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Possible Reasons For Why My Face Went From Clear To Severe In A Matter Of Months

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#1 perseverant

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:55 PM

I realize I probably won't get any replies or views since I'm just some random person that no one really cares for, but I'm going to post my old regimen/behaviors from months ago, and list them as possible reasons why my face "randomly" got as severe as it did.

So I decided to stop thinking to myself, "My acne just randomly got so bad out of nowhere, I didn't do anything to make it that way either..so what's the deal with it going from clear for months to severe for months?", and instead decided to write down all the possible reasons why my face got worse, and I definitely think my role in managing my acne/health definitely was a culprit of why it got as bad as it did.

By the way, a little background info...I graduated High school May 20, 2012. I moved out the day after I graduated and move in with my boyfriend to his apartment, he lives in a college town so that's why he had to move away from me. Where we live now is 3 hrs away from my hometown, where I lived with my parents and 1 older brother, and I did not get a long with any of them, but I do now. I've been living with my bf since May 21, 2012 and I started getting terrible severe acne in the most random spots, and had a lot cysts like 4-5 at the same time, I had one under my eye where the thinnest skin on my entire body is, so not sure how it got there in the first place. Anyways..these possible reasons are an explanation of how possibly moving here and the actions I have made here OR other reasons, may have made my acne flare up severely.

Here's everything I wrote down in my notebook, word for word, and I bullet-pointed it too, so it's not exactly in story form, but close enough.
  • The first few months living here my diet changed drastically. Although it was a bit healthier than my usual diet, I still was eating worse foods and an excess of it too.
  • My diet was sometimes like this.. (I'll say the things I remember eating from May-August, (August is when I started breaking out REAL bad.) *This is not a list of foods that I consumed every day, some of them I did, but I'm just generally telling you what I remember eating those months:

- Red Barron, Tony's pizza, Jack's pizza, nuts, chocolate poptarts, ramen noodles, oatmeal (rarely), a lot of chocolate dove pieces (4-5 bags), few boxes of Goldfish, a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches made with white bread (butter loaded on both bread pieces and also added 2 cheese slices, drank white cow milk sometimes, wasn't taking multi-vitamins a lot, a lot of fruit snacks, cake, drank Mike's Hard Lemonade alcohol a few times, microwavable popcorn, wasn't taking any dietary supplements, few cookies from boyfriend's mom, fiber one bars/sunbelt granola bars ,etc.

