Sooo...today is the day that I decide to create a blog of my acne experience. I'm doing this to tell other people what will or won't help me over the next months (6-12 months), and to help me keep track of my progress. Another reason was because I couldn't find answers to many questions through a plethora of google searches (such as when your face gets through the purging stages of stopping benzoyl peroxide cold turkey).
Let me start off with my acne story...
The earliest I can remember having acne is in the 6th grade, thanks to a fellow classmate pointing out that I had "bumps" on my forehead. My skin was normal back then (unlike the super oily skin I have now), but, like my fellow classmate had described, I had bumps of acne on my forehead. I'm positive these weren't cysts or even whiteheads and blackheads. I just remember them being annoying bumps that weren't really inflammed, possibly comedonal. Looking back, I'm not sure if it is more than a coincidence that my brother's and my acne developed after moving to another state (since the climates were about the same) If I had to decide, I would contribute my acne to hormonal changes since I started having my period that year or the year before. My straight bangs that covered just my forehead and genetics (my father's side) were probably helping as well.
My acne over the next few years (7th, 8th, 9th grade) are a blur to me now. I can only remember having a lot of acne on my forehead and nose and maybe a cyst or two every few months.
The year I started to seriously treat my acne was the summer before my sophomore year. My brother had gone to a dermatologist (probably around April or May) for his acne. His acne was much worse than mine: cystic-especially around chin area, and oily skin. Mine was comedonal, blackheads, whiteheads, and a cyst every month or two on the nose, forehead, and cheeks with normal skin. If I had acne on my chin, it was usually a cyst. The dermatologist told him a skin care regime that would eventually become mine. Unlike my brother, I decided to wait until summer started (start of June) to begin my new regime. This was the regime:
Wash face (Aveeno Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser w/ 2.5% salicylic acid)
Use clean finger to dab liquid clindamycin phosphate 1% on problem areas
Use pea sized amount of benzoyl peroxide 5% to problem areas (soon I switched to 2.5% strength gel due to irritation)
Finish off with Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion
Use clindamycin phosphate 1% on chest and back morning and night
Wash face (Aveeno Brightening Scrub)
Use liquid clindamycin phosphate 1% again
Thin layer of tretinoin .025%
The results of this regime were wonderful. Aside from the initial adjustment my skin had to make (I was peeling really bad on the chin from the liquid clindamycin), my acne quickly reduced. I know that the Aveeno Clear Complexion and suncreen brightened my complexion because a classmate I saw the last week of July had commented that I looked pale (I'm Filipino so he was used to me looking a bit tan). I loved this skin care regime like a miracle. I got rid of my comedonal acne, reduced blackheads and whiteheads and the number of cysts I got. My cheeks were finally smooth and my forehead was mostly smooth.
Over time the clindamycin I used on my face stopped working. I had never really used the clindamycin lotion for my chest and back because I was too impatient to wait for it to dry before I put a shirt on. I stopped using the clindamycin and my skin was fine without it. So la la la...my acne was better than it had been even if I still had it more that my classmates, but I had lived so long without smooth skin that I forgot what it felt like (I loved to rub my cheeks, they were so smooth!) But then I noticed something. Why was I waking up with such oily skin? My skin wasn't burning from the tretinoin anymore. Where was the even-toned, normal skin that I would wake up to after a night of tretinoin? Now I woke up with extremely dull, oily skin. What did I do? I stopped using tretinoin. My skin care regime was the same minus the clindamycin and tretinoin. Did stopping tretinoin make my skin normal in the mornings? Honestly, I don't remember, but I remember staying off tretinoin. Somewhere along the lines, I started using the benzoyl peroxide day and night.
Now to the summer before my junior year. In June 2010, I had my first facial extraction which hurt like hell. Although I was left with scars on my cheekbones, it seemed to completely get rid of the acne on my jawline, cheeks, and temples. Aside from changing facial washes (too many to remember) I was still using benzoyl peroxide morning and night, but switched to Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Daily Face Lightweight Suncreen Lotion SPF 30 since the aveeno one made my face look too greasy too early in the morning. At this time, I had oily skin, but I never noticed it. I was too distracted by my new smooth cheeks. It wasn't until the middle of the first semester my junior year that I noticed my oily skin. My acne had reduced to a few bumps on my forehead, no blackheads, few whiteheads, and rare cysts. After that I tried moisturizers, masks, glycolic acid, salicylic, serums, toners, and spearmint tea to try to fix my oily skin in vain.
My senior year pretty much ended up in the same way with me trying to solve this oily skin problem. It wasn't until the second semester of my senior year that I gave up and went to a simple routine: wash, benzoyl peroxide, sunscreen. Eventually I stopped using sunscreen because it made my skin way too oily. Then I stopped using benzoyl peroxide cold turkey (there will be another blog post on why I decided to quit using bp)
June 2012: I read an e-book (AcneNoMore by Mike Walden) about healing acne holistically, the only method I have yet to use. It describes detoxing, enemas, fasting, flushes, and other ways to get rid of acne. Before hearing of this book in a Youtube comment (sometimes I check the comments to see what silly fight has started) I didn't think that diet affected acne. I was unaware of "detoxing" and the importance of the liver. I thought that unless someone ate by mashing their face into a plate of food, then diet really didn't affect acne. I also didn't think hydration affected acne. Water hydrates skin? Doesn't oil do that? What? I was so ignorant of the importance of getting my daily 10 servings of fruits and veggies.
And so this is where I am now: acne spreading throughout my face and dry/oily skin. (At least I don't have any cysts) A healthier lifestyle..if this won't get me nice skin, I don't know what will. Even if a good diet doesn't help my acne, will I go back to bad habits? Nooo. I love the idea of being healthier. I'll still try to get my daily 10. I'll still try to use my juicer everyday and make the healthiest choices when eating out. I'll still play Dance Dance Revolution for daily exercise. I'm confident that living right will get me healthier skin, but I can't be too confident. I've got a few other tricks to help me along the way. Like, I was reading a post about how this guy stopped washing his face every day and his skin improved. That is one thing I haven't tried, so why not? What more could I lose?
So that's it. That's my acne story that my memory can tell me. I'll have blog entries about how my acne has progressed week after week or even every few days. I'll write about what things I consume to help my acne. If you have any questions, you can leave one in the comments and I'll try to answer as soon as I can. I hope this blog can help someone else achieve clear skin or at least guide them closer to having a good complexion. My next blog entries will be about my experience with benzoyl peroxide and my previous diet.