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Quick update since last post

I'm thinking about giving my skin a rest from Tazorac for a few weeks. I've been back on it for I'm guessing about 3 months now. Although my forehead has gotten relatively clear, the cysts and spots around my jawline and neck haven't lessened at all. The reason I want to stop is because I'm so tired of the skin around my mouth and nose peeling all the time!! I can only get about 1 hour of makeup wear, and then the foundation starts to flake off. And even when I don't wear makeup, by midday I'll notice the skin around my mouth and tip of my nose flaking off. UGH!
I recall having this experience during my first round of Tazorac over a year ago, but I could swear it only lasted about 2 weeks. This has been going on for over a month and I'm so tired of it. Before totally abandoning it though I'm going to avoid application onto those areas for a few days and see if that helps.
I made an appt. with my derm, but unfortunately it's not going to be until Sept. 1st. Hopefully my skin doesn't start getting too bad; I just got my order of the Botanics Facial Oil. I've read a ton of great reviews about it balancing oily skin while also providing hydration, so hopefully I have that luck without breaking out too much.

Decided to hop back on this website and give a little update. While no one else may be reading these, I find them really helpful for myself in getting a good idea of how my acne has progressed.
So, how my skin is today - Incredibly dry ALL over my mouth, most likely as a result of Tazorac (10% gel), two pimples on my forehead, a few pimples and cysts on my neck, and quite a bit of spots on my jawline, but most of them seem to be healing (thank GOD).
After Paula's Choice didn't work out so well, I decided to get back on Tazorac. I guess it's been about two months maybe? Since this would be my 2nd (or 3rd.. I can't remember) time using this topical, I made the mistake of starting off strong, applying every night, making me skin pretty awful for a while. Started over and slowly built up to applying every night. During this time my skin has been INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE, even worse then the other times I was using this topical.
It was at the start of May that I started noticing my acne coming back with a real vengeance. It seemed to be a rollercoaster, where my skin was looking good for a week, and then the next week it was trash. Two weeks ago my skin was looking pretty good, save for a lot of hyperpigmentation, but unfortunately this week it's been more on the "trash" side. I suspect the various moisturizers I've tried using. I'd been using the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion for forever and wanted something new and moisturizing to help with how dry my skin was. Unfortunately my skin is still incredibly oily, just dry on certain areas, so I didn't know how I could possibly combat those both.
Went to Sephora and bought two moisturizers. For the daytime I got the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel+. I like it as it feels refreshing, but again, it doesn't do anything for my dry areas. Also, lately I've found it burning my skin a little. Not returning just yet...
For the nighttime I used the Boscia Oil-Free Nightly Hydration gel - didn't like it. I thought it might be great if I had JUST oily skin, but it did nothing for my dry areas, and even made my eyes and skin burn. Returned.
Then purchased the Derma E Hydrating Night Creme. Did it moisturize well? Yes! Did it burn my skin? HECK YES. Returned after realizing it was also a bit too thick and clogging my pores.
After expressing my disappointment with moisturizers online, a friend of mine recommended baby lotion, as she'd had severe acne and said when her medication made her skin dry she loved baby lotion to combat dryness without leaving a greasy feeling. I used it for about two weeks until I started noticing not just that my skin was breaking out more than usual, but also my skin would burn upon application. Not returned, but passed on to mom.
So I finally decided to go back and purchase the CeraVe moisturizer I used to use and love. I used it during the daytime and my skin felt great! But I used it again before bed and it stung! I was so disappointed and basically have concluded that my skin is just too sensitive and every moisturizer will probably burn me.
If anyone has suggestions on moisturizers to use while on Tazorac please let me know!

P.S. Just as a little note to myself later - I'd also purchased the Belif Tea Tree Oil treatment for acne spots. Unfortunately I found it wasn't for me. Using it as a spot treatment was too much work because I had spots all over my face. Putting a few drops on my hand and then spreading it all over my face wasn't good either because it used up too much product. I ran out of it in like 2 weeks!

