Posted 23 October 2011 - 09:38 AM
I had amazing success with Retin-A Micro, but mistakenly attributed it to Yaz (BC). I had been on Retin-A for 2 months and nothing had improved. If anything, things had gotten worse. I started Yaz by the third month and my skin cleared up. I now realize that Retin-A takes 3 months to work and, like a genius, I quit right when it was starting to work. It had slowly unclogged my pores until I stopped breaking out.
Once I stopped Retin-A Micro, I started noticing a few more clogged pores... Then a few more... Then more pimples than usual... And after 2-3 months of discontinuing RAM, everything was back to where it was when I started treatment.
So I should be back on Retin-A, right?
Eh. I mentioned to my dermatologist that Retin-A made my skin insanely oily (my reason for quitting it), despite clearing it up. She suggested I try Epiduo because the BP should dry me out a bit, while the Adapalene does it's work.
I'm on Week 5, Day 38 and my skin is doing absolutely terrible, but this was pretty much expected. I've used retinoids many times and I've never had immediate success. The one time I stuck it out more than 8 weeks, it worked.
I get really annoyed with all the reviews that say "OMG Been using for 2 minutes and I LOVE it." Retinoids work with skin cell turnover, cleaning the skin from underneath. It takes 12 WEEKS (3 months) for a skin cell to turn over, revealing that clean beautiful skin underneath. So for all of you in the same boat as me, still struggling by the second month, hang in there.
I'm a little nervous that Epiduo won't work as well as Retin-A did for me. I often wonder if I made a mistake by not going on Retin-A again, despite the oiliness it caused. Epiduo is significantly more expensive, but it isn't as sensitive to sunlight as Retin-A and it's got BP. So maybe it's better.
I'll keep you guys posted and add pictures later on.
Comments are very much appreciated. Questions too, since I've tried almost everything and know a lot about skin care.
Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:03 AM
Worked for me when I was a preteen, though not immediately. Took the standard 3 months. Discontinued when I cleared, and my acne didn't come back until I was a senior in high school.
Tried it for two weeks in high school. The Physician's assistant didn't explain it was a retinoid, didn't tell me things might get worse, or that it would take a while. So expected immediate results, I quit during the IB. I don't like the concept of Ziana though, because it really isn't safe for long-term use. It has a topical antibiotic (Clindamycin Phosphate) that can breed resistant bacteria and cause gram-negative folliculitis. I actually don't understand why this product exists.
Everything about this product is great but the efficacy. Went on smooth under makeup, felt good, no side-effects... But no effects whatsoever. It's supposed to be a miracle product for inflammation... I would still recommend trying it, even though it didn't work for me. It seems to be great for some people.
Yuck. Didn't go well under makeup, didn't make any difference and has the whole antibiotic downside. Breeding resistant bacteria, losing efficacy over time, etc.
Made me so sick, couldn't keep food down and threw up frequently. I stuck it out for 2 months and got nowhere.
***Solodyn (Brand-name Minocycline)
Did not have any negative side-effects, but did not work.
I like this. It seems to have great success with a lot of people who don't respond to tetracyclines like me. I never felt it prevented acne, but it sure did seem to keep cysts and inflammation down. From what I understand, it is used to treat gram-negative folliculitis, so it shouldn't cause it. I've read it has a very slow tolerance rate, meaning you'd have to take it for a really long time before it becomes ineffective. I wouldn't recommend taking it for more than 3 months. It's a useful antibiotic and it would be a shame if you became immune to it.
I regret going on Yaz. I thought it would cure my hormonal acne. Though it didn't worsen or improve it, I'm terrified of coming off it due to the horror stories I've heard of coming off BC. I've actually considered not having kids for the sake of my skin. (I was always somewhat against kids anyways.) It increases your risk of blood clots and certain cancers (though to be fair, it reduces the risk of other cancers). It isn't all bad though. I like the predictable, shorter periods and the birth control aspect. I just wouldn't do it again if given the choice.
