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Tretinoin Experiment

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Baby oil as a pre cleanser or cleanser is breaking me out terribly. My chin area is particularly worse. It is totally my fault. I just wanted to fix my flakes and remove my sunscreen and it turned out a worse breakouts. However the breakouts are not very deep and big. Hopefully........

I am now using purity made simple cleanser and Vaseline creamy formula.

Biore blue shake bottle broke me out (used for about a week)

Facecotz really emphasizes my dry flakes (used for about a month)

Neutrogena pure and free baby seems to break me out (used for about 2 days)

Current status

I think I have gone through the terrible IB. Now no active pimple but I have some non-inflamed whiteheads on my right cheek near my mouth area and my chin. (The kind that can only be seen when you stretch the skin) Still blackhead on nose. A lot of red mark left behind which can be covered with makeup easily.



Cetaphil Daily Cleanser (Sometimes I just wash with water if I am in shower)

Burnout Spf 32

Almay foundation

Mac studio select or Naturactor Concealer

Chanel or Bobbi Brown or MUFE or Ben Nye Powder (Sometimes I do not powder)



Wet Cotton pad to remove most greasy

Cetaphil daily cleanser

Vanicream moisturizer

Wait 30 mins or so

Tretinoin 0.05% (Pea size for whole face and neck)


Well as of today 9/3/11 past 12am

I bought new foundation Almay clear complexion with sal acid one. It is pretty watery compare to my Nars but for me this is a good thing since I there is no pump comes with either bottle so I am able to pour it our quicker.

The color matches my skin tone very well. Buff

So far so good bout this foundation. I like it better then nars since it helps the shininess of my sunscreen better.

I also start a log on personal regime log under the tretinoin one. I posted some of my IB pictures to document the progress of the effect of tretinoin for reference.

As for the review for the Vanicream spf 60

I really like it. It is like the moisturizer, it truly hydrates my skin. It might feel thick at beginning but once it is rubbed in, my skin feels very comfortable.

But the biggest drawback of this is that it is pretty shiny until it is fully absorbed which will take some time. I can never be able to wait since I always get up late, so I simply blot with a tissue and put on powder.

As the title. Mainly around my mouth and chin. Basically lower part of my face. Especially worse on chin. I know chin will be my worst part of IB since my chin is very prone to cyst nodules. Anyways, please give me the strength to survive thru.

BTW, I am not going to spot treat with BP anymore but simply use tretinoin.

And to mention I am still in love with Vanicream and the spf 60. I combat the shines by mixing with Almay foundation the one with Sal acid which I am liking at the moment.

I have not found any cleanser I really like at the moment.

I am going to seek some comfort on messageboard. ;(

Current regime


Cetaphil daily cleanser

Vanicream spf 60 mix with foundation I am like almay right now.

concealer So important to give me more confident.


Neutrogena foaming


wait 30mins

Tretinoin (every day now since the flaky is not that bad. It is the degree I can still manage to moisturize so it is not very obvious)

I always try to pop my zits because I want to release some pressure of the pimple. I also feel that every time when I get to pop something out the pimples actually heal faster. I always do such thing even if I try not to squeeze hard, but I certainly did not do it gentle.

Sigh.....I just want to get over faster.............

I can not even talk to my BF bout my issue cuz I feel embarrassed....

I know tretinoin is certainly helping my complexion because my nose is a lot smoother.(knock on wood)


I have been using Vanicream for several days and still very satisfied with how it help me skin. And I have been using Vanicream spf 60 for 3 days or so and it feels very wonderful on my face. It feels very moisturizing and not oily at all, my skin can still breath. But the very flaw of this product to me is that it takes very long to be absorbed fully. It looks like I sweat a lot all over my face. So after apply this, I will use tissue to blot, and this helped a bit. All in all, I like this spf as well. It serves my skin's needs (relief dryness and flaky and doesn't make me break out) but doesn't serve as good base for under makeup. I will keep on sort things out to satisfy all the needs of my face.

Since I am in the purging phase, now I do not bother to count my zits on my face for now, it's too frustrating and discouraging. As long as my skin feels comfortable, not dry and looks overly flaky or looks old and oily, I think I can live with it. I know I have quit a lot of under-skin bumps, the purging is going to be tough. I will have to stick the regime and expecting the beautiful skin of mine.

