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My Regimen Progress Diary

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#1 Amy B

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 04:48 PM

Hi everyone!

 

So I discovered acne.org a few days ago, and have since been scouring the forums for tips and advice. I have decided to try the Regimen, after seeing all the amazing feedback on the site!
 
A bit of background info: I'm 17, living in the UK, and have had acne since I was about 13. As school stresses started taking their toll, my skin got worse. The spring before my GCSE exams (2013) was by far the worst. My skin went crazy; I'd have up to 15 active spots on my chin, around my mouth, and particularly my forehead.

 

By this point, I was trying everything I could- to date I have been on two different courses of antibiotics, used consistent topical treatments (zineryt helped a lot for a while), and expensive cleansing kits (the clinique 3 step solutions, and a clarisonic cleanser). Most of the treatments would work for a while, but their effectiveness wore off quickly.

Since January I have been super vigilant with my skin- for Lent I completely cut out dairy from my diet, partly to see if it would help my skin, as I've read lots about lactose intolerance for acne. It has helped somewhat- I will definitely keep my dairy intake to a minimum from now on, especially milk and yoghurt.

 

However, I now find myself looking for a more effective, long term solution. I stumbled across The Regimen on this website, and realised that I actually have a stash of Benzoyl Peroxide gel (it's called Epiduo) that my dermatologist prescribed to me ages ago. I tried it without properly having understood what to expect, and the dryness and pain made me chicken out a mere few days into the regime!

 

So now I've actually looked into the regimen, understood the side effects, and read the success stories, hopefully I'll be better equipped to handle the ups and downs of the treatment this time! 

 

Any feedback, tips or advice would be so so so much appreciated, I know it's not going to be easy but I've seen the support and encouragement other acne sufferers have been able to provide on this website, and I think that's what will motivate me to keep going...

 

Starting my regimen diary- here goes!

 

