Wow! As I embark on a second blog, it’s sort of nostalgic to be back on acne.org!
This to say, I’m definitely a grizzled veteran of all things DKR. A one time regular poster on the forums, I’ve been using the Regimen on and off for over seven years (!!) and, after a brief (and fleeting) attempt last fall to revive active writing about my skin in an attempt to clear up two years of mild, but persistent acne, I’ve decided to come back and write through my experience, since it helped so much last time.
I kept a separate, very detailed blog chronicling my initial journey on DKR from moderate/severe acne to utterly clear, which I *think* can be accessed in my signature. To recap, I had a breakout of severe acne seven and a half years ago that I initially tried to clear up with birth control, ill-advised home methods (slathering milk of magnesia on my face…), antibiotics, and Differin gel, but in the end decided to try DKR as a last-ditch effort. Although my path to crystal clear skin wasn’t linear, it was consistent; after a few months I achieved consistently clear skin, and at around 6 months in the texture and tone of my skin had evened out beautifully.
Currently, my situation is not dire but also not ideal. My skin doesn’t look terrible, and I’m remembering to be grateful that it’s not where it was when I first started a blog here, but it also doesn’t look particularly good. I have mild acne on my forehead, temples, and chin. The chin gets the most inflamed zits, and I suspect this is due to hormones/stress (I’m finishing up a PhD, which is… stressful!), and also touching my face a lot in general. As for my forehead and temples, it’s mainly blackheads and uninflamed zits that reside up there, and for the most part they seem to be falling out as hardened sebum nuggets (ew, but you know what I mean) rather than turning into inflamed lesions. Again, I’m grateful for this, and while it’s not exactly overtly noticeable my skin there just looks… dingy.
My goal is beautiful, soft, clear skin that I feel not only is “good enough,” but just… good. Beautiful. Airbrushed Looks better without make up (which I don’t really wear, anyway, but still). And I know I can do it, because I achieved it 6 years ago and it felt SO NICE to have totally clear skin…
I’m also battling acne and folliculitis on my body. After clearing up a more moderate case of acne that crept up on my back with antibiotics and aggressive BP treatment (including 10%), I have a few rogue cysts and two thatches of blackheads on the back of my shoulders that… are annoying. My chest is mostly clear, although in the summer months I have noticed that I struggle with folliculitis there—clogged pores that feel like sand paper that do not constitute true acne, and as such are not really treatable with BP, but luckily respond very well to Differin (which is now available over the counter. Yay!).
So, the burning question… why did my acne come back after I had cleared it up so beautifully on DKR? Why did I stop using it faithfully?
After I got clear, I became sloppier with the Regimen: missing applications, not waiting between steps, hastily applying products without being gentle to my skin, touching my face throughout the day. That’s where it started. Over the years, I had grown frustrated with slathering on BP on my face, having to be exact in a skin routine, wearing only white or bleach-stained t-shirts to bed, and putting handfuls of chemicals on my face. Plus, DKR began to feel heavy and gross in the summertime, when I sweat like a 400-pound man. Having become interested in holistic health over the years as well, I began to wonder if there was perhaps some other root cause for acne: diet, some sort of psychosomatic connection, etc. Additionally, attending graduate school over the past six (!!/sigh) years has also increased my stress levels pretty significantly, and as Dan ANDcommon sense has revealed, stress and acne are VERY LINKED.
So, after deviations and searching to find a non-DKR solution to clear skin, I suspect that my skin currently requires diligent adherence to the tried-and-true steps of Regimen. And that’s where I am today.
My weak spots remain after all these years: I have a tendency to rub in products too hard, I touch my face a lot, and I’m not very patient. I’m going to try to work on that as I re-embark on the Regimen, and keeping a blog last time helped me tremendously on the journey.
So, as of last week I’ve decided to ditch Differin on my face (which just wasn’t working – I gave it 5 weeks and didn’t notice much of a change) and do the Regimen more strictly again! I present to you below progress so far:
Week 1: There has been a marked in my forehead, with many of the blackheads flaking off and the semi-inflamed smaller zits shrinking. They haven’t entirely disappeared, but they’re smaller and my forehead in general seems more stable than it did even a week ago. As for my chin, the blackheads there are coming to the surface mainly in the form of inflamed zits, but they’re small-ish, yellow but luckily not cystic (hey, take what we can get, right?), and aren’t popping up in any place that doesn’t have blackheads. My back had inflamed cysts and the area right of my spine and left of my right shoulder blade had lots of blackheads lurking beneath the surface.
Week 2 (where I currently am) status: My chin is red, and my overall skin tone is blotchy (except my cheeks, which don’t get acne and are poreless and soft). The skin in that area also feels quite dry, although it isn’t flaking (thank the good lord). It does seem to be clearing, although there are still quite a few blackheads; my estimate would be around 10-15 in
the whole area, including inflamed pimples. Blackheads are coming to the surface...
My real problem area right now is my forehead. Although the acne there is a) not red and not really inflamed, it’s still there and has been for about two months. I think it cropped up after I used an oil cleanser for few days and noticed that my skin was reacting badly to it in the form of these clogged pores. It’s also… itchy!! The whole thing is frustrating and mysterious… the reason I started Differin in the first place was because I thought a retinoid would help, but after not seeing any real progress and having to debate with myself if it was an “initial breakout” or just… not working just wasn’t worth it in the end. DKR worked for me in the past, and I trust that it will work for me again now—I just have to be diligent…
THAT SAID, it is frustrating the extent to which one has to be EXACT in the routine. Then again, acne is far more frustrating.
Anyway… my back is currently clearing up, it seems, although I still have 6-7 large cysts and a bespecklement of PIH. Sigh. That will go away, though, and my back currently looks worse than it actually is because of it. Arg, but there’s nothing I can do. I do have to remember to put a TON of BP – we’re talking about a palm’s worth – on my back; when I do, I can pretty much count on the lesions shrinking significantly by morning, and on my skin generally feeling softer. I'm also using 10% in this area.
THAT SAID 2.0, it’s frustrating to not be able to do the Regimen on my body during the day unless I’m wearing a white t-shirt. I wish BP didn’t bleach clothes, but c’est la vie, I suppose… at least I can slather this shit on at night until the pigs come home.
And so to close the initiating, and long, first post, I’ll list some goals that I have for my skin to keep in mind, and help me on my journey from mild but FUCKING PERSISTENT acne to totally clear:
1) No active acne or blackheads on face by August 3rd , 2017
2) No active acne on back by July 16th , 2017
3) No PIH anywhere by my (30th
!) birthday, October 1st
So, thanks to anyone reading, and wish me luck! Clear skin ahoy!! We can do it, so long as we stay diligent…