Worth a shot!
Thanks for passing by! I wasn't sure whether I wanted to post, but the Regimen is a tough system to stick with and I could use the support of others here. I just finished my 7th week. This is somewhat of a last resort and I have seriously considered giving up on treating my skin at all. I could write a short novel on my treatment history. Since the age of 15 (I'm now 29), I have been on oral meds (isotretinoin, minocycline, tetracycline, Yaz oral contraceptive, Ortho Tricyclen oral contraceptive), topical meds (Clindoxyl, Benzamycin, Dalacin, Clindets, Tactuo, Retin A, Retin A micro, Stieva-A, Tazorac, a tonne of OTC stuff that doesn't work including ProActive which burned horribly and the Clarisonic which is way way way too harsh), and have tried laser and light treatments (Smoothbeam, V-star/V-beam, Blu-U, and Palomar Starlux). The only thing that has consistently worked is Accutane, which I have taken five (yes, five) times - please don't judge me! Unfortunately within 6 months to a year after each course, my skin would return to its baseline state of moderate inflammatory acne, mostly localized to my cheeks and perioral area.
My last course of Accutane ended about a year ago; I wanted to be clear for my wedding. Now my husband is stuck with me . He says I'm beautiful no matter what and that he doesn't notice my skin. I definitely do, though! It has really diminished my self confidence and has left some physical and mental scars. It was tough to deal with going through school and hasn't gotten much easier as an adult. I'm in a professional career and feel that I don't look the part. My dermatologist told me that the only way I would ever have clear skin was to stay on low dose Accutane indefinitely. Ultimately we want a family and I have also decided that I no longer want to take systemic meds for my skin. I don't agree with the use of oral antibiotics for acne and I discontinued oral contraceptives too, and my skin is no worse for it. My mom still gets breakouts and she is in her 50's, so it seems this is a case of bad skin genes.
So here I am, trying the Regimen. The last 7 weeks have been a grind. Prior to that I had a false start where I started with too much BPO and my face became swollen, red and painful overnight. I thought I was allergic. I let my skin calm down for a couple weeks and started it again with a pea sized amount. It took me until week 6 to be able to apply BPO twice daily, but I can tolerate it. I'm currently using the Regimen as Dan describes with a couple exceptions: I only apply 1 pump of BPO in the AM, and am also trying CeraVe moisturizing lotion to see if it does a better job than the Regimen's moisturizer (which also gives me a yellow hue...). The dryness is terrible - I am constantly red and flaky. Yes, I am using the Jojoba oil (6 drops AM and 10 drops PM). I tried the AHA a couple days ago and even a pea-sized amount burns and turns me bright red. The flaking starts right after the moisturizer absorbs and it worsens as the day goes on. I can't wear makeup because it flakes immediately upon application. I am also still having breakouts, at a rate of about 2 new lesions per week which I think is reduced from before. I have many red marks as well, and some mild indented scarring from all the years of inflammatory lesions.
With all that said, I'm still hopeful the Regimen could work. Any words of advice for managing the dryness would be greatly appreciated. Or even just words of encouragement to stick with it! I have photos from Day 1 and Month 1. I will take more at Month 2. Not sure if I will be brave enough to post them. I do track lesions daily but I will probably only update this once a week or every couple of weeks. I have a dermatologist appointment booked for the end of April to look at options if the Regimen isn't working. If you've made it this far, thank you for reading and good luck in your journey to clear skin
Thanks for sharing your story....it's a tough road you've been travelling! You seem to be very strong and I think your story provides encouragement and inspiration for others here! If you're looking for an alternative moisturiser I suggest epiology cream which has activity against acne and redness as well as providing moisturisation. Enjoy your wedded bliss and good luck with your clear skin journey too!
Hi all! I am almost through week 9 - past the 2 month mark!
Here's what I'm doing currently:
AM: cleanse - 1 pump BPO - 1.5 pump moisturizer + 5-6 drops jojoba oil
PM: cleanse - 1 pump BPO - 1.5 pump moisturizer + 8-10 drops jojoba oil + pea sized amount of AHA
So I tried a bunch of things to deal with the flaking, including CeraVe lotion, Cetaphil cream, and Vaseline. None of those worked. In a bit of desperation I tried the AHA again. For the past week I've been using a pea sized amount at night and knock on wood, it seems to be making a difference. I am still dry but I can go through most of the day looking normal (i.e., no massive flakes). My skin is also feeling generally less tight. I attempted makeup one day but it flaked right off. There is some day to day variation but I think in general things are going in the right direction. Hoping it keeps getting better! The weather is also still cold and dry here, which doesn't help. It's supposed to be spring, but we just got a bunch of snow... not impressed!
The other exciting thing: a whole week has elapsed and I haven't had any new breakouts! My fingers and toes are crossed that this continues as well. Still have a bunch of red marks though, and they seem to be fading much slower than normal so my skin doesn't look clear even though it is.
I did take some photos for month 2 and I swear my phone camera makes my skin look a lot worse than it is, so not going to post those at this point.
Hope everyone else out there is doing well!
I'm about halfway through week 12 now and doing relatively well. Here's what I'm currently doing:
AM: cleanse - 1 pump BPO - 1 pump moisturizer + 5-6 drops jojoba oil
PM: cleanse - 1 pump BPO - 1 pump moisturizer + 8-10 drops jojoba oil
I discontinued the AHA because our weather here is warming up and I don't want to risk burning. The other nice thing about warm weather is that it has improved my dryness. I'm still dry but instead of huge flakes and tightness, there are only a couple of small flakes that aren't as noticeable. I'm still a bit red on some days, but other days look pretty decent (for me!).
