About Nerble

The reason that I enjoy writing for the Acne Expert Team is because I have had acne since becoming a teenager, and at the age of thirty, still struggle with it. I have mostly been able to control it, better now than when I was young, but it is something I am familiar with, and am familiar with the frustration of having it. I have spent over fifteen years of my life reading articles about what causes, and should treat, acne. I have a solid background and understanding of skin problems. I have tried a plethora of products to solve acne, and as I've aged seen what works for me. In addition to having a good basis for understanding acne, since I suffer from it myself, I believe I can relate to, and connect with readers of these articles.
Nov 11

Could Differin Make the Difference With Your Acne?

If you have severe acne, that does not respond to over the counter medications, no matter how strong, you doctor may choose to try a prescription medication to treat your acne. One of the prescription medications they might choose is Differin. Differin (also known as Adapalene) is a gel medication that is a form of Vitamin A, and is also a retinoid. Retinoids are known for changing the rate of skin cell growth and replacement. By increasing the rate of skin cell turnover, retinoids can help cure and prevent acne.

Differin is a gel formula that is applied daily, after cleaning your face, at night. It should only be applied as prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist. Applying too much, or too often, will irritate skin and make acne worse, not improve it faster.

What does Differin do?

Differin, as mentioned, is focused on improving skin cell replacement. By speeding up the replacement of skin cells, dead skin cells are sloughed off, keeping pores from becoming clogged. Not only does Differin speed up skin cell replacement, it also has exfoliating properties, which work bacteria and impurities out of the skin. This helps prevent bacteria and impurities from staying in pores, and therefore keeps pores from clogging. Differin also has anti-inflammatory properties, that help reduce swelling of current acne. By changing the way that skin replaces itself, Differin will help prevent future breakouts from happening, and lead to clear skin.

What are the side effects?

One of the largest side effects of Differin is causing break outs to become worse, at least at first. This is actually a sign that the acne treatment is working. Because Differin causes skin cells to replace themselves faster, and has exfoliating properties, dead skin cells rise to the surface faster than before. This can cause flaky, dry skin. Impurities are being forced out of pores and are also rising to the surface. This all works to create more acne, but only temporarily. Skin has to do a major turnaround to rid itself of the acne causing bacteria that has already built up. Once the bacteria and dead skin cells on the surface have been cleared out, skin will begin to improve, usually with dramatic results.

Other side effects are extreme drying of the skin, again this is usually temporary, and associated with getting rid of older skin cells. Using an oil free moisturizer can help relieve some of the dryness that occurs with using Differin. Another side effect of using Differin is that newer skin cells are more sensitive to sunlight, so many people find that they need to use sunblock when they did not before, even just to go outside for a few minutes. Additionally, people may notice that their skin becomes red, peels, or appears to be sunburned. These are normal side effects, but if swelling or pain occurs speak to your doctor immediately.

Will Differin work for me?

Differin is a very potent acne medication, and because of this, many people with dry or sensitive skin may have problems using it. I personally cannot use these types of topical medications because within two or three days it’s painful to even touch my face lightly. However, many people do have good results with Differin. The main issue that people have using the product is how long it takes to show results. Waiting two or three months after you start using a product to have skin clear up seems to be a rather long time. There are many other topical retinoid based medications that can be prescribed, and most have a faster turn around time. So, Differin will probably work for you, but the issue is if you can deal with dry, peeling, broken out skin for a month waiting for it to do so.

Nov 11

Can Azelex Get Rid of Your Acne?

If you have been struggling with acne, you’ve probably tried all kinds of different over the counter medications. If you still have not had success with these medications, sometimes a doctor or dermatologist will prescribe acne medication that is stronger than what you can buy at the store. One of these medications is Azelex. It is a gel that is applied twice a day, in the morning and evening, to skin that has been washed.

How does it work?

Azelex works a bit differently than most topical prescription acne medications. Most acne medications, even the over counter kind, focus on speeding up skin cell regeneration and replacement. However, Azelex works mainly through killing bacteria in the oil on your face that causes acne. Because it does not impact the way that the skin regenerates, it is somewhat less harsh than its counterparts, and side effects tend to not be as severe, or frequent.

