The regimen sure enough ended up working for me, and so I keep coming back here to help out other people who feel angry/depressed/confused/frustrated about their skin. I can't say enough about getting yourself into the right state of mind to try the regimen, so I want to use this thread to prepare people for it in an honest, realistic way. The DKR works wonders, but if your expectations are too high, you are impatient, or you experiment with other things at the same time, you will run into problems.
Start off on the right foot with recommended products, and get rid of your old acne topicals. Just because you have the Proactiv acne scrub or your mom's face cream lying around doesn't mean that you should try them with the regimen! I know it's frustrating to spend money on things that don't work, but it's better to get rid of your old ineffective products than to try to start the regimen with them. Wait until you can get all the proper supplies and then begin the regimen, rather than using some 10% BP you have lying around or other old products that might interfere with your results. If you can't bear to throw them away, put them somewhere where you won't be tempted to use them while you try the regimen. I strongly recommend ordering Dan's gel to begin with so that you start with the best (and most cost-effective) product available. If you live outside of the US or aren't comfortable ordering off the internet, then pick up another 2.5% benzoyl peroxide (like Neutrogena On-the-Spot) from a drugstore, but Dan's gel is so much gentler, better-textured, and cheaper that you should try to start with it if possible. I believe I saw good results relatively quickly because I started off with Dan's gel.
Your acne will not clear up instantly on the DKR. If you actually do see miraculous clearing within days of starting (as some people on the boards claim), please realize that you have likely not seen the last of your acne. BP dries out your acne at first, but then you aren't using enough during your first week or two to actually prevent future breakouts, so they will probably come back until you have upped your dosage enough and held it at that level for a while. I still had breakouts for the first 6 or 7 weeks on the regimen, and many people take even longer before they clear. My pimples started disappearing more quickly and weren't as severe at that point, but acne is still acne. Be prepared to give the DKR a three month trial, and be prepared to still have acne for most of that time.
It is more important to get your skin used to the benzoyl peroxide for the first month or so than to actually achieve clear skin. It is better to go slowly and take more time to work your way up to a full-finger application than to use too much gel too soon and backpedal because of irritation and dryness. Even if you've used benzoyl peroxide before in other systems, you probably were not using nearly as much BP as you will be on the regimen. I had used both the Proactiv face wash and lotion twice a day for six months and plenty of 10% BP creams in the past, and still, my skin took time to adjust to the small amount of BP I started with. Follow Dan's recommendations for BP dosage--or use even less if you feel that your skin is overly irritated. You might not clear up as quickly as you want, but you can avoid many of the problems that new regimen users complain about by going easy with the BP.
Try not to think about your skin. When you start clearing up a little but not completely, you might hold your skin to a higher standard than you did before and become more frustrated with it. If you are constantly obsessing over a new breakout or thinking about how you're not clear yet, you might even do things that interfere with the regimen. Resist the temptation to check your skin out in mirrors all the time or to pick at active acne! Aside from reapplying moisturizer as necessary, you don't want to be touching your face; the best way to do this is to not think about you skin at all. Don't dwell on why you're not clear yet and don't worry about some visible flakes or redness. Think about what your skin will be like in a few months, not how it is now, and know that breakouts or dryness right now won't matter at all in a short time.
Peeling, redness, and flaking will eventually go away, but it may take a couple of months and some product changes. Let's be honest: your skin just probably won't look that great while you are beginning the regimen. You'll still have active acne, your skin will be drier, you might have flakes or areas of redness, your skin might look parched, it's just not a pretty picture at the start. Many people think that it gets worse before it gets better, and I agree. You just have to power on through it and look to the future. You can try switching cleansers and moisturizers to help with flaking or redness problems, but please realize that you can only do so much while you are still adjusting to BP. Even with the best recommended products, for the first few months you will still deal with some degree of redness, dryness, and flaking. Those problems do go away eventually! Again, try not to dwell on the state of your skin or do things that are counterproductive in the meantime.
Don't be tempted by other treatments while on the regimen. Other acne treatments like salicyclic acid (beta hydroxy acid) or sulfur can compoud your irritation with the regimen, so don't touch those at all, especially while you are still adjusting to the regimen, In fact, BP deactivates topical retinoid products aside from Differin, so you definitely can't have those on your face at the same time! When you see an acne face wash at a store, just skip right over it and purchase something unmedicated. Even though you think you might get clear faster by using multiple treatments, you'll just end up with lots more irritation and perhaps even more acne than if you had just stuck with BP. Other kinds of skin treatments tend to do more harm than good. Scrubs can tear up your skin, masks are overdrying, and homemade facial concoctions are ineffective at best. Some people really like the idea of natural skincare and want to incorporate in things like aloe vera and tea tree oil, but the results from adding in extra steps like these to the regimen seem to be by and large unsuccessful. Just keep in mind that if you insist on using more products and aren't getting the results you hope for, the first thing Dan, Brandy, and other regimen veterans will tell you is to get back to basics and ditch the extras. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as lactic acid or glycolic acid moisturizers really do help with flaking and dryness, but you should wait until your skin is used to the full dose of BP before trying these. The more complicated the regimen, the harder it is to figure out where it goes wrong!
If you can't make time to do the regimen morning and night, then the DKR is not for you. Twice a day, every day. If you do the regimen only once a day, leave out steps, go through the process hastily, or miss applications, then you should expect less than ideal results. I skipped a couple non-consecutive applications due to late-night partying and timing of washes recently, and what do you know--even after nine months of straight DKR use, I still got some small pimples by my mouth. Slacking off is fine so long as you are willing to pay the price, but again, it is an actual price. If you balk at setting aside a good half-hour each morning and evening to wash your face, apply BP, allow it to absorb, and moisturize, then you should look into other acne treatment options. Patience and diligence is absolutely key.
Don't expect a flawless complexion when all your acne is gone. Many people complain about redmarks and scars and how the regimen doesn't address these acne artifacts. It's simply not that easy! An AHA used once or twice a day over several months can help fade hyperpigmentation, but it might not be enough to get your skin completely mark-free, especially if you had moderate-severe acne before the regimen. I didn't even know I had acne scarring until I had cleared up, and then I had a whole new skin problem that I had never thought about before! Now I have accepted that I can't do much about my mild scarring without spending lots of money on treatments, and that even so, my skin still looks so much better now than it did a year ago. So when you do clear up, please don't expect to have baby butt smooth, unblemished skin. Have realistic expectations about what your acne-free skin will look like. I much prefer easily concealable light marks and minor dents over big red inflamed pimples, but if you feel otherwise, then don't bother treating your acne.
Breakouts can still happen. I still get small pimples nine months later when I slack off, as I have not grown out of acne. The regimen can keep virtually all acne at bay when you follow it diligently, but even so, you might still get little pimples in problem areas once in a while. The more persistent your acne, the bigger the consequences of missing an application and the more likely minor breakouts might continue. In order to maintain clear skin, you will need to keep buying cleanser, BP, and moisturizer, keep making time to do the regimen morning and night, and keep being gentle with your skin. The regimen effectively prevents acne, but if you stop, your pimples will come back (unless you have grown out of acne). It is up to you to decide if you can stick with the regimen for the long haul.
Edited by cool as kim deal, 07 February 2007 - 05:04 PM.