Its been a long time since I've written a blog entry... probably a little less than a year. Since I have a little time at work to post in lieu of my skin regimen change, I thought I'd post something.
If you read the beginning of my blog, you'll learn that I used to love Proactiv Solution but when I turned 21, my skin started reacting to it in the weirdest way. Needless to say, I stop using it and fortunately, was able to maintain clear skin for the next 6 years by simply washing and moisturizing my face.
Last year, out of nowhere, my skin broke out terribly. I was healthy. Eating right. Working out. Doing all the things I needed to do to be clean from the inside out. So I did a lot of research and convinced my doctor to put me on a Tazorac regimen. For the first 3 months the experience was terrible. But once I got through the infamous "breakout stage" my skin was great. (Please read earlier posts to get all the details).
The thing with Tazorac is that you can't stop or you will be screwed. It's not a spot treatment so it doesn't work for those pimples that pop up over night. But it's great for hyper-pigmentation.
For the past 6 months or so, my skin hasn't been as clear as I think it should be using Tazorac everyday. Because I had some of Acne.org's 2.5% BP, I decided to start using it. After the first night of use, all of the pimples on my face went away but, I woke up to a really red and irritated face. I read more about the regimen on this site and was motivated to follow through with Daniel's suggestions.
I'm on my 3rd week of the regimen and I believe this is the real deal. BP always worked wonders for my skin but I thought I was allergic. With continual use, I don't have any irritation but I do have a bit of dryness. I haven't found where Daniel says to exfoliate which I need to do badly. I can't imagine a lot of dry skin being on my face is good.
Daniel's products are awesome. I started the regimen with my own facial soap and moisturizer but my skin just wasn't right. No pimples. But it just didn't feel good. Therefore, I bought his complete system including the Jojoba oil and AHA, and my skin is really looking great. I have a couple of pimples right now and some hyperpigmentation on my cheeks but again, I'm not wearing any makeup and I feel great. And the AHA is great for spot treatments. It works with the BP to get rid of annoying spots. For the first time, I really feel like I'll have clear skin AGAIN one day.
Hello... This Thursday marks 20 weeks since I've started Taz and I feel BEAUTIFUL again. I mean... I really feel good about myself and I don't wear make-up except for special occasions like going out to dinner or something. But for every day work... no! I don't try to cover my face or hide my cheeks with my hair. I'm just open and more confident.
Needless to say... I'm clear and don't feel anything underneath the skin.
I won't bore you with a long post... IT WORKS!
So, I'm in love with this product. It's working for me like none other.
Ohhh... I'm so sorry for taking 4 (almost 5 weeks) to post something. I've been extremely busy at work and moving. I've been exhausted and tired. It's been bad. But what's been good is my Taz journey. I've been using Taz religiously for 17 weeks and my skin looks a world of a lot better. Over the past four weeks, I've missed about five days (not consecutively) and never woke up to a pimple. I had one random pimple near my temple, but it was small and went away very fast. No sweat!
I'm currently using Taz at night after washing with the Cetaphil antibacterial bar. I also wash with the same soap in the morning and afterward, put Clindamycin foam on. No moisturizer in the morning or evening unless I absolutely need it. I'm not on antibiotics anymore, but still take Ortho-Tri (not specifically for acne though).
The hyper-pigmentation is getting better everyday. The left side of my face is taking longer than the right. The right is practically clear and the left still has some darker spots that get lighter day-by-day.
Since I don't put moisturizer on my face, I choose one day of the week not to put Taz on at night and instead, I smooth AHA all over. It exfoliates and moisturizes like crazy. Because Taz is a retinoid, the AHA burns a little but then the sensation goes away pretty fast. But using it is well worth it... especially if you're not moisturizing like me.
At 24-weeks, I'm going to put new pics up. I know it's been a long time, but I thought I'd wait to give more people hope. You have to use this product for at least 12 weeks... but you really have to keep going past that time. Your face starts to take notice at week 12... but it's the weeks after that really prove the truth of this product.