Another way that Azelex is different from other prescription acne medications is that it reduces the amount of keratin present. Keratin is a naturally occurring protein that is found in skin; however, if there is an excess of keratin present, skin cells are not sloughed off as they should be, and pores become clogged. By working to keep pores clear of bacteria that cause acne, and keeping pores clear of dead skin, Azelex can help prevent breakouts from occurring.

What are the side effects?

As mentioned, the side effects for Azelex are less severe and frequent than other prescription treatments, but there are still side effects, because you are changing the way that your skin behaves. The first, as with most acne treatments, is that you may start breaking out, or see your acne become worse when you first begin using Azelex. This is normal, as the skin is adjusting to the medication, a breakout is part of the treatment process. Part of the reason for this is because as you are working bacteria and dead tissue from your pores, they have to go somewhere, and that is the top layer of your skin. So while a breakout may make it appear that skin is not getting better, it is actually an indication that the medication is working.

Aside from the initial breakout that may occur when you first begin using Azelex, you may also experience redness and drying of your skin, in addition to peeling or itching. As with many acne medications, Azelex forces new skin cells to be created, which are sensitive. Additionally, all the dead skin being removed from your face is now going to have to peel off, as it would if you had a sunburn. By using a high SPF sunscreen, and an oil free moisturizer, you can limit the irritation of most side effects caused by taking Azelex. Another rather uncommon side effect that people experience when taking the drug is hypopigmentation, or the lightening of the color of skin. This is most obvious on dark complected individuals, so be aware of this issue before you consider Azelex.

Most of these side effects are annoying, but they usually are not severe. If you have extreme pain, or an allergic reaction, stop using the medication and consult your doctor.

Will it work for me?

Azelex is very effective, and many people see better results from it than other topical prescription acne medications. It is not as harsh as many other prescription medications, and people are better able to stick with it; one of the main reasons acne products do not work is because people give up using them before results can begin to show. People that used Azelex usually saw results within two to four weeks, and skin then cleared up dramatically.

Nov 09

Could Accutane Fix Your Acne?

If you have severe acne, that has not responded to over the counter or prescription treatments, there is still one option that may clear up your acne. Accutane (also know and sold as Roaccutane or Isotretinoin) is a prescription strength acne medication that is prescribed when almost all other acne medications have failed.

What is Accutane? And how does it work?

Accutane is a vitamin A derivative that is taken in pill form. Oddly, while doctors do know what Accutane does, it is not sure how it does it, at least not on the cellular level. However, Accutante directly combats the way acne forms in the skin, clearing infections, and preventing future breakouts. It does this by reducing the size of the oil glands in the skin by up to 50%, and restricts the production of oil in these glands by around 80%. Because the bacteria that causes acne lives in oil produced by the skin, reduction of the oil produced greatly reduces the amount of acne causing bacteria in and on skin cells. Accutane also prevents clogging of pores by slowing the rate of skin cell production, thusly helping them keep from becoming clogged. Finally, Accutane has anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce swelling and appearance of acne.

As with most acne treatments, many people see an initial worsening of acne as the product starts to work. As skin changes, due to the medication, impurities in the skin are pushed out, and cause new breakouts to occur. Once this has completed, results are usually impressive. Acne is reduced partially or completely in 95% of Accutane users, a success rate unheard of in any other acne product. Acne recurrence after a course of Accutane is only about 33%, and can be treated successfully with another course of Accutane.

What are the side effects?

Hearing the incredible rate of success that Accutane offers, you may be wondering why doctors aren’t just prescribing Accutane to anyone that suffers from acne. The reason that Accutane is usually one of the last treatment methods is because the side effects from Accutane can be incredibly severe.

To begin with, Accutane causes a very high instance of birth defects. Accutane is not prescribed until a female patient can prove that they are on two birth control methods. People that take Accutane are told to not donate blood until they have stopped taking the medication for at least thirty days, because if they do, and a pregnant woman is the recipient of transfusion, this can lead to birth defects.

But the side effects from Accutane are not limited to birth defects. Accutane can cause depression like symptoms in patients taking it, and even cause people to consider taking their lives. Additionally, Accutane can cause convulsions, rectal bleeding, and weakness in bones that can lead to fractures. Less severe Accutane side effects include sensitivity to sunlight, poor night vision, problems hearing, loss of appetite, jaundice, flu like symptoms, and extreme drying of skin.

