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Effective acne treatments?

Posted by pecanpie (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 2, 06 at 15:37

We've done antibiotics with only limited effectiveness for DS and DD2. Given the resistance developing with these drugs, I'm not wild about their being given for such iffy results, but they're the first in the dermatologist's arsenal because 'insurance covers them'.

I had to practically cross-examine the Dr. to find out what her first recommendation would be for moderate to severe/cystic acne treament if insurance were not a factor. Levulonic acid treatments were suggested, at $300-$500 a pop. Three to 4 'pops' are recommended, which should give about a 4 month respite from the acne. This covers face only, and both kids have chest and 'bacne' which must be addressed as well.

So... worst case scenario $4K will get a kid clear skin for 4 months. AAARRRRGH! DivaD1 and I both took Accutane, with great long term results, but the younger kids are still growing, and the drug can prematurely close growth plates (and in this family, we need all the vertical advantage we can get!) so it's not an option yet, but DD2 is miserable NOW.

Any suggestions before I hold up a liquor store to pay for this treatment?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Effective acne treatments?

pecanpie -- Oddly enough, there's a thread on the IKEA Fansite right now addressing cystic acne (and other facial and makeup woes). I don't know enough about it personally to speak with any authority, but I'll post the link to the thread below. Good luck!

Susan

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread with info on OTC treatments for cystic acne


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

I don't know about contemporary treatments, but I was in my early 20s when I took Acutane for moderate to severe cystic acne and it was a wonder drug! Now in my forties I sometimes have to do a double take to recall just how I suffered with acne from about age 12 to 22. The acne never returned and the pitting and scars I had expected to have all resolved themselves. In fact, oily skin has now turned into an advantage--fewer wrinkles!


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Susan, 'oddly enough' is right! Wouldn't have expected a discussion of beauty products (I LOVED IT!) on a cabinet thread... Proactive seems to be well-received, but both kids have tried it, and with the same odd result- some pretty good clearing on the face, but large, painful and alarmingly visible cysts developed along the hairline, and remained a real problem until the kids said 'forget this'.

Marita, I took it in my late 30s. I looked like hell- a dried-up prune of a creature- until I was off it and my skin plumped back out. Clear skin is the BEST makeup (Susan, you lucky dog!) and I know the emotional pain my kids are going through.

Our insurance company didn't bat an eye about the accutane, but refused to cover Retin-A in my 30s until I sent them closup pictures of ME (needing acne help!), my mother (60s and no wrinkles because of really oily skin) and my dad (70s and absolutely gorgeous skin, but had cystic acne on his back until his 40s- so their kids were totally screwed in the acne department...)

I remember a lot of kids suffering with acne in middle school... but nowadays most of these kids have beautiful smooth skin. I think everyone in DD2's class is on antibiotics...


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I know over here, I keep a tube of Cortizone 10 handy for whenever my psoraisis flares up, and when my son was in high school, he had real bad problems with acne, and he seemed to get good results with it.


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Off to CVS for cortisone cream- thanks, Bill!


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I'm 36 and still deal with acne. I know my kids (ds, 10 and dd, 5) will eventually be screwed.

A word about antibiotics. I took tetracycline for a couple of years as a teen, and stopped as the staining risks scared me. Then, as an adult, some doctor told me incorrectly that minocycline didn't have the same staining effects as tetracycline. I took it for TEN years. About 2 years ago after I noticed my teeth were all yellow and I was starting to develop dark spots on my face, I searched on the internet and found that minocycline is just as bad as tetracycline. And you know what? Neither drug really helped at all. I stopped taking minocycline immediately and hope to get laser treatment to take care of the dark spots on my face and get a specialized teeth bleaching treatment (regular teeth bleaching doesn't work for antiobiotic-stained teeth - tried it) sometime in the future. Moral of the story - I won't let my kids take antibiotics for acne. Even if it does work, you're solving one problem but creating another.

I tried Accutane for about 4 days many years ago but stopped taking it as the pictures of alien babies in the warning paperwork just freaked me out too much.

Now, I use Proactiv pretty much exclusively. I really like it and I think it's a good solution for those of us that are older with acne. It hasn't cured it or completely cleared me, but I definitely notice a huge difference. I also use their moisturizer/sunscreen combo, the skin lightening cream on those dark spots, their oil-blotting papers, and the mask. They have a lot of products, not just the set you see on TV. I don't get it delivered automatically - I either buy it on QVC.com (they always have specials) or at the Proactiv kiosk in my local mall.


