So I have changed my routine. I went to the derm today. He advised me to use BP every other night, to stay on the antibiotic cream (clindamycin in Gaxal base) and pills, and gave me some retin-a (Stieva-A). Therefore I'm not going to be on DKR at least until I give the derm's routine a try. Sigh. So here's the new plan: Morning: Neostrata gentle milk cleanser Clindamycin in Glaxal Base moisturizer Night: Marcelle comforting cleanser One night of Stieva-A 0.025%, the next night PanOxyl 2.5% BP aquagel Clindamycin in Glaxal Base moisturizer Internal: Doxycyline 50mg twice a day 3-4 pills of Omega 3s Vitamin D Probiotics As-needed basis: For when I'm extra dry/flaky: Eucerin 5% urea for dry skin, or The Body Shop's Vitamin E night cream For when I need to spot-treat: Murad 4% sulfur mask Sigh...all this for the shit on my face.
So I've been viewing acne.org and its forums for a while now. Decided to start an account + blog to track my anti-acne journey. I have just started a new regimen so this would be a good time to begin. History: Have had a few zits and cysts in highschool, but nothing major with no scarring and smooth skin. My skin was fairly normal, maybe slightly oily on the t-zone but otherwise no scarring or major issues. When I was 18 (college) I began using Neutrogena's Blackhead Eliminating Scrub. It has salicylic acid in it. I found that my skin looked REALLY good on it, and it did get rid of the dark clogged pores on my nose and gave an overall nice look to my skin. I used the product for a couple months, ran out, and took a couple weeks to buy more of it. When I began using it again, my skin broke out and that began my real issues with acne. Since then I've been trying different things with no truly good results such as: - Biore's cleanser + toner - SpectroGel cleanser pH balanced for sensitive skin - derma E Problem skin cleanser - proactiv (but only a couple of times as it irritated and dried my skin out way too much) - clean and clear - witch hazel astringent - moisturizers used included Biore, Olay Total Effects 7x (this was nice to use when my skin was without any problems), Neutrogena with spf 15, Olay Complete (too greasy), derma E skin lighten (good at slight skin lightening but not as a moisturizer overall), and nivea (too thick). In my early 20s I am left with scarring (red spots, some ice pick - though it's not SO terrible), uneven skin texture, a lot of red marks, closed comedones (skin coloured small bumps almost like milia but smaller). I HAVE to wear concealer on them or else people comment on how red/pimply I am, which doesn't make me feel good at all....but the problem of the uneven skin texture makes it harder to cover with foundation and concealer. I can deal with the redness (or even new, smaller pimples) better than I can the scars and skin texture changes. Over a month ago I went to the dermatologist who prescribed 4% Clindamycin topical antibiotic in a dormer 211 cream. I used Avene's Clean-AC cleansing cream twice a day, followed by some Benzagel 5% gel once a day or so and then the clindamycin to moisturize. After about 5 weeks of that, I found no real change in my acne. I felt like I broke out more often. I also always have this funny taste on my lips from the clindamycin even though I put it nowhere near my lips (tastes like a gross rubber band). The only positive thing was that the blackheads (well clogged pores that become dark) on my nose pretty much completely cleared out. The result is large visible pores, but otherwise it looks much better than before. It has not helped my pimples yet. Currently: I want to get the acne under control and then figure out my options for the scars (I scar very easily). I visited the derm again and he told me to get PanOxyl 2.5% benzoyl peroxide gel to use every other night with the clindamycin. I was also prescribed 1/4 tablets (25mg each) of doxycycline twice a day (for a total of 50mg) taken with no food an hour before, or 2-3 hours after the antibiotic, for two months. I have just started that this morning so I will update on any progress if there is any! Once again the current routine is: Morning Cleanse with Avene Clean-ac cleanser Pat dry and use PanOxyl 2.5% BP gel Put on some clindamycin 4% antibiotic in dormer 211 cream Sunscreen, makeup, etc. Midday Clean makeup off with Avene Clean-AC cleanser Use Clean and Clear soothing eye makeup remover if I need to (this is running out so I will switch to Biore sensitive eye makeup remover which really stings the eyes but I just want to finish the product since it was soo expensive) Night Cleanse with Avene Clean-ac cleanser Pat dry and use PanOxyl 2.5% BP gel Put on some clindamycin 4% antibiotic in dormer 211 cream Twice a week Exfoliate dead skin cells gently with Murad's AHA/BHA cleanser Oral supplements 1/4 tablet of 100mg doxycycline antibiotic twice per day, with no food 3 capsules of Omega 3 fish oils everyday (by Webber Naturals, Omega-3 Super Concentrate EPA 400 DHA 800) 1 Vitamin D pill per day 1 B100 complex pill per day Let the games begin!
