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Day 62!

Woah, I can't believe I've been doing epiduo for 62 days - at least I think I have, maybe I've counted wrong.. anyway, get ready for super positive update!

For maybe the last week or so, I've seen a huge improvement in my skin - before it was gradually getting clearer, but still with new, large spots every day in my cheek and jaw areas. But in the last week, those spots have become much smaller and less frequent, and I no longer have horrible itching or random swelling on my face. Every morning when I wake up after applying the epiduo the night before, I can see the red marks and dry, flaky blemishes fading and falling away, and my skin is now the softest it's ever been (since I was a child I guess!). I still have a few dark marks, but I can see that they're fading already, and the surface of my skin is totally smooth. And the lack of big, painful spots on my cheeks and jaws means I've been able to just keep my fingers away from my face and let it heal, which has definitely helped a lot!

I'll upload pics when I can, but for now I just wanted to record how confident and happy I feel with my skin - I even went clubbing last night and didn't even feel the need to wear makeup, because my skin looked softer and healthier without it! It's been hard being patient with the treatment, and there were definiely times when I thought that the epiduo just wasn't doing anything to help me, but combined with the doxycycline I've had amazing results - if someone had told me when this started that in 62 days I'd be the happiest I've ever been with my skin, I wouldn't have believed them, but here I am smile.png

I hope you guys are feeling great, regardless of how your skin looks today!

Day 50!

Hey! Just a quick update on how I'm doing with the doxy + epiduo. I think it's getting a lot better! It's kind of hard to tell, because I have a LOT of red marks now, and I'm still really bad in terms of picking at my face. However, I have noticed my face feels a lot less uncomfortable and itchy recently- or rather, I haven't noticed anything, and have been able to think about normal, non-skin-related stuff and get on with my life! I still get maybe one or two new lumps or spots each day, but they're getting less serious (I think?), and I feel like the doxy is really making a difference. I do get some mild nausea with it most days though, especially if I take it in the morning on an empty stomach - I'd definitely recommend having it with food! I've also had a couple of weeks now of basically no appetite, which I think may be related to the doxy - but honestly it would have to be about 10x worse for me to stop taking them.

The epiduo is really making a difference at the moment as well, I'm still applying it every night and in the morning my skin looks noticeably smoother and evenly coloured. Still some flakes and dryness, but nothing near as bad as when I first started with it, and there's basically no burning now. So I guess I'm at the part where it starts to get a bit easier? My skin is even smooth enough in places to apply a little concealer when I *absolutely* have to, but so far I have only bothered twice - I'd rather use as little makeup as possible and help my skin to heal smile.png

So I guess this is a positive, optimistic kind of post - keep on going everyone, there is still hope (even if you're a serial face-prodder like I am!) New photos in my gallery for anyone interested biggrin.png

So over the past couple of weeks I've noticed my skin has basically stopped improving - still 5+ new large whiteheads and lumps per day, constant itching and swelling (especially if my hair touches my face, I wear a scarf, I pull a T-shirt over my head, the air around is me is too hot/cold/dry/humid, you know, just, all the time). And I've also been really depressed - basically every day I wake up and think of 10 excuses not to leave the house, but so far I've still managed to force myself to go to work every day. Anyone else out there just feeling mentally exhausted by hating your face all the time - I feel you.

It's been exactly 5 weeks since I started the epiduo, and while I think it gets rid of my spots once they've got really noticeable or been squeezed, it doesn't seem to be doing much yet to prevent the new itchy bumps/big nasty spots from forming in the first place. I'm really keen to keep using it, as I know it takes a long time for acne treatments to really work, but I was at such a low point last weekend that I booked myself another appointment with my GP to talk about my skin, hoping there might be something else she could do to help me out.

I went along today, and was SO impressed by my doctor's reaction. She took me seriously as soon as I mentioned why I was there, wasn't patronising or dismissive, and suggested straightaway that I take an oral antibiotic (Doxycycline) in addition to using the epiduo. While she wrote out my prescription, she also asked me (without any prompting from me at all) how it was affecting my stress levels, and if I needed to talk to anyone about it - I was super impressed by that, as often the self-esteem and mental health aspects of having acne are really difficult to bring up without feeling trivialized or vain. I'm currently training to be a clinical psychologist, and hoping to specialise in body image disorders, so I'm all too aware of the mental health problems associated with this kind of thing - body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), social phobia, depression, anxiety, etc etc.

So I was really happy that my doctor seemed to be aware of that aspect of acne, and willing to help me out in that respect if I needed it. For the moment I told her I was feeling pretty depressed about it, finding it hard to be in social situations etc, and her responses were really helpful and practical. I didn't feel like I needed any counselling or anything (I'm still going to therapy for my eating disorder anyway, so I'm kind of covered), but it was so awesome that she offered!

