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#1 annaw

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 06:45 PM

hi!

i have been inspired by other people's logs on here to make my own! even if no one reads it, i feel like at least i might benefit from it myself. also, my friends can't really empathize with me on these things, and i'd love to be able to pour out my thoughts in a safe place.

WARNING - this is mostly just me thinking out loud! lots of random thoughts! might be boring..

okay, so i'm 24, and i've struggled with acne since puberty. it was pretty mild in HS, but when i got to college, it started getting worse, and i also started having problems with excess hair on my face, arms, and legs. when i graduated from college, the acne and hirsutism got worse. i started getting cystic acne, 1-5 at a time on the sides of my face.

so in aug 2008 (when the cystic acne started), i finally saw a dermatologist. they put me on minocycline in sep 2008, but it zapped my energy for the two months i was on it. i stopped taking it at that point because i felt terrible. i didn't see that much improvement either.

i had also been using differin during that time, but i quit using that too, just becuase of how terrible the whole experience was. i guess i should still consider trying that, since i hear it can help.

anyway, i got a new doctor in dec 2008, and i mentioned the acne to her. she did blood tests, and it was determined that i had a hormonal imbalance, most likely PCOS, even though they never did any ultrasounds to look at my ovaries. my hormones were out of whack though. i also went vegetarian around this time, but that was for unrelated reasons. just thought i'd mention it. smile.gif

the process of being diagnosed took awhile (crappy doctor), so it was july 2009 before i was prescribed anything. i was put on yaz at that time, and i took it for 7 months (until feb 2010). i LOVED yaz! it made me feel happy, energetic, and organized all the time. AND it almost completely cleared my acne. i also lost 5 lb (went from 122 to 117). i hadn't looked and felt so great since pre-puberty, haha.

anyway, despite how happy i was with yaz, it didn't do anything for my excess hair growth. the hirsutism just kept slowly getting worse during that time. the hirsutism actually bothers me more than the acne, so i was kinda bummed. in feb 2010, for some reason, my acne started returning a little, and i had breakthrough bleeding for the first time. my doctor (a new doctor cuz the old one sucked so much) said i probably needed a BC with higher estrogen. i LOVED yaz and didn't want to switch, but it clearly wasn't as effective as i wanted it to be, so i agreed.

from may 2010 - oct 2010, i tried three different higher-estrogen BC's that didn't improve my acne at all. it's only gone downhill since i stopped taking the yaz, and it's almost as bad as before the yaz.

i've been trying to get my doctor to prescribe me spironolactone paired with a BC for ages now, and she finally did it last week. she actually prescribed me 100 mg/day spiro paired with yaz. i hear that's not recommended, since both pills raise your potassium levels separately. the pharmacists thought it was unsafe, but i have high hopes and a foolish sense of invincibility.

so this is my 3rd day taking spiro and yaz. i'm a bit concerned because i used to take the name brand version of yaz, but when i picked up my prescription the other day, it was the generic version. my friend's doctor told her not to take the generic version cuz it's crappy. i guess if it doesn't work out i can go get the name brand again, but if i have weird side effects, i won't be sure whether it's from the new spiro or the generic yaz..

before i finish writing, i thought i'd just mention some other confounding factors.

1) i run a lot. i've run regularly since HS, and right now i'm training for a half marathon. that means i sweat a lot too, and i'm not that great about washing my face immediately when i get home. most of the time i was on the yaz, i did not run b/c of an injury. i still worked out & sweated every day, but it was lower-impact. i wonder if that had anything to do with my clear skin at that time. also, thinking back to the beginning of my cystic acne in 2008, that was the first time i started training for a half-marathon. i also have a runner-friend who has cystic acne. but i guess i have way more runner friends without acne than i do with acne.

2) i already mentioned that i'm a vegetarian. i am almost a vegan, since i mostly avoid eggs and dairy, but every now & then i cheat. i have not seen any skin changes that correlate with my animal-product-consumption.

3) from jan 2007 - july 2007, i avoided sugar. my skin was actually super clear during that time. PCOS is supposed to be linked to carb-consumption, so maybe there's something to that. i should do that again.

4) my skin care regimen is not very consistent. i mainly just use products that are given to me or random skin-clearing products i see in target. it changes all the time. i don't really use anything with benzoyl peroxide or salycylic acid anymore, because they're all too strong for me. during that time when i was avoiding sugar (2007), i was also using the really weak benzoyl peroxide as recommended somewhere on this site. maybe i should go back to that. currently, i think i'm using a clean & clear clarifying face wash, alcohol-free neutrogena toner, loreal serum, clean & clear moisturizer.

5) i wear makeup all the time (except when i'm asleep) to cover up all the red spots. i don't use high quality stuff either. i use a lot of drugstore makeup. i think i'm currently using neutrogena liuid foundation with a little salycylic acid in it and some remil pressed powder + a little bronzer. i actually just ordered some bare esscentuals though. also during that time when i had clear skin (2007), i was using aveda pressed powder. it was light and good on my skin. that's what inspired me to buy the bare esscuentuals mineral makeup, which will arrive in a week or so.

