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stateofwonder

Kat's clear skin quest

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Hey all,

I'm new to the regimen -- in fact I haven't yet started, I'll be going to pick up supplies at the pharmacy today.

About me and my skin: I'm 22 years old, and have suffered from some form of acne or another since puberty. My face used to be moderate to severe: all through junior high and high school I would get cystic and nodular acne on my chin, nose and forehead especially. Have been going to dermatologists since I was fifteen, used pretty much every topical available, and most of the orals except for Accutane. The topicals were generally pretty useless, and some of the orals were helpful but had side effects (I found out that I'm allergic to sulfa drugs, antibiotics make me severely sick to my stomach and hormonal birth control kills my libido and makes me have craazy mood swings). I might be interested in trying Accutane, but right now I have no health insurance and really can't afford it.

Since my teenage years, my facial acne has improved considerably. I credit time more than any product I used during those years. It's now what I would call relatively mild, but even though it's much much much better than it was before, I still feel self-conscious about it. It's not a big deal really, but having really clear skin would help me feel a bit more confident about myself, especially in a professional setting.

The other thing that has changed since I was younger is that I now have acne allll over my back, from shoulders down to the butt. It's mostly mild to moderate but it is widespread and I get the occassional painful cyst. Where there aren't active pimples, there is definitely a ton of scarring that looks pretty bad. I'm tired of feeling self-conscious in tank tops and bathing suits, not to mention intimate situations.

For the past six or eight months I've basically been using nothing on my skin -- just washing with spectro gel and sometimes half-heartedly applying a little proactiv, which really does nothing. I have used benzyl peroxide products before, but not in this particular fashion, so I thought I'd at least give it a try. Feeling cautiously optimistic after seeing some of the results on this site! Wish me luck :)

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For reference... I suppose these will be my 'before' pictures. These were taken right after a shower, so no makeup and wet hair.

The back, excuse my crazy tan lines:

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Left side of the face, the chin is a real problem area:

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Right side, not bad at all!:

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This is what I look like when I'm not posing strangely:

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Hi!

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So I went out to get some supplies to start my regimen. I already use Spectro Gel in the shower and Cetaphil in the sink as cleansers, and I have been using Cetaphil daily moisturising lotion for months. They're great and I intend to keep using them! So the only things I needed to get was the benzoyl peroxide for face and back and the glycolic acid for my back. This proved more difficult than expected...

I didn't see any of the Neutrogena on-the-spot product, but there were a million other teeny tiny tubes of bp of various brands. It was pretty overwhelming, and I wasn't sure which one to pick, but there were only a few that were 2.5%. I ended up getting two tubes of OXY5 lotion, the tubes are sooo tiny though, it's ridiculous. I don't know how I'm going to be able to afford to keep this up :s but I guess I'll give it a try in any case.

The only glycolic acid I could find was a brand called NeoStrata, and it was like 30$ a bottle! I don't have that kind of money! So I'm not sure what to do on that font... I guess I can check some other pharmacies and see if I can find anything cheaper.

I'm a little discouraged by all of this, but hopefully I'll find reliable products and it will all be worth it in the end. The things we do for beauty, eh?

The regimen starts tonight.

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So I went out to get some supplies to start my regimen. I already use Spectro Gel in the shower and Cetaphil in the sink as cleansers, and I have been using Cetaphil daily moisturising lotion for months. They're great and I intend to keep using them! So the only things I needed to get was the benzoyl peroxide for face and back and the glycolic acid for my back. This proved more difficult than expected...

I didn't see any of the Neutrogena on-the-spot product, but there were a million other teeny tiny tubes of bp of various brands. It was pretty overwhelming, and I wasn't sure which one to pick, but there were only a few that were 2.5%. I ended up getting two tubes of OXY5 lotion, the tubes are sooo tiny though, it's ridiculous. I don't know how I'm going to be able to afford to keep this up :s but I guess I'll give it a try in any case.

The only glycolic acid I could find was a brand called NeoStrata, and it was like 30$ a bottle! I don't have that kind of money! So I'm not sure what to do on that font... I guess I can check some other pharmacies and see if I can find anything cheaper.

I'm a little discouraged by all of this, but hopefully I'll find reliable products and it will all be worth it in the end. The things we do for beauty, eh?

The regimen starts tonight.

Hi stateofwonder! I hope this regimen gives you the results you want! :comfort: Regarding the BP...I use Neutrogena On the Spot, and yes it IS a tiny tube :lol: I want to try and get Dan's BP, it's a bigger bottle and quite a bargain. Unfortunately, I'm a little scared to try changing BP creams..so for now i'm sticking with Neutrogena. Good luck and I hope this works for you! :dance:

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Thanks for the encouragment Fiyero! I may end up investing in some of Dan's bp as well..

