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caterpie

How I Finally Got My Groove Back - Neosporin

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Hi everyone,

About a year ago I was really experiencing the lowest point in my life -- as a Senior in college, I was graduating and facing the world with severe acne that never plagued me until then. My boyfriend had gotten me a facial package at Bliss Spa in New York (yes, one of those hip places in SoHo) for my birthday and the lady had irritated my face so much that my acne basically blossomed. I had a couple of pimples on my cheeks and forehead and I remember her deeply raking my face... I'm sure she drove the bacteria further into my skin where it spread throughout my face and I will never ever go back there again.

I'm not the type of person who would get all worked up over a couple of blemishes here and there (the product of youth!), but what happened in the next few months brought my self-confidence to such a low that I didn't even want to go out and socialize with my friends anymore. I really hated myself and couldn't understand why this was happening to me. When I did go out, I knew that no amount of makeup could hide my "disfigured" face so I figured I might as well not care about my appearance at all. I dressed like a slob, even relative to my fellow college classmates who rolled out of bed in pajamas.

Anyway, the reason I post today is because I tried some suggestions from Acne.org forums and after 9 months, I am finally back to who I was. I would really like to give back to this community. Though I can't guarantee that this will work for you as well, I really did have severe acne on my cheeks, chin, and forehead, and I sincerely hope that this will help someone regain their confidence as well.

Stage 1: Severe Acne -- Deep Cysts, Pustules

GONE:

- First thing: I threw out my St. Ives Peach Scrub after someone on this forum suggested that it was irritating and damaging. In fact, I was taking the wrong approach to think that it would "clean" and "exfoliate" my "dirty" skin. NEVER SCRUB HARD!!

- I threw out all my expensive Dr. Murad acne regimen products. I had the Exfoliating Acne Treatment, Exfoliating Acne Gel, and Skin Perfecting Lotion. The lotion, which I guess works well for some people, was making my skin really itchy. And the Exfoliating Acne products -- god I would never touch that poison again -- it dried my face to the point that I looked like I aged 15 years.

- I stopped using salicylic acid -related face washes (Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash) and ANY blemish gels.

IN:

- Neutrogena Pore Refining Cleanser (to also work as a gentle exfoliator)

- AND MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!! - NEOSPORIN CREME !!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU PEOPLE IN ACNE.ORG forums for suggesting NEOSPORIN CREME (not the ointment, to be sure) in lieu of acne spot medication! I didn't even try the generic neosporin because with your face I would just spend an extra $1 for the real product.

Everyday after washing my face with the new cleanser, I'd rub in a significant amount of Neosporin on my acne areas, retouching it if necessary throughout the day. You have to rub it in till it's all absorbed and there is no more white creme left. I generally did it every morning, every night, and after showering of course. Also, if you choose to pick your pimples, you must rub a glob of it in right after to prevent infection and most importantly, scarring.

It wasn't a miracle cure where I recovered in a week, it was a process of over 6-9 months. However, gradually my BROWN acne (I have relatively fair skin) started to fade little by little. I don't want to disillusion you guys, because acne would still pop up every week, but it became less and less, and it didn't stay as long. Also, cysts finally came up and became pustules, where with careful picking were finally cleared out and ready to heal. Also, with Neosporin I didn't feel like I needed extra moisturizer. If you get the creme, I don't think it blocks your pores.

I know that the my acne wasn't going to be cured by exfoliating though salicyclic acid. B.Peroxide was also way too irritating for my skin and caused more blemishes. So, to combat this I had to get to the root of my problem, which is to KILL THE BACTERIAthat caused my acne. This is why Neosporin worked for me and was essentially my salvation.

I also want to mention that I also use Othrotricyclin-Lo, but I had been on the pill for about a year before the acne flared up, so I don't think that it is attributable to the rise or decline of my skin problems.

Stage 2: Recovery

GONE:

- Neutrogena Pore Refining Cleanser -- though probably helpful in buffing the skin to make the Neosporin more potent, I found a much better product...

IN:

- NEOSPORIN !!

- Clean & Clear Foaming Cleanser for Sensitive Skin (LOVE IT)

- Oil of Olay Complete All Day Lotion SPF 15 -- Sensitive Skin (LOVE IT!!)

- Neutrogena Advanced Solutions - Acne Mark Fading Peel

At this point where acne didn't pop up as often (1 or 2 a week?) but I still had brown marks on my face, I decided that all the physical scrubbing was still too irritating for injured skin. I felt that the best way to go was use the fading peel alone (3-4x a week) which also exfoliated without physical scrubbing. After washing your face, use the peel for 15-20 minutes. Then wash the peel off to apply the Neosporin. Once I felt like the Neosporin has been absorbed into your skin (abt 10 minutes), I slathered my face with the lotion.

I didn't incorporate lotion in Stage 1 of my skin recovery before because I had felt like given the amount of Neosporin on my skin, it was already pretty moisturized. However, now I realize the importance of sun-protection, so I would recommend that you either always use a bit of sunscreen lotion (oil-free!) or some SPF 15 makeup powder.

