How do I treat acne that isn't responding to any treatments?

Gender: Female / Age: 18 - 29
Question: Hi Dr. Schultz. I had my first breakout shortly after reaching puberty and I haven't had a single day with clear skin since. I don't really know how to classify my acne. I get blackheads on my cheeks next to my nose, on my nose and in between my eyebrows. I get red bumps and whiteheads all over my face. I tend to have oily skin on my whole forehead, my cheeks and my chin. I have tried so many different products over the years, ranging from Clean & Clear to Proactiv, with no success. Most of the time my skin reacts badly by drying out and getting irritated. I don't know what else to do. I'm a 19 year old female and I can't find any makeup either that doesn't look caked on or irritates my skin. Please help me!
Dr. Schultz: From what you are describing you have both inflammatory acne (red bumps) and non-inflammatory acne (blackheads and whiteheads). Treatment should target both types. Please see DermTV episode #124, Acne Treatment in Three Easy Steps for more information. From the intensity and severity you are describing, if the suggestions in episode 124 are not significantly helpful within one month, then it's time to consider seeing a dermatologist for oral treatment with antibiotics.
Nargiza on March 4, 2010 at 6:24pm

Hello,Dr. Schultz. I wish you can help me with my problem. I am 21 years old but still I couldn't find approprite products to my skin. I have a pimples on my forehead and both side of my face but my checks kind of dry with enlarged pores. I am using cleanser for oily/ problem face and moisturizes for normal to oily skin. But my skin looks like lost elastisity and appear crinkles around my eyes and nose. If i don't use thoese products i will get more pimples if i use my skin lookes so dry and became flaky. Please help me to find correct products to my face. Thanks

Neal Schultz, M.D. on March 7, 2010 at 12:31am

@Nargiza: From your description, it sounds like the appropriately aggressive treatment for your acne is over-drying or irritating your skin and therefore you remain out of balance. It's not possible for me from your description to recommend the necessary adjustments but if your dermatologist is not able to compensate for this, then I suggest seeking a second opinion from a dermatologist who specializes in acne, which you can find at the American Academy of Dermatology.