What I like most about my skin now, is knowing that there isn't a lot going on underneath the skin. My skin isn't perfect by any means, but I'm not scared of waking up to a new pimple like I was before using the product.
Again, I apologize for taking so long to post... but if you ever have any questions, please let me know.
Until next time...
I don't mean to boast, but my progress is getting better and better... and better... and better. Not one single pimple this week and the hyperpigmentation is getting better day by day. I'm almost feeling like myself again and my skin is the best that it's been since the summer.
I think I know what the key is...
I know. I know. We've all read article after article... after blog after blog stating that us "acne folk" need to moisturize even though we breakout. Well, two weeks ago, my derm told me not to moisturize unless I absolutely have to. So I stopped moisturizing and I haven't seen my skin look better. Since my last post at 12 weeks, I exfoliated and that's it. I went out on Saturday and ONLY put moisturizer on because I was applying make-up. If you know anything about make-up, it will not go on too smooth on an un-moisturized face.
I've refrained from wearing any make-up on my face unless it's for a special occasion. I think that's greatly helped my skin repair itself and not have to work on getting better while powder, blush and shimmer is on my skin.
But now you're probably saying... Why don't you just wear non-comedogenic make-up? Well, I do. But think about it... the make-up itself may not cause acne, but because our skin is acne prone, having make-up on your skin may add to bacteria being spread and cause your skin to work harder to turn over trapped dead skin cells. Maybe my theory is totally wrong, but it's working for me.
Although I have acne, this is only the 3rd time in my life that my skin has broken out and since using Taz, my skin is getting back to normal. If you haven't been following me, I have hormonal acne... non-cystic and it's primarily on my cheeks. The Taz experience is showing me that I may have a product I can use for life to carry me through possible future hormonal acne attacks.
Once again, I'm having great success and progress.
Until next week...
I'm going to keep this very short.... Yay! I made it to the 12-week mark and I couldn't be happier. Everything is going well with my skin. I got a couple of small blackheads this week but I easily extracted them and they didn't leave a scar. The hyperpigmentation is fading day by day. And not using moisturizer in my regimen is working wonders. For the first 10 weeks I would moisturize my face after washing in the mornings but when I told my derm what I was doing last week, he told me to stop using moisturizer unless I absolutely needed it. And you know what? He actually knew what he was talking about. My skin seems to be doing much better without moisturizing in the morning because my skin produces just enough oil during the day to keep my face looking moisturized.
I have to go to work now...
Until next week...
Actually, tomorrow will mark 11 weeks that I've been on Tazorac... but who's counting.
I went to the derm today and again, I don't know how I'm supposed to feel. During my last visit, he asked me if I thought the product was working. I was rather confused because he's the derm so shouldn't he be telling me if the product is working or not? This time, he didn't say it was working but, he didn't say it wasn't working. I told him that I was pleased with the product so far because the results are matching the progress that my research said I should be experiencing at this point. And he said that's what he likes to hear.
If I didn't need the derm to write my prescriptions, I wouldn't go at all. I pay a $50 co-pay to hear something that I could've told myself in the privacy of my own home. It somewhat pisses me off because I have to accept that he doesn't have much to say because there's no way he would remember me out of the hundreds of patients he helps in between visits. The system is crooked but, I guess you gotta' do what you gotta' do.
Needless to say, my derm visit wasn't that enlightening. But on the bright side, at least he didn't tell me it wasn't working or say anything negative about my progress. He has lowered my dosage of Minocycline to 50MG once a day, clindamyacin foam in the morning after washing my face and Taz 1.0 at night. He also advised me not to moisturize in the morning unless I absolutely need it. He said Taz dries some people out, but if it's not drying me out, I should only moisturize if I'll be in the sun and the moisturizer should include some sort of sunscreen. He didn't prescribe me any additional medication for hyperpigmentation because he said that he knows for a fact that Taz will take care of it. I was a little disappointed, but I went along with it.
