So I realized recently that I didn't have a couple of things listed on my regimen that are probably a great help in clearing my acne so I'm going to add them now.
Firstly, in the morning, after I'm done washing my face with the Proactiv facewash; I steam my face 3-4 days a week. I steam my face for about 15-20 minutes while I listen to some music, or sometimes watch part of a movie or tv show on my smartphone.
How to steam your face:
Large Glass Bowl/over sized coffee cup
at least 1-2 cups of boiling water
1 tsp table salt
towel to put over head
1. Have all the items ready for you at the location you will be steaming your face. Your towel, tsp of salt, and music or whatever should be waiting for you there.
2. Wet your face right before you begin your steam with some warm-hot water.
3. RIGHT after the water is brought to a boil, put it in the bowl or cup, and set it down where you will begin steaming your face. Have your towel ready, and pour in the tsp of salt right as you place your face over the steam.
*Be sure to be careful of the boiling water that will occur when adding the salt! This water is hot and WILL burn you if you're not careful. Be sure not to dip your face in too close to the water because you may burn your face... which won't help your acne at all!
After your pores are opened from the facial steaming is the best time to do some extractions. You can buy an extractor tool at pretty much any drugstore for a very cheap price. There are other effective extractor tools that you can buy online that do more, but they are geared more towards professional estheticians. I like my simple tool that I bought at the drugstore, and it works fine for my extractions.
There are two sides to most extractor tools. One side has a flat style loop with a small opening in the middle. This side of the tool is made especially for blackhead removal. When your pores are freshly opened after a facial steaming, you should be able to see your blackheads closer to the surface of your skin. Press the loop firmly but carefully, in a sort of downward motion at the center of the blackhead to extract your blackheads. Be sure not to press too hard. Don't worry if you leave loop marks on your skin, in a few minutes these marks should fade.
The other side of the extractor tool is a round style loop with a larger opening in the middle. This side of the tool is perfect for whiteheads, or larger protruding pimples. You can use this side of the tool the same way that you use the flat style loop side: Press loop firmly but carefully in a downward motion, with the loop surrounding the outside of the pimple.
If you use this tool after a good steaming, you will get MUCH better results than using it all by itself. They are a team, and should be used as one! After you do these extractions, be sure to sanitize your face to prevent the infections that you just brought to the surface from causing any other breakouts elsewhere on your face. You can sanitize your face with the Proactiv toner, ACV Toner, or witch hazel. I also like to use honey on my face as well. Google honey for acne if you think I'm crazy, and you'd be amazed at all the stuff you'll find!
How to use honey in a facial:
1. After extractions, wet face with warm-hot water.
2. Drip about a half a tsp of honey on your fingertips, and cover face with it. The honey should be thick enough on your skin for it to give good coverage, but the water should help it spread more evenly and prevent it from starting to drip from excess honey.
3. Give the honey at least 10 minutes to work. If I have the time, I sometimes leave the honey on my face for a couple of hours. The anti-bacterial properties continue to work, and sometimes the honey seems to just seep into my skin and leave it feeling nourished and smooth.
Well, I'm just over 3 weeks on Proactiv, and as I've said, I'm enjoying the product. I am using a ton of other products and methods to help in the clearing process; but these things I was using before Proactiv, so they are not the sole reason for my success.
Here is a couple of links for pictures of my skin on the 17th of November, that's 11 days ago.
Here's my skin today... You can see my acne fading. These are close up images, so I'm totally aware of how disgusting they look, but I do see an improvement of my skin. About 99% of the marks you do see in both sets of pictures is flat to my face, and much of it is actually post acne marks and acne scars. These are not very hard for me to cover up with some light concealers, even though I can't wait for my skin to finally heal enough so that it's hard to see the scarring.
Well there ya go... I've let it all hang out for you guys, and I hope you know that! It's not very easy to put your face out there for the world to see, but I think it is a good way to help people to find what helps them heal from our acne.
If you are going to post anything on my blog, please be sensitive to my feelings... I hate my acne as I'm sure you hate yours... I'd rather not see any posts about people saying how ugly my face is, etc.
First I'll give you a little update.
Well, I started my period, today, actually... so my acne is not exactly non-existent. I would like to make it known, however, that my acne seems to clear up a lot faster than it ever did. I have some monsters that were forming underneath the skin on both cheeks, but they never did come to a head. Now, it seems safe to say that they're clearing up quite nicely. The pimple that was on my forehead that I complained about before, is now just a very tiny dot that is easily covered up with makeup. The skin is still healing, but there is no gunk left in it, so I'm happy.
