Then came the summer. I started breaking out like mad. I didn't know what the heck was happening. I cut dairy from my diet, I tried to keep from activities that would make me sweat, and I stopped drinking alcohol. None of these changed a thing, and my acne continued on. I began to buy numerous treatment creams one after another, and all of them did nothing. After searching through many forums, I read posts from other people claiming that their skin became immune to their cleanser. I began to believe that my skin became used to the exfoliating scrub, and that I needed a new cleanser with a different active ingredient in order to combat my new acne. I found that the Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash was very popular, so I decided to pick that up. However, I was a little worried by the "gentle" part in the name, so I picked up an astringent from Sea Breeze. So I discarded my normal after shower exfoliating scrub, and replaced it with the Purpose cleanser + Sea Breeze toner astringent combo. I also learned that my original moisturizer was comedogenic, and I switched to CeraVe moisturizing cream. I thought I completely nailed all sources for my acne, and for 4 months I was completely clear. I didn't even get those occasional pimples anymore. All of my hyperpigmentation faded away and I was a very happy camper.
Soon enough, the combo halted to a stop and I started breaking out again. I originally thought it was stress from studying for finals, but I eventually found out that it could not be the case. What happened? Did my skin get used to my cleanser already? After perusing through acne logs that I kept on my computer, it eventually hit me. My skin did not become "immune" to the Clean & Clear scrub, that scrub turned out to be too harsh for my skin. It dealt with my acne effectively, and I think at some point my skin just did not need that level of cleansing anymore. It seemed to have whittled away at my skin's defenses and sensitized it. That's why switching to the combo seemed to work wonders for me. However, this combo too, started to become too harsh for my skin, and it made sense because I started breaking out at the start of winter, when it became really cold. I re-adopted my night moisturizing habits and my breakouts halted to the occasional pimple once again. A little while later, after staring in the mirror and missing my once clear face, I finally decided to throw away the Sea Breeze toner, and now my face is free of all active acne. All I needed from the very beginning was a basic, gentle cleanser.
Moral of the story: Guys, be very gentle with your face. I know this point is belabored all over the site, but at least this will give an example of what will happen if you are not gentle. Also, some people may not understand what that means. I originally thought you were being too harsh to your skin only if it became very dried out. My skin was never visibly dried out, but my breakouts did nonetheless seem to be caused by irritation. If you are using heavy duty products and are still suffering from breakouts, try lightening up on your routine and see how it works for you. Most of my acne has been caused by my own products. I'm choosing not to use any chemical peels or hydroquinone or what not to deal with my dark marks, since I just cannot in good conscience buy any more products and risk yet another disaster on my face. No more chemicals, that's the bottom line for me. I never use sunscreen, so I guess this is a good time to do so. I'm thinking I'll just dab a little on the dark marks, and not my whole face.
Also, the theory that your skin gets used to your cleanser seems to be a myth. The only products that can stop working over time are topical antibiotics, because bacteria actually can mutate and form a resistance these. However, BP, Salicylic Acid, and cleansers in general should not lose their effectiveness. I have read about Proactiv losing its effectiveness over a few months, and after a little investigation I found that Proactiv is just way too harsh. It is very similar to my situation with the exfoliating scrub, with skin defenses deteriorating over time. My recommendation to these people is to simply switch to a more gentle routine after you begin to breakout, because it's possible that Proactiv itself that is breaking you out.
Well, this is my story. I hope others can learn from my mistakes!
Edited by JNorton52, 22 January 2013 - 01:28 PM.