Sooo, I haven't updated for a while, as to be honest my face was looking pretty horrible and taking pictures of it every day was just making me feel worse about it. But I've uploaded some pics of how my skin's looking today, after another 11 days of using epiduo - I think there's been a big improvement! I definitely feel happier with how it looks, and that's even after another couple of times where I got really frustrated with it and squeezed/picked/generally prodded at my face, taking me back to square one. It really is amazing how quickly epiduo can deal with whatever crap I've done to my face - it isn't perfect, but it's definitely helping a lot!
After using the epiduo tracker app thing, I would still say it's pretty useful in keeping track of your progress, but maybe only take a pic every 3 days or so - focusing on tiny daily changes in my face actually made me think about the acne more, making me more likely to pick at it, get upset, and feel generally gross. I feel much better now that I try to keep my acne thoughts to just 10 minutes a day, while I'm doing my skincare routine. Also, I don't know if this is just wishful thinking on my part, but I swear the iPhone camera does not make for a flattering picture of anyone's skin - I can often think my skin actually looks ok, looking in a mirror in broad daylight, but then if I take a close-up on my iPhone to check out my skin, it looks completely terrible! So I decided to base my evaluation on how I feel when I look at my skin in the mirror, rather than on a close-up iPhone selfie - and if that means I'm living in ignorance of my true, blotchy, acne-ridden self, then so be it! I just want to feel ok enough to make it out of the house in the morning
Anyway, for anyone interested in products, routine and stuff, here's what I'm having the most success with at the moment:
- Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser
- Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Moisturiser (I find this stops me looking or feeling too oily - it kind of mattifies but still moisturises, I really like it - wish it had SPF though)
Sometimes during the day if my face feels very oily, or gets really itchy (at the moment this happens pretty much every afternoon, no idea why), I just go to the bathroom and splash my face with some water, let it dry, then pat on a small amount of the Simple moisturiser again. It makes me look a bit less shiny, and can help with the itching/flaking that epiduo will sometimes cause).
I don't wear makeup at all at the moment, as I'm pretty sure it will just make things worse, and the couple of times I've tried to use it, the flaking and redness was still really obvious anyway. If I want to look nice, I just do my usual eye makeup, make my hair look extra amazing, and wear the coolest outfit I can find, and that usually makes me *almost* forget about my skin problems..
Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser
A tiny amount of Cetaphil moisturiser if my skin feels very dry
Epiduo (a large pea-sized amount, used all over my face)
Awesome news - the epiduo is no longer painful at all! At worst it gets a little itchy or tingly around my nose and mouth area, but otherwise the pain has stopped - I can barely believe it, and would not have made it this far without the internet reassuring me that the burning would stop - so anyone going through the same thing, hang in there! I let the epiduo dry fully before I go to bed and change my pillowcases every week just to be extra sure I'm not messing up my face while I sleep. Weird fact: for a few days, the epiduo must have been really itching my face while I slept, because I woke up a couple of times scratching at my face without realising I'd been doing it - actually a pretty freaky experience, but it seems to have stopped now...
Anyway! I think my red marks are definitely fading, and though I definitely still get new spots on a daily basis (mostly around my mouth and jawline area still), they are less noticeable to look at. They are still really uncomfortable, painful and itchy though, and I still get larger bumps under the skin on my cheeks and jaw. So basically, at this point I'm still very aware that I have acne going on, but it's starting to look less obvious to other people - which is at least halfway towards victory, yay! If I can just manage to stop touching my face and fight the urge to scratch the itchy dry skin, I'm pretty sure I'll be looking much clearer in a couple of weeks. So anyone else out there having crappy days where your face is a total mess of flakes, dark red spots and scabby parts - hang in there, try your absolute best not to squeeze or pick at your face, keep using your epiduo, and those marks will fade way quicker than if you give up!