I bought a tube of Queen Helene mint clay mask. Used it once, it stings bad at the beginning and goes away. Help to calm my zits somehow.

BTW I will not use jojoba on my face anymore.



Cleanser(cetaphil gentle, cetaphil daily)

Vanicream spf 60



Cleanser (Neutrogena foaming)



Kett foundation is a very light and sheer foundation. Ok foundation to even out skin but doesn't cover up pimples. I bought sample size, which turned out to be darker than my skin tone. If I am going to buy full size, I will need to buy the fairest one.

I figured I want to document some products I have used.


Cetaphil cream

Greasy feeling, just sit on top up my skin, doesn't help flakiness very much, however I do not think it breaks me out. I have two cats and now it is kind of allergy time for me, because this cream it so greasy that cat hairs would stick on my face, every time I applied it, I sneeze like crazy. doesn't burn my dry skin.

Cetaphil lotion

Greasy feeling, just sit on top up my skin, doesn't help flakiness very much, once I used it on my boyfriend's dry skin face, even he was saying it is too oily. I used it when I first used differin, due to I wasn't using differin correctly, my face not only was very dry but was raw and hurt that time. This lotion burned if I applied under such skin condition.

Aqua urea lotion

helped my flaky at the beginning but after a while it sting my face and made it even more dry and flaky. very sticky and heavy. made my skin coarse.

Clinique yellow lotion gel

Pretty light but not moisturizing enough. it has a light menthol feeling. runs out pretty quickly. don't remember if that breaks me out.

Clinque antioxidant lotion for combination skin

pretty light but not moisturizing. even tho it is light but would make face oily 5 mins after application.breaks me out.

CeraVe cream

drys to a matte finish. contains a lot of silica in it. balls on me every now and then. feels moisturizing but actually not. just sit on top of skin. do not help with flakiness. breaks me out. will burn somehow if face is dry (not raw).

Embryolisee lait cream

drys to a satin finish. feels moisturizing but not help with flakiness. somewhat lighter than cetaphil. I tried this on my BF's dry face and he did not say and complain anything. I think this breaks me out.


Used it for twice until now. so far so good. feels very sticky at the beginning but once it set, the finish is matte and smooth. will test out for longer time and update.


philosophy help me retinol (only at night)

my skin will look more even every time I used it. but I donno the retinol percentage of it. long ingredient list. not very sure if this is breaking me out. maybe it is helping to purge out the micro comedones.

BP (neutrogena 2.5%, clearasil 5%)

totally drys my skin. feels tight and unconformable after application. I have tried Dan's regime before and totally didn't like it. use for spot treat. causing free radicals. don feel it really helps with spots but simply drys my skin. there was no overnight improvement of the spot. I just would use it because it's allegedly killing acne bacteria.

Alpha hydrox dry skin lotion

Totally stings no matter how I use it. greasy. dry my skin but help with the acne. I tried use it as spot treatment but there was no overnight improvement of the spot.

Tretinoin cream Generic 0.05%

Currently using this. will stick to it in hope that it will control my acne and comedones. 7/23/11 was my first day of using this. I kinda wanted to start it very slow, until "I feel my skin can handle", I tried to apply it every night or every other night (primary). If I get too flaky, I will simply stop it for a couple of days until "I feel" I am able to handle it again. Being very flaky is not totally due to this, I am also using BP as spot treat. the worse flaky normally happens on my spot treated area since I would also pop pimples or comedones.


Shiseido Ultimate sun cream spf 55

drys matte, pretty light, I liked it but it's hard to remove. goes well under makeup. I think it made me more blackhead. expensive for such small bottle

Sofina - Perfect UV (UV cut milk Extra Block) SPF 50 + PA +++

watery consistency, light, matte, I liked it. goes will under makeup. hard to remove. kinda dried my skin

Elta UV Physical SPF 41

tinted, darker than my skin tone, grainy feeling. skin feel tight after applied. matte. ok product. ok under makeup

Elta UV Clear SPF 46

Balls up on my badly. shiny and somehow greasy. don agree with my makeup.

