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