My assessment is that this stuff is great. My skin is smooth (although I have two small pimples in an area where I've accidentally put Taz) and practically pimple free. My cheeks are my problem areas and are clear. The hyperpigmentation is so much better than it was compared to 10 weeks ago. It's still not where I would like it to be, but much better. I'm really looking forward to how my face will look after two more months when I visit the derm again. I hope I'm all clear.
Would I still recommend this product? Yes! I'm not disappointed by the progress at all. I would love perfect skin right now but Taz will not give you an overnight success story. It takes time!
Until next week...
10 Weeks! Can you believe it. I've actually made it to week 10 of my Taz journey and I couldn't be happier at this point.
You're probably thinking: "Why did she name this blog entry '10 weeks/ I'm African American'?" I wanted to remind African Americans who seek out acne.org for answers to their acne woes that there's a faithful, ethnic person blogging about a product outside of Accutane. As an African American, I've found that many people don't have answers to our skin problems because of the levels of melanin in our skin. Sometimes it's not as simple as just treating the acne, but also the problematic hyperpigmentation that lingers for months after the pimple is gone.
Now to my 10 week assessment... This week has been awesome. No pimples and the scarring is getting better everyday. Remember, I don't have pits or dimples in my skin. I simply have surface level hyperpigmentation. So, if you want to know if Taz works on severe scarring, this may not be the blog for you. Taz does help hyperpigmentation. It is a slow process, but it does help.
There's not much to say this time around, but the fact that Taz is still working for me. It's been a long process, but definitely a successful one so far. I go to the derm next week and hopefully he'll see the same progress that I see. I'm going to ask for combination therapy for the scarring to speed up the process, but I'm thinking he'll say the same thing he said last time, "Taz will take care of the scarring in time." Finger crossed...
Until next time..
Thursday, February 18 marked my 9-week anniversary on Taz. What I've concluded about this week is... ONLY PUT TAZ ON THE PROBLEM AREAS AND NOWHERE ELSE! I'm so serious when I say this because if you start putting Taz on areas where you usually don't breakout, that part of your skin will begin to go through the initial breakout stage just as the problem areas did. Taz can't judge what areas are better or worse than the other. It will treat all skin the same and if there's underlying elements that need to be exposed, it will bring them to the surface.
I recently started a new job and when I have to wash my face, I haven't been as careful about keeping the Taz on ONLY the areas where I breakout. I've gotten a little bit outside of those areas and guess what, I got a small pimple. The pimple is not as bad as what it could've been, but it was still a pimple, which set me back mentally a little bit. The research is TRUE... only put Taz on the problem areas and stick to those areas. Taz is not a spot treatment for the occasional pimple... It's a longterm treatment. If you're thinking about using Taz, please read that sentence several times until it becomes a part of your mental strategy when tackling your acne with this product.
I'm still happy with the product and haven't had any serious breakouts in the past couple of weeks. The 3 small pimples I got last week left a hyperpigmented scar but, the scars are fading much faster than they would if I wasn't using Taz. The hyperpigmentation is the most frustrating part. Even though I don't have pimples, the scars make me look I still have a lot going on with my skin.
All in all, my skin looks a world of a lot better than it did in December when I started. The next time I go to the derm, I'm going to stick to my guns and ask him for something that can be used to treat the scarring a little bit faster. I'm almost to my 12 weeks and it's time to start doing something about the hyperpigmentation even though the Taz helps a whole lot.
Again, all in all, I'm still very impressed by what this product has done to improve my skin. From the day I've started, I haven't missed one single day of using Taz. Even if I come in a little tipsy, too tired or simply feel annoyed by having to wash my face EVERY freakin' night, I still do it so I can know I've done all I can do by week 12 when I make my overall assessment of the product.
Until next time...