I love this product, as you've read, and regret coming off it. The only downsides are the typical retinoid stuff (burning, peeling, redness, initial breakout) and for me, it made me oily. But it DID clear up my moderately severe hormonal acne. Cysts, papules and pustules around my mouth area and occasionally my cheeks.
Burned, caused dryness and all that good stuff. But it worked. It cleared me up in about 3 months
A little too soon to tell about efficacy. It goes well under makeup. Despite burning a little, it seems to moisturize the skin rather than dry it out. It also seems to help with inflammation. Will update when I've been on it longer.
Vitamins, diet, exercise, water intake, I've tried it all. I lost 15 pounds eating right, drinking water and exercising. In the end I was underweight and still had the same amount of acne. This may work for some people, but for hormonal and comodonal acne I do not believe it makes the slightest difference. I've been clear on months of Taco Bell and broken out horribly on an all health food diet. Do not waste your time on a carefully planned diet and guilt for every dessert, if you have acne like mine.
The last time I used a retinoid:
Month 1: Horrible breaking out
Month 2: Horrible breaking out with less clogged pores
Month 3: Moderate breaking out
Month 4: Clear with a random spot here and there
Month 1: Horrible breaking out
Month 2: Moderate breaking out
Month 3: Clear with a few random spots
Month 4: ??
Bottom Line: Epiduo worked for me in about 3 months, after purging my skin. It also worked faster/better for me than Retin-A did.
Edited by AllynRose, 15 December 2011 - 03:05 PM.
Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:47 AM
Posted 23 October 2011 - 11:17 AM
I know what you mean about the bipolar thing. I was so happy with my skin last week and this weekend I've refused to go out because I think it looks terrible!
I use the Covergirl TruBlend powder on top of Covergirl Smoothers concealer. I find this combination works amazingly if you find the right shade and don't use too much (then it cracks and flakes halfway through the day). I wouldn't waste your time and money on expensive crap like BareMinerals. I tried it. Hated it. Went on too thick and broke me out. As long as it's oil-free and noncomedogenic you should be fine.
Yaz did not make me gain any weight whatsoever. During the time I started it, I went into a depression and lost a bunch of weight. When I was feeling better I went back to my normal weight, but nothing higher.
I'm a massive skin-picker and you already know the advice I'm going to give you.... Don't do it! Actually, fun fact: Retinoids thin out your skin and make you scar and scab easier. Leaving marks and whatnot.
I will upload a picture soon to show you what they look like now, which is the 5th week. Also, you can see my Retin-A log which shows my progress in photos. There's a link in my signature.
Edited by AllynRose, 23 October 2011 - 12:48 PM.
Posted 23 October 2011 - 11:56 AM
As you can tell, it's my skin-picking that's the real problem. See those big red marks? They were tiny pink bumps at one point. Sigh. I forgot that skin-picking on skin-thinning retinoids is essentially shooting yourself in the foot.
Edited by AllynRose, 23 October 2011 - 12:07 PM.
Posted 23 October 2011 - 07:41 PM
i really want to stop using it, but as you, and my derm said with retinoids, it gets worse before it gets better!
i'm on week three and i'll definitely stick it out for 3 months now, thank you for explaining the turn around time.
Posted 23 October 2011 - 09:29 PM
Posted 24 October 2011 - 08:26 PM
Might be a little soon for an update, but I felt it was relevant to point out I'm peeling like burn victim today. Woohoo? I mean, I guess that's good. Sloughing off all the dead skin and whatnot, it just makes is MFing impossible to wear make up for the whole day. I leave at 6am and get home around 8 pm, so by the 14th hour my skin is not looking as decent as it did that morning. Gr.
Skin's pretty much the same as yesterday. Red marks are fading to pink and I'm doing my best not to skin-pick. I still carefully extract whiteheads though. (Sterilized needle, cotton balls, etc) Like hell I'm going to walk around with a bulging whitehead.
