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My Experience With Ziana (Success Story + Before/during/after Pics)

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#1 Haley May

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 01:17 AM

I really don't know where to start so I'm just gonna start word blah-ing til I get somewhere. I'm 20 years old and can finally say I have skin that doesn't make me shy under overhead lights, skin that lets me smile. That sounds corny as a cornfield but it's such a relief to finally be able to say.

I had pretty much perfect skin until I turned... maybe 16 or so? I was a late bloomer, didn't have a major monthly hormonal change til I was 15, within days of my birthday. That's also around the same time I started using Proactive to try to scrub away the rough texture of my cheeks. You couldn't even see anything! I was just self-conscious about how they felt. Oi vey. But anyway, by the time I was 16 I had embarrassing pimples kinda spread around my chin, nose, and forehead... the typical T-zone. Then I got this weird rash that showed up on my chin and caused my skin to crack. It was red and itchy and seemed to spread if I touched it and another area of my face. The medicine the doctor gave me did nothing, but it eventually faded and went away on its own. To this day I have no frickin clue what in the world that was! Haha!

Ok. So then... some days and weeks I would be be relatively clear using various benzoyl peroxide treatments or whatnot. So I looked like this:
Posted Image

....which now that I look back is relatively clear. Annnd sometimes I looked like this:
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Which I thought at the time was pretty bad. I think you can already tell the difference in skin quality after using too much benzoyl peroxide. I was washing my face a lot and treating it with that stuff, trying to mess with near-perfection. Then for some reason it started seeming worse and I was tired of it not improving. And I thought... what if benzoyl peroxide is messing my skin up? Just letting you know, I still have no clue if it was hormones or benzoyl peroxide that started it, but I definitely believe that it was benzoyl peroxide that didn't allow it to stop when my hormones were supposed to have settled down.

Anywayyyy, this belief led me to look stuff up on the internet last Christmas break (2011). I found acne.org and couldn't believe I'd never thought to look on the internet for a solution before! After reading the negative comments about benzoyl peroxide, eventually my perusal led me to the caveman regimen. I'd already bought all the stuff to start Dan's regimen, too (darn)! I was so excited, but in the two days before I was able to get the products for Dan's Regimen I didn't wash my face with anything and I noticed improvement in skin tone and feeling. So the wheels started turning and I thought... maybe this caveman thing is my "cure"! Maybe I've just been holding myself back! So I put Dan's regimen stuff away and started the no-water treatment.

For those of you who don't know, the caveman regimen is targeted to help those who are only getting acne because of irritation. It's supposed to eliminate all irritation and allow the skin to restore its natural pH. The nasty thing is that eventually you get this wicked layer of dead skin that builds up and turns all brown and crusty, but once you peel it off there's supposed to be fresh, clear skin underneath. This takes 2 months to work up to, however. I was ready! Oh yeahhhhh.

Let me just say. It was so hard not to wash my face. It gradually improved over the first week. The redness disappeared, the oiliness actually went WAY down (I would say it turned to normal). And I gained so much confidence from saying "What the heck, I give up! I give up! I'm not doing anything any more! Face, you're just gonna have to deal with it!"

And then it got gradually worse over the weeks. But hey-- this was to be expected, right?

It would improve, right?

...right....?

Posted Image

...Yeah I don't think so. Because all the acne caused by irritation may have been gone, but now I had a new problem-- all the millions of little acne bumps that were starting to pop up because they couldn't get out from under all the skin build-up! It was bad. And it hurt. And ladies who were checking out in my line while I worked as a cashier at my local grocery store were giving me acne advice and telling me "It's a lot of tiny little infections, all over your face. That's why you have to keep it really clean and make sure you wash it." Which told me right then this lady had NEVER suffered from acne. Annnd it got worse.

