I started having acne when I was 13. It started mild but got worse. At 15/6 it had become very visible and so I saw my doctor and he prescribed a Clindamycin topical lotion. This slowly began to clear my skin but the spots never disappeared completely. Between 18 and 20 I stopped using Clindamycin as it no longer seemed to be improving my skin. After stopping my skin stayed the same – not worse, not better. I thought it would get better as I got older (as people continually tell you!)
However, this year my acne flared up and is the worst it has ever been. I’ve got acne all over my face and as my doctor pointed out I have the full zoo of different spot types, though the worst are the nodules/cysts along my jaw line and the whiteheads. I constantly have red markings over my cheeks and chin, I also have those tiny little bumps under the skin that don’t seem to want to surface and they’ve been there perhaps a year now. As a 21 year old woman I’m just fed up of people telling me I'll grow out of it and so I went and saw my doctor.
My Doctor has prescribed me Epiduo and Tetralysal. I take the Tetralysal in the morning and I apply the Epiduo (a raisin size amount for the entire face) in the evening. The treatment lasts two months.
Two Weeks Later:
The first time I used this I used too much, and I regretted it. My face burned and was incredibly red and sore and the area around my eyes was even a little swollen. A raisin sized amount is all you need – you have to try and make it spread. I was slightly worried I’d had an allergic reaction but this was the only time I had any swelling so I think not.
Even with less, my face (but not my forehead) still burned and itched like hell when I applied the Epiduo. During the first week this burning could last anything up to two hours and I had great difficulty even sleeping. I talked to my doctor and he recommended using it every other night until I became more used it to. This helped a bit.
Towards the end of the first week my spots began to get worse. I’ve been reading around and I think this is what’s called the Initial Breakout?? Anyway, I had a chin like a witch, lots of giant whiteheads, and yet despite that I've been abiding the no picking rule, even though I've had to go to work. My cheeks did look ever so slightly better at first, but it seems they want to join the party. The only good point is that the Epiduo seems to speed up the spot process, so that whiteheads will appear in less than a day, but after 2 days they’ve dried up and gone yellowish (which is only slightly preferable to luminous white) and in 4-5 days the skin will have mostly healed up and the scab will drop off.
After week two my face is still burning, but not after I apply the Epiduo, after I apply my moisturiser. The burning doesn’t last as long now – perhaps 45 minutes, although certain areas will sting for longer sometimes. I’m putting it down to my skin being über-sensitive. I now put the Epiduo on an hour before I want to sleep so that it’s calmed down by the time I go to bed. My skin is still getting worse, plenty of whiteheads and large red spots, very dry and sensitive. Those little bumps under the skin seem to be coming to the surface and forming tiny whiteheads, but at least that means I’ll be rid of them. I tried wearing make-up but my skin is uneven so it didn’t go on well, it stung when I first put it on, and when I put Epiduo on that night it hurt more than usual.
The so called Initial Breakout is still going after the end of two weeks and my face is a mess. I have to go to work five days a week so I’m trying to be brave but does get rather overwhelming sometimes. At least before Epiduo I could cover most of it up with make-up but my skin is so sensitive now that it’s pretty much impossible, especially when my skin is all peely. However, it has only been two weeks and I’m not giving up yet.
From what I’ve read about Epiduo it seems things are meant to get worse before getting better – apparently all the bad, spot-causing material has to leave the face before it can get better. Considering I’ve had acne for 8 years this could take a while ...
In case anybody wanted to know, here’s a summary of my routine:
- Brush teeth before washing face. Wash face with La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar – a face wash for oily but sensitive skin that is prone to acne. A very gentle face wash and I would recommend it as although it seems expensive, the bottle is huge and you only need a small amount as it lathers really well. Pat the face dry, don’t rub.
- Give it five to ten minutes and then apply Effaclar M which is a moisturiser of the same range, the M stands for Mattifying. I actually find it works well; my face is definitely less greasy.
- If sunny (and when I say sunny I mean even the slightest trace of sunshine), apply BodyShop Seaweed Mattifying Moisturiser with SPF 15. If very sunny apply SPF 30 face sun lotion.
- Again, brush teeth before washing face. Wash with La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar.
- Wait for around thirty minutes before applying Epiduo. Make sure you’ve changed into your PJ’s first as I’ve heard Epiduo can stain clothes. Apply a small raisin sized amount evenly to the whole face, except for nose and eye area.
- Wait another twenty to thirty minutes before applying moisturiser. This time I use Effaclar H, the H stands for Hydrating. I apply a decent amount, more or less depending on where it’s needed. Be really gentle when applying moisturiser, try not to rub too hard as it irritates the skin.
As you can even, it’s pretty simple. I used to have a much longer routine but I can’t use most of these products on my face anymore.
In addition to this I make sure I eat well. I’m not on any sort of special diet, however I do avoid greasy foods, crisps, sweets, etc, and only eat them occasionally. I drink lots of water and eat plenty of fruit and nuts as well as sticking to whole grain rather than white bread. I’m wasn't too keen on vegetables before, but now I eat a decent selection, such as tomatos, carrots, green beans, peas, courgette, cucumber. I eat raisins and grapes as they’re meant to contain anti-oxidants which are good for the skin – also blueberries and cranberries, but I normally drink these in smoothie form. Also, I try and do regular exercise.
At the end of Week Three:
For the first time things are looking up. My face is still in a worse condition than before I started Epiduo, and my chin is still constantly breaking out with multiple whiteheads, but I am noticing a slight improvement on my cheeks and forehead. The red marks (I think it’s called hyper-pigmentation??) that spots leave behind are beginning to fade. I mean, they were fading before, but now they’re fading faster. I’ve also had less spots on my cheeks, meaning less new red marks. My forehead is the same. Unfortunately spots are still coming up, mainly where I have those tiny little bumps lying under the skin. I’m hoping it’s these that are growing into spots because it means once they’ve gone the spots will stop. So a glimmer of hope – and it is only week three to be fair.
My chin is still horrible, and although it’s slightly better today I doubt it will last. Those tiny bumps have been getting bigger, though I do think I have less of them now.
Another up point is that applying the Epiduo is no longer stinging and burning my skin. I have been trying to use less and I’ve also been waiting a full thirty minutes after washing my face to apply the stuff, something I didn’t do before as I was a bit impatient. So either that’s made a difference or my face is getting used to it – so yay! Can still tingle and itch, but not for too long, and sometimes my chin does burn a little bit, but as I said, it’s a mess and that’s probably why. My skin is still a bit peely, but only if I try and apply foundation. This still stings, but I guess it’s because it’s rubbing and irritating the skin.
Edited by Jollyhohnson, 08 July 2012 - 02:10 PM.