7 weeks ago I began using the Paula's Choice Extra Strength Acne Kit as a recommendation from one of my fave youtube beauty people. She called it her holy grail and claimed it really helped out her acne. Decided to order it and was super excited to try it out. It consists of the "Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser", an "Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid", and the "Extra Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 5% BP". I've been using the cleanser 2x a day, but started off using the exfoliator and BP every other day. I distinctly remember the first night I used them together my skin started burning. I washed them off, slapped on a load of moisturizer and proceeded to go to sleep. The next morning my face was PEELING, especially around my nose. Super embarrassing because I didn't actually notice until I got home from classes. Besides that I was really amazed to see a significant decrease in the impacted pores on my forehead.
So that was then. I'm now using each product 2x a day (with exception to the exfoliator; only use it at night because I'm terrified of my skin peeling during the day again). I can definitely say it's helped out my impacted pores and cystic acne, but that's all, really. I'm still dealing with light-moderate acne. I can probably blame that on my diet and stress though. Haven't been able to drink water as often because I'm in California and water is freaking expensive because of the drought, and I wouldn't say it's safe to drink the water from my fridge given the spout has got mold/mildew on it.
Unfortunately I do have to say that at this very moment I am facing some more acne than usual. About 5 large pimples on each side of my face, and quite a few small ones all over (If I end up putting up a photo I'll add a link to it here). Noticed this a couple of days ago. I have a feeling it's some old concealers I started using again. Looking through my makeup stash when I rediscovered them and decided to use some. I would say they're definitely what's causing my breakouts considering how old they are, but I've got pimples in areas I didn't even use the concealers on too.

Its been about 15 weeks since I went off of Ery-Tab, and 30 weeks since going on Tazorac and Benzamycin. My current facial status? Not too sure. I can recall my last post saying that my skin was doing really well. That was the last week of October. Since then my skin's status has been fluctuating. It got pretty bad the last week of December when I was on my time of the month. Currently I've only got about 3 or 4 active pimples along with 4 or 5 cysts along my jawline. Overall my skin looks clear, but the cysts are pretty painful.
Still, I've got so many questions popping up in my head. Are the topicals not working for me anymore? Am I not using them as often as I should be? Is it my eating habits? Did my Benzamycin go bad since my derm told me I didn't need to keep it in the fridge even though thats what everyone else and their mother said to do? Or is it simply because I'm not taking an antibiotic anymore and thats the only thing that will ever help me?
In the 4 years Ive been seeing a derm, that's what I've learned, that taking antibiotics will always clear me up, but anywhere between 3-6 months after giving it up, my acne will come back.
At this point in time I'm planning on tossing out the Benzamycin and ordering the Paula's Choice Acne Kit. I've heard some really good things about it.

Current Skincare items:
Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser
CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion
The Body Shop Vitamin E Night Cream
BENZAMYCIN (morning)
TAZORAC (every other evening)

15 week update

Got to see my derm last Thursday. Told her my deal, that I was breaking out since I was just about to start my period, but that overall my skin's been doing good, I've just still got a lot of hyperpigmentation and scarring. She told me she was going to give me another prescription of Benzamycin and Tazorac, but that she would up Taz to 0.1% and make it the gel form instead. I told her that I was out of Ery-Tab but that to be honest I didn't want to use an antibiotic anymore, and she told me that it's totally fine and that she also wanted me to just finish it up and be done with it. So that's that. Just before I left I mentioned that my tinea versicolor was coming back, so she gave me a prescription for 2% ketoconazole and some other one that the pharmacy was out of so I wasn't able to pick up.
One thing she's mentioned during both my appointments is if I wanted to get rid of the 2-inch dark spot on the side of my face. You can see it on some of the photos I've put up on here, left side of my face. For a long time I thought it was just a birthmark, but my mom says I wasn't born with it, so I'm guessing its something that developed after years of not using sunscreen back in grade school. I personally don't care about it, but I guess I could see about it later.
 

Skin's Good, Buut...

I was heading to my dermatologist appt. on Thursday when this car on the lane to the right of me, just a couple cars ahead, merged into my lane, going at a really slow speed in order to decide whether he should pass the gore zone to get back on the freeway. With me going 65 mph and my breaks not being as great as they could be, I wasn't able to stop in time and slammed into the corner of his bumper. We're both doing okay thankfully, but it looks like our insurance isn't going to help pay for my repairs. And I already owe my dad $400 as it is so this all really sucks..

While waiting for the tow truck to pick me up I called my derms office since they have a $50 cancellation fee, and I wasn't about to have to deal with that.

My skin's looking really good, and I was so looking forward to seeing what my derm was going to say and suggest next.