Stage 3: Maintenance

OUT:

- Neosporin

- Neutrogena Advanced Solutions - Acne Mark Fading Peel

IN:

- Clean & Clear Foaming Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

- Oil of Olay Complete All Day Lotion SPF 15 -- Sensitive Skin

- Aloe Gel

Finally, my acne marks have faded to the point where it's not popping out of my face. I still have a little bit of scarring, but I can walk down a street without feeling ugly. I still have the occasional flare-ups, but rarely on my cheeks anymore and only on the sides of my forehead once in awhile. My friends have also remarked that I have made such a drastic change, and it's really because I stopped bombing my skin with chemicals that have caused my face to rebel. I think salicyclic acid can be good in small doses for some people, but when you get desperate you can definitely overdose on it and induce the opposite effect.

I apply Aloe Gel now, which is said to be antibacterial (less potent than Neosporin but more gentle). I literally slather it on my face after washing and before moisturizing, and it works wonders. However, I would only recommend it to those who are now controlling their blemishes just for effectiveness sake.

The key takeaways are:

1) Expensive products (i.e. Murad) are not necessarily effective and can severely damage your skin and your wallet

2) Neosporin is a great !!

3) Please be kind to your skin -- I finally realized that sensitive skin products, not acne-prevention products was the cure for me. I can't say that this is true for everyone, but if you have found that acne-products have not worked for you, then you may want to go the opposite way like I have.

I really wish I could share before/after pictures with you all just to make a point on how effective this has been, but I hated how I looked so much back then that I really can't find any, at least without makeup.

As an added note for the females out there, after much experimentation with oil-free makeup, things that I have nixed out as makeup that despite their oil-free content has clogged my pores are: Lorac, Becca, Clinique, Stila. I have won the acne battle because I finally found an excellent makeup regimen:

Vincent Longo Concealer (I can't live without this)

Philosophy Supernatural Powder, SPF 15

Always wash your face before lotion and always put on lotion before makeup. Always use sunscreen (either in the make-up product or the lotion you just used). I also heard that Bare Escentuals mineral powder is pretty good, but since I've never tried it I can't recommend it just yet.

Anyway, this was definitely a long read, but I hope this can help someone else out there. I recommend everyone to read this article by New York Times -- Skin Deep; The Cosmetics Restriction Diet (Jan 4 2007).

Good Luck!! :)

Caterpie

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Hi everyone,

About a year ago I was really experiencing the lowest point in my life -- as a Senior in college, I was graduating and facing the world with severe acne that never plagued me until then. My boyfriend had gotten me a facial package at Bliss Spa in New York (yes, one of those hip places in SoHo) for my birthday and the lady had irritated my face so much that my acne basically blossomed. I had a couple of pimples on my cheeks and forehead and I remember her deeply raking my face... I'm sure she drove the bacteria further into my skin where it spread throughout my face and I will never ever go back there again.

I'm not the type of person who would get all worked up over a couple of blemishes here and there (the product of youth!), but what happened in the next few months brought my self-confidence to such a low that I didn't even want to go out and socialize with my friends anymore. I really hated myself and couldn't understand why this was happening to me. When I did go out, I knew that no amount of makeup could hide my "disfigured" face so I figured I might as well not care about my appearance at all. I dressed like a slob, even relative to my fellow college classmates who rolled out of bed in pajamas.

Anyway, the reason I post today is because I tried some suggestions from Acne.org forums and after 9 months, I am finally back to who I was. I would really like to give back to this community. Though I can't guarantee that this will work for you as well, I really did have severe acne on my cheeks, chin, and forehead, and I sincerely hope that this will help someone regain their confidence as well.

Stage 1: Severe Acne -- Deep Cysts, Pustules

GONE:

- First thing: I threw out my St. Ives Peach Scrub after someone on this forum suggested that it was irritating and damaging. In fact, I was taking the wrong approach to think that it would "clean" and "exfoliate" my "dirty" skin. NEVER SCRUB HARD!!

- I threw out all my expensive Dr. Murad acne regimen products. I had the Exfoliating Acne Treatment, Exfoliating Acne Gel, and Skin Perfecting Lotion. The lotion, which I guess works well for some people, was making my skin really itchy. And the Exfoliating Acne products -- god I would never touch that poison again -- it dried my face to the point that I looked like I aged 15 years.

- I stopped using salicylic acid -related face washes (Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash) and ANY blemish gels.

IN:

- Neutrogena Pore Refining Cleanser (to also work as a gentle exfoliator)

- AND MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!! - NEOSPORIN CREME !!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU PEOPLE IN ACNE.ORG forums for suggesting NEOSPORIN CREME (not the ointment, to be sure) in lieu of acne spot medication! I didn't even try the generic neosporin because with your face I would just spend an extra $1 for the real product.

Everyday after washing my face with the new cleanser, I'd rub in a significant amount of Neosporin on my acne areas, retouching it if necessary throughout the day. You have to rub it in till it's all absorbed and there is no more white creme left. I generally did it every morning, every night, and after showering of course. Also, if you choose to pick your pimples, you must rub a glob of it in right after to prevent infection and most importantly, scarring.

It wasn't a miracle cure where I recovered in a week, it was a process of over 6-9 months. However, gradually my BROWN acne (I have relatively fair skin) started to fade little by little. I don't want to disillusion you guys, because acne would still pop up every week, but it became less and less, and it didn't stay as long. Also, cysts finally came up and became pustules, where with careful picking were finally cleared out and ready to heal. Also, with Neosporin I didn't feel like I needed extra moisturizer. If you get the creme, I don't think it blocks your pores.

I know that the my acne wasn't going to be cured by exfoliating though salicyclic acid. B.Peroxide was also way too irritating for my skin and caused more blemishes. So, to combat this I had to get to the root of my problem, which is to KILL THE BACTERIAthat caused my acne. This is why Neosporin worked for me and was essentially my salvation.

