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Principal_Pimp_el

My Quest for Clear Skin (various regimens)

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Here is the link to Christine's Regimen:

http://www.acne.org/messageboard/Finally-Clear-t37879.html

Steps In Order Of Use [My products are not the exact same ones Christine uses, but pretty close]

-I Began the Regimen Today-

Morning:

1. CVS daily face wash (imitation Clearasil)

2. Olay Complete SPF 15 Normal Skin

Night:

1. CVS apricot scrub (imitation St. Ives)

2. CVS daily face wash (imitation Clearasil)

3. Aveeno Ultra-Calming Night Cream

My current skin condition - I am currently experiencing my monthly premenstrual breakout: dark red/brown marks [about 60] all over my cheeks, jaw, neck and chin; 3 medium sized cysts [2 on chin, one on cheek]; about 13 very small red pimples - some a little rash-like; maybe about 20-25 closed comedones (skin colored bumps) all over my face.

My regimen up until today: Purpose gentle cleanser 2x a day; CVS 2.5% BP 2x a day; Stridex 2% alcohol free pads at night under the BP; Olay Complete SPF 15 Normal during the day.

First Impressions:

1. I gently massaged the scrub for about a minute and it was really gentle. I noticed it got rough as the water on my face evaporated. Did not irritate my active acne.

2. The daily face wash smelled soooo good and was really smooth and creamy.

3. It was a bit of a chore washing my face twice, but I'll get used it, especially since I only have one step left after this. My face was not tight or dry afterwards.

4. The night cream left my face the softest I have ever felt it. My skin was left velvety smooth and matte - 100% UN-greasy. The only con so far is the annoyingly strong smell - 10 minutes after putting it on I'm still smelling it.

I'll update in a week, unless something dramatic happens sooner.

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Well, this isn't too dramatic, but my face has turned into an oil slick during the day. This morning I just washed and didn't put on lotion (which I had been using before this regimen) and my face is matte.

People say even oily skin needs moisture, but how about when that moisture makes your normal/combination skin very oily skin?

I've gotten four small inflamed pimples since I started the regime. The closed comedones have not improved at all, but I haven't really seen any new ones either.

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After some debating, I decided to return the Aveeno Ultra Calming Cream b/c it started to sting my face [not too bad, but enough], in particular the sides of my nose :(. If my face is sensitive to it now, I figured I wouldn't be able to incorporate it into any future medication based regimen, if this regimen did not work out for me. And I wasn't going to let those $16.00 go to waste.

So, I guess I will continue w/o the moisture, unless my face gets dry.

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This regimen failed me :(. I got about 10 new inflamed pimples during the week I did this experiment [some huge ones] and my forehead started repopulating with closed comedones. My forehead's reaction to things always gives me a good read of how a regimen is going to work for me, and so, independent of the inflamed pimples, I knew this regimen was not for me.

I guess I'll just have to stop trying medication-free regimens and accept the fact that at least for the time being, I will only be clear by regular application of medicines. I'm going to switch BP brands, as someone suggested, and see if it doesn't give me cysts.

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Principal_Pimp_el!

Just wanted to check up on you. I'm sorry to hear that your condition has worsened from using the regimen. I don't want to lecture about giving things time and keeping strong with the regimen (I've been in your shoes) but I do want to help out and be straightforward with you.

About your regimen, does the CVS Facial Wash contain "Fragrance" in the ingredients? The only difference between the Clearasil Facial Wash and the Clearasil Facial Wash Sensitive is that one doesn't contain fragrance (the latter). Try to use a facial wash without fragrance. Also, try to eliminate using the moisturizer in the morning. I found that the night cream acts as a pre-moisturizer for the morning so when I do wash my face, it doesn't feel dry or tight, but just right.

For your night time regimen, eliminate the CVS apricot scrub. The purpose of the scrub is to exfoliate. Right now, our goal should be to clear you up (then we can think about exfoliating :)). Wash your face with the facial wash and apply your night cream. I previously read that you weren't able to find the Dove Night Cream. Dove changed its name to Dove Energy Glow Brightening Night Cream. You can go to Amazon or any other place you know to buy it.