Is Accutane right for me?

If you have severe, apparently untreatable acne, Accutane will almost surely clear it up. The main question that anyone considering Accutane as their acne treatment method is if the benefits of taking Accutane would outweigh the risks of taking the medication. As you can see, the list of less severe side effects caused by Accutane would usually end up on the severe side effect list of almost any other drug. Because doctors understand what Accutane does, but not why, the side effects are numerous and can be difficult to combat effectively. So if you are thinking that Accutane may be right for you, be sure to have conversations with your doctor, and understand the risks before asking for a prescription.

Nov 09

Could a Birth Control Pill be Your Answer to Acne?

Most people are aware of what causes acne; pores are clogged, usually by an excess of oil, the oil traps bacteria in the pore, and that causes redness and swelling. However, the causes that trigger acne are not the same for every person. This is why a product may work wonders on one person’s acne, and has no impact on another person’s acne.

One of the major causes of acne in adults, especially women, is a hormonal imbalance. Because hormones are not balanced, this causes an excess of oil to be produced, which leads to breakouts. In addition to balancing hormones, birth control pills are known for limiting androgens, which also lead to increased oil production. Because birth control pills can help balance hormones, and reduce androgens, they are now being commonly prescribed to help combat acne in adult women. Many times when they are being prescribed for women needing acne treatment, rather than to prevent pregnancy, they can be prescribed in lower doses, which reduces the risk and severity of side effects.

Two of the most popular birth control acne medications are Yazmin and Ortho Tri-Cyclin. Both types of birth control are taken daily in the form of a pill, for twenty-one days a month, and then for seven days, a placebo is taken. It is recommended that this be taken at the same time every day for the medication to be most effective.

What are side effects?

The downside of taking birth control pills to treat acne is that there is a risk of side effects, and birth control methods tend to have a lot of them. While they are usually prescribed in lower dosages in cases when they are being used to treat acne, rather than prevent a woman from getting pregnant, side effects can still be an issue. Birth control generally tricks the body into believing it is already pregnant, which means the body stops trying to get pregnant. However, this can create a lot of changes in the way the body behaves, once it believes it is carrying a child.

Common side effects of most acne treating birth control methods include: stomach sensitivity and nausea, fluid retention and swelling of feet and ankles, weight gain, and spotting or irregular periods.

More serious, but rare, side effects are: blood clot related medical issues (stroke, heart attack, or a pulmonary embolism), coughing up blood, fainting, vision changes, and severe headaches. If any of these symptoms occur, you should get medical attention immediately.

Depending on the medication you are prescribed, and the dosage, you may also experience diminished (or non-existent) sex drive, increased appetite, mood swings, and mild depression. (These, as mentioned above, are related to the way your body changes to accommodate the fact that it believes you are pregnant.)

Does it work?

In most cases, birth control as an acne treatment is successful. The level of success tends to change from person to person, but most people saw a lessening of their acne. The issue that many people have, that keep them from continuing to use a birth control prescription as an acne medication, is that side effects often are worse than the issue they are treating.

I personally saw a reduction of my acne after taking Ortho Tri-Cyclin, but I also saw a twenty pound water weight gain, and started having wild mood swings. The Ortho Tri-Cyclin did work for my acne as it said it would, but I was miserable with my weight, and no one wanted to be around me because I was so grouchy.

Many people who had the best results from a birth control prescription as an acne treatment said they stuck with the birth control for several months, and then their body started to regulate, and many side effects went away. I will be honest, I couldn’t stand the side effects, but if you stick with it, this can be a very effective acne treatment.

As with any prescription medication, talk to your doctor about whether it’s right for you. Take things like family medical history in mind, and make sure you are prepared to deal with some side effects that may last for several months.

Nov 07

Proactiv Solution Review

One of the advantages of using an acne kit is that the every piece in the kit is designed to work together. Using a kit ensures that you will get the correct amount of acne fighting ingredients. Too strong of a concentration will cause dryness and irritation, not enough will not be effective. One of the more well-known acne fighting kits is Proactiv. It has been around for years, and many people swear by its acne fighting system.

What Does it Say it Does?

