Hi there! I must say that I'm pretty pleased since even my last update (2 months ago); I'm trying to keep this blog going for at least a year or more so that we can discover together how well The Regimen worked for me, but also how well I can do to reduce my actual scarring (not the hyperpigmentation...that's fading nicely...) As you can see in my attached photos here, I'm just doing better and better! As I said in my last post or two, I rarely break out, and if so, only tiny ones that easily go away. I can safely and happily report that following Dan's Regimen religiously has healed my cystic acne. Well, I know it didn't 'heal' it because I still have to use The Regimen, but oh well. Such is life. We can't all have everything. But I'm so grateful that something exists to manage it and also for Dan, what a really great person for designing the system and sharing it so affordably. My left cheek is still pretty scarred; the hyperpigmentation decrease definitely helps in taking off the "obviousness" factor, but yes, I do have actual pitting and icepick scars. I've been doing some "dermarolling" with a 1.5mm dermaroller---at home---I just did my first time about a month ago and will do it again in a week or so (I'm only going to do it every 6 weeks). I want to say it's helping because my skin just seems to appear a tad bit smoother than before. I'm also using a pure Vitamin C serum on my skin after the dermaroll to increase collagen (supposedly). We'll see. As you can see from my previous post's photos, I *do* think my skin is getting better---but who knows if it's just time or the new addition of the dermarolling and serum... So there you have it! My latest update! I'm still using DKR religiously (take the time to do it 2x a day---it's worth it, trust me!!) and now have added some dermarolling in to try and reduce my cheek scarring---particularly on my left cheek...Sigh. But I do want to add that using a bit of BB cream foundation (I know that's hard to read for guys, sorry! ) but it's taken the "edge" off the bit of hyperpigmentation I have left that is slowly but surely fading nicely....and also just boosts my confidence a bit in the actual scar department. I'm just pleased as punch to no longer be in pain, feel so embarrassed, and not be worrying about the condition of my skin. I've added in more jojoba oil drops into my lotion at night due to the change to winter weather, but that's about all! So, my "regimen"on top of Dan's Regimen: Still using DKR, now I use Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Oil of Olay Complete Lotion +Jojoba Oil + a couple of drops of Tamanu oil all mixed together, Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub (a gentle exfoliating scrub for every other day, but only once that day in order to not be harsh to my skin), and now the pure Vitamin C serum at night before the BP instead of the ALA lotion from Dan---but I prefer his, as far as "feel" goes. I just want to try this serum to see if it helps my collagen to build a bit (as suggested by the "dermarolling crowd", haha) But I'll just go back to using Dan's ALA lotion after the bottle of serum is gone since I don't think it's going to work "magic" on my face, just maybe help a little...but who knows? I'm so impressed with how things went, I may end up with very, very minimal scarring in the long-run. I'll keep you posted in the coming months as this is the time when we'll see if I can make some real progress on my scars now that my acne is gone! So far I"m feeling really good about everything. Good luck, feel free to comment and ask questions; I'm here for you and totally understand!
Well, it's been eight very slow-going and difficult months since (re)starting the DKR after foolishly going off of it and having the Worst Cystic Acne of my Life. Please look at the top two pics above of my progress---the discoloration is just hyperpigmentation that I'm "working" on through the use of Dan's AHA lotion and Tamanu Oil...but other than that, I have no breakouts. I get maybe a tiny one here and there but never cystic. Sadly, I have some ugly rolling scars, as you can see, mostly on my left cheek. Not much I can do about it, though; I've done a ton of research and most of it shows that most treatments are useless... Hey, I'm just ecstatic that I'm clear now. I do wear a bit of BB Cream sometimes and that helps my confidence regarding actual scarring, but for the most part, I must say I'm so happy to have clear skin again and not be suffering like I was. Also attached is a photo at the bottom from earlier this year when I was at the peak of having the severe cystic acne. Ugh, it was so painful and everyone had an opinion to throw at me, it was so embarrassing. I'll update you again every couple of months like this so we can look at the hyperpigmentation progress together, and also see if my rolling scars (specifically on my left cheek) smooth out even a tiny bit... Let me know any questions, I'm here. Also, at the end of the year, I will post my Regimen---as admittedly, I use the DKR to a T, but also in addition use a different moisterizer than he lists, plus the Tamanu Oil with Jojoba mixed in (because Tamanu Oil is a bit drying for me---but definitely useful with the hyperpigmentation...)