  • I was sleeping at weird times a lot, I had to change it around due to my boyfriend's work schedule because we sleep at the same time, so most days he'd come at 5-8 a.m. from work, and we'd sleep then until 12p.m.-3p.m. in the afternoon. My sleep schedule was horrible and not consistent. I also didn't get a lot of sleep, and if I did it wasn't even past 5hrs sometimes.
  • Might not have washed face thoroughly enough so might not have gotten dead skin off and etc,, but I was washing it gently and for 2-10 minutes in the bathroom which was not bad, so that probably isn't the culprit at all.
  • I was barely hydrated, I didn't drink a lot of water or anything else really.
  • I'd go weeks without passing stool, and didn't pee a lot every day.
  • Temperatures were pretty hot and humid for those 4 months, would make my face feel hot and sweaty a lot and my whole body too.
  • Ran out of my favorite cleanser before I started breaking out bad, I was using that cleanser for months when my skin was clear
  • Went from using toner pretty much every day at my parent's house - to not using it at all
  • Slept on my side where my face touched the dirty pillow case, the case was rarely washed
  • Water here could be hard water and that's bad for skin, and it could have chlorine. The water at my parent's house was usually always soft w/o chlorine in it. I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to chlorine.
  • Change in my overall life and lifestyle, mood swings, hormones, exercise changed from time to time a lot, and my diet changed a lot too
  • Extra stress at the time for many reasons I'm sure
  • Didn't shower a lot or enough, and I still tend to be lazy with showering because I don't go out a lot
  • Maybe irritation from a good or something like a new cleanser or different topical treatment
  • Started using a store brand salicylic acid cleanser that stung my face/itched/didn't come off easily/drying too
  • Proceeded with using astringent toner w/ salicyilic acid in it after cleanser - then used witch hazel wipes either with the toner or by itself
  • Then I used benzoyl peroxide from Clearasil and used it virtually every where and a lot of it (it was 2.5%)
  • Then I started doing that same routine TWICE a day, not just at night
  • Skin was tight, dry, and flaky from that ^
  • Decided to stop doing that regimen after a few weeks and started the Caveman Regimen
  • Skin healed on caveman regimen right away, probably because I was damaging/irritating it for so long
  • Got a few pimples which went away quick (they were usually zits)
  • Never had a cyst during regimen until I started taking off dead skin that built up for 3 weeks
  • Did a few days on Caveman Regimen again after I took off the dead skin and then started using Witch Hazel from the bottle only, w/o water or any other products (it didn't help at all and skin was red)
  • I didn't want to use Witch Hazel anymore so I resorted to washing face w/ Neutrogena cleanser with Chamomile and salicylic acid 2% and used Neutrogena All-In-1 Acne Control w/ salicylic acid 1%, vitamin A, and soy (I used this regimen, while alternating cleanser sometimes, from November 2nd-November 19th)
  • Face felt amazing the first night I used this regimen. ^ It wasn't dry, tight, or irritated that night.
  • During this regimen, each day that went by my skin stopped feeling "good" because I was overwashing, and was obsessed with getting off dead skin/flakes/cleanser suds, so I rubbed and scrubbed my skin way too much (Result: more blackheads, more acne, more redness; basically irritated, dry, tight, and flaky)
  • During the time that I was doing that face regimen ^ I used to rub/scrub skin and be in the bathroom doing the face routine for 30 mins - 1hr..bad choice.
  • Kept using that regimen until November 19th when I had to go to my boyfriend's Thanksgiving break
  • Didn't wash face at all those entire 6 days
  • My trouble spots, which were at that time 3-5 pimples, 1 was a cyst and 4 were zits, they decreased in size and dried up in those 6 days w/o washing
And that my fellow acne sufferers, is the story line of all the possible reasons why my skin in August started looking like this:






And it looked like this November 2nd:






And then after using a good regimen, it got bettere her, but I still worsened it at the same time, this is from November 27:








And from reading everything I wrote, it would seem that the Caveman Regimen is a pretty positive regimen, but I am not committed to it because I get build up dead skin really bad, but I have noticed the plugs come out of my skin on my most stubborn blackheads, so I would recommend the regimen for people who DON'T get bad build-up of dead skin and very noticeable shedding.

I did see improvement with my face washing regimen, but I irritated my skin when I rubbed/scrubbed/exfoliated too much, and using a lot of cleanser on your face is bad, only use a little amount, drying out the skin will make your acne worse..and spending a long time in the bathroom washing your face is also a no no. So those are my tips and advice..and also my acne story from the past few months. And my diet has never been good even when my skin was clear, so diet isn't a huge role, but it still matters.

#2 Michelle Reece

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:12 PM

I must start off by thanking you for taking your time to write a lengthy post! It helps to give as much information as possible.

It's not terribly unusual to have a slightly later onset of severe acne, kind of like how some girls get their first period at 16 or later. You are, however, in the age range where it is common to have acne and high hormones and extreme hormonal fluctuations. It is possible to "grow out" of acne, but it is harder for those with worse acne to do so since testosterone levels still remain high and P. acnes bacteria may be already resistant to antibiotics.

Are you willing to go to a dermatologist? Have you started scarring yet? Because scarring (other than red marks) can warrant more aggressive treatments that you can't get over the counter.

And yes, proper cleansing is vital. One of the mistakes people often make is overwashing and not knowing what kind of cleansers they need. Many websites advise people to not overwash, but when you start obsessing over acne sometimes you forget that.

#3 perseverant

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:03 PM

I must start off by thanking you for taking your time to write a lengthy post! It helps to give as much information as possible.

