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I'm not sure if my log is more appropriate here or under the more general regimen category, so I think I'll just keep it here for now and move it later if need be.

My Skin Care Regimen

1. cleanse: Grandma's Lye Soap

(I know what you must be thinking...Lye? Is she nuts?... but bear with me ^^)

2. tone: Dickinson's Witch Hazel

3. exfoliate: Total Skin Care 10% glycolic gel

4. spot treat: Origins Tea Tree Oil

5. moisturize: Aura Cacia grape seed oil in the morning and jojoba oil in the evening

6. protect: sunscreen (though I only include this if I am going outside at all during the day)

Six steps does not sound very simple or basic except, for me, it is much simpler than what I've done to my poor face in the past. What else I meant by basic has to do with the contents of the products I use. Because of these past few months I am a firm believer in using products that are, for the most part, natural and contain a minimal number of ingredients.

In addition to a skin care routine, I focus on diet, exercise, and mediation. The skin is an organ and if it is going to work well, it has to be healthy from the inside out. (someone else - I think his name is Bob - had a great post on this in the otc section)

Diet

My diet is not perfect, but I'm doing what I can to improve. I very rarely eat out and do not eat fast food preferring to cook instead. Olive oil, garlic, fresh fruits and vegetables are staples in our home. No soda. At. All. Not even diet. Soda, in my opinion, is evil stuff. I've been able to replace most white flour with whole wheat, and I've gotten very creative in adding ground flax seed to other foods. Add plenty of antioxidants to your diet. Berries, colored vegetables (yea yams!), tea: green, white and red are all good. I've been drinking tea at least once a day. If you don't want the caffeine, Celestial Seasonings Madagascar Vanilla Red is awesome. Sugar, on the other hand, is my complete and utter downfall. I've gotten better at reducing and eliminating it from things I make, but I still have a ways to go. All that said, however, it is not only what you eat, but your relationship to your food. If you are always eating on the run (eotr), you are probably not making the greatest choices, and you are not relaxing. I think eotr is a good sign of stress and the need to slow down. Pay attention to what you are eating, enjoy it, have fun with it, and be mindful of how it is feeding you body, mind, and soul ( i.e. Is it just good for you or does it make you feel good too?)

Exercise

Exercise, again good for the body so I'd think it'd also be good for the skin - just be sure to take care of your skin afterwards with proper cleansing. I have to make a conscious effort to exercise if my husband is not around to drag me to the gym in the morning. We go about three times a week. On the off days I go for walks, I walk to work, and I do yoga. Yoga has been a godsend to me. All exercise makes me feel better when I'm stressed, but with yoga even more so. In addition to hormonal and who knows what else, know I have stress related acne so reducing stress is big for me which leads me to...

Meditation

I'm trying to get more into the habit of quieting my mind for five minutes everyday. Sitting still for even five minutes has been harder than I originally thought, but I think it will be worth it. Even if this whole regime doesn't clear my acne completely, perhaps I'll at least be content with the progress I have made and be proud of the health changes in the other parts of my life...at least that is what I'm hoping^^

About the Products I Use

1. The lye soap

First off, there is only three ingredients: water, lard, lye. Second, the lye is removed completely during the soaponification process - no worries there. Third, Grandma's Lye Soap is so mild. One of the first things I noticed about it is how soft it made my skin feel. I've been using it since January and have loved it. The lard part, I admit, kinda creeps me out so I just don't think about it even though I know it is no longer lard after the soaponification process but glycerin. (I could be wrong though.)

2. The witch hazel

Two ingredients: witch hazel and ethyl alcohol. I was a little uncertain about this product because it contains 14% alcohol. However, in retrospect, that really doesn't seem that much since it means the rest 86% is witch hazel. I've used this product twice a day, every day since March 26th and so far so good. My skin has not been dryer, it has really cleaned out the pores around my nose, and I think it has helped to reduce acne redness, and has controlled oiliness.

(If you have sensitive skin, I would be careful with it just in case.)

