By: Rachel Mazza
My Acne Story: Ages 16-19
When the Doxycycline and Retin A stopped working about 6-8 months after I started using it, I was becoming very upset. I couldn’t find a cover up that hid the acne and scars well enough and I was extremely self-conscious. I started wearing hats to cover my forehead, which in hindsight was actually a really bad idea. Having fabric rub across already irritated skin, of course, only made the acne more prevalent.
I went back to the doctor and they suggested just sticking with the Doxycycline for a few more months to see if there would be any change. However almost a year of taking the antibiotic was starting to irritate my stomach. I started having heartburn and stomach pain almost everyday. I went back to the doctor and after expensive stomach x-rays with disgusting Barium sulfate milkshakes, I found out the Doxycycline was beginning to give me stomach ulcers. I was advised to stop taking it ASAP. At that point I was so fed up that I stopped using everything—the Doxycycline, the Retin A and the ProActive and just let my skin go. I continued to use a Clean and Clear face wash daily to clean my face and the ProActive Oil Free Moisturizer mask for particularly bad acne spots. I continued to try and cover the acne spots and scars with cover up make up and hats so for about a year there was no real change.
ProActive and Doxycycline
Now, I’m not a medical professional but, personally, I wouldn’t recommend ProActive to anyone who has anything beyond mild, infrequent breakouts. Maybe it works better for people who just have blackheads and occasional clogged pores. However for moderate to severe acne suffers, I really don’t think it’s worth the money. I haven’t spoken to anyone with moderate to severe acne who has experienced success with ProActive—it’s too mild of a solution and while it, in combination with the Retin A, did dry out my acne, it was only a surface treatment. Underneath the dried-out remnant of the acne cyst, new infected pores were still there. Also, it literally did nothing for scaring and, as far as I know, it’s not intended to. After using the ProActive, I was left with skin that was both dry and oily and was generally a painful, scarred mess.
As for the Doxycycline, I’ve read so many reviews saying that at first it makes your skin worse and others saying that’s just a myth. For me, I noticed my skin got worse initially, then cleared up for several months, as mentioned, and then leveled out. I still had acne, I still had acne scars, and it was beginning to have negative effects on my health. I noticed it also left a strange coppery taste in my mouth that was very unappealing. Again, like ProActive, perhaps Doxycycline would work for people with less persistent acne. However it is prescribed for people with severe acne, and I’ve seen success stories from people who use it. I suppose it just works on a case-by-case basis.
Doxycycline—3/10 (works for some people, worked a little bit for me, health risks made me too nervous to continue)
ProActive—3/10 (works well as a cleaner, doesn’t do much for the actual acne though)
Retin A .01% —3/10 (it dries out acne but can dry out skin too much, I didn’t see any long term effect)
To be continued…