I still feel very hopeful with Proactiv, and will continue to use it religiously. Below, I've lined out all of the Proactive products that I have, and my opinions of them. I've also included a few of the additional products that I use that I feel are extremely helpful in clearing up my acne as well. Fortunately, these other products that I'm going to talk about are either extremely inexpensive, or just something you can pick up at the store. Check them out.
Proactiv Renewing Cleanser *Combination Therapy
This product is my favorite in the Proactiv skincare line. It has great exfoliating crystals that really help to get rid of any impurities and dead/excess skin. I love the feeling of this cleanser, and I've never had a better feeling of clean with any other cleanser. I will say that it's best to do a very light wash before using the Proactiv cleanser. Doing this will prevent you from massaging excess makeup, dirt and oil into your skin. Think of the Proactiv cleanser as your exfoliating step, rather than a way to get rid of makeup or oil. Proactiv has makeup removing wipes (that I will talk about soon), but I would recommend buying unscented baby wipes (seeing as they are MUCH cheaper) if you would like to use something like that to remove excess makeup, dirt, and oil. Depending on your skin sensitivity, you may massage the product into your skin for up to 2 minutes. I like to massage it into my skin for about 1 1/2 minutes. Everyone is different and it takes trial and error to figure out what your skin can handle, and what works best with your skin.
Proactiv Revitalizing Toner *Combination Therapy
The toner is fine. It feels like pretty much any other toner, and I have no particular love for it, nor do I think it's a useless thing. I'm kind of tempted to cut it out and use a witch hazel instead, just to see if I get the same results. Maybe I will later on, and let you know of the results.
Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
This is something I've been using that I've seen a lot of good results with in the past. I mix about 2 parts apple cider vinegar, 1 part water, and 1 part lemon, and drop in a couple of NSAID aspirins. Mix well, and use it on a cotton ball like a toner. The formula is something you can change up as much as you want according to your skin type, more apple cider vinegar, lemon, or aspirin if you feel it needs to be stronger and more water if it's a little too harsh. It's up to you. The apple cider vinegar balances the PH of your skin and keeps it from over-producing oil. It's PH balancing properties keep your skin moisturized as well, so that you don't need to use a moisturizer. I noticed a huge difference in my skin's production of oil immediately after using this, so if your skin tends to get oily throughout the day, I highly recommend trying this. I used to use moisturizers a LOT before I used this because of all the skin drying benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid treatments I've used. Now I don't need to use moisturizers very often at all. The lemon in the toner helps to fade old acne scars, so it's great to use with Proactiv while your skin is healing from the acne. Lemon is also known for it's acne clearing abilities. The aspirin turns into a salicylic acid in the water, so the combination of bp in the Proactiv, and sa in this toner will doubly help improve your skin faster and more effectively. I think this toner very likely has something to do with my great success so far with Proactiv.
Proactiv Repairing Treatment *Combination Therapy
I love this product. It makes my skin feel smooth and moisturized. I don't feel like it's overly drying out my skin, and it spreads on nice and evenly. This is another product that I feel is essential to the Proactiv skincare line. It's bp penetrates deep to clear acne before it starts, rather than some other treatments with higher amounts of bp that just sit on top of the skin and dry it out.
Proactiv Oil Free Moisture with SPF 15
If you have particularly dry skin, I would recommend this product. I don't really need to use this product regularly, so I only use it in certain areas when I think I need a little extra moisture. If you need a moisturizer, I do recommend it. It's not a good idea to leave skin dried out, so if you need a moisturizer, I recommend this one. I talked about the Apple Cider Vinegar Toner that moisturizes my skin and keeps it balanced, so I don't need this moisturizer very often.
Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer
I like this moisturizer. I can't say that I've noticed a huge difference in my skin within the 12 days that I've been using it sporadically, but I like my skin on the days when I do use it. The green tea is a great anti-aging product, so it's great for preventing wrinkles on my 26 year old skin.
Proactiv Sheer Finish Mattifying Gel
This is a great product to use under your makeup. It glides on very smoothly and you only need to use a little bit. I would highly recommend this product, especially if you use some particularly "unhealthy" makeup. It helps protect your skin from the makeup clogging your pores, and also helps your makeup go on smoothly.
