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Spironolactone And Retin A Micro (.04%)

spironolactone retin a micro loestrin 24 fe no dairy makeup oily skin

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#1 Jk92186

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:40 PM

Hello all!

I'm new to posting but have always really appreciated what this messageboard offers in terms of hopeful stories and tips. I especially appreciate reading people's (hopefully successful) regimen logs, and figured I might as well post my own as I start a new routine!

So first some background!

I'm 19 and I've suffered with acne since around age 13. For the first 4 or 5 years it was mostly breakouts on my forehead and nose. But the past year or so I've also gotten cheek acne, occasional large red spots. I also have always had extremely oily skin (I go through blotting papers like it is my day job!) so I've had lots of clogged pores and blackhead on my nose and chin. I've been fortunate enough not to really have cystic acne ever, maybe one or 2 spots so far in my life.

I previously just used various OTC topicals and washes.

In January 2011 I started the Loestrin 24 FE BCP and noticed an improvement in my skin, but nothing great. I started Dan's Regimen in May 2011 and noticed my forehead clearing wonderfully. By september I was experiencing a lot of dryness but largely clear skin on my forehead/nose/chin with the stronger skin. My cheeks however couldnt handle the intensity of BP, even with a moisturizer (that seemed to make it worse actually). My cheeks and lower cheeks/above jawline started to break out and I was frustrated.

At the beginning of february, I stopped Dans regimen and switched to using a lot of tea tree oil but I had somehow also screwed up my BCP and had to restart it (i've completed a whole month again now, though), and was dealing with a really painful breakup. All of this combined lead me to an awful breakout, the worst I've ever known. My forehead is a mess of little bumps, some of which come to a head but most dont. A few are a bit red but they are largely just bumpy and make my skin texture disgusting. I've had to go back to wearing makeup, which is awful--I had made it a long while without doing so (although my skin was never flawless, i always felt a little uneven tone/some blemishes looked better than caked on makeup).

Went to a new derm, and he put me on 50mg spiro once a day and retin a micro at night. I use dan's cleanser because I had bought a big bottle and find it nice and gentle, when I run out i'll switch to cetaphil which i've liked in the past.

I'm really hoping for a reduction in my oil production since i think that's the root of my problem for sure. I'd love to be able to not wear makeup again.

It has been 5 days on spiro and 4 on retin a micro (I skipped a day to give my skin a break)

DAY 5:
Not really noticing an effect of the spiro, I've been hydrating constantly (6 or 7 waterbottles a day) so I'm sure thats helping. I know it takes time.

Retin a didn't do much with my already every-pore broken out forehead but it certainly brought some cheek, under nose, and chin/jaw acne to the surface. Mostly small whiteheads or just bumps like on my forehead although they tend to be redder than the forehead ones. I dont notice any redness whatsoever when I apply it or after, and only minimal drying. Nothing more than I already experienced from BP/washing my face often when I couldnt handle the oily look.


I'm praying I don't get an initial breakout, I think it seems like thats a little more common in people with cystic acne? Maybe I just hope so! I'll update again soon, especially if I notice a change.

#2 cl1234

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

Just wanted to wish you good luck! I have been on Retin A Micro (.1%) once a day since around October 2011. I have fairly sensitive skin so I NEED to moisturize to avoid peeling. Consider yourself lucky! Although if you do start to get peely, just know that it's normal! I've heard of initial breakouts on Retin A Micro, although I don't think I had one, mostly due to the fact that I've been on topicals for a years now. Finally jumped on the spiro train in January! I'm 20 and can really relate to your acne and have started a log as well. I can let you know MY experience so far, but everyones is different so what happened to me won't necessarily happen to you! I've heard mixed things about spironolactone having an initial outbreak, but from my experience that's the only explanation. I had two of the worst breakouts I've ever had my first month. By the end of the first month I noticed a decrease in oil production which has been really nice. It'll be 6 weeks tomorrow and my face is looking pretty clear, but I'm not holding my breath. I have no doubt I'll have another breakout hear soon. As I'm sure you've heard most people don't see results till month 3 at least. So basically I just wanted to say that even if you have a rough couple weeks coming up, hang in there! Even though I've been on it a bit longer, I'm in the same boat as you, just waiting for spiro to work its magic! This message board is a great support group! Good luck on your journey! :) And keep us updated!

