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The Retin A Micro Diaries

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Before Starting Treatment:

- On 100mg Spironolactone once daily.

- Nearly clear skin. No post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Two small clogged pores on chin.

- No other medical conditions aside from acne. Tested for PCOS and hormonal imbalances, neither was found.

New Regimen:

- 100 mg Spironolactone once daily.

- CeraVe PM moisturizer in the morning after washing face with plain Dove soap. After washing and moisturizing at night, I wait 30 minutes and then apply a pea sized amount of .1% Retin A Micro

- White flour, dairy, processed sugars nearly eliminated from diet. (So far aside from a large amount of unnecessary weight loss, this has had no effect on skin).

- Pillow case change every two days

Week 1:

Clogged pores reduced after two days and then gone. No initial breakout, bad reactions, or flaking skin.

Week 2:

Two new lesions on left cheek. Both are small and not inflamed. Two lesions on right cheek. Both are large, inflamed, and painful. Skin is beginning to flake.

Week 3:

Previous lesions gone, leaving slightly raised marks where they had been. Chin area has broken out with six painful inflamed lesions in one cluster. Note: in this week and the weeks prior I had been using PanOxyl 10 in the morning. Dermatologist later instructed me to stop using it, as it was causing my face to redden and was likely worsening my acne condition. Saw some improvement after stopping PanOxyl (though it is a great product on its own).

Week 4:

Three two chin lesions have appeared. The others are gone but have left red marks where they had been. Subsequently, they still look like acne. Three inflamed pimples on right corner of mouth, one small comedone under nose, two comedones on forehead.

Week 5:

Small barely visible bumps appearing throughout face. Primarily concentrated on chin area. Two small pimples on left cheek that aren't going away. One small pimple directly beneath nose. Forehead is clear.

Week 6:

Many clogged pores. One large (but not inflamed) pimple on chin. Two small pimples on crease of right side of nose. Two small left cheek bumps that have been there for some time. Two medium sized pimples near ears.

Week 7:

So far woke up with one gigantic inflamed pimple on lower part of right cheek. Many clogged pores on chin and near creases of nose. PiH has been reduced on most pimples, but marks are still visible.

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Hey your progress so far looks completely normal for a retinoid. I've been on Differin for about 4 n half months if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Good luck :)

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Does it look normal? I have very fair skin, so it looks like a darn mess. When did you start to see improvement? The new pimples that had popped up from the medication have made my skin spotty and uneven. Will this go away?

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Lol normal in sense of purging with a retinoid. For me it started working from day one but i had my ib around week 8, still not fully recovered from it but that's because I've been foolishly trying different cleansers n moisturisers trying to find the magic combo. A basic routine works best, anything harsh just increases your chanees of inflammation and hence breakouts.

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Beginning Week 7:

Small chin bump explosion.

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Middle of Week 7:

Chin bumps exploded in the beginning of the week. All are beginning to go away, and I do feel smooth skin underneath, which I haven't felt in some time. Little bumps that were near creases of the nose are nearly gone. But I woke up with a small but red bump on my cheek, which isn't deep or painful, but stands out nonetheless. This is the fourth little cheek bump I've gotten in the past three weeks, and I'm not sure why they keep coming. I'm nearing week 8, and am considering the possibility that this medication isn't going to work. My face looks terrible.

After a little bit of thought, I decided I would post weekly photos to document my (lack of) progress. Here I am on week 7. Notice the acne is concentrated on the lower portion of the face. Nothing up top. And believe it or not, only four of those bumps are active. The rest are red spots where acne was. They look almost just as bad.

http://i1025.photobu...Angels/Acne.jpg

On a side note, I'm going to purchase some Zinc supplements today and try those. Has anyone had luck with that in addition to a topical medication?

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Beginning Week 8:

No active acne. Not a single bump on my face since the beginning of last week. Even my chin (which I had been concerned would NEVER clear) is smooth. No more clogged pores there. I think the treatment is finally starting to work its magic!

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I'm glad to hear it started working for you! I'm hoping to have good results in the future as well I know it can take up to 6 months to fully see the effects but after dealing with acne for so long i've learned to be patient when trying new treatments.


Morning:

-Cetaphil Gentle Skin cleanser for all skin types

-Neutrogena Sensitive Skin sunblock spf 60+

Night:

-Cetaphil Gentle Skin cleanser for all skin types

-Wait 30 minutes, apply Retin-A .05% cream every third night

-After tretinoin, wait an hour or more and apply CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Supplements:

-NatureMade Fish Oil 1000mg (1X)

-Alive Women's Multivitamin (1X)

Diet:

-Doing whatever I can to eat as little dairy and sugar as possible

and incorporating more fruits and veggies; and absolutely NO coffee

for me as it's a huge trigger for my acne. NOT EASY FOR ME!

teehee.gif

So far, so good! Any improvement is a step in the right direction.


