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Diary Of A Three-Pronged Attack: My Mission To Get Clear Skin And Avoid Roaccutane!

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So I've never kept my own log on here but having read some other people's and found them really helpful for investigating different treatments I decided it was time I started my own in case it might help someone else in the same way! Unfortunately this initial post is going to end up being quite long but after that I will just be doing short updates on my progress. Wish me luck!

About Me

I'm a 21-year-old female university student. I've had moderate acne constantly since the age of 13 without a single clear day in 8 years. In the past 4-5 months I've developed severe cystic acne which has been incredibly painful and made my face look an absolute state. I'm now on a mission to clear it. I have a dermatology appointment on 20th September after my doctor referred me because she said I'd be eligible for treatment with Isotretinoin (Roaccutane/Accutane). However, because of the side effects I am keen to avoid this treatment if at all possible.

Treatments I've Previously Tried

Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%

Differin (Adapalene 0.1%)

Duac (Benzoyl Peroxide 5%, Clindamycin Phosphate 1%)

Freederm Treatment Gel (Nicotinamide 4%)

Salicylic Acid

Witch Hazel

Tea Tree Oil

Sulfur Products

Aloe Vera

Lemon Juice

Various Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Current Treatment Plan

Co-Cyprindiol (Dianette)

Lymecycline tablets (408mg daily)

Epiduo (Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%, Adapalene 0.1%)

State of Skin Prior to Treatment

Severe cystic acne. We're talking at least 10 cysts buried really deep in the skin plus masses of whiteheads. My chin, forehead and nose had become totally misshapen. My lips had swollen up and my eyes had gone puffy. My glands were severely swollen and painful. Whole face red, inflamed, covered in deep solid lumps, and throbbing with pain to the extent that it was preventing me from sleeping.

Current Progress

Dianette: End of week 3

Lymecycline: End of week 2

Epiduo: Day 4

Well I've been really pleased with my skin's progress so far. I had 10 days of Fluxloxacillin to try to kick the infection before getting started on the treatments above and for the first time in weeks I can confidently say that I have no deep cysts!!! I still have some lumps under the skin but they're not painful like they were so I'm hoping they will either drain away or come up as whiteheads. My skin still looks absolutely horrific (mainly from all the hyperpigmentation) but things are definitely improving very slowly! I do keep getting new whiteheads but I think that must be the Epiduo bringing all the underneath stuff to the surface. My face doesn't hurt all over any more which has got to be a good sign! It's responding surprisingly well to the Epiduo which I thought would make it red and irritated like the straight benzoyl peroxide I've used before but at the moment it's just a little dry but not sore at all. No stinging or burning sensation on application either. Slight itching which I'm hoping is a sign of healing processes. My main concern now is that I've just begun my 7 day break from Dianette and am dreading another major breakout. I've also heard that Epiduo can cause initial breakouts so am anticipating a double wammie! Here's praying it won't be too bad and won't bring back any of those painful horrible cysts. I'll keep you updated!

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Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Glad to hear that you're pleased with how your skin is travelling with your new routine so far! I'm on birth control too and am hoping that it's going to help me get clear.

Have you found that your skin has reacted badly while taking the placebo pills?


Stopping the birth control pill & going natural log:


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Thanks sorbet! It does seem to be improving, just very very slowly! Also leaving a lot of hyperpigmentation behind it and the Epiduo is making it a bit dry but I guess it's still progressing in the right direction. :)

This is my first time using birth control to try to clear up my acne so I'm also really hoping it will work for me! I'm on my first placebo week at the moment (day 5) and have actually been kind of pleasantly surprised because I haven't yet broken out really badly at all. I just have a couple of new whiteheads here and there but nothing too dramatic at all so I'm hoping they will clear up relatively quickly when I'm back on the pill. How has your skin reacted to the placebo weeks?


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Update on Current Progress

For any of you poor souls who are remotely interested!

Dianette: End of week 4 (last day of placebo week was yesterday, woop!)