Day 1

Not much change today, it's way too early to see any at this point. My facial acne seems to be following its regular course... one of the giant chin ones burst and was pretty goopy and puffy this morning, but it's calmed down. Another chin one is bigger and kind of itchy, I'm trying really hard not to touch it. The third one has gone down a lot, and the one on my forehead has gone down a lot too. Otherwise there are the normal blackheads and whiteheads here and there.

My back is causing me some grief, there are a few that are really painful and make it hard for me to lean on the back of my chair and relax. Where there aren't big zits there are little flesh-coloured and slightly dark bumps absolutely everywhere... it probably feels worse than it looks, but it feels awful to touch. I just hate it. I'm thinking I might have to get some glycolic acid even if it is very expensive.

I'm going to try alternating the sides that I sleep on to see if it makes a difference, though it feels pretty weird. I usually sleep on my left side, which is the worse side. If I sleep on the right side, I'm facing the wall, which I don't really like. But I'm making an effort. I'm also trying really really hard not to touch or pick at my face, that's something that I do a lot and I know that it's REALLY bad for my skin.

So.. irresistable! Must Not Touch!

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hi stateofwonder,

welcome to the regimen ! yes you would do well to not pick at your face AT ALL. i have definitely learned my lesson. if i touch any part of my face i know i'll pay for it in the next few days. one thing i can recommend is to change your pillowcases daily and not sleep flat on your back with your covers not touching your chin at all and keep your face off of your pillow. this has helped me a LOT with my usual problem areas (lower cheeks and chin). from looking at your pix i think the regimen will work well for you :angel: good luck!

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Thanks for the notes, guys! :D It is great to know that there are people going through the same thing. Keeping my hands off my face is HARD, haha, but I'm trying. I travel quite a bit in Africa and whenever I'm there I try extra-hard not to touch my face to reduce the risk of getting sick, still never quite succeeded though. This time, it will happen, I am determined. It's a great habit to get into for my next trip anyway, and maybe I won't get any crazy eye infections again :doubt:

DAY 2

I'm definitely noticing the dryness in my face today, especially around the cheeks and chin. No flakiness yet though, that's a good thing. My Cetaphil daily moisturizer is almost used up, I might try their other moisturizer next time, the bottle is bigger and it looks a bit more heavy-duty. Ordered some of Dan's BP today because I am sick of the smell of this Oxy stuff already, and it's only been two days! I heard that Dan's BP has a very mild smell.

I'm holding off on the glycolic acid for now -- it's just too expensive for a poor student like me and I'd like to see whether just the BP will make any kind of difference. I'm also only doing my back once a day (at night) because I don't have time to take two showers a day, so progress on the back might be a little slower than the face.

A few new whiteheads today on the upper lip, but nothing huge. Otherwise the forehead zit is almost completely gone! That was fast! A few whiteheads around the hairline. Still have the three big daddies on the chin, one is drying up a bit but the other two are still larger than life. Cheeks and nose are looking good! Back is much the same. Patience..

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DAY 3

Definitely noticing WAY more dryness and flakiness today. Yesterday when I was putting on my moisturizer, it was burning and stinging a little... no pain no gain? My cheeks were pretty red. Usually I put bp on my cheeks because I get occassional pimples there, but I'm wondering whether I should just put the bp around the hairline and on the forehead and chin since those are my normal problem areas. I don't want to irritate my cheeks when they're doing pretty alright by themselves.

Otherwise, today I went to get mineral makeup at the pharmacy. The girl who was helping me find the right shade (which is difficult with my skin tone) caked the stuff all over... way thicker than I usually put on makeup, she said "to cover up your red marks". Then when I went to pay she gave me these free samples of acne creams and explained them all to me. It was kind of embarassing, like she thought my skin was really horrible. Made me feel pretty bad, actually. I'm working on it, lady!

The only thing I don't really get about the regimen is the lack of exfoliation. I know the bp makes your skin peel (I'm experiencing that!), but when you have all these flakes hanging around, why isn't it okay to exfoliate? I feel like just putting moisturizer on the flakes makes them build up or something. I'm still following the regimen for the time being, but I'm feeling a little bit skeptical with all this flakiness! I know, I know, I just need to wait it out.

I have a new cyst developing on my chin, so that makes four in the chin area. The old forehead dude is almost healed, but the new ones are still hanging around. Things are much the same, really.