#3 Jk92186

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:26 PM

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! You are too sweet and I've been reading your log and find yours sort of similar to me.


I also meant to add in that I've been restricting dairy somewhat, and trying to eat a little healthier than my usual college diet. Unfortunately as far as that goes, I'm naturally very thin and have always been able to eat what I want and not exercise and so I developed some unhealthy habits. I havent totally cut out dairy 100% but I'd say I limited by intake by at least 80% mostly in a 'well it can't hurt' way :D

I've also been researching supplements I can take because I'm not too good about fresh fruits and veggies (microwave meals are just so much easier, though granted I do like the organic ones made by Amy's). I've read good things on here about niacin so I bought some but dont want to start it until I give spiro and retin a a longer chance to kick in, but I may give it a shot if the intial breakout gets awful because I've heard it will clear breakouts for a week so maybe if it can eliminate the worst of the IB i'll be all good.

Totally open to other supplement/vitamin suggestions should anyone have any!

#4 Jk92186

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 10:25 PM

DAY 6:

I noticed some peeling kicking in from the Retin a micro (.04%) so in the middle of my day I washed off my makeup and put on a ton of dan's moisturizer for a bit then rinsed it a little and put makeup back on (had to leave the house again unfortunately). I'm not sure if i'm just wishing to see results or not, but my main problem area going into this was the little non-red bumps all over my forehead. I only had one dime-sized patch just above the middle of my eyebrows that was FLAWLESS. now, i think that some of the others a bit above it have flattened. I may have a quarter-sized region that is very very decent (not quite flawless). And a bit of the one side of my forehead seems to be flattening too. I'd say 50% of my forehead doesn't make me totally want to curl up in a ball and cry.

Not noticing much from spiro yet, I have been doing a really good job keeping hydrated so while I have to pee more, I would have to pee more anyway if I drank 7 or 8 water bottles a day! No change in oil production unfortunately. I had been not wearing makeup for so long I forgot how disgusting it feels to have a layer of oil pushing the makeup off your face. I use bare minerals, for the record. I have a $50 sephora giftcard from christmas that I really want to use but I dont want to use it on foundation that I hate using :( hopefully I'll miraculously clear up soon and can buy some cool eyeliners and such! *fingers crossed*

...unless anyone has a good suggestion for a product to compliment the retin a that is available at sephora (of course I'd be willing to use my giftcard on acne treatment :( ugh). I could do with a good morning wash. My derm recommended a benzoyl peroxide wash once my face adjust to retin a more, or maybe a mild SA one. But I'm open to suggestions! Moisturizer too! I like dan's, actually, but I do still look greasy using it......but I look greasy not using it too lol.


OH! and I exfoliated just a tiny bit in the shower (using burts bees acne scrub...but it's not a rough scrub) to get the peeling off so the retin a can get down to the next layer of skin. My skin feels SO smooth. I'm writing this as I wait for 20 or so minutes to pass so I can apply the retin a.

#5 Jk92186

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:17 PM

DAY 7:

Forehead is definitely improving. The one side is now down to scattered bumps, and there is only a severe clustering in the upper half of the other side. Some of the whiteheads that came up the last few days on the sides of my nose and around my mouth are going away nicely too. I did get 3 larger inflamed pimples on my chin/jaw. That's very rare for me, like once every few months. Generally I only get inflamed acne on my cheeks (even there, not frequently). They were noticeable this morning but seem to be going down, I'm actually being very good about not picking. Washed my makeup off as soon as I could today and moisturized a lot since there is still some peeling going on, but I like it cause it seems to be helping the texture at least on my forehead. Still need makeup.

