I decided to start a log to help others and myself through the next several months. If anyone wants to join in on the journey, please do!
About five and a half months ago, my full blown acne started for the first time in my life. I am 27 and have never had acne issues. I moved from Texas to Colorado a little while before that and perhaps due to stress/change in hormones that often happens to women in their late 20s and who knows what else, my normally nearly completely clear complexion started getting a bunch of clogged pores and tiny pimples on my lower face. I tried OTC products for a month or so, eliminating any products with possible oil or comodogenic ingredients, did a few mild peels, scrubbed the crap out of my face, but things continued to get worse and the clogged pores (little skin colored bumps and blackheads) continued to spread all over my cheeks, jaw and around my mouth and nose. I have pretty much had relatively clear skin most of my life, I had some pimples as a teenager and went to the dermatologist once ever to get something for the occasional swollen pimple I would get on my chin in my college years and a few whiteheads, but as an adult I have had pretty clear skin and only ever wore makeup to cover a spot or two on occasion.
I went to a dermatologist about a month after I started noticing the issue and was originally recommended to go on Spironolactone and Differin gel. I refused the Spiro being the medicine avoider than I am and thinking this would clear up quickly with a topical since I had never had acne before. Possibly one of the biggest mistakes ever, because here I am now 4 months later…with a million clogged pores, hyperpigmentation from pimples past, white heads, pustules, papules and even a cyst or two. Oh how I have fallen…previously I would have never ever considered taking oral medications for acne, and always thought people who took Accutane and BC for it were crazy….well I didn’t know. I didn’t know how much of a living hell it was to wake up every morning worrying if I had anymore breakout on my face, spending 20 minutes or more in front of the mirror trying to cover everything with concealer and feeling constantly self-conscience and depressive about the hopelessness of my face. I think back to just a short 11 months ago when I was on a tropical vacation and how I had smooth and tan skin, and spent maybe a few minutes putting on some eye makeup before jotting out the door feeling confident and lovely. Well acne sufferers, now I know. At this point I will take anything and everything if it means clearing my skin, I have even gotten to the point of considering Accutane.
I used the Differin (which is the weakest topical retinoid) for about 3 months with little to no improvement. It would finally clear out a clogged pore after 2 months but then 3 more would sprout in its place. After I started getting swollen pustules with increasing frequency about a month ago I hit a new low and started frantically trying to get second opinions…I got prescribed Tazorac (the strongest retinoid) which made my face feel like it had a cheese grater taken to it and itch like crazy and oral antibiotics for the swollen pimples. Then I remembered the Spiro and did a bunch of research on it. I made an appointment with the dermatologist from months past and begged for the Spiro they had originally offered me. She took one look at my face and said that my acne is stereotypical female adult hormonal acne. She even told me she had the exact same thing happen to her in her late 20s and took Spiro to clear it up, so that gave me hope! In addition, she recommended Retin-a micro .04% which is better than Differin but less harsh than Tazorac.
So…after 3ish months of retinoid use, I am starting with Spiro 50 mg per day, Retin-a micro .04% every night and staying on the oral antibiotic (Doxycycline 100mg 2X day) for the first month to help with any initial breakout/adjusting. Since I have been on a weaker retinoid for 3 months and dabbled with Tazorac, I am hoping the IB won’t be as terrible…but we shall see how it goes. The derm also mentioned the Retin-a would help clear the now abundant red marks on my face from old pimples.
I will start out by tracking the days in the first week, then go to weekly as improvements really can’t be seen day to day. Here goes! Any advice/questions appreciated.
So I went home with instructions yesterday that this will require PATIENCE. Little improvement should be expected in the first month when I have my follow up appointment. Real improvement will start to be seen at 2 months and then major clearing at 3-5 months. I am terrible at patience. Took my first pill last night and used retin-a. Continuing on Doxy with breakfast and dinner (and adding in a probiotic pill at lunch to stave off it tearing up my stomach).
Day 1 Week 0
This morning I gently scrubbed my face with a buff puff because I could feel a lot of dead skin coming off from the retin-a…however I think that’s something that needs to be kept to only once a week because my face feels a bit irritated today. Today is not a good face day…I feel like I have a million clogged pores pushing their way out the surface of the skin (probably from the retinoids, which should mean it’s working but it’s such a terrible process to get out all that gunk. Running my hands over my face feels sooo icky and bumpy and oily. I am hoping some of the clogs just get smaller and drier as the Spiro takes action and they don’t all have to come up as white head bumps.
RIGHT SIDE: numerous clogged pores, two pink healing pimples that I caused from picking, zero active pimples
LEFT Side: numerous clogged pores, one pink healing, one new active pimple starting
CHIN: 4-5 tiny clogged pores, 3 tiny pink healing, one hard cyst in left corner that isn’t doing anything
FOREHEAD: 3 clogged pores
PIH MARKS: 14 or so on cheeks
Don’t feel any difference at all from Spiro, but I’m sure it’s too early at this point. The clogs on my chin and forehead have not been typical for me…they all just appeared in the past week, not exactly sure why.
Edited by lifeinfaith, 18 April 2013 - 04:54 PM.