Hey all. I've been a silent reader of these kind of posts for ages and I thought I'd finally start my own one. Mainly because all of the other people using Differin whose posts I've read have/had proper inflamed, red acne (which brings us nicely onto the background on my skin).
Well, I'm 17 and I've had really good skin all my life, all through secondary school (mostly). No spots, no dryness, no flakiness. I do have slightly oily skin though. It's literally been this past year where I've been getting those little nasty under-the-skin bumps. Started on my forehead, and has since moved down to cheeks and jawline. Well if I look closely, some of them have little indents in the middle of them and when I squeeze them, either a little clear 'seed' pops out or a white string of whatever it is comes out. Nice, right? They're skin-coloured, do not hurt one single bit but sometimes turn into little pustules. I get the occasional red, sore under-the-skin lump near my period. It's really just a cosmetic/aesthetic issue I want to deal with. They're literally just 1-1.5mm in diameter but there's lots of them, so it looks horrible in certain lighting conditions. From far away, it looks like I have perfect skin (when I have makeup on). Funnily enough, on one side of my face, the bumps just occur where I normally put my bronzer. Looking at the ingredients, the first one is talc? Which I'm guessing also could be a factor here. The only place that is free of the bumps are the centre of my face (not inc. the forehead), my eye area, part of my lower face and tops of cheekbones.
Me, being as I was, decided to search on the internet for a diagnosis for what it could be. The first thing I ran into was milia. I did think it was that at first but looking at pictures, my bumps did not look like that. The next thing I found were closed comedones. This is the closest match I could find to my skin. Hell, I even thought my bumps were due to a fungus at one point (molluscum contagium) but again, my bumps didn't really look like that. I also tried numerous high street exfoliators and AHA/BHA treatments and while most made my skin feel so, so smooth, the bumps were still there. I use those at night so when I wake up, my skin looks smooth but the bumps come back after a while (false hope everywhere). The closest thing I could find that helps my skin is the Olay Regenerist 3-point super serum (which is a niacinamide treatment).
So on the 14th January, I went to my local doctor's for my teeth (don't ask) and because the doctor I was seeing was also, conveniently, a dermatologist, she took one look at my cheeks and diagnosed me as having closed comedones. She then prescribed me 0.1% adapelene cream which I have been using since then.
I guess I'll start from here then.
14th - 21st January | 1st week
I apply the cream at night after my shower; I generally try not to use scrubs during this time unless I feel like I really need to. During these first couple of days, I didn't really notice a difference except that when I woke up, my face felt softer. Mid-way through this week, my skin started getting very flaky where I applied the Differin; I think that was down to using too much. So I toned it down. Still flaky. Also so many more breakouts towards the middle-end. Would wake up with several new spots, where some of my previous bumps were. Sometimes I woke up with clear skin and by the end of the day, there would be spots ready to pop in those places. These spots aren't big by any means. It's so weird. By the end of that week, my skin is less flaky but more bumpy.
22nd January - Now (25th) | 2nd week
Beginning of this week was basically like last week, except the spots are now popping up near the outer areas of my face. Don't care for these ones, seeing as my hair will cover them up during the daytime. Yes, I do pop them unless they look like they really don't want to be popped. Yes, I still wear makeup because there's no way on earth I'd go out with none on. With the Differin, I definitely notice a change in my skin, not a very good one at the moment, but it's still doing *something*. I guess it has made my skin more softer, and actually more glowy, in the places that don't have old hyperpigmentation. My forehead's the place that looks the best at the moment. I feel like there are more under-the-skin bumps on my cheeks than I originally started with, and if they *were* already there, they have definitely become more pronounced. Skin has gotten a little bit more sensitive but not by much at all.
I used half a mix of castor oil and jojoba oil on my face yesterday to see how much gunk was in my face (I have used this method before) and there was a lot of black stuff that came out of my face this time. So nice to have something substantially 'wet' on my face (you know the Differin makes your face feel dry and itchy). I also feel like those spots I've been getting are clearing up so much faster, and it's helping with my hyperpigmentation too, but out come more spots once those ones are cleared up, like a cycle. It's not really a massive problem for me though, as I was kind of used to it before I started Differin. Yesterday I had a breakout on the bit between my upper lip and nose. Those spots are gone now. Also have a medium sized under-the-skin lump on my chin, and one on my forehead. I haven't touched the one on my forehead, I have just applied Differin and it seems to be going away. Some places also do feel a bit rougher. Does this count as a IB? I have just started and everyone says it takes at least 3 months to see a significant difference so I still have a long way to go, so let's see if this works for me.
Will update soon, I guess