1) GNC's Evening Primrose Oil 1300 - Since my problem is mostly "hormonally-triggered", I searched for a [preferably natural] supplement to address that & stumbled upon EPO (sorry, I can't recall the site now) and looked for a reputable local source. I got mine from GNC but found other choices at Healthy Options. I took 2 capsules every night for 2 weeks but have since reduced my intake to 1 capsule every night. According to various online sources, EPO supports hormonal balance and may also help with the ff:
- PMS: Women with PMS may have impaired conversion of linoleic acid to gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Evening primrose oil contains GLA and may reduce PMS symptoms.
- Skin care: Supplementing with evening primrose oil can supply anti-inflammatory fatty acids that are missing in many people with eczema; EPO may also improve blood flow to the legs and heals or reduces the size of venous leg ulcers.
2) Alba Botanica's Acnedote Deep Pore Wash - Active ingredients are witch hazel and salicylic acid. I've been using this for more than a year. Before this facial wash, I was using Cetaphil face wash for oily skin. I still switch between those two but mainly use Acnedote.
3) Acnedote Deep Clean Astringent - Active ingredient is also salicylic acid and I use it after the deep pore wash. Before trying this, I personally was not a fan of astringent since I had a bad reaction years before. It may be too harsh for those with sensitive skin tho. I apply this before bed and every morning.
4) YSA's Erythromycin Lotion for face and body - This was recommended by the YSA resident dermatologist after I got cortisone shots for my cystic acne a week before our beach trip. I apply this with a cotton ball after Acnedote astringent at night and every morning to affected areas (or entire face) and I've noticed pimples disappear and heal faster. I also apply this to some stray body acne. I just finished my first 100ml bottle (which lasted me 1 month and a half) and purchased my second bottle (got the 200ml already) last week. To be honest, I've never come across erythromycin in my extensive research for acne treatments but now that I have, I dont think I can live without this one.
5) Garnier Milky Lightening Dew Toner -I buy it from Watson's or Mercury Drug. I use this to help accelerate the lightening of some leftover acne marks or any hyperpigmentation. I am also counting on the skin smoothing effect that it promises to deliver. I apply it generously with a cotton ball all over my face and neck before going to bed. I can say that within a month of using it, I've noticed very promising results (more than Clinique's Dark Spot Corrector has ever given me in the 2 years I've been using it...sad to say).
A huge acne scar on my cheek has started to lighten and indeed, my skin has become a bit lighter and smoother. Yey!
Word of warning for gals with oily to combination skin (like me): since this it has a "hydrating agent", you might wake up with a shiny mug (pretend I said that with a British accent haha!).
6) Cortisone shots - I've only tried this once and yes, coz it sort of counted as an emergency to me. I had my period a week before our beach trip and I was desperate to be rid of a couple of cystic pimples that came with it. I'd like to look at my vacation photos and smile...not cringe, right? It hurt a bit but I'd gladly endure the pain again if ever I had an event and an uninvited guest shows up again. Actually, I've noticed that the spots I had injected didn't leave me with nasty dark scars/marks which is usually a guaranteed thing had I left them alone.
What I've learned from my 'struggle' is that you need to do your research, know your skin, learn all the risks and possible contraindications, be patient with the products that you try (I had to be extra patient with Derm-A's tretinoin and it paid off then), other products you use together does matter, avoid touching your face as much as possible and change your pillowcase often!
Hope you find what works for you, too! =)
(pictures sourced from the web; ysa erythromycin lotion pic from beautyofyouth.net)