3. The glycolic acid

This one has more ingredients, eleven to be exact, but I can at least understand what the majority of them are. Exfoliating is so important to remove dead skin cells. I've used Total Skin Care Glycolic Gel for close to seven months, and it seems to really work. Originally, I got it to remove the red marks on my skin. It has faded them some, but what I think it really did (though I have no way of proving it) is get rid of my cystic acne. After a few months into using it, my cystic acne stopped forming - knock on wood.

4. Tea Tree Oil

I think just about everyone on this website has had some experience with this product. Personally, I really like it. B.P, even the 2.5%, prescription face wash and topicals, has never had much of an impact on my acne. I began to think that maybe since I'd been using BP since I was in junior high, the bacteria on my face was used to it, and I made the switch to TTO about eight months ago. I used to put it all over my face. This was too irritating, so I've switched to just spot treating.

5. Grape Seed Oil and Jojoba Oil

These oils have made my skin so soft, they are simple and natural, and do I nice job of treating acne. I've used them since March 26th.

6. Sunscreen

I've yet to find one I'm completely happy with, but if I'm outside, I won't go without it. My skin is very fair and I live in a high altitude area. I'd rather suffer a few clogged pores than have the pain of going though skin cancer. Coppertone hasn't caused me any problems, but everyone's skin is different in what it will tolerate.

My Acne Story

I'm 26 years old and have had acne since I was in the sixth grade. For most of this time it was mild. In college, it varied between mild to moderate. The summer of after my senior year was the clearest I'd been in many years. I didn't even need makeup. Then came grad school and all hell broke loose. For the first time in my life, I broke out with a severe case of cystic acne. Looking back I probably should have found the money right then to go to a dermatologist. The cystic acne let up quite a bit after that first bout, but it would keep popping up from time to time mostly under my jaw line and around my mouth. The red marks have been awful. It seems as though my skin barely gets a chance to start healing when another pimple appears to leave its mark. Flash forward to fall 2006. In comparison, my skin has cleared up considerably. Like I mentioned above. My cystic acne has stopped. The number of breakouts I've had since January has steadily declined. This is the first time in a very long time that my cheeks have had a chance to heal without having multiple breakouts. The marks on my neck and cheeks have started to fade. Currently, I have a handful of pin size zits, (I'm so used to the big ones I forgot they came this small.) and one nodule on my forehead. There were two nodules, but one lasted maybe three days and left without a mark. I also got a fairly large and painful pimple on the side of my neck last Tuesday which has been healed for a few days now.

I think I might be on the right track; I think I'm doing something right. I just passed through what is typically the worst week of the month, and I feel like I came through relatively unscathed. Hopefully the progress will continue.

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I was getting frustrated with a few spots on my face, and I think I over did it with the tea tree oil. There is a patch of skin on my cheek and one on my chin that are pretty dry. I decided yesterday to forgo applying any more tea tree oil and any glycolic gel and just stuck to cleansing and lots of moisturizing. It looks better today.

I also took a few pictures of my skin to track how it is progressing. Funny how I don't notice some of the spots and red splotches when I look in the mirror. The camera picked up on a lot more skin problems than I thought I had... :confused: On the plus side, both lumps on my forehead are completely gone and left no trace of being there.

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I was playing around on yoga journal and found a couple interesting articles on skin care.

Here's an expert of one of them:

TUMERIC. This bitter, astringent spice has natural antiseptic and antibiotic properties that make it effective against blemishes. Mix a half teaspoon with one ounce of heavy cream, apply to the skin with a facial sponge, and rinse off. Refrigerate any leftovers.

SEA SALT AND SESAME OIL. Mix into a paste for a wonderful weekly exfoliating scrub. Add a few drops of essential oil for scent if you like.

FENNEL SEEDS. Chewing fennel seeds after eating helps digestion, which is why you'll find them offered at Indian restaurants. Ayurvedic theory suggests that good digestion is necessary for clear skin.

GINGER TEA. This pacifies kapha and aids digestion. Sip small amounts between meals.