6) as much as i know how bad it is, i am a picker/squeezer. i have a hard time leaving things alone on my face. also, since i have prickly hairs around my chin, i have to tweeze them 1-2 times a day. i get a lot of pimples in that area due to the tweezing. i suppose i could be more sterile when it comes to tweezing. but i also get ingrown hairs that resemble pimples. i don't know if i can help that. that's why i want the excess hair to lessen!

right now, as i am beginning to take sprio & (generic) yaz, my skin is pretty average. i have 4-5 active pimples, 3-4 recovering ones, and a lot of red marks from the last 8 months without yaz.

unrelated, but the last BC treated me similar to the way the minocycline did, and i felt terrible on it. i only took it for one month for that reason. i'm disappointed in myself because after months of consistent training for the nov 7 half marathon, i have been unable to run for the past 10 days, during the most important time of my training. there are only 11 days til the race, and i'm scared i've fallen too far behind to meet my goal of running the whole thing in 2:20.

i hope that the new pills not only help my acne and hirsutism, but that they also restore my energy so that i'm able to resume my training in time to run the race successfully in less than two weeks.

i know it's too early for either pill to really be affecting me much right now, but i will say that i've had to pee like every 5 minutes today. that might be because i'm aware of the importance of drinking water on these pills, so i've been drinking more, but still. also, my face is super oily!

here are some pics of when i was on yaz before & it was working:



here's today. i'm even too embarrassed to do a frontal photo sad.gif -



okay, that's all for today. i hope i can actually be consistent and update this regularly. i'd like my skin to get back to those first pictures, and i'd like to document it. smile.gif

Edited by annaw, 26 October 2010 - 06:56 PM.


#2 annaw

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 04:06 PM

day 4

i woke up this morning and felt great. almost too great though, like i was super hyper. i think it was a result of me drinking coffee last night, which i usually can't do without causing weird sleep problems at night and strange feelings in the morning.

sure enough, the super hyper feeling morphed into anxiety, and i was super stressed shortly after i got to work, and i stayed pretty stressed throughout the day. it felt hormonal though, and i remember having a similar feeling of anxiety and even anger the first time i went on yaz, but that was during the third week of the first month only.

i am trying to drink a ton of water (and succeeding), but i made the tragic discovery last night that i cannot eat nuts on spiro/yaz because they are high in potassium! as a vegetarian, i consume a lot of nuts for protein. i am sad. i better check my tofu and soy-based products and make sure they aren't high in potassium.

even though i felt more stressed than usual today, i do have more energy. not sure if it's related to the meds or the increased caffeine consumption both yesterday and today. i am hoping to finally run tonight after such a long, heart-wrenching 12 days of failing to train. i must admit, part of why it's been harder is that with it getting dark earlier, i haven't been able to run outside after work. the other option is the apartment complex gym, but there's a kinda creepy guy who's in there at night who won't quit trying to have conversation with me, even when my headphones are on. i guess i just have to suck it up and see him tonight. maybe if i go a little earlier at 6:30 he won't be there.

all of this is totally unrelated to my acne and hirsutism, but i try to pay a lot of attention to how new meds are affecting how i feel after those two bad experiences. i also work in the field of mental health, so i pay a lot of attention to psychological things.

the new pics i took of my face today look a ton worse than yesterday's due only to the fact that in lack of light, my laptop's camera hyperpigments everything. most of the marks on my face in today's pictures are not active pimples, but just red spots from previous pimples. in reality, i have around 4 active pimples right now (1 is cystic on my jawline) and 2 ingrown hairs that appeared as pimples.

my face does feel a bit smoother, but that's probably just my imagination. it's way too early for that. i was looking at pics of how clear my skin was on yaz last december, and i calculated that it had been around 5 months at that point. i'm pretty sure my skin cleared up during the third month on yaz though - even the red marks were mostly gone. so i am expecting to have much clearer skin in 3-5 months. maybe even earlier since i'm not just on yaz now, but also spiro. soo late december 2010 at the earliest and late march 2011 at the latest. maybe in time for Christmas if i cross my fingers.

as for the excess hair, i keep reading that it takes 6-12 months for that to decrease significantly. i've read a lot of hopeful stuff, but i know that once hairs become terminal, they will never appear vellous again. still, anything is better than the worsening that i am currently experiencing. my problem areas are my chin and under my jaw. hmm..6-12 months will be sometime between april 2011 and oct 2011.

i am putting links to today's pics below, but for some reason, i have been unable to successfully insert both images and links, no matter what i do. here goes nothing:





#3 annaw

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:43 PM

day 5

felt pretty good and happy today. not much to ramble about today. my skin looks a tad better than yesterday, and the photos (which never actually appear in these posts..?!) look way better b/c that weird lighting effect was gone. and i was wearing some makeup. still no change in hair. i forgot to mention yesterday that the other places the hair bothers me are my arms and legs.

okay, that's it! a short post to contrast the first two super-long ones! biggrin.gif hehe. attempting a new method to post pics below. they are scary for halloween wink.gif

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by annaw, 28 October 2010 - 06:44 PM.


#4 })({amber

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 10:35 PM

Hi sideways.gif I take Yaz as well....I used to take spiro (25mg) but since I don't have insurance I couldn't take the blood test to make sure my potassium levels didn't go too high so I stopped spiro just to be safe.

If the generic your taking is called Gianvi I would say DON'T take it! Because I was on Yaz for 3 months loved it, had switched from Ortho-TriCylen generic which made me feel bloated and broke me out horribly. Then when I went to get a refill after 3 months they had switched it to the generic and after just two weeks my almost clear skin broke out like crazy I felt moody and cramps etc....so I just stopped taking it without finishing the pack and felt 100% better and my skin started getting better, after two weeks I managed to get name brand Yaz again and went back to having no problems and after 3 months my skin is really clear sideways.gif sometimes I'll get one pimple but thats something I can handle. I'm gonna be starting my 4 month tomorrow, and I've even used the pill to skip a period with no problems and no breakouts.

Good luck sideways.gif just be careful with your potassium levels be sure to get them checked at least once after the first month.