Eucerin everyday spf 30

same texture as Elta UV Clear. shiny and somehow greasy. OK under makeup


The bodyshop tea tree gel cleanser

cleanse effectively. skin feel tight after washing. don burn. contains SLS

Neutrogena gentle cleanser

do not cleanse at all. have to use several times to wash off my makeup. nice morning cleanser tho. skin don feel tight after washing. burns little.

CeraVe Gentle cleanser

do not cleanse at all. have to use several times to wash off my makeup. nice morning cleanser tho. skin don feel tight after washing. burns bad.

Neutrogena foaming cleanser

cleanse effectively. skin feel a little tight after washing. don burn.

Cetaphil gentle cleanser

do not cleanse at all. have to use several times to wash off my makeup. nice morning cleanser tho. skin don feel tight after washing. don't burn. contains SLS

Cetaphil daily cleanser

cleanse effectively. skin feel a little tight after washing. burns little.

I will go buy burnout sunscreen and vanicream spf 60 and then test them out.


I went and bought vanicream spf 60. I couldn't wait and tried it on my hand. It feels very smooth and moisturizing yet not greasy. I tried it on my BF's face, he really likes it. I got home and washed my face then tried it on my face, it's very hard to rub in. But once it is rubbed in, it drys to a very satin finish, which is ok for me. I also tried it under a new foundation I bought (kett). I will test it out further and update.

random note:

even tho my skin is flaky but it is still oily at the same time. however I tried apply nothing on my face before bed, my skin woke up with somehow matte. So I am thinking my skin gets oily primary due to the products I use. I want to keep my skin hydrated to make it more tolerable to the treatments. even tho I feel my skin is under purging phase, I still want it purge out beautifully instead of getting more pimple because of irritation.


Well I feel my skin is undergoing a purging phase which is frustrating. It is dry all over especially on the areas where have pimple which looks very flaky and peel-y especially obvious after applying sunscreen and make up. And I am having 5 active zits on my face (1 on my right cheek, today newly formed 1 my chin, 1 on my left chin near mouth, 1 on my upper lip skin to the left, 1 above my right eyebrow).

As for the skincare products, since I have never find a HG products, I always like to test out things. If I do not like the product, here in the states have very good return service, therefore I will simply keep the receipts, I will just return them. So trying out new things is not hurting my wallet.

I had return CeraVe cleanser which makes my skin burn. I was wanting to try CeraVe pm lotion since it has Niacinamide, but I figure regular CeraVe cream is not hydrating my face and making me breakout, so I just returned it without actually tried it.

I also kinda came back to embryolisse cream. It feels a little nicer than cetaphil but they both the same just feel they just sit on top of my skin without giving hydration. Not to mention they both are shiny and greasy on my skin tho embryolisee is a litter better then cetaphil. Because I really do not like the cetaphil feeling on my face , I substituted embryolisee for a couple of days. I kinda have the feeling that embyolisee is making me breakout. And I looked through embryolisee's ingredients, I saw there are some very pore clogging ingredients in it. I know I am changing product too often which is making me confused that if the product really breaks my out or it is the worsen period I am undergoing. I even suspect jojoba is also making me breakout.

Today I finally bought Vanicream. I first tried it on my hand as soon as I got home and it feels very heavy and sticky which I kinda could not bear then I washed it off. Then I try it again and waited a litter longer this cream actually absorbed into the skin and drys matte and smooth which is very impressive. My skin feels pretty good right now apart from the oiliness of the jojoba.

Anyways, my current skin care routine


Cetaphil gentle cleanser

(maybe vanicream since it is not shiny and heavy at all once it is absorbed and dry)

Eucerin sunscreen

Make up ( I was using Revlon colorstay but really feel this is making breakout)


(Jojoba pre cleanse)

Cetaphil cleanser for oily skin or neutrogena foaming cleanser

Vanicream with jojoba for the first day

Tretinoin(every other day, if my face gets too flakey, I will just stop tretinoin until whenever my skin feel being able to tolerate it again)

I am thinking stop use BP for spot treatment but use tretinoin alone. I do not feel BP has any positive effect on my pimple but irritate and dry them further and causing free radicals on my face, making me not able to use tretinoin.


I think I am totally in love with jojoba oil since yesterday I tried that out as a "exfoliate". Today I went home and used it as a whole face makeup remover, massaged it and washed it off with my cleanser. I do not concern if oil left on my face. Apply moisturizer as usual. Now I am in the process of waiting and then apply my tretinoin.




