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rein-a .04, spiro, etc!

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Day 62/day 45

having one of those days where i miss being on accutane and how awesome my skin was. i use duac on my back and chest, and recently ran out for a few days, so i broke out a little more. i'm remembering how easy it was to get out of bed or the shower, not have to apply medications all over, and still be confident that i didn't have acne. i used to struggle with acne on my back a lot--i would never wear my hair in a ponytail if i was wearing a tank top or bathing suit, and i hate feeling like i might be that restricted again. i definitely didn't take it for granted when i was on accutane, but i feel like i got a taste of what it's like to be low maintenance, natural, and comfortable--and i really miss it.

Day 60/day 43

def still purging...still have clogged pores coming out. i had a big red clogged pore pop up near my mouth on friday, and a couple small ones. i'm getting my period and i've figured out that weeks 5/6 are the worst for me with retinoids so it makes sense. the big clogged pore had a white head on it that was really deep, so i popped it out and now it's healing into a red spot. hoping it will go away soon.

Day 53/day36

not much new, except i did get a red spot near my mouth last night that had a whitehead on it this morning. it came off when i washed my face. the only other weird thing is that, after not having any issues with burning after applying tazorac in weeks, last night my face burned like CRAZY. i moisturized and by morning everything felt normal, but it was so random and uncomfortable. wonder why that happened out of nowhere?

Day 46/day 29

i'm feeling pretty cautiously optimistic about tazorac. my forehead looks smoother, pores look smaller. i'm still getting some clogged pores, but they come and go fairly quickly. spiro keeps working on my hormonal acne--haven't gotten one of those inflamed whiteheads in a couple weeks. i am still getting random red clogged pores on my jaw/cheeks, but they're not that noticeable, and i think it's probably from switching from retin-a micro to tazorac. i also really like the consistency of tazorac--spreads really easily and doesn't leave a film. i'm still getting some flakes but they're fine with moisturizer. i do get these weird plugs on my upper lip, that almost look like dry skin but can be plucked out with tweezers like they're hairs. anyone have any idea what those are?

Day 40/day 23

finally dealing with less peeling...before i would moisturize and everything was fine, but when i washed my face i was still rubbing off a ton of skin...that's better now. also switched to olay sensitive skin foaming face wash and i like it. bottom half of my face is doing well, and my forehead still has some bumps but looks a little smoother i think. i get primarily clogged pores/non inflamed acne on my forehead, and with tazorac i'm seeing the bumps come out, hang out for a few days, and then shrink down again pretty quickly, which makes me feel like it's working. i also got bangs! haha which helps in covering some of the bumps/makes me feel better about it. i had bangs before, when i was starting to use atralin, and i know they don't make my skin worse, which is good.

Day 28/day11

today is 4 weeks of using tazorac every day on my forehead...still very bumpy. it's so weird because yesterday i thought it looked awesome, and today it looks like the bumps are bigger. other than that nothing is really new, except for the fact that yesterday my face got super peely...not dry, just when i washed my face last night and this morning, a ton of skin was coming off easily. is that good? bad? i didn't have anything like that with retin-a micro...with retin-a micro when i peeled, i was also super dry.

Day 23/day 6

think i'm getting a little more into an initial breakout...a couple of the giant clogged pores on my forehead around my hairline have gone down, but more popped up. i have a few more clogged pores on my cheeks, and one of the whiteheads i had last week that went away has left a red mark...and i'm pretty sure another pimple is popping up in the exact same place. hate that! oil is still the same, sebaceous hyperplasia is about the same. i'm not adding anything new to my regimen for 12 weeks, but after that i'd like to try a toner to shrink my pores a little, and i've heard great things about paula's choice bha 9 specifically for sebaceous hyperplasia. good news is i'm only experiencing a little burning when i apply tazorac before the side effects are minimal...except my face is pretty red.

Day 21/day 4

3 weeks of tazorac on my forehead...i think the clogged pores are purging, especially around my hairline, but the good news is that they seem to be going away within a few days, instead of popping up and sticking around. i'm getting a few more clogged pores/red spots on the bottom half of my face, but nothing i can't handle. i'm not trying any new products until 12 weeks is up so i can see what tazorac can do!