Posted Image

My phone isn't really high resolution so it doesn't show all the redness or the little bumps (flash washes your face out) BUT! Wherever there is not a red bump, there are rough tiny little irritated flesh-colored bumps that would gradually turn red. There was NO smooth skin on my forehead. All those little bumps that covered my forehead in the previous pic were turning into a bunch of LITTLE EVIL CYSTS THAT HURT LIKE ... like whatever. And I have really expressive eyebrows and these painful bumps were messing up my eyebrow game! I'll post a pic of them at the end heehee! Btw, keeping these pictures was hard. I was reallllly self conscious. But I wanted to have a before/after story so I made sure to document my "before." Which was hard. Did I say that already? It was hard. I think you can even see something on my lower EYELID. Posted Image Pain...

Okay anyway. So I finally caved and went to a dermatologist. I never did that until it actually HURT. I remember the day of school after I took that picture. I felt absolutely awful about my face.

So I go into the dermatologist and he grabs my chin and mumbles "So you're having some face problems." And then he proceeds to mumble at a million miles an hour and not make eye contact for the rest of the 3 minutes that he's in there. Anyway, he prescribed Ziana, which has clindamycin phosphate 1.2% and tretinoin 0.025% as its active ingredients (I copied and pasted that off of Google). The derm said Ziana was the new Retin-A, basically. So I was like "yay!". He also gave me minocycline (I think...) as an antibiotic to take every evening. Let me just tell you that this stuff is so easy to use. I take a shower, wash my face with some really gentle Cetaphil cleanser (REALLY GENTLE) for 5 seconds, MAX, towel dry, slather a pea-sized amount of this clear gel on, rub some Cetaphil moisturizing cream on top, and pop an antibiotic pill. The process doesn't look weird when I sleep over at a friend's, I do it once a day, takes no time at all... and it works. Funny mini-story: I still get excited when I pass the facial section in walmart and walgreens and stuff. I think I was actually addicted to the hope that used to be in face washes. Now my routine is just so easy it almost takes the fun out of it. Product withdrawals haha!

So here are some gradual improvement pictures on Ziana:

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As you can sorta tell by the flash, my skin texture flattened out before the color improved. What I mean is that all the bumps and nodules or whatever turned to normal flatness but the redness remained. I felt like my acne was an illusion haha! A little bit of extra info: This photo was about 1-2 weeks in. I saw little to no improvement between the 2nd and 3rd week. Then similarly between later weeks. It's very slow-going. The places where zits were started peeling away in little circles of dead skin. Anywhere I'd applied the Ziana my skin took on a putty-like texture. Very smooth, but kind of odd. I also lost stretch-detecting feeling in my forehead. As in, we all have multiple kinds of touch nerves. There are pressure-sensitive nerves, surface touch nerves, and then I'd imagine stretch nerves because that's what I can't feel any more haha! I cannot feel my forehead if I pull on it and stretch it in two different directions. But I can feel everything else so it's all good.

Posted Image

In the image above you can see the red marks fading slightly. I was wearing eye makeup and a sheer powder, but nothing else. So it's almost what you see, maybe a little more red in reality. What I saw with Ziana is that the texture of my skin evened out as little bits of it peeled away. The redness was the last to go.

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And this is the picture I took just now. As you can see, I still have some chest acne but I started using the Ziana on that as well as the bit I have on my back. What you see is really all I have. Almost gone!

The best part about this whole humiliating ordeal is the confidence that I gained coming through it. I'm a lot less sensitive to criticism and my appearance affects my mood a lot less. I really don't know what I'm going to do if Ziana is no longer available to me... it's pretty darn expensive without the coupon things... but I know that if I got through it the first time I can get through it again. The other best part is the new understanding I have for people who go through it. I love it when people who've never had acne would give me advice, especially if they were prehormonal age. I was always like... just wait... heh heh heh.... but at the same time, I don't wish this on anybody! I never want someone to experience acne the way I did. I'm not going to get laser treatment for the little bit of scars I have. I want people to be able to see what I went through if they ever need to know that I understand. Because that's what a compassionate soul did for me once, when I showed her one of my "before" pictures. She gasped with an unusual amount of understanding. And then she pointed to the severe acne scars on her cheeks. That is one of those moments where it's like... "you get me." And I love those moments!

By the way, the scars I have are a result of the caveman regimen. And I completely stopped picking at my face during that time so it is NOT from picking. So, attempt that regimen if you'd like, but ... I'd recommend just going to a dermatologist.