Proactiv Daily Oil Control
I would recommend trying this if you have a problem with overly oily skin. I don't find that I need to use this product when I use my Apple Cider Vinegar Toner. I don't like using too many products all at once. I find that using too many really puts a thick layer of product on my face and makes me feel claustrophobic. This is one of the products I cut out when I'm trying to limit the products I use.
Proactiv Makeup Removing Cloths
I wouldn't recommend buying this product. To be completely honest, I didn't mean to buy them. The guy rang me up for it, put it in my bag, and I never saw him do it. If you feel like spending some extra money on your makeup removing needs, go ahead and buy it. I think this works just as well as some non-scented baby wipes that cost way cheaper. It comes with 45 wipes that you can cut in half in order to save yourself some money, but paying over $20 for this type of product is simply stupid.
Proactiv Refining Mask
If I was to rate my favorites... I would probably be tied with this one and the Repairing Treatment as number 2 right after the Renewing Cleanser. I barely use it as a regular mask, but more of an overnight treatment, and it does a great job. If I ever feel a pimple forming at night, I dab on a little bit of this stuff, and normally the size has gone down considerably by morning, if it hasn't completely disappeared. This product is also supposed to minimize pores... I think I will try to use it as a mask on my nose and other large-pored areas, and let you know how it goes.
Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Cleansing Mask
Well, while this product definitely doesn't do as it promises on the label and remove all your blackheads... It is still a nice 0.5% SA treatment to use a few times a week. It isn't overly harsh, but it does help in removing deeper dirt and oil. I would recommend finding a nice mask similar to this one and using it a few times a week. Using this particular mask isn't entirely necessary.
Neutrogena Advanced Solutions Acne Fading Peel
Unfortunately, this product is no longer sold at stores. I really did like this product. It works really well in fading post-acne marks, which is great for my acne scars. It also uses 2% SA and works well in preventing and healing acne. Just like the Blackhead Eraser Cleansing Mask, you can another mask that uses SA to fight your acne... Unfortunately I haven't found any other masks that claim to heal post acne-scarring.
So that's all of the products I've been using. Pretty soon I'm going to find a SA moisturizer to add to my regimen, and I'll post the info and my opinion on it when I do.
Thanks for reading, in my next post I will explain my daily and weekly regimen.
So I saw a ton of Proactiv reviews that were extremely negative, and I thought maybe I should make a blog that would keep some of you at an open mind, and maybe help some of you who are wondering if Proactiv is a good choice for you.
First, I'll tell you a little bit about me.
My Skin Type:
My skin is an oily and somewhat combination skin type. Any change in climate or weather might throw my skin off and dry it out, but 90% of the time, it's overly oily. I would also classify my skin as a very strong skin type, as opposed to sensitive. I've VERY RARELY had any skin sensitivities to any products that I've used, and I've used a lot. So, keep that in mind! If you're the type that has skin sensitivities to a lot of things, then comparing yourself to me is probably a bad idea. As long as a product is not using tons of alcohol in it, or is one of those 10% bp products, then I'll probably not have any adverse reactions to it. It might not cure me, but it won't hurt me. My acne is hormonal, so it get's worse around my period and when I'm stressed out.
I'm 26 years old. I've had moderate-slightly severe acne since I was probably around 11 or 12 years old. That's a long time. Throughout the years, I've tried just about everything OTC. I've used some prescription medications, but never religiously. My family was kinda poor, so I was expected to just deal with my acne. Once I got old enough to have a job, and be able to pay for things myself, I started exploring how to cure my acne a lot more.
I can't remember all the details, but I know that almost 5 years ago, I was on birth control and using Proactiv, and my acne was practically non-existent during this time. I was using Bare Minerals makeup, and my skin looked great. I think I actually believed that my acne would never be a problem for me again. Poor, ignorant me.
I wanted to explore more natural means of keeping my acne at bay, so all at once I stopped taking the birth control and canceled my Proactiv subscription. Slowly, but surely the acne started coming back. It wasn't actually all that bad, and through natural means, I kept it pretty much under control.
About a year or so later, I decided that I would give birth control another go, but this time, I wanted to try a low-dose formula hoping that this would be better for my body (even though I had no real problems with the regular formula before). That was a huge mistake that I regret everyday. Whatever hormones that were in this pill hated my body. Every week my acne got worse and worse. Huge, cystic, inflamed pores were popping up in places that I had never broken out before. I had no clue that the birth control could have ever been the reason for this change in skin, so I continued to take it for about a month and a half. At that time, someone had asked me if I had started taking a new birth control, and informed me that the pill could be the reason for my break-out... after some studying up, I found out that she was right. I was heartbroken. The worst part about it, was that my face was looking pretty darned clear before I started taking that blasted pill... then I went and ruined it. I now have scars all up under my jaw, and on my cheeks from this horrid mistake.