Uggghhhh I hate this itchy, red, and now dry/flaky skin! My skin feels so rough and hard. But this is reported to be expected so I have to keep it up. It's been 5 days of using Dan's regimen and 33 days of the antibiotics. I keep dreaming about clear skin, lol. Big pimple on my left cheeck has dried up and flattened out. Using a spot of Murad's clarifying mask (with 4% sulfur) over night has helped it dry out a lot. My face burns everyday and I feel like I've gotten darker? It's so tight and is starting to scale up. Not sure if I should use more of the clindamycin in dormer 211 cream I have, or to add my other face cream (Olay with spf 15 which is pretty good for my skin when it's dry). Maybe I will just start by using the Laura Mercier hydrating primer all over for a while, under makeup. I feel tight even when smiling, which stinks. Started my job today and I feel like I may not have made such a good impression (my job is fairly image-driven) because of the dry, scaly skin and makeup =(.
Still using stieva-a and BP every other night. I haven't noticed much of a difference in amount of pimples because I have only just started the stieva-a, and I usually get pimples every 3-4 weeks (around my period). It has not gotten worse nor better. Since being off DKR I am MUCH less dry especially around the mouth area. I am only using BP at night every other night. I really like the antibiotic cream I'm on, it's the clindamycin in glaxal cream. He prescribed it to me in the glaxal cream cause my skin was very dry and it's becoming winter. It's a very rich cream but surprisingly not greasy. Much better than Dormer 211! I have only noticed my skin is MUCH, much softer. My forehead is sooooooo smooth. I don't have pimples on there, however. The rest of my face is okay - smooth. This may be due to the stieva-a (like retin-a) and/or the Neostrata peel solution I use once in a while. Nothing much to report.
I want this bout of good skin to last forever. Of course, I want for it to improve, but as long as it doesn't get worse, I can live with it at this level. I feel quite good about it lately, well at least with makeup on. I hope it's not just one of those hormonal changes where things look good for 3 weeks then - BAM! pimple city.
I have to say I am finding it really hard to plan my meals around the pills....or my pills around the meals....whatever! I also feel hungry yet strangely have a loss of appetite. I started on a probiotic also, just for a month, maybe two. No new breakouts in almost 10 days of starting the doxy, and about 2 weeks since that makeup breakout. I did notice some kind of closed comedone...milia? maybe...on my chin and tried squeezing them a bit which resulted in a red bump, that I then popped...BUT! The Polysporin has helped them out a lot, besides a red mark they're not noticable. They are quickly healing The makeup breakout marks are also healing, there is just one left with a bumpy texture to my skin. Overall, my skin is looking fine right now besides the red spots. I think, though, that I am soon going to start using the oil cleansing method. Less products are better for my skin (and my wallet). I also like oil because it removes makeup and I won't have to buy another eye/makeup remover just for that. Researching about that right now and I am not sure which combination would be best. I want to try emu oil but it's like $27 at the health food store and the bottle isn't all that big (no more than 100-125 mL). If I create a really cheap oil blend (like $10-20) that works well I'll stick with it, otherwise I'll buy an oil cleanser from Sephora (anywhere from $18-35). But again, I've got to be patient about that. I don't want to lose any of the progress I've made.
