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Hip little tips for Skin Care chicks (and guys!)

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Seeing so many people post about uncertainties of starting Accutane, whether its worth the side effects and also people's journeys with Accutane I thought a few may be interested in what happens after Accutane. I wont focus a lot on my time with Accutane, more what happened after.
Three years ago, after nothing else seemed to work, the doctor prescribed me Roaccutane which I took it for six months. I had no initial breakouts, and no real change in my skin for the first month. Then, slowly and surely, it began to get better.

My skin was clear by the fifth month. I hadn't had clear skin since the age of six and so to be blessed with this brought back my confidence.
The side effects I suffered were dryness of the skin - but not to an uncomfortable severity - and dried out lips. My lips were very chapped and looking back at photos, very red as well. But I didn't mind, because I had clear skin.
Stopping Accutane then gave me two months of wonderful clear skin, where even the marks of acne had faded. It was truly freeing.
Then, by the third month after, they slowly began to return.

Since then, two years on, my skin has become increasingly worse. However, my acne was no where near as bad as it was before and so I know Accutane helped on that aspect. The doctors never promised I would have clear skin forever, just told me it was probable, and so to be where I am now really was a kick in the gut. A pretty painful kick in the gut.

I've gone back to trying all the medications I tried beforehand which the doctor explained would probably have a better effect (they haven't) and am now trapped in that same pit of misery and torment caused by acne.

Despite this, I would still recommend Accutane to anyone. You, unlike me, may be one of the many people whose skin stays clear forever after Accutane. Or, the severity will be lessened to such an extent you will find it more manageable.

The fact my skin is not as bad as it used to be is thanks to Accutane and for me the benefits far outweighed the risks, but my acne was so severe I didn't care if the drug left me with three arms and a second head, as long as I had clear skin.

If you'd like to know anything in more detail about life after Accutane, send me a message! x

So, after not taking anything and suffering yet another horrendous breakout, becoming increasingly depressed I dragged myself back to the doctors.
A couple of years ago, Roaccutance did a great job of clearing up my skin for about half a year before slowly it began to return. I tried all the antibiotics and creams again without luck. I also tried birth control, which, after my doctor's visit today, I have got again.
Hopefully, I'll begin to see great improvement in the next six months, although I'm not looking forward to the side effect of weight gain. As it was several years ago I last took birth control I cant really remember what it was like, so if any of you have recently taken it or are taking it for you skin, please mail me or comment with how successful it has been! x

So, I've been meaning to blog about how using the Dermalogica products the dermatologist recommended went.
Not great, is all I can say.
The daily microfoliator is brilliant, but it doesn't clear up my skin.
the face wash isn't brilliant and I felt it dried out my skin.
the toner seems to do nothing at all.
The brighten up spf 15 tinted moisturizer was great at first, until I developed more spots and it just seemed to clog around them.

I'm writing this in a particularly defeated manner because I'm suffering another bad breakout. I restarted pantothenic acid but I haven't seen any effect and they're just getting worse.

return of the ugliness and misery, I guess.



By annie ell,

Today I'm starting the first of a set of appointments with a private dermatologist. If you guys can't see a derm for a couple of weeks I'd be more than happy to ask her some questions upon your behalf if you mail them to me! Also, I'll be posting any tips and products she gives me and although they'll be designed for my skin you may hopefully find them helpful. Happy new year!
I've been lowering my dose of pantothenic acid since it made my hair fall out and over Christmas I've stopped taking it completely. On the days I missed, no new breakouts occurred and so I thought its results would last a long time. However, I haven't taken it for about two weeks now and the other day, two spots appeared. This morning, another two had appeared. I don't know if it was directly because of the halt in taking pantothenic acid - I'm sure all the sweet, fattening shit I've eaten this Christmas has had a bad effect too but whatever it is, pantothenic acid seems to be the only thing which works on my skin providing I don't mind taking it a lot...or losing my hair.
This Tuesday I have an exam and quite frankly, I'm terrified.
Furthermore, I couldn't help noticing that because of all the stressing over it these past few days, my skin has worsened which begs the question of: 'Does stress make your skin worse?'

Well, I'm going to go with a yes.

And if it does, then life really is a bitch. Its just like 'Hey, you seem stressed. Would a nice healthy dose of spots help with that?'
Which subsequently makes you stressed over those spots, which seems to cause more and so on. Its just a viscous circle.