It was just over a year and a half after that I started taking my current birth control pill. My skin had never completely healed, but it definitely got a lot better than it was with the cystic monsters covering my cheeks and along my jawline. I was back to using cheap over the counter products, along with trying to steam my face at least once a week, and I used an extractor tool to clean out my pores the best that I could. I got engaged to my husband, and had a reason to try another birth control. After warning my doctor of what had happened with the last pill I had tried, she immediately decided on prescribing me Ortho Tri-Cyclen.
I've been on this birth control for about 4 1/2 months. I have had no flare-ups, but my acne has not diminished completely. There have been a few periods where my acne would go down dramatically, but it seems to always find it's way back up. I had convinced myself that the reason my acne was so clear those years ago, was because of the type of birth control I was on, and not because of the Proactiv. I think I was wrong.
Before I started using Proactiv, I figured that I would give it's cheap competitor AcneFree a chance. It's cheaper, can be bought at just about any supermarket or drug store, and they made it to imitate Proactiv, so it has to work decently... right? Well, any kind of improvement from this product was very short lived. I think it actually started to work... OK... but it didnt' last long. I bought it about a month and a half before my wedding day, and ended up needing to drop serious cash on concealer just a few days before the big day. This product wasn't bad for my skin, I had no bad reactions, but it didn't clear my skin. Bottom line.
Now that you're up to date, here's my Proactiv review on day 6:
I started using Proactiv (this would be my second time on it) the night of 11/5/10, so today is my 6th day on Proactiv. I've spent a lot of time studying my skin and it's reactions to things, so I know when something is working. Proactiv is definitely working for me! After using it that first night, I remembered the awesome scrubbing power of the cleanser, and I think that's the key to it's success with me. That, and the penetrating power of the repairing lotion. I spent about $118 or something at the mall, buying this product at a kiosk. I didn't want to get caught up in another monthly shipment of the product. I got the 3 step system, the makeup removing cloths, refining mask, oil free moisturizer, green tea moisturizer, daily oil control lotion, and sheer finish mattifying gel. I guess all of that stuff is good and dandy, but I haven't found use for most of it. I don't like putting tons of product on my face cuz it makes me feel kinda claustrophobic. I am glad to have gotten the products in the sense that one or two things might not work well for me, but a few of the others might work wonders. This way, I can try them all, and see which ones I want to keep buying. It's all about experimenting with your face and products.
When starting this product, I had a about 4 medium-large pimples on my left cheek, maybe one or two on my right, and one large one on my forehead. After the first night, those pimples on my right AND left cheeks were flattened out... AMAZING. My large one on my forehead shrunk a little bit due to the refining mask I left on overnight. It seemed to be getting better. I used it one more time within these last 6 days, and the one on my forehead has shrunk dramatically. When I get the kind of pimple that I had on my forehead normally... It takes forever to heal. It seems like it's going to be healing up in a day or two.
About two or so days into using Proactiv, I had a sizable pimple appear on my chin. This is a normal place for me to be getting acne, so I was not surprised because I was only about a week away from starting my period at this point, and I normally break out pretty good around that time. I was SUPER delighted when I noticed that the next day this pimple was already flaking off and beginning to heal. My skin never does that on it's own. Keep in mind, that I did steam my face and extract any of the infection that I could get out of it. I also used the refining cream overnight on this pimple after I did the extractions. Along with using Proactiv, it seems like this regime worked well with me. I'm positive that this pimple healed so quickly because of Proactiv.
I'm now only a few days away from my period (blah), but my face is looking surprisingly clear! It's definitely not completely clear... but most of the pimples have very little to no "ammunition," and it seems as though they will be healing very soon. I'm just hoping that when I do start my period, my face doesn't explode again... but it probably will, knowing my luck! I've begun to try to layout a plan on how to start fading my acne scars and how to add them into my regime. I'll let you know when those days come.
I'm gonna line out how I feel about the products I'm using in my next posting, so you can make your judgment on whether or not you need them or not. Everyone is different, and something that works great for one person, might not work so well for the next.