I also want to mention that I also use Othrotricyclin-Lo, but I had been on the pill for about a year before the acne flared up, so I don't think that it is attributable to the rise or decline of my skin problems.

Stage 2: Recovery

GONE:

- Neutrogena Pore Refining Cleanser -- though probably helpful in buffing the skin to make the Neosporin more potent, I found a much better product...

IN:

- NEOSPORIN !!

- Clean & Clear Foaming Cleanser for Sensitive Skin (LOVE IT)

- Oil of Olay Complete All Day Lotion SPF 15 -- Sensitive Skin (LOVE IT!!)

- Neutrogena Advanced Solutions - Acne Mark Fading Peel

At this point where acne didn't pop up as often (1 or 2 a week?) but I still had brown marks on my face, I decided that all the physical scrubbing was still too irritating for injured skin. I felt that the best way to go was use the fading peel alone (3-4x a week) which also exfoliated without physical scrubbing. After washing your face, use the peel for 15-20 minutes. Then wash the peel off to apply the Neosporin. Once I felt like the Neosporin has been absorbed into your skin (abt 10 minutes), I slathered my face with the lotion.

I didn't incorporate lotion in Stage 1 of my skin recovery before because I had felt like given the amount of Neosporin on my skin, it was already pretty moisturized. However, now I realize the importance of sun-protection, so I would recommend that you either always use a bit of sunscreen lotion (oil-free!) or some SPF 15 makeup powder.

Stage 3: Maintenance

OUT:

- Neosporin

- Neutrogena Advanced Solutions - Acne Mark Fading Peel

IN:

- Clean & Clear Foaming Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

- Oil of Olay Complete All Day Lotion SPF 15 -- Sensitive Skin

- Aloe Gel

Finally, my acne marks have faded to the point where it's not popping out of my face. I still have a little bit of scarring, but I can walk down a street without feeling ugly. I still have the occasional flare-ups, but rarely on my cheeks anymore and only on the sides of my forehead once in awhile. My friends have also remarked that I have made such a drastic change, and it's really because I stopped bombing my skin with chemicals that have caused my face to rebel. I think salicyclic acid can be good in small doses for some people, but when you get desperate you can definitely overdose on it and induce the opposite effect.

I apply Aloe Gel now, which is said to be antibacterial (less potent than Neosporin but more gentle). I literally slather it on my face after washing and before moisturizing, and it works wonders. However, I would only recommend it to those who are now controlling their blemishes just for effectiveness sake.

The key takeaways are:

1) Expensive products (i.e. Murad) are not necessarily effective and can severely damage your skin and your wallet

2) Neosporin is a great !!

3) Please be kind to your skin -- I finally realized that sensitive skin products, not acne-prevention products was the cure for me. I can't say that this is true for everyone, but if you have found that acne-products have not worked for you, then you may want to go the opposite way like I have.

I really wish I could share before/after pictures with you all just to make a point on how effective this has been, but I hated how I looked so much back then that I really can't find any, at least without makeup.

As an added note for the females out there, after much experimentation with oil-free makeup, things that I have nixed out as makeup that despite their oil-free content has clogged my pores are: Lorac, Becca, Clinique, Stila. I have won the acne battle because I finally found an excellent makeup regimen:

Vincent Longo Concealer (I can't live without this)

Philosophy Supernatural Powder, SPF 15

Always wash your face before lotion and always put on lotion before makeup. Always use sunscreen (either in the make-up product or the lotion you just used). I also heard that Bare Escentuals mineral powder is pretty good, but since I've never tried it I can't recommend it just yet.

Anyway, this was definitely a long read, but I hope this can help someone else out there. I recommend everyone to read this article by New York Times -- Skin Deep; The Cosmetics Restriction Diet (Jan 4 2007).

Good Luck!! :)

Caterpie

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Congratulations and im VERY happy for you! :) i like your regimen just cause youre not using any harsh chemicals like BP or SA.. our skin is so gentle and once we start putting any harsh chemicals on our skin, they are damaged for sure.. we just got to give our skin some space and let them breathe..let them do the work, you know? i also respect how youve waited for 9months.. i mean seriously, most people cant be cured from acne because they are so impatient. we need to stick with one regimen and stick with it for at least 3-4 months before you give up.. thats the hardest part for me as well.. im trying to be patient and see where it goes (im doing something similar.. just cleanse my face with a mild cleanser twice a day, moisturize when i need to.. my skins improving as day goes by..hope it continues this way!!) i dont put Neosporin on my entire face.. only when i decide to squeeze it out.. put it on the spot for a few days and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.. anyways, keep up the good work =]

p.s. i dont think its a great idea to try BE mineral make up. if you go to make-up section, a lot of girls HATEEEEE BE with passion..broke out a lot of people.

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Congratulations and im VERY happy for you! :) i like your regimen just cause youre not using any harsh chemicals like BP or SA.. our skin is so gentle and once we start putting any harsh chemicals on our skin, they are damaged for sure.. we just got to give our skin some space and let them breathe..let them do the work, you know? i also respect how youve waited for 9months.. i mean seriously, most people cant be cured from acne because they are so impatient. we need to stick with one regimen and stick with it for at least 3-4 months before you give up.. thats the hardest part for me as well.. im trying to be patient and see where it goes (im doing something similar.. just cleanse my face with a mild cleanser twice a day, moisturize when i need to.. my skins improving as day goes by..hope it continues this way!!) i dont put Neosporin on my entire face.. only when i decide to squeeze it out.. put it on the spot for a few days and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.. anyways, keep up the good work =]

p.s. i dont think its a great idea to try BE mineral make up. if you go to make-up section, a lot of girls HATEEEEE BE with passion..broke out a lot of people.