I just wanted to give you all my 6 month update....I know, that's a long time to be on The Regimen, hoping it works. Well, I think I can comfortably say that it did. I still get a couple of little breakouts here and there, but overall, it cleared my skin. What you are seeing in these pictures is all hyperpigmentation and scarring. I have to be honest and say that while I'm ecstatic about how my skin is pretty much clear now, the scarring and post-acne red marks (that apparently always fade but can take a long time to do so on "ethnic" skin like mine) is pretty depressing. And I'm not much of a make-up girl. When I look back at old pictures when I started The Regimen, I'm pleased as punch, of course, at my skin's overall progress. But now that the red marks are there and taking sooooo long to fade PLUS I can see that my left cheek is definitely going to have some rolling scars, I've been a bit upset. Oh well. I'm just glad my skin's clearing/cleared and that when I do get a breakout here and there, it is small and heals quite fast. I guess my point in this post too is that those of us with a terrible cystic acne breakout must be the most patient and diligent about using Dan's Regimen. Especially about the dryness and flakiness and being patient that it will dissipate with longterm gentleness and lots of jojoba oil, lol. Let me know if any of you have had good success with something for rolling/deeper scars, that's really what's personally on my mind lately, as I know most of the red marks are going to fade successfully---especially with Dan's ALA lotion. Also, still just following The Regimen and using that gentle exfoliation I mentioned using in my previous post to keep my pores as unclogged as possible (it's Neutrogena Naturals one.)
Well, it's been about 2 weeks or so since my last update on the Daniel Kern Regimen aka, "Acne.org Regimen". My skin's really taken a whole new turn since that last post, wow. I am ecstatic to say that my skin continues to heal, albeit slowly. The cystic acne was pretty damaging, and so I not only had to be extra patient but also be careful in order to reduce actual textual scarring. What you see in the pics below is all hyper-pigmentation, aka, post-inflammatory acne marks. Wow, it looks so bad to me, but when I look back on this blog and think back in general, I'm amazed at how far I've already come. No more cystic acne, only red marks to fade! As awful as they look, each day they look better and better. I even had a picture recently taken with someone and while it wasn't up close, you couldn't really see the marks even in the photo, yaay! So I'm thinking that those will fade with time, as people say. It's just hard to look at in the mirror right now. I *did* notice some clogged pores lately though and so I steered off DKR a bit in that *just this week* I added in a bit of gentle exfoliation....very, very gentle. I'm using "Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub". I have gotten a couple of small breakouts here and there, but nothing cystic, which is why I'm so ecstatic! They heal rather quickly and definitely never leave me with hyperpigmentation or worse---that fear of scarring. Unfortunately, speaking of scarring, I think that area on my left cheek is where I'm going to get some actual scarring---I don't think it'll be too, too bad, but definitely a bit of a dent will be left. Boo. Mega boo. Also, I just wanted to say that my skin is completely accustomed to using the Benzoyl Peroxide now and I use 1 to 1 1/2 pumps morning and night---I just follow the DKR exactly. The texture of my skin is rather nice and no longer dry or flakey or red at all. As in, At.All. Yaay, again! Because I honestly think it's the dryness/flaking that causes most of us to stop DKR and give up. I mean, look at me? I'm nearly on month 5 and my skin is *just* truly clearing finally---I read the two major pins on the DKR forum and they both mentioned how long it can take and to give it at least 6 months. At first, I was like, 6 MONTHS?! But I'm glad I waited it out this time that long. It's been so worth it. As for moisturizer, I use Olay Complete Sensitive in the morning (so I get the SPF; Dan's recommendation) and "CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion" (just their regular one; I researched this on the forums, and it was often recc'd so I thought I'd give it a shot) for at night so I'm not putting sunscreen on my face at night, lol. I also add in about 5 drops of Jojoba oil to both applications. I truly believe that the Jojoba is key to getting flakiness/any residual dryness under control. I'm thinking I'll wait a month until my next post so that you/we can see if the progress continues as well as it has...Thanks for reading, feel free to comment below with questions, etc!
