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