Definitely no change in greasy-ness/oiliness. It gets SO much worse because I have to wear makeup too, it's like my skin wants to force the makeup away from it with oil. It makes me look worse than the bumps! I feel like based on most logs, people notice the oiliness decreasing around week 3 so i'm hoping i'm 1/3 there. I am only on 50mgs but I weigh less than 100lbs so I am hesitant to raise my dose, at least not yet.

#6 KateLibby

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 02:23 PM

Hi, one thing that you might want to look into is the brand of birth control that you use. Loeestrin actually contains a progestin that is high in androgenic activity. That means it converts to testosterone easily. Which in turn breaks you out more. Especially around you jaw. If you do a search for best birth control for acne you can find several sights that give a list of estrogen dominant pills with low androgenic progestin. Not all birth control pills are good for acne. Anyway, good luck and hope that helps..

#7 Jk92186

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:49 PM

Thanks for your advice. I only hesitate to change from Loestrin because I've been on it for about 14 months and have never had any side effects except larger boobs! And I really didnt notice an effect on my acne (maybe even slightly less inflamed pimples). I am trying to remember if I noticed my oil production increasing around the start of taking it...I just feel like I've always been super oily so it's hard to pinpoint it. If Sprio doesnt help with that though, I'd definitely consider switching. Thanks!

DAY 8:

More positive news to report about my forehead clearing up. The one side looks pretty darn good, back to how it was before the recent breakout. The other side is improving a lot as well. 2 of the 3 inflamed pimples on my jaw/chin also went down a lot, only leaving a little bit of red. The one is still rather swollen but I think improving a bit tonight. I have one large white head with a red area around it on my left cheek, and a couple small residual red marks on that same cheek. The other cheek looks awesome. So far really not too much of a problem to report from the retin a! No redness, no major peeling during the day.

No news on the effect of spiro, still. I've been staying super hydrated, but havent noticed a decrease in oil production yet :( If anything I seem more greasy, although I strongly suspect that is just because of wearing powder makeup, ugh how I loathe makeup!


I am also starting to suspect part of me being really down about my appearance is the HORRIBLE florescent lighting in the bathroom at my work. I look disgusting and bumpy and uneven, and really greasy. When I get home and look at myself, even if it's been a while since I last used an oil blotter, I look much better, my skin doesnt even look noticeably uneven! I hope that the lighting is more flattering in the rest of the office (still overhead florescent) because I kinda like a guy who works up front and that's been a big source of my emotional acne problems, feeling like the way i look in the bathroom there is how I look to him! Haha sorry for the pointless background! Hope everyone is having a good day!

#8 Jk92186

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:54 PM

Ugh just another update on the one pimple that remained swollen on my jaw...it definitely wasn't going down. In fact...it may be a cyst? I dont get cystic acne though, although obviously spiro can change that, but it's very alarming. Still pleased with my forehead and cheeks healing. After shower noticed a few small whiteheads on my nose too, hope they go away quickly but they arent too noticeable

#9 Jk92186

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:13 PM

DAY 9:

Another day of positive news to report! My forehead is looking a lot better, almost back to where it was before I had the forehead breakout of a million clogged pores. Still some bumps left for sure, and some slightly more irritated red ones on the one side but theyre disguised by my hair. Also, the pores that look cleared out look very cleared out, if that makes sense. My right cheek looks perfect, and the left is all good except the one big white head. After my shower today it was so gross i just had to poke it a little to drain, otherwise I've been really good about picking. My jaw/chin is improving too. The 2 inflamed pimples that were going down yesterday are basically entirely gone. The one that I was worried would be a long term cyst seems to be shrinking for good now. The patches of whiteheads surrounding those larger pimples on my chin/jaw are also flattening very well, only a little noticeable now.

My nose always had very badly clogged pores that I could drain a few times a day and they'd still refill. I think thats why it seems to be getting some tiny whiteheads now, as the retin a clears that out. Thats not too noticeable though.

