I realized I've been a bit vague about my skin care routine, and that might be helpful to know. I've tried a lot of products over the years, and I mean A LOT of products, and I've weeded through the ones that don't work for me. For a long time, my strict routine was Neutrogena face wash and 10% benzoyl peroxide at night. Eventually, though, I learned the secrets of moisturizer, and how my face was just becoming more irritated and broken out with the harsh topicals I was using. So I switched at that point to a lotion with 2% salicylic acid in it, and that worked really well for me for a while. I tried Proactiv, like everyone else, because the commercials made it look like a miracle product. It wasn't, but it is a nice gentle skin care system, and it worked as well as anything I've tried.
When I began working for a dermatology office, I began trying different topicals, such as Duac and Epiduo. These I did not find to be effective at all, and I quickly abandoned them. I tried Retin-A, but this made my face extremely dry, peely, and sensitive, and it brought on some of the worst breakouts I'd experienced in a while.
After a while, I got my hands on some Doryx, and it cleared me up really quickly and kept me clear for about a year. I was still getting pimples, but I wouldn't call it acne at that point. I loved it. It made me really sensitive to the sun, but my skin was so nice and clear. Eventually, though, I guess my body adjusted to it and began breaking out again with a vengeance. I tried a few other forms of doxycycline, but I began noticing that not only was I breaking out, but the breakouts were different. They were no longer pimples that I could squeeze and they would go away relatively quickly, but they were now tiny prolific bumps that would not go away. After doing a little research, I realized this was a symptom of being on an antibiotic for too long, so I stopped them cold turkey at that point.
Since then, I have settled into a routine of Cetaphil cleanser (the kind for acne-prone skin) once in the morning and once at night, and Aczone as a topical at night. I loooove my Aczone. It's gentle, it doesn't dry me out or make my skin sensitive, but it is still somehow extremely effective. Also, as an added bonus, it doesn't bleach my clothes and it works really well under makeup.
Now that I'm on Claravis, I have gotten a lot more careless with my routine. I guess I've taken the attitude that since Claravis is working from the inside, I don't really have to try as hard with what I apply on the outside. So I've been using whatever leftover sample of face wash I have from my days at the dermatology office, which has been Cera-Ve lately. As a lotion during the day I use Cetaphil lotion because I have about a million samples of it and it works really well. I don't use anything at night.
I'm looking forward to the day when I get to pamper my skin without worrying about breaking out from the products I'm using. It's just around the corner!