Anyway, aside from that, if you're a sufferer of stress, try taking a couple of deep breaths, focusing mainly on exhaling for 8 seconds after inhaling for 5. Always seems to slow my heart rate and help me think clearer. Meditating is also supposed to be a great stress reliever. Find a nice quiet spot where you will be undisturbed and either load up some mediation music or sit in silence and clear your mind of worries. Try to focus on one thing, so perhaps visualise a candle flame and focus on how it moves and flickers, or the changing shape of a cloud.

Tip #2

By annie ell,

Lay off the dairy products.

I've read that there is a strong link between the amount of milk consumed and acne. research suggests that although milk and other dairy products do not cause acne, they may be a contributing factor.

I haven't had milk or yoghurt for 3 years now. I can't say I had a notable difference, but due to the amount of medication my acne has slowly been improving anyway. However I did notice that if I did happen to have milk everyday (such as when I was camping for 3 weeks), breakouts appeared. When I was younger, I used to drink milk by the bucket full and I also had severe acne, so again, it may have been a contributing factor.

I still eat cheese, albeit infrequently, and occasionally cream, but there are many delicious substitutes for milk, such as soya milk, rice milk, almond milk etc and vegan cheeses.

Tip #1

By annie ell,

Change your pillow cases often!

I read that pillow cases harbour bacteria and using the same one regularly may spread breakouts all over your skin.
To try this out, I grabbed a couple of cheap ones and change them every four days. (I have two pillows, so I use a different side each night of both pillows.) I'm not entirely sure if this is a legitimate claim of spreading breakouts, but it makes a fair point and is always worth a try (:
Its now coming up to eleven years of having acne. Yesterday, I went to my room, curled up in my duvet and cried for two hours. I'm not sure why, it didn't make me feel any better, but I felt so miserable I didn't know what else to do. I was too unhappy to speak to my family, to text my friends, to even read a book. I lay there and, although I've cried so many times over acne since I first got it at six, I've never felt so miserable. I give up and quite frankly, there's nothing I want to do other than never leave my house again.

Life gives everyone lemons now and then, if only it didn't have to give them acne too.
After a real bad breakout, I researched more and more for something which would help until I found Pantothen. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford the brand but I read that Pantothenic Acid capsules work just as well. If you're thinking about taking B5, maybe give this a read first.

Pros: Cleared skin within a week, keeps spots and breakouts at bay, reduces spots quickly, slightly improves complexion, any annoying under the skin threatening spots do not emerge. Made me feel a lot happier and confident!

Cons: Made my hair fall out. Made it dull, brittle and dry. Expensive.

Recommend? Definitely. This product was the best I have used since Roaccutane! However, if opting to 'mega-dose' please be sensible and do not take it for as prolonged period as I did, I don't want you to have the stress of hair loss which I am now experiencing!

(note: I'm really sorry if I got the next bit wrong, its just what I researched! If you could comment any mistakes so I could correct it, it'd be really helpful (: )

About: Coenzyme - A helps to break down excess oils in your skin. It is made of two molecules called Adenine Triphosphate and Pantothenic Acid. We already have an abundance of Adenine Triphosphate so when you take Pantothenic Acid, it bonds with the Adenine Triphosphate, creating more Coenzyme - A which helps battle spots.

What I did: Reading about taking B5 online, I did not take the 'mega-dose' as some people suggested (8-10 tablets a day) but 4 tablets a day. Although the bottle recommends 1 a day, this does not exceed your RDA of Pantothenic acid.
I spoke to my doctor about the amount I was taking to check that it was not harmful, and other than her mentioning stomach and digestive problems (due to the oral form of tablet, NB this can occur with any oral medication.)
I do not recommend taking more than 4 a day due to later mentioned reasons. (see warning below)

I took four tablets before I went to bed with plenty of water. I suffered no stomach upsets from taking them without food, however, my advise is begin taking them with food.

If your acne is particularly severe, build up the dosage from 1 a day to 4. Within a week I saw results and the breakout had rapidly cleared. I had not had such good results since taking Roaccutane over three years ago.

