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Retin A + Dalacin + Yasmin

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About 9-11 months ago I had some very sad indented scars - angry and red, and they were visibly indented. I still have shallow scars, but they improve every day, and although it might be impossible, I have a feeling that they will more or less be invisible in a year or so, when all of the redness is gone, and hopefully when tretinoin has improved the texture and collagen production. Anyway, I just wanted to show how my deepest scar in the middle of my cheek has improved in under a year. Mind, this has nothing to do with tretinoin, maybe the differin I used, but I think mainly time has made it better (I only started using 0.5% tretinoin 2 months ago). I think there is a lot of improvement! And hopefully it will encourage others to not lose hope and continue their treatments. I am still confused about the rest of my scars, and I hope they also will improve. But could anyone tell me (or at least give me some hope) that shallow scars possibly can improve even after it's been 12 months? Especially when they still have some redness to them and tretinoin is being used?
PS: It's the long horizontal scar on the upper part of my cheek I'm talking about. I have no idea what kind of scar it is, but it happened when I had a huge cyst (basically the only cyst I've had I think?), and I gently pushed at the middle of the scary thing, and all the nasty stuff came out of a little pore and the whole area just sunk down more and more each day. I believe this might be what happens when a cortisone injection leaves an indent.?
I haven't had time to update this blog at all, but it also means I have more interesting news since it's been a while. I still have the same regimen:
A-derma oat cleansing bar evening and morning
Avene moisturiser evening and morning
Retin a (airol) 0.5% evening
Dalacin (topical antibiotic) evening (and morning when I remember)
Yasmin birth control
First of all, as I have written before, I have been constantly breaking out on my chin for over a year, with at least 3-4 painful nodules (at times cyst-like) and often more than 5-6. I have done everything to try and get rid of it and nothing has worked. I have had small/medium sized pustules spread across the face in addition to this, as well as closed comedones and blackheads, although nothing severe, but enough to give me a few scars, lots of red marks and very low self-esteem.
Now, this has happened:
I felt like retin-a started working very quickly, not on the chin acne, but just the overall look on my skin, - it has constantly improved from week 2. Today, week 7/beginning of week 8, I basically have no active acne, just a few closed comedones and one dying pimple. My skin texture has improved and my indented scars look softer and is only visible in harsh light. My skin is soft and in a healing stage where I know its going to get even better as it hasn't even been 2 months yet. I don't know what has happened to the chin acne, but I suspect its the Yasmin that has helped. Although I am very sure retin a is what is giving me nicer skin, I know that retin a cant possibly eliminate those painful nodules in such a short time (i haven't even had an IB at all). I now have ZERO chin acne (and I havent even felt anything lying under the skin for almost 3 weeks now, which is a miracle!!), but just red marks. My skin is a lot less oily, and I also credit that to the Yasmin. I don't feel like my skin looks "glowy" in any way, but it looks a lot better, more even toned and texture is improving, although very slowly. I'm not sure how the dalacin has worked, it might have helped to keep things under control, but it doesn't have that visible effect on the skin as retin a have, so I'm not going to say anything bad about it, because its a topical antibiotic, not tretinoin. My eczema hasn't been aggrevated by retin a, I haven't been "lobster-red" as some people describe, and there has been no initial breakout. Maybe this is due to the fact that I started doing glycolic acid peels about 10 months ago and then did another 5 months of differin (although I didnt have any irritation or IB from either of those). I find this strange as I have very sensitive, eczema-prone skin, and I am pale with some freckles.
I feel a lot happier these days, and my mind has shifted from thinking about acne constantly to actually worrying more about my career and future plans, which is what I am supposed to do at this age! haha. It's actually nice to have to worry about more "important" things for once, than my looks.
I have also eaten a lot of sugar the past month, just indulging in whatever I have wanted, and it hasn't had any impact on my progress whatsoever. It is so nice to eat and enjoy myself without feeling guilty and scared it will affect my skin.
If my skin has improved this much on tretinoin and yasmin in under two months, I am so excited to see what my skin will look like in 2-3 months from now, and without the red marks! I am feeling very optimistic, although I am still anxious to see to what degree my indented scars will fill in or improve with time. 
I also have to say that I am a little sad I didn't start tretinoin sooner [img]http:////[/img] So for those of you who are scared, it is really worth trying as soon as you can - it is better to start earlier instead of trying cheap drugstore or DIY stuff that doesnt work, or doesnt work long term. If you have adult acne, it is very unlikely that it will suddenly disappear or you will "grow out of it", and it's time to research some serious treatments, whether it's hormonal treatments, antibiotics or prescription creams in higher strenghts. Maybe I wouldn't have the indented and textured scars I have today if I did more research on proper treatments earlier. But at least I found something now, and I am very sure I will continue using retin a for as long as possible if it continues to work the way it has. 