As always, lots of water and keeping with my healthy no-dairy plan (mostly, I'm doing more a of a seriously reduced dairy plan) so i'm not sure if thats helping but it sure can't hurt!


Again, no change in oil production from spiro. Although!! I didnt wear makeup today and so the oiliness was improved by that, and my face feels so much better when it's free from makeup. I'm really hoping to see spiro results soon though, in terms of oil production!

#10 Jk92186

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:48 PM

DAY 10:

It's earlier than I usually post updates because I didn't even shower and apply Retin A for the day yet, but I'd like to go out tonight because I have a friend visiting, although it's rainy and gross so we'll see. Anyway, more positive progress, though no huge change from yesterday except the one big inflamed white head I sort of picked on my cheek yesterday has gone down a lot although it's still noticeable. I put on a light dusting of makeup today and feel that I didnt look too bad at all!

Still no change in oiliness from spiro, really. Although I was slightly less oily just from wearing a thin dusting of makeup instead of a thick layer!

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

#11 Jk92186

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:47 PM

DAY 12:

My forehead is still doing well with the retin-a, definitely greatly improved from the breakout center it had been. A lot of the clogged pores in the center have resolved themselves with a few remaining, and toward the upper part near my hairline. all of the little bumps have been turning into whiteheads and going away. It's a little red there which is annoying but mostly no redness. I also got one annoying little whitehead right dead center in between my eyebrows! I hope it's gone by tomorrow. The big pimple on my cheek has almost disappeared, leaving just a little red mark behind. I think retin a is helping with some of my hyperpigmentation on my cheeks (very few spots) and along my jaw/chin (larger, but less dark sports).

I didn't shower last night because I got home late from being out, and I didn't shower this morning either to not throw off my night shower schedule, but I think i may have been SLIGHTLY less oily than I would usually be if I dared to skip a shower, yet alone didn't shower right away the next morning. Spiro effect? Coincidence? Imagination? Too soon to tell!

#12 Jk92186

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:07 PM

DAY 13:

Nothing new to report from yesterday! Hope everyone is having a good day though!

#13 Jk92186

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:24 PM

DAY 14:

I must say wearing no makeup and not feeling awful is great, I am almost back to where I was before my awful breakout, although there are still clogged pores lingering on my forehead and dark spots on my chin and a few on my cheeks as well. I do feel these are lightening because of the retin a though I may be imagining it! Mostly all good on the breakout front though, one small whitehead on my cheek and one on my chin but I hope they'll clear up by tomorrow.

Still no real effect on oiliness from spiro, and I know looking greasy makes my remaining bumps look worse so I hope it kicks in soon. I think today was a little better, but it may be because I've finally spent a few days without makeup.

Dryness around my mouth, kindof annoying but not too bad.

#14 Jk92186

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:20 AM

DAY 16:

Again, positive effect from retin a....really clearing everything well. A bit drying in places but not awful

FINALLY think there is some oil reduction from spiro!

#15 Jk92186

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:07 AM

DAY 20:

Retin a has really been a miracle maker for me, I only have a few clogged pores left on my forehead but theyre hardly noticeable and hopefully will go away soon. All of the blackheads on my nose are surfacing today somehow so hopefully in 2 days or so they'll all be gone, too. I have a few small lingering hyperpigmentation spots on my chin and one cheek but I definitely notice improvements there too.

I'm getting kinda bummed about the spiro because my skin is still very oily and that makes the few small bumps and my large pores noticeable because of how they catch the light. I'm giving it more time though, hopefully it will kick in to high gear soon. My next derm appointment is 5 weeks from today so if theres no improvement by then, I may up to 100 mg a day

#16 Jk92186

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 08:39 PM

DAY 36:

Wow forgot to post in ages! No further progress, although no backsliding either! My skin looks pretty decent from the Retin a, with only a few stubborn clogged pore bumps on my upper forehead and 2 surfacing clogged pores that are a tiny bit reddened on my one temple. The scarring is fading a little too although i'd still like to try a chem peel soon...

