There is a part of me that is absolutely horrified that I'm blogging about this *with pictures*, lol.
However, I'm a really open person, so I really wanted to share this journey because I understand the struggle for clear skin and how it makes a person feel to not achieve it---let alone wonder if what they're currently using is actually working. I need the support and ideas and feedback just like anyone walking around wondering, "is this even working? am I just telling myself that it is? do I look like a complete lizard freak now?!"
As you can see in these embarrassing photo "exhibits" (lol) I was really hitting that classic wall on The Regimen that can cause people to just quit. As I understand, around week 5-7 can be really difficult---you often look WORSE! But because this is my second time on it and I had absolutely amazing results the first time I used it back in 2009, I have no reason to believe that with diligence and gentle fingers, it won't work the second time around. I already mentioned where I went wrong the first time around in my first blog post (before this one is my first.)
There are a couple of things you can't see in these photos that are going on:
-my skin is extremely flakey
-my breakouts might only appear to be on the sides of my cheeks to you but are in fact all over my forehead and chin also (just always forget to photograph, sorry)
-the breakouts are in a sort of "layered" system---once I start healing, I break out again in that same spot (not from picking, either! I'm not really a picker)
-I have many, many tiny bumps all over my jawline and cheeks that, rather than simply surfacing as small breakouts, stay there and fester until they surface as inflamed pustules/cysts. Ouch. Very slow healing and painful skin situation.
I'm "back-blogging" for you so that you can see my progress because I know we all like to read and (especially!) *see* photos of true progress/stories. And all I can say about week 6 was that IT WAS AWFUL AND I WONDERED WHAT THE HELL I WAS DOING BACK ON THE REGIMEN, lol. Having said that, I also knew that my skin was in an ever-so-slightly way, healing. It definitely felt better than it did when I started. Even though I look absolutely awful here in these photos.
Currently, I'm on week 12 of DKR, "round 2". I can tell you that it's going well. I *think* my skin looks a bit better in those photos (coming soon!) but I'm not really sure. It certainly feels different.
Oy, the process is slow going, but going well. I am managing my flakiness/dryness a wee bit better than before---simply because I think my skin is finally conditioning to the BP again and I'm using one of Dan's suggestions of Oil of Olay Complete Sensitive with about 7 drops of Jojoba oil mixed in, 2x a day. Ya, it feels greasy at first, but what I do is EVER SO GENTLY put it on *just like you do with the BP* until it's "in" then I let that sit for about 5 minutes (brush my teeth, say) and then I kinda gently 'pat' it again to soak up the excess, if that makes sense. By then, my skin only looks a bit shiny and absorbs the rest easily on its own...
So, here is the key that I forgot---and you know this from Dan saying it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, lol:
you've gotta be gentle.
We're talking featherlight gentle. We're talking barely touching your face when you put on that BP (and same with AHA, if you use it.) Ya, it's annoying and slightly more than time-consuming (but not *that* time-consuming!) and requires some "mindfulness" about the process, but hey, think of it as you treating yourself to some time to relax and take a moment for yourself 2x a day.
I can be a tiiiiiiiny bit 'less gentle' when putting on the moisturizer, but not by much. Like he says, irritation=acne and that goes for how hard of a touch we have with the products that can create that negative feedback loop all over again. Especially with these types of products---unfortunately or fortunately, they are "harsh" for lack of a better word. So be psychotically and obsessively gentle and your skin will actually be able to use the treatment simply to heal the actual acne rather than further irritate your skin, causing more acne and dryness, if that makes sense.
Having shared all this with you, I'll keep "back-blogging" until I've caught you up to where I'm currently at. The only other thing I have to share about where I was at ~wk6 was that I didn't wear make-up (mostly because I never do and think it actually draws MORE attention to one's troubled skin...) and I have to say that I think it's important for women to try and not do this. Really try. I know it's hard. It makes you feel better but it'll only make your skin take longer to heal---and it already takes so long on the Regimen due to how effective it is at getting to the base of the acne bacteria and literally oxygenating them out.