I think it's been about 2 weeks as I promised to update about how I'm doing so far (see pics below). I think The Regimen (Daniel Kern's) is working (the 2nd time around, that is---read my first post about this whole "2nd time around" process). What do you think? Most of what I see in the mirror is hyperpigmentation; sadly, I believe it's going to be a long while until most of that discoloration heals/fades. I do have some breakouts still happening on my jawline and cheeks, but nothing currently on my forehead or chin (hence no photos) and the breakouts are healing much faster than they used to. I'm hoping I'll be lucky and have very minimal actual scarring because when I look at my face at an angle in the light, I don't see too, too much actual damage to my skin; just a lot of discoloration... While I'm bummed it's taking so long for my acne to clear up with DKR, I read another person's "pinned" post about how long it took her to heal and I think I'm in her situation. I'll take it, for I certainly feel much better than I did when I started! The nicest thing (outside of my cystic acne now healing) is that I've finally gotten over the flakiness phase with BP. No more redness or flaking; yay! I'm following DKR exactly, but I did have to take the dosage ramp-up a lot slower than he recommends due to my frustration with the flakiness and redness and not wanting to overdo it...I do love jojoba oil for sure. Well, so far so good (I think), I'll come back in another 2 weeks to give another photo and blog update and ask what you think about the progress...
Jeez, from the looks of these photos, you wouldn't think things have gotten any better, but they have. All of the breakouts you see here are actually old ones taking forever and a day to heal, sadly, or the breakouts I got last week (week 12). So far this week, though, no new breakouts. Perhaps I've finally crossed the threshhold that Dan discusses, in which you cycle for a while through breakouts, heal a bit, breakout more, and then finally start truly healing breakout free. Also, the breakouts I just had are muuuuuch less painful than when I started out on The Daniel Kern Regimen, aka DKR. What you're mostly seeing is very upsetting hyperpigmentation. But like I said in my last post, I'd rather have to deal with that than painful cystic acne. Also, while I will most likely have some actual scarring to my skin, most of that redness is PIH and that'll slowly fade. But when I look at my skin from an angle, I do note that there will indeed be some actual textural scars. Sigh. Again, my forehead and chin have completely stopped breaking out, my flakiness is mostly under control (next post I'll specifically discuss what I'm using on the DKR and how I use it, but also some natural therapeutics measures I'm taking to [hopefully] assist in the healing process...) That post won't include new pics though, since I've finally gotten you caught up (I'm now on week 13 of The Regimen.) However, I will do a post with pics in 2 weeks to see if there are any major changes and just to do a general update about how I personally think I'm doing by then. For now, I'll sign off with saying that I'm just so happy things are moving along nicely and that I seem to be "in the clear" (well, not quite, lol) but getting there.
Sitting here, looking at these photos from 3 weeks ago, it's hard to believe how fast things have already gotten better. But man, do I look awful in these photos! I specifically recall how painful my jawline felt; it was like I broke out with the last breakouts in full force. Since then (since I am now on week 13 and back-blogging things for you) my jawline has been clearing up. But overall, the breakouts were simply more concentrated areas, but smaller/less painful cysts, and certainly not layering on top of each other as was the reason I started back on DKR in the first place. As you can see, the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is going to be a beast to deal with. I was reading the other day on a forum how someone was so upset about their PIH that they'd rather have acne than the marks left behind. I was in shock. That's ridiculous sounding to me because 1) it's your acne causing the PIH---why would you wanna let that go on and on so that you are only left with worse marks? and 2) Cystic acne in particular is very painful and embarrassing---why on earth would you be ok walking around constantly wondering about its effects? Such as, when my partner or son would go to kiss or hug me, I'd instinctively move my face away (not a great feeling for them, right? lol) because I'd be all honest and say, "sorry, my face hurts too much to have your face cuddled against mine!" Ouch (for them, too!) So sad. So in these photos, that is what I see most-----my 'Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation' marks finally showing through. Before all I could see was acne: healing, forming, not healing....but at least now I can see the state of my skin as it heals slowly. Still breaking out here, but not as much as when I started DKR. Also, I want to reiterate AGAIN how drying BP is. FOR.A.WHILE. I can honestly say now---in week 13! Oy, I know, week THIRTEEN!!