Derm in 4 weeks, I am going to up my spiro dose because if anything I think my skin is OILIER. And I feel like my facial hair (another unfortunate curse...nothing awful but certainly needs maintenance is kinda worse?

Does spiro ever have reverse effects for people? I think it may be in my head or because i'm examining more closely though so I'm still hoping going to 100mg/day will help!

#17 cl1234

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:40 AM

DAY 36:

Wow forgot to post in ages! No further progress, although no backsliding either! My skin looks pretty decent from the Retin a, with only a few stubborn clogged pore bumps on my upper forehead and 2 surfacing clogged pores that are a tiny bit reddened on my one temple. The scarring is fading a little too although i'd still like to try a chem peel soon...

Derm in 4 weeks, I am going to up my spiro dose because if anything I think my skin is OILIER. And I feel like my facial hair (another unfortunate curse...nothing awful but certainly needs maintenance is kinda worse?

Does spiro ever have reverse effects for people? I think it may be in my head or because i'm examining more closely though so I'm still hoping going to 100mg/day will help!


I'm wondering the SAME THING! I don't think I've gotten more oily, but I still am a bit oily in my T-Zone and everyone that it works for says they weren't oily at all anymore! I ALSO am on Loestrin, well LoLoestrin. Do you think that could have something to do with it? Also how is your skin and oil now? I see it's been a while.

#18 Jk92186

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 07:36 AM


DAY 36:

Wow forgot to post in ages! No further progress, although no backsliding either! My skin looks pretty decent from the Retin a, with only a few stubborn clogged pore bumps on my upper forehead and 2 surfacing clogged pores that are a tiny bit reddened on my one temple. The scarring is fading a little too although i'd still like to try a chem peel soon...

Derm in 4 weeks, I am going to up my spiro dose because if anything I think my skin is OILIER. And I feel like my facial hair (another unfortunate curse...nothing awful but certainly needs maintenance is kinda worse?

Does spiro ever have reverse effects for people? I think it may be in my head or because i'm examining more closely though so I'm still hoping going to 100mg/day will help!


I'm wondering the SAME THING! I don't think I've gotten more oily, but I still am a bit oily in my T-Zone and everyone that it works for says they weren't oily at all anymore! I ALSO am on Loestrin, well LoLoestrin. Do you think that could have something to do with it? Also how is your skin and oil now? I see it's been a while.



Hi! Your post reminded me about this log so thanks for that. I'm on day 68 now and still significantly oily in my t-zone, and I agree that I havent seen a reduction. I have hear Loestrin is not the kind of pill that reduces testosterone (a cause of oil production). I considered switching to YAZ which can cure oiliness and acne for some people and has a similar ingredient to spiro for oil reduction but I've never had a problem on Loestrin (certainly no acne increase, possibly a decrease although its been 18 months so i forget) and YAZ has more side effects so i figured I would try Spiro first. I have a derm appointment in 2 days, actually, so I'll let you know what he says! I am thinking 50mg a day isnt enough.

#19 cl1234

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:15 PM



DAY 36:

Wow forgot to post in ages! No further progress, although no backsliding either! My skin looks pretty decent from the Retin a, with only a few stubborn clogged pore bumps on my upper forehead and 2 surfacing clogged pores that are a tiny bit reddened on my one temple. The scarring is fading a little too although i'd still like to try a chem peel soon...

Derm in 4 weeks, I am going to up my spiro dose because if anything I think my skin is OILIER. And I feel like my facial hair (another unfortunate curse...nothing awful but certainly needs maintenance is kinda worse?

Does spiro ever have reverse effects for people? I think it may be in my head or because i'm examining more closely though so I'm still hoping going to 100mg/day will help!


I'm wondering the SAME THING! I don't think I've gotten more oily, but I still am a bit oily in my T-Zone and everyone that it works for says they weren't oily at all anymore! I ALSO am on Loestrin, well LoLoestrin. Do you think that could have something to do with it? Also how is your skin and oil now? I see it's been a while.



