My problem skin is a recurring theme on this blog. I’ve tried every non-sulfur prescription and non-prescription product on the market. From drugstore to dermatologist, I’ve taken them all for a spin. Or so I thought.
Last month, I ran out of the prescription medicine EpiDuo (which I liked, but didn’t love) before a long trip home. So I made the decision to pick up a drugstore cream to use in the interim. I examined the store shelves:
Clean & Clear is for teenagers and ill-equipped to handle my adult acne. Clearasil is the equivalent of medicated toothpaste, drying and disappointing. And while I like Nature’s Cure for body acne, its facial counterpart isn’t worth the cost to take it out of the store.
After searching for a bit, I found Terminator from AcneFree ($17 for a pack of three). I’d never seen this product before, so I figured that if I was going to be disappointed, at least I could be let down by something new. But three weeks later, I’m not disappointed. In fact, I’m pleased.
The product is benzoyl peroxide, but unlike most drugstore brands, it contains 10% of the active ingredient. And it claims to be a time-release formula, which I’ve never seen before.
Has it cleared my acne completely? No. But it has tamed the hormonal acne on my cheeks to a place where it is manageable and concealable. For the first time in a long time, I don’t feel like I’m wearing too much concealer all the time.
It won’t help those of you with blackheads, but if you have cystic acne or moderate acne, give it a whirl. I wasn’t disappointed.
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A word of warning: I used the full AcneFree set for a few days in college – to see if it could serve as a more affordable alternative to Proactiv and I had a terrible reaction to it. My whole face swelled up! To the point that I had to skip class because I was too embarrassed to leave my apartment. Best of luck solving your skin issues, lord knows it can be frustrating – but when it comes to AcneFree, proceed with caution. On a positive note – my derm has me using Ziana right now and I'm really liking it!
I've had very similar problems with hormonal acne for the past few years. Last year before my wedding, my face just straight-up erupted along my jaw and around my mouth, to the point where I refused to leave my apartment because I looked like I had herpes and boils. I ended up trying the BP lotion from http://www.acne.org (also https://www.danielkern.com/), developed by a guy who was frustrated with the lack of OTC acne treatments. It's 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, and while the consistency is a gel and somewhat similar to Proactiv, it actually works, unlike Proactiv. My face cleared up in about two weeks and I've been clear since. And I had previously tried Differin, Benzaclin, Accutane (twice) and numerous drugstore and Aveda products. I buy the big bottle to save money on shipping and I'm so happy with it. My Clarisonic 4-5x a week and this stuff and my face is golden. They also have a really nice AHA lotion that I use at night about twice a week that gives me a really nice glow and smooth skin. Give it a shot if you're still looking for something after the AcneFree.
Broads of the Beltway says:
I've used AcneFree Terminator as well – it is my very favorite drugstore remedy for blemishes. I have pretty clear skin overall, but a dab of this on isolated pimples usually clears them up almost completely overnight. You can also buy a single tube for about $5-$6 at Target – no need to buy three at once. If you only use it intermittently, it is basically an eternal supply.
Benzoyl Peroxide is one of the only things that works for me. It bleaches the hell out of my pillowcases (warning if you've never used it before), but I don't really care. 10% can be a bit harsh, especially since lab test have shown that 2.5% has over 90% of the effectiveness of the 10% solution, 10% is just the maximum concentration they can sell. However, I find it is all about the formula and how well it absorbs into your skin, if this works for you go with it, but if it is drying you out switch to a smaller dose. I like the one OXY makes, which I believe is 5%.
Nina- I don't find it to be too drying, but I have combination skin, so I'm a bit oily to start with.
B – glad you found something that works. BP worked very well for me too, but after I combined with epiduo I developed quite a sensitivity to it. Now I can't use it at all – red rash, etc. bad news. Just a heads up. Also, you might try icing a pimple (if its a nice whitehead for a while) and then applying bp. Something about the cold helps BP sink it and when I could use it, that always helped quite a lot.
Belle – Have you ever tried microdermabrasian or photo facials? I have struggled with hormonal acne for years and am thinking about trying something new.
I'll join ec in recommending the 2.5% BP gel from acne.org. The method for applying it outlined there is really helpful as well. Takes a while, but I had excellent results with clearing up wretched cystic acne inside of a month.