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About this blog

Trial and error with a number of over-the-counter products and learning to love my skin

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By kimintie,

My skin has cleared!
It didn't take long at all - the very next morning after dropping Murad's Clarifying Cleaner, I noticed HUGE improvement. 
Aside from some red marks and very few closed comedones, my skin is clear! Paula's Choice 1% BHA lotion and Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser were just what my skin needed. They are extremely gentle, they don't sting or make my skin feel tight, and they don't dry me out. 
Even without being harsh, they are preventing breakouts and quickly eliminating all of my closed comedones. I guess I didn't realize how sensitive my skin was.
I'm very happy that I have finally found myself back on the right track. My confidence is returning and I am focusing on things other than my skin for a change. I'm just hoping that I continue to see improvement.
The only change to my routine is that I have started using PC 2x a day because it is go gentle:
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans'](AM) [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans'] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans']Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans']Witch hazel[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans']Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans']Paula's Choice 1% BHA lotion[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans']Olay Complete Moisturizer (spf 15)[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans'] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans'](PM)[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans'] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans']Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans']Witch Hazel[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans']Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans']Paula's Choice BHA 1% lotion[/font][/color]


By kimintie,

Well, I just started college about a week ago. Unfortunately, I think my skin is in the worst state it has been in a long time. I thought the culprit was my Paula's Choice BHA liquid, but I have recently discovered that is not the case.
I have been using Murad's clarifying cleanser for a couple of months now. It worked great to begin with, but now I am far from great. My skin is super oily and flaky at the same time and I am red all over. I stopped using Paula's Choice and I know that my moisturizer isn't causing this - with process of elimination, I discovered that it is my cleanser. After finding similar negative reviews on Murad's cleanser, I dumped the product for good.
I have gone simpler, cheaper - I'm going to start using Cetaphil's gentle cleanser.
Throughout my struggle with acne I have always used harsh cleansers with tons of ingredients and chemicals. I think it is about time I give my skin a rest and just give it something gentle.
I also purchased Paula's Choice 1% BHA lotion - something a little less severe than the 2% liquid. I plan on using it at night only. My regimen will go as follows:
Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser
Witch hazel
Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector
Olay Complete Moisturizer (spf 15)
Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser
Witch Hazel
Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector
Paula's Choice BHA 1% lotion
There is really no point in buying these expensive, harsh products. I found that the short period I went without using anything on my skin at all was the time when my skin improved the most. I just need to give it break from these crappy products (cough Proactiv cough Murad).
I keep changing my regimen, I know. But this is really the only way to figure out what works best for your skin. I'm hopeful still.
So it has now been 12 days since I have started using Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid and De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment. Here are my thoughts so far on the individual products:
[b]Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid[/b]
I'm still not sure how I feel about this product. The good news is: my closed comedones (what I was trying to eradicate by buying this product in the first place) are 100% gone on my cheek and about 80% vanished on my forehead. The bad news is: my skin looks simply awful. Although I'm producing significantly less oil and my closed comedones are gone, my skin is red, peeling, and I am broken out (albeit very small pimples, not anything severe). My pores look huge and overall I am horrified by how my face looks without makeup.
Granted, I haven't even been using Paula's Choice for two weeks, so I am probably purging. I am going to give it a month - maybe two - and if my skin does not improve, I'm going to stop using it. I'm happy with the way my skin's texture and oiliness has improved, but overall, my skin is not happy.
I also wasn't using a moisturizer, so that could be partially my fault. That being said, my regimen has changed a little, so I will list it out at the end of this entry.
[b]De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment [/b]
I have nothing negative to say about this product. 
I had a series of pretty ugly cysts after I started using the BHA liquid and this cleared them right up with minimal red marks. I would just put it under a bandaid and leave it on all day or all night, and after I removed the baindaid I saw great improvement. I cleared up my cysts in three days with this stuff.
Sure it stinks, and yes, it is drying, but it clears acne up quicker than anything I have ever used.
Without further ado, here is my regimen:
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans'](AM)[/font][/color][list]
[*]Murad Clarifying Cleansor (SA 1.5%)
[*]Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid
[*]Olay Complete Moisturizer SPF 15 for combo/oily skin
[*]Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans'] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font='Open Sans'](PM)[/font][/color][list]
[*]Murad Clarifying Cleansor (SA 1.5%)
[*]Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid
[*]Olay Complete Moisturizer SPF 15 for combo/oily skin
[*]Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector
[*]And for my back: Murad Clarifying Body Spray 
Note: I dropped the witch hazel. I did some more reading and found out what I was really putting on my skin and yuck, absolutely do not use witch hazel as a toner (if it contains alcohol). Big mistake on my part. 
It has been a rough 12 days. I am just hoping that I see improvement soon.

