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Avatar universal

sudden severe cheek acne

Hi, I'm 25 years old and up until about three weeks ago had very little to no breakouts. When I did have them it was never more than two or three at the most, large pimples on my cheek area, at a time. People were always telling me what "beautifull skin" I had.

About a month ago I noticed a handful of smaller pimples begin to breakout on my cheeks, which turned into large, painfull spots, which are most painful at the onset. I now am breaking out all over my cheeks, but nowhere else on my face or body, with many large pimples that just won't stop.

I've tried many things to help it. My diet is and has always been very good. I am a vegetarian who eats properly to get the right protein and nutrients, drink plenty of water and stay away from junk foods, preservatives and refined sugars. I'm slim, in good shape and have a consistant skin care routine. Nothing has changed really. I haven't been using any new products or been wearing any makeup. I've been changing my pillow cases often, and hardly wear any product in my hair. I've been celebate for the last six months, so nothing has changed hormonally. I've tried applying tea tree oil, salicylic acid, and benezol peroxide. I've also tried only washing my face at night and skipping toner. Nothing is working. The pimples will reduce in size when I treat them, but only for about half a day before swelling right back up.

I know it's probably not as "severe" as many others have it, but this has been a very difficult change for me. I've never had this, and really don't know what to do. I don't want to leave my house because I feel like everyone is looking at it, and my freinds innocently comment about it when I see them anew. I know it's only in concern and curiosity, but it still really bothers me. Then I get stressed and can feel them growing even more. I already have difficulty with depression and anxiety, so this is definately not helping. Please, can someone help me or give some advice?
37 Responses
309783 tn?1271961829
As you have found, over the counter treatments are of limited benefit. Go to the doctor and get a gel called Differin on prescription. This is particularly effective when used in conjunction with an oral anti-biotic like erythromycin or an anti-androgen pill like Diane35 or Yasmin. Please do this now as acne will increase your anxiety and depression. Let me know how you get on, Loiloi x
Avatar universal
I'm currently having the same problem - but I've had mild/moderate acne for the past 5 years - it's now just spread onto my cheeks and it's very stressful. Loiloi's suggestions may be helpful for you (because everyone is different and Loiloi always has good advice on this board) - but I'm on both Yaz (a birth control now prescribed for acne) and I have TONS of samples of Differin that my dermatologist gave me to try. I HATE the Differin, I've used it for over a month, and it made everything worse - to the point where, if my hair just brushes against my cheek, it's very painful. It also made my skin so dry that no matter how much I moisturize, my skin is still peeling and painful. It'll take months to fix. Ugh, my face hurts just sitting here typing this... What's working for me right now is doxycycline (an antibiotic). Thankfully I had a refill left from an old bottle because my dermatologist is out of the office until after the New Year, and really, I don't need to start off this New Year with as many new scars.
Avatar universal
Hei,I too am suffering from the same problem. I never really had pimples in high school but after completing high school then i started to have breakouts..on my cheeks. I have no idea why all of a sudden im suffering from this problem. It hurts quite alot. My family doctor gave me this antibiotic called Tetracycline and I've been using it for a year and a half now. At first it worked and then after one year, my acne started coming back. I've tried drinking lots of water and eating less oily food. But it just won't go away. I really have no idea what to do.
Avatar universal
hello, i was wondering if anyone can give me any insight....
i have really severe acne and i wouldnt prefer to go on birth control to clear it... i use differin during the day, and retina micro during the night and new acne just appears more frequently especially on my cheeks, its to the point where i hate looking in the mirror and always need to wear makeup before i go anywhere... any help?
Avatar universal
Hi, I have found that a South African product called Psorasol is fantastic for adult female acne on the cheeks. I buy it from the pharmacy, and it really really works, in fact, it clears the problem, but has to be used continually.
1312143 tn?1273760035
Hi eatenpi. You and I are oddly alike. I, too, am a Vegetarian, 25, and have suddenly been breaking out on my cheeks but they're now gone. I'm into doing things naturally. I take NO drugs whatsoever. Not even Tylenol. Instead of using prescription creams I juiced one medium sized lemon and then dilluted it with about 1/4 cup of water. I reused a glass jar (from jam, salsa, or whatver. Great for the enviornment!) And stored it in the fridge.  I rinsed my face and neck with the lemon juice 2- 3 times a day. Be gentle. You don't have to scrub your skin with a rag or loofah. Just massage with your fingers. The lemon cuts through the oils and dirt. Afterwards, I dampened a cotton ball with Apple Cider Vinegar and wiped my face and neck. This is a little strong. You can dillute it if you want. If it's too strong you can use non-alcoholic witch hazel as a toner. I then sprayed my face and neck with a little rose water. My acne was gone in less than a week. Everyone commented on my "glow". That's the lemon. It's a natural skin lightener and really brightens up the face. If your skin feels too dry from the Apple Cider Vinegar, you can apply 2-3 drops of Jojoba oil on your face along with the rose water but to clear up my cheek acne, I didn't use the oil just finished off with the rose water. I only use jojoba oil now that my cheeks are acne free. Try not to wear make up but if you have to, take it off by rinsing your face with warm water and gently wiping upward with a soft cloth. To remove the rest, apply olive oil on your face and wipe gently until all the make up is gone. Stay away from chemicals of all forms. It will just make it worse. Stay away from sugar too. Sugar is the enemy when it comes to skin care. Hope this works for you. Take care. :-)
Avatar universal
Hi morenasian: Is that all you wash your face with? And.. do you follow the entire regimine 2-3 times a day?
1312143 tn?1273760035
Sorry for this late response. Haven't been on here in awhile.
To answer your question: when I had acne, yes, this is the regimen I followed 2-3 times per day. I saw a difference within a few days. Now that I'm acne free I don't do this regimen. I wash my face with Neutrogena, then use a ponds cold cream, then non-alcoholic witch hazel as a toner, and then apply TWO drops of jojoba oil on my face and neck.