Thanks so much!!! :D You've basically summed up my sentiments exactly -- when I first started this "gentle" regimen I would sometimes feel so depressed that I wasn't seeing results right away, but I knew that if I've tried everything else already then I'd have to stick this one out and see if it would work. Everytime you switch different regimens your skin is shocked and has to adapt to the different products it's being exposed to. I'd really love to hear how your skin has improved in time and wish you the very best of luck! :)

Also, it doesn't hurt to find some good makeup to keep your self-esteem up while your skin heals. I really really recommend Vincent Longo concealer (you can find it at Sephora) because it covers extremely well, doesn't crust/dry up, and doesn't clog pores. It bascially helped me go out everyday without feeling too self-conscious of my skin until it finally healed.

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You can use it for longer than a week, but you run the risk of devoloping resistant bacteria i.e., acne will slowly begin to resurface as it develops immunity to neo. This is why BP is such a standby, acne bacteria cannot develop an immunity to it. If BP works for you, it will continue to work for you (any allergies aside).

To the original poster I would suggest considering a gradual switch over to a BP based product to prevent a resurgence of acne.

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You can use it for longer than a week, but you run the risk of devoloping resistant bacteria i.e., acne will slowly begin to resurface as it develops immunity to neo. This is why BP is such a standby, acne bacteria cannot develop an immunity to it. If BP works for you, it will continue to work for you (any allergies aside).

To the original poster I would suggest considering a gradual switch over to a BP based product to prevent a resurgence of acne.

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edited--

neosporin cream

is this the one you are talking about? cause i dont know what ointment one looks like and i want to make sure if im using cream..

oh and i was trying to read "New York Times -- Skin Deep; The Cosmetics Restriction Diet (Jan 4 2007)" but it was required to pay..do u know any website that has that article for free? :]

vincent concealer?? <----is this the one?

Where did u get Philosophy Supernatural Powder, SPF 15 from?

lol sorry for too many questions.. did u ever have to deal with tiny skin-colored bumps? i had a lot of these but some of them are gone.. its either they are just gone or like it gets a little bit bigger, become red, a little bit of whiteheads come out and sometimes i can pop'em sometimes i cant..=x

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thanks!!!! yeah, ill definately let you know :) my skin looked so gorgeous, okay maybe not "gorgeous" but it looked like it was 50% better than it was the night before when i woke up this morning.. i was so amazed.. but right after i got out of shower, it didnt look the same anymore.. why is that our face looks so much better right after we wake up in the morning?!! i was so disappointed. hahaha honestly i was thinking of trying out Pauals 2% gel today after shower but i reminded myself to stay away from anything with SA and BP.. its so tempting though. :( hahah anyways, Vincent Longo concealer, eh? yeah, im looking for a great concealer right now.. this wonderful girl i met from make-up section told me a lot about some good products out there and told me to try Amazing Cosmetics concealer.. besides concealer, what other make up do you use? specifically, foundation... its so hard to find a good one that doesnt break u out.. im currently using Aubrey Nicole's mineral make up and its not breaking me out but i am not happy with the coverage how it looks on my skin.. i was a huge fan of Bobbi Brown before.. i want something besides mineral make up.. do you recommend anything? =] and is ther any other "secret tips" to be free from acne? heeheeehee

edited--

neosporin cream

is this the one you are talking about? cause i dont know what ointment one looks like and i want to make sure if im using cream..

oh and i was trying to read "New York Times -- Skin Deep; The Cosmetics Restriction Diet (Jan 4 2007)" but it was required to pay..do u know any website that has that article for free? :]

vincent concealer?? <----is this the one?

Where did u get Philosophy Supernatural Powder, SPF 15 from?

lol sorry for too many questions.. did u ever have to deal with tiny skin-colored bumps? i had a lot of these but some of them are gone.. its either they are just gone or like it gets a little bit bigger, become red, a little bit of whiteheads come out and sometimes i can pop'em sometimes i cant..=x

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edited--

neosporin cream

is this the one you are talking about? cause i dont know what ointment one looks like and i want to make sure if im using cream..

oh and i was trying to read "New York Times -- Skin Deep; The Cosmetics Restriction Diet (Jan 4 2007)" but it was required to pay..do u know any website that has that article for free? :]

vincent concealer?? <----is this the one?

Where did u get Philosophy Supernatural Powder, SPF 15 from?

lol sorry for too many questions.. did u ever have to deal with tiny skin-colored bumps? i had a lot of these but some of them are gone.. its either they are just gone or like it gets a little bit bigger, become red, a little bit of whiteheads come out and sometimes i can pop'em sometimes i cant..=x

Here is the NYTimes article -- good thing I subscribe to NYTimes Select ;)

Skin Deep; The Cosmetics Restriction Diet

By NATASHA SINGER

DR. FRAN E. COOK-BOLDEN, a dermatologist in Manhattan, is an advocate of skin-care minimalism. When a patient recently arrived for an appointment toting 20 different products she was using regularly -- including an eye cream, a vitamin C cream, a wrinkle serum, a pigmentation cream, a mask, a peel, a scrub and ''some sort of special oxygen detoxifying cream'' -- Dr. Cook-Bolden said she confiscated all but three.