LEMON AND HONEY. Help rid your body of ama (toxins and impurities) by drinking a cup of warm water with honey and lemon juice first thing in the morning. Blemishes and acne result from ama and pitta, Cravatta says, while cellulite deposits come from a build-up of ama and kapha. To help eliminate ama, you may also drink this cleansing beverage in the midafternoon and sip plain hot water throughout the day.

I'm really curious how that tumeric paste would work. I've started drinking lemon and honey. Even if it doesn't to anything it at least tastes good :angel:

...and here's a link to the other: [post=http://www.yogajournal.com/health/103_1.cfm]http://www.yogajournal.com/health/103_1.cfm

This one discusses an ayurvedic approach to skin care that sounds so much like a lot of people's personal regimens - eat healthy, exercise (sweat to get out toxins), dry brushing (baby brush) - and was pretty informative too. I've decided to add their suggestions of massaging while cleansing and steam therapy.

So on Monday's I will do steam therapy with lavender oil (This felt so good this morning!). Twice a week I'll do an moisturizing/exfoliating scrub with cold pressed olive oil and sugar after I get back from the gym. I'll drink the lemon and honey once or twice a day. (I got some local raw honey today so hopefully that might help out with my allergies too.)

As for my skin, it's looking pretty good. The dry patches are gone I might have 4 or 5 active pimples and about 5 or so spots that are just about healed. The marks on my neck have gone down too. For a while it looked like something akin to rope burn on my neck - now it is no longer red and has reduced to several brown spots.

Gym: I did 3 mi on the treadmill, 3.25 mi of intervals on the bike, and about 15 min of weights today. Over the past week I've made very good progress in yoga doing the crane pose and headstand (still need someone to spot me). Meditation has gotten much better/easier. I'm reading a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn on mindfulness that has really helped. It's called "Wherever You Go There You Are," which sounds pretty darn cheesy. The content of the book is much better.

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wow good luck! i saw grandmas lye soap at cracker barrel. I didnt get it because of the price but I was tempted because people say lye soap cleared them up. And how is the dickinsons working? I was gonna get thayers but now im split between the two lol. Best of Luck!

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wow good luck! i saw grandmas lye soap at cracker barrel. I didnt get it because of the price but I was tempted because people say lye soap cleared them up. And how is the dickinsons working? I was gonna get thayers but now im split between the two lol. Best of Luck!

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I am beyond pleased. My skin is essentially acne free - for the moment any way. I'm going on day two of this very rare occurrence, and I'm going to enjoy it for as long as it will last. It gives me hope that one day I will be able to see skin only and not spots and hyperpigmentation.

There were a few spots (one on my cheek and two around my jaw line) that were threatening to appear; I could feel them coming on so I iced the heck out them. So far, I think they've decided to back down. Other than that, my skin is clear ^^

I've changed my regimen slightly. For nearly a week now, I've substituted Alpha Hydrox Souffle for the Total Skin Care glycolic acid treatment in the hopes that it might be more effective on the hyperpigmentation. I'm still drinking my honey and lemon first thing in the morning, but I've added drinking ginger tea in the evenings after dinner. It is supposed to be an anti-inflamitory, digestive aide, and I think it is supposed to aid circulation. In any event, I've really enjoyed it, and I think it has helped.

The last change I am going to make is to switch to Aubrey Nicole mineral makeup. I've been using L'Oreal's mineral line, but I'm not sure if I trust all that is in there. Looking forward to getting the new stuff in the mail!

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Well, my clear skin streak ended a couple days ago. I have one spot that has happily taken residence by my nose. That one I can deal with. The ones that have cropped up on my neck - four of them- are more annoying though I suppose I am thankful that they are not painful or overly large. And considering about this time last month I was dealing with about the same number of neck spots in addition to a few on my cheeks and some lumps along my jaw...things are certainly getting better.

I've noticed I have a tendency to rest my neck in my hands when I'm reading etc. That is a habit that needs to be broken. I'm sure it plays a part in why I break out where I do.

