I skated through teenager-dom with acne being quite rare. However, as a 30something adult, I am plagued by it. I'm so tired of it! It's so embarrassing!!!
I use the Proactiv face wash, and am hit and miss on the rest of the Proactive stuff (toner/repair lotion). I only wear makeup about once a week. I wash my face with plain water (which I have all my life).
I recently tried a Neutrogena product with salcylic acid (or however you spell that) and it just burned me, and didn't prevent anything. It was really uncomfortable to use, so I stopped.
My forehead is super, super oily (more so after I started using Proactiv a few years ago), and always "bumpy" (has been since I was a teenager), but never breaks out into anything, ever.
My main breakout area is my chin, and that is awful right now, but it has also moved to new locations that I've never had breakouts before.
How often are you washing your face? Once a day, twice a day? You also didn't mention a moisturizer anywhere. I know it sounds contradictory, but if you're washing and not moisturizing afterwards that's probably the reason you feel really oily; when you take away the natural moisture, your skin over-compensates if you don't replace it.
Honestly, if you just stick with the Proactiv, wash 2x a day and moisturize every time afterwards + apply the refining mask to any trouble spots at night - I'd think you'll see an improvement.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson
Go see a dermatologist. There are a lot of great prescirption meds out there that are better than Proactiv. They can usually help you determine the cause of the acne (hormonal, etc.) and prescribe something to help clear it up.
I hear you. I had exactly the same problem until I read about the miraculous and so simple solution of drinking half a lemon juice first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything else. It WORKS!
It's important to do it only 6 out 7 days to keep it effective.
As soon as you stop, acne comes back though... but it's a cheap and effective way to keep your skin clear. I found the solution online; some people rince their mouth right after with water for fear or damaging their teeth with the acidity of the lemon.
Try it, and let me know if it works for you too!
I've found that using toner makes a big difference. I use a witch hazel/water combo (50/50) - super cheap and easy. I just swipe it on with a cotton ball at night after washing my face. There are other toners out there that might have a more carefully engineered formula for sensitive skin or whatever, but it's not expensive to try and shouldn't have any serious side effects.
If the pony spits venom in your face or produces a loud roar, it is probably not a pony. Find another. -The Oatmeal
Arrgh. Well at least you had your teenage years. Never not had acne to some degree. The type just changes with age.
Some good suggestion already. Here is mine...
Keep a box of baking soda near the shower, small handful and a little water makes a paste and instead of a wash cloth use it. Not only is it a little abrasive and helps to exfoliate. But it also gives a brief skin pH flux that helps control bacteria. It is a good thing!
I used to get breakouts on my forehead, too - not zits, just bumps. Turns out I was allergic to something in my shampoo/condition. I think I narrowed it down to the mint that was in the Aveda shampoo (only because I tried another mint shampoo once and it did the same thing). I wash my face with Cetaphil based on dermatologists recommendation and every other day, I use a Neutrogena exfoliator (Daily Scrub, I think it's called). I can tell when I skip a day because I'll get a zit or two. There's no way I'll try the Proactiv. My ex-husband used it and you should see what it did our towels when he didn't rinse completely. No way do I want that stuff on my face! Good luck!
My sister has horrible adult acne, she got a Clarasonic and uses it with Proactiv. It has made a huge difference in her skin, she is still very careful about what kind of mosturizer and sunscreen she uses, but it is much better.
Dermatologist... go. I'm 26 and have two different topical creams I use (plus face wash). I'm not super great about daily use like I'm supposed to though. She did give me the option of pills, but I'm on birth control and do not want a little me (and def not a little version of hubby lol). There are plenty of options these days. I have considered calling back and seeing about getting pills while hubby is deployed, but my face has been pretty good since using the face wash regularly and the creams semi-regularly lol.
My brother did Accutane years ago and had good results. I believe now-a-days you have to do all sorts of blood work before starting it though so she said we wouldn't do that unless we had to.
I know it's got a bad rap, but it gave me my life back.
I'd do it again in a heartbeat, too.
Tried everything on the market. Lived on antibiotics for 7+ years starting in sixth grade. Suffered from depression for most of those 7 years due to my acne.
Did a round of accutane in undergrad....6 months of 60 mgs/day and my skin is still perfect 4 years later. The 3 types of face wash, astringent, and every rxn creme on the planet has all been replaced by a quick face rinse w/ CeraVe during my evening shower. I'm constantly complemented on my 'perfect skin'. Amazing stuff.
The only requirement for Accutane is to answer some easy birth control related questions online before you fill your script and a monthly pregnancy test. Many derms will also do blood work to check on liver function as a precaution. It sounds scary and isn't a drug to mess around with but the only side effect I had was dry lips easily handled by aquaphor. Definitely the best thing I ever did my only regret is waiting so long to try it! My parents were nervous about its bad rap and wouldn't let me do it in high school...understandable but those years were so hard on my self esteem.