Edited by Haley May, 03 August 2012 - 01:39 AM.


#2 Haley May

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 01:39 AM

Oh! And that eyebrow picture I promised!

Posted Image

On a final note, I'd like to add a few things:

-My cheeks always stayed clear throughout this whole business, which perplexed me. I'm extremely grateful for that but I also feel pain in knowing that there are a lot of people who are going to see this and feel bad about themselves for having it worse than me. I don't know what to say, the thought of me making people feel worse makes my stomach drop even as I type. I'm truly deeply sorry for everybody who is still looking for their face to show past their acne. A lot of people describe acne as having a mask and that's exactly how I feel. People are finally seeing me. And "me" isn't perfect, but I know what it's like to be talking to someone and have them stare at your acne. I know what it's like to feel like your family is ashamed of you for the way you look. Even now, as I get compliments, it's kind of hard to listen to my family feel relieved.
-My best friend through this has been my friend Sarah. Sarah the arab-looking person in two of the pictures with me. She's the kind of person that has always had perfect skin and FREAKS out over a single large pimple on her chin. I just laugh at her now. Literally laugh. Out loud. Because I really don't care. Haha! But anyway, even when my acne was worst I valued that she always looked me in the eye. I never once caught her eyes wandering to my forehead or whatever. That made me feel like she never even saw it. And later, just recently actually, I said something about my acne and she looked perplexed, saying, "Oh... I never noticed." So I showed her one of the worst pics and she goes, "I honestly don't remember that! Haha!" I love her for saying that.

And that's all! I've finally come back and been able to officially say I'm an "after". I'm still on antibiotics and Ziana, but that was my experience with it. A lot of people aren't happy with it, but I am. Thanks for reading this super long thing! I hope it helps encourage at least one person. Then it's all worth it.

Goodnight and good luck!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV - what Jesus says. Keeps me going. Love that he said this.

#3 mWilso

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 06:21 AM

You look amazing! Posted Image

#4 wicky

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 07:12 AM

MWilso, I noticed your using a Calming Zinc bar in your AM regimen. Is this a bar from Cynthia Bailey? I have used a zinc bar of hers to help with my seborrheic dermatitis. It also has Zinc Pyrthione in it. I've also used Paulas Choice Cleansers but havent found them helpful at all. In fact her BHA lotion 1% always breaks me out and clogs my skin more. Someone told me its cause it has Dimethicone in it and anything with the word "cone" in it has the potential to clog. I thought she was suppose to be the expert on what skincare ingredients were good and what were bad. I also noticed alot of her stuff includes SLS which is sooo bad..What has been your experience with it so far?

#5 TheSavyBanana

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 08:17 PM

Your skin is beautiful! You look just stunning, and might I say I love your shorter hairstyle! I was thinking of going back on retin-a after I finish Accutane for scars, large pores, etc., but I'm afraid it will make my skin oily like it did when I took it before I went on Accutane. Did you experience this?

#6 mWilso

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:53 AM

MWilso, I noticed your using a Calming Zinc bar in your AM regimen. Is this a bar from Cynthia Bailey? I have used a zinc bar of hers to help with my seborrheic dermatitis. It also has Zinc Pyrthione in it. I've also used Paulas Choice Cleansers but havent found them helpful at all. In fact her BHA lotion 1% always breaks me out and clogs my skin more. Someone told me its cause it has Dimethicone in it and anything with the word "cone" in it has the potential to clog. I thought she was suppose to be the expert on what skincare ingredients were good and what were bad. I also noticed alot of her stuff includes SLS which is sooo bad..What has been your experience with it so far?


Yes, it's the bar from Dr. Bailey. I bought it for very mild Seb Derm and it cleared up right away. I only use it about 2-3 times a week in the mornings now.