Oh well patience is a virtue, right?
Russell, it makes me really happy to know you're not giving up! I don't know why dermatologists don't seem to explain retinoids at all... They should really stress the whole "Don't waste your time if you can't be patient 3 months" aspect. I know yours is mild, but if you feel you're suffering try adding on an antibiotic if they let you. Mine was helping like crazy and then being a health nut, I quit it thinking I'd be fine and BLAM, the breakout pictured above.
Gems, wanna make a no skin-picking pact? I need a buddy to go along with this -____- Also, I totally feel you about the makeup thing. I hate wearing a lot because then I worry chewing or smiling will make it peel, crust, flake, etc. Yuck.
Posted 25 October 2011 - 05:35 PM
Posted 29 October 2011 - 09:59 AM
i have an appointment in a few weeks, but since you said the whole 3 month thing, i'm thinking he's just seeing me for the copay.
my face is still incredibly flaky, hang in there!
Posted 29 October 2011 - 10:55 AM
OH DEAR GOD, THE FLAKES.
I had all the typical retinoid symptoms during the first few weeks, then they subsided, but now they're really ramped up. Not sure why. I haven't changed the amount or anything like that. The Epiduo BURNS like a mother for the first half hour after I put it on. I stumbled in around 2am last night, ready to dive into bed with how tired I was, but after putting on Epiduo I had to stay up and watch South Park for 30 minutes to keep my mind off it. A small price to pay for clear skin IMO. I've done this before.I vaguely remember the Retin-A burning pretty bad somewhere near the middle of the 3 months, so this isn't exactly unusual.
This might sound mean, but I've always thought the people who hated and ditched Epiduo because they couldn't take the burning were a bunch of big babies. I mean honestly, unless you're having an allergic reactions, can't you just distract yourself for 30 minutes?
I guess the peeling is also a good thing, despite the fact that it makes make-up freaking impossible. I have to keep a stash of make up, soap and moisturizer in my car so I can redo my makeup halfway through the day. (I stay on campus from like 8am to 10pm these days)
Anyone else notice with retinoids the skin cycles between one good week and one bad? That's happened to me with every retinoid. Well, last week was bad. So here's me now, not picking too much and doing better. I'm very much aware it's temporary though.
This is how good it gets when I don't pick!
Also, the reason I don't do the upper part of my face in photos is because it's perfectly clear. No point in showing it.
- - -
Russell, you know... That really pisses me off that derms do that. I'm really glad you're sticking with it though. I almost gave up on Retin-A back when I was on it because it took the whole 3 months to clear up. My idiot physician's assistant said I "should see improvement in two weeks." I scoffed at the time because I was already mentally prepared for 2-3 months of hell.
There's a small group of people who have stuck it out and it didn't work, but I've noticed their reviews are almost ALWAYS accompanied with a comment about how they might as well have used it as a moisturizer because it never burned or made them flake. That's sort of led me to believe the burning and flaking is a sign its working. Don't take that as fact though, it's just a theory I've come up with.
Gems, I totally know what you mean about some spots going away faster if you pick. My problem, though, is that I'll get them before they're ready and then leave a huge mark. My uncle has this rule about pimples that I'm sort of using as a motto: "Don't squeeze unless there's a visible white head." I would also recommend using a sterilized needle to give the pus a quick escape route. Otherwise it might pop inwards and clog other pores. Yes, that can happen. It SUCKS. I don't really count that as picking because I don't feel guilty or like I did any damage. Picking would be messing with bumps before they're ready, looking for something to pick at and messing with tiny blackheads. As for the upper lip thing, I'm sort of lucky because I don't have that much "peach fuzz," so I don't really have to do anything about it for months. But when I do, because I'm poor and broke, I take a razor and shave it a bit after a shower. It doesn't seem to break me out or cause any redness, but I can't guarantee the same for you. It's a pretty harsh method.
Edited by AllynRose, 29 October 2011 - 11:07 AM.
