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Doxycycline and the Holistic Pustule Collective

preface: vicious zit group

I count my blessings. I am fortunate that acne did not plague me until recently: until August of 2006, my skin was clear and very much "under control."

Acne came late for me, at age sixteen. I am now seventeen and the problem has multiplied exponentially from last summer until today. I tried salicylic acid, alcohol, tea tree oil, benozyl peroxide, and even invested in Proactiv®, but all to no avail. As a last resort I scheduled an appointment with a local dermatoligist, who prescribed this daily regimen:

morning
: BenzaClin® clindamycin-benzoyl peroxide gel

Doxycycline oral tablet (100mg)

evening
: Retin-A Micro® (tretinoin gel) microsphere, 0.04%

Doxycycline oral tablet (100mg)

My acne is not severe (through untreated it probably would become so), and I am optimistic that I will respond well to the medication. Particular areas I'm tackling are the upper forehead, which contains about a dozen small papules at the moment, and two large "colonies" of pustules near the corners of my mouth, which have become borderline cystic in appearance and texture.

So, without further ado, I present a log of my metamorphosis on the path to clear skin (well, hopefully). I will try to update as often as possible. Unfortunately today is already day three, so I'll do a quick recap of day one first.

Unless

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day 1: fistful of heads

I began this Wednesday by applying my Benza-stuff and hastily popping a doxycyline pill on the way out the door. Lucky for me I was spared an upset stomach, which usually results from taking the pill without first eating a healthy meal.

By eveningtime I noticed the redness had already subsided a bit...but the pimples were still there. I knew this would not be any quick-fix treatment.

Gah...I wish I'd taken a "before" picture...

Unless

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day 3: retin-a and the flaky peel incident

I didn't think I applied THAT much Retin-A! It was just a pea-sized amount! Notwithstanding my conservative application of the stuff the night before, my face began peeling as soon as I awoke this morning. Granted, I did spend some time in the sun yesterday on a nature hike...so perhaps...blast! The antibiotic (which causes sensitivity to the sun) in combination with the drying effect of Retin-A must have caused the extensive peeling! Interestingly, it's only the immeadiate areas of my face afflicted with acne that are red and peeling.

Because of this unsightly mishap I'm forced to cancel tomorrow's outdoor plans-- looks like I'll be locking myself inside this weekend to prevent further damage. I have noticed, however, that I haven't developed any new whiteheads since I started the regimen two days ago.

Argh, my face hurts even to touch.

Well, at least that stops me from picking.

It also hurts to look at. See Day 3 pic.

Unless

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Are you using a moisterizer?

argggh i hate those ones on the corner of the lips. Don't pick at it cuz it will likey scar!

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Im on a similar regimen.except my topical is finacea and i only take 100 mg a day.your forhead doesnt look too bad!i dont see any actives, just marks.goodluck, i hope this works for you!

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day 4: moisture festival 2007

Before I begin I'd like to thank everyone who has already offered their support and best wishes. On the path to clear skin our communication and support is very much empowering.

So, last night before heading off to sleep I layered on some Proactiv® Oil Free Moisture, but the stuff seemed as ineffective as if I'd just poured water on my face. When I awoke this morning, I unsuspectingly got up, stretched and let out a good yawn. Bad idea. The skin around my mouth was so dry that it started to bleed because I'd opened my mouth so far.

I stumbled to the bathroom to slather on some more moisturizer but was shocked to find I had three new whiteheads: on my chin, nose, and right cheek. How can my skin be so dry yet still breaking out all over?

Aware of the inadequacy of the Proactiv® Moisturizer, I went to the grocery store to find something a little more substantial. There were only two oil-free moisturizers available, Neutrogena® and Aveeno®. I went for the Aveeno® (Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15) because I've been very satisfied with their hand lotion. Thus far I've applied it thrice today and have been very pleased with the results.

It appears that my scars are less noticible then they were before I started my regimen. But perhaps I'm being too optimistic. Maybe they just seems less red by comparison since the rest of my face is dry and red too.