As far as silicones in cosmetics, this seems to be a purely individual thing. Some people seem to react to them while others have absolutely no problem with them at all. If you look at most cosmetic products ingredient lists, most of them have some form of silicone in them as a slip agent. You'll find them in most face primers or hair smoothing serums. Benefit's Poreless primer (or whatever it's called!) is pretty much all silicones and ridiculously priced.
I'm using a vitamin C serum that has soooooooooooo many slicones in it (to minimize l-ascorbic acid oxidation) and I was worried that I would have an issue with it, but after two month I haven't.

There's Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and then Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). Paula's choice cleansers have the SLES version in them. SLES are derived from coconut oils. Here's Paula's view on it: https://www.paulasch...laureth-sulfate
I have used the Skin Recovery cleanser for years now and I haven't had an issue. Shrugs. I suppose it depends on what you expect your cleanser to do? I only want mine to wash off my makeup and sunscreen and nothing more, no dryness or tight feeling.

#7 May853

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:03 AM

Great to hear a success story! You look great. And my best friend growing up always had ridiculously perfect skin. Not fair. :) Also, my sister-in-law had some success getting her body-acne to clear up (back, upper arms, and chest) when she stopped drinking milk. ((shrug)) I know everyone is different, but just thought I'd throw that out there.

#8 Haley May

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 02:29 PM

Your skin is beautiful! You look just stunning, and might I say I love your shorter hairstyle! I was thinking of going back on retin-a after I finish Accutane for scars, large pores, etc., but I'm afraid it will make my skin oily like it did when I took it before I went on Accutane. Did you experience this?


Thank you so much! It's not perfect... I think you can see that in the photos... but it doesn't distract from my features anymore so I'm happy with it! And yes, I did/do experience oiliness. Honestly it's not an issue for me because you can just wipe it off with your sleeve or a paper towel in the bathroom or use powder to keep it at bay or a while. It helps too if I use a moisturizer with it. I also haven't noticed a difference in my pore size really. Maybe there is one, but it's not something I've noticed. It does help with scars, however. So I guess it's up to you to decide whether it's worth it! How's the accutane working for you?

Great to hear a success story! You look great. And my best friend growing up always had ridiculously perfect skin. Not fair. Posted Image Also, my sister-in-law had some success getting her body-acne to clear up (back, upper arms, and chest) when she stopped drinking milk. ((shrug)) I know everyone is different, but just thought I'd throw that out there.


Awww best friends with perfect skin haha! Gotta love them. You know, I heard that about milk so I tried to cut back from it, and as far as I can tell I don't drink much milk any more. Definitely not on a daily basis. I don't know if it's something that I'd have to cut out completely.... or if it's not the cause? I have no clue! I frequently wonder what about my diet affects things about me. :D Like, I have ADD-like symptoms, and I've heard that eating starches can exacerbate that. I'm thinking about researching a healthy vegetarian diet and seeing what happens!

#9 TheSavyBanana

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 09:18 PM


Your skin is beautiful! You look just stunning, and might I say I love your shorter hairstyle! I was thinking of going back on retin-a after I finish Accutane for scars, large pores, etc., but I'm afraid it will make my skin oily like it did when I took it before I went on Accutane. Did you experience this?


Thank you so much! It's not perfect... I think you can see that in the photos... but it doesn't distract from my features anymore so I'm happy with it! And yes, I did/do experience oiliness. Honestly it's not an issue for me because you can just wipe it off with your sleeve or a paper towel in the bathroom or use powder to keep it at bay or a while. It helps too if I use a moisturizer with it. I also haven't noticed a difference in my pore size really. Maybe there is one, but it's not something I've noticed. It does help with scars, however. So I guess it's up to you to decide whether it's worth it! How's the accutane working for you?

Great to hear a success story! You look great. And my best friend growing up always had ridiculously perfect skin. Not fair. Posted Image Also, my sister-in-law had some success getting her body-acne to clear up (back, upper arms, and chest) when she stopped drinking milk. ((shrug)) I know everyone is different, but just thought I'd throw that out there.


Awww best friends with perfect skin haha! Gotta love them. You know, I heard that about milk so I tried to cut back from it, and as far as I can tell I don't drink much milk any more. Definitely not on a daily basis. I don't know if it's something that I'd have to cut out completely.... or if it's not the cause? I have no clue! I frequently wonder what about my diet affects things about me. Posted Image Like, I have ADD-like symptoms, and I've heard that eating starches can exacerbate that. I'm thinking about researching a healthy vegetarian diet and seeing what happens!