The facial wash is definitely up to you. If you feel you should use one with "acne fighting" ingredients, I say go for it. I actually started using Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleaser and it contains SA and some beta hydroxy. I haven't had any problems with it and it leaves me with this tingly feeling afterwards. I do recommend trying that Dove Night Cream though. I've continued to use it with success and I've had no complaints with it.

I really do hope for the best for you! Please keep us posted your progress!

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I'm so weak LOL, mekinguwho has convinced me to give the regimen more time. Ok, so from now on, gentle cleansing ( I think I have a fragrance free cleanser around here somewhere), not sure about the dove night cream just because of the price - I've spent so much money in the last few days, I'll see...I do have glycerin and that works well, gently and no fragrance.

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Yea, I have to admit that the price for the Dove Energy Glow Night Cream is a tad steep considering how much you get from the jar. But I've seen some eBay listings with a Buy Now price of $5.00 with $3 s/h.

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Hi everyone, I thought I would update anyone interested in my experience :)

So, I had given up on the regimen after one week, as I got a pretty bad breakout by the end of the week...I was desperate and went back to an old regimen of mine from last year that consisted of both glycolic acid 10% and 10% BP twice a day - I did this for about 4 days and it left me with dry, flaky, peeling skin and more red, painful pimples.

I re-started the ChristineM regimen on April 12 - a highly modified version, anyway. I have been washing with Purpose gentle cleanser 2x a day and that's it - no moisturizer, no NOTHING! Certain parts of my face are still pretty dry and flaky after washing (the effects of my 4 day BP, GA experiment), but every day it gets better. I read that even noncomedogenic moisturizer can clog your pores if you use it when you don't need it - so now I'm afraid to use it.

One remarkable thing I must share is that my skin looks like "normal" skin now that I don't use anything but a cleanser on it. Before, when I used the acne products and moisturizers it would look like combination or oily skin, with dry skin underneath. I had actually already noticed, in the past, that my skin looked less oily when I went a day without using my products to help relieve the dryness. This is the first time that I have gone this long without using anything on my face and I like the results so far. Hopefully my acne will begin to subside in the next few weeks.

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This is so hard...I keep thinking that this is going to fail and I'm already putting together my next regimen in my head :(. I also hate waiting...what if I realize in 3 weeks that it's not going to work - that will be 3 weeks where I could have been doing something else....

And you know what, the waiting would be bearable if I could at least wear my foundation and hide the 60 dark marks on my face, but my experiment consists of nothing but washing....SO I CAN"T....well, I have to go to a social function tonight and while I have no problem going to work without cover-up, I am going to cheat and use it for a few hours tonight....

One last thing, while I really do want this regimen to work, if it does, it will mean that I was contributing to my acne for years (I've had it for about 13-14 years)...so, a very small part of me [in the furthest reaches of my mind] hopes that the regimen won't work and that way I won't have to deal with the fact of what could have been had I not been such a product whore

Wow, writing things down is very therapeutic....

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Hi everyone:

Well, I'm at the two week mark and I have mixed results. I have actually been using my Neutrogena Acne Wash 2x a day for the past week, instead of once like I have in my signature. The flakiness and extreme dryness I had in the first week (as a result of my previous BP use) are now pretty much gone - but my face does not feel soft, it is still bumpy.

THE BAD NEWS

I have tiny rash-like pimples all over my face, nose and cheeks (a moderate amount); several small papules and pustules; and two LARGE RED bumps from several days ago that are slowly healing (w/o a scar as usual). Although I always call my large red bumps cysts I think they may be nodules because I never scar from the so-called cysts. I actually only scar from the pustules I pop and then pick at until they turn into a very dark mark. Also, I hate that even small papules and pustules have really large rings of redness around them,which makes them look worse then they actually are.