Whyyyy is it that whenever I have a derm appointment I get new pimples...I guess it's cause meetings are a month apart. But I feel like a bad patient if I get new pimples, lol. Ugh. My skin was doing well for about a week. Now it's all red again. He MIGHT put me on retin-a either tomorrow or at another meeting. We'll see what he says. Pimple count: 1 on left cheek that I mentioned before (period related) 3 on right cheek...two are tiny, one is small but significant enough to hurt. Not a cyst or anything. Not a whitehead. Just going to put some Murad sulfur mask on it overnight to try to dry it out. Tomorrow I think i am only going to wear powder foundation. And only use concealer on the dark red spot on my left cheek. No point in trying to cover up the rest. I just need my skin to not feel or look too dry. If I'm spotty - whatever. It's not the first thing you notice on my face. I will just use powder to lessen the redness I have and make sure I don't look too oily. I'm not so concerned with the scarring at the moment. Plus I'm going to the derm so he might as well see my face without makeup.
Okay I've read through some other posts where people didn't give up on the regimen even after weeks of dryness and discomfort. I have weird, dark, leathery dry areas under my lips that an't really be hidden with makeup. I'm not going to apply BP there at least not twice a day, probably just at night. I will continue to put it on the rest of my face twice a day. I should give it 3 months at least. Even though I look pretty bad, IF this regimen does work then I should tough it out for a month or two...I don't know if BP works for everyone but some people in the gallery have tamed their skin from BP. Mine isn't even as bad as most of their's. I have one small pimple on my left cheek near my cheekbone/ear. It's definitely a period pimple. I don't mind the size of it to be honest it's pretty small. I'm on my 2nd tube of BP now. My skin feels so....thin? It feels so sensitive and thin these days. I wash with a gentle cleanser, let my skin dry out for like 1-3 minutes, then apply BP. It STINGS a lot. Then it dries up, stinging calms down, I apply moisturizer (for dry skin from Eucerin, love it) and it stings again! It takes quite a while for me to have calm skin. At least 45 minutes, I think. Which means I have to get up 45 minutes earlier to go to work or school =( I haven't been taking my internal supplements. Ugh. I think I am getting sick because it's hard to swallow when I'm eating or drinking. Oh and I'm thinking I might not need to apply BP on my forehead. I don't get pimples there. Sometimes there's a bit of redness/those tiny red dots that are not pimples but I don't think I've actually ever had pimples there besides from highschool. In highschool I only had pimples on my nose (never had pimples on my nose any more for years) and sometimes on my forehead or chin.
Well it's only been about 3 1/2 weeks on the DKR! Wow it seems much longer. I'm going to go for 100ml doxy twice a day cause I haven't been taking them much and I'd be dragging out the antibiotic use. I would rather finish the treatment in a month or so than drag it out longer than 3 months.
45 days seems like such a long time. I've increased the volume of BP I am using today again. It is now the 3rd week on "the" regimen. Now, I am not using BP ALL OVER my face. I leave some empty space on my temples and just below my temples on my cheekbones. I don't get any acne there and it just seems to be overkill for that area. So, I work around it. I hate hate hate the flakyness in the space between my chin and my cheeks....It's the ugliest form of flaking. Looks like I forgot to wash properly after brushing my teeth. But, I do get pimples there so I should not stop applying BP there. I notice an overall brighter and smoother look to my skin. I do get oily on my nose but I don't mind shine that much, I hate dullness more. My acne scars are definitely fading. It's taking a lot of time but there is progress. I do not have any new pimples but I think I feel one emerging from under the skin on my left cheek....I'm "ovulating" now so maybe with PMS the pimple will come out. My skin is not too red or itchy (until I put the clindamycin cream on top of BP) but it is dry and flaky. The eucerin 5% urea cream is pretty good. It hydrates well, covers up most of the scaly skin I have, and is a GREAT base for makeup. I wish the tube was a bit bigger though because I can see myself going through these a lot while I have dried skin from BP. If you only have a BIT of dryness (on certian areas), you might as well just use vaseline or aquaphor (pretty much the same product imo) on those dry areas then a regular moisturizer on top. Still, I am very glad I purchased this. I am definitely wearing less makeup. I think by having a smoother base (by using the Eucerin and sometimes a silicone primer), scars that are fading, and minimal or no active pimples, I look and feel pretty good. It is not a miracle but this routine (along with the antibiotics) is controlling my skin very well. Today I was talking to an SA (sales associate) about some products and she didn't even notice I was looking for a product for my acne. That's a good sign! I am going to start using the Neostrata Skin Peel treatment a few times a week. Glycolic acid seems to work well for my skin.