''It gave me a headache just to look at all of those products,'' Dr. Cook-Bolden said. ''Just two products, a gentle cleanser and a good sunscreen, are enough daily skin care for most people, and you can buy those at a drugstore or a grocery store.''

Dr. Cook-Bolden is part of a back-to-basics movement among dermatologists. At a time when beauty companies are introducing an increasing number of products marketed for specific body parts --including necks, creases around the mouth and eyelids -- or for apocryphal maladies like visible pores or cellulite, these doctors are putting their patients on cosmetics restriction diets.

They are prescribing simplified skin-care routines requiring at most three steps: soap; sunscreen every day, no matter the weather or the season; and, if necessary, a product tailored to specific skin needs, whether a cream for pimples or pigmented spots, or a vitamin-enriched moisturizer for aging skin. Each product, they say, can be bought at drugstores for $30 or less.

Among those doctors who have become experts at uncluttering their patients' vanity tables and medicine cabinets is Dr. Sarah Boyce Sawyer, an assistant professor of dermatology at the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

''My New Year's beauty resolution for patients is: cut down on skin-care products and cut your skin-care budget,'' Dr. Sawyer said. ''Cut down on those $100 potions.''

For some doctors, simplifying skin-care routines is a way to make patients follow a regimen or a means to soothe irritated skin. But some dermatologists are also suggesting patients use fewer, less expensive products because they believe there is little scientific research to justify buying an armload of pricey cosmetics, Dr. Sawyer said.

''We have good medical evidence on prescription products,'' she said. ''But the science is fuzzy with a lot of cosmetics.''

Unlike drugs, cosmetics are not required to prove their efficacy.

Prescription medications like Accutane for acne and over-the-counter drugs such as sunscreen ingredients must undergo rigorous clinical testing before they gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration. But cosmetics are not subject to the agency's scrutiny before they go on sale. The F.D.A. defines cosmetics as topical products that do not alter the structure or function of the skin.

Dr. William P. Coleman III, the vice president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said consumers should view moisturizers and wrinkle creams as no more than superficial treatments.

''You have to think of cosmetics as decorative and hygienic, not as things that are going to change your skin,'' said Dr. Coleman, who is a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. ''A $200 cream may have better perfume or packaging, but as far as it moisturizing your skin better than a $10 cream, it probably won't.''

According to F.D.A. regulations, beauty manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their cosmetics and for their own marketing claims. Although many beauty companies perform studies on their products, they are not required to conduct clinical trials on the level of medical research or to make their proprietary research available to the public.

Dr. Mary Ellen Brademas, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center, said the paucity of rigorous published science on cosmetics makes it difficult to determine how well creams work, whether they cost $10, $100 or $1,000.

''People are spending $450 on a jar of cream just because it is made out of something exotic like salmon eggs or cocoons,'' Dr. Brademas said. ''But the cheapest products work just as well as the more expensive ones.''

A study of wrinkle creams published last month by Consumer Reports concluded that there was no correlation between price and effectiveness. The study, which tested nine brands of wrinkle creams over 12 weeks, also concluded that none of the products reduced the depth of wrinkles by more than 10 percent, an amount ''barely visible to the naked eye.''

The Consumer Reports study found, for example, that a three-step regimen of Olay Regenerist products costing $57 was slightly more effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles than a $135 tube of StriVectin-SD or a $335 combination of two La Prairie Cellular lotions.

''I am seduced by fancy packaging as much as the next person,'' Dr. Brademas said. ''But I have a theory that all these skin-care things come out of the same vat in New Jersey.''

John Bailey, the executive vice president for science of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, an industry trade group in Washington, said that skin care varies widely in price because of amounts spent on research and development of ingredients and product formulas, and the cost of manufacturing and packaging.

But, he said, it is difficult to measure performance differences among products.

''Cosmetics don't have the same quantitative analysis as drugs, so you don't have a set gauge you can use to determine perceived and actual benefits,'' said Dr. Bailey, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry. ''Ultimately, consumers will have to try products out and find what works best for them.''

THE back-to-basics skin-care regimen is based on practicality rather than marketing claims. It does not rely on exotic ingredients grown on far-flung islands hand-picked by natives only under a full moon.

Dr. Diane C. Madfes, a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said that basic skin care requires washing one's face to remove dirt, sweat and bacteria, and using sunscreen to impede sun damage. People who worry about wrinkles, pimples, dry spots or pores may want to add one or two treatment products, she said.

Dr. Cook-Bolden, who has been a paid consultant for several mass-market cosmetics brands, suggested a mild liquid cleanser for the face. Instead of using toners, which may strip skin, or gritty exfoliation beads and microdermabrasion systems, which may irritate skin, she recommended using a washcloth to slough off dead skin cells.

''If you have dry, sensitive skin, you just pat the washcloth on your face gently in a circular motion,'' she said. ''If you don't have irritated skin, you can put more speed and pressure on the washcloth.''

Dermatologists disagree whether a moisturizer is then needed. Dr. Brademas said it is superfluous.

''Moisturizer is optional unless you are in the Arctic,'' said Dr. Brademas, who favors Vaseline petroleum jelly for dry hands, feet, knees and elbows. ''I'm not sure moisturizers do very much except for creating a smooth surface so that makeup can go on without drag.''