Anyway, so I'm continuing to use the epiduo, and now adding in the Doxy, which I'm feeling pretty positive about. I'll keep updating on how that goes, and hopefully my skin will clear up enough soon that I can take some exciting, non-depressing progress pictures soon! Hope everyone reading is feeling ok in their skin today (or at least managing to leave the house :) )

Update! My skin has been a lot worse this week, so no pics, because they fill me with despair sad.png I'm not sure why, maybe stress, maybe impatience, but I definitely haven't managed to keep to my no-touching rule, and it has had a massive impact on the appearance of my spots. It's also had a massive impact on my confidence, and I've been more upset about my skin this week than ever before - it's been a real struggle to just make myself get out of the house every day to go to work, and I even worked from home one day because I was so upset about it (one of the few benefits of being a freelance translator!). I have also cried at two different people about it, felt really stupid for crying over something that sounds so trivial (but totally is not, AT ALL), and been in such a crappy mood that I basically couldn't concentrate on my job at all.

Aside from the usual daily outbreaks of 3+ shiny new itchy lump beasts on my cheek/jaw area, the most depressing event of the week was definitely the MONSTER LIP PIMPLE that appeared at the weekend. It was on my actual lip, as in the bit that joins my inner mouth to my outer face, where lipstick would go if I didn't have a monster lip pimple - I didn't even know you could get spots there! My least favourite things about this spot - it hurt to smile, it felt like I constantly had a bit of food stuck on my lip, it went a weird dark blue colour, it did not react well to spicy pasta sauce. My most favourite things about the spot - none, it made me want to put a bag on my head. Do not recommend.

Anyway, I have carried on slapping the old epiduo on my stupid spotty face, and I guess it's still doing its job, and I just wish it would do it faster, as in immediately. It stings more on areas where I've squeezed a spot (totally not a surprise, and almost comforting to know it's waging some kind of acidic war on the grossest parts of my face), but mostly it's still not burning like it did in Weeks 1 and 2. So that's good. It also does clear up spots quicker than they would go on their own, so even when I've got a big red horrible squeezed up mess on my jaw, it will decrease the redness and lumpiness within a couple of days. I still have hope that it will clear me up properly eventually - I just have to work on not checking, picking and prodding at my face so much. It's so hard not to become obsessed with checking up on the progress my skin is making, sometimes multiple times during the day, but honestly this week has been so depressing that I feel like if I have to cover my mirror or whatever, that's not too drastic a step. As soon as I stop obsessing and checking, I'll stop picking - then it will get better much quicker anyway.

Last weekend I went to hang out with some friends I hadn't seen in a long time, and I was SO nervous about my skin. It was never this bad when we were at uni together, and I didn't want them to see how bad my acne is and assume I'm not doing well, or that I'm unhealthy, or just gross or whatever (I'm sure this whole irrational insecurity thing is familiar to most people with similar skin). I tried putting on makeup before I left the house, but it looked so cakey and weirdly coloured over the acne that I just washed it off. (I am no expert at doing makeup, and refuse to go out and spend tons of money trying to find products that will work for my skin right now - so other people may have more success with concealing their acne than I do, as I give up very easily). I realised was more anxious about the effect the makeup would have on my acne than it was worth, so I decided to just do my eye makeup and go bare-faced. It was really, really scary! But after a few minutes with my friends I kind of forgot about it, and had a really fun night. When we all went to bed, I put on my epiduo (majorly tipsy, but still did it - dedication) and went to bed feeling way less worried about my skin than I would have with a full face of makeup all night. So I guess I would recommend going bare-faced if you can handle it, and if your friends are cool enough to not really give a crap if your face is lumpy or flakey or lobster-coloured, or indeed all of the above.

Having said that, I'm supposed to be going for a weekend to stay at my friend's place tomorrow, and I've been dreading it all week because of my skin. We're apparently going clubbing, and usually I would love getting ready with my girlfriends, trying on loads of clothes, doing our makeup together and stuff, but at the moment I just feel so ugly that I'm not looking forward to it at all. That sounds ridiculous now I'm writing it down, but it's just so disheartening to have to be the "cool personality" girl all the time - is it so wrong to just want to be the hot one for a change?! I don't want to be the only one in my group of friends looking crap in the photo, or looking a total state all night and not realising it... plus I'm not sure how to fit in my epiduo if we're going out til late, possibly two nights in a row. I think the bravest option would be to put it on before we go out in the evening, so that I know I haven't missed an application, and then just do my eye makeup and hope I don't go too red - but I'm not sure how I'll feel about that option come tomorrow. I'm pretty sure the only makeup I can manage to look non-cakey is a little bit of concealer, so I could always go for that, but over epiduo?? Pale blobs of concealer on a glowing red background - maybe I should just embrace the red???