Day 19/day 2

decided i should stop using misleading labels for these entries...i'm definitely not almost 300 days into tazorac, although i guess i am almost 300 days into spiro, which i still like. i'm at 19 days of tazorac on my forehead, 2 days of tazorac on the rest of my face. i used tazorac on and off every 3 nights, then 2 nights, leading up to this. i had some dryness problems when i first started, but since then i've been okay. when i wash my face there is still skin coming off on my fingers, which i take as a good sign because the tazorac is working through layers of skin. still a few more clogged pores on my forehead, although every so often i think my skin looks smoother. i have a couple of whiteheads on my chin, probably related to my period but who knows!

Day 328

the dryness/burning is subsiding, esp when i apply just a little bit of moisturizer around my mouth before using tazorac. that's good because probably my least favorite thing about retinoids is feeling like you can't move your face. when i was in high school and using retinoids (incorrectly), every time i smiled the skin around my mouth would crack...eek. a few of the clogged pores on my forehead have gone away, with a few more popping up mostly around my hairline. skin tone is pretty good, and the skin on the lower half of my face looks okay too...spiro still working! in the next couple of days i'll switch over to using tazorac on my whole face every night. i'm hoping that staggering this switch will keep me from getting an initial breakout everywhere all at once!

Day 324

i've been using tazorac on my forehead every night for a week now, and have been using it everywhere else every other night for almost a week (the skin on the lower half of my face is much for sensitive). eventually i'll use it every night. no problems so far, except some burning when i first apply it, and some dry skin around my mouth. i don't want to moisturize before i use it to lessen the strength/makeup of it, but i think i may start applying moisturizer around my mouth before tazorac, kind of as a barrier. i do have a few more clogged pores than normal, on my forehead and cheeks, and my pores/wrinkles on my face seem a little deeper. no change in the sebaceous hyperplasia yet. hoping this works!

Day 315

so i went to the derm last week, so told me that SOME (not all) of the bumps on my forehead are sebaceous hyperplasia...which you aren't normally supposed to get until you're in your 40s or 50s. lucky me! they're basically overgrown/damanged sebaceous glands, that form these flesh colored bumps that can't be popped. she put me on tazorac .1 (gel, not cream) and i've been using that every 3 nights for the past week. i had been considering upgrading retinoids anyway, and apparently they are supposed to shrink some of the sebaceous hyperplasia, as well as some of my remaining clogged pores. i've also read that higher levels (3% or so) of salicylic acid are supposed to be helpful. i like the tazorac's texture/consistency/color compared to retin-a...when i put it on it doesn't leave a whitish film everywhere, which is great. it does burn a little when i put it on, but i've been moisturizing about 20 minutes after applying, and everything has been fine. soon i'll start using it every other day. the annoying thing about sebaceous hyperplasia is that it may look like pimples/whiteheads...and if you pick them and you're wrong, you can do some damage. but if you don't extract them, and they are whiteheads, they may stick around much longer than necessary. i had one of those that i was resisting extracting in case it was SH...but popped it last night and i'm really excited it's gone. i only have about 3 or 4 very small SH bumps...but they're right in the middle of my forehead so in certain lighting it makes me look really bumpy, and makeup doesn't really cover.

my derm also gave me this really amazing otc product (that you still have to get from behind the pharmacy counter) called OC's a mattifying gel that you put on after moisturizer, but under makeup, and it's been great and keeping my makeup on/keeping me less oily!

Day 296

my forehead is so bumpy. i made a derm appointment for tuesday. i've been exfoliating with baking soda...i really like it but i'm definitely getting more clogged pores on my forehead. hoping it's purging because there was def still some stuff in there, but i hate waiting to find out if it's just a bad product or an initial breakout. i've also been trying to be better about taking off all my makeup before washing my face. i'm thinking about asking the derm for a stronger retinoid, toner or face wash...i've heard good things about prascion?

Day 280

bad skin day. my forehead looks suuuper bumpy. improvement, but not great. i feel like i need to exfoliate more but my skin is so dry. thinking about going back to the derm. this is so frustrating--i feel like i'll spend my entire life trying out different things to make my skin better

Day 269

quick update: ever since i switched toothpastes/starting taking my spiro with water, i have had probably 4 whiteheads in the last 3 weeks (significantly down). not sure if it's due to those changes or spiro finally taking effect--i've been reading that it can take 6 to 9 months, and i've been on it just about 9 months now. either way i'm happy! but now i'm wondering if i should switch over completely to retin-a .1 or if it's enough to just use that on my forehead. i'll have to call my derm about that i guess. i will say that my skin is super dry in the last week or so...but that might just be the weather?