Dr. Cook-Bolden took a more agnostic position.

''If you need a moisturizer, moisturize,'' she said. ''If you want less moisture, use a lotion. If you want more, use a cream. And if you have acne-prone skin, use a gel or a spray.''

Although the dermatologists interviewed for this article disagreed about moisturizer, they agreed on one point: the importance of sun protection, including hats, avoidance of midday sun and the use of an effective sunscreen. They recommended that consumers look for formulas that include ingredients -- like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or Mexoryl SX -- that impede damage from the sun's longer wavelength UVA rays, a protective effect that is not indicated by a product's SPF rating.

Beyond soap and sunscreen, Dr. Madfes said that one or two additional products might be added to personalize a skin-care routine.

''People who see wrinkles around their eyes are going to reach for an eye cream,'' Dr. Madfes said. ''Someone who looks in the mirror and sees large pores may want to use a cleanser with salicylic acid, which can reduce clogged pores.''

She is also a proponent of night creams that combine retinol, a form of vitamin A that may help speed up the turnover of skin cells, and antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E or lycopene that may help thwart environmental damage to the skin. People with skin conditions like severe acne or people interested in topical anti-wrinkle drugs should consult their doctors about prescription medications, she said.

On an expedition last week to a CVS Pharmacy at Columbus Circle with a reporter, Dr. Madfes examined the product labels on skin-care items from a variety of mass-market brands and recommended a few basic products, including Cetaphil cleanser and La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX sunscreen.

''Higher end, more expensive products may look better in the box and feel better on your face, but they don't necessarily work better than less expensive products as long as you look for ingredients that are known for efficacy,'' Dr. Madfes said.

But she did see one benefit to splurging.

''The thing is, when someone buys a $200 cream, they are going to use that cream,'' Dr. Madfes said. ''So, in the end, their skin may benefit.''

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thanks!!!! yeah, ill definately let you know :) my skin looked so gorgeous, okay maybe not "gorgeous" but it looked like it was 50% better than it was the night before when i woke up this morning.. i was so amazed.. but right after i got out of shower, it didnt look the same anymore.. why is that our face looks so much better right after we wake up in the morning?!! i was so disappointed. hahaha honestly i was thinking of trying out Pauals 2% gel today after shower but i reminded myself to stay away from anything with SA and BP.. its so tempting though. :( hahah anyways, Vincent Longo concealer, eh? yeah, im looking for a great concealer right now.. this wonderful girl i met from make-up section told me a lot about some good products out there and told me to try Amazing Cosmetics concealer.. besides concealer, what other make up do you use? specifically, foundation... its so hard to find a good one that doesnt break u out.. im currently using Aubrey Nicole's mineral make up and its not breaking me out but i am not happy with the coverage how it looks on my skin.. i was a huge fan of Bobbi Brown before.. i want something besides mineral make up.. do you recommend anything? =] and is ther any other "secret tips" to be free from acne? heeheeehee

edited--

neosporin cream

is this the one you are talking about? cause i dont know what ointment one looks like and i want to make sure if im using cream..

oh and i was trying to read "New York Times -- Skin Deep; The Cosmetics Restriction Diet (Jan 4 2007)" but it was required to pay..do u know any website that has that article for free? :]

vincent concealer?? <----is this the one?

Where did u get Philosophy Supernatural Powder, SPF 15 from?

lol sorry for too many questions.. did u ever have to deal with tiny skin-colored bumps? i had a lot of these but some of them are gone.. its either they are just gone or like it gets a little bit bigger, become red, a little bit of whiteheads come out and sometimes i can pop'em sometimes i cant..=x

Yes, you've found the Vincent Longo concealer and the exact Neosporin I used! :D I don't use foundation anymore (unless I go to a party), because this concealer covers up and blends so well that it's unnecessary to cover up your healthy skin. I used to use Amber, but now I also have Medium to get a perfect color match (haven't gone to the beach this year yet). It blends so well that I don't have to use any other skin makeup. However, when I go to work I'll first prime my face (after washing) with SPF 15 Olay Sensitive oil-free lotion, and then apply concealer. This is to 1) protect your skin from the sun 2) protect your skin from the elements 3) prevent your skin from over-producing oil if it's too dry 4) make your concealer glide on smoother 5) a good "sticky" base if you apply powder afterwards. I prefer to first put on concealer and then apply powder.

I swear (strong word, but I believe it wholeheartedly) that if you use this concealer and then set your face with a bit of powder (Philosophy Supernatural, which ends up looking better than any powder I've ever used, can also be found at Sephora) you won't need foundation or anything else. I remember when the makeup artist at Sephora applied V.L. concealer on my blemished face and you could barely see my acne at all, my eyes started tearing up because I finally looked normal... I was so happy. :) This satisfaction continued when VL actually didn't cause any additional acne when I was healing.

But I understand that it's hard not to overdo your makeup to compensate for blemished skin, I know :( Please be careful while choosing makeup, but as always, everyone's skin is a bit different. I haven't used Amazing Cosmetics, but if it works, let us know!

