress-free life, in regards to my job, family, friends, etc. I find I get more stressed out over my face then anything else in life. I have 6 or 7 of those red circular bumps scattered about my face, a couple of white heads, and a whole bunch of red marks from past acne.

I had originally set a goal for myself to try and achieve, but it does not seem like it is going to be reached. A few weeks ago, I swore to myself that I would be acne free by Christmas. Sure, I'd still have red marks from past acne, but at least all my existing acne would be gone. Hopefully for good. But right now, I seem to be in the middle of a new breakout.

I seem to have reaccuring acne, if there is such a thing. I will go through two different periods. The first period is that I will have no problems with my skin. I get no new pimples, and my current ones fade away, leaving me with red marks on my face. The second period, is the acne period. I will get new white heads, and those red bumps on my face every day, no matter what I do. This is really confusing for me, as I do the same regimen every day, and am baffaled as to why some weeks I get acne, and some I don't.

My typical regimen or routine is as follows: (If I work 9 - 5, if I don't work 9 - 5, times vary)

Morning (7:30ish): Take a shower. Wash face with two different products. First, I rinse face with warm water, making sure I don't touch my face with my hands, and just let the water do its thing. I then apply Neutrogena Scrub Exfoliant. I massage that into my face, then rinse, this time with the assisstance of my hands. After that, I apply Neutrogena Cream Cleanser, and repeat the same process as above.

After my shower, I will pop two pills. I just started this two weeks ago, but I take a Zinc Pill, and an Omega 3-6-9 pill. The Omega pill contains a lot of handy substances; 400 mg of Flaxseed Oil, 400 mg of Borage Oil, and 400 mg of Fish oil.

For breakfast I will have random pieces of fruit, and a glass of that metamucil (sp?) to make sure I am getting enough fiber.

I should also mention that I do not eat any dairy products, as I feel that I have a food allergy towards them. I really miss my morning bowl of cereal!!

Afternoon (12:30ish): Since I work in a mall, eating a healthy lunch is a hard thing to do. I used to eat a grilled chicken sub every day, but then I read that bread in general, weather it's white, brown, wholewheat can lead to acne. So I stopped that. I then went to Safeway's and bought a few bagels every day, and once again stopped that. I now have no idea what to eat for lunch, so I usually just buy a jar of apple juice, or some other fruit beverage which isn't full of sugar. (If anyone has any idea's on what I could eat for lunch that'd be fantastic )

Evening (5:00ish): Once I get home, I once again wash my face. I use the same routine that I do in the morning, only instead of showering, I wash my face in the bathroom sink. I then take another Omega 3-6-9 pill, and eat supper.

My supper's generally consist of some sort of carbohydrate/meat dish. I only eat chicken, and I will not eat anything that has butter on it, or anything that is fried. So, I usually end up eating something like soup, pasta, rice, etc.

Later in the evening, usually at random times, around 9 P.M., I will take another shower and wash my face again, just like I did in the morning. I also try to make an exrta effort not to get any shampoo on my face. I also take my last Omega 3-6-9 pill for the day.

I am usually in bed around 11 - midnight.

I have noticed that a lot of the time, my acne is "symmetrical". If I get a pimple on the bottom left side of my chin, I will usually get another one on the bottom right side of my chin, almost in the same spot.

Most of my acne is located along my jawline and forhead. I have less severe acne on my cheeks and on the sides of my eyes. I tend to get white heads on my chin, sides of my nose, never the bridge, and in the middle of my forhead, between the eyebrows.

I take extra care to drink as much water as possible during the day. I have a 1.5 liter bottle of water that I go through several times a day.

Few other random thing's that may be of importance:

I use styling wax or gel in my hair. I have that messy, spikey look. For the most part, my hair never falls onto my forehead, unless it is not spiked up. Does clean hair on the face or forhead affect acne at all? You look at some of those girls with their long hair falling down all over their face and wonder, "I wonder if that ever causes her acne?" Even though they have beautiful skin.

I am often in front of a computer screen for several hours a day. I recently read somewhere that this may have an affect on one's acne. Anyone know anything about this?

I have had a dog for the last 8 years. But I really don't think that poor ol' Shaggy can be a contributing factor. Just thought I'd mention it.

It is winter time here right now.

Few other questions that someone might know.

How often should one clean or change their pillow cases, or sheets? What about towels?

Do foods like bread, rice, etc. actually cause acne? Or is that all a big myth.

Are there any other pills or supplements that are supposed to help acne? I mean besides something like accutane. I don't think I have severe enough acne to get a prescription for that.

Anyways, if anyone can respond with any adivce, guidance, answers, etc. I would certainly be most, most grateful.

Back to watching t.v. I guess *sigh*
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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