Day 269

quick update: ever since i switched toothpastes/starting taking my spiro with water, i have had probably 4 whiteheads in the last 3 weeks (significantly down). not sure if it's due to those changes or spiro finally taking effect--i've been reading that it can take 6 to 9 months, and i've been on it just about 9 months now. either way i'm happy! but now i'm wondering if i should switch over completely to retin-a .1 or if it's enough to just use that on my forehead. i'll have to call my derm about that i guess. i will say that my skin is super dry in the last week or so...but that might just be the weather?

Day 255

now that my period is over, i haven't had a whitehead around my mouth in a week! part of it i'm sure is hormonal, but i've also started (actually following the instructions on my bottle of spiro) taking each pill with a glass of water. i'm wondering if maybe the water helps the medicine be better absorbed into your system? also, this is the end of week 11! of using retin-a .1 on my forehead. it definitely looks better--smoother overall. there's still a few clogged pores that i can see. i'm hoping that after 12 weeks it just keeps getting better.

Day 248

i'm having a good skin day...i can see a clogged pore on my forehead that's been there forever start to surface i think. i wanted to write this down because i'm hopeful about retin-a .1 and i don't want to forget that :)

Day 246

OF COURSE got another whitehead right in the middle of my cheek. all but one of the others have popped. ughhhhh have to give a presentation today, who doesn't love worrying about their skin while standing and talking in front of people

Day 245

UGHHH so tired of this. these stupid whiteheads around my mouth WILL NOT GO AWAY. they last for a day or so, pop and leave a red mark, then i get another one or two in the EXACT SAME SPOT. literally, the exact same spot. what would even cause that?

i was reading another thread on here about body dysmorphic disorder. while i don't necessarily think i'm clinically diagnosable, i do think that i have a lot of trouble not thinking about my skin--i think about it a LOT, which i know isn't healthy. i imagine that when people look at me, all they can see are these little red pimples...and that's not true. i believe that something is a problem if it lowers your self esteem, which definitely happens. however, i also believe that you need to have perspective. yes, my skin lowers my self esteem, but it's definitely not disfiguring, grossing other people out, making me completely unattractive, etc. sometimes you need to take a step back, do what you can to fix the problem, but also be aware that it's not as bad as you think it's just so hard when you see people with perfect skin who don't have to do anything complicated to take care of it!

Day 242

even though i think my forehead is still purging, it somehow looks better today. less oily? it's like individual clogged pores are emerging, which makes me hopeful, so even though you can see them the overall texture doesn't look as bumpy and gross. i remember this happened when i switched from atralin to retin-a .04...good sign!

Day 241

soo i'm about to get my period so i'm breaking out around my mouth. i thought it wasn't so bad but the whiteheads i've had this week have left little red marks longer than normal. plus everything looks worse in my office lighting (boo)

i'm almost done with 9 weeks of retin-a .1 on my forehead, and it still looks bumpy, so i guess i'm still purging a little. i have seen some improvement, but i'm hoping for more over the next 3 weeks or so.

Day 233

at about 8 weeks of using retin-a .1 on my forehead and i like it! in a few more weeks i will gradually start to use it on my whole face. in certain light, my forehead still looks bumpy, but it's definitely better. also, since switching to everyday minerals (the base with jojoba) my skin has been much better on the lower half of my face. this makeup also doesn't get flaky, which i love. on another weird note, i have a few little permanent (i think) bumps on my forehead that i believe are overgrowths of skin. i have about 3 of them. last night after i washed my face one of them was tender and hurt a little, almost like it was pushing itself out of the skin. i popped it gently, so now there's a little red mark there. i wonder if i got enough out for it to be gone for good, or if i just broke open the top of it? does anyone else get these? my dermatologist said it can happen when the skin grows too quickly in a particular spot, and they can be removed, but may scar?

Day 220

two more whiteheads came up last night, popped this morning. so gross. i also am seeing a couple clogged pores surfacing on my forehead. will switch my whole face over to retin-a micro .1 slowly, in the next couple of weeks. it seems like retin-a .04, in combination with spiro, was working on the bottom half of my face, but i swear i haven't been doing anything different and over the last few months i have consistently more breakouts...

Day 219

so my breakout of little red bumps around my mouth from yesterday became whiteheads and popped literally overnight...i'm left with red marks today and that's it. SO WEIRD! is this normal? what does that mean, if i get several whiteheads sporadically that literally go away in a day?

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