Proactiv promises to clear up breakouts quickly, and prevent them from returning. Using their cleanser, Proactiv states it will gently exfoliate skin, remove dead skins cells, and kill bacteria that cause acne. They say that their oil free toner will remove excess oil that clogs pores, and help skin appear less shiny. Finally, their repairing lotion promises to moisturize skin without clogging pores, while at the same time treating skin deep down to kill bacteria.


Around half of users state that the Proactiv line cleared up their skin within days. Some people do state that they have miraculous results, and say that they had tried a multitude of other products that did nothing, or made their acne worse. Several people said that though Proactive was pricey, it was well worth the cost, because it finally cured their acne.


It is very expensive. Proactiv promises a full money back guarantee, but good luck getting them to give it to you. Having dealt with acne since I was fifteen, and still struggling with it at the age of thirty, I promise you, if something worked, I would find a way to make my budget work to afford it, even if it was pricey. The issue with Proactiv is that it does not live up to its price. Having used it for a little over a month, it did zilch to help clear up my acne. I do have sensitive skin, so the upshot is it did not make my skin worse, which is frequently the case, but it didn’t do anything to make it better either. I know that there is no one acne product that works for everyone, and having sensitive skin I usually end up in the minority, where products that work for most people don’t work for me. However, looking at reviews online, I seem to be in the majority. It’s not so much that the product is bad, just that it is ineffective.

Does it Work?

The honest answer? Probably not. Most acne medications and treatment systems boast their active ingredients and concentrations, but I had to do some digging to find out that their system is based on benzoyl peroxide, and still have no idea what concentration of it they use. Most effective acne treatment systems use a combination of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide; it appears there is no salicylic acid present in the Proactiv line. This in and of itself doesn’t mean that the product doesn’t work, but many people stated no results using the Proactiv line. Most acne care products fail for one of two reasons; they are too harsh for a particular skin type, or people stop using them after a week. However, most people who stated no results used the product for at least a month, if not longer. This probably means that the concentration of benzoyl peroxide is too low to have an effect.

The bottom line with Proactiv is that there are people it works for, but I’d say you have a fifty percent chance at best of seeing results. Added to its steep price, there are far better, less expensive products, that do work.

Nov 07

Acnefree Review

One of the advantages of using acne kits is that the products are designed to work together. If you use a cleanser from one line, a lotion from another, and a spot concealer from yet another product line, you run the risk of these products causing irritation, or not working. If you can find a product line that offers an acne kit, they are usually balanced, and will keep from irritating out your skin, and making sure that you end up with all of the acne fighting ingredients you need to balance your skin. One company that offers a set of products to fight acne is AcneFree. Two of their most popular acne kits are the AcneFree Clear Skin System and the AcneFree Severe Acne Treatment System.

What does the AcneFree Clear Skin System do?

The AcneFree Clear Skin System includes a cleanser, toner, and lotion; the system says that it shows reduced acne within three days. It boasts a time released benzoyl-peroxide formula that works all day. The Acne Free system says that it works with all skin types and age groups. It promises to not only clear up current acne, but to also prevent future breakouts.

Does the AcneFree Clear Skin System work?

For most people yes. I don’t know of any acne product that works well for everyone, but most people who use the AcneFree kit have good results. The system requires a bit of dedication, many people who used it stated that their skin got better for a few days, and then broke out again. People that stuck with the AcneFree product for more than two or three weeks saw their skin clear up, and stay that way. Many skin care systems, while working to rid your skin of impurities, can have this type of effect. So while it is normal to assume that the skin care system you are using is not working, many times it is just going through the normal process of changing skin to help prevent future breakouts. Overall, the system worked well for most people who used it. No one can guarantee positive results with any acne treatment, but AcneFree Clear Skin seems to have a high success rate.

What does the AcneFree Severe Acne Treatment System do?

The AcneFree Severe Acne Treatment System uses a face wash, toner, repair lotion and a retinol serum to fight acne. This system also has a time released benzoyl-peroxide formula to fight acne all day; this system also includes retinol, which the standard system does not. Retinol is a form of Vitamin a, and plays an essential role in skin health. The AcneFree Severe Acne Treatment System states that it is specifically formulated to deal with acne that is resistant to most treatments, and has a 10% concentration of benzoyl-peroxide, the strongest concentration available.