Finally, YES!! I've had skin-colored bumps before (it sucks...) but resist picking until they become full-blown whiteheads (so satisfying to squeeze, yet so bad if it's not ready), and use a very very very gentle exfoliant (do not scrub hard). Actually, I've found that if you have sensitive skin, a good lotion everyday will actually prevent bumps from forming. I believe that it's due to skin reacting to dryness or being shocked, which will prompt them to overproduce oil. If your skin is happy and calm, your bumps will go away eventually :)

Anyway, I hope this was helpful -- because I am finally happy with my skin, all I want is to help someone regain their confidence and happiness as well. Please feel free to ask additional questions ~ :)

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Hmm, I think for cosmetics you should always go to the store itself and check it out yourself to make sure that it's the right coverage and shade for you :) When I was tan from the summer, I was definitely an Amber, but when my color faded, I had to get Medium and blend it with Amber. Also, I used to use a concealer brush to blend, but unless it is diligently cleaned often (which I often forgot), it would be more hygenic to apply makeup with your washed hands, using the ring finger because the ring finger is the weakest and you won't end up pulling your skin.

Actually, it would be wrong of me to say that I swear by Olay the brand, because I used to use its Regular Complete SPF 15 lotion and sometimes it would make my face itchy (I guess I really do have rather sensitive skin). Even though it was also non-comodogenic, it also had fragrance in it. Then I switched to the Sensitive Complete SPF 15 and THIS I swear has not irritated my face or caused any breakouts whatsoever. I liberally apply it all over my face and neck in the mornings before I apply any makeup. It's better to make sure the lotion is absorbed into your skin before you put anything else on your face, as a protective barrier.

Hmmm, the reason why I recommended Philosophy Supernatural is b/c Vincent Longo will provide you very good coverage for your blemishes, but you need a good powder to set it. It will give your whole face an overall "finished" look. So many people have commented that my skin looks (in their own words!) flawless, but before I put the powder on, I still have some discoloration here and there. Some loose powder end up looking a bit "fluffy" on the face, if you know what I mean, but because PS has this foam buffer, you can smooth it out to look natural. It also doesn't hurt that it gives you sun protection :D

I understand your point abt the lotion --> bumps, and it makes sense ~~ I guess it really depends on what type of skin you have. Because I have sensitive skin, I think my own skin was overreacting to all those drying products. Now that my skin is clear, I don't apply lotion unless I'm putting on makeup (like you!) or leaving the house (for sun protection). But, I have to keep it moisturized at all times, either with Olay Sensitive skin or with my Aloe Gel. Perhaps your friends' method of washing with hot water for 10 minutes will help open up the pores. Actually, Aloe Gel may be a better solution than lotion for you because it won't clog pores for sure. :)

I love aloe gel, and I'm at my 3rd bottle already! But, I'm not sure how effective it is on active blemishes because I only started using it after I stopped using Neosporin over my cheeks. Also, it is possible that the brand also matters, so in case you're curious abt which one I use, it's Ultimate Aloe Gel with allantoin and emu oil. It's kinda funny, because after I used it for awhile, I went home and saw another bottle on my mom's bathroom counter. I asked her where she got this bottle, and she said that the woman who gives her facials every week told her to use it. So I think the quality is rather excellent.

I think your regimen looks pretty good -- I've never used toner or vinegar before, but I heard that it shrinks pores. Also, I used to do egg masks but it didn't change my skin much... probably just me though :) What I do each morning now is similar:

--> wash face with Clean & Clear Sensitive Skin (love love love), Neo if necessary (often not), slather with aloe gel, wait till dries a little, slather with lotion, wait till dries a little, concealer, powder, rest of makeup.

At night when I come home:

--> wash face with Clean & Clear Sensitive Skin (it takes off ALL makeup, and doesn't overdry my skin), aloe gel

I personally am not crazy about Cold Cream in taking off makeup because it makes me feel greasy. I prefer a soap-like cleanser, but my mom always uses cold creams, so it's about your preference. Haha, and I do pick my "bumps" sometimes after washing my face, sometimes it comes out (whew!), but if it doesn't come out easily I'll stop and immediately put on some aloe gel to prevent it from being inflamed and becoming a pimple. Ack !! I hate it when that happens!!

Now because my face is clear, I'm looking for a new products to occassionally cleanse and shrink my pores. I just ordered rosewater toner and a clay mask from Burt's Bees -- if it works well I'll let you know! :)

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Ultimate Aloe gel? hmm, never seen or heard of it before.. i am using FOTE aloe gel right now, supposed to be 100% aloe vera gel without alcohol. thats what most people on this board use.. where can i find Ultimate Aloe gel though? and it has Emu oil in it? o_0 whoa.. thats sort of... unique?! hahah but whats allantonin? i dont know.. i never tried emu oil before and since i wasnt really happy with grapeseed oil, lavender oil, and tea tree oil i am just sort of trying to stay away from any kinds of oils.. but if your moms facialist recommended this, it must be really good for skin, huh?

oh by the way, i ordered Vincent Longo's concealer! :D i got Medium by the way.. i think it should be fine. =] (ended up spending like 150 last night at Sephora.com...tsk tsk) anyways, yeah, i am debating if i should try PS powder or not because even if concealer does cover up my red marks, my face would look awkward if my foundation/powder doesnt match the concealer, you know? like...with Aubrey Nicole mineral make up, my concealer (which is like green color) and my foundation doesnt match at all. my concealer ALWAYS stands out, making it look whiter than my skin color.

how long did it take for your bumps to go away? did they just like disappear as time went by... like after 9months, it just wasnt there or did you have to pop'em to get rid of them? & did you have any red marks? when i had like one, two pimples.. i never had any red marks really.. it disappeared in like a few days but i have so many red marks on my right cheek and a couple on my left.. its depressing =[

is it really important to wear sunscreen even if you dont go out in the sun? and what if your make up has SPF in it.. wouldnt that count? does PS have SPF in it?