Lymecycline: End of week 3

Epiduo: Day 9

So, unbelievably, my skin's progress is still good! (Keeping all fingers and toes crossed to avoid jinxing it by saying this!) I'm very pleased to have come to the end of my first placebo week on Dianette without suffering a horrific breakout. I have a few new whiteheads but they're all going down pretty quick and it was nothing like the horrible breakout I had braced myself for! Daring to hope it might even start to improve more once I'm back on the Dianette from tonight onwards, but we shall see.

The Epiduo is equally producing unexpected results. Having not got on at all well with straight BP 2.5% I had thought this stuff would cause my skin to get really red, dry and irritated, but there has been none of that so far! (Touch wood!) I'm just making sure to moisturise daily with Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion and it seems to be keeping any dryness well under control, without a single flake to be seen! In fact my skin feels pretty smooth and healthy in the places where there is no longer active acne. It might be a teensy bit redder than before but it's barely noticeable compared to the acne. Also, dubious though I am about saying it, I have not yet noticed the initial breakout that I've read about other people getting from Epiduo. I'm seriously hoping that I've avoided it completely rather than it waiting for me just around the corner. If this is the case I am going to feel so unbelievably demoralised!

Most of my skin is pretty flat and smooth now, with just the odd spot here and there and still a whole load of hyperpigmentation (but even this is getting visibly better by the day!) The only real trouble area now is my forehead which is being irritatingly stubborn and is still covered in red bumps. I think even these are improving a bit every day, just at a real snail pace still!

Anyway, all in all, progress is good and much much better than expected! Now just to hope and pray for no backwards steps or new breakouts! I'll keep you updated :)


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Dianette: mid-week 5

Lymecycline: mid-week 4

Epiduo: end of week 2

Well the Epiduo is now making my skin pretty red so my face is now a completely different colour from my neck with a really definite line between where I've been applying Epiduo and where I haven't - not ideal! My skin's also getting pretty dry from it now so I keep having to lather on the moisturiser several times a day. I think the overall impression is still of improvement but I keep getting new spots come up on a daily basis which is very frustrating and has included one or two of the larger, almost cystic variety this week. They have been smaller and gone down quicker than before though so I suppose that's something to be grateful for. I also haven't left the house in over a month now so the mental health side of things isn't looking too good either at the moment. Here's hoping things will be better next week!


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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I was on Dianette and Lymecycline for about 8 months. You would not believe how much they helped my skin :)

Unfortunately, I had to turn to Roaccutane because I was still getting more acne which for me meant more scarring.

But, have faith! The combination of the two drugs helped a lot, although it took around 4 months to see major improvements so just wait it out.

Good luck!


16th May-27th October 2013

15 Years Old/Female/52kg

Month 1- 20mg

Month 2- 40mg

Month 3- 40mg

Month 4- 50mg

Month 5 and 1/2- 50mg

Also see page 4 on my log for the before and after photos :)

"You can't make a rainbow without a little rain"


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I was on Dianette and Lymecycline for about 8 months. You would not believe how much they helped my skin smile.png

Unfortunately, I had to turn to Roaccutane because I was still getting more acne which for me meant more scarring.

But, have faith! The combination of the two drugs helped a lot, although it took around 4 months to see major improvements so just wait it out.

Good luck!

Thank you EatsRainbows that's so encouraging to hear!! I really don't want to have to turn to Roaccutane but that sort of seems like the only thing left after this if it doesn't work or doesn't last. Although interestingly the really bad cysts I've had recently don't seem to have left much in the way of scarring, just a lot of hyperpigmentation, so I suppose that's got to be a good sign! I really hope the Roaccutane is going well for you and thank you so much for commenting with your experiences! I really needed that positive feedback today :)


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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No problem :)

I completely understand why you want to avoid Roaccutane, I can safely say it hasn't been much fun.