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RE: too many side effects!

Good grief, snookums, I had no idea that antibiotics could stain an adult's teeth! OMG! Thanks for sharing that.

I managed Accutane for only 2 months before my liver enzymes wacked out, but it helped.

The flipper babies scared me, too- and my DH. We had to sign a form promising we'd use two methods of birth control. All well and good, but we were so paranoid about our fertility (we have a small master bathroom and every time we were both in it at the same time I'd get pregnant) we abstained.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Tea tree oil, applied on a dampened cotton ball, helps a *lot*. It clears things up fast for me. I wish I'd known to try it about 30 years ago...


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But Tea Tree oil will not work for severe acne. My nephew went that route and many other 'natural' routes before taking Accutane. His was really severe and left scars. Not sure what younger kids could use though.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

I'm 33 and have tried it all too...between antibiotics, extra strength vitamins, peels, every possible over the counter treatment, I even got on the pill to help control it (my skin used to get worse at certain times of the month). I've been dealing since the 6th grade, and nothing has gotten rid of it. I use ProActiv now as well, with limited results...it helped more than anything else, but didn't get rid of it. I stopped short of Accutane - just didn't want to chance it.

I'm at the stage now where I really don't want to go the dermatologist ever again - just seems like another thing to get my hopes up and then let down!


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

What about diet?


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Pecan,
You didn't say how long ProActiv was used, but I do know that sometimes the condition will get worse before it gets better, and that it has to be "toughed out" to get to the end. There are also heavier strength products that the kiosks don't usually sell, but can be ordered through the company itself. There's a great product that comes in a little tube -- Advanced Blemish Treatment -- that works really great for stubborn areas. DS was using the facial products with really great results, but was starting to get cyst-like acne on his shoulders and chest -- that not only looked bad, but was painful -- I checked with Proactiv if they had anything to work on that, since I really didn't want to go the antibiotic path, or other prescribed med path -- There are two products -- Deep Cleansing Wash and Clear Zone Body Lotion -- that have been nothing short of a miracle !!! and again, it was "stick to it" because it did get worse first before it got better, but zero problems now.

I really do swear by Proactiv -- (along with DS) --
His skin now is gorgeous ( guess I shouldn't use that term with a guy's skin !! ) When he had his surgery and was in the recovery room, he remembers one of the nurses saying -"Your skin !! what do you do to it?" He was kind of foggy, but remembers her commenting on how beautiful his skin was !!! So, all my yammering about Proactiv paid off !!

If you call the Proactiv company itself, they have really helpful people on the line -- AND . . . a real person actually answers the phone and you don't have to go through mine fields to get a real body !!!!!

Good luck with it all !!!!!!


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Well, the dermatologists maintain that diet has little to do with acne (we all know about the '1-hour class on nutrition' in medical school- haha), only recommending staying away from shellfish and maybe some other random items.

Neither kid consumes soft drinks or much junk food. Sleep or lack thereof doesn't make a difference, nor in DD2's case, time of the month. I would appreciate diet suggestions --I'm willing to modify DD2's diet and make suggestions to DS (the dorm has a great spread of healthy options)


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Diet had nothing to do with nephew's severe acne. He was a vegetarian at one point, quit consuming chocolates, pop and all junk food.

The dermatologist also said it was not food related, but perhaps hormonal.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Pecan:

I asked about diet because when I was a teen we were told to avoid sugar, fried foods and sodas in order to curb break-outs, but my own DD#1 tells me that diet has nothing to do with it. Her skin is beautiful, but her nose has become a bit of a battle ground lately, as is my DS#1's, but I guess the skin on noses just changes from the smooth baby skin to skin with larger pores? Or is that the result of not keeping that skin clean enough? When I was a teen I went to a dermatologist only once: he took a metal instrument that had a small looped tip and attempted to break each pimple open and drain it! Ugh! So painful and embarrassing. I never, ever went back. The thought of anyone doing that to my child makes me sick.