when you said taking off your make up with a cold cream, does it matter what kind of cold cream you use? any specific u recommend?

and yes, let me know about Burt bee's products.. i used to use their facewash (one with chamoille) before and i really liked it. =]

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Ultimate Aloe gel? hmm, never seen or heard of it before.. i am using FOTE aloe gel right now, supposed to be 100% aloe vera gel without alcohol. thats what most people on this board use.. where can i find Ultimate Aloe gel though? and it has Emu oil in it? o_0 whoa.. thats sort of... unique?! hahah but whats allantonin? i dont know.. i never tried emu oil before and since i wasnt really happy with grapeseed oil, lavender oil, and tea tree oil i am just sort of trying to stay away from any kinds of oils.. but if your moms facialist recommended this, it must be really good for skin, huh?

oh by the way, i ordered Vincent Longo's concealer! :D i got Medium by the way.. i think it should be fine. =] (ended up spending like 150 last night at Sephora.com...tsk tsk) anyways, yeah, i am debating if i should try PS powder or not because even if concealer does cover up my red marks, my face would look awkward if my foundation/powder doesnt match the concealer, you know? like...with Aubrey Nicole mineral make up, my concealer (which is like green color) and my foundation doesnt match at all. my concealer ALWAYS stands out, making it look whiter than my skin color.

how long did it take for your bumps to go away? did they just like disappear as time went by... like after 9months, it just wasnt there or did you have to pop'em to get rid of them? & did you have any red marks? when i had like one, two pimples.. i never had any red marks really.. it disappeared in like a few days but i have so many red marks on my right cheek and a couple on my left.. its depressing =[

is it really important to wear sunscreen even if you dont go out in the sun? and what if your make up has SPF in it.. wouldnt that count? does PS have SPF in it?

when you said taking off your make up with a cold cream, does it matter what kind of cold cream you use? any specific u recommend?

and yes, let me know about Burt bee's products.. i used to use their facewash (one with chamoille) before and i really liked it. =]

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2 years? oh my gosh, that sounds so frustrating!!!! hahaha i was hoping for a year at the longest~~~ =[ (see how impatient i am? lol)

i am using egg white mask to smooth out my skin (i tried it for the first time to fade away my red marks but i honestly cant tell if its helping with my red marks.. it definately helps to smooth our ur skin and ur skin glows the next morning!....till u take a shower hahaha) so if u havent tried it yet, i highly recommend ittt! but please..go ahead and let me know about ur Burts mask :] id love to try it if it works fine for you<3

oh and do you only wear olays lotion as sun screen? if not, let me know what other product u use~ :]

where can i find ultimate aloe vera gel?

thanks a lot, caterpie!!!! =]=]=]

ps. cant wait til i get my concealer!!!!! so excited. :D

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I got bumps, left over red marks and scarring from my past acne. I just need to find a way to get rid of these.

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So basically to sum up what you've done. You used a gentle cleanser and neosporin and over time, it worked.

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Taking a peek at your regimen, how well do you think the exfoliation/peels etc have worked? Just curious... :)

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okay so it is important to moisturize...but i stopped using lotion or cream completely... i am only applying aloe vera gel these days.. do you think thats a bad idea?

is it better to moisturize ur face before u go to bed? cause some people said not to..

ugh..its so frustrating when you hear different things!!! hahaha

o btw, if you want to know a great way to exfoliate w/o damaging your skin... let me know.. i found out last night! yays :] <3

also, i know a good natural mask (one that u can make it home and no its not egg white mask..altho i love thaat as well) to fade away red marks if you do it consistantly..=]

ps. i keep breaking out under my lip area... so sad.. :( im doing everything right..yet it seems like i get a new pimple everyday these days... ugh.. would it be cause i dont moisturize?!

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In the mornings if I go out, I'll always use lotion to moisturize. However, when I come back home and wash my face, I'll substitute lotion with aloe instead... I think it's very effective in preventing dryness if you're indoors, and safe enough to know for sure that your pores will NOT get clogged.

I think whatever you do, make sure that you never strip your skin of needed moisture after washing your face. When I used the Burt's Bees mask, I noticed that my skin was so soft at first, but then it got really dry, tight, and slightly uncomfortable. When I had lots of acne, I would interpret dryness as a sign of "cleanliness" because it was the opposite of the concept of greasy pimples, but really you just have to do what it takes to make your skin feel comfortable. :D That is probably the first step in recovery if you have sensitive skin and acne that is not super severe that requires prescription treatment.

People have different skin, so different methods all have their validation! I have sensitive skin that gets a little oily at the end of the day, but I never need to use a blotter, so my skin is on the dry side. I have clogged pores in my nose and I tend to get acne mainly on my forehead, either in small bumps or once in awhile, big pimples on the side near my hairline. When I had my really bad acne period, I had pimples on the apples of my cheeks in that grew in clumps and some on my chin as well. They were mainly cysts that did not want to come out but were painful and ugly. If this sounds like you, then the products that I've used are tested and proven to work for your situation :) But if not, I don't doubt that BP, less lotion, etc, can work well too!

ACNE 2006, I would love to hear your exfoliation method! Are you using Neosporin now? Maybe that will help the healing process on your chin -- try it! :)

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