#5 })({amber

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 10:43 PM

QUOTE (annaw @ Oct 26 2010, 07:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
5) i wear makeup all the time (except when i'm asleep) to cover up all the red spots. i don't use high quality stuff either. i use a lot of drugstore makeup. i think i'm currently using neutrogena liuid foundation with a little salycylic acid in it and some remil pressed powder + a little bronzer. i actually just ordered some bare esscentuals though. also during that time when i had clear skin (2007), i was using aveda pressed powder. it was light and good on my skin. that's what inspired me to buy the bare esscuentuals mineral makeup, which will arrive in a week or so.


I'd also return the Bare Esscentuals ASAP if they let you! I thought that stuff would be great to and heard a lot of good things about it but I swear that stuff caused the most painful acne ever and made it even worse (which SUCKED because at the time the BCP I was taking already made me breakout more)

They put something in it that skin reacts badly to, if you look it up in the cosmetic section of this site you can learn more about it.

Try Alma products I recently started using them never did before and I like them. They cover well and they are better for acne then most store brands.

If you wanna use mineral make-up there are some good ones. I personally loved this brand Demure but its just very expensive =/ but it made my skin GLOW and didn't make me breakout and just the powder seemed to cover everything when now I have to use liquid and powered and sometimes most times you can still see some of the really dark redmarks.

#6 annaw

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 06:02 PM

QUOTE (~Amber~ @ Oct 28 2010, 10:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd also return the Bare Esscentuals ASAP if they let you! I thought that stuff would be great to and heard a lot of good things about it but I swear that stuff caused the most painful acne ever and made it even worse (which SUCKED because at the time the BCP I was taking already made me breakout more)

They put something in it that skin reacts badly to, if you look it up in the cosmetic section of this site you can learn more about it.

Try Alma products I recently started using them never did before and I like them. They cover well and they are better for acne then most store brands.

If you wanna use mineral make-up there are some good ones. I personally loved this brand Demure but its just very expensive =/ but it made my skin GLOW and didn't make me breakout and just the powder seemed to cover everything when now I have to use liquid and powered and sometimes most times you can still see some of the really dark redmarks.


hi amber!

thanks for reading & replying with advice & information about your experiences biggrin.gif i AM taking gianvi, and although nothing bad has happened yet, hearing from you (in addition to my friend) that this generic pill is not good, i think i will switch to the name brand at the end of this pack. it's worth the extra $10 for me.

i'm pretty disappointed hearing that you had a bad experience with bare esscentuals sad.gif i had high hopes for that too. this introductory package wasn't priced too high though, and i can cancel my 'membership' easily if it doesn't work out, so i'll try it for a month or so, and if it doesn't work, i think i'll go back to aveda foundation. i think i remember it being around $20 for one pressed powder, but it was great powder! maybe i should check the prices on demure and alma (not almay?) before i spend $20 on powder though.

thanks again for your comments smile.gif it's helpful to have input from other people who understand. i hope that your skin stays great now that you're back on the name-brand yaz!

#7 annaw

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 06:22 PM

day 6

i felt great again today. it was a feeling i had when i was on yaz last year. it sounds crazy, but i swear it's true. it's like a distinct peaceful, organized, happy feeling.

amber's comment above convinced me that i need to get the name brand yaz next time i go to the pharmacy, but so far i'm not having any problems.

if the off-brand yaz is so bad, i'm wondering if the good feeling i referred to is just a result of androgen-blocking. even if the off-brand yaz i'm on (gianvi) isn't any good, the 100 mg/day of spiro could be doing the same thing that the name-brand yaz did for me. i don't remember feeling any positive difference in my mood for awhile after starting name-brand yaz. maybe that's b/c it's only the equivalent of 25 mg/day spiro, and i am taking 4x that amount per day right now. so after 6 days, that would be almost a month's worth of name-brand yaz. i hope my logic is follow-able.

as for skin and hair, my skin still seems to be improving. no new pimples, although a couple that were on my forehead have become more inflamed. i conveniently did not capture them in today's photos to make myself feel better. on the other bcp's i've taken since april, i was getting a new cyst under my skin every few days or so. i don't believe i've gotten a new one since i started this yaz/spiro combo, which is unusual. i still think it's too early for it to be affecting my skin/hair very much, but i think this change in pattern is worth noting.

no changes in my hair yet of course. at my rate of rambling though, you know i'll let you know in full detail as soon as i see anything biggrin.gif

okay, it's friday night - time for the weekend! i kind of have a 4-day weekend. i hope i have the energy to run tomorrow afternoon!

#8 annaw

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 06:44 PM

day 7

i felt good for most of the day, but maybe i worked too hard at work, because on the drive home, i could already feel that i was wiped out and probably wouldn't have the energy to run tonight. i took a 2-3 hour nap, and it was dark by the time i woke up. oh well. mood is still positive.

my skin seems to have improved a little again, with still no new pimples & just some recovering pimples/cysts and lots of red marks from the past. the bare minerals makeup actually arrived today, and i'm wearing it in the pictures. i put it on over the makeup i already had on, so i have double coverage in the picture, and my skin looks pretty awesome (esp the left side) compared to several days ago. i still need to see how the makeup will look by itself. i hardly had to use any to put a light cover on my face, and it doesn't feel cakey or anything.

still no improvement in the excess hair. i'm pretty sure it just slowly gets worse, but i'm hoping that will come to an end, and it will turn around in six months.

acne is a deeper issue than just appearance. yeah i care how i look, and i hate feeling self conscious with pimples all over my face. but ever since i found out that mine is caused by hormonal problems that are related to infertility, obesity, depression, and diabetes, i've begun to associate the state of my skin with the state of my overall health. it's like an outward signal of what's going on inside my body, and it's helpful to be able to rely on it. if i have a bunch of pimples, it lets me know that my hormones are acting up, and other unseen things are probably struggling too (insulin, energy level, reproductive health).

i know that BCP's and spiro might only be treating the symptoms & not the cause, but alleviating some of the symptoms of PCOS is quite helpful in restoring one's feeling of wellness and confidence to tackle some of the causes (as much as possible).

i also share hope with others that one day, there will be a cure for PCOS so that women/girls out there don't have to go through the confusion, worry, pain, and embarrassment of all the symptoms.

pictures (maybe):


 


Edited by annaw, 31 January 2013 - 10:30 PM.


