So quick run down of my acne story. I've never had "acne" before. I'm 23 now and besides the odd spot here and there during that time of the month & hyperpigmentation I've had pretty good skin, not perfect but for the most part pretty damn good! In April/June this year my skin started acting up, I'm talking big huge spots on my forehead especially. I used black soap and that helped clear it up a lot but not completely so I decided to take extra measures, I came off the implant that I thought was the cause of my spots (a friend of mine told me it was running out of it's hormones and to come off it... I know now hormonal acne is not localised on the forehead so silly me! Big mistake!) and I changed my foundation which I was certain played a major role because this particular foundation had set me off a couple years before but not as bad as this time ( mac studio fix fluid if anyone is wondering and I changed to mac matchmaster). I also went back on the pill (levest which I had used when I was 19-21 before deciding to go on implanon) and I also went on a regimen of dudu osun black soap, simple toner & simple moisturiser and my skin calmed down but didn't clear completely and breakouts didn't stop completely either. Then it all went wrong! I noticed little tiny bumps on my skin all over my cheeks & jawline and at the time I thought it was a rash due to the heat as we had a very hot summer this year. The spots were slightly raised and flesh coloured and didn't itch and for the most part didn't bother me but it bugged me because I just wanted my skin to be smooth! I carried on with the regimen I was on and I started noticing that every month around "that time" the tiny spots got more raised and hard like they filled with something and they also increased in number and spread out in area and they just progressively got worse and worse. Then I realised after stressing and researching that I had, you'll never guess... HORMONAL ACNE or at least identified that my hormones were the major factor in my breakouts. Breakouts were all along my jaw and chin and spread up to my cheeks a little bit and my forehead had a few blackheads but was pretty much consistently the clearest and less prone to breakouts. I went into panic mode and changed my regimen 3 times in three weeks substituting products going back to old products that had worked before and trying out new things but nothing was helping! I also picked at spots to make them go flat and go away but in the end what I got and what I have now is a huge mess! So why am I posting? I'm trying to understand my acne so as to find the best way to treat it and cure it. Is it severe? Moderate or mild? I know it's hormonal because of where it's located but essentially I want to know "how bad is it?" and is there anyone else out there suffering like I am? (Silly question to ask on acne.org right? Lol). So comment and answer if you're going through a similar sort of acne. If I was to describe it I would say loads of little tiny bumps all over my jaw and around my mouth making up 90% of the acne population, these spots are raised and very prominent especially once makeup is applied. Some have little heads filled with white stuff and are very close together so that it's hard to squeeze and when I do try to squeeze it's not the easiest of tasks for such tiny spots. For those that I do manage to squeeze I get white stuff come out so I'm guessing these are whiteheads?? Some of my spots have no heads at all but I notice that these come to a head after a few days and become filled with white liquid in a very obvious way screaming "pop me pop me!". I have some spots among the 90% acne population that feel like they're under the skin or only notices when I touch but not noticeable to the eye they're small too and sometimes come to a head and other times they just disappear on their own. Very rarely I have big inflamed spots (think they're called pastules) and when I do they are the size of a normal pimple raised and red and over time they too develop a little white head. They make up 10% of the acne population. I doubt I've had any cysts because to my knowledge cysts don't have heads whatsoever, are quite big and raised under the skin and hurt like I bitch! I haven't had those I think or if I have they are like the normal size underground ones that don't hurt and 90% of the time after ages they get a head and I pop them (bad habit that I'm trying to stop but failing miserably!). Ok so that's what it looks like. What am I doing about it at the moment? NEW REGIMEN!!! For about a week now I've been doing the regimen on here but doing it my way (which is probably bad because it says to follow precisely for results... Oops). What I do is I wash with lush coal face, for more than 10 seconds and I use my olay pro x cleansing brush on the gentle setting. I just try to listen to my skin, if my skin is feeling irritated and a bit painful I use my hands and only go for about 30 secs or so. If it's feeling ok and not irritated I go in with the pro x on gentle, sometimes high depending on what I feel my skin can tolerate that day. I cleanse for about 1min on days like these and I try to do what feels right for me (should I stop this?). After washing I pat dry my face gently with a clean towel then let the rest of the moisture dry out naturally for 5-10 mins. After cleansing my skin does feel dry but not tight (I have oily combination skin if you're wondering oily everywhere but dry patches where I break out). After my face is dry I go in with one index finger length of BP gently on the affected areas, I apply generously and go gentle and follow the mantra "when in doubt use more!". I use quinoderm 5% and I know it says start with a 2.5 strength but those are hard to come by in the UK and this one I got over the counter for cheap in boots. I nearly got the 10% but the pharmacist suggested I try this one first. When I apply it I avoid my eyes and around my mouth and I let that soak in for 10-15 mins while I wash my hands and do something else then follow in with my moisturiser which is the simple anti blemish moisturiser. My skin doesn't feel super dry or tight after this but it doesn't feel super moisturised either it just feels normal. I do this regimen twice a day; day and night. What have I noticed so far? A bit of itchiness during the first two days but not so much now and the itch only lasts a few seconds. By day two I noticed some spots reducing in size but not disappearing completely and I noticed a lot of old spots filling with pus! By day 4/5 I started noticing some new spots but they're the small pin head size and I'm noticing these by my temples, hairline and by my forehead and some of them are blackheads (the ones on my forehead) because they have a black dot in the centre. I've also noticed flaking of the skin by my chin and especially where my breakouts are where I'm using the bulk of the BP. It's not severe flaking and to deal with it I have gone in once with my st. Ives scrub very very gently and for 10 secs on each part of face then followed the regimen and moisturised heavily. My skin texture I wouldn't say has changed much but i've noticed a decrease in number of spots on my right side but noticed an increase in number on my left side... and by increase it's not so much the number it's the spots that have been dormant for weeks growing in size becoming a little raised and inflamed and filling up with gunk hence becoming more noticeable. And yes when these spots fill up I do squeeze them which I'm not supposed to but can't help as it's so annoying to see them just there. Also quick question if I don't squeeze how will the pus come out? Will it burst on it's own or just disappear? To squeeze I use a sharp tiny sterilised needle to prick the spot gently in the middle and then use two cotton buds to gently squeeze the gunk out. I also go in with my comodone extractor on occasion if I feel like I haven't got it all out and I try to be gentle and stop when I see a clear fluid or blood. I think my skin is tolerating the BP and well I'm not experiencing any discomfort or severe dryness and flaking at the moment and I'm able to use this day and night. I am however thinking of getting a thicker moisturiser especially at night because my skin has started getting and feeling drier and my makeup looks horrible sitting over dry flaky skin! It's day 7 today of this new regimen and I'm sticking to it for 4 weeks at least because in the past I've given up too quickly. Also to deal with the cause of the acne I have changed my pill from levest because I was certain it caused EVERYTHING by having my hormones all out of whack! I'm on cilest now which is described as a "skin friendly pill" I'm on day 7 of that too. Hopefully this combo helps. So yes! so far so good, I feel it's getting better but expecting it to get worse because I hear a purging occurs and it gets worse before it gets better. I just hope if it does get bad it doesn't get really bad bad. This is a long post but that's basically my story so far! I'll keep u posted and try post pictures. Your comments are very welcome.
These two pics are the start of my regimen. This was day 1.