:/

9 Weeks

Stopped using the Revlon Colorstay foundation and my skin has been doing a whole lot better (honestly I'm still not sure if it was the foundation that caused my bad breakouts but I wasn't going to take any chances of course). I exfoliated last night for the first time in weeks and just now as I washed my face to get ready for bed my skin felt sooo much smoother. At the moment I do have 4 active/painful pimples but that's so much better than what I was dealing with a few weeks ago.

Dermatologist appointment this Thursday so hoping everything stays well until then!

Current skincare products I use -

Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion

Benzamycin (in the morning)

Tazorac (in the evening)

Antibiotic: Ery-Tab

7 Weeks

About 2 weeks ago, my skin was doing great! It felt so nice and smooth when I washed my face. The only issue was the acne on my neck (it hasn't improved at all!) and hyperpigmentation. Unfortunately mother nature then decided to pay a visit, and so my skin went crazy. It's been a week since the last day and my skin still hasn't recovered. I've started thinking that maybe one of the foundations I recently started using has caused these breakouts, so I'm giving them up for the next two weeks.

What a bummer, things were going so well :/

Week 5 - Progress!

While my skin doesn't look like it's getting all that better, I can feel it noticeably smoother!

I've got only about 8 small active pimples on my face (excluding all the subsurface bumps on my neck. They just won't go away) and a few that are healing and thus a little crusty. Still lots of hyperpigmentation and scarring, but overall I think we're heading in a good direction!

This Wednesday I've got my appt so we'll see if there's anything that we should start changing up. I was supposed to be taking Ery-Tab twice a day, but I noticed it was messing up my stomach. I was getting bad pains and was going to the bathroom a lot... so I stopped taking that second one in evening one for a bit, and then I just forgot to start it up again. What usually happens is I don't remember until after I've had dinner, and since I'm supposed to take it on an empty stomach, I have to wait about 2-4 hours for my meal to digest, so by that time I've usually already forgotten about it. I guess I'll start setting an alarm.

Last week I developed a pimple on the corner of my mouth, and when it scabbed over holy crap it was absolutely painful to eat or talk!! A few days later it got better, but then another appeared on the other corner! Luckily this one didn't cause nearly as painful an experience. But wow it was the worst!

Last week I had about five or six bumps on my forehead. As of this moment, it's relatively smooth, with probably one or two bumps. Acne on my cheeks and jawline is the same as usual, but acne on my neck has just exploded. Bumps all over. I'd say I only make it worse because it's so itchy, I keep scratching.

I'm wondering if the way I apply my topicals is having any affect on their effectiveness. I apply Tazorac at night - the website says to apply it after my moisturizer, so I normally cleanse, moisturize, and then apply it after an hour. In the morning it's Benzamycin, and that one's difficult to work with. It's really thick and leaves a lot of chunks of the product on my face. I first thought to apply it straight after cleansing, so I could feel like it's being soaked directly into the skin, with no moisturizer to block it. But on the few times I've used a moisturizer, and then waited an hour to apply Taz, I've found it spreads a lot easier, and melts into my skin better.

Little Rant

2 weeks since starting Ery-Tab, Benzamycin, and Tazorac. After my skin started getting really red I eased up on the topicals, using them only every other day. I have noticed my skin isn't as red, so that's great. Still breaking out badly though. I've developed a few painful bumps on my jawline. Yesterday as I finished up washing my face I noticed I was bleeding on a bunch of spots, presumably pimples that I'd accidentally popped.

Now, onto what's been bothering me.

The other day I went out without makeup because why waste my foundation when I'm only going to be gone 5 minutes?

I head to CVS, pick up my stuff, and head to the checkout line. The cashier is like "You know what works pretty well? Witch Hazel".

I pay, head to my car, and drive home, with that simple sentence being replayed in my head, over and over, for the rest of the day.

I get that strangers want to be helpful when they recommend stuff, but honestly it just irritates me. Friends are always saying "Acne doesn't define you!! You're beautiful with and without makeup!!" but that's really hard to believe when you get total strangers telling you what you should do to get rid of it. It basically just reminds me that people do notice my acne, and that even if I try to go to the store and buy stuff like a normal person, that's the first thing people will see about me.

Yeah, maybe he had acne and fixed it and just wanted to share it with me to help me out. But honestly, it hurts that he would suggest it at all, because that shows me that he thinks my acne has affected me that much.

A few weeks ago I saw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWTRwj9t-vU, and it resonated with me so much. Although I don't have a youtube channel and don't get comments directly targeted at me, I see them all the time.