WARNING: I had read online that Pantothenic Acid made some people's hair fall out. Unfortunately, I suffered this. Only about a week ago did I really realise how bad my hair was getting. It used to be very thick and shiny and is now dull, thinner and dry. It had been falling out for several weeks now but I assumed it was the season, stress, etc. However, six days ago I discontinued my use of Pantothenic Acid and my hair is already in better condition.
I believe this was due to the mega-dose of pantothenic acid. As Coenzyme-A breaks down oils, it also did this in my scalp reducing the natural oils in my hair and making it brittle and weak.
Therefore I do not recommend taking more than 4 tablets. As soon as you see results, I feel it is best to cut down to three, to two and then to one a day.

Unfortunately, my discontinued use of Pantothenic Acid did cause a few spots to arise, however my hair is slowly becoming a little more healthy, so I am willing to bare this until it is in better condition, before taking one capsule a day.


By annie ell,

I have no idea if it affects acne, but sleep is a state where the body can rid itself of toxins and rejuvenate itself, hopefully flushing out nasties from your skin. More sleep also is said to lead to less stress, and stress is something which can cause breakouts, so its gotta be good, right?

Pros: Its just great, stress relieving, restorative.

Cons: Being unable to sleep sucks really bad. As does getting to sleep and waking up. If you have trouble sleeping, some remedies are: lavender oil, no caffeine after midday, shutting off screens an hour before you go to bed, having background noise (i.e quiet radio).

Recommend? To all! Curl up in your duvet with a hot water bottle and get ready to be taken on a crazy dream adventure.
As I've suffered from acne for so long and have now tried almost every acne remedy out there, I understand how badly it sucks to have acne, whether its one spot or hundreds of them.

So, you're not alone if...

- You ever feel completely depressed over you skin. I for one can say when I was younger I spent so many nights sitting in front of my mirror and crying at myself. At my face. But please don't do anything drastic, there are a catalogue of people who are willing to help you from psychologists to counsellors to doctors and dermatologists. There is never an end to hope and many people probably share your feelings. (:

- You ever want to hide your face in a paper bag. Argggghhhh, so many days have I wanted to do this! But they say confidence is the key, and managing to pull yourself out of bed, pull on a smile (even if it is fake) and walk with your shoulders back and chin up can make anyone believe that you're beautiful.

- You have stopped going out because of your skin. Many people have cancelled dates and trips because of a spot or a breakout. If you regret it now, remember what's done is done. Don't let it bring you down, other people probably feel exactly as you have. However, if it gets to the point where you cannot enjoy simple social activities because of your skin, its time to see the GP or Dermatologist and tell them exactly how badly it is affecting you.

- You have tried everything to rid of your acne. Don't give up! I thought I'd tried everything but I'm still discovering more and more products! Scour the internet and anything which you feel may work, give it a go. Sometimes, a risk pays off.

- You feel acne is holding you back. Acne has held me back - and it still does. I sometimes feel shy and unhappy and self-conscious because of my skin. But remember, true friends don't care about your skin, they care about your personality. And if they do care about your skin, well, they're not worth having as a friend.

- You feel completely alone in your suffering of acne. You're not. Just check out this amazing website! So many people suffer frustration and misery from this curse of the skin. If you'd really just like someone to spill the beans to, you can always ring the Samaritans anonymously who are there to talk and comfort 24/7.

I don't know if you can, but feel free to message me too if you ever feel you need a bit of support! xxx


By annie ell,

Quinoderm is a topical cream containing benzyl peroxide which can be applied on spots and breakouts. It can be purchased over the counter of through a GP or Dermatologist.

Pros: Dries out spots.

Cons: I used it too much and got a massive chemical burn from the benzyl peroxide which was very red, sore and painful.

Recommend? No. Accidentally one night before bed I applied too much. It burnt my face at first, but after 10 years I'm used to things burning my face and sometimes find that grinning and bearing it can lead to improvement. However, when I woke up the next morning my face was red and dry from where the benzyl peroxide had burnt my skin. It was horrible! ):
Here's a brief skim of how I try to keep my skin as clear as possible:

Cleanse skin with witch hazel on a cotton ball or splash face with cold water.
If there is a breakout, use a tiny bit of Shield Antibacterial Soap on a cold flannel and gentle wash skin.
Rinse face with cold water.
Pat dry.
Moisturise using Simple Anti-Blemish Spotless Skin moisturiser.

Evening (3 times a week):
Remove make up with witch hazel or flannel.
Apply Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Facemask. Leave for 20 minutes.
In the shower, use a combination of Simple Witch Hazel Facial Wash and St Ives Blemish Fighting Apricot scrub to remove facemask.
After the shower, splash face with cold water to close pores.
Moisturise using Simple Anti-Blemish Spotless Skin moisturiser.