For me, the first few months felt like years, especially when I wasn't seeing improvements. But before you know it you'll be sitting here writing about how great your skin looks :)

One more thing, when I went to a derm to be prescribed Roaccutane, they said it usually takes 6 months for these drugs to really kick in, so just hang in there :)

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16th May-27th October 2013

15 Years Old/Female/52kg

Month 1- 20mg

Month 2- 40mg

Month 3- 40mg

Month 4- 50mg

Month 5 and 1/2- 50mg

Also see page 4 on my log for the before and after photos :)

"You can't make a rainbow without a little rain"


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No problem smile.png

I completely understand why you want to avoid Roaccutane, I can safely say it hasn't been much fun.

For me, the first few months felt like years, especially when I wasn't seeing improvements. But before you know it you'll be sitting here writing about how great your skin looks smile.png

One more thing, when I went to a derm to be prescribed Roaccutane, they said it usually takes 6 months for these drugs to really kick in, so just hang in there smile.png

Thanks EatsRainbows I really hope you're right! Good luck with your Roaccutane course, I hope it gives you beautiful clear skin! :)


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Dianette: end of week 5

Lymecycline: end of week 4

Epiduo: mid-week 3

So today I have a new cyst under my chin having not had any cysts in the past week and a half or so which is more than a little demoralising sad.png I also woke up to at least 6 new spots of the more standard variety this morning. Not sure why this breakout's getting worse as I haven't changed anything in my routine but I guess it's all just part of the course. It's a shame to have the hope you dared to build up shot down yet again though sad.png For the sake of my emotional stability I seriously hope my skin improves in the coming week!

Edit: I've also been taking photos of my progress over the last few days (first time I've been able to do so without the urge to throw the camera at the wall being uncontrollable) but haven't yet plucked up the courage to post any of them. Might manage it if I ever actually see any significant improvement but for the moment I look too like a monster to risk disgusting you all with any visuals.


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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And this morning yet another new cyst! That makes TWO CYSTS plus a load of new papules/nodules/whiteheads - I don't even know what the right term for them is! I really thought I was past the cyst stage and that I'd finally got them under control but apparently not and they're so fricking painful as well as being massive, red and angry-looking. I don't understand why this is happening, it was improving so well a few days ago and now it seems to be going backwards again. :( Urghhhh!


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Dianette: mid-week 5

Lymecycline: mid-week 4

Epiduo: end of week 2

Well the Epiduo is now making my skin pretty red so my face is now a completely different colour from my neck with a really definite line between where I've been applying Epiduo and where I haven't - not ideal! My skin's also getting pretty dry from it now so I keep having to lather on the moisturiser several times a day. I think the overall impression is still of improvement but I keep getting new spots come up on a daily basis which is very frustrating and has included one or two of the larger, almost cystic variety this week. They have been smaller and gone down quicker than before though so I suppose that's something to be grateful for. I also haven't left the house in over a month now so the mental health side of things isn't looking too good either at the moment. Here's hoping things will be better next week!

prefer tab

Rx

azid[250/500mg as per body mass] azitromycin

tab tretiva or acutert tertinoin

for better results.

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Dianette: end of week 6

Lymecycline: end of week 5

Epiduo: mid-week 4

Well I would say my skin is alright. It could be better, but it has definitely improved this week. The cysts are now gone! Well all bar one which I have a suspicion might re-emerge in the nearish future. I have one big spot at the corner of my mouth (possibly caused by my lipbalm?) and a few on my forehead but otherwise not much in the way of active acne, just a whole load of hyperpigmentation still! I'm pleased that the bumpiness seems to be flattening out a lot now (even on my stubborn forehead!) because it means my make-up now goes on fairly smoothly. I've even been out of the house twice this week which may sound pathetic to you but is a big improvement for me! Hoping progress continues as it is. I'd love some of this horrible hyperpigmentation to fade a bit but I think that might be asking a little too much at the moment so I would just be satisfied to get the rest of the active acne under control! smile.png

prefer tab

Rx

azid[250/500mg as per body mass] azitromycin

tab tretiva or acutert tertinoin

for better results.


