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First a bit of background:

My acne issues began a relatively short time ago - only about a year (at the time I was 31 years old). I've always had very, very sensitive, combination skin. But out of the blue last May-ish...and for about three months...I was more miserable about my appearance than I can accurately convey. Out of the blue, my cheeks, chin and forehead broke out into clusters of inflamed and ITCHY pimples.

I wasn't sure what was going on, so I didn't seek out a dermatologist until about three-four months of non-stop breakouts.

The first doctor looked at my face for approximately five seconds. Declared I had acne. And gave me scripts for differin and clindamycin. I followed her directions (including her warning that my skin may "feel a bit of a burn, but not to worry"), and four days later my face was so inflamed and angry. It hurt to put plain water on my skin for days afterward. I called her emergency helpline over the weekend and never, ever got a call back.

Needless to say, I quickly found another doctor. Who said, "it doesn't matter if you have acne or rosacea...the treatment I would give you would be the same..."

I'm still not sure what he meant. Did I/Do I have acne or rosacea? Or both? who knows.

He also said he would never had prescribed the differin and/or clindamycin for me...at least not right off the bat. said i was way too fair and the chances I would get scorched skin - which i did - was about 99%. He said I should have been started on something oral. like an antibiotic. I asked him for how long I would have to take pills (I don't like taking medicine for long periods of time.) his response should have been a sign - he said, "have you ever stopped brushing your teeth?"

Anyway, he gave me a script for Minocycline. It worked very quickly. In about three/four days, I was noticeably clearer. But also nauseous and dizzy. I called his office and they told me to cut my dose in half. All in all, this medicine worked for me for about a month. Then I started breaking out badly again. Went and saw the same doc and he gave me a script for Doxycycline. Again, it worked quickly. And then stopped working a month later.

I called his office to make another appointment and they told me he didn't even need to see me. he would just call in a script for a different pill.

That is when I threw out all remaining medicine and started searching the internet. Found this site.

By now it was late Oct/early Nov 2007. I ordered Dan's bp. Bought myself some purpose liquid soap. And stuck with the moisturizer I had - Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream.

I had done a lot of reading, so I wasn't expecting rapid results. But I got them anyway! My skin was just about clear in approximately two weeks.

I stuck with this regimen for about two months. But kept reading these message boards.

I had maintained pretty clear skin. But decided I wasn't loving the purpose soap. And I also wanted a more "natural" moisturizer.

In mid-January, I went out and got myself some castor oil, jojoba oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil. And I started the oil cleansing method. Which I loved...and still love. Use it twice a day. in the morning, I just use the oil in the shower and use my hands to rub it off in the water. At night, I take more time and use a steaming wash cloth for removal.

In the morning, I still use dan's bp. And then I use some jojoba oil mixed with dermalogica super sensitive sunblock (it's the ONLY sunscreen i have been able to use long term without breakouts or burning sensation) and this was my moisturizer.

In the evening, I started experimenting with Nucelle 10%. My goal was to decrease the blackheads on my nose. I loved what it did for evening out my skin tone. But my blackheads were not much reduced. At night, jojoba oil only as moisturizer.

So I then started using Dermalogica Clearing Mattifier - 2% Salicylic Acid - only on my nose. Nucelle on the rest of my face. (again, this was only at night. bp in morning). And jojoba as moisturizer.

the 2% SA did the trick for the blackheads. I've since switched from Dermalogica to Paula's Choice b/c it seemed more cost effective.

All in all. my skin is doing really, really well. (Especially considering that I stopped my birth control pill about two months ago. Last time I tried stopping - about three years earlier - my skin FREAKED out!) I still get an occasional pimple. Last month, right around my period I got a big, painful one right above my lip, which I totally picked at and made a mess of.

But...considering how badly I picked it. It healed over pretty quickly. And I give credit to the consistency of my regiment for that.

So in summary, here's exactly what I use:

MORNING:

- OCM in shower (my ratio is 75%-80% jojoba oil/25%-20% castor oil + 5-6 drops of tea tree oil + 3 drops lavender oil. i mix this about once every two/three weeks into a little bottle)

- Dan's BP all over face. (Oh, other thing I use as spot treatment, which I really do love - Dermalogica's Special Clearing Booster, which is 5% BP)

- Jojoba oil mixed with sunscreen. I rub this all over my face. Let it sit for about five min and then blot off whatever hasn't absorbed.

NIGHT:

- OCM removed with hot washcloth

- Paula's Choice 2% BHA (SA). I opted for the lotion rather than the gel. Use this on my nose.

- Nucelle 10% rest of the face.

- Jojoba oil. Again, put on and let sit for five min Then blot off whatever hasn't absorbed.

- At night, for spot treatment, rather than the 5% BP, i'll use some straight tea tree oil on a Q-tip.

I still read these boards pretty regularly, as I am cognizant of the fact that this regimen, while working, is only about 3-4 months old for me. Who knows what summer and change of temp and humidity will bring...

But for now, I wanted to share. Sorry this is so long. I found so much helpful info on this site that I wanted to pay-it-forward with as much detail I could think of. Good luck to all!

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