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The Tazorac Experience

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Hello all.

I've been a frequent lurker on this board, though haven't talked too much myself. (Not that I should have, per se, being that I'm still afflicted, but...). Today that changes - I've been inspired to record my own valiant struggle to rid my face of unsightly blemishes, this time with the help of Tazorac. First, some background.

I'm 24. Up until about age 20 I just suffered from the occasional zit, though I was on Retin-A micro from about 16 to 20. Early sophomore year of college though, it just seemed to stop working. Since then I've tried a bunch of things, most notably tetracycline (worked great for 5 months - than nothing), and of course Dan's regimen. For the first year on his regimen I used neutrogena-on-the spot and it worked amazingly...second year his gel...and then it stopped working so well. Sure, I wasn't getting huge cysts or really anything too unsightly - my acne's always probably been at the moderate level - but my complexion just sucked. I had so many of those stubborn fleshy bumps embedded into my face. I tried differin in combination with Dan's BP gel for a year, and it just kind of kept things as they were, no better, no worse. Stuck with the same crappy complexion, I've decided to try something else, yet again. And this is coming off a month on the dip regime, followed by another month of just jojoba oil, followed by another month of just washing with water. Nothing worked.

Which brings me to where I am now. From far away, or in good lighting you probably (well, not you all - scrutinizing skin is practically sport in these parts, but the average person) think my skin looks fine. And if I touch my face while I'm cleaning it, aside from my forehead, it feels pretty smooth. The thing is it just looks like a wreck. Those tiny white bumps abound, as does irritation, flaky skin, and my cheeks look so weird it's difficult to explain. It's like there are these tiny, tiny scars etched into them (though I've never had cystic acne there), and the skin is just completely rough and almost shiny! Also, I have so many fine lines that won't go away no matter how much I moisterize. I feel like I look prematurely aged...It's not nice. I'll see if I can get a decent pic up sometime. Often times I'll see people who have "pimples," but their skin is fine and normal looking, like it would be anywhere else on their body, aside from the pimples. I just have crap overall skin and a few "classic" pimples. The thing that's most frustrating is that none of these products have seemed to make any real difference for the past year and half or so. So here's hoping Tazorac can turn things around...

This is my regimen:

Morning, wash w/ cetaphil gentle cleanser then apply Complex 15 moisterizer.

Night, wash w/ cetaphil, apply a pea-size amount of Tazorac (.05 %) to my face, then Complex 15.

(I was also prescribed Benzac AC wash (I think it's a BP wash) in the morning, but Tazorac is so incredibly drying/flake producing I can't imagine what adding a prescription BP product to my face would do).

I've been on this for about a week and a half now, though not every night. Like I mentioned Tazorac is incredibly drying, so when I wake up and my entire face looks like it's shedding itself like a snakeskin I prefer to lather up on moisterizer and wait til I get somewhat back to normal. I'd say right now I'm up to 2 days on, 1 night off.

Results so far: not much. I haven't broken out as badly as I thought I would so far, which is good, but the flaking and redness isn't a huge consolation. My overall complexion still looks as crappy as ever, even though it feels smoother. Those fine lines and little scar looking things are still there. My forehead, which is definitely the worst part of my face (it's absolutely dotted w/ those little bumps, and the occasional papule) seems to be coming up to the surface a little.

I've heard that Tazorac takes awhile to really work...so I'm planning on giving it a solid 3 months before I consider other options. Until then, I plan on keeping a log of my progress here. I'll try to update once or twice a week. Every day is too much...after all, a watched pot never boils.


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Thanks for the welcome - you're too kind.

Being that a whole 2 days have passed since my last post, there's not much to report on at all. That said, allow me to offer a few observations I've made since this whole Tazorac thing began.

- It makes your skin so much more sensitive. Even the slightest touch on my face leaves me reddish and irritated. Though I suspect being paler than Caspar's ass has something to do with it. Also, it flakes so much easier. Even a mild gust of wind can cause you to flake off. The only thing that's kept this at bay is a massive application of moisterizer. Thankfully, I haven't reacted too badly with it. If even that doesn't do the trick, I dab jojoba oil any extremely dry patches.