Doesn't wear makeup -

"You look tired"

"Do you even wash ur face?"

"Wow ur ugly :/"

"Honey you should really try _________ to get that fixed"

Makeup tutorial -

"Too much makeup. That's why you have acne".

"You're so fake"

"If you wear makeup it's because you're insecure"

"This is why I have trust issues"

I hate it. I hate that there's no way for people to stop commenting on how we look. Sure, maybe we wear makeup because we're insecure. That's our call. It makes us feel nice so we do it. Maybe we're tired of people telling us that we're beautiful without makeup, and yet constantly trying to show us how to get rid of it.

What I hate most is that I personally don't have an issue with my acne. I know it's just something that I have, and that it makes things a little more difficult (basically everything I said above). I know I'm not alone in this fight either.

I don't care that people notice it, because let's be real, the first thing you see on someone is their face.

I care that people act as though it defines me as a person, and that I won't be satisfied until I get it under control.

I just want my acne to be something as mundane as the bird crap on my car.

One Week Done

One week since I started taking Ery-Tab and using Tazorac & Benzamycin. Skin is looking the same in terms of acne production. I've got some pimples on my cheeks, a couple on my forehead, and some cysts along my jawline. I could say I've developed a lot of whiteheads and some papules on my nose too, instead of the usual blackheads. A noticeable change since last week is the redness - makes my skin looks super irritated. I bought the Mario Badescu Healing and Soothing Mask yesterday after reading reviews about how it helps with skin irritated from topicals treating acne. Haven't tried it yet, but I'm really hoping it helps.

One thing that bothers me is the application of Benzamycin. After I first picked it up I read a review saying to make sure that the pharmacist mixes it well, because if not then it'll be super chunky and hard to apply. Well I look at what I've got and sure enough it's chunky. I tried mixing it as best I could but it doesn't help. When I apply it I feel like I'm not getting all that much product on my face because most of it pills (I can feel some of the product, I just mean what feels like a lot of it pills off). I keep it in the fridge like the directions say, but my derm said I don't need to do that (can't remember exactly why, I guess something about that hindering it's performance). So, last night I left it out to have it melt a little in the hopes that it'll be easier to mix and apply smoothly (Update: It did apply nicer, but still lots of pilling). Next time I see my derm, if she still wants me to use it, I'll ask if we can do the paks instead of the premixed version.

Over Ziana

I finally saw a dermatologist for the first time in 2 months. It's a clinic I haven't been to before, but making an appointment there meant being seen 3 weeks earlier than if I had made one at my usual place (but the drive there SUCKS..) So, this derm seemed a lot more thorough than my usual PA. She had this little app where she took all her notes and had this little model she could mark on to show where I had my acne. She even took a pic of my face to compare to in the future. Unfortunately, after telling her about all the topicals and oral antibiotics I've taken and my experiences with them she goes "Well, that really limits our options here". She wanted to put me on Accutane because at that moment my skin was insanely oily like holy crap I looked like I'd just run a marathon, but after looking it up and finding out that it may possibly make my intercranial hypertension come back, she decided not to. I was trying so hard to remember the topical that leelowe1 recommended (Atralin) but I couldn't :(

She prescribed three things:

  1. Benzamycin in the morning
  2. Tazorac in the evening
  3. Erythromycin (twice a day)
I know I said that I wanted to stay off of antibiotics, but I just feel like my acne is so bad at the moment, they're the only thing that will help, at least for now. Since my last post I've developed several cysts along my jawline, and lots of pimples all over the place.

The plan is that once Erythromycin clears up my face (assuming it does) I can just continue with the topicals. If the acne comes back, I'm going to start on the Regimen. I've been putting it off for soooooooo long.

I've been noticing quite a bit of acne popping up on my neck lately. I'm looking at my progression photos and that acne started popping up around June 20th, and has gotten worse since last week. They're basically forming all over where I apply the majority of my skincare and makeup products, so I'm wondering if something I'm using is causing this.

So, all products I use on my face and neck (with some possibly irritating ingredients) include -

  1. Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Toner (Contains: Alcohol - I've been using this for months though)
  2. Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture with SPF 15 (Contains: Glyceryl stearate)
  3. CoverGirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation (Contains: Sodium Chloride - which is in pretty much every foundation, even ones I used that didn't mess with my skin..)
  4. CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion (... nothing really bad)
  5. L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Setting Spray (Contains: Alcohol Denat. - I don't directly apply it to my neck though)
  6. Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30 (couldnt find the irritant rating for a lot of ingredients)
So, I'm going to take a week off of each product and see if there's any one that shows itself to be the culprit.