Amy x


Edited by Amy B, 17 April 2014 - 05:04 AM.

~~~Started the treatment 12/04/14 (UK dates). I'm using epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapelene) in place of the BP in the regimen~~~


#2 Brandy

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 05:11 PM

My best piece of advice is to follow The Regimen strictly. It really does work best when it is followed exactly as Dan suggests. Take a moment to also read through the biggest mistakes so you will be sure and not make any of them. http://www.acne.org/...stmistakes.html

 

Good luck!







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#3 Amy B

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 04:27 AM

Day 1 of the Regimen

 

~just a note- I started the regimen a few days ago, so I'm gonna document the first few days in one post, and then hopefully update regularly after that~

 

I was wearing makeup during the day, so I washed it off thouroughly with Cetaphil cleanser before starting the treatment.

 

I'm using Epiduo, which is Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% (the recommended amount) and adapalene 0.1%. It's a gel, which I've read is better than a cream.

 

On first application, it stung a little, and my face felt slightly warm and even felt like it was swelling slightly, but it didn't worry me too much, as I've heard that's to be expected. I had a few active spots, mostly on my chin, so I concentrated most of the application around that area, and my forehead. I applied moisturiser once it had dried (I used Aveeno, which is quite a heavy cream so I was a little worried it would lift the bp away but it seemed fine.)

 

Day 2 of the Regimen

 

I woke up, and my face felt a little tight, so I went to the mirror and was pretty shocked. After only one application, my face was already flaking/peeling and just generally dry. The spots themselves had gone down a little- they looked slightly less angry and seemed to be on their way out, which was good to see! The dryness was a bit scary, though. I was expecting it, but not quite that badly, because I've always had combination/oily skin, and my skin has never been sensitive. 

 

I didn't wear any makeup during the day because I wasn't leaving the house. In the evening, I gave my face a quick wash with the cetaphil again, patted it dry, and then applied the bp. Big mistake. I should have waited for my skin to calm down after washing, because boy did it sting. It didn't even just sting, it burned, like a chemical burn or something? My face literally felt like it was on fire, and it went bright red and raw where I'd applied the gel. Looking back, it makes sense that it would hurt so much, because the peeling had revealed a fresh layer of skin underneath, which was probably still quite raw and sensitive.

 

Anyway, it hurt so much that, in an effort to cool the burning sensation, I went ahead and applied a ton of moisturiser as soon as the bp had dried. It started the burning pain off all over again; my skin was not happy with all the messing around. The pain was so bad it made me cry, but then the tears stung my raw skin- talk about a vicious circle! Also, I don't think the application was gentle enough- I rubbed the moisturiser in fairly briskly, in an attempt to get it to absorb so I could layer more on, which probably aggravated my skin.

 

So I basically had to postpone my bedtime because my face hurt so much- I couldn't sleep through that! It took a good 40 minutes for the pain to subside until it was just a warm tingling sensation.

 

Day 3 of the Regimen

 

Woke up and my face was so tight I couldn't move my mouth. My skin was so dry it looked really aged, and the peeling/flaking had worsened. I piled on loads of moisturiser to try and loosen up/soften my skin, and it stung, but not as badly as on day 2. In terms of the actual acne, my active spots had all but gone- or at least, they were flatter and less angry, so my face was just covered in a lot of red scars and hyperpigmentation. I also felt like I had a couple of new spots coming up on my chin- I could feel that kinda bruisey pain quite deep under the skin, which normally results in those big, painful nodule-type spots. (They probably have a proper name??)

 

Another problem: I had promised a friend I'd model for her art project that day, so I was gonna have to wear makeup. I hate letting people down, so I couldn't really cancel on her! A couple of hours after I'd moisturised, I veeeeery gently tried to exfoliate all the flakes off my skin, using the cetaphil and a damp cloth. The flakes had kinda already softened from the moisturiser, so they came off fairly easily, but my skin was a teeny bit red/raw after I'd finished. So I moisturised again, and then applied my makeup (liquid foundation set with a sheer powder). It went on fairly well, and it wasn't obvious that my skin was flaking.

 

Anyway, later on some more friends came over for a meal, and halfway through I realised my face had started flaking again, this time taking my makeup with it. It was so embarrassing, but I figured I should just laugh it off, so I explained to my friends why my face was starting to look like the sahara desert.

 

In the evening, I figured I should apply the bp at least an hour before I wanted to go to bed, to allow the pain to subside. I removed my makeup with cetaphil, cleansed properly, and then waited a while for my skin to calm down a bit before applying the bp. I was way gentler this time, and only used about a pea-sized amount, instead of half a finger. It hurt a lot, especially as I'd just removed my makeup, and with it, some of the peeling skin. Anyway, I moisturised again, being super generous, especially around my mouth, cheeks, and chin, where most of the pain and peeling was. 

 

Day 4 of the Regimen

 

In the morning, my face was exactly as it was on day 3- dry, peeling, tight/stiff, and sore. I now had virtually no active spots, except for a couple of annoyingly persistent ones above my eyebrow, and one on my chin which was clearly on its way out. Applied moisturiser generously, and tried no to disturb the peeling skin as I knew I wasn't leaving the house that day, and so wasn't gonna bother with makeup.

 

Later that afternoon I decided to go outside in the sun for a bit- I know it's beneficial for acne, vitamin D levels, and just for general happiness. I knew the bp could make skin more sun sensitive, though, so I was a little worried. I have literally never burned before in my life- I have olive-y skin which tans really really easily, never peels and is, on the whole, never really dry.

I always wear sunscreen on my body, particularly my shoulders and neck, but I normally wouldn't go above a factor 15/20, as I like being tanned. I don't tend to apply much to my face normally, because I worry that it'll clog my pores or trigger acne, so I tend to only apply it to my nose, a little on my chin and forehead- the places the sun is most likely to hit.

Today, though, I thought I'd better play it safe, so I mixed some factor 30 face sunscreen with a little of my moisturiser, and applied it all over my face and neck before going outside. It absorbed pretty well, and my face didn't hurt after being in the sun, so I think that was a good move.

 

In the evening, I very gently washed my face with the cetaphil again, to get off any sunscreen residue/dirt from the day. I then experimented with moisturising before using the bp- just a very light layer of a different moisturiser (effaclar duo). Then I applied a pea sized amount of bp, focusing on my forehead especially, because it was a) less sensitive/peely than my chin, and b) tends to be where I get a lot of breakouts. Then I found some jojoba oil and mixed it with my regular moisturiser (aveeno) and applied it liberally once the bp had dried.

 

It still burned a lot, but not nearly as bad or as long as the first couple of days. Here's hoping this improvement will continue!!

 

