I'm genetically prone to fairly significant acne (thanks Dad...). And the older I got, the more cystic it became.
Years ago, I started going to the dermatologist who prescribed me spironolactone, an oral medication that absolutely worked. I took that stuff for years and had nice clear skin. Then I turned 30 and started thinking about having kids. Spironolactone + pregnancy = no go. So I weaned myself off and sure it enough, the acne came back, worse than ever.
So I experimented with a lot of different things, and nothing seemed to work until I randomly stumbled on this skin care combination:
1) Sulfur soap
2) Glycolic acid facial wash with hyaluronic acid
The sulfur soap more or less changed my life. I heard about it on some obscure online forum in which person after person agreed that sulfur soap actually cured their acne. So I gave it a shot...
No joke, my acne went completely away in two weeks. I really wish I had had the foresight to take before and after photos (because they would have been AMAZING) but these kinds of topical treatments have never worked for me before, so I didn't have a lot of confidence that this particular face wash would have any more effect than usual. Well, it did, and I stand corrected. Now that said, I think my acne will come back if I stop using the soap, but I was going to have to wash my face anyway, so it doesn't seem like that big of deal to continue using it. There were some dryness issues in the beginning, but then my skin seemed to adapt and it stopped getting flaky.
Then after about six months of consistent sulfur soap use, I randomly threw this glycolic acid facial wash into my shopping basket at CVS (your classic impulse buy). But unlike most impulse purchases, this one actually rocked. It seemed to help the sulfur soap to work even better by getting rid of dead skin. Overnight, my face went from "acne-free" to as close to "luminous" as I'm ever going to get.
This magic combination of sulfur and glycolic acid has finally made me feel confident enough to see friends without wearing any makeup (something I haven't done since I was about 16 years old). I don't even really moisturize anymore, although this CeraVe night cream is pretty good (don't get the A.M. stuff, it's basically straight sunscreen). But I only use it when I'm in the mood, not because I feel like I need it. Something about that combination of hyaluronic acid + glycolic acid really seems to help with the dry skin that's somewhat inevitable with the sulfur soap.
If you don't have a CVS near you, you can also find similar glycolic acid washes and hyaluronic acid products on Amazon, though I haven't tried any of those specific brands, so I can't speak to their efficacy. I wish this Skin + Pharmacy brand was more widely available, but it seems to be exclusive to CVS.
If you do have acne issues, or you have a child who's struggling with it, please try the sulfur soap. A single pack costs only $8 (just remember to soak the soap for 30 seconds before use - that's why it comes in a funny plastic jar). Acne is so embarrassing and frustrating, now that I've found something that actually works (for me), I felt like I had to share.
Do you have skin issues? Did you ever find a solution or are you still looking?
Writing, editing, and doing science when I feel like it. Just a book without a genre.