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End of Week 8:

Today marks the last day of week 8. and I spoke a little too soon. I woke up with one tiny spot near my chin, and another on my cheek. They are small, but it's discouraging nonetheless because with all of my PiH, my face looks like a mess despite only two active spots. I feel like I should be clear by now but maybe it needs another week or two. I've been told to wait 3 months, but this whole process is so emotionally draining.

Xeno, have you just started using Retin-A? I wish you all the best, just be prepared for a little upheaval before things get better! Keep me updated on your progress!

I'd like to pose a question though. Would this medication be more effective if I used the Vanoxide HC in the morning? I haven't used it yet. Does Retin A work on its own or does it need something to supplement it? Has anyone used Vanoxide? How do you feel about it? Will I have another initial breakout on it because of the cortisone?

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Week 9:

One tiny new whitehead near corner of mouth. Another pin-sized bump on chin.

A few observations:

When I first began using the medication, breakouts were fierce, very red, and very long lasting. Now the pimples I do get are significantly smaller (I seldom get the papules anymore, thank GOD) and they go away in a day or two instead of a week or more. Initially my face was flaky and red, but that is no longer the case. I think part of my problem was using a harsh product with a high concentration of Retin-A. My beginning problem was clogged pores all over my chin. And now, for the first time in I don't know how long, they are gone. My chin is smooth. I am dealing with PiH which is unpleasant (especially in bright natural light) but I am hoping the worst over and my skin will continue to improve.

I have seen a reduction in pore size, a tiny little line that had been on my forehead is now nearly gone, and my skin color is fairly even. My goals is to be able to leave the house without powder, and I hope I will eventually get there. If it weren't for the PiH I would be able to go without it.

While trying to lessen the punch of the initial breakout, I cut white starches completely out of my diet, and reduced dairy and processed sugars significantly. There was NO CHANGE in my acne as a result of this diet. I did however, lose an unnecessary amount of weight and now have to watch so I don't lose a single pound more. For myself, there was no correlation between diet and acne.

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Week 10:

I woke up on Sunday with two tiny hard to see papules. If nothing else, Retin A makes the bumps smaller. However I also woke with a gigantic blood red pimple on my mouth/lip that was very painful. It is nearly gone now, but as usual, it left discoloration. I have two weeks to go before I throw in the towel, and it's taking everything I have not to do it now. Looking in mirrors (especially the ones in cars) makes me absolutely sick. I stayed home and slept this afternoon because I was so depressed about the state of my skin. It consumes my thoughts. Even worse than the three active pimples is the PiH that is covering the entire lower portion of my face. I have had at LEAST 30 pimples since beginning this medication and nearly all of them left some degree of PiH.

I am feeling especially depressed about my skin and I am considering buying Isotretinoin online because nothing else has worked so far. My acne flared when I began the Retin A, and I find myself wondering if this medication is the cause of my problems because Spironolactone had me nearly clear. But then again, it might be a coincidence.

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hey try to stick in there smile.png. I have to admit Differin alone didn't clear me up, I think once your skins adjusted you should add in something else. The studies done on retinoids and acne show an improvement not complete clearing so we shouldn't expect to be completley clear by using retinoids alone (dunno what spiro is).

I'm using australian bodycare tea tree oil facial gel which i think is the missing link. fingers crossed it is and you also find a routine that keeps you clear. it's all trial and error.

Oh and i wouldn't reccomend buying accutane online because normally a doctor monitors your bloodwork and also has you on 2 forms of birth control.

ohyh cheer the *uck up :)

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End Week 10:

No new bumps. The three I had are now gone, and one has left a small red mark where it was. My goal for next week is to not develop a single new pimple. I did finally decide to brave the Vanoxide HC and I applied it to two tiny almost invisible bumps on my chin. Those are gone after 24 hours, and the medication didn't irritate my skin. I will continue to use it as needed.

Noregrets:

Is the tea tree oil the only thing you are using? And thanks for the pep talk, it helped!

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my routines: morning wash with Australian bodycare facial gel then put on menscience sunscreen

night wash with same cleanser, apply differin, wait 10 minutes apply proactiv green tea moisturizer.

It's simple, the tea tree oil kills bacteria and Differin works on comedones. It's all non comedogenic. it also helps to know i'm hitting all the factors, so *uck it if i still get a spot.

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Beginning Week 11:

The trial period for this medication is quickly winding down; I reached my 11th week mark on Sunday. I can happily say that I haven't had a new inflamed bump appear for 8 days. I did have one small pin sized spot on my chin, and another near the side of my mouth, but they vanished before they could turn into anything at all. I will give some credit to Vanoxide HC, which likely snuffed them out before they could emerge.