---my skin is finally conditioning to the BP: not red at all from it (well, any redness is just the 'red marks' left over, but there is no actual redness from actual all-over inflammation) and my flakiness is mostly under control. All I can say is I HEART JOJOBA OIL. Another thing is the itchiness---I mentioned already how it's dissipating but how it struck me that the itchiness was/is centered (now) in the areas of greatest healing. Such as, my forehead and chin no longer itch or are dry AT ALL because they are 100% clear now----yes, 100%. However, my cheeks, (as you can see, duh) are still itchy. Why? Because they haven't completely healed/cleared yet. but they are clearing. I still stand by the belief that just like any wound that is finally healing---especially the slowhealing kind (like cystic acne!)---it gets itchy. So, in my mind, it's sign that things are finally healing in a good way and to scratch or pick or pull the flakes off is only going to redden or irritate or increase the chances of scarring. I'm trusting my body's natural healing process on that front at least, since I unfortunately couldn't find any relief from all the natural therapeutics treatments I was doing before I went (back) on DKR. So here I am. Officially week 13, backblogging about week 10 for you, happy to note that as of now, I have absolutely no breakouts on my forehead or chin anymore, my redness from dryness is gone, my flakiness mostly under control, and even though you can't see it here in these shots because they're from 3 weeks ago, my jawline and cheeks are slowly but officially clearing up.
This week was really rough---no pun intended, lol. As you can see, not what I'd call "better". But my skin was starting to just feel better, if that makes sense. Perhaps you have been following me since I started this blog to go through Round 2 of The Regimen since going off it in January of this year. So I'm technically on week 13 now and backblogging my progress for you---and I promise, things get better! Dan has a "what to expect" section on his main Regimen page with approximations of how long it will take for your skin to heal and the first time I was on the regimen, it only took about 6 weeks to heal---and I had cystic acne even back then, although not as horribly broken out. This time around my breakout was horrendous and is taking FOREVER to heal---but, it's working. I just want to be clear about that fact. My scarring/hyperpigmentation is probably going to be the longest process after all is said and done. On an important sidenote, I wanted to mention a thought I had the other day about dryness/itching. You know how your skin itches when you have a cut or wound healing? Well, I think that it goes the same for these deeply painful breakouts and why there is a phase that is particularly itchy and red---it's a sign of healing! Your skin is technically full of wounds. My skin during week 8 I'm posting about was incredibly itchy---practically "grainy"! And yes, I was still breaking out. I did for a while, but they were not worsening or spreading all over my face as before when I decided I needed to go back on DKR. The itchiness now in week 13 that I'm at currently is not so itchy, the flakiness is definitely subsiding, and even though Dan suggests ramping up the dosage to 2 full pumps within a couple of weeks of each other, this may not always be the case for everyone---the redness and peeling is a sign you need to back off and go slower. I even took a day off and it worked wonders when I was experiencing some awful redness around week 11---yes, week 11! So, as you can tell, THIS CAN TAKE A LONG TIME, GUYS! But be patient and diligent and EXTRA gentle and I truly believe it'll pay off for you. It is for me. I am not 100% clear yet and certainly look awful still due to the hyperpigmentation (and who knows if the actual scarring will be terrible, we'll see, *sigh*) but I can say this: as I continue to backblog these former weeks for you, there were times it was so awful but I could feel the texture of my skin changing, the bumps drying out, the cysts in particular getting smaller and less painful. I'm at the point now where I can comfortably say that I do not have "new" breakouts" since last week---simply old ones are healing that even though they just recently surfaced at week 12 (oy!) they ARE healing. Yay!
