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One Year Out - Advice For New Regimen Users

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#1 AcneAnonymous22

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:00 AM

One year ago, I started on the acne.org regimen. I'd like to share my story with other people with the hope that it might help them. My main points: I'm glad I found this site, I think Dan Kern sells great skin care products, and the information on this site is generally thorough, reliable and useful. However, I think there are some ways in which this site is disingenuous about the regimen, intentionally or not.

First let me tell my story. I had moderate to severe acne, starting in high school. For several years I used various topical meds and antibiotics prescribed by my doctor, to no avail. By midway through my freshman year of college, I felt fed up with the discouragement and embarrassment I dealt with every day, so I found this site and I decided to try the regimen. The site gave me hope that for the first time in several years I might have clear skin.

In the first month on the regimen, I stopped getting new acne. I was amazed. The regimen really does live up to this promise.

However, a whole slew of other things happened to my face, and dealing them was just a new form of embarrassment. My face was red, tight, and shiny; within a couple weeks it turned into a mess of flakes. I did everything I could based on information on the site and message boards, and I figured out how to manage the flakes with jojoba oil. However, no matter what I did, my face was far redder than the rest of my skin, shiny, extremely dry and tight, and always flaky after I washed and before I moisturized. Anytime I touched my face or dabbed it gently with a napkin (as when eating), flakes would appear. Meanwhile, the red marks from old acne remained prominent. I was more self-conscious during this month than I've ever been before or since.

Most of all, the regimen required me to stand in front of the mirror for up to forty-five minutes, twice a day. This is the greatest cost of the regimen: it asks that you devote a lot of time, twice a day, to staring at yourself while you gently (very gently!) move around skin-care products on your face until they soak in. Even if the time frame worked exactly as described on the site, the regimen would take about half an hour each time. However, I quickly discovered that my skin works differently from the way Dan's seems to work in the videos: it takes longer for these products to soak in. Three pumps of moisturizer generally took at least ten minutes to absorb to the point where it wasn't visibly sitting on the surface of my skin. Then I would need to wait an extra half hour for it to absorb further, to the point where my face wasn't absurdly shiny.

I kept at it, though, because the site advises that it can take up to three months for your face to adjust to the regimen. And I wasn't getting new acne! It's hard to overstate how wonderful that feels for a sufferer of chronic acne.

I kept following the regimen precisely for three months. (One exception: I used two, not three, pumps of bp. I wrote to the site and the site administrator Brandy suggested this as a possible solution for my continuing problems with redness and flakiness. If using too little bp was the source of all my problems, I'd be astounded, but I make note of this departure from the official regimen in the interest of full disclosure.) At the end of three months, however, I didn't notice any significant change from one month in. My face was still red and shiny all the time; it still took me forever to finish each application; I still had flakes that showed up without moisturizer + jojoba oil holding them down.

I also had very little new acne over a three-month period, which is pretty amazing. Benzoyl peroxide really does prevent acne, and using copious amounts really does work best. But at the end of three months, I couldn't take it anymore. The side effects and the time involved were causing me far more embarrassment and trauma than the acne itself. This is what acne.org doesn't tell you. Your face may adjust to benzoyl peroxide, but the fact remains that you're putting huge globs of stuff on your skin twice a day and waiting for it to absorb while staring at the mirror. And, at least in my case, my face "adjusting" to the benzoyl peroxide still included several hours of exceptional redness after each application and a constant cycle of flakes that showed up whenever I washed away the moisturizer.

I know this all makes it sound as though I'm dissatisfied with the acne.org products and regimen, but that's not entirely true. I do think benzoyl peroxide is the best topical medication out there, and moisturizing leads to healthier skin. I also think the products Mr. Kern sells are the best acne products of their type I've ever used (with the exception of the cleanser - I prefer Clean and Clear foaming facial cleanser, another of Dan's recommendations.) I just think it's not for everybody to use such an enormous amount of these products on their skin twice a day. The side effects of that much bp, at least for me, were drastic and uncomfortable, and did not go away with time.

What I found works best for me, and what I continue to do today, is to use a modified version of the regimen to manage my acne. I use about 1/2 a pump of bp twice a day and 1 pump of moisturizer. With this regimen, I still get mild acne with some regularity, but it rarely grows into the large, unsightly heads I used to get. I spend about 20 minutes on this regimen twice a day, which still makes me feel vain and a little silly, but it's much better than before.

I do feel this site is a great resource for someone struggling with acne: much of the information Mr. Kern provides is more thorough than what a general practitioner or dermatologist will have time to tell you in a half-hour appointment. I don't think Mr. Kern or his staff intend to mislead users of the site, but there are ways in which my experience differed significantly from what I thought would happen. Perhaps I'm an unusual case, or perhaps in my eagerness for clear skin I overlooked the site's occasional disclaimers, but I did end up going through much more emotional turmoil than necessary because of the unrealistic expectations I had from the regimen.