Hi! Your post reminded me about this log so thanks for that. I'm on day 68 now and still significantly oily in my t-zone, and I agree that I havent seen a reduction. I have hear Loestrin is not the kind of pill that reduces testosterone (a cause of oil production). I considered switching to YAZ which can cure oiliness and acne for some people and has a similar ingredient to spiro for oil reduction but I've never had a problem on Loestrin (certainly no acne increase, possibly a decrease although its been 18 months so i forget) and YAZ has more side effects so i figured I would try Spiro first. I have a derm appointment in 2 days, actually, so I'll let you know what he says! I am thinking 50mg a day isnt enough.


Sounds good! Let me know what they say! I REALLY want to go off birth control, especially if it's messing with the spiro. Can't wait to hear your update!

#20 Jk92186

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:48 AM

Ok so I saw the dermatologist on Wednesday. He was really impressed with how well Retin-A worked for me and so I'm going to continue to use that ( Update: I'm really impressed as well. I just want some of my discoloration spots on my chin and lower cheeks to fade but I consider myself close to clear. I have one REALLY stubborn two-pore clog on my right temple that is a little noticeable. I caved and pushed out the one pore which left a little scab and was red. I really want to do the second one although I dont want to deal with the redness/scab, it's realllly not coming out with just retin-a. it's been at least 6 weeks! Once that's gone though I'll be pretty satisfied. Occasional small white head near my eyebrows or nose but they clear quickly)

On the spironolactone: Derm agreed that there has been no reduction in oiliness, although he pointed out that may not happen for everyone and I should be happy not to have hormonal acne because of the spiro. But I never really had hormonal acne...maybe like one or two chin spots a year, and a little bit on my cheeks but I think that wasn't hormonal. I think the oil itself is hormonal though, and the cause of all of my acne especialllllly the blackheads because there is just so much oil produced. It also makes spots so much more noticeable when they catch the light haha.

He agreed 50mg might not be enough to see oil reduction and reluctantly agreed to up me to 100mg/day (50 at night, 50 in the morning). His hesitation was only that I am very little, about 94lbs, and he doesnt want me experience the side effects of low blood pressure like dizziness or fainting. Still, getting rid of the oiliness is really important to me, I feel like I'm the only one with skin like this.

I haven't started the 100mg/day routine yet because I haven't made it to the pharmacy. LAZY lol, hope to get going around three days from now. Fingers majorly crossed for an oil reduction.

ALSO derm sold me skinceuticals LHA toner. He said using that in the mornings after washing my face should help reduce oiliness. I've only used it twice though, it didn't break me out or anything but it is my preference to clear the oil from within using Spiro so that I dont have to worry about another product on my face and get greasy when I forget to use it or something. I will start using it soon though, just trying to find a good routine.

I also think maybe my olay lotion might be a little bit oily? It is olay lotion spf 15 for sensitive skin. No breakout issues at all and I like the feel of it, but I suspect I can find better for oily skin. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated!!! I'm willing to spend a bit more, sephora is just about my favorite store ever!

Sometimes when I want to even my skin tone (although I usually prefer no makeup because I just think it looks more natural...well duh!) I use laura mercier tinted moisturizer for oily skin. I find I also look shiny with that although I'm just shiny anyway, no more so. maybe even better than the olay, hard to tell.

Considering asking for a chemical peel for my birthday present at the end of june. I'll poke around here and talk to the derm about a good one. I'm thinking glycolic? That should hopefully clear up the few light remaining pigmentation issues and just give me a fresh skin start.

OHHH and I bought a clarisonic. I LOVE it. I think it helps the retin-a sink in better and really gets all the dead skin off my face so it cant clog pores even when my skin is oily. My derm seemed to think it was a waste of money and no more helpful than regular face washing, but certainly fine to use. What does he know :P haha just kidding--I see how it definitely isn't an acne cure or anything, but I find it really helpful with my routine and an improvement in stubborn nose blackheads.

Fingers super crossed for oil reduction from increased spiro/LHA toner/clarisonic.