My best advice to people suffering from acne is simple: find a GOOD dermatologist and follow their advice.
Last year I experienced REALLY bad breakouts - I'm STILL unable to pinpoint what made my normal skin turn into a mess - skincare, weight loss, stress, diet, hormones - who knows? At first I tried things that had helped me with mild acne in the past: (the acne.org 2.5% benzyl peroxide treatment, going to an esthetician and using Dermalogica products). None of these made my skin any better. I was chatting with my sister about what to do next, and she said - why don't you go and see our dermatologist? I don't know why this hadn't occurred to me before - it would have saved me a LOT of time and money (In 9 months I had spent at least $500 on facials and skin care products).
My appointment was in October 2010. My dermatologist prescribed 2 antibiotics, a topical one (Clindamycin) and an oral one (Minocycline) and told me not to use ANY moisturiser. Within 3 months I started seeing positive results, and by June 2011 I was advised to stop taking the oral antibiotics and just use the Clindets wipes twice a day. I was also allowed to use an OIL-FREE moisturiser on my skin (I missed using moisturiser - I really think it prevents wrinkles, without it my forehead was starting to show lines - thankfully they've disappeared).
I took photos during the course of my treatment - this is a close-up of my left cheek - which was the biggest problem area. These photos are not pretty - and I'm a little bit embarrassed sharing them, but if it helps someone else suffering from acne - then it's worth it :-)
Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair - within 4 days I had 2 large blemishes...luckily they disappeared after I stopped using it).
-Wash in the morning and evening with Cetaphil bar soap. In the evening I use my Clarisonic - and if I've worn make-up I wash my face twice.
-Use a Clindets wipe all over my face (especially my cheeks)
-Apply Neutrogena Oil-free moisturiser
-If I'm going to be outside I apply Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Water-Light SPF 60. This particular "water-light" version is the best drugstore sunscreen I've ever tried - other ones (even other Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer ones) have made my face feel tight and itchy - this feels like nothing - and is designed to be worn under make-up. It even provides a smooth base for foundation - I love it!
-I purchased the Olay Total Effects moisturiser because of it's anti-ageing properties, however, even though it's listed as oil-free, it caused tiny bumps on my forehead, so I just apply it to my naso-labial folds, neck and hands.
So far, sticking to this skincare routine is working for me - but I have to be consistent. If I ever skip washing my face, I'll end up with a blemish the next day! I'm having good luck with Neutrogena products, so I may cautiously experiment with their Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream (it is also oil-free but contains Retinol).
I know that everybody's skin is different, and what works for me may not work for you - but I hope that this post has been helpful!
Have you ever suffered from acne? What helped it get better?