So, as the title says, I have been BP-free for a month now, and I just wanted to share what has been going on during the past month or so.
Just to recap, the reason I decided to go off of benzoyl peroxide was because of the multitude of side-effects which I was experiencing. My skin always looked dull and red (people would always ask if I was sunburnt), I had developed deep wrinkles around the side of my mouth which would make me look so much older, especially when I smiled, and I had clogged, enlarged pores all over my cheeks. To be short, my skin looked like crap.
As I have mentioned in my earlier posts, I have had acne twice in my teenage years - once when I was 15, and again when I was 17 (conveniently when I first started dating my boyfriend), but in each circumstance, I never had "severe" acne, just lots of small pimples (all over my face when I was 15; on my cheeks/chin when I was 17). I am saying this because for some reason when I went on the regimen, though it did work, I would get random cystic pimples throughout the year I was on it, which I thought was very strange seeing as I'd never had them before.
Back on topic, the past month has been very hard for me, going from being pimple-free (despite the random cyst) for nearly a year, to having pimples again. I do not want to deter anyone from going off of BP, but I'd think a break-out would be expected due to the skin being so depleted of moisture and being treated with such a harsh chemical for a long period of time. I'll try to simplify my experience so far as much as I can:
Preparing to quit: Using BP only at night time for 1 week:
During this week, I didn't really get too much of a negative response. I did not get any break-outs during this period, and I noticed that a lot of the redness and dryness subsided.
Note: I began using a tea-tree oil/witch hazel toner about 2-3 weeks with BP before I prepared to wean off, just to get my skin used to a new product.
Week 1 : Completely off BP:
I understand that my "wean" did not go as originally intended (I was initially planning to wean very slowly, but I guess my anticipation got the better of me). This was my first week off of BP; I noticed that I did begin to experience very small pimples popping up around my T-zone (I assumed this happened because my oil-production was no longer being supressed and this area tends to be the most oily). The pimples, while very small, tended to be quite stubborn and did not completely heal for at least a week or so.
The time period between the second and third week off BP was when I noticed the most break outs. They were still very small, but there would be more and more of them as the days passed. The main areas they would come up in was around my T-zone, forehead and chin. While I did begin to panic and worry that I'd relapse and go running back to BP, I persisted with my current regimen. I found that the pimples on my chin and forehead began to clear as I entered the 3rd week, but more pimples began to arise around my nose/cheeks. Also, it should be noted that by this time, the redness had completely faded, the clogged pores and enlarged pores had gone. The deep wrinkles around my mouth had also improved about 80%.
As mentioned above, my skin had begun to break out quite badly during the third week, but this began to improve around the 1 month mark. I developed 3 larger pimples around my left side of my face in the 3rd week, which were very inflamed in comparison to the other small, relatively un-inflamed pimples I had around my nose. Nearing the end of the 4th week (the last few days), I have had no new pimples for a week (exept one small one on my chin which I'm going to blame my lady hormones for), and the large, red pimples have reduced in size and faded quite well. The smaller pimples around my T-zone are also fading. So I'm hoping that I've endured the worst of it now (knock on wood). Also, boyfriend has even commented that my skin looks much healthier than it did whilst on BP, so I guess that's a plus.
I'll continue to update as the months progress. Feel free to leave a comment or any questions.