I’ve talked skin before. First here, briefly, and then at length here (read this post for some background on my skin issues). Basically, I never had a blemish worth worrying about until after I graduated from college, and then BAM! My jawline and around my mouth were covered in painful, deep, cystic, hormonal, acne.
I tried it all. EVERYTHING. Each method I tried worked to an extent, but nothing completely cleared my skin. Call me crazy, but I was looking for completely clean, fresh skin–not kind-of clear skin! I did clay face masks weekly (sometimes more frequently). I washed my face with the Oil Cleansing Method. I drank more water, ate more carrots, exercised more. I used a clean towel and pillowcase each day. I spot treated with tea tree oil, I took all kinds of vitamins, spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on treatments…I tried everything. Knowing my acne was hormonal, and not wanting to go on birth control, I tried every single natural alternative that I could find first…
Until one day this past January when I was tired of spending lots of time and lots of money on something that wasn’t changing. That’s when I made a dermatologist appointment and sat on the table and said, “I’ll do anything. Just no birth control.” (The pill can be dangerous long-term, and I don’t need it, so I don’t want it.)
So, I was prescribed Minocycline (an antibiotic) to take twice daily for a few months and Ziana gel to apply once daily. Additionally, I was asked to purchase this facial cleanser to use. About three weeks in, my face was starting to clear up. Three months in, my face was completely clear. Now, nearly 12 months in, my skin has remained clear (even though I’ve been off Minocycline for months!) by just using the recommended face wash and applying a pea-sized amount of Ziana before bed! It’s a miracle!
Here’s my schedule written out, as prescribed by my dermatologist…
In the morning:
- Wash face with AcneFree Oil-Free Acne Cleanser (buy it here) or CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser (buy it here), depending on whether my skin is feeling oily or dry
- Apply CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion, PM (buy it here)–I use PM because AM has sunscreen in it, and I hate the way sunscreen smells! If you want the AM version, buy it here.
- Apply makeup! (See what I use here)
In the evening:
- Wash face with AcneFree Oil-Free Acne Cleanser (buy it here)
- Apply pea-sized amount of Ziana (RX only) all over face
- Apply CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion, PM (buy it here)
Easy enough, right? I follow this schedule exactly every single day.
If you’ve struggled with acne at all, you know how deflating and difficult it can be. It really eats away at your self esteem over time. I am so grateful to have reclaimed my skin!
I’m a firm believer in natural, alternative medicine instead of pills and chemicals. That being said, I truly believe that modern medicine has a place, too, in some cases. In my case, it did. I had tried every natural option and my stubborn, painful, cystic acne wasn’t budging. I was over it–I was ready for a change, so I went to the dermatologist and followed her recommendations.
I’ve gotten many, many comments on this post asking me for help. People who are in the exact same situation that I was in–who have tried everything and don’t know where to turn to next. Honestly, my advice is to go see a dermatologist and see what he or she can do to help you. My treatment plan only involved pills for a few months and is now just face wash and gel each day…I can stand behind that! Especially when my skin is clear.
What’s your clear skin journey looked like? What’s your next step?
That is great! You only need to make sure you’re aware that the tretionin which Ziana contains has teratogenic potential – it causes damage and malformations in unborn babies. I did not found this information on ziana.com. Ziana ofcourse is a topical treatment and the teratogenic effect is much more pronounced when taking oral tretionin (Roacutane) but still would use highly effective contraception if I were to use tretionin containing products. Take care!
Blair Menzel says
Important warning, Simona. Thanks for sharing!
I was prescribed Minocycline Hydrochloride around September and it truly does work! I have barely gotten any breakouts (except the occasional one around the time of my period). I was also prescribed to use Tretinoin .04 % for my scars which are my biggest problem. I saw slight improvement but my scars just did not go away! I was told by my dermatologist to come back after holiday season and we’ll see how it’s going. But Minocycline was definitely a game changer! Love it
Blair Menzel says
So glad to hear that, Anna! Isn’t clear skin the best?? 🙂
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Thanks for sharing this! I, too, have had quite a few inexplicable skin problems over the years, mostly due to a mixture of sensitive, extremely dry skin and random bouts of acne. I’ve never been to a dermatologist, but I did recently find CeraVe myself and I love it so far, especially how gentle it is. Anyway, I noticed you said you don’t use the AM lotion because of the SPF (I hate the smell of SPF, too), but do you use any other kind of sunscreen on your face? I feel like I’m constantly hearing about the “dangers” of not using sunscreen on exposed skin, which makes me feel a little guilty when I don’t apply some to my face in the morning. I’ve yet to find a good face lotion with SPF that doesn’t dry out or sting my face, including the CeraVe AM lotion. What’s a girl to do?
Blair Menzel says
Totally understand your skin struggles! Been there, clearly. As far as sunscreen (and hating the smell/feeling/stinging of it), I try to be careful not to spend a lot of time in the sun without sunscreen on. Daily, however, my makeup does have SPF in it. (I use a light-coverage foundation by Maybelline and powder by Physician’s Formula.) I have extremely fair skin and have never gotten a sunburn on a typical day…probably due to the SPF in my makeup! Hope that helps!
I know this was posted a while ago, but I wanted to comment just in case another is struggling with acne like I was. For nearly 2 years I suffered with horrible breakouts after having my first child. I bought into the “you have acne because of some internal imbalance” so I did everything I could to change my lifestyle…eliminated all possible food triggers, took suppliments, meditated, drank green smoothies, washed my face with honey, etc. Some were good ideas, others were just silly. I became so obsessed with what i was eating (making sure i never touched any possible trigger food) it became almost like i had an eating disorder. Nothing changed. I started to hate my body. I was depressed. I kept using a BHA product since that was what worked before, but my skin kept getting worse.It was horrible. In desperation I decided to go very old school and use 2.5 BP on my face every night. Within 3 weeks my skin was 80% clear! I spent so much time trying to “fix” myself wholistically because I thought the acne was due to something in me that was broken. Sometimes you just need to use medicine, even if you see a lot of information that tells you to go “natural.” While my skin isn’t 100% clear yet, it is on it’s way. I’m no longer ashamed to see myself without make-up. I guess what I am trying to say is that there are solutions out there. Dont always buy into what you read and keep looking for a solution that works for you. Remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Love and hope to everyone out there going through this. Xoxo
Blair Menzel says
This post makes me both excited and breaks my heart a little. I took Solodyn (brand name of the minocycline) for a year and loved it before my insurance wouldn’t pay for it anymore ($700/month!). I tried the minocycline and it made me too dizzy to keep taking it. I went on birth control when I got married and that worked fairly well. Now I’m trying to conceive and have horrible painful massive cystic acne on my chin and around my mouth. I hate looking it in the mirror these days. I read your article about the natural products and plan to implement some of those.. like you I’ve seen mild success with lots of products, including the masks, but nothing that cleared me up completely. Thank you for sharing your journey…. and wish me luck!
Blair Lamb says
I truly wish you the best! Beautiful, clean skin fairy dust is blowing your way! 😉