I almost don't dare write this but things are looking up. After a weird breakout of nodules on my chin last week, it has all cleared up. My left cheek has stayed pretty clear, and my right cheek is a lot better. I am still getting tiny pimples on my rights cheek (I may be cursed with these for the rest of my life) but they don't bother me so much because they are not deep, under-the-skin ones. They disappear in a couple of days with the differin. The scarring is annoying because it looks like acne, but this will fade eventually.
I have had no milk or yoghurt for over three weeks, but must admit that I've had a bit of cheese this last week with no disastrous side-effects. I have also been taking my multivitamins regularly and trying to eat more vegetables. This has hardly been a scientific experiment and I don't think I can necessarily attribute the clearing to the no-milk diet. But having read about the things that go into milk I don't think it will do me any harm to cut down on dairy. I used to drink at least of glass of milk every day and eat loads of cheese, so will probably be healthier in the long run anyway.
I am a bit suspicious that things could get worse again - I have PCOS so my hormone levels are really unpredictable and I don't have any regular cycle like 'normal' women. This means things can turn a corner pretty quickly, but I'm trying to keep my chin up!
Urgh. So, I am getting a bit despondent with my diet. I had hoped it would have had more impact than it has. There is some good news - I haven't had any deep, under-the-skin spots on my cheeks for a week. But I do have constant, small pimples on my cheeks. These heal a lot faster than the deep ones so I shouldn't complain, but I'm sick of them.
I also woke up yesterday with a small cyst on my chin. This almost never happens, so I wonder if it is this new make-up I have been trying. Clinique usually doesn't break me out, but you never know. Also my skin is very dry and scaly at the moment, I think this results from the Differin. Though my nose is an oil slick as usual.
I'm just tired of this now. I was out today and almost every woman I saw had beautiful clear skin whereas mine looked awful. Also this guy I was seeing ended it with me yesterday, it wasn't serious but I can't help thinking that if I was prettier then I would have more success in relationships. Had a BAD couple of days and would love something good to eat like macaroni cheese, but I need to give this dairy-free thing at least a month to see if it works.
This might just be PMS talking (and I always remind myself that life could be a lot worse) but I am tired of battling with my skin, I'm tired of always being worried when I wake up in case something else has erupted on my face. I don't want to go back on meds but if this doesn't improve over the next few weeks then I'm going back to my doctor.
So I have cut out dairy for one week now. Though I'm not expecting miracles straight away, I thought it would be good to give week-by-week updates. I have also cut down my sugar consumption over the last few weeks.
My left cheek looks great, no new acne for several days and the scars are fading. Sadly, my right cheek has gone apesh*t crazy again and I have several purple, sore, under-the-skin lurker type spots which are driving me insane. It's weird because I think I have defeated an outbreak for a few days, and then it erupts again in exactly the same areas. My chin and forehead are completely clear, my nose too apart from the odd tiny whiteheads. So why just the one cheek? I sleep on my back and change my pillow case regularly.
Another plus has been that the tiny pimples on my chest have died down. They never worried my much because they were so light, but it's nice not to have them.
I am toying with the idea of buying the Clinique BB cream. I want a light base for my mineral powder, but am worried that it will break me out further. I can't get a sample to try because where I live in the UK the BB is only available online, and it costs quite a lot of money :/ If anyone has given this a shot then please let me know what you think!
The joy of working with small children is that they speak their minds. The downside is that sometimes they will comment on your acne. In front of everyone...
My cheeks have broken out again. So annoyed. I don't know what kind of spots they are, they're these small hard red pimples that eventually turn to whiteheads after a few days. They leave really bad red marks, especially as I am so pale. I fell off the wagon last week and had some chocolate and a flapjack. I am still trying to cut out the sugar but my focus now is on dairy - the hardest thing is cheese, but I also love yoghurt and butter on my toast. I'm really enjoying green tea at the moment which is supposed to be good at reducing inflammation. I'm going to give the dairy-free thing a proper trial for 4 weeks.
It's the inflammation that's the worst for me. I could deal with a few blackheads, but the pimples I get are sore, swollen and very red. It's very hard to cover the big lumps up because they still look kind of purple under my foundation. At the moment I'm using Clinique's Anti-Blemish foundation underneath a mineral powder. I don't like the heavily made-up look, but at the moment I'd rather that than being all blotchy and shiny.
I have been all cheery and positive about my skin over the last few days because I really thought it was clearing up. My cheek pimples had dried up and I was just left with the red marks. But pride comes before a fall, and over the course of 24 hours I now have 4 new spots on my cheeks and at least one lurking beneath the surface. I can't identify what has brought this on. It has now been 3 weeks exactly since I've cut out refined sugars and I have been really consistent with that, but obviously it hasn't helped as much as I thought.
So, plan B. While I have cut down on dairy recently I am still eating some. So I'm going to try going cold turkey on that for a few weeks. No milk, cheese, yoghurt or cream. It will be miserable because I am a cheese fiend, but this is getting ridiculous. I am now 24 years old and (apart from a few spells on different medications) I have not had clear skin for the last 10 years. I refuse to believe that because of my PCOS I have to deal with this for the rest of my life, it must also be related to lifestyle. mustn't it?
I'm still using the Differin. I know that I'm probably flogging a dead horse, but it's got to the point where I don't dare abandon it in case the acne takes over my whole face (it has been known). It feels like damage-limitation.