Spot treat with BP

Makeup (Nars foundation)





wait for 20 mins


False alarm about the forming zit on my right cheek. Maybe due to jojoba's anti inflammatory property.

big one zit near my left ear has reduced, looks like it will heal by it own without popping out.

some red soft bump along my right eyebrow. A little tender and sore when touch. Hope it will be gone when I wake up.


I went to walmart and bought a Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion, SPF 30 to reduce my morning routine of applying moisturizer and sunscreen.

I first used it yesterday morning. Makeup glided on it well. In addition this lotion seems to help to brighten my complexion. So far so good.

Actually I already had used this lotion before when I was using alpha hydrox. It was the time when My friend told me my skin look old due to excessive dryness. Then recently I found a beauty blog call from head to toe she highly recommended it so I kind of went back to the lotion to try out again to see if this agrees to current skin condition (blackheads, some zits here and there). I will keep here updated.

Still want to try burnout sunscreen because it has very high percentage of zinc oxidant. I love my sunscreens have this as active ingredient.






Cleanser + (Jojoba)

(Bioderma cleansing water for sensitive skin)

Moisturizer + Jojoba

Wait for 20 mins or so


One big underskin zit near my left ear where I do not normally break out. bumpiness on my nose due to blackhead and along my right eyebrow where has many underskin harden sebum.

Mini update



a little embryolisse on sides of my face and neck


Makeup ravlon color stay foundation



Jojoba oil massage




Feel a forming zip coming on my right cheek


The regime for past days were pretty much the same.

Now only one active pimple on between my eyebrows toward right.

I do not think I will use the alpha hydrox lotion on my face again since not only it stings so bad and greasy feeling, but also every time after applied it, I woke up with no improvement for my skin texture. I was using that because I was trying to get rid of flakiness. It did not help at all but worsen it.

My skin seems to tolerate tretinoin well. Somethings I will skip a night or two for spot treatment using BP.

Will stick to tretinoin and hope to see continuing improvement of my skin.

I am going to try out new sunscreen called burnout.



AM routine


Embryolisee cream



PM routine

Cleanser + Jojoba

Moisturizer + Jojoba

I was testing out if Embryolisse is that magical. Compared to Cetaphil, it dries quicker but not a matte finish. As for the hydrating lasting power, I couldn't tell yet. Did not make me break out after one time using.

Last night I am too tired, so I didn't use any treatment.


AM routine




Skin texture is getting even. Flakiness is worse on the areas prone to break out (blackheads area and pimple). Maybe is due to I tend to pick at them quite often.

One active zit beside my mouth to the right.

I am thinking to use my Alpha Hydrox Dry Skin Lotion tonight.

Update PM routine for day



wait for 40 mins

Alpha Hydrox Enhance Lotion

Spot treat with BP

Flaky is going on. Three active right now...... Bugger!!!!!

One on my left side of forehead near hair. One on my left side of my nose near nose tip. Old one beside my mouth to the right.

I have to quit such bad habit that I pick on my pimples. :)


AM routine





PM routine

Cleanser + Jojoba

Moisturizer + Jojoba

Wait several hours (I was doing other things)

Tretinoin (So I put this babe at my bedside)

Pop out the giant one on my cheek, also the underskin harden sebum which was about to become a pimple on my chin. These two are kinda inactive right now.

One active beside my mouth toward right. Although is hard and underskin to the touch, it is not sore or anything.

Fail to resist the temptation, I picked my blackheads on my nose a little bit and the harden sebum beside my mouth to the left.

Now my skin is somewhat flaky but I do not feel dry or uncomfortable. So I believe tretinoin is working but not inflaming on my skin.

Overall skin color look more even and whiter.


Well I had my final exam and was doing good. :wacko:

7/29/11 routine PM

Jojoba oil as cleanser

Wipe with washcloth

wait for several hours while at the same time preparing for my exam


ps since I did not experience any bad dryness or peeling so I just used it.

7/30/11 routine AM






7/30/11 routine PM

Cleanser + Jojoba oil

Moisturizer + 2 Drops of jojoba

Wait for 20 mins

Spot treat with BP

ps I feel like to disinfect my pimple to bring them down further so I did not use tretinoin tonite.