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Ok clearly whenever I write a positive update on here I'm always speaking too soon! I woke up this morning to a massive new breakout on my forehead including four new cysts. Yes you did read that right: FOUR NEW CYSTS!!! And just when I was seriously starting to think that my skin might be improving as well :( *sigh*.


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Ok clearly whenever I write a positive update on here I'm always speaking too soon! I woke up this morning to a massive new breakout on my forehead including four new cysts. Yes you did read that right: FOUR NEW CYSTS!!! And just when I was seriously starting to think that my skin might be improving as well sad.png *sigh*.

I have a theory that 'jinxing yourself' is a very real thing when it comes to mentioning good things on these forums :P It's been that way many times for me. I'll be excited to see some improvement in my skin and post about it and then the next day there will be some lovely brand new spots to greet me.

But sorry to hear you're dealing with new cysts. Not fun. But everything takes time and you're still fairly early on in using the treatments even though it might not feel that way. Keep at it - good things have to be heading your way soon! Hang in there comfort.gif

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Started The Acne.org Regimen 2nd July 2013

 


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I have a theory that 'jinxing yourself' is a very real thing when it comes to mentioning good things on these forums tongue.png It's been that way many times for me. I'll be excited to see some improvement in my skin and post about it and then the next day there will be some lovely brand new spots to greet me.

But sorry to hear you're dealing with new cysts. Not fun. But everything takes time and you're still fairly early on in using the treatments even though it might not feel that way. Keep at it - good things have to be heading your way soon! Hang in there comfort.gif

Thank you for your encouragement Lilly! I'm also starting to think that jinxing yourself is actually a real and tangible phenomenon haha! I can't even describe how much hate I have for cysts right now but you are of course right that I'm still fairly early on in treatment. Definitely feels like I should be rid of these horrible cysts by now though! I guess it's just a case of waiting it out. Really hope I see some results soon though. Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it! :)

1 person likes this

Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Dianette: end of week 7

Lymecyline: end of week 6

Epiduo: mid-week 5

Right I don't want to tempt fate too much so this is going to be short and sweet. At the moment my skin is definitely on the up again *touch wood*. I had a nasty breakout of cysts on my forehead and whiteheads in other places at the beginning of this week but now it all seems to have settled down and for the first time since starting this treatment plan the skin on my face has gone almost completely flat. There is still a massive amount of hyperpigmentation but I think that is starting to fade at a tantalisingly slow pace. Now I'm just praying that I don't get greeted with a fresh breakout again this week as it is second my placebo week of Dianette. If that happens I'm going to be unbelievably miserable and discouraged!!! It's now about 3 weeks and counting before I have to go back to university and I need my skin to at least be flat enough to cover with make-up by that point so am desperate to avoid a fresh breakout right now. *keeping all fingers and toes crossed* !!!


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Dianette: end of week 7

Lymecyline: end of week 6

Epiduo: mid-week 5

Right I don't want to tempt fate too much so this is going to be short and sweet. At the moment my skin is definitely on the up again *touch wood*. I had a nasty breakout of cysts on my forehead and whiteheads in other places at the beginning of this week but now it all seems to have settled down and for the first time since starting this treatment plan the skin on my face has gone almost completely flat. There is still a massive amount of hyperpigmentation but I think that is starting to fade at a tantalisingly slow pace. Now I'm just praying that I don't get greeted with a fresh breakout again this week as it is second my placebo week of Dianette. If that happens I'm going to be unbelievably miserable and discouraged!!! It's now about 3 weeks and counting before I have to go back to university and I need my skin to at least be flat enough to cover with make-up by that point so am desperate to avoid a fresh breakout right now. *keeping all fingers and toes crossed* !!!

Crossing my fingers for you too then!

I know that feeling of uni starting up again and just being so concerned with how your skin will be. I actually have a graduation class photo on next monday (not professional or anything - just one of the staff will take it I think) and I'm worried that my skin will be a mess for that...