The good thing is, I've made it to 8 weeks on Taz. I believe the initial breakout stage is over for me, but I had a slight breakout this week. I don't believe the three pimples I got were from using Taz but from drinking too much milk and my cycle started this week. I know consuming dairy products doesn't add to the clarity of my skin, but I've just been having a craving for milk lately. Now that I see the effects on my skin, I'm going back to only drinking water and not the occasional glass of milk. All three of the pimples hurt. Two never surfaced but one morphed into one of the regular whiteheads I've gotten used to since starting Taz. But... There's a BIG but... I didn't get depressed about it because the existing hyperpigmentation is fading big time. And the pimples didn't show up in my problem areas, which are my cheeks.... which is a HUGE plus. For the second week in a row, I've worn my hair away from my face and only brushed my face with a little powder, primarily for shine and not concealing.
I truly love this product and with a little patience, I think I will go far. I don't see my face breaking out really bad ever again while using this product because of how it interacts with the body.
Week 9.... I'm ready... and NO MILK!
Until next time...
Whoooooooo Hooooooooo! I've made it to 7 weeks on Taz! I can't believe it. I'm more than halfway to the recommended 12 weeks. I think the initial breakout is coming to a close. The breakout has been going on for 4 weeks with me. It's been an annoying process but this week, I've only had one small whitehead that was gone by the time I went to bed. The hyperpigmented areas are getting lighter but aren't as light as I would like them to be at this point. If the progress continues in this direction, I can only imagine what my face will look like in a couple of 2 more weeks.
In the first weeks of starting Taz, there was so much coming out of my pores- blackheads, whiteheads, and anything else that was lying dormant underneath the surface. Now, my face feels so smooth. I can't believe it. I just hope it gets even better.
I'm still using Minocycline 100MG once per day. My doc plans on taking me off antibiotics after 5 more weeks of using it. He said Taz will work on it's own if used everyday and in the future, it can be used every other day.
I'm also putting Clindamycin foam on my face in the mornings before applying moisturizer. That may also be contributing to minimal breakouts.... but based on research, my breakouts should be subsiding at this point and completely gone by week 9.
STICK WITH IT-- that's my motto! I really think this stuff works.
Until next time....
I haven't had a pimple in 3 DAYS! Yayyy! I'm so happy. The pimples I was getting didn't hurt and weren't big... but it would be an annoying whitehead that would pop up on on my cheek and get larger throughout the day until it finally dried up and flaked off. It's amazing to see how fast the cell turnover is. I can literally see a pimple come and go in less than a day.
Today was the first day I've worn my hair in a ponytail in a long time. Although there are still numerous, visible hyperpigmented scars on my face, it's not the first thing I see when I look in the mirror. I can't wait for the scarring to lighten so I can have my face back... but until then, I hope this type of progress continues. I really hope the initial breakout phase is coming to a close.
I'm seeing a little sunshine at the end of the tunnel... I finally have HIGH HOPES!
Well.... I don't know how to interpret my trip to the derm today. Based on all the research and testimonials I've read, I NEVER expected that my skin should be a lot clearer by now. I haven't read one posting on ANY website I've visited stating that my skin should look a LOT better at this point. So.... going in to the derm's office, I was confident in what he may say about the progress of my skin. I thought he would've said something to the effect of, "Okay, looks great! Your skin is breaking out, but that's what it's supposed to be doing." Instead, he asked me if I thought it was getting any better and it doesn't look like there's much change from the last time I was there. I took everything he said with a grain of salt because of course, he doesn't remember exactly how my skin looked the first time I went to him. I think he was a little disappointed that the Minocycline hasn't prevented all of the breakouts, but I don't understand how he could expect me not have any active pimples when I'm in the first 6 weeks of using Taz. From what I've learned, I'm on track... but I went along with what he was saying anyway.
I asked him about the hyperpigmentation and he said the continual use of Taz will take care of the dark spots on my face. So, he didn't prescribe me any hydroquinone to help the process along.
For the next 6 weeks, he advised me to continue using Taz at night and to take 100MG of Minocycline once a day. He also added Clindamycin Foam to my morning regime.
