WHOOPS! So I didn't realize there was a place to put our logs on here. I started a diary that I updated a few times on the regular forum... so I'm just going to copy and paste my progress over into this one so I don't annoy everyone in the regular forum . My regimen is in my signature. I finally started prescription medications on July 9, 2013 so I'm excited to see how this will turn out over the next year. Getting married in September 2014 Here is a copy of what I've posted so far.
Initial Post (Gallery for Pictures):
I'm starting my own journal on my journey to clear skin. I'm 25 years old (female) and have always dealt with acne since I was about 10 years old. It started to improve with only a few breakouts-- but always some activity present. Then, earlier this year... I had an explosion on my face! Worst break-out I've EVER had.
I have a condition that causes low estrogen, so I always knew that my breakouts were hormonal (imbalance of androgens, estrogen... plus bad genes).
Well, now I'm engaged and I've got a year to get this under wraps before my big day. I'd like pictures that I can be happy and confident in. After years of thinking about it, I finally went to a dermatologist a little over two weeks ago. I don’t know why we wait. I guess it was just the idea of someone staring at and analyzing my acne… my biggest insecurity. When I went to see her, I had a lot of red pigmentation from fresh break-outs that were healing. However, the active acne had finally calmed down from the rampage that it was on. Despite the improvements, I didn't want to take the chances of it coming back.
My skin is oily, especially on my T-zone. I also started with somewhat of a rough texture. It's not the least bit sensitive-- sometimes I think I could take sandpaper to it and everything would be JUST fine
So, here is my new regimen:
- Clarisonic twice daily (I attribute my improvements from the raging flare-up to purchasing this Clarisonic. It's fantastic and definitely improves my oily skin).
- Cetaphil face wash
- Ziana, a pea-sized amount applied an hour after washing my face
- Cerave PM moisturizer, about 30 minutes after Ziana. I LOVE this stuff! I also use it in the morning underneath sunscreen. I’ve stopped using it as much at night since I’m not having any flaking/peeling.
- Aczone, a small amount applied in the morning
- Solodyn 65 mg daily
- EltaMD Physical Sunscreen
Lately, I've just been using EltaMD sunscreen as a "make-up" because it's tinted. It's easy to apply during the day to fight off the sun, instead of trying to place over make-up. Also, I've never found a concealer that I liked that actually worked without feeling cake-y on my skin. So, I gave it all up during these first few months of this regimen to see how it goes. I just apply a little powder over the sunscreen. I think they sell it at the Dermatologist's office for $50+. She gave me samples, I liked it. But I bought it on Amazon instead for $20 and free shipping It's lightweight, tinted, feels great on. Dries nice. No typical white, streaky mess with some sunscreens.
I feared the worst with the red, flaking skin associated with retinoids. However, my skin is oily and resilient enough that I've had very minimal flaking. In fact, it only happens on the corners of my mouth when I get sloppy when applying Ziana (by getting too close to my mouth).
Two weeks in, I finally had NO new break-outs this morning. Hooray! I do worry that it's the calm before another storm. I started with little active acne (albeit big ones) and lots of hyperpigmentation. Over the past two weeks, I've definitely had some "purging." Not near as bad as I had feared. I'm still finishing up some of my active acne and I have a lot of hyperpigmentation from old wounds. Ziana has definitely improved my picking (only at the obvious white heads or really painful ones that are "ready"). Things get incredibly red and angry looking if I do, especially if I'm not careful.
My skin has become incredibly soft, despite still having a poor texture due to healing acne and hyper-pigmentation. I have some samples of tretinoin 0.05% that I may start alternating every other night instead of Ziana, since I think my skin can handle a higher dose. However, I'll give it a month before I try that to make sure that I don't stir things up. Ziana only has 0.025% tretinoin in it.
Anyway, here are some pictures. I'll try to be diligent about posting updates as time goes by. The redness is definitely more accentuated in these pictures. I usually wash my face then take the pictures immediately after. This is more so that I can monitor the progress of the hyperpigmentation scars. They're easier to see after being aggravated from washing.
If you reply, please be nice. I don't have thick skin & posting pictures is scary! I just wanted to help others through my progress, to determine if this is a path for them. I know I relied on other testimonials before I started my regimen! I've learned a TON of tips off here that my dermatologist never mentioned. She didn't even tell me about the "purge" that would be coming my way. I, of course, knew that going in.
PS: Solodyn is ridiculously expensive. For those of you with poor insurance, just know that generic minocycline is just fine, and about $1,400 cheaper. I’m a bit frustrated to be prescribed something so erroneously priced. Ziana is tretinoin 0.025% and clindamycin combined into one. It costs several hundred dollars. If you can’t afford it, just ask for the two medications separately. They’re about $35-50 each. I expect a 60g tube of Ziana to last me MONTHS. It’s huge when you only need a pea sized amount.
Anyways, see y’all soon!
Redness over chest is not acne. I'm starting to think it's a mild reaction to the Solodyn. It is sometimes itchy and improves with hydrocortisone cream (regular acne would not). As long as it doesn't become terrible, I'm okay with this.
These pictures are with some light mineral make-up without any concealer. I'm sticking to the bare minimum these days. I had a microdermabrasion complete a few days ago. It was FANTASTIC. I've had several before, but my skin never felt or looked different, even after a series. After this past microdermabrasion, I felt like my skin was less "congested." I used Ziana up until the morning of the microdermabrasion. I knew it was a risk, but I'm afraid to skip a day. Everything went perfectly. Still no flaking or dryness. I do flush easier and my skin can be a light pink color at times. Texture changes have been much appreciated! Still a lot of work to go.
I'm not sure if I've had the "initial break-out." Is it usually something hugely dramatic that I would know right away? I've had new break-outs appear in strange places, but nothing terrible. I'm not sure if it's my skin doing it's thing, or if this is the initial break-out. It has definitely calmed down. A get one or two each day that go away fairly quickly. I do have stubborn ones on the top of my right cheek that go away and come back. Haven't been picking!!
Also, I have a gallery that I've been posting most of my pictures to as the time goes on.
Day 20. I thought that I was over this so-called "purge," but I have had a few breakouts. Strangely, when they appear they are just red little macules that aren't fluctuant or painful. Then they go away. I did have one massive white-head on my left jawline. I went three days without messing with it and it just got bigger and bigger over a tender area of skin (think neck-like skin). So, I gently helped it out with a few cotton-tips this morning because I couldn't stand the pressure anymore. If this is the purge (and I think it is), it's really not terrible like I had expected.
I'm only wearing lightly-tinted sunscreen (EltaMD physical) these days. It makes it easier to apply throughout the day. I just powder on top. I'm also trying to keep make-up to a bare minimum. Concealer and foundation was never a miracle-worker and even the best make-up was no match for my oily skin. So, I'm going to clear up and then return to light make-up.
And here is progress to date...