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Don't know of any dermatologists who do 'extractions' now. My experience with the dermo as an adolescent was fairly simple- e-mycin (big horse pills) and sunlamp treatments. I was told to buy a sunlamp and use it for 20 minutes a day- 10 front, 10 back. And I did that for years. Heaven knows what kind of sun damage will show up- I'm surprised it's not more, but I did a series of Photofacials in my early 40s and credit my relative lack of 'spots' (so far) to the procedure.

But if my nose falls off in 20 years, who would be surprised, after UV exposure like that??


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Accutane was the only thing that worked for my 15-year-old son. He'd tried various antibiotics for two years to no avail. His diet was fine, he was scrupulous about washing his face (our dermatologist said people with acne generally are), took the antibiotics religiosly -- and his face & chest still looked like he was breaking out with measles. Accutane was a last resort. He went in for periodic blood tests for liver damage, but no problems there, thank God. He didn't have any mood swings either. The only problem was a constant need for lip balm, as he was so dry I thought he'd flake away. Afterwards, he had occasional spots for several years, but nothing out of the ordinary. He's in college now, and his skin looks good. You'd never know he had a problem with acne.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

DS also took accutane at 16; the dermatologist upped the dose after 6 weeks and he had 24 hours of excruciating joint pain so the dose was taken down;
I kept a humidifier in his room for the whole time. I struggled with this issue since there are so many side effects possible with accutane.

My brother had taken it with excellent results so I felt confident going into it but still.
DS's acne had been progressing rapidly and his back was covered.
He's had clear skin ever since, my brother also.
We're talking cystic acne here, really bad.

I'm surprised at the good results with proactive; quite interesting for a topical treatment.
Does it work on non acne skin as a routine cleansing routine? Is it sold in stores? I'm in Canada and have not heard of it.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Oldest DD has been on low dose oral contraceptives since she was 17.

She started the antibiotic route when she was 14 and was on different antibiotcs including sulfa (which worked the best for her) for 3 yrs when my brother (the Dr.) threw a fit about the possible long term effects of sulfa use.

She is 25 now and the only time she has an outbreak is when she goes off of the pill. You would think she would have outgrown this carp by now.

One of these days she is going to want to get married and have babies. Not sure what she will do then.

DD never took the accutane. She never had the cystic type of acne, but her acne was bad enough to leave a few scars.

Acne is such a pain and so hard on their self-esteem when they are adolescents. In the first few months of my dd getting acne, she went from a beautiful, confident, can-do girl, to an embarrased reclusive girl who kept her head down all of the time.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

I felt as if I had the flu the entire time I was on the Accutane. Draggy, achy, joint pain. DivaD1 never had these side effects- at least it didn't slow her down any. We were on it at the same time- isn't that a kick in the fanny?!

Her acne was so severe and of such sudden onset at age 12 that I took her to the pediatrician thinking it was staph.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Mitchdesj,
Proactiv has a website that tells about some of the products, but I just checked their site briefly and it appears that the many products they sell aren't all mentioned. I've never seen the products in stores other than kiosks in malls. The company is also great to work with by phone. The phone people are great in answering any questions, and will customize your order for you. You don't necessarily have to get a standard 3, 4, or 5 piece kit. And the product does work on non-acne skin, from what I gather. Keeps everything on a good path.

Anyway, I think it's a really superb product for how it's helped DS -- and without meds !!!! All the med stuff was pretty scary to me --

Oh, just happen to have a shipment that arrived yesterday, so have the phone # right here --
1 800 950-4695 -- and they're in Iowa, so very Mid-west friendly !!!!!

Chris


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Proactiv is meant to be used all the time - it's not a limited basis thing. Once you're clear (or mostly clear) you don't stop using it - you keep using it to keep your skin that way.

I was at the dermatologist just yesterday (for an issue with my leg, not face) and asked the doctor about acne treatments. She said that aside from oral treatments, which as I said there was no way I was going to do again, she recommends Proactiv, especially to adults who can be easily dried up by many of the topical prescriptions they typically give to younger adults/teens. I was really surprised to hear it straight from the drs. mouth that this stuff in fact was good stuff.

If my kids should ever need it, I'll purchase it for them, as well.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Helpful thread!

My teen daughter and son do not suffer from the cystic type of acne, but boy when it does flare up - poor things!