I went out tonight for dinner; I didn't get any comments on my reptilian facial skin. That made me happy, but I know my acne is still very noticible. I'd almost rather prefer that people say something about the acne then just stare--because I still know what they're looking at.

Time for the official Day 4 pic! Don't ask why I was smiling. I really had no reason to.

Unless

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flashback: fabulous dermis

For a bit of nostalgia, I've uploaded three pictures (1, 2, 3) of me before my face erupted. They're pretty recent...the first was taken in mid-November and the last in late December of 2006.

The good days are gone.

Unless

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day 5: dereddening

Hope everyone had a great Sunday.

Popped about four vicious pustules this morning...if I hadn't I'm certain they would have exploded on their own anyway.

Compared to Days 3 and 4, things are looking a little less red. See Day 5 pic. But I don't know what to attribute that to. Maybe it's the Aveeno® Lotion...or the antibiotics...or the fact that I stopped applying Retin-A Micro® and giving my skin some healing time. Probably that last one.

Unless

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day 13: pimple plague

Last week things took a (drastic) turn for the worse. My friend told me "Trust me, it gets worse before it gets better. " Well, it got much worse. It would have been part of a normal up-down cycle for me, except for the fact that I really had my hopes up that this new antibiotic regimen would work.

Improvement will come...but it may take three weeks to see it. But it's alright. I'm prepared for my pock-faced prom picture.

I'm putting on Retin-A-Micro® daily now. My skin doesn't dry out as much when I apply it. Fortunately, that means less peel. Unfortunately, less dry equals more oily.

I'll let you survey the damage for yourself. See Day 13 pic. (The dumpy expression was for dramatic effect.)

There's not all that many active pimples on my face. It's just a lot of scars/red blemishes...and they take forever to disappear.

Argh.

Unless

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hmm your day 13 pic looks like youre making progress to me. i must be seeing things since you said it was worse

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Unless,

I don't see that your acne has gotten "drastically worse" as you describe. (Great pictures, too, except for the one with that HUGE bug on your face! :shock:) Like you said, the red marks and discoloring take a lot of time to fade and disappear, but fade they will, and overall I think your skin is on the path to healing. You're a good looking young man, so keep it up.

As an aside, and given your age, you do an awesome job in your writing -- great technique, excellent expression, superb punctuation. I'm impressed! :clap: (Your parents must be very proud of you!)

I've enjoyed your log and look forward to checking back to see how things are going for you.

Good luck!

Ruthie

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day 16: the magic clear-up method

Thank you Hanna, Stingray, and pcpwns for your heartfelt sentiments, encouragement, and compliments. Compared to the Day 3 picture, I suppose it does look a little better. I was basing my judgement mostly off the Day 5 picture, so things seemed worse by comparison.

Fortunately, things have taken a turn for the better over the past three days. (Except for a small patch that I picked to pieces on Tuesday.) See Day 16 pic.

Things are still excessively oily around the forehead region. By five o'clock, I'm usually glistening up there.

Hope everyone's skin is doing well!

Unless

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day 20: the ravenous grease racket

So it seems my skin has started producing oil...overtime. I just showered about half an hour ago and already I feel greasy enough to fry a burger on my face.

I got a bit of sun yesterday out by the pool. It was just 45 minutes, but I was fearing a burn 'n' peel would ensue. My skin became very red afterward; luckily, the redness had subsided by this morning, largely in part to the moisturizer I applied last night. See Day 20 pic.

So I'm glad to have avoided a potentially flaky and scaly sun-induced peel problem. But in hindsight, I'd really rather have excessively dry skin than oily.

Unless

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Wow your face is looking sooo much better! I'm also taking Doxycycline 2x a day..I haven't seen much results in 3 weeks..I'm hoping it'll happen!

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day 38: one face and its bliss

I've just passed the five week mark. Grease production has dramatically reduced, even since the last update. I count only seven active pimples on my face. I wish I didn't scar so badly. My smooth, breakout-free skin is still haunted by the multitude of conspicuous red marks. See Day 38 pic. I apologize about the inconsistent lighting between photos.

With desaturation, the healing brush, and a lot of wishful thinking.

Oh. Prom is tomorrow.

Unless

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