I get annoyed when people stop updating these things because I wonder if they're off living their acne free life or what.
I am still not acne free. But - my skin is looking pretty good too. I'm on the same supplements and 2 weeks out of the month my skin is basically clear until 2 weeks prior to my period when I have a flare up.
Improvements I've made:
I am not touching my skin as much. It's made such a huge difference!
I ditched retin a micro as my only topical. I realized I needed an antibacterial component to my regimen. I started just doing Dan's regimen but quickly noticed that I was getting congested skin, black heads. So I've reincorporated Paula's 2% BHA. Was using them both at the same time and that was waaaay too drying. So on most days I use the BHA and moisturizer during the day and the BP and AHA at night. This cleared up my skin pretty quickly but lots of hyperpigmentation remained, so when I feel like my skin can handle it, instead of BP I'll do retin a micro and obagi clear and AHA.
I used to hate that I have to use so many products, but that was just me wishing I could be one of those low maintenance girls. Next life, maybe? To be honest, I'm happy I have so many options open to me and I think the best thing I can do for my skin is to pick something and be consistent with it.
So, I went out of town with my boyfriend (and now fiance) and it was too hard to keep up with my topicals. Waiting for them to dry before I can put on my make up takes FOREVER. So I got lax. And it was also 2 weeks before my period when I always flare up and 2 big zits showed up on my chin. Why this happens is a mystery because my chin is normally pretty clear. Little to no clogged pores - not like my cheeks. When I do break out on my chin it is 90% related to my cycle.
So now I'm trying to figure out what is happening 2 weeks before my period.
I have theories. Here is my research:
This is when your progesterone levels start to go up, so estrogen has less of an effect on my skin. Supposedly, my androgen levels are higher than normal too (there is no consensus whether your body produces more or if there is more in relation to estrogen/progesterone).
So should I take more saw p the 2 weeks prior to my period? I know it increases my estrogen too so maybe? I'll try that this cycle and next cycle and see if there is a difference.
I also wonder if I'm just really sensitive to these hormonal fluctuations and that just the increase in progesterone is causing it. Because in the past, my breakouts were a little different. I'd break out on my chin like once every 2 or 3 months. Now I'm getting like 2-3 pimples on my chin every month. So I'm wondering if the vitex is keeping my progesterone levels up more than it used to be (which is preventing the estrogen dominance, but is now causing typical hormonal acne).
At any rate, I'm not willing to keep fiddling with my hormonal levels, except for trying more saw p during the 2 weeks leading up to my period.
Other things I need to research:
luteal defect - what is it? Do I have it? supposed to be related to pre-menstrual breakouts. B6, zinc and magnesium are supposed to be good for this
Topicals specifically for hormonal acne - the beauty mag articles recommend ant-androgen topicals (Finacea, B6 and zinc) and also mentioned something to boost my estrogen receptors. This interests me too.
Essential Fatty Acids - I think I need to increase this to see if this improves kerantisation of my sebum. Both topical and oral. I started taking fish oil and also slathering my skin with hemp oil, and a hard, tiny seed that has been on my right cheek just came out. It was like a tiny piece of rice. Saw P is keeping my oil down, but maybe my sebum is prone to kerantisation and that's why I keep breaking out? It doesn't hurt to try.
Spiro - this still remains an option, however I'm worried that my depression/anxiety will return. I'm 90% certain my tincture is helping with that.
Other things I thought would be helpful to add here for posterity, I guess:
sebaceous hyperplasia - I found out that basically this is an over active oil gland. I get them following a cyst. I see a lump of yellowish sebum under the surface but no opening for it to get out. Because I have a thin face they can be pretty prominent, and if I spot treat them the skin around gets really dry and wrinkly so it looks like I have a raisin under my skin. They look horrible and I've never seen anyone else with this, so I feel kind of freakish. Anyway, I am deathly afraid of cysts on my cheek because I've gotten sebaceous cysts that needed to be removed and I still have the scars. So I got another cyst/sebaceous hyperplasia 2 months ago and was soooo upset about it. But I wasn't messing with my skin like I normally do, so it didn't look too bad. So I just ignored it - didn't spot treat it and just used my normal regimen. It finally came to a head about 6 weeks later. So while I hope to never get them again, it's good to know that it will eventually work it's way out of my skin, unlike a true sebaceous cyst which usually needs to be excised. I was also reading that anti-androgen topicals are good for these too. I was using nizoral but couldn't keep up with it while I was out of town. Also have read that finacea should help.
That's it for now. This is just for my own record keeping purposes. Also, if I ever clear my skin I can point to my log so people can read about the process. If I clear up my skin, I swear, I will dedicate my life to telling people how I did it.