THE GOOD NEWS

This morning I noticed that a bunch of the skin-colored bumps on my chin -that I have had for months- were GONE!!!! A few have turned into tiny pustules over the past two weeks, but that's been in the minority. It seems like the skin-colored bumps under my jaw are also drying up. My dark marks have improved quite DRAMATICALLY now that I'm not using anything, and even though I have been exposed to a lot of sunlight without any sunscreen on. My sister saw me a few days ago and commented that my face looked a lot lighter, and not purple and dark like it had a few weeks back.

THE VERDICT

I'm going to give this regimen another week because I've read that pimples take about 2-3 weeks to form, so the breakouts I am now experiencing don't necessarily mean this regimen will not work. I am also going to use my Purpose gentle cleanser in the mornings to see if the rash-like outbreak resolves itself OR perhaps Neutrogena's cream cleanser version of the acne wash is more gentle and I could use that. Finally, the fact that this is helping my dark marks and eliminated some incredibly stubborn skin-colored bumps makes me HOPEFUL and reluctant to give this regimen up!

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Upon closer inspection of my skin after I washed it this morning, I realized that even though my skin didn't necessarily feel tight and wasn't visibly peeling after washing, it was ashy and slightly flaky on my nose.

I went out and bought Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser - it has SA a little ways down the ingredients list so it won't be as harsh as the Acne Wash and the creaminess should help soften my skin or at the very least, let it heal.

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OK, it's official, my skin needs acne medication. I cannot get away with just gentle washing or washing and moisturizing. Oh well, at least now I know for sure and I won't be tempted to go au natural again in the future.

My skin feels like chicken skin - really bumpy and rough. A lot of it is rash-like and some of it looks like pinhead-sized pus dots. Sorry, it's gross, I know. I also have some papules and pustules and one nodule that is healing.

So, I am definitely not going back to BP because it gives me nodular/cystic acne and makes my face much darker than my body. I've done some research and apparently comedonal acne is also caused by bacteria, which I didn't know. I came to the conclusion that bacteria is the main cause of my acne since the SA product I used about 6 weeks ago didn't even clear my comedonal acne, but BP cleared it right up.

So, I needed an alternative to BP to kill the bacteria on my skin. I chose alcohol as one of my new disinfectants since I realized that the SA products with alcohol that I had used in the past had worked pretty well for me, and maybe as well as the BP (I can't really remember that far back LOL). The Stridex pads I recently used for 5 weeks that didn't do much for me didn't have alcohol and this probably made all the difference. [The only exception to this is the Neutrogena Clear Pore alcohol-free SA gel from years ago that I remember working pretty well, but I think I used it in conjunction with BP, so...]. I know alcohol isn't the ideal disinfectant, but at least for my skin, it's preferable to BP. OK, the second disinfectant I chose was a sulfur soap, which is antifungal, antimicrobial and keratolytic.

So, my NEW REGIMEN, which will kill bacteria and clear my pores, is as follows:

Morning:

DermaKlear Akne Treatment Soap with Sulfur

OXY Daily Cleansing Pads 2% SA, 46% alcohol v/v

Olay Complete Sensitive Skin Lotion SPF 15

Night:

DermaKlear Akne Treatment Soap with Sulfur

OXY Daily Cleansing Pads 2% SA, 46% alcohol v/v

Olay Complete Sensitive Skin Lotion SPF 15

If I find this regimen too drying I will probably only use the sulfur soap at night and Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser in the morning. FYI, I used the OXY pads this morning for the first time and they were anything but harsh - I could barely smell the alcohol and they didn't sting at all.

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OK, so I did the sulfur + SA regimen for about a week and I saw no change. I know a week is not enough, but at that point I just knew that the mere addition of an antibacterial soap and alcohol was not going to give me the results I wanted. I didn't want to waste 6 weeks on a regimen that was not going to work. Been there, done that with alcohol free SA pads and and the DDF 10% GA toner (with alcohol).