Avatar universal
i'm having the same problem. i've never had acne problems, even when i was really stressed i would have maybe 3-4 pimples at most. never like this at all. my cheeks are all red and spotted. it's a horrible feeling! it looks like it's drying up sometimes, but no matter how dry my cheeks get, i still see no improvement. i'm 22. i don't think i've done anything different. and it's ONLY on my cheeks. i'm trying not to worry about it, but it gets harder and harder to even look at a mirror. :(
Avatar universal
Hi Everyone,

I too have been suffering from acne on my cheeks for a few years.  It is only on my cheeks..nowhere else on my body. No products have taken it away completely; however, I have noticed that when I eat foods that contain gluten the acne gets much more irritated, red, swollen, and horrible looking. For the past four years I have tried to eat gluten free but not necessarily as strictly as I should be. The last few months I have been trying to be extremely cautious as to not eat any gluten and I feel like it is starting to clear up. Gluten remains in the body's system for a long time (weeks to months) after it is eaten so results probably will not happen over night. BUT my belly, headaches, and body feel so much better when I don't eat gluten that the sacrifices are worth it! Thoughts??
Avatar universal
please stop drinking milk ! .. my acne get much MUCH better after i stopped, but as one of my posts mentioned above, it take time before your system clears after it get red of it. milk has Hormons (to make cows produce more milk). so stop adding more hormons than your body produces,thats why acne lessens after start taking birth control pills.
Avatar universal
I had severe acne on my cheeks after shaving the hairs too close. This resulted in two large, extremely painful spots forming, one on each cheek.

I was given enthromycin by my GP, but I was severely allergic to it. I couldn't burst the pus sacs until a month later, by which time my face was literally swollen with pus. I burst the spots at the top of my face, slowly running my finger up my face, pushing the pus out of what I can presume was a giant spot. There was so much pus!

