I made it to the end of Week 2 and I'm much happier with my skin.
Took some side profile pictures as well to get a better look at my cheek areas (one of these days I might work up the nerve to post my full face). In this lighting you can definitely see some of the flakey skin that I've been dealing with but it's not nearly as bad as it had been. No active lesions on my face, just lots of red spots from old acne. They seem to already be fading compared to last week.
This past week is typically when I start to see a flare up in my acne but so far, nothing new has really cropped up other than a few white heads that were easily removed and didn't leave behind any marks or redness.
I seem to be having a much much better experience this time than I have in he past. I think the biggest difference is that I'm much more patient and I'm treating my skin far more gently.
Yesterday was my 2-year anniversary with my fiancé and looking at some of our photos today, I'm really, really happy. I did wear makeup out to dinner last night but normally it doesn't "cover all". My face looks nearly flawless now when done up. Hopefully my skin can someday look that way too, without the coverup. Fingers crossed.
Today marks the end of week 1 and so far, I'm fairly pleased with my progress.
This photo is from this morning, post-shower, after 7 consecutive nights of applying Differin. Amazing what a huge transformation I saw just between yesterday and today. Yesterday, there was a lot more redness (my cheeks were very flushed) and the spots on my chin were very bright and bold. Today, I don't look quite as flushed and my spots are more brown-ish red and fading. Two new active lesions on my left cheek but all those other spots are just old acne marks that are surfacing. I do have 5 active spots on my forehead and 1 between me eyes that are new but they're the normal kind of acne (small white heads) that usually doesn't last very long or leave me with marks. I presume they're a result of the Differin purging my skin as I normally don't break out on my forehead.
I've never really had an issue with enlarged pores but I did notice almost immediately that the skin on my cheeks and nose did look more refined by day 2. Lots of flakey skin around my mouth and cheekbones from day 2 on out (doesn't photograph). Wearing makeup makes my skin look worse right now because it emphasizes the flakeys. My fiancé and I went to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Friday and I looked like a hot mess up close and personal. Thankfully, concert lighting is quite forgiving. My skin seemed to reach it's peak "flakeyness" yesterday and today, it seems to have subsided drastically.
Redness and a bit of stinging did occur around days 5 and 6, but I didn't experience much stinging at all with day 7. The stinging only occurs when I apply my moisturizer, which I really can't skip at this point because of how dry my skin is. My cheeks currently feel dry and sand paper like to the touch, though they don't look that way in the mirror.
Hoping that the subdued redness, stinging and flakey skin between yesterday and today is a good sign that I'm headed in right direction. I'll be back to post an update at the end of week 2!
Long time acne sufferer here. 36 y/o and my acne is mostly what I would describe as moderate/minor (my fiancé might say "horrific" but he has flawless skin and his idea of having a horrible breakout is when he gets a barely visible red spot every 3-4 months). I periodically get cystic acne on my chin and some stubborn closed comedones on my cheeks, which is probably the worst of it, since both can last for WEEKS before coming to a head or flattening out. Either way, since I turned 30, they seem to always leave behind a big, dark purple or red mark that'll last for months before fading. Because of this, even when my skin has no active lesions, it still looks a bit like a war zone.
I consider myself fairly confidant and hardly wear makeup to try and disguise my condition (though I do get dolled up if we're going out to dinner or doing something fancy) but admittedly, I've become more and more self-conscience about my skin since I met my hunny. He tries to be helpful by giving me lots of unsolicited skincare advice (and at my age, I've already tried most everything under the sun - multiple times). I've expressed how this makes me feel but he seems genuinely oblivious to how hurtful this is because from his perspective he's just trying to help. Unfortunately, his obsession with my skin has really affected me in a negative way. I used to feel okay about going out in public, even knowing my skin wasn't "great", but now I've started to feel like people are judging me because of my less than stellar skin. For the first time ever in my life, I've actually started avoiding social outings in favor of staying home alone.
So fast forward to today, I've made the decision to give differin another try. Now that it's available OTC, gaining access to it is easier than ever and I know that I did see "some" success with it in the past, although I never stuck with it because the side effects seemed worse than it was worth. My biggest fear right now is that I have my bachelorette party coming up (5 weeks from my start date) and my wedding (15 weeks from my start date). I've never gone beyond week 8 and a little concerned that whatever side effects I experience may not subside in time for my big day. I've already accepted that my skin may be in a horrific state for my bachelorette but I am determined to push through.
I have a very minamilistic skin care routine that I plan to stick with throughout this process. Cetaphil cleanser morning and night, Differin in the evening and Neutrogena oil-free moisture for combination skin morning and night. I wear Laura Mercier Mineral Powder on days I want to look a little more polished. It's the only mineral foundation I've found that doesn't dry out my skin (which always exasperates my cystic acne) and doesn't age me by settling into my fine lines.
The attached photo is my baseline, taken prior to starting, and today marks Day 4 of my treatment. I started getting some flakey skin around my mouth and corner of my eye on Day 2 and today it has spread a bit to my cheeks. Some very minor itching around my lips from the dryness but very tolerable. Existing lesions have settled down/flattened out, except two small ones that have come to a head. About a dozen or so red marks from older acne that seems less noticeable. Doing my best not to pick at or rub off my flakey skin so not to aggravate things. I hope to check in a weekly basis with updates. Wish me luck! Please