There is a part of me that is absolutely horrified that I'm blogging about this *with pictures*, lol. However, I'm a really open person, so I really wanted to share this journey because I understand the struggle for clear skin and how it makes a person feel to not achieve it---let alone wonder if what they're currently using is actually working. I need the support and ideas and feedback just like anyone walking around wondering, "is this even working? am I just telling myself that it is? do I look like a complete lizard freak now?!" As you can see in these embarrassing photo "exhibits" (lol) I was really hitting that classic wall on The Regimen that can cause people to just quit. As I understand, around week 5-7 can be really difficult---you often look WORSE! But because this is my second time on it and I had absolutely amazing results the first time I used it back in 2009, I have no reason to believe that with diligence and gentle fingers, it won't work the second time around. I already mentioned where I went wrong the first time around in my first blog post (before this one is my first.) There are a couple of things you can't see in these photos that are going on: -my skin is extremely flakey -my breakouts might only appear to be on the sides of my cheeks to you but are in fact all over my forehead and chin also (just always forget to photograph, sorry) -the breakouts are in a sort of "layered" system---once I start healing, I break out again in that same spot (not from picking, either! I'm not really a picker) -I have many, many tiny bumps all over my jawline and cheeks that, rather than simply surfacing as small breakouts, stay there and fester until they surface as inflamed pustules/cysts. Ouch. Very slow healing and painful skin situation. I'm "back-blogging" for you so that you can see my progress because I know we all like to read and (especially!) *see* photos of true progress/stories. And all I can say about week 6 was that IT WAS AWFUL AND I WONDERED WHAT THE HELL I WAS DOING BACK ON THE REGIMEN, lol. Having said that, I also knew that my skin was in an ever-so-slightly way, healing. It definitely felt better than it did when I started. Even though I look absolutely awful here in these photos. Currently, I'm on week 12 of DKR, "round 2". I can tell you that it's going well. I *think* my skin looks a bit better in those photos (coming soon!) but I'm not really sure. It certainly feels different. Oy, the process is slow going, but going well. I am managing my flakiness/dryness a wee bit better than before---simply because I think my skin is finally conditioning to the BP again and I'm using one of Dan's suggestions of Oil of Olay Complete Sensitive with about 7 drops of Jojoba oil mixed in, 2x a day. Ya, it feels greasy at first, but what I do is EVER SO GENTLY put it on *just like you do with the BP* until it's "in" then I let that sit for about 5 minutes (brush my teeth, say) and then I kinda gently 'pat' it again to soak up the excess, if that makes sense. By then, my skin only looks a bit shiny and absorbs the rest easily on its own... So, here is the key that I forgot---and you know this from Dan saying it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, lol: you've gotta be gentle. We're talking featherlight gentle. We're talking barely touching your face when you put on that BP (and same with AHA, if you use it.) Ya, it's annoying and slightly more than time-consuming (but not *that* time-consuming!) and requires some "mindfulness" about the process, but hey, think of it as you treating yourself to some time to relax and take a moment for yourself 2x a day. I can be a tiiiiiiiny bit 'less gentle' when putting on the moisturizer, but not by much. Like he says, irritation=acne and that goes for how hard of a touch we have with the products that can create that negative feedback loop all over again. Especially with these types of products---unfortunately or fortunately, they are "harsh" for lack of a better word. So be psychotically and obsessively gentle and your skin will actually be able to use the treatment simply to heal the actual acne rather than further irritate your skin, causing more acne and dryness, if that makes sense. Having shared all this with you, I'll keep "back-blogging" until I've caught you up to where I'm currently at. The only other thing I have to share about where I was at ~wk6 was that I didn't wear make-up (mostly because I never do and think it actually draws MORE attention to one's troubled skin...) and I have to say that I think it's important for women to try and not do this. Really try. I know it's hard. It makes you feel better but it'll only make your skin take longer to heal---and it already takes so long on the Regimen due to how effective it is at getting to the base of the acne bacteria and literally oxygenating them out.