My PiH is getting less and less red and some of the spots are hardly noticeable. I can't quite go out without makeup yet, but it feels magnificent not to feel bumps all over my cheeks and chin. Even with the Spironolactone I still had clogged pores on my chin, and those are now gone. All of them.

A friend of mine even mentioned without prompting, that my skin was looking much better. Unless I have another horrific breakout this week, I think Retin A Micro is here to stay.

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Week 12:

Week 12 technically began on Sunday, but not much has changed since then. I haven't had any new inflamed pimples in a little over two weeks (knock on wood) but I have had about four little ones pop up on the chin, and one on my cheek near my nose. Retin A seems to be wiping them out before they can actually emerge. I'm hoping these will go away soon and not come back, but at this point I don't know what to expect because the three month mark has passed.

On a side note, I think this chin acne is period related. But the Spironolactone makes my period so unbelievably irregular (it's been 54 days since the last) so I never can tell when the acne is hormone related. My doctor told me that she usually puts patients on birth control with it to avoid the irregularity, but I refuse to go on it again. I'm considering going off of the Spiro, but I know I can't endure another breakout so I think I need to wait a while.

Has anyone had any experiences like this with Retin A? Will the pimples (these tiny things) eventually stop coming, or is this as good as it will get? And has anyone else noticed that Spironolactone made their period irregular? Should I be worried about that?

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Week 13:

I started my period on Sunday, which explains the mini breakout around my chin and mouth. I am still not clear. I have one active pimple, though it is small and only lightly red. I had hoped these would stop coming, but it seems as though they have not. I'm not sure if this pimple is a result of my period, but it's irritating nonetheless.

The overall texture of my skin is looking better, and again I got another compliment on my skin and as always, it takes me by surprise. I think I'm going to stop using the Vanoxide as a spot treatment and start applying it all over. It burns my skin a little bit, but I don't know that the retinoid is going to eliminate all of my acne.

I have also decided that if I am not clear by week 14 (Sunday) I am going to bump my dosage of Spironolactone from 100mg to 150mg.

UPDATEUPDATEUPDATE

Two new bright red inflamed pimples popped up on my chin and lower cheek. I decided to increase my dosage of Spironolactone from 100mg to 150 mg per my doctor's approval. It's been two days, and so far I don't notice any side effects aside from more frequent urination. I don't know that I will keep the dosage this high for long, but my acne is most certainly hormonal, and I refuse to go the birth control route again. Since this medication worked well initially, I have high hopes for it working even better this time.

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Week 14:

I'm still not clear. The Retin-A alone has not cleared my skin, and I don't anticipate that it will. I had two new spots on my chin appear today, again leading me to believe that my acne is hormonal. I have been taking 150mg of Spironolactone for 5 days, and so far (knock on wood) there hasn't been an initial breakout. I'm hoping that because I'm already on a high dosage along with the Retin-A, I won't get one.

My skin and hair is oily and I'm hoping the Spiro will begin to correct this. For anyone (women primarily) suffering from chin and jawline acne, persistent acne, and oily skin and hair, please consider treating your acne hormonally. It appears as though hormonal acne is NOT controlled by topicals or antibiotics.

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Update

I am going back to my dermatologist tomorrow. I have been using the Micro for three and a half months, and I am still getting at least 1-2 new pimples a day. It is safe to say that this medication is not going to work. I will not be using it tonight. I believe this medication has only made my acne worse, and hopefully the pimples will stop coming once I stop using the medication. I am very disappointed. I will however, continue taking 150mg of Spironolactone, and October 28, I removed all dairy from my diet.

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For a lot of people, a topical will not keep them clear. If your acne is hormonal - definitely give SPIRO at least 6 months to work. A few people have had success with it. Maybe in conjunction with a topical you'll have more consistent clearance.

Good Luck!!!

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It's a rocky road but like everything else in life, there is always a beginning and an end. Here's to finding my end.

God is good to me..........more than I deserve.

James 1:2-4

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


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Week 15:

I decided to continue using the Retin A Micro. I had been using the .1% every other day, but when I went to see my dermatologist this afternoon, she gave me the 0.04% and told me that "Retin A is most effective when used every day. Even after the acne has cleared, you must continue to use the medication." So I am now on a lower concentration of Retin A Micro so that I can use it every night.

As for my acne? So far so good. I do not have any large active pimples. I do have two teeny little clogged pores near my nose, but that is it. Back acne is completely gone, and full credit for that goes to the Spironolactone. My face looks great compared to what it had been, and if it weren't for the red marks that were left behind, my face would be nearly flawless. However, I am not going to jump for joy just yet because it has only been 4 days without a new pimple. I credit much of my progress to Spironolactone which seems to be keeping my acne and oil at bay.

Sasch83, thank you for your words of encouragement! I will continue to use the Spiro, as I really do like it so far. Did you have some success with it?