Anyway, these are the kind of neurotic ravings you can look forward to if you're considering combining your epiduo routine with any kind of social life. Right now I think it would be so cool to be a super rich person with zero responsibilities so I could just take a couple of months out of my schedule and go on some kind of spa break with my tube of epiduo - free to be as flaky-lumpy-lobster as I want, hanging out on the beach with a parasol and a good quality non-comedogenic SPF. I guess I'll update after the weekend and just try to have fun with my friends (and avoid being in any photos - especially with flash, good lord no). Hope you guys are feeling ok about your skin at the moment - but if you're down about it, you're not alone smile.png

Sooo, I haven't updated for a while, as to be honest my face was looking pretty horrible and taking pictures of it every day was just making me feel worse about it. But I've uploaded some pics of how my skin's looking today, after another 11 days of using epiduo - I think there's been a big improvement! I definitely feel happier with how it looks, and that's even after another couple of times where I got really frustrated with it and squeezed/picked/generally prodded at my face, taking me back to square one. It really is amazing how quickly epiduo can deal with whatever crap I've done to my face - it isn't perfect, but it's definitely helping a lot!

After using the epiduo tracker app thing, I would still say it's pretty useful in keeping track of your progress, but maybe only take a pic every 3 days or so - focusing on tiny daily changes in my face actually made me think about the acne more, making me more likely to pick at it, get upset, and feel generally gross. I feel much better now that I try to keep my acne thoughts to just 10 minutes a day, while I'm doing my skincare routine. Also, I don't know if this is just wishful thinking on my part, but I swear the iPhone camera does not make for a flattering picture of anyone's skin - I can often think my skin actually looks ok, looking in a mirror in broad daylight, but then if I take a close-up on my iPhone to check out my skin, it looks completely terrible! So I decided to base my evaluation on how I feel when I look at my skin in the mirror, rather than on a close-up iPhone selfie - and if that means I'm living in ignorance of my true, blotchy, acne-ridden self, then so be it! I just want to feel ok enough to make it out of the house in the morning smile.png

Anyway, for anyone interested in products, routine and stuff, here's what I'm having the most success with at the moment:


- Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser

- Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Moisturiser (I find this stops me looking or feeling too oily - it kind of mattifies but still moisturises, I really like it - wish it had SPF though)

Sometimes during the day if my face feels very oily, or gets really itchy (at the moment this happens pretty much every afternoon, no idea why), I just go to the bathroom and splash my face with some water, let it dry, then pat on a small amount of the Simple moisturiser again. It makes me look a bit less shiny, and can help with the itching/flaking that epiduo will sometimes cause).

I don't wear makeup at all at the moment, as I'm pretty sure it will just make things worse, and the couple of times I've tried to use it, the flaking and redness was still really obvious anyway. If I want to look nice, I just do my usual eye makeup, make my hair look extra amazing, and wear the coolest outfit I can find, and that usually makes me *almost* forget about my skin problems..


Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser

A tiny amount of Cetaphil moisturiser if my skin feels very dry

Epiduo (a large pea-sized amount, used all over my face)

Awesome news - the epiduo is no longer painful at all! At worst it gets a little itchy or tingly around my nose and mouth area, but otherwise the pain has stopped - I can barely believe it, and would not have made it this far without the internet reassuring me that the burning would stop - so anyone going through the same thing, hang in there! I let the epiduo dry fully before I go to bed and change my pillowcases every week just to be extra sure I'm not messing up my face while I sleep. Weird fact: for a few days, the epiduo must have been really itching my face while I slept, because I woke up a couple of times scratching at my face without realising I'd been doing it - actually a pretty freaky experience, but it seems to have stopped now...

Anyway! I think my red marks are definitely fading, and though I definitely still get new spots on a daily basis (mostly around my mouth and jawline area still), they are less noticeable to look at. They are still really uncomfortable, painful and itchy though, and I still get larger bumps under the skin on my cheeks and jaw. So basically, at this point I'm still very aware that I have acne going on, but it's starting to look less obvious to other people - which is at least halfway towards victory, yay! If I can just manage to stop touching my face and fight the urge to scratch the itchy dry skin, I'm pretty sure I'll be looking much clearer in a couple of weeks. So anyone else out there having crappy days where your face is a total mess of flakes, dark red spots and scabby parts - hang in there, try your absolute best not to squeeze or pick at your face, keep using your epiduo, and those marks will fade way quicker than if you give up!