A brief change to my regimen. I've used a toner of 40% lemon juice and 60% water to help lighten my marks. There was a thread about it (only that one also contained acv, which I don't have) and I wanted to see how well it worked. So for the past couple of days I've substituted this for the glycolic acid in the mornings. I think I like it. We'll see if I'll keep it. I'm noticing that my tendency to add and add different products is still around - I want to keep that in check.

So..the updated regimen as of April the 23rd

Morning

Drink a warm glass of water with lemon juice and raw honey

Cleanse with lye soap

Tone with witch hazel

Spot treat with tea tree oil

Exfoliate and lighten with lemon/water

Moisturize with grape seed oil

Sunscreen when spending time outside

Drink a cup or two of green tea or other high antioxidant tea during the day

Evening

Drink ginger tea after supper

Cleanse with lye soap

Tone with witch hazel

Spot treat with tea tree oil

Exfoliate with Alpha Hydrox Souffle

Moisturize with jojoba oil

Additional

Steam therapy/steam clean with a drop or two of lavender essential oil in the water once a week in the morning.

Olive oil and sugar scrub twice a week - rinse in the shower.

Cardio and weights at the gym ~ 3x a week

Yoga ~3x a week

Meditation ~10 min daily

Now that I wrote it, I suppose I should go do it :shifty: It's my day off from work and class and I'm trying to build the gumption to go for a run!

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Neck is healing, but I had three baby white heads pop up on my chin. The temptation was too much...I picked at them. I should know better. Those chin ones are always so stubborn about leaving and picking never makes them go away faster - it usually just makes the white head bigger. *sigh* One day I'll learn.

I'm very tempted to use Aleve now that I'm at the point in my cycle where my acne usually gets worse. Aleve doesn't really fit in the whole natural only aspect some people take with the holistic approach, but if I continue to take holistic as meaning a whole body/taking more than one path to clear skin, perhaps it would work. (I wonder how most people define "holistic.") Meh, maybe I could try evening primrose....or just ride this week out without anything and see how it goes.

I'm looking to expand my yoga home practice. Since acne may be linked with digestive issues, later today I'm going to look up what poses are beneficial for that as well as ones for menstrual issues.

Oh, and I've decided to cut out the olive oil scrub as something obligatory. I don't really need it; it was really just an excuse to put olive oil on my face because it feels good! As for the lemon juice, I'm still on the fence. My marks are fading pretty well with or with out it so I might just use it if I find I have black heads forming.

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Wow....it's been a really long time since I've posted.

I wish I could say that I am clear, but I can't. For a while there I guess you could say I fell off the wagon. I wasn't drinking nearly enough water, my sugar intake was way too high, I was slacking on my exercise regimen etc, etc, etc. The only thing I kept up with was what I was putting on my face.

Boy did I notice the difference in my skin, and as I'm sure you can guess, it wasn't a good difference. Since then, I've been much more conscious of what I'm eating and all that, and it seems to be paying off. My skin is back to the condition it was when I last left off...acne still there but smaller and heals a little quicker.

During my posting hiatus, I also ran out of my witch hazel and didn't immediately go to replace it. I guess I wanted to see if it really did make a difference. IMO, I think it does. At least it keeps my face less oily, which in turn, makes my makeup last longer, and that makes me happy. So witch hazel is apparently here to stay.

As for the AHA I was using, I'll still use it, but I'm relying primarily on Paula's Choice 2% liquid BHA. The research I've done has lead me to think it is more appropriate to my condition. I had reservations on how well a salilic acid would work (the creamy crap that comes in tubes at the drugstore doesn't seem to do anything). but I've really liked it - my neck and jawline have really liked it.

On a side note, I've begun taking fish oil for general health reasons. I know some people swear by it for their skin so we'll see what happens. It is too early to tell if it has an effect on my skin.

I guess that's it. Hopefully I've learned my lesson and will stick with my plan.

