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DancingCactus

DancingCactus' Blog

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Hi. I'm DancingCactus. My acne is restricted to a few occasional pimples. However, I have nose blackheads and forehead uneven texture and bumpy red marks, leftovers from previous acne I'd like to fix. As you can see from the picture below. And the sooner one starts to combat aging, the better, isn't it? Hence this blog.

post-101257-1239909123_thumb.jpg

My skin is not sensitive at all, but rather hardy and oily in T zone. The routine below is instrumental in maintaining my current satisfactory skin condition:

Morning:

1. Wash with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser:

With just 0.5% of SLS, it's quite mild. First and foremost I want to minimize irritation. Wet face with lukewarm water, then gently massage skin with it. After which rinse off and splash face with cold water. It's actually kind of fun.
:-
)

2. Moisturize with Cerave Cream:

Dab a few dots on forehead, cheeks and chin. Then I gently even it out with back of my hand. Softly, I stress. Because I used to wonder why my face get so red and flushed after putting on the moisturzer, it turned out I dragged my hand across face like a tractor. Now I konw better.

3. Protect with Sunscreen

I wear sunscreen daily, rain or shine, indoors or out. Force of habit I suppose. Most importantly, and I put on lots of it. (Don't be scared now folks) Again, I gently even out the sunscreen, and leave it be to sink in on its own.

Evening:

1. Wash with Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser For Normal to Oil Skin:

Gentle Skin cleanser doesn't cut it now. Instead, Daily Cleanser dissolves away all the sunscreen I slathered on effortlessly. No greasy residue either. That's all I expect from a face wash: cleans well, rinses off well. No fuss, no muss.

2. Moisturize with Cerave Cream:

It's a rather bland moisturizer, no irritation, no visible benefits either. Just very... bleh. Am I committing cardinal sin by expecting too much out of a simple moisturizer?
:wacko:

3. Moisturize with Paula's Choice Exfoliating 2% BHA Lotion:

It received good reviews for ridding black heads, though frankly, I haven't noticed any difference.

By the way, I also have Daniel Kern's BP gel, but I get so little pimples, besides, it doesn't correct red marks, so I rarely use it. But it's effective against occasional zits.

Topicals I'd like to try:

1. Retin-A:

Acne reducing, red mark lightening, real anti-aging, (Not just the "appearance" of aging) what can be better? I received a bunch of Retin-A gel from AllDayChemist.com, and can't wait to start reaping the benefits. This what the tube looks like:

post-101257-1239910774_thumb.jpg

By the way, I used Retin-A 0.025% generic cream some months back, but discontinued using it after a while. Didn't experience any negative side effects at all when I started though, weird.

2. Tazorac:

Retinoid with the similar effects as Retin A, except more effective with shrinking pore size reportedly.

2. Avene Diacneal.

Mixture of 0.01% Retinaldehyde and 6% exfoliating Glycolic acid. Reportedly just as effective as 0.05% Retin-A, but a lot less irritating. Avene also incorporates their patented active ingredient Retinaldehyde in their Eluage, Ystheal and Retrinal (available in USA) lines. But Diacneal is the most potent and promising.

3. Azelaic acid

The active ingredient in Skinoren cream and Finacea gel. It has anti-bacterial and lightening properties to improve red marks leftover from acne. And it speeds up skin turnover. Just what I need. Can be used during the day. This may provide more bang for the buck than any moisturizer.

4. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic serum

An antioxidant serum that improves complexion and combats sun damage? I'm sold. Though I probably won't try it until I got the more important stuff like sunscreen and retinoid out of the way.

Diet to be incorporated into the routine:

1. Green Tea

I like how tea's fresh clean taste lingers, and it has antioxidant properties. Woo hoo! Let's see if I can keep it up.

2. Fruits and veggies

I'm pretty bad in this regard, my grandma once said I'm a carnivore.
:-
)

This is about it, my goal is to have a smooth, even, acne-free complexion with minimum efforts. Too ambitious? We will see.

post-101257-1239909123_thumb.jpg

post-101257-1239910774_thumb.jpg

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Grand Beginning: (?) :boohoo:

A little history here, my very first retinoid was a generic Tretinoin cream 0.025% a few months back. For the first 2 weeks, it was apply nightly once every 2 days, the next 2 weeks I would switch to apply every alternative night, and at last, it was nightly application. I didn't have any irritation, demonstrating caution does pay off.