Good to know. It's definitely something I will have to think about. The Accutane has been great! My skin was completely clear by the end of the second month, and honestly the only problem I've had is some peeling around my mouth. So worth it though, and I can handle a little bit of dry skin over the extreme oily mess my skin was before (hence my fear). Anyways, I'm so happy for you! :)

#10 jamw90

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 08:09 PM

Hi, I am on ziana now. Been on it for about a month now, and haven't seen any improvement, it actually looks worse. Just wondering how long it took for you to notice a decrease in breakouts?

#11 gforce89

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:52 PM

Thanks for your story! Its weird, I'm the opposite: No acne on forehead but tons on cheeks.

Oh and even when you were at your worst....I'd still ask you out, haha

#12 newuser1234

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 08:48 AM

How many weeks are in between the "before" and "after" stages?

I am about a week into a Acanya / Ziana regimen.

#13 Haley May

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:54 PM

Hi, I am on ziana now. Been on it for about a month now, and haven't seen any improvement, it actually looks worse. Just wondering how long it took for you to notice a decrease in breakouts?


Hm, well if it wasn't my imagination, I noticed improvement within a few days, just because the skin was starting to flake away and the bumps started flattening out. It was verrrrry slow and verrrrry subtle progress, though, to the point where my best friend didn't even notice because it'd been so gradual.

As for your breakouts looking worse, some people say that it is normal to have an initial breakout where it gets much worse before it gets better. By the time I started using Ziana, I really didn't care. I didn't feel like it could GET any worse, since every pore on my forehead was irritated (you can't really see that in the pic since the camera washed out my skin tone). I want to encourage you to hang in there! Everybody's skin is different and mine is not like anybody else I've met so I wouldn't judge your success by mine. Are you still on Ziana? How's it going for you now?

How many weeks are in between the "before" and "after" stages?

I am about a week into a Acanya / Ziana regimen.


Oh, good question! I started Ziana at the beginning of May and the final photograph was taken on the date of the post, so three months. That's the usual time they say it takes to really see improvement. I did see a LOT of improvement that first month, probably the bulk of it, and then the improvement gradually decreased in speed as there was less and less to fix. I just took photos when I looked in the mirror and thought, "this looks like significant improvement"!

Thanks for your story! Its weird, I'm the opposite: No acne on forehead but tons on cheeks.

Oh and even when you were at your worst....I'd still ask you out, haha


Isn't that odd??? I always wondered why I got so much acne on my forehead! :C I felt kind of like an odd ball haha. And gawsh, thanks for the compliment. It really made my day :3

#14 Randall Flagg

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:00 PM

Your progress is amazing. Your skin looks fantastic! Major congrats!

#15 Havefaith22

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 02:23 PM

First of all, let me say congratulations on your success with ziana! I am currently using ziana for my moderate acne, and am getting quite discouraged :( I have been using it for 1 month now and my skin looks 50 times worse than it did to start with. I am just so frustrated and it really holds me back in life, I'm 21 years old and this has totally taken over my life and affected my entire personality. So, I would really appreciate it if you or someone for that matter would let me know if it is normal for this " purging" to last so long?! Again, congrats to you it must feel awesome to be free from this horrible curse and your beautiful girl!

#16 Haley May

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:44 PM

UPDATE:

 

Almost a year later, I thought I should share the state of my skin and current reflections on it 'cause this needs to be real!

 

Ok, so here's the deal: I can't remember when I stopped taking the antibiotic pills but I think it was somewhere around the beginning of last fall. The idea was to take the antibiotics along with Ziana until my skin cleared, then gradually wean from them. I stopped taking the pills gradually and at first my skin still looked great. It still looks fine, honestly, but there is definitely acne on it. And I'll admit, I've been picking at it so it's especially inflamed tonight. Why why why do I do this when I know it's bad??? Ughhhhh lol.