#9 AAV9186

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 07:37 PM

Hi,
I can identify with your situation. I am 24 as well and have been fighting mild acne for a while. My normal breakouts occur along my jawline, and the corner of my mouth when it's that time of the month. I was pretty resistant to birth control for a while, but finally caved in June and started taking the pill- Ortho Novum 1/35. This cleared up my skin immediately (I may have had 2 or 3 pimples at the time) and kept it clear for a few months. I started breaking out a little bit again in September. I should also mention that the kind of zits I get are fairly resistant to over the counter treatment. I gave myself about a month of using my OTC products, and when I did not see much of a difference, I decided to go to the derm (a little over 2 weeks ago). I was prescribed Benzaclin, Differin 0.3%, and doxycycline. The only difference I can tell so far is that it is definitely making my skin purge. Ugh. Recently I have been hearing more about spironolactone for acne, but I did not ask at my appointment if this would be a treatment option for me. I am interested to hear what kind of results you have with this medication. It may be worth it for me to ask my derm about it at my next appointment in December.
Lately I have been hearing more about PCOS, and can't help but wonder if I should have an ultrasound and bloodwork done to rule this out. My periods have become more regular since taking birth control, but I am wondering if the previously irregular periods combined with the acne flare-ups are indicative of some other underlying condition.
Congrats on training for your half marathon- I am training for a full marathon on November 13. I too have wondered if the excessive sweating could be causing my breakouts, but like you, I realized that I have plenty of runner friends who don't have acne. I don't know if you feel the same way, but sometimes I just hate running with other people because of the way my skin looks. I'm sure I am way harder on myself than others are, but it still makes me very self-conscious.
Anyway, keep updating with your progress- I would love to know how your treatment is working for you and would also love to hear about your half marathon results!

#10 AAV9186

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 07:40 PM

QUOTE (annaw @ Oct 30 2010, 07:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
day 7

i felt good for most of the day, but maybe i worked too hard at work, because on the drive home, i could already feel that i was wiped out and probably wouldn't have the energy to run tonight. i took a 2-3 hour nap, and it was dark by the time i woke up. oh well. mood is still positive.

my skin seems to have improved a little again, with still no new pimples & just some recovering pimples/cysts and lots of red marks from the past. the bare minerals makeup actually arrived today, and i'm wearing it in the pictures. i put it on over the makeup i already had on, so i have double coverage in the picture, and my skin looks pretty awesome (esp the left side) compared to several days ago. i still need to see how the makeup will look by itself. i hardly had to use any to put a light cover on my face, and it doesn't feel cakey or anything.

still no improvement in the excess hair. i'm pretty sure it just slowly gets worse, but i'm hoping that will come to an end, and it will turn around in six months.

acne is a deeper issue than just appearance. yeah i care how i look, and i hate feeling self conscious with pimples all over my face. but ever since i found out that mine is caused by hormonal problems that are related to infertility, obesity, depression, and diabetes, i've begun to associate the state of my skin with the state of my overall health. it's like an outward signal of what's going on inside my body, and it's helpful to be able to rely on it. if i have a bunch of pimples, it lets me know that my hormones are acting up, and other unseen things are probably struggling too (insulin, energy level, reproductive health).

i know that BCP's and spiro might only be treating the symptoms & not the cause, but alleviating some of the symptoms of PCOS is quite helpful in restoring one's feeling of wellness and confidence to tackle some of the causes (as much as possible).

i also share hope with others that one day, there will be a cure for PCOS so that women/girls out there don't have to go through the confusion, worry, pain, and embarrassment of all the symptoms.

pictures (maybe):

Posted Image

Posted Image


PS- I looked at your pics, and your skin is not bad. Really. My breakouts are usually on the right side of my face as well- it looks like we are basically in the same situation, as your breakouts look basically exactly the same as mine.

#11 annaw

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 10:04 PM

QUOTE (AAV9186 @ Oct 30 2010, 07:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi,
I can identify with your situation. I am 24 as well and have been fighting mild acne for a while. My normal breakouts occur along my jawline, and the corner of my mouth when it's that time of the month. I was pretty resistant to birth control for a while, but finally caved in June and started taking the pill- Ortho Novum 1/35. This cleared up my skin immediately (I may have had 2 or 3 pimples at the time) and kept it clear for a few months. I started breaking out a little bit again in September. I should also mention that the kind of zits I get are fairly resistant to over the counter treatment. I gave myself about a month of using my OTC products, and when I did not see much of a difference, I decided to go to the derm (a little over 2 weeks ago). I was prescribed Benzaclin, Differin 0.3%, and doxycycline. The only difference I can tell so far is that it is definitely making my skin purge. Ugh. Recently I have been hearing more about spironolactone for acne, but I did not ask at my appointment if this would be a treatment option for me. I am interested to hear what kind of results you have with this medication. It may be worth it for me to ask my derm about it at my next appointment in December.
Lately I have been hearing more about PCOS, and can't help but wonder if I should have an ultrasound and bloodwork done to rule this out. My periods have become more regular since taking birth control, but I am wondering if the previously irregular periods combined with the acne flare-ups are indicative of some other underlying condition.
Congrats on training for your half marathon- I am training for a full marathon on November 13. I too have wondered if the excessive sweating could be causing my breakouts, but like you, I realized that I have plenty of runner friends who don't have acne. I don't know if you feel the same way, but sometimes I just hate running with other people because of the way my skin looks. I'm sure I am way harder on myself than others are, but it still makes me very self-conscious.
Anyway, keep updating with your progress- I would love to know how your treatment is working for you and would also love to hear about your half marathon results!