Update: Day 7

By mimime,

It's been a week with my new regimen and it's going quite well! An update on what I am using:
A-derma soap free oat cleansing bar
Avene clean-ac hydrating cream
A-derma soap free oat cleansing bar
I am not using any moisuriser after the retin-a, and it's working very well for me so far, and I am less dry and less oily in the morning than what I was when I was using differin. The small flakes I get around my jaw line (where I have had a constant breakout for the last year and lots of red marks) are so thin and easy to remove with just my make-up brush basically. 
Forehead: Some congested pores, small pimples here and there; it feels more rough than the rest of my face, but it seems like this is because the blackheads are starting to come out - I know I can extract some of them, but I'm trying to leave my skin alone. I have gotten a large pimple on my temple, my cheek and next to my mouth, but this isn't anything unusual and I'm not considering this an IB. The pimples are different in a sense; less inflamed and they don't hurt - but I also don't see them as "poppable" because they don't come to a head.
Cheeks: More or less the same. My pores look the same but I feel like my skin looks smoother overall, and I am guessing it's the dalacin that is helping with this as I don't think the retin-a or yasmin has started to work yet, although, my pores "feel" a bit swollen in a sense? It seems like the retin-a might have started to do some work deep down there, and that this might become a breakout sooner or later. The dalacin seems to calm my skin down a lot and makes my pimples less inflamed. I really like dalacin, but I hope the retin-a and birth control will work before I have to quit using dalacin.
Jawline: This is my main concern, with lots of inflamed hormonal pimples popping up every other day. They are dying down, though, and I currently have one very inflamed pustule and one less inflamed. I believe there is an improvement from last week, and my makeup goes on much smoother now, so it's not very noticeable after I've applied makeup.
I am currently happy with the progress, but I know it's very early on and I don't know what's waiting for me. I'm posting some photos of my chin from a week ago, today and with makeup today.
Side effects from yasmin: I haven't had that many issues so far with yasmin, and I have a feeling I am not going to have any struggles with it in the future. Around my 2-3rd day I was VERY nauseaous - I felt like I was going to throw up the whole day and I had some stomach aches and a little headache. This passed very quickly and I have felt very good the last days. I am prone to depression so I was a little scared, but surprisingly I have felt more upbeat and happy the last days! 
I was just wondering if what I am doing at the moment is ok; I am currently using dalacin in the morning and after I cleanse my face at night, and then I wait 30 minutes for the dalacin to dry before I apply retin a. Is this ok to do? It is working well for me at the moment, but I was wondering if it is hindering the retin a to do its work (although I feel like everything is working fine)? I wanted to use the dalacin twice a day because in the instructions it says that twice a day makes it more effective.
I am also not using any moisturiser after the retin a, except for around my eyes and mouth (where I tend to get a little dry). Is this also ok? I noticed with the differin that it was more effective without the moisturiser, and so far I have not had any side effects from this, neither is my skin any dry or flaky at all after almost a week with the use of retin a every night. It seems to work for me, does anyone else not apply moisturiser after retin a?
So far everything is going quite well, and I'll update tomorrow with photos after it's been a week on my new regimen! I felt like it didn't make any sense to update every other day because it's not really that interesting to read about everything that is going on with my skin from day to day, so every week should give more interesting updates!