I think what Mr. Kern & co. should do is make it more clear that 3 pumps of bp is an extreme option, one to work towards very gradually. Everyone's skin works differently, and it seems to me that Mr. Kern bases some of his advice on his own personal experience, an approach which is anything but scientific. After all, Mr. Kern has unusual skin in that he used accutane; my suspicion is that his skin absorbs the bp and moisturizer so well because of the way this changed his skin.

Anyway, I hope this little narrative is useful for those of you who've just encountered the site and are trying to find a way out of the misery of acne. One thing to keep in mind about acne - I think it's a Dr. Seuss quote: the people who matter don't mind and the people who mind don't matter.

#2 emia18

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 10:35 PM

I'm about to start and am a little fearful of this too. My skin is somewhat sensitive so i'm gonna apply a small amount of BP once a day for a while, at least until my skin gets used to it. Do you still get flaky with the amount you're using now?

#3 AcneAnonymous22

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:43 PM

emia18: my skin is still dry when I step out of the shower in a way that it wouldn't if I weren't using bp. But with this amount, I don't get flakes in the way that I got with full dosage of bp, and my skin isn't red or shiny or tight. There can still be a little flakiness, but it's more like the way your hands get dry and chapped in the winter, whereas with full bp the flakiness is like from a bad sunburn. And this flakiness goes away completely with moisturizer.

#4 zapco23

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 07:24 PM

Same thing is happening to me now. I'm in my 2nd week and I'm really flaky and super red. I just do 1 pump of bp and 1 pump moisturizer, but I'm still extremely dry. I feel like I need to do a scrub to get rid of all these flakes :-/

#5 Dan

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:24 PM

My responses below:

In the first month on the regimen, I stopped getting new acne. I was amazed. The regimen really does live up to this promise.


Good. That's how it should be.

However, a whole slew of other things happened to my face, and dealing them was just a new form of embarrassment. My face was red, tight, and shiny; within a couple weeks it turned into a mess of flakes. I did everything I could based on information on the site and message boards, and I figured out how to manage the flakes with jojoba oil. However, no matter what I did, my face was far redder than the rest of my skin, shiny, extremely dry and tight, and always flaky after I washed and before I moisturized. Anytime I touched my face or dabbed it gently with a napkin (as when eating), flakes would appear. Meanwhile, the red marks from old acne remained prominent. I was more self-conscious during this month than I've ever been before or since.


This is why it is so important to start slowly, with only a small amount of BP, and only once per day.

Most of all, the regimen required me to stand in front of the mirror for up to forty-five minutes, twice a day.


45 minutes!!?? Something is definitely very off here. Washing should take you seconds. And you should absolutely not be applying BP or Moisturizer for longer than a few minutes. It is far too irritating to apply for such a long period of time. You do NOT need the products to be completely absorbed into your skin. If after a couple/few minutes the products are not absorbed, stop applying and let them absorb on their own. Overall, The Regimen should require for sure less than 10 minutes in front of a mirror.

I kept at it, though, because the site advises that it can take up to three months for your face to adjust to the regimen. And I wasn't getting new acne! It's hard to overstate how wonderful that feels for a sufferer of chronic acne.


Cool.

I also had very little new acne over a three-month period, which is pretty amazing. Benzoyl peroxide really does prevent acne, and using copious amounts really does work best. But at the end of three months, I couldn't take it anymore. The side effects and the time involved were causing me far more embarrassment and trauma than the acne itself. This is what acne.org doesn't tell you. Your face may adjust to benzoyl peroxide, but the fact remains that you're putting huge globs of stuff on your skin twice a day and waiting for it to absorb while staring at the mirror. And, at least in my case, my face "adjusting" to the benzoyl peroxide still included several hours of exceptional redness after each application and a constant cycle of flakes that showed up whenever I washed away the moisturizer.


What moisturizer are you using, and how much of it are you applying? No one should have to live with flakiness after the first few weeks.

I think what Mr. Kern & co. should do is make it more clear that 3 pumps of bp is an extreme option, one to work towards very gradually.


I try to do this, and I mention it in several places on the site. Do you have an idea of how I can make it even more clear? Also, as a side note, it is only 2 pumps of BP now that the old pumps are back. It was 3 pumps only for a few months when we had switched to pumps that dispensed less.

Everyone's skin works differently, and it seems to me that Mr. Kern bases some of his advice on his own personal experience, an approach which is anything but scientific.


Quite the contrary, I base my advice on my experience coaching thousands of people over many years. I really wish you were close by. Are you? If so, I would love to coach you as well. I am certain we could get you on The Regimen just right and clear and happy.




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