thanks for sharing your story and encouragement. wow, you're training for a FULL marathon?! that's amazing to me. is it your first? i have a friend who is running her first half marathon in alabama on the same day as yours.

i can definitely relate to not liking the way your skin looks while you run. i was talking about this with a friend recently. simply being in sunlight is uncomfortable to me, because it makes my acne & facial hair way more obvious & ghastly. sweat melting down my face through my makeup makes it even worse. it would be awesome to have clear enough skin that i felt comfortable running in the sun without makeup. maybe that day will come.

hmm it's interesting that we are in a similar situation. so did the dermatologist do ANY blood tests on you? i think it would be very unusual (and technically not allowed) for them to put you on BCP for acne without proof that your hormones were abnormal.

i also started off at the dermatologist, but i found that my primary care physician (the new, good one) approaches my hair & skin issues much more holistically than the dermatologist by focusing on the underlying cause(s) & possibly related ailments. i would definitely recommend getting those blood tests done - if you do have PCOS, then yaz, spiro, and metformin seem to be the best matches for it. but if you get good enough results from the BCP you're currently on, then that's great. smile.gif

thanks for saying nice things about my pictures smile.gif i DID have double makeup on, hehe. but i think you're right - it's not so bad right now. thanks for encouraging me biggrin.gif

#12 AAV9186

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:47 AM

QUOTE (annaw @ Oct 30 2010, 11:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (AAV9186 @ Oct 30 2010, 07:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi,
I can identify with your situation. I am 24 as well and have been fighting mild acne for a while. My normal breakouts occur along my jawline, and the corner of my mouth when it's that time of the month. I was pretty resistant to birth control for a while, but finally caved in June and started taking the pill- Ortho Novum 1/35. This cleared up my skin immediately (I may have had 2 or 3 pimples at the time) and kept it clear for a few months. I started breaking out a little bit again in September. I should also mention that the kind of zits I get are fairly resistant to over the counter treatment. I gave myself about a month of using my OTC products, and when I did not see much of a difference, I decided to go to the derm (a little over 2 weeks ago). I was prescribed Benzaclin, Differin 0.3%, and doxycycline. The only difference I can tell so far is that it is definitely making my skin purge. Ugh. Recently I have been hearing more about spironolactone for acne, but I did not ask at my appointment if this would be a treatment option for me. I am interested to hear what kind of results you have with this medication. It may be worth it for me to ask my derm about it at my next appointment in December.
Lately I have been hearing more about PCOS, and can't help but wonder if I should have an ultrasound and bloodwork done to rule this out. My periods have become more regular since taking birth control, but I am wondering if the previously irregular periods combined with the acne flare-ups are indicative of some other underlying condition.
Congrats on training for your half marathon- I am training for a full marathon on November 13. I too have wondered if the excessive sweating could be causing my breakouts, but like you, I realized that I have plenty of runner friends who don't have acne. I don't know if you feel the same way, but sometimes I just hate running with other people because of the way my skin looks. I'm sure I am way harder on myself than others are, but it still makes me very self-conscious.
Anyway, keep updating with your progress- I would love to know how your treatment is working for you and would also love to hear about your half marathon results!


thanks for sharing your story and encouragement. wow, you're training for a FULL marathon?! that's amazing to me. is it your first? i have a friend who is running her first half marathon in alabama on the same day as yours.

i can definitely relate to not liking the way your skin looks while you run. i was talking about this with a friend recently. simply being in sunlight is uncomfortable to me, because it makes my acne & facial hair way more obvious & ghastly. sweat melting down my face through my makeup makes it even worse. it would be awesome to have clear enough skin that i felt comfortable running in the sun without makeup. maybe that day will come.

hmm it's interesting that we are in a similar situation. so did the dermatologist do ANY blood tests on you? i think it would be very unusual (and technically not allowed) for them to put you on BCP for acne without proof that your hormones were abnormal.

i also started off at the dermatologist, but i found that my primary care physician (the new, good one) approaches my hair & skin issues much more holistically than the dermatologist by focusing on the underlying cause(s) & possibly related ailments. i would definitely recommend getting those blood tests done - if you do have PCOS, then yaz, spiro, and metformin seem to be the best matches for it. but if you get good enough results from the BCP you're currently on, then that's great. smile.gif

thanks for saying nice things about my pictures smile.gif i DID have double makeup on, hehe. but i think you're right - it's not so bad right now. thanks for encouraging me biggrin.gif


This will be my first full marathon. I have run half marathons before though. Is this your first?

The dermatologist did not do any blood tests when I went. My OB-GYN prescribed the birth control pills for me prior to my trip to the derm, but I did ask her to write the prescription. I had heard that BCPs help to clear the skin and thought I would give them a try. They seem to work well, but I went to my derm because I was just tired of getting breakouts every month at that time of the month- plus, the breakouts took forever to clear.

I think I will ask my derm about spironolactone at my next appointment if I haven't seen any type of improvement. She said with the treatment I am using I should see improvement in 6 weeks (my appointment was October 13). I think I am (hopefully) reaching the end of the horrible initial breakout phase, so I'm hoping to see some skin clearing within the next few weeks.