I believe a good diet, natural skin care products with few ingredients, exercise and a holistic approach to combating acne can be a good thing, but I don't believe it is "the cure". People react to different things, and if chocolate, gluten or anything else obviously makes you break out, it is a good idea to eliminate these things from your diet, but I think for a lot of people, big lifestyle changes causes more agony than it does them good. I have a very healthy diet and I always have had, and I have a normal amount of sweets and such a few times a month. When I went gluten and sugar free for 4 months, it made no change in my acne. When I was a vegetarian for 5 months, it made no change. When I started using all natural skin care products, it made no change. And, when I started listening to all of the tips I read online about using all sort of DIY stuff like lemon juice, OCM, salt water, baking soda etc etc, is when my skin decided to go mental. I strongly believe in medicine, and going to a professional; a dermatologist or a doctor who has empirical evidence of what works and what doesn't. This doesn't mean everyone will be cured by BP, tretinoin, antibiotics or anything you can get on prescription, but it is definitely a better choice than to destroy your skin at home with topicals that there are no evidence that works. I just feel sad that I listened to a lot of the advice I got off the internet, and people telling you to keep going with a regimen that obviously isn't doing your skin any favour (OCM is an extremely good example), when I could have gone to a dermatologist a lot earlier and maybe I wouldn't have the scars I have today. I think you could compare this to any homeopath that will tell you they can cure your cancer with natural remedies or sugar pills, when there are other medicines that could benefit you and actually help you instead. 
Sorry if I'm offending anyone, but I keep reading about all these remedies and it really does sound too good to be true. When someone writes a review about lemon juice which they have used for 3 weeks with good results, how many of them do you think has continued with using it for the rest of the year? Very few. And when it stops working or they realise it had no effect, there is a very small chance of them updating their review to tell the rest of us it didn't work. Does anyone know any person with perfect skin that uses lemon juice and a salt water mixture every single day, and then do OCM and changes their pillow case and towel every day, and never eats gluten and no sugar etc? I don't. I am sure a lot of these things can help a little, especially in addition to using prescriptions from your dermatologist, but this insane obsession that is going to make it hard to live a normal life is doing us more harm. And I firmly believe that stress is causing acne. The stress I got from not only trying all sorts or natural remedies, but also from disappointing myself when I couldn't manage to live this "perfect" and "clean" life, made me more depressed, which I believe caused me more acne. I am not unclean, I am not eating unhealthy, I am not poisoning myself by not using only natural products; its my hormones and my genetics.
My friends who have perfect skin eat whatever they want, they don't count how many days it has been since they changed their towel or pillow case, they use cheap and simple moisturisers and they don't look in the mirror every other minute to look at their imperfections. They are calm about their skin, and they have not got hormonal issues or "acne genes".
Being unhappy with myself, having low self-esteem and being stressed about my skin 24/7 has made everything worse. I think the obsession a lot of people on here have about their skin is a very evil spiral. I will have to wait and see myself, but letting go of this obsession, trying to live normally, listen to my doctors advice and use the things I have been prescribed, AND starting to love myself again might be a solution. It's obvious that this is genetic and hormonal, so I need to be more aware of what I put on my skin than other people, but I need to calm down. And I need to not try and find all sorts of cheap ways that sounds too good to be true to fight this. And olive oil is for my salad, lemon juice for my tea, sea salt for cooking and baking powder for baking.
Edit: oh my, when I have a lot on my mind and I write fast, my English looks so messy and horrible!