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DAY 4

Having a bad skin texture day today. This morning I FORGOT to put on BP... I was already out the door when I remembered, at first I was like "OH SHIT!" but then I thought... hmm.. maybe I should just try applying it once a day at the beginning and see what happens. After all my skin is not that bad and I don't want to develop a dependency. I'm a bit concerned about starting the twice a day regimen right now because I know I won't be able to keep it up indefinitely (i.e. I can't when I'm traveling in some developing countries where access to water is limited), so maybe I'm best to just stick with once a day. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, today my acne is alright but otherwise my skin is horrible! There's a bit of flakiness, but beyond that my skin just feels super rough, especially on my chin and forehead where I'm applying the most bp. It feels scaly, like I'm turning into a little scaly lizard or something, heh. On top of that, my skin felt oily today too -- so it's flaky/scaly and oily at the same time. It's also quite red, and feels itchy. Not too appealing! It also stings when I apply moisturizer. What's that about? Maybe I'm mildly allergic to bp?

Although I am seeing some change (perhaps?) in the facial acne, my bacne is invincible. I might as well have been spreading whipped cream on my skin for the past four days for all my back cares. It's not red, it's not flaky, its not scaly, it's just the same as always.

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Hi, good luck with CSR, I'm on it too :D for 2 months now, works great.

True what you say, glycolic acid is expensive, I just bought 2x2ml bottles, I hope it will help my red marks :(

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Anyway, today my acne is alright but otherwise my skin is horrible! There's a bit of flakiness, but beyond that my skin just feels super rough, especially on my chin and forehead where I'm applying the most bp. It feels scaly, like I'm turning into a little scaly lizard or something, heh. On top of that, my skin felt oily today too -- so it's flaky/scaly and oily at the same time. It's also quite red, and feels itchy. Not too appealing! It also stings when I apply moisturizer. What's that about? Maybe I'm mildly allergic to bp?

Although I am seeing some change (perhaps?) in the facial acne, my bacne is invincible. I might as well have been spreading whipped cream on my skin for the past four days for all my back cares. It's not red, it's not flaky, its not scaly, it's just the same as always.

sounds like you're experiencing the well-known hardening effect of BP. it's going to take some time for your skin to get used to the BP. just make sure you ramp up the dosage veryyy slowly and this will keep your skin from freaking out. also, have you thought about adding jojoba oil to your moisturizer? i do this and i barely get the dryness or scaliness like you described. and occasionally i get some flakes but they just fall off or i can easily pick them off without my face looking like it's falling apart.

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Hey again everyone,

Sorry for not updating for so long... it's been a rough couple of weeks as my grandmother passed away just over a week ago and everything else kind of fell by the wayside. However, I have been keeping my routine going. What I'm doing is this:

Night:

-cetaphil cleanser

-2.5% BP on chin, forehead, all around hairline and a bit on the nose

-cetaphil moisturizing lotion

Morning:

-cetaphil cleanser

-2.5% BP on chin only (my problem area) and spot treatments

-cetaphil moisturizing lotion

-mineral fx powder makeup

I'm only applying bp to my back after I shower, which ends up being every second day. Obviously this means that I haven't seen much progress on my back at all. I'm beginning to wonder whether it would be harmful to apply BP without washing my back first, but that seems kind of gross somehow.

The face is doing actually really well. Sometimes I have days where I feel like I'm a flake monster, but a bit of bp adjustment has helped that. As of today my only active zits are really tiny whiteheads that are hardly noticeable. The best thing is that two days ago I had what looked like a cyst starting to develop... but it went down drastically in just two days! That would normally have grown into a monster and stuck around for a week or two, so I was really happy about that. I have a lot of red marks on my chin and some on my cheeks, but at least those I can cover up. Overall I'm really happy with how my face is clearing up.

The only thing I'm not really thrilled about is the appearance of the infamous 'flesh-coloured bumps' on my chin. They're not exactly zits, just... bumps, I guess they're just clogged pores. So I'm not entirely sure what to do about those. I'm really low on cash right now and don't want to start with any other product, so I guess I'll just leave them be for now. At least they're not too noticeable. The bacne may also have to remain as it is for now unless I start taking daily showers, which I just think is a bit wasteful (no offense to anyone who showers daily).

So that's my almost-three-weeks update!

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Sounds like you are doing really well Kat,

The 5% BP is harsher than the 2.5 but once your face gets used to it, hopefully the flakes will settle.

I don't have too many problems with Bacne, but there are some interesting threads here ( I do get the occassional monsters there). I found some on the Head and Shoulders shampoo that people are trying just on their backs which seem promising. If you have some in your cupboard it could be worth a try (I'm thinking of getting some).

Dan's Regimen is a winner for the face though, and I hope you can maintain it while travelling.

Good luck

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