And try not to worry about it when uni does start up again - I love and hate uni for my skin... hate it because I'm worried what people are thinking of my skin etc but I love it because it forces me to go out and I've been lucky to meet some great friends who've never mentioned my skin or anything like that.

But I hope your skin just improves even more by the time your uni starts back!! :)

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Started The Acne.org Regimen 2nd July 2013

 


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Crossing my fingers for you too then!

I know that feeling of uni starting up again and just being so concerned with how your skin will be. I actually have a graduation class photo on next monday (not professional or anything - just one of the staff will take it I think) and I'm worried that my skin will be a mess for that...

And try not to worry about it when uni does start up again - I love and hate uni for my skin... hate it because I'm worried what people are thinking of my skin etc but I love it because it forces me to go out and I've been lucky to meet some great friends who've never mentioned my skin or anything like that.

But I hope your skin just improves even more by the time your uni starts back!! smile.png

Thanks Lilly :) Worrying about what my skin will be like when I go back to uni is literally all that's on my mind right now. It has improved massively since then, but I looked back at my graduation photos from earlier in the summer and my skin was so bad that it literally made me feel sick haha. But yours has improved loads judging by your progress photos so I'm sure these photos will come out better than you expect :)

I totally agree with you about the love/hate relationship with uni and your skin because I feel exactly the same: constantly worried but forced to be socially functional. I think overall it's a positive though and I've also met some great people. Just really hoping that my skin keeps improving over the next few weeks now!

1 person likes this

Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Dianette: end of week 8

Lymecycline: end of week 7

Epiduo: mid-week 6

Well my skin is alright this week I suppose. Improvement is none too spectacular but I haven't broken out horribly again either so that's definitely a plus! I've had a few new whiteheads popping up all this week (possibly because it's been my week off the Dianette) but it hasn't been too bad and they're all starting to settle down again now. I do still have two cysts which will not budge, although they have reduced dramatically in size, so much so that I thought I'd got rid of one of them and didn't realise otherwise until I accidentally hit it yesterday when removing my make-up and was greeted with a nice spasm of pain - ouchies! But overall not a significant improvement this week but not too much of a step backwards either so I'm just continuing to tootle along for the moment.

1 person likes this

Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Well it's been a really long time, so I thought I should probably update this!

Dianette: end of week 16

Lymecycline: end of week 15

Epiduo: mid-week 14

Overall, there has been a massive improvement, especially with the skin on my face. *Touch wood* I only usually have a maximum of three actives on my face at any one time and very occasionally I have none whatsoever! I still have a massive amount of hyperpigmentation but the older stuff is starting to fade quite a bit now. My forehead is still the most stubborn so I still get whiteheads and occasionally cysts there, but my chin and around my nose (which were the worst bits once upon a time) have been consistently clear for a few weeks now. :) My skin's also been a much better texture since I changed my moisturising routine and seems to be handling the Epiduo very well now. My body acne is still a bit of a pain and I still regularly get cysts on my back, but my upper arms and shoulders have shown a lot of improvement recently. All in all, significant progress but still frustrating intermittent breakouts!

1 person likes this

Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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Glad you're improving!

Thank you! :) Typically I am now breaking out on my forehead having posted that but hopefully it won't be too bad and the rest of my face is still holding up alright *fingers crossed*.


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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So good to hear of the improvements you've been having!! smile.png Yay!!

Thanks Lilly. :) I'm just really hoping these annoying intermittent breakouts will start to subside now! Every time I think I'm finally clear, I seem to break out again. It's a very frustrating circle. But it is still much better than it was so I'm trying not to lose sight of that.


Current Treatment and Products

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Neat 3B Face Saver Gel
Garnier Oil Free BB Cream
Epiduo
Zineryt
Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
Eliminated Dairy from my Diet

My Log:

Acne status: Breaking out since coming off Dianette and it's really getting me down. :(


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