"How I Cured My Cystic Acne"
What do you do when you've been struggling with cystic acne for years? You find a way to make it go away. Read on to see how one reader finally figured out a cure
Even though I've been dealing with cystic acne for years, I still cringe at the sight of my skin when I look in the mirror. Every morning, I force myself to wash my face and get dressed, even though I feel like crawling back into bed and hiding under the covers.
And yes, I've tried everything to get rid of it. Oral medication. Proactiv. Even Acutane, the strongest form of acne treatment available, and one that has very risky side effects. Each time I try a new treatment I'm filled with hope. And each time that treatment doesn't work, I'm crushed.
Skip ahead to see how Claire finally cured her cystic acne.
The only thing that's sort of worked is Spironolactone, an anti-androgen that helps regulate hormones, in conjunction with birth control pills. But popping two pills a day was making me feel like a geriatric, so I stopped taking them and started a new, way simpler regimen: I wash my face with a salicylic acid cleanser -- and that's it. And the acne is back in full force.
A few weeks ago I decided it was time for a last-ditch effort. Why now? I just got into a new relationship. My boyfriend, Ben, tells me he loves me no matter what my skin looks like. But I'll admit, sometimes I doubt that. And I know I won't really feel good about myself until my acne is gone. So I make an appointment with Ava Shamban, MD, owner of the Laser Institute-Dermatology in Santa Monica, Calif. Shamban is the celebrity dermatologist on "Extreme Makeover," and the author of "Heal Your Skin." If she can't help me, I'm afraid I'm un-helpable. But here comes that hope again.
By Claire Hapke, as told to Jane Chung
SEE NEXT PAGE: My first appointment: "Claire, you're lazy."