That said, I am not consistently clear. I do have stretches where I am, but I haven't been able to go more than a week without one or two new lesions. They are limited to the area around my mouth, and I'm 99% sure they are hormone related. I'm also not using the full dosage of BPO but honestly I don't think my skin can tolerate any more of it. Even still, I am improved enough where I feel I look generally OK and can cover up the odd active and red marks with a small amount of concealer. My self-confidence is slowly starting to improve though I don't want to jinx it!
Bring on month 4!
Edited to add.. anybody have sunscreen recommendations?! My skin is so sensitive already and with the BPO, it is even worse. I tried the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 50 but it burns and is drying. The smell is also really strong. Thinking of trying Ombrelle as that's what my old derm recommended..
Glad to hear you're making progress and having longer stretches of clear skin!! The Regimen isn't a cure but it will allow you to stifle the symptoms and enjoy clear skin with religious and consistent use. Looks like you're doing all that...great work!!!!! The dryness is probably the number-one complaint but please know it does get better and won't last forever although depending on the weather and other factors you may go through flaky periods which come and go. Just one of those things you need to muscle through. Just moisturize like you're doing and as often as you need to. This is one step it's OK to do more than twice per day.
Sounds like you have an awesome hubby who loves you inside and out and gives you lots of support! You have a lot of spirit and determination so I know you'll achieve your clear-skin goals!!
Thanks for your kind reply, DeLovely :). I think I've reconciled with the fact that my skin will never be perfect. As you say, as long as I can reduce the symptoms to the point where my self-confidence is no longer as badly affected, I'm OK with that. Even the dryness is becoming more tolerable and I hope it keeps going in that direction. Appreciate the support!
Month 5 (week 20) update:
AM: Cleanse - 1 pump BPO - 1 pump moisturizer + 2-3 drops jojoba oil + sunscreen
PM: Cleanse - 1 pump BPO - 1 pump moisturizer + 4-5 drops jojoba oil + 1 pump AHA
Ican't believe how time is flying! Part of the reason this update is so delayed is because I don't have too much to report these days! I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I can call myself a Regimen success story. The results are second only to Accutane, and I've tried almost everything in the book. I am not 100% clear all the time, but definitely most of the time. In the last 6.5 weeks I've only had 3 new lesions, and they clear up pretty quick. The nuisance side effects (dryness, burning, etc) of the Regimen have mostly resolved other than some mild redness. All in all, I'm glad I stuck with it! My skin isn't perfect but I no longer feel self-conscious and I am less obsessive over checking my skin.
Couple of other things that I should mention:
- I saw a dermatologist around the 14 week mark and she wanted me to use Tactuo (BPO + adapalene) two to three nights a week in place of BPO. I tried it for one week and had 5 new lesions...! I understand the concept of retinoids, but they alway seem to flare me up. Perhaps if I stuck with it for longer I would have had better results, but the Regimen is working so much better that it wasn't worth fighting with that stuff.
- The derm also sent me for some hormonal testing to ensure no imbalances/PCOS/etc. She told me no news is good news and I never got a call, so I assume everything is within normal limits and my acne is probably just a result of bad skin genes.
- I LOVE the Roche-Posay Anthelios sunscreen. Doesn't stink, easy to apply, blends in well and doesn't clog pores. I mix a little in with the moisturizer every morning. The only downfall is the price; I try to use a small amount to conserve it.
To those thinking of trying the Regimen - definitely worth a shot! Good luck to everyone else on the journey to clear skin!
Hi everyone.. just wanted to post another update now that it has been over a year since I started the Regimen. I am so happy with the results! My skin is clear almost all of the time, with only one or two small lesions every so often that are hormone related. Even still, they are hardly inflamed, and resolve quickly. Although it took at least 6 months, my skin finally hardened up to the BPO and I am no longer dry, flaky, or red. I no longer feel self-conscious or fret over my skin. I frequently go without makeup and my skin care routine is quick and easy.
Here are a few things that helped me along my journey:
- Start slow, and as directed. I actually only made it to 1 pump BPO twice daily. That was all my skin could handle and it was enough to be effective.
- Try to use the acne.org products, at least to start. The formulation is really nice and minimizes irritation. In my experience, there was nothing that effectively relieved the initial dryness - I experimented with a number of moisturizers. For me, it just took time until my skin adjusted.
- Have patience - it does get better! For me, Accutane always worked super quickly, so it was easy to feel frustrated with the Regimen. I wasn't actually happy with my skin till about the 6 month mark, and there were lots of ups and downs over that time. I'm so grateful that I stuck with it.
The only other downside I can report is that shipping of the products to Canada is really expensive. I've also been hit with extra duty fees once or twice. Because of that, I stopped ordering the cleanser and moisturizer, and have successfully substituted over the counter products. I will be a long term purchaser of the BPO, however. I'm convinced that you can't find a better formulation than Dan's.
Hopefully this has been helpful to some. Thanks to Dan for creating such a wonderful system and products, and to the supportive folks here on the boards. The Regimen has made such a positive impact on my life! I encourage anyone who is struggling with their skin to at least give it a chance.