So I've decided that since I am using 2.5% BP gel anyways, I will use Dan's regimen along with the antibiotics and the supplements. I am using PanOxyl's bp aquagel which comes in 60g, it was about $10. I find that if I'm using it to Dan's recommendations (equal to half a pump), it stays very sticky on my skin. It has these little beads (of BP) that are white and take a while to disappear. I'm going to say that yesterday was day 1 of Dan's regimen. I'll see where I am in 4 weeks' time with that. So far I see a tiny bit of redness and some stinging on the skin with the BP (used it last night and this morning). I still have those 2 period pimples on my left cheek (which WAS clearing up..red marks were fading) with one of the pimples getting larger and redder.... Argggghhhhh Hope it goes away soon. It doesn't look like a whitehead pimple that can be popped so I will leave it alone. It's just large, bumpy, and red. Easier to conceal than a whitehead pimple. Sometimes I hate thinking about how obsessed I am with my skin. I feel like overall, it is okay, with a few pimples here and there. However my scarring makes my skin look 100x worse. I am lucky I had no real problems with it in highschool. This acne problem was my own doing back in 2006/2007 because that's the age when I started experimenting with different products like face washes and moisturizers. I think the best moisturizer I tried was Olay total effects 7...I had no oiliness whatsoever. The Neutrogena one with spf15 was pretty lame, though. After my antibiotic moisturizer is complete (I have about 1 month of use left of it in the bottle), I think I will go back to Olay or another simple yet high quality moisturizer, and use my derma e Skin lighten at night on the scars with a bit of jojoba oil. Oh and I have to be more strict about taking the meds and supplements everyday. I eat at different times almost everyday so it's hard to stick to a schedule for that. I'll keep it on my dresser table where I won't miss it. It's usually in my dresser drawer so I forget about it some days.
I'm using more BP now since it's the 2nd week of Dan's regimen. I haven't gotten red for several days. A bit of itchyness/burning still, when using the clindamycin on top (after the BP has dried). For the past few days I have only used the clindamycin cream at night. I am using Eucerin's dry skin lotion with 5% urea in the day time. It's pretty good at making my flakiness less apparent. It's also a good base for makeup, once it's dry. Oh, I am flaking a LOTTT especially on my forehead and temples and the bridge of my nose. I feel like peeling them off but of course I can't do that. My cheeks just feel really tight and look pretty funny if I try to smile. My overall complexion looks better. Much brighter. I still have a bit of a bump from that big period pimple on my left cheek but it's not bad. All my scars are fading quite well. I have something in between light and medium skin (not fair but not tanned) and I scar pretty easily which always shows up bright on me. When looking at me from a few feet away, you wouldn't really be able to see the scars, besides the one on my left cheek and a few faint traces of the ones from a few weeks ago on my right cheek. It's also much easier for my makeup to cover them, and my concealer seems to be hiding them well also. It's not because the concealer is better, it's because my scars are lighter and are fading. Still no new pimples yet. I missed a couple days of the oral antibiotic though...bad bad bad I know. I'm so terrible at routine with these pills. Although I'm doing good with the cleanser, bp and moisturizer. Oh and I'm using Neostrata milk cleanser at night...that's after my makeup is removed and I only need a light cleansing. While it says it can remove makeup, it's really not that great for that purpose. When I use this cleanser I don't feel tight-skinned. I like the feeling. However it's too expensive for what it really does...which is only lightly cleanse. I feel like if it can't even remove my makeup properly, how can it "clean" my skin? So I won't be buying this again. I have sooo much homework I've gotta get to bed now.