Evening (4 times a week): Cleanse face in shower using Simple Witch Hazel Facial Wash.
After the shower, splash face with cold water to close pores.

Before bed:
If necessary, apply Freederm/ small amount of Benzyl Peroxide to spots/breakouts.
Or a topical cream if on a prescription.
I was put on this tablet by my GP after a particularly bad breakout over August this year. I haven't much to say other than I was thoroughly disappointed.

Pros: None.

Cons: Did not clear spots. Made breakouts even worse.

Recommend? No. This tablet made me breakout badly with cystic acne and worsened the already existing acne! Although I stuck to it for weeks in hope of improvement, there was none. I would definitely not recommend this.

Witch Hazel

By annie ell,

I use witch hazel on cotton wool balls to remove make up or to refresh skin in the morning. Its 'spot-fighting properties' supposedly can help towards breakouts, keeping them clean and (hopefully!) reducing them.

Pros: Leaves clean, soft feeling skin. Is said to help improve spots. Removes make up well. Is very gentle.

Cons: Haven't really seen improvements on my skin, but certainly no breakouts.

Recommend? No. Although this is a gentle, natural cleanser and toner, one which really does show effects on spots would be a better investment.
I've used this product for several months now and feel it has cared well for my skin. The witch hazel has helped major breakouts at bay and the exfoliating properties help refresh skin.

Pros: Leaves skin feeling clean, toned, refreshed. Helped prevent major breakouts. Kind to skin.

Cons: Can be quite pricey, may only show improvement on mild acne.

Recommend? Yes. This product has really helped care for my skin these past couple of months.
I use this product 1-3 times a week. I haven't seen much improvement, however it does reduce the redness of a spot.
I continued to use this because its very soothing and cooling and seems to make a slight positive improvement to my skin (no breakouts!)

Pros: Refreshes, soothes, cools. Reduces spot redness.

Cons: Does not get rid of spots, messy (as are they all), container can be contaminated.

Recommend? Again, if you're willing to spend a little more money, this product may be for you. However I've read other reviews that this product did nothing for them and for some, it broke them out. I would recommend it for its cooling properties, but not as a spot treatment.


By annie ell,

As I suffered for so long, the doctor's eventually prescribed me Roaccutane. Roaccutane is to thank for the massive improvement in my skin. However, I was told my acne would almost certainly never come back, and guess what? It did. But don't be disheartened by this!

Pros: During the time - and for several months after - completely cleared acne! Skin was left unblemished and unmarked!

Cons: Had to take lots of tablets. Dried out lips severely. Hair became dull. Skin was dry. (A small price to pay for the results)

Recommend? Definitely. If you are a long-term sufferer or have severe acne, I definitely recommend Roaccutane. However, there are many, many side effects to this tablet. I fortunately only experienced the mild ones such as chapped lips, but make sure you speak to a GP or Dermatologist and completely understand about this tablet before taking it.

I'll put up a post about my time with Roaccutane, which hopefully you may find helpful (:
Freederm Fast Action is quite pricey but an effective cream for mild acne.

The gel is not too harsh and claims to reduce redness in 3 hours (it doesn't)

Pros: The spot is reduced within a couple of days of daily use. The redness is reduced. The swelling goes down.

Cons: Doesn't work as quickly as hoped. Does not completely rid of spot. Price!

Recommend? If you suffer from light acne and/or are willing to spend a little more money, then yes. If you're quite tight, there may be other products which don't break the bank available. Severe Acne suffers may not see a lot of change with this product.


By annie ell,

One of the products I have used is Sudocrem.
Sudocrem has worked pretty well for me, I use it as a facemask and sleep with it on or dab it on individual spots in the hope that it will clear them up. I'm not sure exactly how it works but in the morning, the spots usually seem reduced.
Although its greasy, don't be alarmed, its designed for very sensitive skin and is moisturising and yet somehow helps to banish the odd breakout.

Pros: Usually keeps threatening breakouts at bay. Reduces the odd nasty spot. Very cheap and effective!

Cons: Very messy. Cannot be worn if out in public or under make up. Will cover all pillow cases, pyjamas and duvets with white smears!

Recommend? Yep, I advise this as its very cheap and definitely showed some improvement. Also makes a wonderful facemask. (:
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