~~~The photo is kinda rubbish quality, but that's the progress at the end of day 4. I never took any photos of my face without makeup when my acne was at its worst, so sadly I don't have anything to compare it to. This can be my reference photo, then!~~~Snapshot_20140416_1.jpg


My best piece of advice is to follow The Regimen strictly. It really does work best when it is followed exactly as Dan suggests. Take a moment to also read through the biggest mistakes so you will be sure and not make any of them. http://www.acne.org/...stmistakes.html

 

Good luck!

 

Thanks so much! That link was actually really useful, I think I was making at least two of those mistakes- especially the one about starting too fast! I'll bear these in mind as I carry on with the regimen smile.png


Edited by Amy B, 17 April 2014 - 05:06 AM.

~~~Started the treatment 12/04/14 (UK dates). I'm using epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapelene) in place of the BP in the regimen~~~


#4 Amy B

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 03:05 PM

Day 5 of the Regimen

 

My skin was a lot less dry today when I woke up! It's still really really flaky and red, and I wouldn't want to go out in public, but hey, at least I'm not shedding like a snake like I was yesterday!

 

I moisturised in the morning, which stung a little, but not nearly as badly as day 2/3/4.

 

Annoyingly, during the day I was doing a lot of work on the computer, and found myself absent-mindedly picking at the peeling skin on my cheeks, which I know is a big no-no... Oops, hopefully it won't have disturbed the healing too much. In doing so, I noticed I have a few spots forming in my cheeks and chin- one larger, more painful nodule-y type one in my cheek, which at the moment hasn't surfaced yet, and a couple of smaller ones which feel like whiteheads on my chin. I'm thinking this is probably a purge, which I've heard is normal when doing the regimen.

 

Anyway, it's the evening now, and I've just applied bp and moisturiser as usual. The bp hardly hurt at all this time, and I only applied it to the problem areas, and very sparingly on my forehead. The moisturiser hurt a little more, but the pain is only a warm tingling/stinging, and it's subsiding now, after about 20 minutes.

 

I'm really hoping this is a sign that my skin is adjusting to the bp- I've never had dry or sensitive skin so this experience is pretty new and weird for me, and I'd quite like it to be over soon haha!

 

~Here are a few photos from today- they kinda show the redness/rawness better than yesterday, though it seems pretty much the sameSnapshot_20140417_1.jpg Snapshot_20140417_3.jpg Snapshot_20140417_4.jpg ~

 


~~~Started the treatment 12/04/14 (UK dates). I'm using epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapelene) in place of the BP in the regimen~~~


#5 Amy B

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 04:17 AM

Day 6 of the Regimen

 

Forgot to check in yesterday oops, I'll do two posts today.

 

You know that bit in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when Professor Quirrell's face disintegrates?

week 1 of epiduo.png

Yeah. That's what my face felt like on waking up yesterday. Sooo flaky, probably the worst day yet! In fact, it was so bad that when I yawned, a particularly dry patch around my mouth actually split open in a few places. Pretty grim.

 

Anyway, I cleansed really gently (cotton pad instead of cloth) and then applied a little bp to my forehead and the less dry bits of my cheeks/chin. The spot I could feel yesterday showed itself, and it turned out to be a really small whitehead, smaller than normal which I assume is a good sign? It didn't sting nearly as much, though my face felt a little hot, and the redness is a real issue- my skin is literally red where I'm applying bp, and I'm hoping it goes back to normal fairly soon because I have school in a week...