Besides that, I'm in the middle of my 12th week of Ziana, with still no improvement. Like, NONE. I was supposed to finally have my derm appt. tomorrow buuuuuuuut of course with some relatives from Mexico in town my dad wants us to go visit Big Bear. .-. Really getting tired of having to reschedule my derm appointments. I haven't seen her in two months :( Luckily I did find another that'll see me on Wednesday. Just hope it's not too expensive..

Week 10 - Stressing

I've finished 10 weeks of Ziana, and unfortunately, absolutely NOTHING has changed. I'm still going to use it until I've done 4 months, but the fact that I haven't seen any changes at all is really disappointing. At the moment I'm having a bad breakout since I just started my period, but honestly it's not all that different than what I normally experience. I've been getting a lot of acne on my neck, which is usually how I know my acne is bad. It's also been a month since I gave up milk, reduced my dairy consumption, and started taking vitamin D-3, and unfortunately just like with the Ziana I haven't seen any changes at all. :(

I'd been thinking about getting the Clarisonic for a while now, but my family and I are having a lot of financial issues at the moment (I just found out I'm not going to be getting the Cal Grant, so I'm going to have to borrow about $4500 in loans). Even so, my dad's been begging me to see a "better" dermatologist, saying that he doesn't care how much it costs. All this said, I'm most likely going to instead be getting the Sirius Skinsonic. If anyone has any experience and thoughts on whether it's worth it or not please let me know!

Week 8

Just finished up week 8 of Ziana. Can't say I've seen any improvements to my skin. I really want to consult my derm to see about starting birth control but unfortunately I've had to keep rescheduling my appt., and so as of now it's not until next month.

Looking at my forehead right now I see 1 large papule and 2 pustules.The impacted pores that I said were receding two weeks ago seem to be coming back. Still breaking out around my jawline and cheeks and everywhere else basically,. I'm wondering if my new foundation (LORAC Natural Performance) may be contributing. At least my chin isn't doing as bad. It's still really dry recovering from previous acne, but it seems to be getting better.

I'm still using almond milk instead of regular milk and taking 1 2000 IU Vitamin D-3 capsule a day. It's been about 3-4 weeks. I've heard a lot of people say they saw results immediately, or at most after a week, and so it's discouraging that I haven't seen anything. Of course I'm going to keep on this regimen, at least until my next derm appt., but I've got my doubts it'll end up doing anything.

To be perfectly honest, I'm pretty sure my health has a lot to do with my acne. It's been so long since I've exercised. I just got a new job, and it's mentally exhausting, so whenever I have free time I want to just stay in my room and watch funny videos or play video games. It's sad, really. That said, I'm going to try to start running again. I really want to see a change.

Week 7

A week ago I bought some vanilla almond milk (sugar free) and have been using that instead of regular milk (just ran out last night so I'm going to have to go out and buy some more!) I also just yesterday started taking some Vitamin D-3 capsules (2000 IU). I'm no nutritionist so if this doesn't sound perfectly safe for some reason feel free to let me know.

Onto the skin - it's still pretty bad. Still using Ziana. Most nights I take off my makeup with coconut oil, and I'll usually end up unintentionally popping some pimples in the process.. But I have noticed that the impacted pores on my forehead are receding. I can remember a few weeks ago washing my face and feeling what seemed like 100 little bumps all over my forehead, but now I can only feel about 8.

The other day I was talking to someone about acne, and she asked if I'd ever tried birth control. My derm did suggest it about a year ago, but at the time my blood pressure was too high so she suggested I deal with that first. Thinking about bringing it up again at my next appt, just because for some reason I feel like I won't get my acne under control unless I go back to using an oral antibiotic (which sucks because I feel like it's slowly ruining my system in other ways).