Hi there! I went off The Regimen in January of this year (2013) to give a particular natural skincare site out there a try. I was experiencing dryness and redness with the regimen after having had excellent success with it starting back in 2009---I mean, we're talking *excellent*. The Regimen cleared me up by about 99% (as you can see in that photo I posted; no make-up; just a little eyeliner!) and only less when/if I was not religious about doing it properly. I have had cystic acne since I was 13 years old; mind you, not *horrible* at first but it was progressively getting worse until I hit a block in 2009 where I couldn't take it anymore. My breakouts were starting to become even larger (almost multi-porous, I'd say) and horribly painful. They didn't stay under the skin, strangely enough---always taking weeks to come to the surface and would even ooze (sorry, TMI.) I'm lucky I was left with nearly nil scarring at the time after I started the Regimen that first go around. I had tried EVERYTHING (except accutane, a line I am simply not willing to cross/risk.) I even saw a Naturopathic doctor and saw no change after trying everything I could diet-wise, using homeopathics, and liver-cleansing herbs. I am a very healthy person, so this was incredibly upsetting at the time---and still is. It's like, "why doesn't honey and aloe and the oil cleansing method and a clean diet not work for ME?!" So here we are early 2013: My acne was not worsening on The Regimen after having been on it for 3 or so years, but something just came over me because of that whole "I take a natural health approach in everything else in my life!"---BP just started to mentally bug me, for lack of a better description. Well, that and only being able to use white pillowcases and towels, lol. I couldn't understand how such a stable, happy, healthy person who eats a primal whole foods (mostly organic) diet, exercises, does yoga, gets chiropractic adjustments, doesn't repress emotions, etc has such awful acne! So you're hearing it from me, the natural health nut, lol: I actually resent it (always did, but especially now) when someone tries to say "oh, it's your diet" because of the simple fact that if acne was indeed a directly proportional relationship to food and core health, then those of us who eat a clean diet and are not overweight and have healthy communication skills would be acne-free, and everyone who eats fast-food and is overweight and represses emotions or is resentful would have horrible skin. Ya, ya, I know a lot of those people are suffering in other ways---but you see what I'm saying here, right? It's simply not a statement of fact to tell people with acne that their diets, their bodies, their sense of self---is not balanced enough and acne is their body's way of surfacing that fight. But, my stopping DKR this year came at a time when I was frustrated with the dryness of the Regimen and admittedly, not following it properly anyway after a time (only using BP once a day, not using jojoba oil anymore with moisturizer, not washing my face in the morning, using too much AHA) So, as you can see, I was not even really using The Regimen, but had sort of made my own "regimen", lol. Well, surprise, surprise, right? My skin began breaking out more and more and I started getting drier and drier when I put too much BP on in sudden frustration. So, I stopped DKR after reading a particular natural skincare site and its suggestions and thought, "maybe this is something that I can do?" So I did the Oil Cleansing Method with Jojoba Oil, Honey Masks every morning, and Aloe to moisturize. This shift didn't "cause" my acne to worsen, but I will say that my acne worsened to the worst cystic acne it had ever been. I kept at this new approach for about 2 months and despite what some wanted to call a Herxheimer Effect (healing crisis: things get worse before they get better) I simply had to stop. My acne was literally spreading down my neck, into my hairline---all as the most painful, large pustules ever. My face was literally swollen and even my hair brushing across it caused me to feel like it was on fire, it hurt that much. I personally don't think this is the way to go, aka: just ride out the wave and "it'll get better on its own". I'll be lucky if I get out of this breakout unscathed with massive scarring. And I'm not a big make-up girl, so wearing cover-up, concealer, foundation, etc is not really an option in my mind... So here we are. In about March 2013, nearly 3 months after attempting the natural skincare approach and only being left with The Worst Cystic Acne of My Life, I started the Regimen again---those are my pics where I'm wearing the yellow sweater here. I don't think it really illustrates how bad it was even in those pics. So I'm starting from scratch, reading the site and Dan's guidelines with an eye as if I'd never read it before so that I wouldn't mess it up. I am now on week 12 officially and can say with a bit of nervous excitement that my skin is *finally* starting to heal. No more massive cysts, at least. Oh, but the hyperpigmentation is absolutely awful. So embarrassing. I'm still breaking out and the flakiness and dryness is itch-tastic but I'm no longer in pain and I honestly think it's going to get better slowly but surely.... Next post I'll discuss the current state of my skin here at week 12 and what I'm using/doing exactly to follow the Regimen better this time to 'make it work.' Also, on an endnote, I have nevereverever talked about my skin issues via a blog or forum, and it hit me the other day how isolated I was feeling about my struggle and progress---and how much I think I need to hear back from people about where they think my skin might be as I share the latest photos or updates. I appreciate your thoughts and input, thanks for reading this!