We have been using Proactiv, I really love it. I do find that it seems far more effective with myself, than my teens. Perhaps adult acne is just more receptive to this product? For myself, I am a true believer though.
Wrinkles and acne comibined is not a pretty thing to deal with! :)

I have no experience with accutane, however within the past few months it was reported on the news that accutane does have a severe depression risk. It was brought up that a teen boy who had been on accutane had committed suicide. It then did link the product to depression.
I felt this may be worth mentioning.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

decor diva, I'm glad you mentioned the possible depression risk with Accutane. I read that article with interest. While depression was never mentioned as a side effect when I took the drug (more than 20 years ago now), looking back I did go through a period of depression just around the time I was on the drug. I did not equate it at all with Accutane until I saw the article. . .now I wonder.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Has anybody tried the regimen described at acne.org? It sounds similar to the ProActiv regimen in that they are both based on benzoyl peroxide, but the products suggested are much cheaper.


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KO, I had never heard of this site. Good info- I'm going to take their recommendation for the Eucerin moisturizer.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

FWIW, I just started my 12 y.o. daughter on the acne.org regimen. She has dryish combo skin with mostly whiteheads and blackheads and an occasional pimple so nothing very bad. The ProActiv products sounded way too harsh for her. I don't expect to see much in the way of results for another month or two. If I forget to repost our conclusions, y'all are welcome to contact me -- just be sure to note your message is from a G'webber; otherwise I am apt to delete it as spam.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

After my 1st baby i started to break out again not severly but enough to bother me. I'd been on Antibiotics as a teen and didn't want to go that route again. My doctor prescribed a cream commonly used now for diminishing wrinkles called retisol. My Dr. warned me it would make my condition worse for a few weeks and then clear up. She was right!


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kitchenobsessed, I've bought ProActive for my DD and it is a very mild program. Nothing like Clinique's #3 soap! (If I remember that right.)

I am having a very hard time with my DS (14) to use anything. It's driving me nuts. I did have him cut out almost all milk and his face improved dramatically.

I was on Accutane about 20 years ago, too. I took two rounds of the medicine. I didn't have any issues during taking the medication; but did after wards. My oil dried up so bad in my feet that I literally suffer from cracked feet/heels. You wouldn't believe what I've had to go through to keep them looking OK.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

first time on the conversations forum :) We tried proactive with three daughters. They didnt have acne, but occasional breakouts frustrated them. Proactive was great for two of my daughters but the "baby" still had some problems with breakouts on her back.
We used an aspirin mask. Crush about 5 plain aspirin (not coated) in a baggie, mix with a teensy bit of water, then a teensy bit of your cleansing cream just so the aspirin sticks together better. Apply, (keep away from eyes), let dry, wipe off. In two days we noticed a huge improvement. And we had been on antibiotics, retin-a and proactive with no visible improvement. Today she is blemish free. she uses the mask twice or three times a week. Its safe enough to use daily until you get it under control.
Its also good for blackheads on the nose area.


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Thanks for the name of that website! DS has mild acne--and while the clinagel has helped--I've wondered about other treatments. I'm going to have him read the website. I learned long ago--if it's not something life-threatening--it's better if HE gets to be in control. Compliance is better!

melanie


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

keekush2, welcome to the 'other side'! Aspirin is truly a miracle drug- cheap, reduces fever and swelling, cuts risk of clotting, and now clears up acne! Salyclic acid- makes sense that it would reduce inflammation and dissolve 'clogs'.

Quick question- do you WIPE the mask off or do you RINSE it off?


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My 15 year old son has acne. The doctor prescribed a cream that is a topical antibiotic mixed with something else--I'm at work and don't recall what it was. Anyway, you can get a prescription for it premixed which is really expensive and insurance companies balk at or you can get a prescription for the antibiotic part (I think it's erythromycin) and then purchase the other stuff over the counter and mix it together yourself, which is what our doctor had us do. It has helped a lot, although DS's skin is not clear. My DS already is already allergic to some antibiotics, so we didn't want to get him on an oral antibiotic regime. DS's doctor says that diet has nothing to do with acne. Neither DH nor I had acne when we were kids, so we had no personal experience to pass on to DS, which was too bad.


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Thanks pecanpie! (darn, makes me hungry)
Either wash off with a warm cloth or rinse. Just dont dry your hair with the hairdryer while this is on your face :) I did it the other day and aspirin flew everywhere!
You wont believe how soft your hands are after applying it to your face.