More even overall skin tone when I woke up but acne stains around my lower mouth's pretty bad.

2 active zits. Small underskin beside my mouth to the right; giant evil underskin on my right cheek.

2 harden underskin sebum from previous healed pimple. One beside my mouth to the left; one on my lower chin toward right. Hope these two won't become pimple again. Instead, please tretinoin help to "gently" push them out.


By the end of yesterday when I was working, there was a evil nodule forming on my right cheek where I rarely breakout. :wacko:

The one on my chin is deflating.

PM routine before bed


Wipe off with washcloth


wait for 20 min


AM routine I just did

I experimented using my moisturizer as a cleanser, if this works fine, then I won't need to purchase cleanser since cetaphil is a giant big tub which I basically only use on my face.

Wipe off with washcloth


wait for 30 mins

Spot treat with BP on the newly formed and inflated evil nodule on my cheek and the deflated one on my chin. There is one I just discovered when I was spot treating beside mouth on the right. Bugger!!

No flakes so far since I like to put extra attention on keeping skin moist. No makeup can hide a peeling face.

I think jojoba oil has arrived in my mailbox.

Quick Update:

Moisturizer as a cleanser is not working. It made my face oily to the extend that I can't bear.


Wow, today I woke up with one active acne on my chin (same one) but I can tell which is healing well. My overall complexion is getting even. I don't know if it's because of tretinoin around a week ago I started using or the regime.

As for the blackheads, since I started adding washcloth to my cleansing routine, are reduced dramatically! I still have blackheads but not the bumpy big ones that I can feel when I run my fingers over. My giant pores look much cleaner! In addition, my flakes are also reduced.

Apart from the active zit on my chin, I still have post acne stains here and there.

I will still keep everything posted to track how products works for my skin.

PM routine yesterday before I went to bed

Cleanser (applied on dry face then circular massage)

Wipe off with washcloth soaked with warm water


20 mins

Philosophy Help me

Spot treat the zit on my chin with BP

AM routine I am about to do when I finish this :wacko:

Cleanser (regular way of using since I will be in shower)

Washcloth serve as double cleanse and exfoliate



I am thinking I will use Philosophy on the nights when I don't use tretinoin.

Well tonite will be my second time of using Tretinoin. I am thinking if I should change to use tretinoin every three days since I am fine with using once a week.

Let's defeat evil acne!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I woke up with overall ok condition. No new pimple forming.

Used washcloth this morning. I think I am addicted to the after feel of using washcloth. :wacko:

Popped a whitehead on bridge of my nose between my eyes. One active pimple on chin.

Minimal flaky on overall face. Makeup glides on easily.

AM routine



Physical sunscreen


Powder foundation


I searched online bout tackling flakiness and I found this website called savvy skin which is useful.

So I went to Walmart, bought a stack of washcloth, and tried that as soon as I got home. Wow, the flakiness is all gone by gently rubbing with such ugly clothes! It actually felt really comfortable after using washcloth! It reminds me of my mom used wet towel to wipe my face when I was little.

Now I only got one active pimple on my chin.

I bought jojoba oil in order to combat my flakiness I might face in the future.

PM routine the same. I did not use totally effect. I used help me after 30 mins of moisturizing on my nose and around eyes.


I woke up with improved skin condition today. Now I have four active zits on my chin, right part of my forehead close to my brow and top edge of my left brow and left jawline (where the first time I got pimple :naughty: ) those I think will become inactive by tomorrow. :wacko: I haven't developed giant blackheads on my nose for bout 4 days. Maybe I had picked them out and just not being long enough to grow back? or tretinoin is working. (hopefully)

When I was doing my night regime, I added Olay totally effect after cetaphil, wanting to add some antioxidant. Then wait for 30 mins then spot treat with BP. I am suspecting if it's olay made me break out on jawline where I NEVER break out though it was just one little surface pimple or this is only a very rare incident?

I will keep on experimenting with Olay.

I am also experimenting a new sunblock (Biore)

Today's morning regime

Cerave cleanser

Olay total effect

Biore sunblock.

