Update! My skin has been a lot worse this week, so no pics, because they fill me with despair I'm not sure why, maybe stress, maybe impatience, but I definitely haven't managed to keep to my no-touching rule, and it has had a massive impact on the appearance of my spots. It's also had a massive impact on my confidence, and I've been more upset about my skin this week than ever before - it's been a real struggle to just make myself get out of the house every day to go to work, and I even worked from home one day because I was so upset about it (one of the few benefits of being a freelance translator!). I have also cried at two different people about it, felt really stupid for crying over something that sounds so trivial (but totally is not, AT ALL), and been in such a crappy mood that I basically couldn't concentrate on my job at all.
Aside from the usual daily outbreaks of 3+ shiny new itchy lump beasts on my cheek/jaw area, the most depressing event of the week was definitely the MONSTER LIP PIMPLE that appeared at the weekend. It was on my actual lip, as in the bit that joins my inner mouth to my outer face, where lipstick would go if I didn't have a monster lip pimple - I didn't even know you could get spots there! My least favourite things about this spot - it hurt to smile, it felt like I constantly had a bit of food stuck on my lip, it went a weird dark blue colour, it did not react well to spicy pasta sauce. My most favourite things about the spot - none, it made me want to put a bag on my head. Do not recommend.
Anyway, I have carried on slapping the old epiduo on my stupid spotty face, and I guess it's still doing its job, and I just wish it would do it faster, as in immediately. It stings more on areas where I've squeezed a spot (totally not a surprise, and almost comforting to know it's waging some kind of acidic war on the grossest parts of my face), but mostly it's still not burning like it did in Weeks 1 and 2. So that's good. It also does clear up spots quicker than they would go on their own, so even when I've got a big red horrible squeezed up mess on my jaw, it will decrease the redness and lumpiness within a couple of days. I still have hope that it will clear me up properly eventually - I just have to work on not checking, picking and prodding at my face so much. It's so hard not to become obsessed with checking up on the progress my skin is making, sometimes multiple times during the day, but honestly this week has been so depressing that I feel like if I have to cover my mirror or whatever, that's not too drastic a step. As soon as I stop obsessing and checking, I'll stop picking - then it will get better much quicker anyway.
Last weekend I went to hang out with some friends I hadn't seen in a long time, and I was SO nervous about my skin. It was never this bad when we were at uni together, and I didn't want them to see how bad my acne is and assume I'm not doing well, or that I'm unhealthy, or just gross or whatever (I'm sure this whole irrational insecurity thing is familiar to most people with similar skin). I tried putting on makeup before I left the house, but it looked so cakey and weirdly coloured over the acne that I just washed it off. (I am no expert at doing makeup, and refuse to go out and spend tons of money trying to find products that will work for my skin right now - so other people may have more success with concealing their acne than I do, as I give up very easily). I realised was more anxious about the effect the makeup would have on my acne than it was worth, so I decided to just do my eye makeup and go bare-faced. It was really, really scary! But after a few minutes with my friends I kind of forgot about it, and had a really fun night. When we all went to bed, I put on my epiduo (majorly tipsy, but still did it - dedication) and went to bed feeling way less worried about my skin than I would have with a full face of makeup all night. So I guess I would recommend going bare-faced if you can handle it, and if your friends are cool enough to not really give a crap if your face is lumpy or flakey or lobster-coloured, or indeed all of the above.
Having said that, I'm supposed to be going for a weekend to stay at my friend's place tomorrow, and I've been dreading it all week because of my skin. We're apparently going clubbing, and usually I would love getting ready with my girlfriends, trying on loads of clothes, doing our makeup together and stuff, but at the moment I just feel so ugly that I'm not looking forward to it at all. That sounds ridiculous now I'm writing it down, but it's just so disheartening to have to be the "cool personality" girl all the time - is it so wrong to just want to be the hot one for a change?! I don't want to be the only one in my group of friends looking crap in the photo, or looking a total state all night and not realising it... plus I'm not sure how to fit in my epiduo if we're going out til late, possibly two nights in a row. I think the bravest option would be to put it on before we go out in the evening, so that I know I haven't missed an application, and then just do my eye makeup and hope I don't go too red - but I'm not sure how I'll feel about that option come tomorrow. I'm pretty sure the only makeup I can manage to look non-cakey is a little bit of concealer, so I could always go for that, but over epiduo?? Pale blobs of concealer on a glowing red background - maybe I should just embrace the red???
Anyway, these are the kind of neurotic ravings you can look forward to if you're considering combining your epiduo routine with any kind of social life. Right now I think it would be so cool to be a super rich person with zero responsibilities so I could just take a couple of months out of my schedule and go on some kind of spa break with my tube of epiduo - free to be as flaky-lumpy-lobster as I want, hanging out on the beach with a parasol and a good quality non-comedogenic SPF. I guess I'll update after the weekend and just try to have fun with my friends (and avoid being in any photos - especially with flash, good lord no). Hope you guys are feeling ok about your skin at the moment - but if you're down about it, you're not alone