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I haven't been over here in Conversations for a while. This thread is very timely. DD just got her first shipment of Proactiv a few days ago. I'm crossing my fingers. I rarely buy things that can't be bought at stores (it feels a bit scam-ish) but my daughter's nurse practioner highly recommended it.

I'm interested to hear more about the aspirin treatment. Keekush2, did your daughter apply it to her back as well as the face? DD will try Proactiv for a while but a semi-formal is coming up in mid May and it would be nice for her if her shoulders and back cleared up some. I haven't read any of the literature. Are these products "absorbed" at the face and then spread to have beneficial results in other areas?

Also, Proactiv users. Can the product be bought in larger quantities if more than one person in the family needs it or are we stuck paying the same price for a month's supply for each person?


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Regarding aspirin~~Neutrogena sells a product called T/Sal which comes in a shampoo and barsoap. It is 3% salicylic acid. I have used this on acne breakouts and on psoriasis spots with good results. Wet the skin, apply some of the shampoo gel, work in, leave on for several minutes, then wash off.


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I went to the acne.org site and ordered some cleanser, moistureizer, Clear Skin Gel and Alpha Hyd Acid lotion. I'll see how this works on my skin.


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I bought this cream from ebay called dermalgenesis.
It made me break out in a bumpy rash. ACCKKK!!!! BUT it's been wonderful for my son. It contains sulfur.
Maybe I am allergic. Who knows?

Search ebay for dermalgenesis and you will see it.


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Aw man..I'm getting the worst zits all of a sudden! I'm also missing a period for the first time (I'm not pregnant), I'm heading toward menopause, I think. And what do you know, I'm growing really unpleasant new features on my face. They're *deep* in, not going away, won't come out...

should I try that proactiv?


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DD has been following the regimen on the acne.org site for nearly a month. The CSR 2.5% benzoyl peroxide has really helped her mild acne, and she hardly experienced any irritation, just a lot of dryness at first. We liked the stuff so much I ordered another six tubes to cut down on S/H costs. I thought we would try the CSR before investing in the much pricier ProActiv package. There is also a section on the site where people can rate various products such as moisturizers. Apparently, different people absorb moisturizers differently, and some cause some folks to break out but not others.

I also tried some of the suggested products like the Cetaphil cleanser for gentle skin. It made me realize that the harsher oil stripping products I had used for so many years actually made my skin oilier as it tried to compensate.


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I haven't received my CSR benz perox yet but my skin already feels and look better from using the Cetephil cleanser mixed with aspirin or T/Sal, Eucerin Skin Renewal and Alpha Hydrox.


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You don't have to get the automatic delivery with Proactiv. I'm glad I don't because I use some parts of the kit a lot slower (the cleanser and the lotion) and the toner a lot faster. I buy my proactiv at QVC.com - Proactiv has a store through them, or at the kiosk at my mall. You can buy their other products at either place as well. I also use their sunscreen (because I know it won't make me break out) and their night lotion, now, too.


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keekush2... What brand of aspirin do you use? If you don't mind me asking? Thanks....


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As long as the aspirin isn't coated (enteric) or baby aspirin (which I assume has flavorings) it should all be pretty much the same. Probably has corn starch as a binder.

I didn't have to crush the tablets- I put several in a bowl and added a small amount of hot water and mashed the tablets with my thumb.


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Pecan, my DD has a lot of acne on her back this year. I was wondering how many tablets you'd suggest and how long we should leave the aspirin/cetaphil mixture on her back?

Thanks. Oh we did try Teatree oil but it didn't work.


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mari, I used 6 or 8 for my face and neck, left it on until it was almost dry then wet my hands and more or less 'exfoliated' with it before rinsing well.

I used about a palmful on DS's back over Easter. I stocked up on a 2 for 1 CVS special so I have aspirin out the ears.


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Oh my gosh!!

I have only been using the Clear Skin Regime (regime that I mentioned above) for a week now. I can tell a difference already. Tonight at dinner my DH said "Your skin (on face) is looking so healthy."
Thanks to everybody here for the great suggestions!!!


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RE: Effective acne treatments?

Oh I hope my face clears up soon.


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