I suffer from cystic acne, which if I am honest is probably the worst condition anyone in their 20s could have. I’m slowly getting over the worst of my outbreak, and I’m insanely hopeful that it will have completely cleared by early 2014 (although before New Year’s Eve would be my dream come true). I’m on some crazy medication to treat them in the long run, but until they kick in I am relying on Quinoderm to keep my acne at bay.
I have a love-hate relationship with Quinoderm, and a complicated history with it. For those who have never come across this bad boy before, Quinoderm is a cream made with 10% benzoyl peroxide and 0.5% potassium hydroxyquinoline sulphate, although it comes in 5% for those with sensitive skin. My friend introduced me to Quinoderm when I first started getting acne at 16. Desperate to get rid of my spots, I slathered it on three times a day as instructed. It made my skin red and itchy but I was so desperate I didn’t care. That is, until I woke up on the third day with my face so swollen I could barely open my eyes and mouth. I was genuinely in shock, and instantly started bawling my eyes out both in disgust and in pain. Once I’d managed to calm down and choke back every single antihistamine in our cupboard (which is a lot: my dog has really sensitive skin and my brother has hayfever) I made an emergency appointment with the doctor, my heart set on getting a steroid shot to reduce my swelling. Ha. I was prescribed some moisturiser to ‘help with the dry skin’ and nothing to deal with my embarrassingly big red face.
It took four days for my face to return back to normal, all of which I spent hidden in my room crying because I was convinced it was a permanent change and living off ice cream because I was too depressed for real food. I vowed never to touch Quinoderm again, and luckily didn’t have too as my acne subsided.
Until now. This acne breakout has seen me try four different treatments before my doctor suggested benzoyl peroxide. I laughed off the suggestion, telling her I was allergic and that I couldn’t possibly, and she explained it wasn’t an allergic reaction, it was just due to the harshness of benzoyl peroxide. I still turned down her offer of prescription benzoyl, wanting to muse about it for a few days before took the plunge to finally buy Quinoderm once again. Hey, at £2.60 it is a lot cheaper than the prescription version!
Anyway, long story short (ish), I started using Quinoderm last month. I build up my usage really slowly, and although on the third day my skin was violently pink, it subsided by the next day, and within a week my acne was like 50% better. I still get spots on a daily basis, but instead of developing into painful, red cysts, they hover at mild pinky red lumps before disappearing after roughly three days. Quinoderm dries the hell out of my skin: the benzoyl peroxide basically burns the top layer of skin off and then potassium hydroxyquinoline sulphate kills the bacteria, so I have to use E45 cream a couple of times a day and coconut oil every so often just to prevent my skin from appearing flaky. With the dry weather, my skin is still extremely dry even with religious moisturising, but I’d rather have dry skin than active acne.
Quinoderm is not for the light hearted. I’ve let my friends use it a few times when they’ve had spots and they’ve complained about the burning itchy feeling that accompanies the cream, but my skin is used to it now. I’m looking forward to the day I no longer need to use Quinoderm, and can leave the house without a tube of moisturiser in my bag, but without it I couldn’t leave the house without a balaclava on and for that, it is my miracle cream and I will forever love it. I do think it is worth trying if you have acne, just bare in mind it’s not a miracle cure and it does have it’s negatives as well as the positives.