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Update

I am going back to my dermatologist tomorrow. I have been using the Micro for three and a half months, and I am still getting at least 1-2 new pimples a day. It is safe to say that this medication is not going to work. I will not be using it tonight. I believe this medication has only made my acne worse, and hopefully the pimples will stop coming once I stop using the medication. I am very disappointed. I will however, continue taking 150mg of Spironolactone, and October 28, I removed all dairy from my diet.

Dairy is a big NO NO for me and many other people. Retin A will not work if your acne reacts badly to Dairy. Stop the dairy first perminently before giving up on Retin A.

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Week 16:

It's been 11 days since my last post, and still no inflamed pimples. This is fantastic because it means (aside from no large painful spots) that my face can finally start to heal from the former breakout. The little comedones around my nose are almost gone. There are two left, and I expect they will be gone within a day or two. The only negative thing that I have to report is one tiny comedone on my chin and two more near my mouth. All three are small and not noticeable.

The Spironolactone seems to be working well, and the only side effect I have noticed is bleeding between periods. This was expected though, and I will endure it because I am not interested in hormonal OCs. I did read the pamphlet for the medication and it did warn that higher doses could stop ovulation. Which would explain my slightly off LH:FSH ratio. My doctor doesn't know much about the medication, so I'm really hoping I'm not doing any permanent damage.

Rich 43, I'm trying my best to steer clear of the dairy. I have had some cheese (pizza) a few times, but no milk. I will keep trying though, thank you for the advice!

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Week 17

Aside from one minor pimple that is nearly healed, my face is clear and has been clear for over two weeks. The clogged pores near my nose and chin are gone, and when I touch my face I feel smooth, undamaged skin. These past few weeks have been life altering in so many ways. I am now able to spend the night with friends, wash my face, and NOT reapply makeup after. I am finally comfortable being around people without makeup. I spent the night at my friend's house this past Saturday (there were 3 people there aside from me) and I took a shower, got dressed, and walked back out to where everyone sat and my friend immediately pointed to me and said something along the lines of "she's so beautiful, and she she doesn't need to wear makeup to look that way." And the others agreed. I never in a million years thought anyone would say that.

Today I came downstairs and one of my mom's clients looked at me and out of the blue began to marvel at how beautiful my skin was. I've had three unprompted compliments on my skin within a very brief period of time and this is due to a powerful combination of Spironolactone and Retin A Micro.

The purpose of this post wasn't to gloat, but to show everyone reading this that it is possible for anyone at any age to have beautiful skin. My skin looks and feels better than it did when I was 12. Who would have thought?

For the past few months I have endured a breakout that mangled myself-esteem, was incorrectly diagnosed with a hormone disorder, and missed many days of work and school because of my acne and the sadness and self-consciousness that stemmed from it. I thought many times about discontinuing the Retin A Micro, but because I couldn't let go of the hope that this combination of medications would work, I continued using it despite the adverse effects. It took well over three months for my skin to finally turn a corner and start to improve, but eventually it did get better, and my skin has never looked better.

There are lessons to be learned from all of this (difficult ones, at that).

It will probably take many months to see improvement on most treatments, and it will take most people more than one try to find the right medication or combination of medications that work for them. When your doctors say it might take 4 weeks to see improvement, realize that it will probably take three months.

You know your body better than anyone else does. If you think that there is something amiss with your hormones, allergies, immune system, or anything else, investigate and sort out the root of the problem. You may find that something as simple as a dairy allergy is exacerbating your acne, and that is a relatively easy fix.

Research. Look through medical journals, textbooks, and whatever else you can get your hands on to find the most effective acne treatments. I would never have known about Spironolactone had I not visited my university's library and researched medical journals on adult acne treatments. Be armed with knowledge when you see your doctor, and you will be better equipped to ask the right questions and suggest treatments of interest.

Fight for what you want. I had to fight tooth and nail to get Spironolactone, and after my dermatologist denied the medication on multiple visits, I went to my gynecologist who preferred an internal approach to my acne. This goes hand in hand with research. I presented my rationale behind my desire for the medication, my gynecologist agreed, and I got it.

Realize that nobody is perfect, other people don't notice your acne nearly as much as you do (if they do at all) and that comparatively, we acne sufferers have it much better than many other people. I lost someone I loved in April who had HIV, and a form of cancer that was first misdiagnosed, and then found to be at stage 4 when it was properly diagnosed. It occurred to me after he died, that he would have given anything to have acne and not cancer or HIV. Acne does not physically prevent me from doing anything. My body is healthy. Sometimes I feel so selfish and shallow for sobbing and getting angry and missing school because I have a few unsightly bumps on my face. Acne will not end my life prematurely and it will not prevent me from doing the things I love.

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