Day 11

So I decided to start keeping track of my experience with epiduo on this site, as I've spent enough time lurking on other people's blogs about it, and I figure tracking my progress on here could help me to stick to the regime... and also my boyfriend is already sick of hearing every tiny detail about my skin, so I decided to obsess in a slightly more appropriate environment.

A bit of background - I'm 22, and my skin has never been great, I've always had at least one spot on the go. I've had the odd cyst or two previously but never full-on face-covering acne, just oily, blemishy skin. 90% of the time a bit of makeup would get me presentable enough to leave the house (though I've never worn a lot of foundation, just concealer and occasionally BB cream - my skin was always oily enough that foundation looked awful after about 2 hours).

Anyway, recently I've recovered from an eating disorder that I'd had for about 10 years. It's pretty awesome, I eat really well now and as a result my weight has stabilised, I'm at a healthy BMI, and my body is finally getting all the good stuff it needs. However, an unfortunate side effect of this is basically my body gong (as my doctor explained it) "wow, brilliant, let's produce tons of hormones!" So for the last 3 months or so I have had THE WORST skin I've ever experienced - super oily half an hour after washing my face, cysts all along my jawline and all over my cheeks, super itchy bumps all over the lower half of my face (I thought I was allergic to my shampoo for ages, but my doctor confirmed it was just acne). So, yeah. Still super pleased with the whole not being anorexic anymore thing, totally worth it, but damn! (Disclaimer: if anyone reads this and interprets it as recommending an eating disorder as a treatment for acne - no. My skin was still pretty bad the whole time, and I was also miserable, super unhealthy, and horrible to everyone around me - so don't even think about it!)

So my doctor said I had moderate acne, and it was "just something that all young people have to go through" (sure, all the young people that are just me and none of my friends or work colleagues - least helpful comment ever). She gave me a prescription for epiduo, and I started using it about 10 days ago. I downloaded the epiduo tracker app, which is kind of a useful idea - you take pictures every day on your phone, and it lets you compare days. I'd definitely recommend it for anyone starting out, it seems a bit lame, but it's a good incentive when you can see even the tiniest improvement.

I have to say, I would not have made it through the first week without reading people on this site talking about their own experiences. The first week was pretty intense - even with the thinnest layer imaginable, my face felt like I'd just rubbed a chili pepper all over it for up to an hour after applying it. I applied it around 3 hours before I went to bed in the evening, so it had time to dry (and stop hurting so much!) before I slept. I would usually wait around half an hour after applying, then kind of pat some moisturiser on top (rubbing was too painful!). The moisturiser stung just as badly as the epiduo did for the first week, but without it my face was so tight I could hardly move my mouth properly (I had to hang up the phone on my boyfriend a couple of times - "It sounds like you're talking through a tiny hole in your face" - "STOP MAKING ME LAUGH MY FACE WILL CRACK").

So yeah, the first week was terrible, but having read plenty of reviews of people saying that it does get better, I was determined to stick with it, and carried on. Highlights of the week included going for a run and my own sweat causing my face to swell up and burn like the surface of the sun, most of my chin and mouth skin falling onto my desk like freaky snowflakes every day at work, and the weird shiny orange weekend, when my face was briefly extremely orange and polished looking, not unlike a roast chicken.

I carried on taking my epiduo pics the whole week, but made the mistake of using full face pics - the app format kind of meant you couldn't see any of my acne to start with, so it's a bit pointless to upload them here. However, even within a week, I saw my skin clear up dramatically - a lot of spots and scabby bits dried up and flaked away, whiteheads and bumps became smaller, pores looked smaller, my cheeks looked more taut and smooth - it was pretty amazing to be honest, even despite the red marks and few bumpy bits around my mouth and chin that remained. My boyfriend noticed immediately that my face was looking much better, and I felt a lot more confident already.

So I think it's now been 11 days, and I'm still applying the epiduo - but I screwed up! Previously my face had been so sore that even touching it was unthinkable, so I managed to go a whole week without poking, prodding, picking, squeezing etc. However, now the epiduo has started to be much less painful when I apply it (just unpleasantly tingly for about 15 minutes, not at all bad), and my skin has become less dry, so today I had a weak moment and kind of went to town on my remaining spots. Terrible idea (obviously!) - now my face looks just as bad as it did on day 1.

Still, having seen the results so quickly in week 1, I'm confident epiduo will eventually be able to sort it out, if I can manage to just leave my face alone! So today is kind of day 1 again - I'm starting afresh, applying the epiduo, trying extra hard not to touch my face, no matter how tempted I am, and starting my photo tracking again, this time with close-ups - horrible, terrifying close-ups.

I'm hoping this log will be helpful to people out there also on epiduo, or thinking about trying it - so please feel free to ask me about it smile.png

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