Today I got all of my prescriptions; dalacin, airol (0,05% tretinoin) and yasmin birth control. I obviously have very little to write about, but I just applied some dalacin on my broken out areas, and it smells incredibly strong of alcohol! I hope this doesn't irritate my face too much. It had a sponge thing on the tip of the bottle which made it easy to not apply too much, and I also didn't have to touch my which is good. Later tonight I will be using the tretinoin for the first time, and I'm really determined to make it work, but also go slowly to avoid irritation and maybe avoid a massive IB and dry, flakey skin. But I'm prepared for the worst in the upcoming weeks.
From what I understand, since I'm already on a different birth control, I can start yasmin straight away? I have about a week left of the microgynon, but do I have to wait until I've finished it to start yasmin or can I start today as I took my last microgynon pill yesterday?thankful if anyone who knows could inform me about this [img]http:////[/img]
Wish me luck! 
I've taken the first yasmin pill and I just applied tretinoin. It was surprisingly "dry" to apply although it's a cream, but it did spread out quite well and a pea size was enough to cover my face with a thin layer. My skin looks quite matte with it on, as opposed to the differin which made my face look like shiny plastic. I'll post some photos of what my skin looks like at the moment, particularly the horrible breakout I have on my chin so it's easier to see if I'm doing any progress.
I made a little discovery the past week when I got lazy with moisturising after applying differin. I've been very consistent about using moisturiser every day and 30 minutes after applying differin at night, but the last week I haven't, and I'm sort of noticing the small spots I have, as well as the larger nodules are going away? Is this only due to my skin drying out (which isn't really a good thing, nor a permanent solution) or could it be that the differin is more effective when it's the only product I apply? It's not like I became acne-free this week, but my skin has felt better, more clean and less breakouts after I started only applying moisturiser during the day, but it might be a coincidence, or I might have to pay for it later this week if my skin gets too dry. Any experiences with this? And does anyone here NOT apply moisturiser with retin-a and finding this effective and not too drying?
I need to just write here to let it all out, really. I went out a couple of days ago with some friends and felt terrible because they all have flawless skin and I am still very self conscious about mine, although I know it has improved. My shallow scars are bothering me, but I'm not sure if it's body dysmorphia or if people actually do see them. I'm really confused. Every time I try to convince myself that it's just me who can see them, I immediately think that I'm lying to myself, and that "of course everyone sees it". I have small clogged pores all over, they don't bother me too much although I'd like them gone. It's the hormonal chin acne and shallow cheek scars that bother me the most. My chin currently has 3 big nodules (tried to pop them and it failed and they're now semi-active). I need to stop picking.
I'm not sure if it's time, or the differin that helped clear my largest breakout from last year. I'm so unsure about the differin. It hasn't improved my skin texture, pores, blackheads and definitely not my chin acne, but in a way I still feel like it has worked slightly, I just can't point out exactly how, as I'm still struggling. I am so scared of the IB when I start retin-a, now that I'm passed the horrible acne I used to have, and I'm REALLY scared after reading all the horror stories, that it will leave me with more scars or unveil scars I didn't know I had. I'm just hoping it's going to even out my skin texture, and possibly make my shallow scars less noticeable, and hopefully the birth control will help my hormonal acne.
When I look at photos from last summer, I realise I've come quite far. It was so inflamed and horrible, and I guess I am left with much less scarring than I thought I'd have. It's funny how you forget about that and move on to find new problems, and don't appreciate the progress you've made. Here's photos of my progress. My current skin is the photo to the right. The bad quality and dark light makes my skin look very good, but I do have big pores and worse skin texture than what it looks like, and I do have a massive breakout on my chin at the moment, so I definitely need more treatment.