 

In the evening, I applied the bp again (only to the 'problem areas', I avoided the dry/broken skin as much as possible) and it barely stung at all this time! In fact, it was more of a mild tingling. I really really hope this means my skin is getting used to the bp, though it seems a little too good to be true!

 

~Here's a progress pic for day 6. The first one shows how my spots have gone down a lot, and the second shows the extreme flakiness a bit more :/~

Snapshot_20140418.jpg  Snapshot_20140418_1.jpg


~~~Started the treatment 12/04/14 (UK dates). I'm using epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapelene) in place of the BP in the regimen~~~


#6 Amy B

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:28 PM

Day 7 of the Regimen

 

Skin was a lot less dry on waking up this morning!! Really hoping it's a sign of things to come, can't go back to school looking like a lizard... Unfortunately, I think that spot on my cheek must have dried out enough that I somehow managed to scrape it off in the night- I woke up with blood on my face and pillow ew sad.png

 

Applied bp in the morning and moisturised, and then moisturised once more during the day on the bits that are still dry (around my mouth/chin). Burning sensation is almost all gone now, it's more of a mild stinging which only lasts about 10 minutes.

 

Cleansed, bp'd and moisturised again in the evening- I avoided the broken skin around my mouth but was fairly liberal on my forehead (where I've had the least peeling). So far, it's looking good! Only about three active spots on my face, one of which is the bleeding one, and the other two of which are so small they're hardly noticeable.

 

Week one of the Regimen nearly done!

 

~Photo update- the redness is the biggest issue now, as is obvious in the picture~

Snapshot_20140419.jpg


~~~Started the treatment 12/04/14 (UK dates). I'm using epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapelene) in place of the BP in the regimen~~~


#7 KAmanda

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 02:50 PM

Two things:
If you're using Epiduo you're not really following the regimen, as it's not pure BP but BP combined with a retinoid. That will be much harsher on the skin.
The regimen recommends starting with just once per day application for the first week or two, not twice per day at first. Using BP twice a day right away is going to be very tough on the skin, and using a retinoid twice a day is never a good idea. Irritation = Acne.

#8 Amy B

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 03:58 PM

Week 2 day 1 of the Regimen (day 8)

 

Been doing this treatment for a week now! The change has been rapid and quite intense, I'm not gonna lie. In a week I went from having oily/combination olive skin with a dozen or so active spots and a faceful of hyperpigmentation, to virtually spot-free skin that is smooth but very very dry and red. 

 

This morning I moisturised and then applied makeup (I had to because I was going out in public and my face is still very red and scarred!) Didn't apply any bp this morning because I didn't want to aggravate my skin any more than necessary.

 

Removed makeup this evening, trying to be as gentle as possible... Cleansed with cetaphil, applied the bp on my forehead and the spot on my cheek, avoiding the really dry/broken skin. It still stung a bit, though probably just because I'd just cleansed so thouroughly to remove the makeup...Then I used aveeno moisturiser on my cheeks as it's more heavy duty, and effaclar duo moisturiser over the areas with bp, as it's lighter and more gentle.

 

~Photo update- my rubbish webcam really doesn't do the redness justice, but my face is looking pretty much the same as yesterday, if a little less flaky. Spots are continuing to appear but be killed off by the bp very quickly!~

Snapshot_20140420_2.jpg

Snapshot_20140420_3.jpg

Snapshot_20140420_4.jpg

 


Two things:
If you're using Epiduo you're not really following the regimen, as it's not pure BP but BP combined with a retinoid. That will be much harsher on the skin.
The regimen recommends starting with just once per day application for the first week or two, not twice per day at first. Using BP twice a day right away is going to be very tough on the skin, and using a retinoid twice a day is never a good idea. Irritation = Acne.

 

Oh, I didn't know this so thanks for the info, it actually explains a lot in terms of the extreme flakiness I've been experiencing! I'll bear that in mind... I've only been using the epiduo once a day since I started, in fact yesterday was the first time I used it in the morning too, so I'll make sure to stick to one application per day... Thanks so much!