August 8

By kimintie,

Today was a pretty rough day. Looking in the mirror this morning actually upset me quite a bit. Although I know that my skin is coming along fine, I didn't like what I saw in the mirror. There were no new breakouts, just the same scarring and comedones, but it made me feel pretty hopeless. Generally I feel the most upset about my acne in the morning. I guess it's because I somehow always expect to wake up and see big improvements. Having patience is difficult.
I got a little sun today and after doing that, putting on my makeup, and getting a nice glass of water, I felt a little better. I also received my De La Cruz 10% Sulfur Ointment and Paula's Choice BHA Liquid in the mail. 
I'm feeling pretty optimistic about these products. I have read wonderful things about them and they seem suitable for my current skin problems. My only concern is the number of products I'm using on my skin. I initially wanted to use a gentle cleaner and toner and be done with it... but now my regimen includes 4 products: my cleanser, toner, scar treatment, and BHA liquid. I'm only planning on using the sulfur ointment once or twice a week. But I have only seen improvement with my current regiment, so I'm going to keep at it.
I have also been looking into changing my diet. I wouldn't say that my diet is unhealthy... but there are certain things that I would like to cut out such as red meat and diary.
Anyway... I get to see my boyfriend today and it's Friday. I have no reason to be upset or so down on myself.
I will update after using my new products within the next few days.
Thank you for anyone who took the time to read! :)
Although I have been browsing this website for several years, I just joined as a member a couple of days ago. This website and its users have directed me to the products I use that have helped me achieve clear skin. This community was always helpful and encouraging to me as a mere lurker, so I have joined in hopes of helping and encouraging others the same way many of you did for me.
And although my skin has come a long way, it is by no means 100% clear. I still struggle with my self-esteem and there are issues I am still trying to direct when it comes to the appearance of my skin.
But here is a little about me:
My name is Kimberly. Starting around age 12 (I am now 18) I started breaking out on my face, neck, and back. It was pretty bad cystic acne - bad enough that classmates and family pointed it out to me. I didn't care much for my appearance during my middle school years, so I didn't do anything except for the occasional picking and popping. This, of course, only made it worse. 
Unfortunately, I entered high school with extremely abused skin... and unfortunately this is when I started to become very, very self-conscious.
I started Proactiv, began wearing makeup, and began feeling very ashamed of myself. The picking of my skin was worse than ever and had become this self-destructive release that I somehow always thought would improve my skin but, of course, never did.
I changed from my carefree attitude of not caring about my appearance to caring a little too much - to the point that most of my high school career was spent feeling ugly and unappealing in every way. In hindsight, my acne was never all that bad after starting Proactiv - but I picked my skin raw almost every night. These were hard times. Desperately wanting to fit in. Crying every night, avoiding mirrors, telling myself every day that I was ugly, constantly comparing myself to others... I'm sure most of us have gone through this... I'm sorry for anyone who can relate.
My junior year I began looking around this website and I finally dropped Proactiv (best decision of my life). Although Proactiv cleared up some of my acne, it left me with a very tired, bumpy, and scar-ridden complexion.
I began my stage of home-remedies. I tirelessly researched and despite much effort, I never could find the solution to my (now) mild acne that I was looking for. But I didn't have any money and didn't feel comfortable asking my parents for any at the time.
Thankfully, my mother was very supportive and funded the (many) over-the-counter products I have used to combat my acne.
Believe me, I have tried an endless amount of products. You name it, I probably own it... and have tried it for my skin. I never went to a dermatologist as I did not feel my acne was severe enough for anything prescription, among other things. Thankfully, several months ago, I found the regimen that cleared the last of my acne. So without further ado, here it is:
[*]Murad Clarifying Cleansor (SA 1.5%)
[*]Witch Hazel (toner)
[*]Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector
[*]Milk of Magnesia (oil control)
Then I apply my makeup (all Neutrogena skin clearing products).
[*]Murad Clarifying Cleansor (SA 1.5%)
[*]Witch Hazel (toner)
[*]Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector
[*]And for my back: Murad Clarifying Body Spray (this product has completely cleared me of my back acne and scars. I have not had a single breakout in months. This has been a miracle product for me. I finally feel confident in a bathing suit and tank tops.)
I will occasionally use coconut oil as a moisturizer. I also use aspirin masks, ACV, and Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Fight and Fade Gel (SA 2%) when I breakout and need some spot treatment. I will probably do reviews of the individual products I use/have used... but this post is already pretty long.
Unfortunately I still have a good 30-40 closed comedones on my forehead and right cheek. They aren't even visible depending on the lighting, but I am still looking for a way to get rid of them. I started using witch hazel about two weeks ago and it seems to be helping with the comedones... but not as significantly as I would have hoped. So today I ordered the following products:
[*]De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment
[*]Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid
I'm hoping these will help with these pesky comedones. I will update this blog with my progress/experience with these products.
That's pretty much my acne experience in a nutshell. Although I have improved the condition of my skin greatly, I still struggle with my self-image and my constant urge to pick at my skin. I'm hoping this blog will serve as an outlet to help with both. 
Mostly, I'm hoping to provide as much knowledge and support to this community as it has provided me. 
Thank you to any who have taken the time to read!
Always feel free to comment or ask questions. 
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