 

Sooooooo I took some pictures for y'all of what it looks like. I think I took like 50 pictures because my Grandma's computer didn't want to stop erasing all my features with flash.

 

Photo 88.jpg Photo 95.jpg

Why are you so stubborn, computer???

 

 

Photo 83.jpg

and of course the washout would go away when I'm making a face.

 

But anyway, enough fun, here's a good ol' closeup. Got this by holding newspaper over the screen to dim the flash *rubs hands together mischievously*

Photo 78.jpg

 

And also a picture from last Thanksgiving, showing my skin condition then as well.

Photo 21.jpg

My cousin fell and hit his face hahaha (those are giant scabs from the gashes he got)

 

So that's it! You can see from Thanksgiving (kind of) that I still had 2-4 spots on my forehead at a time (it's a terrible picture, sorry, but it's all I've got that's not all photoboothed into crazyiness). That seems to be the average nowadays. I just wanted to be honest with y'all about what's going on! I really don't mind too much. Once I stop picking at my face it'll act better. I really want to stop using antibiotics because I'm interested in overseas work and I can't be getting prescription refills every 30 days (the Ziana tube has lasted me an entire year and it's still 1/6 full!). It seems sometimes other people mind about my complexion more than I do based on comments, and I realize I'm still sensitive to the "What are you using to wash your face?" remarks, because I still feel judged. But it's whatever. Also, I saw my 90-something-year-old great grandma the other day and as she smilingly patted my hand goodbye, admonished, "Now go put on makeup and look pretty smile.png" I think I laughed nervously in response while nodding my head. Hahaha... ha...huh.....

 

Happy (late) Easter!! 



#17 JnC4now

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:39 PM

UPDATE:

 

Almost a year later, I thought I should share the state of my skin and current reflections on it 'cause this needs to be real!

 

Ok, so here's the deal: I can't remember when I stopped taking the antibiotic pills but I think it was somewhere around the beginning of last fall. The idea was to take the antibiotics along with Ziana until my skin cleared, then gradually wean from them. I stopped taking the pills gradually and at first my skin still looked great. It still looks fine, honestly, but there is definitely acne on it. And I'll admit, I've been picking at it so it's especially inflamed tonight. Why why why do I do this when I know it's bad??? Ughhhhh lol.

 

Sooooooo I took some pictures for y'all of what it looks like. I think I took like 50 pictures because my Grandma's computer didn't want to stop erasing all my features with flash.

 

attachicon.gifPhoto 88.jpgattachicon.gifPhoto 95.jpg

Why are you so stubborn, computer???

 

 

attachicon.gifPhoto 83.jpg

and of course the washout would go away when I'm making a face.

 

But anyway, enough fun, here's a good ol' closeup. Got this by holding newspaper over the screen to dim the flash *rubs hands together mischievously*

attachicon.gifPhoto 78.jpg

 

And also a picture from last Thanksgiving, showing my skin condition then as well.

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My cousin fell and hit his face hahaha (those are giant scabs from the gashes he got)

 

So that's it! You can see from Thanksgiving (kind of) that I still had 2-4 spots on my forehead at a time (it's a terrible picture, sorry, but it's all I've got that's not all photoboothed into crazyiness). That seems to be the average nowadays. I just wanted to be honest with y'all about what's going on! I really don't mind too much. Once I stop picking at my face it'll act better. I really want to stop using antibiotics because I'm interested in overseas work and I can't be getting prescription refills every 30 days (the Ziana tube has lasted me an entire year and it's still 1/6 full!). It seems sometimes other people mind about my complexion more than I do based on comments, and I realize I'm still sensitive to the "What are you using to wash your face?" remarks, because I still feel judged. But it's whatever. Also, I saw my 90-something-year-old great grandma the other day and as she smilingly patted my hand goodbye, admonished, "Now go put on makeup and look pretty smile.png" I think I laughed nervously in response while nodding my head. Hahaha... ha...huh.....

 

Happy (late) Easter!! 

 

Hey Haley May. Thank you for coming back to the forum and gave us an update about your progress. Many other people will just leave the forum once they get clearance like you did. Really appreciate it. Happy Easter to you too.