My Current Skin

By mimime,

I'm just going to give a description of what my face looks like now, before I possibly start to see any changes from the new regimen.
- Forehead and temples: small spots all over forehead, mostly closed comedones, 3-4 tiny red spots on each temple. Dryness between eyebrows, flaky skin but still very oily at the same time.
- Cheeks: Outer cheeks are dry and with no noticeable pimples, only shallow scarring. Cheeks and around my nose are full of clogged pores, only visible up close, and nose wings are always a bit flaky. A few very small spots spread out over the area. Constantly oily around nose and cheeks.
- Chin and mouth: 3 huge pustules with no noticeable head, very painful. Small bumps and spots in between the pustules. Flaky skin.
 I am really determined to make this work, and I am also determined to diminish my shallow scarring with Retin-A as well, since it's fairly recent (under a year). I know there are mixed opinions on whether tretinoin is capable of reducing scarring, and I am realistic, but I am quite optimistic the appearance of my shallow scars will improve with diligent use of tretinoin, - however, I need to get my acne under control completely before I start thinking so much about my scars. If anyone has had success in treating/improving shallow cheek scars with Retin-A, feel free to tell me, if not I don't need to hear it. I've already browsed through all of the posts on this website saying it doesn't work so I'm aware there is a chance it won't. 

New Regimen

By mimime,

This is my first time posting anything on this website, after browsing it for almost a year after my acne went from mild to moderate. I am mostly writing this for myself to keep track of my progress, but maybe someone is in a similar situation and will find my log helpful.
After having a small breakout due to stress, and after searching online for something that might help, I started doing the oil cleansing method. This literally destroyed my skin and I started getting enormous pustules, more blackheads and my face was covered in small spots all over. And as time went by, I stressed more, which caused more spots and more spots made me depressed and depression made my acne worse. I cleared my biggest breakout with glycolic acid, and I have used differin since December, but I now struggle with hormonal chin acne and I develop spots around my face almost every day, although not as severe, and I also have some shallow scarring on both of my cheeks. My hyperpigmentation has mostly faded.
So, next week I will start a new regimen, as I'm starting to lose hope and I'm incredibly tired of waking up feeling depressed and having to spend time putting concealer and makeup on, only to look slightly better - I still look oily, my spots still show, my skin still flakes, and I still feel ugly and can't enjoy my life - I DON'T want to rely on makeup for the rest of my life, and I'm so DONE with acne ruining my mental health, my social life and my confidence.
23 years old, female
Fair skin
Combination skin - oily t-zone, but in general I have dry skin
Hormonal chin acne + general acne all over + clogged pores
Shallow scarring: 3-4 on left cheek, 2 small + 1 large on right cheek
What I have tried, but hasn't worked:
- Differin (some minor improvements, smoother skin, but still the same breakouts)
- BP (Dried out my skin, didn't improve acne, and gave me tons of hyperpigmentation)
- Duac (helped a little as a spot treatment, but no cure)
- Azealic Acid (no improvement)
- Glycolic acid (smoothed out my skin and breakouts went away faster, but I still broke out as usual)
- Oral antibiotics (didn't help, but I might have taken them wrongly and I didn't use any topicals simultanously)
- Salicylic acid cleansers and spot treatments (dried out my skin, again, I might have used it wrong)
- All sort of over the counter creams and cleansers, both harsh and very mild onces.
- Going gluten free and sugar free (no change whatsoever)
New regimen:
- A-Derma soap-free dermatological bar with oat milk (cleansing)
- Dalacin (topical antibiotic) once a day for maximum 3 months to calm my current breakouts
- Avene Clean-Ac Hydrating Cream (will switch to a lighter moisturiser for daytime when my skin has stabilised)
- Yasmin birth control
- A-Derma soap-free dermatological bar with oat milk (cleansing)
- Retin A (Airol 0.05%) 
- Avene Clean-Ac Hydrating Cream
Other daily changes:
- Changing pillow case and towel more often
- Not touch my face at all except when cleansing (maximum cleansing is two times per day)
- No picking whatsoever
- Less makeup, at least no greasy concealer and only light non-comedogenic powder
- Sleep with my hair tied up
- Drink enough water and green tea, general healthy diet with enough fruit and vegetables
- Omega 3 + vitamins
I will update from day one next week, after I get the Yasmin from my GP. Wish me luck!
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