- Red spots last a lot longer than w/ a BP application. I can still see red spots from a week ago or even longer; when I was dumping on BP, spots usually faded within a few days.

- Sometimes you get The Itch. Not something like a bug bite, but a burning, tickling sensation that makes you want to maul your face off. Fortunately this hasn't happened too often, but when it does it's really uncomfortable. I haven't been able to pin down why I itch some nights and not others...

- Getting a little philosophical here if I may, I've realized that being so self-conscious about your skin for such a long time, it almost becomes a part of you. And, almost as worse as the physical effects are, the "victim" mentality that goes along with it may be just as bad. For example, if I'd go out to a bar and I don't talk to any girls, it's clearly my "acne's" fault. Even if I'm a shy bastard and didn't make one effort to approach or talk to anyone...doesn't matter. It must be my hideous flesh that's driving them all from my presence. The point is, it gives us all an excuse...to not be social, interview for a job we want, talk to the opposite sex, etc. In our mind, the results are already known, anyway, so what's the point. Sad, in'it.

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i know what you mean about people who seem to have normal skin with just a few pimples. i wish i was one of them. i have some bumps like you and i just feel my complexion sucks. i have some red marks yet i've never had cystic acne or anything. and the red marks have been on my face for a long time. i guess i just have poor healing skin. but now i've started differin..and have used it for almost 2 weeks. it's started to get rid of my bumps and has only given me a few small pustules but they clear up fast. it's definitely working for the better. it gave me initial redness but that seems to have gone away. it hasnt dried me out to the extent you have mentioned. but differin is milder than tazorac. it makes me face feel a little tight and my chin gets flaky but moisterizer helps. anyway..i hope tazorac works well for you!

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Agree w/ above post. My cousin, who never gets pimples, had a couple the other day and her skin looked perfect still! It was smooth and poreless and the pimples didnt even have redness to them, they were just bumps.

I've been on Differin for 7 weeks now and my skin is getting better and better. My complexion is improving and I have only had two largish pustles that went away in a week, a couple of small pimples and some clogged pores appear. I am happy that I took the plunge :\

The weeks between Week 2 and Week 5/6 will probably suck but hang in there...eventually by Week 12 your skin should be clear and if you do get a pimple it will be gone in a couple of days. The pimples I have gotten while on differin have disappeared in a week - red mark and all. Usually my red marks last 3 weeks to a couple of months :) Yay!

Anyway good luck :) Hope taz doesnt give you too much trouble

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(Note: as I’m typing this the sound of breathing heavily through my nose is almost interrupting my thoughts…Can’t really open mouth, almost feels wired shut my skin is so tight)

Anyway, good luck to you. Differin didn’t really work for me. I used it at night w/ Dan’s BP in the morning. It didn’t make me a whole lot worse, but it just sort of mutated my skin from being one type of bad to another type…but enough of that, we want to think positive thoughts here!

I don’t remember exactly when I started, but I guess I’m about 2 -3 weeks into this. For awhile I was only applying every other, or every 2 nights, but now I’m pretty much at every night. Which may explain why my forehead feels like it’s about to erupt…almost overnight four or five big painful red spots popped up. Ouch. That aside, it seems like the incredibly stubborn little fleshy-covered bumps are drying up/being sufficiently harassed, so maybe that’s the silver lining.

The rest of my face is a little bit worse…random little guys around the lower sides of my cheek, and one particularly stubborn bump on my left cheek…but nothing too horrendous. (Yet).

So I guess the “cleansing†period is upon me…that said, I’m surprisingly cool with it. I guess after having nothing happen, good or bad, for so long, it’s slightly refreshing, in a crazy kind of way, that anything that gets the wheels in motion is welcomed. And if worst comes to worst, I can always push my hair over my forehead…good thing for me that look’s in style right now.

2 questions: 1) what shaving cream do you have good experience with? That is, something non-overly drying, doesn’t make you breakout, etc. Right now I’m using American Crew, which I don’t think breaks me out too badly, but it’s got a strong mentholly smell (my guess is this can’t help skin) and it leaves me incredibly dry.

2) I’ve been thinking about getting a facial. Is this a terrible idea in the middle of a Tazorac cycle? Will it leave me red/flaky for a week? I was thinking maybe it’d help clear out some of the *&@! from my face.

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