I measure every acne ingredient against BP when it comes to my very bumpy, comedonal acne-plagued forehead, and when I don't get clear in a week, like I do on the BP, I just want to give up.

Well, I decided to try GA 10% + SA 2% 2x/day and my skin got horribly itchy - after one week, I got a massive nodular/cystic/pustular breakout over my cheeks, neck, jaw and chin, as I've already posted in another topic.

Right now, I am trying the pillow thing - I'm using a fresh pillow every two nights and I am using a silk cap over my hair so it never touches my face. I'm also using witch hazel and my Olay face lotion 2x/day to help my skin heal.

I hate my skin.....and worst of all, I hate the fact that acne is such a tricky condition to treat...there are so many treatment options and possible explanations for breakouts...I've been experimenting with different treatments for a while now and I'm still not clear...

If this pillow thing does not help my acne improve I am going back on BP...I swore I wouldn't but I can't take these breakouts anymore. Given my experience with the SA/GA mixture, I think that the reason the 10% BP was giving me cystic acne was that it was irritating my skin (2.5% BP was working pretty well - but I did break out in cysts on my cheek - then again, I only gave it 3 weeks LOL). Also, my BP cream had Laureth 4, which is a 4 or 5 on the comedogenic scale.

Maybe a BP treatment without comedogenic ingredients, in combination with a gentle cleanser and a good moisturizer will be my cure...I definitely won't be adding any SA or GA to my regimen....ah, but BP always makes my face tan, which I hate....

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My comedonal acne has been reduced by about 40% since I started taking precautions with my hair and pillow. I resumed with the Oxy 2% SA pads 2x/day a week ago or so. Yay for me!!

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I added the baby brush to my routine on June 10. A few days before this I had broken out in 3 large inflamed pimples - they were awful. I've been using it about every 2nd or 3rd day. The remains of my comedonal acne are still there, but many of them have become inflamed acne. Normally I would think that was an initial flare up, but it's that time of the month so I'm pretty sure most of it is my usual PMS acne. I also noticed that two new clusters of comedonal acne formed a few days ago. Either way, my face is a mess of inflamed acne and a good amount of comedonal acne. UGH, if it's not PMS acne, it's an initial breakout to something new, or just regular acne.

Whatever the cause of this new flare up, I can't keep waiting for the SA and physical exfoliation to kick in....deep down I know it won't kick in.

Well, I'm going back to BP. Panoxyl makes a good non-comedogenic BP gel, so I'll be starting that tonight.

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So, I've been using Panoxyl AquaGel 10% for 5 weeks now. During the third and fourth weeks I got an awful breakout consisting of nodules and cysts, including a giant cyst on my jaw, near my chin, the likes of which I had never seen on my face before. I didn't know if it was an initial breakout, an irritation breakout or a preview of what was to come from my continued use of BP. My skin was soft and smooth, so it didn't make sense that it would be an irritation breakout - unless it was possible that skin could appear to be fine (from use of a moisturizing cream) when in reality the BP was irritating it and. I was ready to give up given my past experiences with BP, but then I got my period about 10 days early, and at that time I realized that a good part of that horrendous breakout was due to PMS. Perhaps and initial breakout combined with PMS caused the the breakout to be so severe.

I'm glad I stuck with the treatment because my face is clearing up. For the past week or so I have continued to break out but the acne is milder in both number and type - smaller papules and pustules, as opposed to nodules and cysts. I had been using Cetaphil cream at night since my second week on BP, but I stopped using it about 4 or 5 days ago because I noticed that I was getting some new skin colored bumps on my forehead and cheeks (4 of those bumps have become inflamed in the past few days). My skin feels a bit drier now, but not too bad since it's so hot and humid where I live.

I will have to wait at least 4 more weeks to see how effective this regimen is for me. By my next period I will get a better idea of how effective this regimen is at prevention.

If I do clear up, I will experiment with 2.5% BP (slowly adding it in) and see if I can make the permanent switch.