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So I mentioned before that I had "fallen off the acne regimen wagon." What I forgot to mention was that I had basically given up the whole meditation thing even before that, with the exception of yoga class. My stress levels had been pretty crazy then, but I have done pretty well in getting it under control. And that, I think, has at least partly helped my skin. In addition to addressing my stressors, I've started using this relaxation cd. The first time I listed to it I remember thinking, "Man, the background music sounds like something from the weather channel." A minute later I realized I was nearly asleep! So goofy music aside, it seems to work.

Right now, my skin is really in pretty good shape - not 100% clear, but not bad enough to be an issue. My skin is even much better than last month where I had a about a week of a pretty annoying breakout on my cheek and chin. I do have a couple spots healing over by my left ear - but that's it. It is really nice not having a brand new pustule or nodule every-single-day.

I wish I knew what exactly has caused this turn around because I'm afraid that this clearness is only temporary. Some things that I have changed is that I don't use tea tree oil daily. I only use it if I have a spot that is particularly inflamed. I've been careful not to over cleanse. And I've been using both the bha and aha at night. I've heard some people say that is a no-no; then I've seen it recommended. What is I do is apply the bha, let it sit for a while, then apply the aha. So far so good.

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Skin is still holding at 90-95% clear since 10-22 and the hyperpigmentation is fading nicely.

I picked up some Yogi Tea - Peach Detox. It is certainly not something I use daily, but I'm wondering if it is having any affect on my skin. When I've not been so good at watching what I eat, that is when I tend to drink the tea.

I got my new kabuki brush in the mail. It is so soft. I love it muchly. I doubt I'll ever go back to liquid foundation. Signature Minerals and Aubrey Nicole are just fantastic.

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You know, acne really kinda sucks. Just thought I'd throw that out there. I figure there's one or two people on this site that probably feel the same way :P

I had these lovely three lumps on my chin and another four that formed on under my jaw and on my neck that started forming about Sunday/Monday. Thankfully they weren' t that large and the swelling is basically gone, but I'm still left with the marks. I think I'd much rather have white heads than the lumps. I have an awful tendency to want to squeeze them to make them go away, which just makes them last longer. The breakout could have been much worse, but I'm bummed about the spots on my neck. It had been so long since I had gotten one there that I was thinking maybe I was past all that. Nope.

One the bright side, I saw my parents for pre-Thanksgiving. They just left today. Both mom and dad, on separate occasions even, commented how nice my complexion was looking and if I was doing anything different. That was nice to hear. Even when my skin wasn't looking as great as it was before I saw them, it reminded me of how far it has really come since Christmas.

Stress is starting to creep up on me with finals and resumes, and portfolios...I need to keep it in check. I think that is part of my problem right now, not to mention the salty-food pms cravings.

Ooh, I found a really nice ginger tea at Wild Oats. It is so nice just to plop a tea bag in warm water than peeling, chopping, and steeping fresh ginger when I'm in a hurry. I think I read in one of Dr. Weil's books that dried ginger is better than fresh for fighting inflamation. Not sure if that's true but here's hoping!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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It has been just about a year since I started developing my regimen. I remember thinking last March that I could be acne free by June...ha ha ha, not so much. However, I really am pleased with how far my skin has come since last January. I was looking at pictures taken of me from last Christmas morning '06. My skin was all blotchy with red welts and marks on my chin and cheeks. This Christmas through today, I feel my skin has maintained at 90-95% clear.

Looking at my face today, I was thinking if I had the day off, I could go run errands without makeup and not feel bad about it. I could potentially go into work today makeup free since we are just doing inventory, but I know I won't. Part of it I know is vanity, but the other part of me is still very embarrassed about my acne. I think I have come a long way to accepting my acne and what I look like with it, but I still have a long way to go. I'm sure I"ll be much happier once I'm able to do that.

I'm also pretty proud at how I have stuck with the regimen. I thought for sure it would have been changed drastically, but it hasn't. There have been a few changes to what I do consistently, and I think that is what is key, consistency, giving your regimen enough time to actually start doing you some good.

Here's hoping all keeps going well in the new year.

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