Posted 29 October 2011 - 12:09 PM
Posted 30 October 2011 - 08:38 PM
Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:39 AM
Posted 31 October 2011 - 07:26 PM
your skin looks much clearer in the last picture!
so i broke out with super painful pimples and i feel like crying.
continuing the epiduo, hoping for the best with all of us!
Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:18 PM
I'm sick. Really sick. Went to urgent care and they said it's just a cold, but damn is it really kicking the crap outta me. Maybe the antibiotic made me weaker.
Anyways, as expected I finished my "good week" which lasted longer than usual, and now I'm breaking out again. One good week, one bad. That's just the way it is with retinoids. Though this bad week is nowhere near as awful as the last one. I remember the last time I got better my good weeks started lasting longer and my bad weeks weren't as severe... So optimistic me is hoping I'm trending in the right direction.
Less clogged pores. Yay. Tons of scarring. Yuck.
No picture, because I'm too sick.
Edited by AllynRose, 06 November 2011 - 11:35 AM.
Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:37 PM
Posted 08 November 2011 - 09:25 PM
I cheated you guys out of the interesting photo, when my face was all blown up with whiteheads, but here's me after some spots calmed down.
Red marks courtesy of my decision to grow out my nails.
I'm very happy with the way things are going. My overall skin texture is so much smoother and cleaner, and I definitely, without a about, 100% fo 'sho have a reduction in clogged pores! There are still some, but the improvement is amazing. Around the time I started Epiduo, I looked in the rear-view mirror of my car and couldn't believe the crap quality of my chin. It seemed like every pore was a little flesh-colored bump.
Scarring seems to be getting better! The old ones I mean, because I have this amazing talent of creating new ones even when my skin isn't that broken out.
OH! And Epiduo stopped burning. It was so weird. It burned a little bit during the first month. Stopped in the beginning of the second month. BURNED TO DEATH in the middle of the second month and has stopped again. I have absolutely no idea what that was about.
I said I'd tell you guys what I thought of Sodium Sulfacetamide lotion... So here it is: I really like it. I would recommend it since it doesn't dry out, isn't antibiotic and seems to be very effective. Since I began using it all bumps are less inflamed. That might be the Epiduo, but I'd still give the Sulfacetamide a try. It foes on easily under make up and dries up excess oil!
I was thinking of adding a toner, once my skin has calmed down. I wear so many layers. Ovace, CeraVe and then makeup... It's hard to get my skin clean of it all each night.
OH OH! And I'm down to once a day on the antibiotic. Which really broke me out last time, so I'm on the watch for that.
Edited by AllynRose, 08 November 2011 - 09:32 PM.
Posted 09 November 2011 - 08:58 PM
I just started using the Epiduo 1 week ago and was just wondering what you use to remove makeup at night. Also, do you use cleanser in the morning? If so, which one?
Thanks in advance,
Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:01 AM
RE flaking and sore skin, it will pass. Initially I didn't have any of that but it hit me really bad at about the one month point. It hurt so much and looked so dreadful that I couldn't stop crying, which hurt my skin even more. I'd scrub and scrub then put makeup on but it would just flake off and look worse. Yeah, that was a shit time. But now it's so much better so just keep positive.
As for toners, my derm said that it's not an essential part of the cleaning process. But I like to use one anyway. I used to use the Clinique range but now I just make my own. It's cheaper and works to tone and fade red marks. I use 3/4 Redbush/rooibos tea, 1/8 lemon juice, 1/8 ACV and a drop of teatree shaken up.
@Jen, I'd recommend wearing makeup as infrequently as possible but if that's not an option, olive oil is a brilliant make up remover. It removes eye makeup quickly and gently and melts through foundation, makes skin feel super soft and doesn't clog your pores. And it's cheap and always in the house. The thing to remember with Epiduo is that you have to treat your skin really gently. Using harsh chemicals will damage your healing skin.
Good luck everyone. x