Normally when I breakout, I breakout all over my jaw, around my cheekbones, and quite a bit around my mouth. But for the past 2 weeks, I'd say 60% of my breakouts are on my chin/around my mouth. To add, my lips have been feeling really dry lately. I still get acne all over my face (the impacted pores on my forehead are starting to settled down though) but I'd say it's been primarily centered on my chin. I saw my derm on Monday and she asked me if I wanted to get back on oral antibiotics because although Ziana would help me, it won't completely get rid of my acne. I told her I wanted to stay with just Ziana for the next few weeks before going back to that. I'm just kinda tired of antibiotics is all. After that first antibiotic I was on for almost a year sent me to the hospital, I've been really wary of them. I just want to see if a good cleansing routine can do enough. I've actually been considering trying out the Regimen. If I don't get any improvement with Ziana in the next 3 months, that's my next step.

I'll admit one factor to my breakouts may just be my diet. I still live with my parents and am still finding a job (actually I found one, I'm just in training right now) so I'm not the one going out and buying the groceries to make healthy meals - I just eat whatever I can find here, and my family isn't the healthiest. I'm sure there are healthy meals I can make for myself here, I just don't know what (i.e. I'm not a good cook). Let's not forget that because of California's drought, water's been getting expensive, so I only take a water bottle from our stack if I really need it.

Also, I'm just getting over a cold I caught during finals (around the 14th). And I just started my period last night too. I'm just a great mess right now lol

I'm also wondering if quitting dairy will do any good. The issue with that is that I LOVE MILK. I have milk in some way every morning, whether it's in my cereal, or with my waffles, or in my coffee. I just don't know how I could give it up :'(

Week 4 - Ziana

Quick update - I think I'm finally in the purging phase. My breakouts are getting pretty bad. Not to mention they're leaving me with a bunch of dry spots all over my jawline, cheeks, and around the mouth. It's making it hard to put on makeup without it looking all crusty :[

Another possible trigger may be stress - finals next week! Actually I had my first one yesterday, and it totally kicked my butt. Now I'm studying for 2 more, as well as preparing for 2 papers, so I'm def feelin it.

Also: I'm no longer putting up photos on my gallery. I don't know how I did it when I had my severe breakout last year, but I tried putting one up the other day and I ended up taking it down. I keep the photos on my computer so I can keep up with my progress myself, but because of that I don't feel the need to put them on here anymore.

Third Week On Ziana

Not sure whether I've got an abundance of acne and subsurface bumps because of a purge, or because I was on my period.

My forehead isn't as prone to acne as other areas of my face, but I've got three pimples there right now. On the bright side, those clogged pores I've had for the past few weeks are receding.

Left and right sides of my face aren't looking all that different. Still got like 1-2 cysts and lots of little pimples, with lots of hyperpigmentation and scaring. And of course as usual I've got a bunch of stuff going on just below my jawline.

I'd say the biggest thing this week is all the pimples on my chin. I've got like 6, and they're in that state where I accidentally keep scratching them and making myself bleed :/

Should also mention that I'm starting my last week of school next week, and then it's finals, so yes I'm pretty stressed.

Gotta just push through now!

Start Of - Ziana

5 days ago my tube of Ziana came in. For the days preceding it I was super worried about this stuff. I heard a lot of negative reviews of how the purging phase lasted forever and that overall a lot of people were unsatisfied with the results. But there were quite a few that said you just need to know how to use it right, so I guess I'm willing to give it a shot.

I was supposed to take a photo of my skin today but I totally forgot and put makeup on, so I'll just post that tomorrow and link it here (Edit: here and here).

Anyway, it looks like I'm heading toward that phase already. My chin especially. It's getting painful; yesterday I had a bagel for breakfast and 2 of the blemishes are on the corners of my lips so it hurt so bad every time I tried to take a bite.

Hoping things don't get too awful!

Finally got to see the dermatologist after about 5 months. I went to a different clinic under the same guy, but I saw a different PA. She was pretty nice and thorough in her questions. Basically said that I did indeed have many clogged pores, lots of hyperpigmentation and scarring, with lots of pimples, and, uhh.. that I should have made an appointment earlier :/ But she was understanding of the situation. Since I'm not on any topicals anymore and none of the products from my skincare routine atm have any acne fighting properties, she prescribed me some retinoid (I think it's called Ziana) but that'll take about 2-3 weeks to get to me. So, yeah, I'm pretty glad I've finally got some direction.

Here are some picture updates:

Forehead

It's been a month that I've been using a turmeric face mask almost every other night (1 part turmeric, 2 parts yogurt). Originally I was interested in using it to see some facial hair reduction, and then I heard it was used to treat acne too, so I decided to give it a go. Well, comparing my face from a month ago to now, my acne's gotten pretty bad. I've had some cysts on my jawline for days, and I'm getting several on my cheeks too ( ). I'm also getting a bunch of subsurface bumps on my forehead, which I haven't experienced since my severe flare up last year.

