So, I haven't been updating my blog lately due to school and many other things going on in my life. But just to let you al know, my face is far from being perfect. I guess it's the time of the year again where I'm having lots of stress and also, the weather is starting to get warmer and of course, the humidity level is almost unbearable. For thes reasons, my face is obviously far from clear.
If you have read my previous entries, I've tried many different products and regimen in the hope of clearing my acne. Some actually worked, and of course, there are pros and cons with almost all of the products/treatments that I've tried in the past. So, I've decided to customize my own
'acne treatment' with the combination of products that I know worked for me.
Background of my skin:
- I have extremely EXTREMELY oily face and it gets worse in the summer.
- I have mild/moderate acne, depending on the time of the year of course.
- Usually, I will suffer in acne for half of the year (say 6 months) and then have acne FREE for another 6 months. This has been a trend more or less in the past 6-7 years.
- My acne are mostly clustered on my chin and my cheeks.
- Types of acne: I have mostly pustules on my cheeks, and of course with a few papules and cysts occasionally, and mostly papules/cysts on my chin. Aside from these inflammed ones, I do get TONS OF (AND I MEAN A LOT) whiteheads, also mostly clustered on my chin/cheek area.
MY PLAN B:
SOOO I think my acne is mostly due to 1) oil secretion and 2) hormonal changes.
1) Oil secretion - those are the pustules that kept occuring on my chin/cheek. They actually began with just a bunch of whiteheads subsiding underneath my skin. Throughout time, they just got inflammed and became a what most people called 'pimple'!
2) Hormones - well, of course I know that oil production has to do with hormones too. But for me, though I have EXTREMELY OILY SKIN, if I'm stress-free, I'm actually an 'acne-free' person. Of course, to be 100% stress-free is almost impossible for me. So yes, I do think that some of the more complicated acne are a sign of my high stress level/hormonal changes.
So in attempting to control my acne, this is what I'm going to do:
1) wash my face with neostrata Oil-free face cleasner:
- I actually LOVE this face cleanser. It removes all the dirt and make up residual from my face. I actually do use make up oil to remove my make up before I use the cleanser to wash off the residuals. I think make up oil is better for my skin than say, make up remover cleasner (the non-oil based ones) because I want to make sure that the make up and oil are completely gone to prevent further break outs. So anyways, after trying so many different brands of cleansers, I think neostrata is a very VERY good cleanser that helps to minimize my break outs.
2) Bp 2.5% (from acne org)
- Okay, so here's the story of my previous bp experience. I think around 4 years ago, I tried Dan's regimen and despite the intital break outs and the dry/flaky skin, I must say, it worked. It worked perfectly actually for around 2 years and then I started to move to an Asia country for schooling purposes. So anyways long story short, ever since I moved to this Asia country, my face never gets better. It seems like bp didn't work for me anymore because the humidity level here is almost ALWAYS 80-90% and the bp just won't dry up. So after trying it with no success, I finally gave up this treatment last year.
This year, I'm trying to give bp a shot again. I'm actually not going to use the full dose because it a) either leaves my skin really dry as it was back in my hometown, or b) NOT working at all. So I'm only going to use perhaps half (to 3/4) of the full dose hopefully to minimize the side effects of bp.
3) Kiehl's blue astringent
- This is a relatively expensive toner. I bought it after reading good reviews from make up alley. Before I started this 'plan', I used it as a toner for my entire face. Since I have SUPER oily skin, this toner sorta stablizes my oil production but it's far from being perfect for me. I read online that most people find this toner very harsh and over drying for their skin. So i guess before you want to use this toner, you must make sure that you 1) don't have sensitive skin, 2) have super oily skin like me, and 3) moisturize your face.
HOwever, consistent with other people, perhaps this is not the 'perfect' toner for everybody, but this is a really good acne treatment. What I do is, I would soak a cotton (those thin ones because you don't want to waste this expensive toner) with some blue astringent, and apply it directly on your pimple. Of course you would do this at home. I would change the cotton once it dries up if I stay home all day and for uncomplicated pimple, you actually see a dramatic difference on the next day.
4) Vitamin B5
- Okay I tried this last year and it drastically reduced my oil production over night! I was amazed by this product. BUT the downside was that it caused me MAJOR diarrhea. I was having the full mega dose for about 2-3 months and (of course I wasn't sure if it was the B5 or amongst other things), my face was completely clear for the entire summer. I stopped taking it after my skin has been stablized and I didn't break out after my discontinance.
So, to avoid the bad side effects (diarrhea), I'm planning to couple B5 with Bp. Since BP is probably going to reduce the oil production on my face, B5 is going to enhance that effect. Therefore, I'm planning not to use full dose of 2.5% Bp on my face and with B5, hopefully it will clear out my acne very soon.
5) Observe your skin/record your progress
- I have been recording my progress and of course, observing my skin in the past few months.
I've also tracked my menstrual cycle, new products that I purchased, food that I consumed, my recent sleeping patterns, and just a general log about my acne. I think this is a good habit for people who are suffering from acne because it helps yourself to know your skin better. Of course, we visit the derm once a while, or for some other people, on a routine basis. They do give us professional feedbacks and treatments. But I think that we are our own 'dermologist'; we know our skin the best because we could monitor our skin almost all the time.
Some people have commented that these things (say food) don't cause acne but I think it does have a correlation. So why not keep track of your habits, your skin, and if you are a girl, your menstrual cycle to hopefully know what would worsen your skin or if the new products/treatments are going to work for you?
6) LAST BUT NOT LEAST, MAINTAIN A POSITIVE MINDSET
- Do you guys know that emotions play a huge part in acne? This is something that I've learned in the past (through my own experiences). It usually starts off with stress. And due to the high stress level, my skin will start to break out; sorta like a warning sign telling me that I should reduce my stress level. But despite the warning signs, I usually get more paranoid because on top of the stress, there goes acne. In the end, I will get more acne than the intial break out because of my emotions, and despite the amount of time that I tried to 'cure' my acne, it just won't get better until say, school is over and my acne is finally recovering.
Therefore, I know that stress/emotions, though perhaps not causation, significantly affects your skin. I know it's hard to keep a positive mindset under such condition. But this is what I've been trying to do in the past 3-4 months and I think it helped. I mean, I am still breaking out and all that, but comparing to last year when I was SUPER DESPERATE and HOPELESS, my skin is a lot clearer than last year. For those of you who are going through a hard time with your acne, remember, you are not alone.
I know it's hard, but try to enjoy life, even with your acne. This is what I've realized this year actually, and that is, noone really cares about your acne. Our attention is only going to focus on ourselves. The only ones who would really pay attention to your face are the ones who also suffer/or had suffered from acne because they are concerned with this problem as well. So perhaps, it would be comforting for them to know that someone is also going through a time like this. So, don't let acne affect you. You should enoy your life and be proud of who you are, with or with out acne. This is a mentality that I'm trying to work towards. And of course, this helps myself to keep a positive mindset too!
Good luck to all of you who are also struggling through this extremely difficult stage in life.
Will update soon.