Haven't updated in a while because while I noticed small changes, they weren't drastic enough to report on. I visited the derm today and he agreed that my skin was looking better. I got just one medium sized and one very small pimple on my left cheek due to the time of the month. Besides that, no other pimples. I am sure this is due to the antibiotic. I tried cleansing my face with oil (jojoba, castor, and grapeseed) when I remove my makeup, but I think it's just a waste of time because I still need to cleanse with regular cleanser anyway. I noticed that by doing that, it has caused small tiny bits of redness/not quite bumps, on my forehead area. So contrary to the popular OCM, it doesn't seem to work for me and I will scrap that idea. I should also say that I wasn't following the antibiotic routine 100%. I missed several days. I really don't like how it made my stomach feel even though I had such a small dose of 25mg twice a day. But since I'm pretty sure the things that seem to be helping is the doxycycline and the BP 2.5 gel, I am going to make sure I don't forget that routine everyday... I've also been researching and experimenting the best ways to use makeup to hide the acne and enhance my features. I am just not someone who can go bare-faced right now because I have TOO many pigmented scars on my cheeks. My skin (cheeks mainly) is not very even-textured which is the biggest problem to applying makeup. Even if I spent a lot of time with concealer, after a few hours it has a tendency to disappear by 40%-95%. Here are the methods and products I've tried: - CG smoothers concealor (in the wand) -> too pink, do not use this for acne, this is fine for underye circles on people with lighter skin. - MAC Studio Finish concealor (pot) -> I received NW20 from the saleslady, which I've learnt now is too pink to use on acne scars. For some reason, I'm not sure if I even came across an NC20 colour (NC would be a more yellow-toned concealer which is better for acne and acne scarring). This wasn't too bad actually, when blending with a fluffy brush. But this had a sort of oily-yet-dry texture that would NOT last on my cheeks. Even when I used primer, set with powder, etc. This can work well for some people but the skin colour match was not good on me and I wouldn't buy this again. - MAC Studio Fix concealor -> Again with the colour issue. This was a creamy/gel like texture which I found much better at slightly filling in small acne depressions (small pitted scars). I'd use this if I'm a bit more tanned...the colour match again sucks (ugh why are sales people so sucky at it? must be the lighting) so it's kind of obvious I have it on unless I use bronzer, blush, etc. In my experience it lasted slightly better than the studio finish. - Annabelle concealor pot -> There are 4 colours in this. 3 shades of tan, and 1 useless white colour. I actually liked the colouring of these concealers much better than the MAC ones I have in NW20. It blends better into my skin, and only cost about $8-9. I would use this a bit more when my scars fade in intensity because it's not as pigmented as some other concealers for the problem areas I have right now. If I want a more natural look, I will turn to this. The main problem is that it also slides off my cheeks after a while. - Lise Watier corrector/concealor palette -> I saw this used on youtube so decided to give it a try. I am not sure what it is but this so far hasn't worked for me at all. They offer you 5 colours: lilac for a brightening effect on muddy skin, green to correct redness, and 3 shades of tan/brown for concealing. I've tried several methods of using this....under foundation with the green tone, over foundation, twice before and after foundation, alone under powder, and so on...none of them seem to work. I always get an unnatural look when I use the green (probably because I am light skinned but not FAIR i.e. white and pale/pink...I am more of a pale olive which has some yellow and neutral tones. I also find that this makes my skin look more dry. Overall, I'm not happy with this. I'd probably use this for picture-taking...or as a halloween costume idea...