At my first visit to the doctor in 2004, I was prescribed was a topical antibiotic – Zineryt.
“Zineryt is a combination of two old and reliable remedies for acne, the antibiotic erythromycin and the nutrient zinc, in a convenient lotion form. It is not as fast acting as some other combination treatments for acne, but it’s inexpensive, has few side effects, and usually gets rid of about 2/3 of blemishes in 3 months or less even if you don’t do anything else. But there are very simple things you can do to get rid of the other 1/3 of your acne blemishes with little effort and very little money while Zineryt is doing its work.”
When I saw no improvement with Zineryt I was prescribed Differin Gel
“Differin Gel contains adapalene, a type of retinoid. Topical retinoids, like Differin Gel, play a crucial role in the treatment of acne. Retinoids have vitamin A activity which helps regulate cell turnover to make sure your skin goes through the right process, creating a healthier environment for skin. Regulating cell turnover helps to keep the pores from clogging and target acne before it even starts. Don’t think of Differin Gel as a spot treatment only to be used when acne rears its ugly head. In fact, if used daily, Differin Gel stops new acne from forming, resulting in improved skin tone and texture.”
As a last attempt with topical solutions I was prescribed Dalacin T.
“Dalacin T topical solution and lotion both contain the antibiotic clindamycin phosphate. Clindamycin works by attacking the bacteria associated with acne, Propionibacterium acnes. This common type of bacteria feeds on the sebum produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It produces waste products and fatty acids that irritate the sebaceous glands, making them inflamed and causing spots. By controlling bacterial numbers, clindamycin brings the inflammation of the sebaceous glands under control, and allows the skin to heal.”
When I was first started using Zineryt at fifteen, I had never had a skincare routine. As a skincare professional now, I remember how overwhelmed I used to feel choosing skincare products as a beginner. Everyone was saying different things. It was so confusing but I was too embarrassed to ask anyone for help. That girl is the reason I started Beautiful by Breakfast.
For all of the blemished beauties reading this who are new to acne, here are a few tips that might increase your success with Zineryt, Differin or Dalacin T.
Use in conjunction with a basic skincare routine
Apply your topical medication to clean, dry skin and apply a balancing, oil free, non comedogenic moisturiser to finish. If you’re not sure what skincare to buy, Dermalogica’s CLEAR START range would be my recommendation. My skin was incredibly dry while using Zineryt and I didn’t know then that a moisturiser would have helped. While you might think dry skin is the desired result, it can actually make your breakouts worse. If your skin is dry it will produce more oil to compensate. Your sebaceous glands become overactive, leading to a build up of oil and dry skin in the pore (which means more acne!) From my personal experience, I would never recommend using brands like Clean and Clear, Proactive or Freederm .
Apply without contaminating the product or applicator
When I used Zineryt it came in a bottle with the head designed to help with application. It had a blue cloth neck which I wiped across my skin. I remember it occasionally staining with blood from burst pustules. Whatever you use to treat your acne topically, dispense the product onto a clean brush, finger or spatula and then work into your face. This prevents contaminating your product with acne bacteria and applying bacteria back to your face on the next use.
Consider the cause of your breakouts
If you have recently started breaking out, your skin is trying to tell you something. It is much easier trying to understand what that may be if you can pinpoint exactly when you developed acne. For teenage acne, it is likely your breakouts are in result of hormonal changes. If not ask yourself, what has changed? Have you been experiencing an unusual amount of stress? Have you been ill recently? Have you been sleeping less? Have you been experiencing food intolerances? Understanding why you are breaking out will determine how you treat your acne to achieve long-lasting results.
For help identifying the cause of your breakouts, I created the LOVE YOUR SKIN JOURNAL
Easier said than done, I know. It’s hard to think positively when you are insecure about your skin. But never underestimate the power of your mind. Believing that this treatment will work, will increase it’s chances of success. When I used topical solutions to treat my acne, I had already told myself that they wouldn’t help. I had heard from friends that oral antibiotics would be the only thing that would clear my skin. In hindsight, I wish I had given topicals a fair chance. The key success is to believe enough to create positive change but not so much that you delude yourself into believing one product is ‘the cure’.
Nourish your body
When my acne was at it’s worst I was a teenager buying what I wanted to eat when I wanted to eat it. I had very little regard for what I put into my body. I ate fast food at college most days a week. I bought three chocolate bars and a packet of crisps every day from the vending machine. And drank more diet coke than water. But I considered myself to eat healthily. Strangely I got into this way of eating because it didn’t upset my IBS. I knew I could eat it without risking an episode of spasms and long intervals on the toilet! It was around this time that doctors had recommended that I write a food journal but I dismissed it then as a waste of time. This was two/three years into my acne journey. Had I taken their advice I would have realized then that I had food allergies. One of which being the one that also causes me to breakout. Subsequently I would have shaved off over ten years of acne struggles.