Edited by Amy B, 20 April 2014 - 03:59 PM.

~~~Started the treatment 12/04/14 (UK dates). I'm using epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapelene) in place of the BP in the regimen~~~


#9 Amy B

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 04:38 PM

Week 2 Day 2 of the Regimen (day 9)

 

Skin was still dry and flaky today, and carried on being peely all day sad.png I have a couple of tiny active spots on my chin, but I think it's either a) a purge or b) because of my chocolate intake yesterday... Hopefully the bp will kill it off! Redness seems to have gone down a bit...

 

Cleansed as usual in the evening, applied a pea sized amount of bp to my forehead and chin (avoided cheeks and broken skin), and it stung but didn't burn at all- and the pain only lasted about 15 minutes. Plenty of moisturiser all over to encourage the rest of my skin to heal!

 

~Photo update: hyperpigmentation is still an issue, but absolutely no acne left, only a couple of barely visible spots. Hoping the flakiness goes away soon!~

Snapshot_20140421.jpg

 

 


~~~Started the treatment 12/04/14 (UK dates). I'm using epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapelene) in place of the BP in the regimen~~~


#10 Amy B

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 04:09 PM

Week 2 Day 3/4/5 of the Regimen (Day 10, 11, and 12)

 

 

Busy few days so haven't updated in a while...

 

Progress has been pretty steady; my skin is coming along nicely, the dryness has decreased dramatically (it's still dry but now barely peeling).

I only have one active spot, and it's so small compared to what I usually get that to be honest I couldn't care less!

 

I can now apply makeup over my skin (having first gently exfoliated dry skin away) and it looks great! It hides the hyperpigmentation well, and I now only need very light coverage! My skin is smooth for the first time in years smile.png

 

On application, the bp still stings a little, but it's nothing I can't handle. I'm being super generous with moisturiser and the really bad areas of flakiness around my mouth and cheeks have healed well.

 

I reckon in a week or two my skin will have become accustomed to the bp and the flakiness will stop altogether- at least, that seems to be where things are heading now!

 

~Photo update- excuse the shininess, this was taken post-moisturiser! I think I can really see a difference from when I started, both in terms of the actual acne and the dryness/redness smile.png~

Snapshot_20140424.jpg Snapshot_20140424_1.jpg


~~~Started the treatment 12/04/14 (UK dates). I'm using epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapelene) in place of the BP in the regimen~~~


#11 Amy B

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 05:31 AM

The Regimen- a 4 month update!

 

 

It's been almost 4 months since I started the regimen!

 

Since then I've done exams, been on holiday, been swimming with no makeup- all with virtually perfect skin!

 

I am over the moon with how the treatments has worked for me- I didn't even follow it strictly, using epiduo instead of pure bp, and effaclar moisturiser instead of aha. 

 

My skin is smooth, especially my forehead, which used to be a problem area. I have a maximum of two active spots at any time, and they are small and do not scar like they used to. Mostly my skin is completely clear. Even the hyperpigmentation has almost all faded- which I attribute to the effaclar moisturiser, which I would REALLY recommend!

 

I am now confident enough to go out with minimal makeup- maybe a bit of concealer if I have a minor breakout- but I can also go out with a makeup-free face! (I used to have to do a full face of foundation every time I left the house.)

 

I am so glad I persevered through those painful two weeks at the beginning- to anyone doing that now, DON'T GIVE UP. It's SO worth the initial discomfort when you get clear skin at the end of it!

 

Here's a couple of pictures to show the progress I have made- taken just now, having just woken up, with makeup-free skin! (and actually, this is post-breakout, so it's the worst my skin ever gets- normally it's even better!)

 

Snapshot_2014804 (2).jpg Snapshot_2014804 (3).jpg


~~~Started the treatment 12/04/14 (UK dates). I'm using epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapelene) in place of the BP in the regimen~~~


#12 somehelp123

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 03:09 PM

Congrats, that's amazing :)

 

I'm sorry if you mentioned this in your previous posts, did you happen to add in AHA+ to the regimen? If so, do you think it helped?






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