(has the green and lilac/whitish tones...which are cool for "face-paint"). But I will keep trying to experiment, on days I am not going outside with this. - Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer -> So far, this is the best one I have used, but it takes some time to create an acceptable acne coverage. This is very pigmented, (very expensive too, around $30-36 for 15mL), very thick, and dries fast. It says that is is waterproof, and while MUFE is known for its waterproof products, I haven't tested this out so I don't know. One would think that because it's waterproof, it means that it will last long on our faces. But for people with oily skin, oil doesn't have the same properties as water and this is not a guarantee on protection, or long-wear, for your oily face. I have noticed a bit of fading over the day with this product, but less so than the other concealers I tried so far. I think it's mainly in the method of application. For myself, I take a bit on my finger and blend on my scars overall, on top of my foundation. It lightens up the overall area at first. I let it dry for a bit, then put face powder on to set it. I then take some on my small, stiff concealer brush (or a pointed lip brush) and work it on the areas of discolouration from darker acne scars. It takes a bit of time to do this. This gives the most natural look to my face (not a VERY natural look, but the most out of all the other methods) and lasts pretty well. A problem, again, is with the colouring....I am using #5 which seems to be okay in its intensity for my face, but again seems to dry up in an orangy/pinkish tone. I prefer yellowish. I might exchange the product colours if I get a chance to, and try out #4. I am also going to dry up my foundations a bit to see if they would act as good concealers, since they are more yellowish than any others I've tried. So yea...long, long post. I have another 2 months of pills and the routine to go...let's see where I'm at by the end of the year! I hope 2011 is a much better skin year than the past couple of years =).
Holy itchy red skin, batman! This BP is really keeping my skin itchy and red especially around my mouth area and on my cheeks where I have large pores. I also have to be careful not to get it on my scar (from when I was a toddler) which is near my eye because it gives the shallow scar a lot of red patches. I feel like scraping my skin off with my nails! I've used the Avene thermal water mist (any water will do, really, as long as it's not too hard from the tap) to spritz my face if I feel it's REALLY itchy and avoid any rubbing or scratching. The itchyness is bearable after about an hour of having BP on. As well I noticed that my makeup definitely ended up looking more cakey with dry skin patches. It's okay cause my skin is OVERALL clear besides the scarring and the 2 pimples on left cheek. I would rather deal with dry flaky skin than acne and acne marks. I think I will stick to using the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer for a bit. It doesn't emphasize dryness the way a few other foundations I have do so. And my one "period pimple" which I thought wouldn't be so bad, is pretty damn BIG. I believe it's a papule so I can't pop it. Even though it's big (pea sized), I can cover it up pretty well with MUFE Full Cover concealer. Used it today and it didn't draw any extra attention to me. I'm sure it'll go down soon. I should try a home remedy spot treatment, but I am SO lazy to. I'll be going to bed sometime after this post.
Even though I am only taking about 25mg of doxy each time, at twice a day, my stomach sort of hurts and I feel slightly nauseous I don't have a very big appetite any more. So far, no new pimples for at least a week or so. I have just hit my ovulation time and so for the next couple of weeks it will be a test as to whether I will get any time of the month flare-ups.
UGH I hate how parts of my skin are darker (below my lips, and near my temples) from all the dryness of BP. I think I will do this regimen for another week (2x a day) then bring it down to just once a day. Using THIS much BP is just gross. It makes my skin burn so much. I look terrible.
Still too early to really see the effects of the doxycycline, but I have noticed that I am a little drier on my face. Which in all honesty is probably due to the BP 2.5% gel. I'm using it only every other day, at night or for a few hours at a time. It's actually a step down from the 5% gel I was using, yet, my skin feels drier. So, maybe it has something to do with the doxy. Even so, it's not too bad since I'm taking the Omega 3s and have that "glow" to me. I don't have super oily skin, and the fish oils ARE making me more oily, but I quite like it. Imo it's better than being dry and flaky. It's not the type of oily that would make me break out, as I keep my skin cleansed daily, it's more of a summer glow. I'm finding it a bit hard to plan meals around taking the pills, so I hope it won't make a huge difference how far apart I eat food from the meds. Though, it's kind of making me feel nauseous