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The Beginning Of The End..... Hopefully

I wanted to start this blog to keep track of my progress in dealing with my acne. I started a bunch of new regimens and I want to keep track of them. Hopefully, this helps people find out how to get control of their acne. First, let me start off by saying that I, like all of you here, know the pain of acne. It's not just physical, but emotional, and the emotional part is probably worse. I have been plagued by my skin for years. I have tried the most outrageous remedies, potions, lotions, and "cures", all with no luck or continued success. I have spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on my face. I apologize for the length of this post, but for anyone out there who has had a struggle with this, it is going to be long. In high school, my skin was pretty much the hormonal- teenage acne. It wasn't too bad, controllable, and it was random over my face, meaning I would get pimples of my chin, forehead, around my nose, etc. I got to college and it calmed down a little but there was still spots. The summer going into my second year at school, I started proactiv to get rid of the little guys. This did the trick. I was clear in 4-5 weeks. I got compliments on my skin, it was great! I stopped the regimen about 6 more weeks later. Then, slowly, they started coming back by spring time of that year, almost 9 months later. This time, they were more concentrated around my jawline. I had clusters of red bumps and small pimples that were on my jawline below my ears. It wasn't too bad, and my hair did cover it up, but I still wanted to get rid of them. I tried proativ again, but this time it took longer to work, around 4 months!!! and even then they weren't completely gone. This is what started on the downfall. I figured it must have been a product I was using in my hair, so I changed that up, and wore my hair up a lot, I changed my foundation to a better (more expensive!) department brand instead of the drugstore brand, and I tried a new face wash. None of it really worked, things started getting worse. Since the proactiv didn't work, I started using Clinique Acne Solutions. This didn't work at all, it literally did nothing, I did like the moisturizer though, and I'd say that it was one of the less drying systems out there! By this time, summer was over and school had started up again, everything got worse, which I attributed to stress. However, now I was getting these huge cysts on my jaw line and by December, it started growing onto my cheeks. I gave proactiv a third try and nothing. It didn't work at all, and I went through two bottles of everything. By this time, I was growing increasingly frustrated and went through a series of 3 different face washes/ creams that my doctor prescribed for me, all severely drying and irritating, and definitely, no help. One of the creams was a 10% BP cream that ended up making the cysts harder and way more painful, and make everything extremely dry and flakey and red. At this point, I went to see a doctor who had these probes that would oxygenate your skin cells, which did make the cysts flatter, but everything was so red and they never fully went away. After all of this, I was ready to try Accutane, but when I read the reviews of what happens and actually read what the product was, I bolted in the opposite direction. I then got my blood tested for my hormone levels, thinking it was something to do with increased levels of testosterone or androgens. All of my blood work came back normal and in healthy ranges. At this point, no doctor that I had been to could figure out what to do, and told me it was a phase and skin would eventually heal. This was so disheartening thinking that I would have to go through an indefinite length of time dealing with this. I then was referred by my mother to one of the nurse practitioners in her office who specialized in women's health who suggested that I go on a low dose estrogen Birth control routine. This is wear I am today, 1 month into the birth control (very little side effects!! on Ortho- Novum, but I take the generic kind, Necon 1/35). So far, so good. I have a few pimples pop up, but the huge cysts on my cheeks are gone. Right now I have about 6 active pimples/ cysts on my jawlines and cheeks, where as before I would have about 12-14. I also am the proud owner of a new clarisonic Mia 2, which the same nurse practitioner swears by (as wel as the ladies in Nordstrom). It was around 150$, but it was half a birthday gift, so I figured that it might be worth it! An expensive kind of risk! I started using Mario Badescu's Acne Facial Wash (~15$) and Anti-Acne serum. I read that there is a "purging" period where the clarisonic will bring out anything in your pores and will bring some spots to a head, which it so far has done! I am just 3 days shy of the end of that period and I'm excited to see the results with continued use! On a side note: I started using the Mario Badescu products after reading the ingredients on the back of the label. There really aren't many of them, and I've found that they actually work well. Right now my regimens is using makeup remover wash clothes at night, using my clarisonic for 1-2 minutes with my face wash and then letting that dry for 15 minutes and applying the acne serum and an haluronic acid hydrating cream (all Mario Badescu). Then, in my morning shower, just letting warm water naturally clean my face. BUT, the newest addition to my regimen, which I guess isn't really an addition, but more of an alteration, is that I am taking out dairy from my diet! All of this time, I never really gave this a thought. During that summer, I read about how gluten may cause acne so I gave that up for 2 months with little success. I can't believe I didn't come across anything with dairy though! Since the spring time, I had adapted my breakfast to be yogurt and granola everyday. I also am a huge fan of cheese and chocolate. I pretty much figured out that I have dairy 3-5 times a day, which is a lot. In the past year, this has increased as well! So I'm fairly more confident that giving up dairy will alleviate my skin problems. So far, I am 3 days in, and instead of getting 2,3 new pimples a day, its been 1 in the 3 days and it has came to a head and healed pretty quickly. I plan on giving up everything dairy for about 3 months to see how my face handles it. The hardest will be my cheese but if it means clearer skin, then it's worth it! Tell me what you guys think though, have any of you tried any of these products with success? How long did it take for the no dairy thing to work if you've tried it? And if anyone has any questions about any of my attempts at clear skin, or product names let me know!




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