It has not been a fun 2 1/2 weeks and I am feeling more self-conscious than ever. I am definitely doubting my dermatologist even knows what she is talking about, but there is no point in quitting the medications now.

I think we are all definitely our own worst critics- I know that I am probably too hard on myself and that other people don't notice the breakouts, but I still can't help wanting to make sure my face is as hidden as possible when I'm in public. I wish I just didn't care, but unfortunately that's not the case. Hopefully we both will have clear skin soon.

Keep me updated on your progress- I would love to know how things work for you!

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:41 PM

QUOTE (annaw @ Oct 29 2010, 06:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (~Amber~ @ Oct 28 2010, 10:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd also return the Bare Esscentuals ASAP if they let you! I thought that stuff would be great to and heard a lot of good things about it but I swear that stuff caused the most painful acne ever and made it even worse (which SUCKED because at the time the BCP I was taking already made me breakout more)

They put something in it that skin reacts badly to, if you look it up in the cosmetic section of this site you can learn more about it.

Try Alma products I recently started using them never did before and I like them. They cover well and they are better for acne then most store brands.

If you wanna use mineral make-up there are some good ones. I personally loved this brand Demure but its just very expensive =/ but it made my skin GLOW and didn't make me breakout and just the powder seemed to cover everything when now I have to use liquid and powered and sometimes most times you can still see some of the really dark redmarks.


hi amber!

thanks for reading & replying with advice & information about your experiences biggrin.gif i AM taking gianvi, and although nothing bad has happened yet, hearing from you (in addition to my friend) that this generic pill is not good, i think i will switch to the name brand at the end of this pack. it's worth the extra $10 for me.

i'm pretty disappointed hearing that you had a bad experience with bare esscentuals sad.gif i had high hopes for that too. this introductory package wasn't priced too high though, and i can cancel my 'membership' easily if it doesn't work out, so i'll try it for a month or so, and if it doesn't work, i think i'll go back to aveda foundation. i think i remember it being around $20 for one pressed powder, but it was great powder! maybe i should check the prices on demure and alma (not almay?) before i spend $20 on powder though.

thanks again for your comments smile.gif it's helpful to have input from other people who understand. i hope that your skin stays great now that you're back on the name-brand yaz!


I meant Almay lol sorry it was a typo I didn't notice sideways.gif

#14 annaw

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 06:09 PM

day 8

i ran today! biggrin.gif it was great.

today begins week 2 of spiro & off-brand yaz. i found my last pack of name-brand yaz, which i never finished (even though i was supposed to). i left off right after week two. it's probably not advisable, but i'm thinking of finishing this second week of off-brand yaz and then picking back up on name-brand yaz starting next week to finish out that pack and get myself back on the real thing sooner. i don't see why it would matter much, since my pharmacist told me the off-brand is like 99.8% accurate (or something) to the real thing..

i swear i have a LITTLE bit of a life outside of acne, but last night i ended up on this girl's youtube channel, where she video-logged her struggle with acne, and i watched it. she tried about everything and was pretty upset that stuff wasn't working, but finally yaz completely cleared her up. i know there's a bunch of scary lawsuit warning stuff out there for yaz, but i really love the drug. it's great. i was so happy for her that i almost cried. it was very inspiring. you should watch all of her videos!

i have tried to insert the links below using the text editor's 'insert link' button, but those buttons never seem to work, so i doubt it will show up below:

1 - Before

2 - After

my skin in improving little by little. i still don't think i've had any new cysts, lest pimples, at all since last sunday when i started spiro/off-brand yaz. that's crazy.

the bare escentuals did pretty well on me today. you can apparently use the loose powder foundation as concealer, which may be a normal practice of people who are more makeup-aware than i am, but i'd never done that before. i'm used to using liquid foundation as concealer, and it kinda feels like having paint scattered all over my face. going all day without any liquid foundation felt pretty good. it was a little less coverage than i'm used to on the pimples, since i usually try to cover them pretty strongly, but i think it was better for my skin and maybe even my mind to go a little lighter. also, my face was glowing quite a bit from the makeup.

my face still has the makeup on in the pictures below, but i took them right after i came back from running, so a lot of it had been washed away by sweat. my face is surprisingly far less oily than usual after running today..i attribute that to the spiro. smile.gif

today's pics (maybe):

1 -

2 -


Edited by annaw, 31 January 2013 - 10:31 PM.


#15 AAV9186

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 04:26 PM

QUOTE (annaw @ Oct 31 2010, 07:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
day 8

i ran today! biggrin.gif it was great.

today begins week 2 of spiro & off-brand yaz. i found my last pack of name-brand yaz, which i never finished (even though i was supposed to). i left off right after week two. it's probably not advisable, but i'm thinking of finishing this second week of off-brand yaz and then picking back up on name-brand yaz starting next week to finish out that pack and get myself back on the real thing sooner. i don't see why it would matter much, since my pharmacist told me the off-brand is like 99.8% accurate (or something) to the real thing..

i swear i have a LITTLE bit of a life outside of acne, but last night i ended up on this girl's youtube channel, where she video-logged her struggle with acne, and i watched it. she tried about everything and was pretty upset that stuff wasn't working, but finally yaz completely cleared her up. i know there's a bunch of scary lawsuit warning stuff out there for yaz, but i really love the drug. it's great. i was so happy for her that i almost cried. it was very inspiring. you should watch all of her videos!

i have tried to insert the links below using the text editor's 'insert link' button, but those buttons never seem to work, so i doubt it will show up below:

1 - Before

2 - After

my skin in improving little by little. i still don't think i've had any new cysts, lest pimples, at all since last sunday when i started spiro/off-brand yaz. that's crazy.

the bare escentuals did pretty well on me today. you can apparently use the loose powder foundation as concealer, which may be a normal practice of people who are more makeup-aware than i am, but i'd never done that before. i'm used to using liquid foundation as concealer, and it kinda feels like having paint scattered all over my face. going all day without any liquid foundation felt pretty good. it was a little less coverage than i'm used to on the pimples, since i usually try to cover them pretty strongly, but i think it was better for my skin and maybe even my mind to go a little lighter. also, my face was glowing quite a bit from the makeup.

my face still has the makeup on in the pictures below, but i took them right after i came back from running, so a lot of it had been washed away by sweat. my face is surprisingly far less oily than usual after running today..i attribute that to the spiro. smile.gif

today's pics (maybe):

1 - Posted Image

2 - Posted Image


Just a quick update.....
I work in a medical center, and we have a hormone replacement therapist on staff. I spoke with her today about hormonal causes of my acne. She did order bloodwork to check my hormone levels. Of course, these values may be slightly skewed, since I am taking birth control pills. Instead of spironolactone, she suggested that I come off the birth control pills and try cyclic progesterone. She said that while birth control pills can help, if you are not using them for birth control reasons, the cyclic progesterone is a better choice. I did talk to her about PCOS, but she did not seem to think that was what was causing my breakouts nor did she think I should get an ultrasound for it.
I am a little hesitant to switch things up too much at this point- I don't want to wreak havoc on my hormones and end up with even more breakouts. I think I will call my dermatologist this week and see what she thinks about this.
As far as the actual condition of my skin, the blemishes that were on my jawline are gone, and the blemishes on my chin are healing- I now just have a few crusty spots where the pimples were. I am not breaking out with such vigor, and when I get a new pimple, it's considerably smaller- I hope I have not just jinxed myself!
I hope your treatment is going well, please keep me informed, and I will let you know more about cyclic progesterone therapy when I find out more about it.

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 05:47 PM

if you feel the bcp are helping don't stop. it has other benefits other than acne and birth control...it also helps with periods :]

#17 AAV9186

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 08:02 PM

QUOTE (~Amber~ @ Nov 6 2010, 05:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
if you feel the bcp are helping don't stop. it has other benefits other than acne and birth control...it also helps with periods :]


Amber,
At one point the bcp's were definitely helping, but about 2 1/2 months into using them, I started breaking out again (fairly mild). That's when I went to the derm because the zits I would get were pretty resistant to the treatment products I was using. Since the initial breakout, I can't tell if they are helping or not sad.gif

I guess it would probably be best for me to just stay on them so I'm not making any changes to which my skin would have to adjust yet again- I think that may also be a problem- if I don't see the results I want immediately, I switch skincare products. That's really tempting right now because my skin is looking worse than it did before. As frustrated as I am, I guess I'm going to try to stick with this regimen for the full 8-12 weeks before ditching it.

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 02:51 PM

QUOTE (AAV9186 @ Nov 6 2010, 08:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (~Amber~ @ Nov 6 2010, 05:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
if you feel the bcp are helping don't stop. it has other benefits other than acne and birth control...it also helps with periods :]


Amber,
At one point the bcp's were definitely helping, but about 2 1/2 months into using them, I started breaking out again (fairly mild). That's when I went to the derm because the zits I would get were pretty resistant to the treatment products I was using. Since the initial breakout, I can't tell if they are helping or not sad.gif

I guess it would probably be best for me to just stay on them so I'm not making any changes to which my skin would have to adjust yet again- I think that may also be a problem- if I don't see the results I want immediately, I switch skincare products. That's really tempting right now because my skin is looking worse than it did before. As frustrated as I am, I guess I'm going to try to stick with this regimen for the full 8-12 weeks before ditching it.


I know when I started bcp to help my skin my first pill made it worse, second helped a little, generic of the second made everything worse again, and it wasn't until the 3 month back on real yaz that I noticed my skin improving which I'm sure is also because skin care stuff I added since I never really had a "regimen" before.

What does suck is you should give everything at least 3 months to see if it works but I know thats a long time to wait, especially if it doesn't work. I never use to give anything time like that either and now that I finally did I'm glad that I did....now I just need to work on healing all these ugly redmarks and I'd have clear skin smile.gif

#19 annaw

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 07:11 PM

day 23

hello!

my computer had a meltdown, and i was laptopless (!) for like two weeks, which prevented me from posting. the good news is that the old laptop burned me, which made lenovo treat me very well (to prevent a lawsuit), and they mailed me a free, new, nicer laptop today! yay! biggrin.gif

i ran my half marathon! ran the whole thing. beat my goal time by a lot. felt great doing it. seeing physical therapist tomorrow for joint pains (i've had 'em for awhile, but i thought i'd just wait til after the race to start working on them). i'll resume exercise after talking with doctor tomorrow.

had some sort of physical meltdown 1-2 hours after the race. maybe mixture of shock, hypothermia (was freezing that morning), and i'm suspecting high potassium due to spiro/yaz. i read after the race that runners on spiro should drink 15-20 glasses of water before race day versus a normal person's 8 glasses. i didn't even drink 8 glasses. also, i accidentally drank the sports drinks at a few of the water stops during the race without remembering that those are usually chock-full of potassium..!

i scheduled bloodwork this friday (will be the end of first month on these pills) to check potassium and maybe some hormone levels too. i'm so unmotivated to get blood drawn cuz even the "best" phlebotomists have a hard time getting blood out of me. it's prolonged, painful, and usually too early in the morning for me. they told me this one needs to be fasting too, so that makes it even worse. i get weird without food (and coffee!)