I just can't tell if it's my acne coming back with a vengeance since I've been off of Bactrim for 5 months now, or if it's the mask breaking me out. Or if I'm just purging, which I think I remember reading about on a thread about turmeric face masks. I really don't want to think it's the mask, since turmeric and yogurt are supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties, but I guess I can't totally rule it out.

I scheduled an appointment with my derm two weeks ago, and the earliest I could get was March 28. I'm not okay with it, but I'm not making a huge fuss. Unlike my dad - he's soo mad. He thinks my derm isn't good enough and that I need a new one (which I don't think is the case. Maybe if I'd made an appointment earlier they would've given me a new prescription). He tried getting me to schedule with a clinic in Beverley Hills, but I looked them up and read incidents of them not fully accepting people's insurance. So I just scheduled with my usual clinic, but this time not with a PA, but with the head derm (which I've only seen once, and tbh he kinda creeped me out lol).

Oh, should also mention that I ran out of Epiduo a week ago. I don't want to think that's contributing to the flare up too, since it wasn't doing anything for me the last few weeks I was using it, but I guess it wouldn't be so smart to exclude it completely.

3/19 Edit: Holy crap so I stayed away from the turmeric mask for like 2 days and I tried it again yesterday evening just to use up the last of the leftovers I'd made and just before bed I felt like I was growing some new 'friends' on my face and of course this morning I woke up with like 4 really painful, awfully large bumps :((( Gonna stay away from that mask for the next few weeks and see if my skin gets better.

Not Sure What It Could Be

For the past week now my acne has been pretty bad. At first I attributed it to me being on that time of the month, but that's been over for about 4 days now, and being on my period doesn't usually leave me with cysts like I'm dealing with now.

I want to say I'm just purging, since I've been using a turmeric face mask (not for the purpose of treating my acne) for around the same time. So hopefully it is just that and my skin adjusts soon and I can get back to feelin okay.

Along with the turmeric mask, I started using the Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser. I'd been using the Yes to Cucumbers cleanser, but I didn't feel like I was getting a good cleanse with it (possibly another factor in why my acne is coming back), so I went and got myself the Cerave one and I like it so far. Only thing is my skin has gotten pretty dry, and, again, I can't tell if it's due to the new cleanser, or just the cold weather we're getting.

So that's the update. I'm planning on making an appointment to see my dermatologist again. Not necessarily just to start up another oral medication, but just to get a chemical peel. It's been a loooong time.

Stress Is Comin'

Last week I mentioned that my acne was coming back and it was likely because of how unhealthy I've been since I started working at Dunkin' Donuts.

Well I won't have to worry about that much anymore because I got laid off!! :'D

Yes, that's sarcasm. I'm actually really bummed out. Only worked there for 2 months but, damn, I made a lot of good friends.

And I was finally making money.

But it is what it is. I was laid off because my hours of availability weren't fitting with that they needed, and that's because I'm back in school and taking 5 classes.

Now instead of just finding another job, I'm looking into volunteering at clinic like most of the other people in my major.

Back to acne talk: Now that I'm off acne meds, I actually break out whenever I'm on my period. I mean yeah I'm broken out practically all the time nowadays, but I've noticed my acne is much more aggravated when I'm on that time. And I've also noticed that it's always my left side that's broken out more, so yea, I do indeed now have a "good side" when I take photos.

I'd also like to mention that I'm kinda done with Epiduo. I really REALLY don't see it doing anything anymore. Some months ago I said I didn't see it helping my acne, but because I was told it may still help hyperpigmentation I kept using it. But now I really don't see any improvements in my skin, so I'm pretty sure that once I'm done with this bottle, I'm DONE.

Lastly, I mentioned back in December that I'd ordered the LUSH coalface cleanser and that I was super excited to try it out because I heard it was great at controlling oil. Welp I've been using it for weeks now and it hasn't done anything for me. :'(

I still have an insanely oily face in the mornings, and when I put on foundation it only last about 2 hours before my face is a greaseball. But at the same time there are some foundations I try targeted towards oily skin that leave a bunch of dry patches on my cheeks and chin! :'((

Whhaahh.. when will this end...