My Assessment Thus Far: True, my skin doesn't look much different, but I know there's a difference. The cell turnover is much faster. When a pimple pops up one day, it's usually gone the next. If the pimple is not completely gone, I can clearly tell that it's drying up on it's own. Before Taz, if I didn't treat a pimple at all, it would take a least a week for the pimple to be completely gone and then there would be a dark spot left. I don't have any new hyperpigmented scars from new pimples... which is FANTASTIC in my book. I wish there were more noticeable results right now, but I'm still hopeful and can make a true assessment when I reach 12 weeks. I have faith in the 100's of testimonials I've read that say "stick with it."
There you go and I hope this doesn't discourage anyone from trying Taz... I visit the derm again on March 3... that's a little less than 6 weeks, but that's the only time I could make an appointment.
Please ask any questions or share your experience with me. I would love some feedback!
Until Next time...
The good new is... I've survived 6 weeks so far. The bad news is... I don't believe the initial breakout period is over. Today, I have about 4 hard whiteheads on my face, but the trend has been; here one day and gone the next. The breakouts aren't really that bad to me because I've been breaking out since September 2009 and wasn't on any treatment at all and those pimples would hurt. The bumps that are appearing since using Tazorac are unsightly but don't hurt. I'm really looking forward to the next 3 weeks because in weeks 7-9, thats when most people say their breakout stops and their skin starts to look great.
My main problem right now is hyperpigmentation, which is a problem many blacks, asians and hispanics have due to the levels of melanin in our skin. During my visit at the derm tomorrow, I'm going to ask him about combination therapy with hydroquinone. I'll definitely let you know how my visit goes.
I'm still happy with the product and overall, my skin is better despite the minor pimples. What gives me hope is that this is a more long-term use product than many things I've researched about. I don't want a "quick-fix" so I hope going through this process pays off.
Until next time...
This will be short and sweet... I don't think the breakout phase of the "Initial Tazorac Breakout" is over, but I at least experienced a little relief today. My husband even made the comment, "Wow your face is really clearing up." That really meant a lot. There are still blackheads surfacing, but the pimples are gone. At this point, the hyper-pigmentation is the worst part. I cant wait to go to the derm and discuss some potential combination therapy for the scarring.
All in all... I'm still happy. Since the initial breakout started, today was one of the first days of looking in the mirror and seeing my face before the scars. I guess that's always a good thing. I'm soooo ready for the day when I can really tell the difference and the scars are lightening and I'm not really getting any more pimples.
If this is your first time reading my blog and want to know more about my experience with the initial breakout, please start reading at Day 25.
Until next time... hopefully it gets better from here.
I started the "initial breakout on day 23" and... This sucks! This sucks! This sucks! When people say their skin PURGES, they weren't lying. Currently, I'm not working so I have the liberty to walk around the house without any insecurities or wearing tons of make-up. I swear, during the day I can feel my pores unclogging. Blackheads surface my skin and practically push out on their own. I may gently brush my face with my hand, and sometimes a blackhead with roll out. That sounds really gross... but I guess it's a good thing.
This breakout phase really sucks. I'm committed to sticking it out, but it's definitely hard. I have 3 interviews this week and in the back of my mind, I wonder if the interviewers are staring at my skin... especially the cluster of pimples I have on my right cheek.
I really feel at a loss right now.. my husband still tells me I'm beautiful, but I definitely don't feel like it. I'm praying this gets better soon.
Until next time...
It's day 32 of my Taz journey and the "Initial Breakout" started on day 23 (I started blogging about the breakout on day 25... if you want to read.)
Yesterday, I had several hard whiteheads and a couple of blackheads. Throughout the day yesterday, I could really tell how fast Taz helps the skin turnover because several blemishes surfaced before I went to bed yesterday... and the blemishes that were SOOOOO obvious yesterday, are hardly noticeable today. I didn't pop or extract any of the blemishes... although one didn't survive the face wash last night.
I have several new blemishes today, in which two of them hurt... not terribly... but they hurt. Again... I'm not picking, poking, or extracting... just waiting.
Until next time...