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I am assuming that most of the people who post today were not on this board six years ago but I thought I would share my story. I suffered from medium to severe acne (my whole face would be covered in acne) starting at age 15 and I am still fighting the battle today at age 25. I came back to healthboards because I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I read through some of my old acne related posts and thought it would be nice to post a follow-up to a thread I started here in 2004!

Here is a link to the old thread

Basically, I was 19 years old and in college when I started that thread. I would have real nasty breakouts every two weeks or so and suffice it to say I had problems dealing with the social consequences of having huge pimples on your face. I spent a year posting and reading through these message boards back then, and I really learned a lot. Not only about zits and pimples and cysts, but also about the psychological toll acnes takes on every one of its sufferers. Here is a brief run down of what I hold to be the keys to improving your acne, and also how I managed to live with acne.

1. Educate yourself first. Before you try anything, learn about how acne really works and all of the different things that can cause it. While I think that people can be genetically susceptible to developing skin problems, I learned that my breakouts were caused by actions that I took.

2. Everybody's skin, and everybody's acne problems are different. Just because product X worked for person A, doesnt mean it will work for person B.

3. Use all natural products on your skin. I found out the hard way that using chemicals can make your skin look better for a short time but in the long run, you have to do what is best for the health of your skin. Pamper your skin, don't wage war on it. After years of using three different kinds of "proactiv like" three step skin care solutions, I went from having oily skin and small zits to having dry burnt out skin with large much more painful cysts, etc. It was a long road back to feeling like I have normal skin again.

4. You will not have acne forever. A lot of people get acne, you are not alone. Treat your skin and body as best you can and realize that acne is not 100% preventable. It is part of life. Do not do anything crazy to yourself or your skin just because you've got a new zit.

5. Treat your body well and your body will do a better job fighting the acne from within. Use common sense here. You do not need to go on a crazy "acne diet" just focus on eliminating or limiting things that you know are not good for you. Not drinking alcohol excessively (for many reasons acne related), and learning to avoid sugar rushes, were 2 big things for me. I take vitamins, drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet, and do my best to get a good nights sleep.

6. Be active on these boards! Talking to people really helps!

My acne is still not completely gone. I am 25 years old and still get occasional white heads on my chin and forehead, but I now know why I get them and how to best treat them, so it does not bother me. I am a successful entrepreneur and I am engaged to a beautiful girl who I met when my acne was at its worst. Life goes on! One thing you will learn as you get older is that everybody has their problems. I had pretty bad acne, had a horrible case of Mono (was hospitalized twice), have had two surgeries, and now have fibromyalgia, but I still consider myself lucky that it is not something worse. Acne is very apparent to everyone (its on yo face!) but that doesn't mean you are automatically worse off than somebody who has clear skin.

To guys: learn to just be yourself and be comfortable with who you are. Do your best to treat your problems and nobody can judge you for them. Don't let acne get in the way of your dreams or goals. Also, do not blame acne for all of your problems. It is easy to think that a girl doesn't like you because you have acne, but in reality, acne is just a very very small part of who you are. As you get older your acne will become easier to treat and you will realize how little it will eventually bother you. Letting acne control your life is just plain immature!

Like I said earlier, I am on healthboards now for other health concerns, but I will do my best to respond to questions in this thread. Thank you to everyone who has helped me in the past by posting questions, concerns, information, and suggestions.

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