I then bought Benzyl Peroxide cream, applied daily and went on an experimental drug called Rocctuane (sp) from the dermatologist. No serious outbreaks since!
Avatar universal
I am a 29 year old Mother of 2 and in the past 6 months I have never had to deal with pimples on my cheeks and chin and spreading to my neck as of now!! I notice they are leaving scars behind and its really starting to make me sad and feel depressed..I don't want to have to live everyday with Acne and Scars..I don't know what to use..there's so many different things that people say o try this or get this it worked for me..But how do I know it will work for me?? Not everyones skin is the same or can Tolerate the same Products..My insticts tell me just go see a Good Dermatologist and explain it al to them..Its quite Frusterating..Especially when I use to have Such Pretty skin..And now I feel like I can never get that back.. =(
Avatar universal
Im 21 and this has started happening for me too! No change in my diet, drugs (prescription), life style or stress level; just out of no where I am waking up with new acne every day. No one seems to care because I have had good skin my whole life my friends and family are honestly telling me it's karma for having nice skin growing up! I'm freaking out and it's making me so anxiety ridden that I cant leave the house.
I hope the lemon, apple cider vinegar, and rose water works because it's the only thing I havnt tried.
But seriously what is happening to all of us?! We are healthy and doing the right things and it's so sudden for all of us! I just don't get it. :( good luck everyone!
Avatar universal
There's a great product I use called aknicare that actually works to regulate the sebum that your skin produces, is worth a shot. Is on 3 for 2 at the minute too :)
Avatar universal
I started suffering from acne after my freshman year at college (I was 19 when it started). I became a vegetarian when I was 17 and had perfect skin all through high school. I started to notice more outbreaks during my freshman year of college and thought nothing of it. However, the summer going into my sophomore year my skin exploded! I broke-out with painful cysts on my cheeks and small pimples all over my forehead and chin. I hated leaving the house, and was horrified with how I looked. My self-esteem plummeted and I felt extremely ugly.

This horrible acne lasted for about a year until I came across an article regarding high levels phytoestrogens, which your body can mistake for estrogen, in soy and soy-based products.

I was still a vegetarian at this time, and in an effort to get enough protein, I was consuming a lot of soy-burgers (boca burgers/morning star burgers) and tofu on a daily basis. I knew my acne was hormonal, I just didn't understand what was wrong with my hormones. Finally, I found the answer to my problem; I was estrogen-dominant as a result from consuming soy pretty much everyday for the past three years.

I immediately stopped becoming a vegetarian, at the age of 22, and eliminated soy (as well as other "high estrogen foods" from my diet). Surely enough my skin became back to normal. I finally feel healthy, happy, and confident in myself.

I hope this helps. Just remain positive, your acne will not last forever. Let me know how your success goes!
Avatar universal
You are right in your diet but are you using a probiotic too and digestive enzynes?  Also try apple cider vinegar (Braggs with the mother) and apply on your face.  My son uses colloidial silver soap too.  My son had the worst facial acne.  
Avatar universal
Also if you are going to use makeup or moisturizer make sure they are organic and as natural as possible.  Do some research to find out which products have the least chemicals.  Also if you can find it, eat more organic foods.  
Avatar universal
Why this is so weird! I just had to sign up here and make a comment. Ok I have been reading excessively about what may cause this problem because I also have this exact problem that all of you are speaking about. Which is how I cam across this post. So I am younger than all of you ladies, this problem started in my junior year but before that sophomore year-nothing, my skin was clear, I didn't even wear makeup, and I don't recall buying it either. Then all of a sudden in the middle of my junior year I had this stubborn problem, where the acne on my cheeks only wouldn't reside. I try to stay active except as a student the balance is tough, but I eat healthy and I always eat homemade food. Now I am going into my senior year and have to keep up with the amount of foundation I need to cover up my cheek areas, I know that it is a build up of dead skin cells on my cheek but I can't get rid of it, I exfoliate with a salicylic acid wash every single day and rub on my cheeks and the problem stays the same or seems to get worse. I know that I sleep on one side of my face because I sleep on my stomach so now I watch out for what fabric I sleep on and try to sleep in a different position so the pillow doesn't touch my cheek. I have tried many products, I am now getting an oral pill and I just recently bough three products from botanics which is an all organic skin care product line. However, the dark spots on my cheek seem permanent and I don't know when they will go away. I hope the problem will go away before I enter college because the face routine I go through everyday is too time consuming and it makes me not look forward to getting ready to do any thing because I know I have to spend a lot of time on my skin.
Avatar universal
If you want to remain a vegetarian, how can one cut out all these greens ?

Almost every staple of a vegetarian diet has phytoestrogens! so hard
3902703 tn?1348531964

just a quick question, i was told my a friend to try the lemon option as well, but i was told to rub the lemon on my face or simply squeeze it into a glass of water and drink it each morning; have you ever tried these options ? or  should i just wash as you suggested simply because i'm from the Caribbean and our climate is usually hot .