okayyyy so acne update! mm i think it's actually about the same as it was last time i updated! so i guess it doesn't matter that i went so long without updating. have had maybe 1-2 cysts come and almost go since then, but it's an improvement still from before spiro/yaz. have also had random new pimples, but nothing's too bad. no improvement in regards to hair yet, as expected.

bare minerals is working well i think. they've been super nice to me. i called on two separate occassions to complain about the shades of two separate items they sent me, and they offered to replace both free of charge with the shade of my choice in larger size. the new shades are much nicer, and i have not had any skin irritation. have been supplementing coverage with liquid foundation though to help hide pimples more thoroughly. hopefully i can stop doing that when acne clears up more.

skin has not been nearly as oily since starting spiro/yaz. not oily at all really (i was very oily before). it's kinda dry right now, but that's kinda normal for my face at this time of year.

mood has been struggling - i have had a lot of stress and anxiety. mostly at work, but a little at home too. i have had a lot more stressors these past two months, but the physical response to the stress that i feel in my body is something i'm attributing to the spiro/yaz. i had a similar feeling during the third week of the first time i tried yaz. i've had it on and off so far for the whole time i've been on spiro/yaz, but i'm hoping it will go away soon like it did just on yaz last year.

mm i think i had a couple other things to say, but i have forgotten them. thanks for the posts while i was gone. AAV9186 - i have wondered to myself if ppl ever use non-BCP hormones to treat acne. i'd never actually heard of it before. seems like it would be more efficient maybe? are you actually proceeding with that? i'd like to hear about how it works.

#20 AAV9186

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 08:02 AM

QUOTE (annaw @ Nov 15 2010, 08:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
day 23

hello!

my computer had a meltdown, and i was laptopless (!) for like two weeks, which prevented me from posting. the good news is that the old laptop burned me, which made lenovo treat me very well (to prevent a lawsuit), and they mailed me a free, new, nicer laptop today! yay! biggrin.gif

i ran my half marathon! ran the whole thing. beat my goal time by a lot. felt great doing it. seeing physical therapist tomorrow for joint pains (i've had 'em for awhile, but i thought i'd just wait til after the race to start working on them). i'll resume exercise after talking with doctor tomorrow.

had some sort of physical meltdown 1-2 hours after the race. maybe mixture of shock, hypothermia (was freezing that morning), and i'm suspecting high potassium due to spiro/yaz. i read after the race that runners on spiro should drink 15-20 glasses of water before race day versus a normal person's 8 glasses. i didn't even drink 8 glasses. also, i accidentally drank the sports drinks at a few of the water stops during the race without remembering that those are usually chock-full of potassium..!

i scheduled bloodwork this friday (will be the end of first month on these pills) to check potassium and maybe some hormone levels too. i'm so unmotivated to get blood drawn cuz even the "best" phlebotomists have a hard time getting blood out of me. it's prolonged, painful, and usually too early in the morning for me. they told me this one needs to be fasting too, so that makes it even worse. i get weird without food (and coffee!)

okayyyy so acne update! mm i think it's actually about the same as it was last time i updated! so i guess it doesn't matter that i went so long without updating. have had maybe 1-2 cysts come and almost go since then, but it's an improvement still from before spiro/yaz. have also had random new pimples, but nothing's too bad. no improvement in regards to hair yet, as expected.

bare minerals is working well i think. they've been super nice to me. i called on two separate occassions to complain about the shades of two separate items they sent me, and they offered to replace both free of charge with the shade of my choice in larger size. the new shades are much nicer, and i have not had any skin irritation. have been supplementing coverage with liquid foundation though to help hide pimples more thoroughly. hopefully i can stop doing that when acne clears up more.

skin has not been nearly as oily since starting spiro/yaz. not oily at all really (i was very oily before). it's kinda dry right now, but that's kinda normal for my face at this time of year.

mood has been struggling - i have had a lot of stress and anxiety. mostly at work, but a little at home too. i have had a lot more stressors these past two months, but the physical response to the stress that i feel in my body is something i'm attributing to the spiro/yaz. i had a similar feeling during the third week of the first time i tried yaz. i've had it on and off so far for the whole time i've been on spiro/yaz, but i'm hoping it will go away soon like it did just on yaz last year.

mm i think i had a couple other things to say, but i have forgotten them. thanks for the posts while i was gone. AAV9186 - i have wondered to myself if ppl ever use non-BCP hormones to treat acne. i'd never actually heard of it before. seems like it would be more efficient maybe? are you actually proceeding with that? i'd like to hear about how it works.


I haven't started the cyclic progesterone treatment yet. I am still waiting on the results of my bloodwork to come back. The hormone replacement therapist explained to me that sometimes the synthetic progestin compounds in bcp's are actually what cause acne in the first place. The treatment that she suggested for me was cyclic progesterone, which is a bio-identical hormone to the progesterone that we make naturally. I am a little hesitant to to try it only because I don't think I could deal with it if by chance it made my skin get worse.
I haven't really had much change in my skin, either. It is not breaking out as bad, but I'm still getting 1-2 new pimples every few days. Ugh. I'm getting pretty frustrated that I have not seen any results, but I guess like everyone says, it really does take up to 12 weeks to notice any change. I hate holding my breath every day wondering how my skin is going to look or what it is going to do.
Congrats on your half marathon! I am glad to hear that it went well. I finished my full marathon, and I can definitely relate to the pain you are feeling in your joints and muscles!
Keep me updated on your progress- I will let you know more about the cyclic progesterone therapy after I talk with the hormone replacement therapist.