One thing that is different about my BP use this time around is that I am using it alone - no SA or GA - which helps cut down any irritation. Also, the Panoxyl seems to be milder than the clearasil and the persagel creams I used in the past.

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OK, it's been about 17 days since my last post, so 2.5 weeks. I switched from the cetaphil daily moisturizer to my old Olay sensitive lotion with spf 15 because the skin colored bumps were not going anywhere and many of them were becoming inflamed. I tried this for about a week and I wasn't satisfied with the results. I decided that the panoxyl (even at 10%) was too mild - it wasn't drying enough, and I guess my skin needs to be a bit dried out in order to get rid of the skin colored bumps. I think the dimethicone in the formula wasn't good for my skin. About 5 days ago, I hesitatingly made the switch to persagel 10% which has dried out my skin a lot, but it has also gotten rid of the last of the skin colored bumps. This was a very risky move, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will continue to work. My face is so dry (but not red or itchy or painful, etc) that I had to use the cetaphil cream tonight. I think that the persagel is drying enough to counteract any overmoisturization by the cetaphil that could clog my pores. I think that the combination of the mild panoxyl gel and the cetaphil cream I had been using was too moisturizing and this contributed to the skin colored bumps. I hope the Laureth 4 in the persagel does not cause problems down the line...

It's funny how I can convince myself that a certain product is really bad one week and then praise it the next, or cautiously praise it....

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Hi everyone, I haven't posted in a long time, but it was time for me to update. I ended up ditching the persagel about 4 days after my last post, so August 15. I'm a little fuzzy on my exact experience, but I do remember that I broke out badly, and it became too irritating.

I'll do my best to write down my experience accurately, but it's been a while.

So, about August 15 I started using Stridex 2% alcohol free BHA pads and Neutrogena 2.5% BP, both twice a day. At first, I noticed that I was only breaking out twice a month, which was great - during PMS and two weeks after that. It was like a cycle, I got skin colored bumps and two weeks later they would become inflamed, and then it started all over again.

I tried adding a scrub with bha 2% every morning for about a week and a half, but it didn't help get rid of the skin colored bumps, which I had to get rid of because once they were gone, there would be nothing to get inflamed. I tried using a 5% BP gel twice a day in place of the 2.5% BP, but it was too irritating and gave me dry skin, along with a breakout, so back to the 2.5%. I tried using an aha 8% lotion twice a day along with the bha and bp for extra exfoliation and to help with old acne marks, but that gave me cystic acne all over my neck, which had been doing so well :(. I tried using it only on my face, but then I got a cyst on my lower jaw and I knew it was only a matter of days before I got more cysts.

What was I to do??? Well, I decided to use 5% BP at night and 2.5% during the day (with the BHA 2% 2x a day of course) and that did it!!!! I'm not even "breaking out" during PMS, which is HUGE!! I put "breaking out" in quotes because I do get a few little pimples, but who doesn't right? And these are mild, tiny pimples that I barely notice. This combination of products gives me the acne control I need, without irritating my skin. My skin gets a little dry b/c it's winter where I live, but it's not bad at all. My dark marks are fading, but this takes a long time so I'm not stressing over that too much. Besides, now that I don't really break out anymore, I don't have to worry about new dark marks.

I have some pics from May of this year, and I think I will put up before and after pics after my dark marks are gone, so people can see the huge difference in my skin.

It took a lot of experimentation, but I finally found the right combination of products for me. In case anyone is wondering, I use Olay foaming face wash, sensitive skin as my cleanser and Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer spf 15 as my daytime moisturizer. I also use Cetaphil cream at night to prevent my skin from drying out in this cold weather.

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I just noticed that my new regimen is almost identical to the one I had when I began experimenting LOL. The only difference is the addition of the 5% BP, and the fact that I've been on this regimen for months now, as opposed to only a few weeks.

For all of you who find BP 2.5% too mild and anything higher too irritating, try mixing it up like me, and you may be pleasantly surprised!!

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