Hey guys. This is a long post, but please bear with me! Or you can scroll down to where I bolded and underlined my real question. But I think it would be helpful to know the history of my skin and how I got to my question in the first place.
So I just bought Dan's BP and AHA+ and received it in the mail yesterday. However, before I had enough money to order them, I decided to use drugstore products for the time being.
Here's a brief history of my skin: I was on accutane for about 8 months and ended with decent results. I didn't take any birth control during my course of accutane (I think it would have helped, though). My skin never got very dry while on accutane. I was pretty much at the perfect balance between dry and oily. I still used moisturizer, but my skin never got oily or dry and flakey, which was AWESOME. But I think that's why accutane didn't work 100% for me, cause my skin never got to an extreme point of dryness. I wasn't completely clear when my derm told me to stop taking accutane. I think I was still breaking out with a couple of blemishes every month, and I still had a few clogged pores scattered around my face. (I don't know if clogged pores is the right term, but it's basically a small tiny skin-coloured bump on the skin, and it's only very visible when you stretch the skin. The ones on my forehead are a bit more visible, though. When you squeeze one, usually a stream of solid pus will come out. I get these around my nose A LOT, and they reappear in a few days if I pop these ones. They only go away (sometimes) when I squeeze them. Otherwise, they just sit on the skin. They might be called oil bumps? I don't know.)
Anyways, I stopped visiting my derm after ending accutane and didn't really do much for my face besides spot treat with 5% BP. My oily skin came back, not as oily, but I still had an oily t-zone. I eventually got sick of spot treating every month, so I decided that I needed a regimen for my whole face in order to stay clear so I could finally get rid of those annoying hyper-pigmentation marks.
I really wanted to order Dan's products, but I just didn't have the money to pay for shipping and whatever. I'm a 17 year old, but I didn't want to rely on my parents for buying this. My dad had already spent more than enough money on my accutane treatment. I decided that until I could come up with the money, and get a job, I'd use drugstore products. I couldn't find 2.5% bp gel so I had to use 5%. I thought this would help in the long run because if my skin got used to the 5% BP, Dan's BP wouldn't be irritating at all.
This was my regimen...
In the AM:
Wash face with Cetaphil cleanser
Tone face with witch hazel (85% v/v)
Moisturize with Cetaphil moisturizer
I'd also wear makeup during the day, pretty light if you ask me. It was just to cover up the active acne I had on my face in addition to hyper-pigmentation marks. My nose and forehead would always get oily too, so I'd have to blot several times during the day.
In the PM:
Wash face and remove makeup with Cetaphil cleanser
Tone face with witch hazel (85% v/v)
Apply aloe vera gel all over face
Apply Benzagel 5% BP all over face
Moisturize with Cetaphil mosturizer
The reason why I'd use aloe vera gel before applying the 5% BP is because it helped the BP absorb and move around much, much better than without.
I used this regimen for about 2-3 months. It kept my skin pretty clear. A lot of my hyper-pigmentation marks faded as well (I was thrilled about this). I was still left with a few clogged pores, some on my forehead and always around my nose. I'd only get one or two pimples a month, usually around the time of my period. However, this regimen made my skin super sensitive to picking. If I popped any of my pimples, including clogged pores (or oil bumps or whatever), they would get SO irritated that a layer of skin would come off. It would take forever to heal, and it left a very bad hyper-pigmentation mark. This was the same thing that happened to me while on accutane. I now know not to ever pick at my skin, and I highly recommend against picking as well!!
So now all of that is covered, here's the real question:
How do I begin Dan's regimen now that my face is used to 5% BP? My skin got very, very dry in the beginning and my skin flaked off all the time. A lot of my hyper pigmentation marks began to look lighter. Eventually, the super dry skin subsided, and my skin got used to the 5% BP, just like I hoped it would. A lot of my old hyper pigmentation marks faded. I still have new ones though, since no matter what I do, my pimples always leave a red-mark, EVEN when I don't pop them. I've always had this problem, even when I used nothing on my face. I still experienced flakiness here and there as well, but no where near as bad as the beginning.
I just received Dan's BP in the mail yesterday, along with the AHA+. I thought, what the heck, why not use the full amount of 2 pumps since my skin is already used to 5% BP? So I washed my face with cetaphil cleanser, pat dried, waited a few minutes, toned with witch hazel (85% v/v.. this stuff is not irritating at all and I think it should be okay to include into the regimen), I waited a few minutes, and then applied the full 2 pumps of 2.5% BP all over my face. No irritation whatsoever. It felt pretty soothing, actually. I wondered if I should use the AHA+ or not.. so I decided to mix it half and half with my cetaphil mosturizer and then applied it to my face. I felt a stinging feeling, but it went away after a few minutes. I applied more AHA+ to the one active pimple I had on my face.That pimple came to a head this morning.
I think I'm only going to use the regimen at night because my skin's pretty clear right now. I just have a few hyper-pigmentation marks and some clogged pores.
BUT... I still need advice. Is this the right approach with starting the regimen, taking into consideration that my skin is already used to 5% BP? My skin feels great right now. Not dry or anything. When I woke up this morning, my t-zone looked super oily actually.. especially my nose!
My goal here is to just maintain clear skin and finally fade of the rest of the red marks on my face (I hear AHA is awesome for that). I also want to control my oily t-zone. Accutane was the only thing that got rid of my oily skin (but that came back, of course). Anyways, I'm just worried that for some odd reason, even though my skin is used to 5% BP, that starting off with 2 pumps at the beginning is too much.... is it?
Also.. one more thing! What the heck are those clogged pores/oil bumps that I described way earlier actually called? If you skipped that part of the post, it's bolded in the first paragraph of my post. I just want to know what they are and why I get them, they're kind of annoying. I never got a clear definition from my derm, he kind of just brushed it off..