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sugarbeet

+ sugarbeet's clear-skin quest +

My Story

I'm 33 years old and have had mild to moderate comedonal acne since about age 16. Prior to that, I had wonderful skin that was frequently complimented and derided by friends who suffered adolescent breakouts. I think the initial forehead bumps were caused by excessive hairspray use (it was the late 80s, after all!). It's hard to recall specifics after all these years, but I do recall taking oral erythromycin for some time during high school. It didn't seem to work and I eventually stopped. I was not too traumatized by my skin, as it seemed like most of my friends had many of the same skin problems I did.

In college, I kept waiting for my acne to go away. I often heard stories from friends about their acne just disappearing when they turned 20. I tried many different products and regimens (some very expensive ones!) and also went on birth control pills. Nothing seemed to clear up my skin and it was probably in my early 20s when I simply decided that's how my skin would look.

I must interject that if you surveyed 10 people who know me, at least half would say that I have great skin and no reason to complain. It was not that bad then and it is not that bad now. But I believe it can be better and that's why I'm here.

Throughout my 20s I continued to have breakouts. About 10 years ago (in my early 20s) I asked my doctor for Retin-A to help clear my skin. She told me I was crazy and I actually cried. I had read enough about it to believe it would help. Granted, it was summer and my skin tends to look better in the summer, especially when I've lived in cold climates.

Eventually, around age 26 I went to a dermatologist who took one look at my skin and prescribed Retin-A (must've been winter time!) It made a significant difference, but I did suffer from red, flaky, dehydrated skin. I don't recall the initial strength, but I used various prescription formulations for until age 32.

I also went on Accutane, but not in the smartest way. Once I hit 30 and was still suffering the same skin problems I had at 20, I got desperate. Yet another dermatologist told me I was crazy to think I needed Accutane.

(side note: a couple of years before that a different derm in a different city said she thought Accutane might be a good idea for me to consider before trying to get pregnant. Since I wasn't involved with anyone at the time (thus, not trying to get pregnant), I put it off. Then I moved to another city.)

Back to the Accutane...I ordered it online without a prescription. Not a smart move, I know! I took it for about three months and for that time and a couple of months afterward, I enjoyed the beautiful skin I had as a teenager. But I got freaked out by using the Accutane shipped straight from Fiji and vowed not to do it again.

I hoped that my skin would stay beautiful. Sadly, it didn't. It was not bad from the time I stopped (about January 2005) until I moved from up north to Florida in November 2005. My skin almost immediately became a disaster zone, probably due to the new climate (my hair was also a wreck!).

So I started on Proactiv in December 2005. I gave it some time for my skin to adjust to Florida, but it never did. My skin looked ok in November 2006 for my wedding, but not its best. Since then, it has gone rapidly down hill!

In January 2007, I decided it was time for a new regimen. A serious skin care overhaul that will help me once and for all. Until I eventually want to become pregnant and have to give most of it up. But I will cross that bridge when I get to it!

Specifics of my regimen to come!

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Ok...here's my regimen. I started with bits and pieces about three weeks ago and have had the entire regimen in place for about two weeks.

Morning

Wash with Free & Clear liquid cleanser

Exfoliate by gently scrubbing face with a towel upon exiting the shower (most effective - and cheapest - exfoliant I've ever used!)

Treat sun damaged spots with Paula's Choice Clearly Remarkable Skin Lightening Gel

Moisturize only where needed with Professional Solutions 100% Pure Hyaluronic Moisturizer

Apply Clarins Baume Contour des Yeux to eye area

Follow with Bare Minerals make up

Evening

Wash with Free & Clear liquid cleanser

Sweep Paula's Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid over face and neck with cotton ball

[wait at least 30 minutes]

Gently rub Green Cream Level 6 into face and neck

Apply Clarins Baume Contour des Yeux to eye area

My face appears to be going through the "purging" phase, with many bumps appearing all over my face. Many rapidly transition to whiteheads, while others simply go away. I've read that it takes at least three months for most people to see the full effect of the regimen. However, I'm already very pleased. My pores appear smaller and my skin brighter. I do have some redness, but it is not severe and my skin has not felt irritated.

I'm so happy to have found this message board, as I took most of my recommendations from other posts.

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I forgot to add one thing to my morning regimen. Before makeup, I use Colorescience All Clear Sunforgettable SPF 30 powder. So far, so good! Most sunscreens irritate my skin, but this powder is so light it feels like nothing at all.

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About two weeks ago - one month into my new regimen - my face was covered by small bumps, some with whiteheads. It was really embarassing, so I decided to step up the Paula's Choice BHA liquid to twice a day.

I eliminated the Paula's Choice Clearly Remarkable Skin Lightening Gel, since the company does not recommend using them together. Therefore, my current regimen is:

Morning

Wash with Free & Clear liquid cleanser

Exfoliate by gently scrubbing face with a towel upon exiting the shower (most effective - and cheapest - exfoliant I've ever used!)

Sweep Paula's Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid over face and neck with cotton ball

[difficult to wait the recommended 30 minutes - usually more like 10]

Moisturize only where needed with Professional Solutions 100% Pure Hyaluronic Moisturizer

Apply Clarins Baume Contour des Yeux to eye area

Sweep Colorescience All Clear Sunforgettable SPF 30 powder over face, neck, ears with included brush

Follow with Bare Minerals make up

Evening

Wash with Free & Clear liquid cleanser

Sweep Paula's Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid over face and neck with cotton ball

[wait at least 30 minutes]

Gently rub Green Cream Level 6 into face and neck

Apply Clarins Baume Contour des Yeux to eye area

My skin has started to clear up nicely and I think the twice a day BHA has helped speed up the clearing!

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