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