Avatar universal
I found that my cheek acne popped up within a few weeks of taking diflucan (anti-fungal) and doxycycline (antibiotic).  It took me a whole year to figure this out, so I hope I can save some of you time, energy and money, if you think your problem is like mine.  I prefer to use Arbonne products, but I am sure you can use alternatives.  I just find it easier to buy everything in one place online.

I tried the following with no success:
benzoyl peroxide - ended up with a worse breakout and  bad scarring
salicylic acid
clay masks
changing pillow cases every night
cleaning cell phone everyday
clean diet (no sugar, dairy, alcohol, etc.)

The breakouts would improve a little and come back regardless of my cycle.  I read a post on acne.org where one guy found his cure, so I tried it out and created my own version.  Here's the regimen:

1. Arbonne Herbal Colon Cleanse for 5 days - drink lots of water
2. One serving daily of plain yogurt with honey (I prefer Fage) with one packet of Arbonne Digestion Plus
3. Balanced diet (no sugary/fried foods)
4. Absolutely no sodas (with or without sugar)
5. Fresh veggies and fruits daily

1. Wash with salicylic acid wash (I prefer Arbonne Clear Advantage Wash)
2. Use a gentle scrub daily or every other day (I prefer Arbonne FC5 New Cell Scrub) I do this in the morning in the shower, very gently.
3.  Use a anti-aging serum (Arbonne RE9 Advanced or Revelage Night Serum)
4.  Apply day cream with sunscreen (Revelage Day Cream SPF 20 or FC5 Oil Absorbing Day Lotion SPF 20)  I like the Revelage to help fade dark spots...and it feels super creamy, but I only use it when my skin feels dry.  Not great for oily skin.  The FC5 works really well for oily/combo skin.
5. Apply spot treatment (Arbonne Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment).  I spread a layer over my acne area on each cheek and let it absorb.

At night, I just use the Revelage Night Serum all over my face and Clear Advantage Spot Treatment on both cheeks.

I have gone from having 15-20 pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads on each cheek to having one or two very small papules (currently only on 1 cheek and not noticeable).  The key to the cure is the Colon Cleanse and the Digestion Plus.  This has been a miracle for me!  I hope someone reads this and benefits.  The products may seem expensive on the Arbonne website, but I can show you how to get them for 20-50% off.  I truly hope this helps...I know how hard it is to deal with acne, especially as an adult.
Avatar universal
hey starfish72, I think your input base on experience is very helpful  for I've read a while ago that stomach problems is a possible cause of cheek acne. For the past month or so i've had unusual stomach and abdominal noise, the causes are unknown. I'm willing to try the "Arbonne Herbal Colon Cleanse" but i couldn't find any for sale anywhere. Could you recommend another plz. thanks in advance
Avatar universal
My name is Bobby & I'm 31 years old.  I started to develop acne around age 20. Since then I've tried dozens of treatments: Differin, oral anti-biotics (thanks for the stomach aches), Proactive, Accutane, Green tea masks, chemical peals, facials, etc.  My adult acne ended up causing scarring on my cheeks.  Now that I've hit my early thirties, the acne has slowed down a little but the scarring, blemishes and clogged pores were still there. I am newly engaged and once I realized what was soon to follow (engagement photos, the wedding, wedding pics, etc.) I decided that I needed to get back into looking for something to get rid of my acne AND scarring.  My fiancé is newbie attorney who was approached with a business opportunity to get involved with a new company. Low and behold the company was created by the same dermatologists that created Proactive.  I loved Proactive, with the exceptions that it dried the crap out of my skin because it was made for teenagers and not grown men and it did nothing for my scarring.  I was happy for her to branch out with the new opportunity, but I was mostly excited because this new company created an ADULT ACNE regimen that addresses acne AND scarring! AND me being half italian/half assyrian, it has a separate oil control product that allows me to use it specifically to my need.  I'm not the type of person to go around recommending the things I like to my friends and family.... but after suffering with adult acne for +10 years and knowing the stress and embarrassment that comes with it, I will tell EVERYONE who is looking for help about this product line. Within 72 hours of use, all the bumpiness on my forehead was GONE, I haven't had a pimple, blemish or whitehead since I began using it. AND AND AND... the discoloration and scarring on my cheeks is diminishing. Anyone is welcome to send me a message via this site or just reply to this post.
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