If the dairy-free thing doesn't work then I'm not sure what I'll do. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Had a bad day yesterday, food-wise. I managed to avoid the cheesecake I'd made for my relatives, but gave way and had some cream with my fruit. Also had two cups of tea with milk and some cheese in my lunch. It was like a dairy festival. By the evening I had three new lumps - nothing dramatic, they were not even like fully-formed pimples and I've blitzed them with Differin already - but still. Although there's always a chance that something else caused them, I feel that dairy is the likely culprit.
My face is clearing up slowly from my last breakout, but I have loads of redness. I have always been prone to red skin but I think that the Differin exacerbates it. I find Clinique makes some really gentle make-up which is brilliant at covering blotchy skin and acne. In fact, if there were any guys reading this who wanted a discreet concealer then I would recommend the Clinique Almost Powder Make-Up, it looks so natural. It does cost quite a lot, more than I can afford actually. But I don't have the confidence to venture outdoors without it.
The no-sugar thing is going remarkably well, except for the unfortunate cream incident. But we will not speak of that again. I bought unsweetened soya milk today to have in my tea and it's ok, much better tasting than I thought, so I hope I can get used to that. It also has added calcium and vitamins which I guess is a plus. Very nearly had a biscuit today but instead I had dried cranberries which satisfied the sweet craving. I know that there is a lot of sugar in dried fruit so it probably didn't make much difference, but I guess it was the lesser of two evils. I'm also trying to maximise my veg consumption. I've discovered a vegetable called chard which is pretty good in stir-fry (I'm sure loads of people eat this already, but for some reason the existence of chard has passed me by until now).
I had a date yesterday which was a success. I was kind of flaky and red and reptilian looking beforehand (thanks Diff, love you), but I plastered on the foundation and he didn't seem to be repelled by my face. Me - 1, Acne- 0.
So the good news is that I had no new acne when I woke up this morning - yay! In fact, a lot of my right cheek has dried up and the inflammation is down. I did a salt soak last night and this morning, which I think has really helped to heal the existing spots up. Though the salt does make me quite itchy, so maybe I need to take it easy with that. I'm going to give my face a break from the DIfferin this morning as well - I usually put it on twice a day, but it does make my cheeks very red.
The bad news is that the spot on my left cheek has turned into a horrible cyst-type lump. I think this is because I picked at it when it was tiny, and now it has sought its revenge. I'm just going to ignore it and hope it goes away in the not-too-distant future.
It is now two weeks exactly since I cut out refined sugar, and I have only slipped up once with a shameful after-dinner mint in a restaurant. The sad thing is that today I have to bake cakes for our relatives who are coming to visit - it is going to be quite hard to resist. I also have a head cold which doesn't seem fair since I have been trying to eat so healthily. But never mind.
So, apart from cyst-gate, things are looking good.
I managed to avoid eating any biscuits yesterday night, even though they were lying temptingly on the sideboard. No new acne when I woke up this morning - hurrah! - but on the downside I picked at my left cheek yesterday, so woke up to a huge inflamed lump. Not a pretty sight. I also remembered to do a sea-salt mask this morning, which I should do more often - it doesn't prevent spots coming, but seem to help dry everything up and take the inflammation down.
I am currently on two cups of green tea with lemon per day. It's not the same as black tea and milk, but at least it's healthier. I am beginning to think that dairy might be more of a culprit than sugary snacks, although I'm sure that neither of them help. A couple of months ago I had a horrible stomach flu that lasted for weeks, and I was drinking loads of milk which helped to settle my stomach. I was also ODing on those probiotic yogurts to try to rebalance the bacteria. I wonder if this might have prompted my current breakout situation. But on the other hand I also ate tons of chocolate over Easter, so it might be related to that little binge as well.
Anyway I am praying for no new spots because I have a date this week which I've been looking forward to. It's going to be enough effort trying to cover the mess on my face as it is, but flat marks are so much easier to conceal than raised bumps. I was feeling so sorry for myself yesterday and crying about my skin, which I know is stupid because things could be so much worse. There is a woman who works in a pub near me who has terrible facial burns - puts my skin problems into perspective, which is no bad thing.
Ok so for the last week I have gone cold turkey with refined sugars, so no biscuits, cakes, chocolate... I have also drastically cut down on dairy, so no more glasses of milk or cheese and crackers. Basically I can't take these spots anymore, I am 24 and want to finally enjoy clear skin without medication. I am still using Differin cream (0.1%), but have been using this regularly for nearly a year with no dramatic results. I do find that it helps to heal the spots quite quickly though, even if it doesn't prevent breakouts.
Here is the state of my face at the moment. My right cheek is worse with lots of scarring and a couple of new pimples every day. For some reason they have also spread down to my jaw line now... My left cheek is always better for some reason, though saying that I woke up today with a nice new pimple on my cheekbone.
This is complicated by the fact that I have polycystic ovaries, so my hormones are always out of whack. I think I might have to accept that I will always be spot-prone, but for the moment I just want to control my current breakout.
Life is a bit more boring without sweets, I have to admit. I think maybe I was addicted to sugar (I had a sad dream last night about chocolate cake that I couldn't have...) so it is hard going. I'm trying to replace bad foods with more veg, nuts, etc. I'm a bit confused about fruit as I know it contains simple sugars, but on the other hand it seems unhealthy to cut out fruit altogether because of the fibre and minerals? I have started to replace tea and milk with green tea and lemon (not really a fan at the moment, but I can live with it).