This is just an update - I have been clear for about a year, but I wanted to make an 18mo update as well. Still on the doxycycline and spironolactone, but these are for hidradenitis supparativa and PCOS respectively, not so much for acne. I have been off Retin-A for over a year.
I have had a few small breakouts lately, but this is because of sunblock and sun irritation, not really acne. I get a small bump every once in awhile, but not often. I currently have one blackhead and no active pimples. What you are seeing in recent photos is redness from pimples that healed recently. I do still scar sometimes. However, you can see how greatly my scars have improved!
As a reminder, here's where I was one year ago:
And... here I am today:
These are with NO filter, NO editing whatsoever, just my face as of today, November 7, 2013. I have been on the Spironolactone and Doxycycline for a year now, except for the brief 2mos I was on minocycline instead due to the antibiotic shortage going on. I'm finding that I have to use much less foundation and I only use concealer now under my eyes. My acne scars have diminished a great deal.
*Burt's Bees Intense Hydration face wash
Just to compare - here's side by side:
It's been eight months since I started Retin-A Micro, Doxycycline, and Spironolactone...
My skin looks AMAZING!
The arrow in the photo is pointing to the one (!!) active pimple (now almost healed) I've had in the past two months. TWO MONTHS! This is insane! The rest of the marks are scars from previous acne battles.
I take Spironolactone 50mg twice a day still, and switched in April to Minocycline due to the nationwide Doxycyline shortage making prescriptions crazy expensive. I quit Retin-A in March and have been on oral prescriptions alone. I wash my skin with Neutrogena's Ultra Gentle cleanser with my Clarisonic MIa (with delicate head) once a day in the AM, and again at night with cleanser alone.
I can't believe how clear my skin is now...
I can't believe it's been over two months! My skin is still pretty dry, but I have only four (!!) "new"/active pimples, and they're all healing quite nicely (circled in red). The rest of what you're seeing is scarring from prior acne -- yeah, it's pretty bad.
I can't say what exactly is causing the healing, since I'm taking all the above as part of my lupus treatments (minus the Retin-A Micro). I'm just glad I don't have many active breakouts! I'm noticing I'm breaking out a bit more on my body -- I have a pimple on my left shoulder and one on my back -- but it's not too bad. At around day 120 I'll start to work on healing my scars in addition to prevention.
The side effects are subsiding, but the Doxycycline has given me a pretty nasty yeast infection. My Derm called in a Diflucan on Thursday and I took it, but my vag is still on fire =/
My blackheads are much easier to remove! However, my lips are drying out and I'm using lots of lip balm, and now I have a blackhead on my lower lip line and a whitehead on my upper.
I'm still looking for a foundation that won't show all the flaking, and will cover all the purging going on.
Sigh. I guess I'm at the "purging" state right now. I have several new, large pimples, all around the size of a pencil eraser. I also have blackheads surfacing (probably due to the thinning of my epidermis because of the Retin-A), making my skin surface really rough and bumpy. They're coming out pretty easily, though.
My dryness is the worst around my nose, chin, and cheeks. I've started using Bio-Oil on those areas before my morning moisturizer to help get rid of flakes.
The side effects are getting less worse, but aren't completely tolerable yet. Self-esteem is pretty low, depression moderate.
The nausea and headaches aren't as severe as they were a couple of days ago, but they do last about the same length of time. I find I have to eat a pretty full meal when taking them, and I take them with whole milk instead of water. The whole milk seems to help too.
I have significant flakiness around my nose and cheeks, which are generally my dryer spots anyway. I've quit using Cetaphil and have switched to CeraVe - I hope it helps. My dermatologist gave me the CeraVe samples and I went out to buy some.
I am a walking bag of side effects. I feel like I'm constantly hungover, which is probably due to dehydration. The nausea and dizziness are the worst part, and last up to 4h after taking the meds. During this time I can't drive, read, or do much of anything.
Just starting to feel the Retin-A dryness today. It especially feels bad around my nose, since I have a cold and keep blowing it.
Overall, my skin is responding well to the Regimen. I have some noticeable flakiness around my nose, cheeks, and chin, but the moisturizer I use seems to take care of it.
Instead of getting 1-3 new pimples each week, I've only gotten two so far on the regimen: one on my forehead and one on my cheek. I think both are visible in this week's entry.
I forgot to take a photo the first day, but I have to say that this is a dramatic improvement. What you see mainly on my neck/under chin is scar tissue from the past 13 years of suffering with acne, along with cystic acne spots that have been there for months. I have tons of blackheads and hard sebum clogs in my forehead and my cheeks.
Ignore the red line across my nose -- glasses.
In the past week, I have had only one new pimple, a change from one or two every other day. The cystic acne spots on my jawline have reduced in inflammation drastically, and one even came to a head.
*Wash with Nubian Heritage African Black Soap AM/PM
*Tone with LUSH Tea Tree Toner Tab (1/2 tablet dissolved in 8oz water, used on cotton ball) AM/PM
*Equate Repairing Lotion (Proactiv knockoff, easier on the skin, 2.5% BP) AM/PM
*Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer SPF 30 AM
*Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream PM
I plan on buying Dan's BP after I run out of what I'm using, and I may buy the AHA further down the line.
So far, this is working, and I'm quite satisfied