Does the AcneFree Severe Acne Treatment System work?

This system has a high success rate with people who suffer from extreme acne. However, this is not recommended for people with sensitive or dry skin. Additionally, if you do not suffer from severe acne this could make your acne worse. It is designed for people who suffer from extreme acne, and the level and concentration of treatments are designed with that in mind. Using chemicals that are too strong for your type of acne will not help, or make it heal faster. That said, the responses to the AcneFree Severe Acne Treatment System were overwhelmingly positive.

People who used the system often said that they had tried many other acne systems, with no results. Because of the aggressiveness of the treatment, people had results within days. Please note that most people said that their skin dried out; this is one of the side effects of the retinol and benzoyl-peroxide. If this occurs to a degree that is irritating, an oil free moisturizer can help alleviate some of the symptoms. (Please note if drying is severe, or painful, stop using the product. As mentioned, this is a very strong treatment system, and does not work for all types of skin.) Most of the people who did not have success stopped using the treatment due to excessive irritation of skin; however, those that did not have an excessive or painful amount of drying were able to successfully clear previously untreatable acne.

Overall the AcneFree kits seem to work well for most people. Again, I don’t know of any acne treatment with even close to a 100% success rate, but the chances are, one of these systems will work for you.

Nov 06

Oral Antibiotics: Now Used to Treat Acne

If you have been dealing with acne that does not respond to regular treatment, there are a few stronger options that may still help you get rid of your acne. One of those options is to use an oral antibiotic to treat your acne. One of the main causes of acne is bacteria getting trapped in pores. This inflames the pore, and causes swelling and redness. Because antibiotics can kill bacteria, some doctors and dermatologists have begun prescribing antibiotics to treat acne. One of the advantages of an oral, rather than a topical application, is that it treats all skin, including acne on the back and other parts of the body. Other advantages of oral antibiotics for acne treatment are that it is very effective, and in most cases improvements are visable within a few weeks.

How does it work?

Antibiotics reduce the number of bacteria in and around pores. They also lower the concentration of free fatty acids in sebum, so there is less swelling and inflammation of the affected areas. Additionally, antibiotics reduce chemicals produced by white blood cells that can cause swelling and irritate the skin. Antibiotics not only treat current acne, but also help prevent outbreaks from returning, and reduce their severity when they do occur.

Oral antibiotics usually start out with higher dosages, that decrease after a few weeks of use. The most common antibiotic prescribed for acne is Tetracycline. Dosages range from 250 mg to 500 mg twice a day, depending on the severity of the acne. It is most effective when taken on an empty stomach. Another popular antibiotic is Erythromycin; you do not have to take it on an empty stomach, but it has been known to cause nausea and upset stomachs. Other common antibiotics prescribed to treat acne are Minocycline, Doxycycline and Clindamycin.

Pros and Cons?

Most people who use oral antibiotics to treat their acne have very good results. This method is used frequently for people who do not respond to over the counter or prescription topical acne treatments. Many people, even with cystic acne, report that within weeks their skin is incredibly clear, and breakouts have almost completely stopped.

There are some downsides to taking antibiotics to treat acne though. To begin with taking antibiotics can interfere with birth control, and pregnant women are recommended not to take them. The most common issues people run into are upset and sensitive stomachs, but this can be combated by following instructions given for when and how to take the medication. Additionally, people have found that eating probiotic foods help combat associated nausea. People may experience sensitivity to the sun, and need to wear sunscreen in situations where it was not needed before. Depending on the strength and type of antibiotic prescribed, some women experience yeast infections, because the antibiotic kills all bacteria.

Additionally, the body and bacteria that causes acne will eventually become immune to the antibiotics. So this solution, though usually effective, is not permanent. Stronger prescriptions may extend the effectiveness of the treatment, but it is not a good idea to have large doses of daily antibiotics. Long term, high dose, antibiotic use can lead to liver problems, and a weakened immune system.


Oral antibiotics are a very effective solution for getting rid of acne, and they work in many cases that other treatments do not. However, the remedy is only a short-term solution, and there are a range of side effects from minor to rather serious. Long term antibiotic usage is not a good idea, and after several months the treatments become less effective. Anyone looking into using oral antibiotics should make sure they weigh the possible risks of taking them, versus the high success rate this acne cure has.