It's not terribly unusual to have a slightly later onset of severe acne, kind of like how some girls get their first period at 16 or later. You are, however, in the age range where it is common to have acne and high hormones and extreme hormonal fluctuations. It is possible to "grow out" of acne, but it is harder for those with worse acne to do so since testosterone levels still remain high and P. acnes bacteria may be already resistant to antibiotics.

Are you willing to go to a dermatologist? Have you started scarring yet? Because scarring (other than red marks) can warrant more aggressive treatments that you can't get over the counter.

And yes, proper cleansing is vital. One of the mistakes people often make is overwashing and not knowing what kind of cleansers they need. Many websites advise people to not overwash, but when you start obsessing over acne sometimes you forget that.


Thanks for the quick reply! I'm glad someone read my post lol. And yeah I just didn't think my skin would be this bad now, but it was better when I was a younger teenager. There's a lot of variables to consider with acne, but I feel more confident about dealing with it now after making that post. And yes I do want to go to a dermatologist, I've been putting it off til I see if I get results within the next month..which hopefully I do lol. I saw results in just a few days to two weeks of a new regimen, and I think if I can properly execute my actions, then I'll be clearing up better in no time. It's hard to stick with a regimen when washing is so dull and time consuming, even if its not lengthy in time, it's still very consuming to me. I have bad habits with not brushing my teeth like ever, which is why they're so bad, and I know I should brush them twice a day, but I don't even take a few minutes to do that, but when it comes to washing my face on the other hand, I'll make sure I do it each night and I'll spend longer doing it when I don't even need to. So my new plan every day, starting tonight, is to continue washing gently, and applying small amounts of topical treatments on very few parts of my skin that actually needs it, and I'm going to brush my teeth twice a day and shower every other day. I'd start exercising, but it's been a bad time of the year for that with the weather, and with my inside stationary bike being hard to sit on..so I'll wait to exercise when I see better results with my other priorities concerning health. And yes, I have plenty of scars. I'll show you what are currently active acne right now (with arrows pointing at them), on one of the pictures I took recently.The ones that are visible that don't have an arrow, those are all scars, at least I'm pretty sure they are lol. It's been a while since I've had mostly just scars and less acne. Although I have 2 cysts and a few other pimples..that's not too bad considering all the scars I have used to be all active acne at the same time and were over 20 individual pimples which were all different types of acne. And no my scars are all hyper-pigmentation scars, I've never had scars that left indents or anything else. It usually takes a while for them to lessen in red color, and then it usually turns to normal skin color after a long while, unless they start breaking out in the same spot again lol.
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#4 Michelle Reece

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:57 PM

You're welcome!

For topical treatments, it's best to apply all over your face even when there aren't any pimples to prevent new ones from forming.

If it's of any motivation for you to wash, do it to prevent worse acne and potential icepick and rolling scars. Big enough pimples with bad enough inflammation can damage collagen, especially when you start picking at your skin. Then to get rid of scars, you'd have to drop thousands of dollars on chemical peels and laser resurfacing . . . which is not covered by insurance.

Could you post what products you're using in your regimen, even if you use a product occasionally? I'd like to see the ingredient labels on them.

I hope you get results you're looking for with your improvised regimen. A month may not be enough time to see adequate results, but if it really isn't getting any better and considering how severe your acne looked previously, it'd be best to go to a dermatologist shortly thereafter.

Edited by Michelle Reece, 30 November 2012 - 04:58 PM.


#5 leelowe1

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:27 PM

I second the first response. Great post! You seem to have a very positive attitude which will help you get through this.

First off, you gotta work on the diet. I eat as clean as i can and even though it did not directly help my acne, it has helped my health. For you, a diet change could very well be key.


Cut back/cut out processed foods (anything in a can, box, bag, etc)
Cut out dairy
eat more fruits and vegetables, protein and fats
eat healthier carbs (sweet potatoes, brown rice, turnips, yam, etc)

Since your acne seems to be scarring, i recommend you go see someone if you have insurance. It really sucks to have to deal with marks once acne has gone away and it can be REALLY expensive to treat.

A derm will better be able to advise you on a topical regimen.

You could also read up on more holistic treatments and work yor way up (given each regimen 2-3 months).

Good Luck!




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