Spot treat with BP


Today I woke up with overall ok condition of my skin. I feel even though cetaphil is greasier than cerave, it truly does not clog my pore as oppose to cerave being a matte finish but due to too much silica, clogging my pores.

I popped one pimple on top edge of my eyebrow which come to head. Other pimples looks healing pretty well since they are not as swelling or red or too sore.

I can say tretinoin is truly a powerful med helping to regenerate skin because it has been 4 days since I first applied, my face is under flaky phase. As long as it's being acceptable flaky instead of a inflamed red sore overly dry tight face , I can hang on there.

When I was apply makeup for going out for Harry Potter, I used tiny amount of Cerave cream and my physical sunscreen beforehand to prep my skin. There was no balling up so I figured it might be my other sunscreen would just ball up easily. Also my flakiness will get emphasized by my foundation so l think that crerave cream doesn't take care of flakiness well. Even though cetaphil cream is greasier, I would probably just stick with it from now on.

Even when I have changed my cleanser to cerave/neutrogena, my face still pretty dry yet oily at the same time. As one can imagine the picture will not be pretty with makeup on but bearable. I feel the only difference between the cleanser before and after is that my face does no feel tight after wash anymore.

I have washed my face and applied cream. I pushed out some pus form the zit on my left eyebrow and used tweezers pull out several blackheads on right side of my nose. Around 3 red pimples appeared on my right part of the forehead and one on top edge of my left brow toward the end. Hope it is the purging out from tretinoin because I always feel underskin bumps when I run through my fingers over that area.

Going to spot treat with BP


Even though I searched the reviews of Vaniceam, I think I've got to try by myself. But I still have two big tubs of Cetaphil and Cerave, so many later :wacko:

My skin condition is pretty much the same except there is little one pustule which I popped. I just could not stand white gross pus stick out from my skin. I messed around with my little nodules on my chin, I managed to push out something like harden sebum. They are still there and still sore when touch.

The twins went down a lot. No pus appear but there are still hard underneath. I will just leave them to heal.

The one on left edge of my nose became a bump to the touch. I will just ignore it since it cannot be seen.

The one on left eyebrow still pretty sore but also went down pretty good. No pus appear though. The newest one on my right eyebrow is pretty swelled. Not as sore as yesterday. No pus appeared either. They are covered the hair so not really noticeable.

I also pushed out some blackheads on nose and whiteheads between my eyebrow and on my forehead. According to the acne info at this website, I should not pick it but wait it to heal themselves. My derm also told me the same thing. I will try to resist the temptation to pick at them.

It has been three day since my first time using tretinoin.Very minor peeling allover my face and neck.

I think I am not adding alpha hydrox to my regime since over exfoliating is not good for the skin.

My regime yesterday night:

Cerave cleanser

Cetaphil cream

wait 30 mins

apply ointment to where I popped my skin

spot treat with neutrogena BP

Well, I finally wake up. I used my AM regime and when I applied my sunscreen it balled up but it was fine for past two days...... Weird.

Sign, I pretty like Cerave cream. It drys pretty quickly and not greasy or shiny or sticky, feeling like it added a lot a silica thing. But maybe because of the silica thing it balled up with my sunscreen. I had to wash it off and apply Cetaphil cream instead which I do not like as much since it's some how shiny after application. I also had tried Cetaphil lotion before but it was even greasier than its cream version. From now on I will stick with Cetaphil cream.

Anyone has tried Vanicream?

When I first wake up I always examine my face to see if I have new spots. I hope someday I can quit this pathetic habit.

My overall face condition looks ok without wearing glasses to see. :wacko: Not red or peeling. everything is hidable by concealer.

The biggest zits on my lift cheek seem to go down a little. (These two zits are so close to each other as like one so it looks pretty massive)

I am thinking to add back my alpha hydrox lotion to my regime when the nights I don't use tretinoin. Because even though the two are both pretty exfoliant to me, they work on different layers of the skin. But I am worried the over dry and irritated face would come back. Even though I have oily skin, I got irritated and flaky pretty easily by wrong products or wrong way of using. Anyways now I will always keep it slow and add up things gradually instead of pile on the face in hope of over night miracle will happen. I will keep on experiment.

Acne have been on my face for so many years, as long as they are coverable by makeup, I can bear with them without too hurting my confident. :naughty:

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