By the way, starting retinoid while notpracticing sun protection is nuts, so I always wear sunscreen.

After a few months I discontinued using the cream, and now I am resuming again, with gel formula in the same strength this time. Because gel formula has alcohol that penetrates the skin better, allowing more tretinoin to be absorbed. AllDayChemist's generic 0.025% Retin-A gel is what I'm using.

Last night I dabbed pea-sized amount on forehead, cheeks and chin, then gingerly smoothed the gel out. Bumpy red marks, I shall banish thee within no time! :naughty:

I have stressed the importance of being gentle with one's skin, so how exactly does one go about it? Shiseido has an informative video (http://www.shiseido.co.jp/biyou_dic/contents/mov001002_2.htm) showing how to wash face, apply cream, the whole nine yards. If you want to save the stream video, install SDP downloader, paste this link (http://www.shiseido.co.jp/biyou_dic/stream2/1m/b/bm002.asx) into the downloader to parse, and save the resulting target file with say, FlashGet.

The model softly massages her face with a cleansing foam, then gently dabbed her face dry. There is minimum pulling skin back and forth, roughing it up. My face no longer redden and heat up after washing after I mended my ways.

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Day 2:

After removing dirt, oil and sunscreen with Cetaphil Daily Cleanser as usual, I gently dabbed a little tretinoin gel 0.025% onto dry face, this is my 2nd consecutive nightly application. No irritation at all so far. :proud:

I was just reading about Chizu Saeki sensei, a renowned beautician in Japan. She advocates a gentle massaging method that can be incorporated into daily cleansing and moisturizing routine. I'm going clean and moisturize her way starting tonight.

A. Video with detailed demonstration of her method:

The model first warms the lotion in her palm, then dab the lotion onto her forehead, nose, chin and cheeks, then gently "stretch" the lotion onto the rest of her face, after which she softly presses her palm against her face to aid absorption. The next segment shows her applying sun lotion in the same manner.

B. Picture delineating the massaging steps:

post-101257-1240006066_thumb.jpg

Seeing how gingerly the skin should be touched, it makes me ashamed to have treated mine like sandpaper. :wall:

C. Interview with Saeki Chizu sensei and her philosophy on skincare and beauty.

search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090201x1.html

She has finally published a book in English, <<Japanese Skincare Revolution>>, I would love to order a copy.

post-101257-1240006066_thumb.jpg

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Day 3:

Washed face with Cetaphil Daily Cleanser as usual, then directly applied Retin-A 0.025% gel onto dry face, neck and hands. (1 pea-sized drop for each area) Massaged my face during cleansing and Retin-A application according to Chizu Saeki sensei's instructions. By the way I do not use Cerave cream during night anymore because it reduces Retin-A efficiency.

I have found that my face is clean, but slightly tight after using Cetaphil Daily Cleanser, this is NOT a good sign esp. when Retin-A dries out skin. I will buffer it with Gentle Cleanser tomorrow.

After preening myself in front the mirror, (and having defects magnified n times this way) below are the goals I'm trying to accomplish:

1. Eliminate bumpy red marks on forehead.

2. Eliminate blackhead on the nose.

3. Even out complexion so it's porcelain smooth.

4. Prevent acne flare ups.

And I want to nail them with as fewsteps as possible. I want it to be less about what products I use than HOW I use it. "Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail."

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Day 4 Morning:

Washed face with Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, rinsed it off with cold water. And massaging it Saeki sensei's way of course, boy I'm really enjoying this: Relaxing and fun. :lol:

Then applied a dab of Paula's Choice 2% BHA lotion to nose area to hopefully remove blackheads. After it's dry, slathered on plenty of sunscreen.

For now I plan on just using Retin-A and BHA lotion to achieve goals outlined in the previous post. Clear flawless skin, here I come! :w00t:

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Great YouTube vid. I, too, have had to learn how to be much, much gentler with my skin, especially while on Retin-A! I like the demonstration, and will be sure to use that technique!

Why did you stop Retin-A the first time around?

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Great YouTube vid. I, too, have had to learn how to be much, much gentler with my skin, especially while on Retin-A! I like the demonstration, and will be sure to use that technique!

Why did you stop Retin-A the first time around?

I know, I know. Some of our skin problems can be solved just by treating our skin with more respect and care. Case in the point: My face used to get so red and hot I thought I had rosacea, turned out I was being uh... too violent with it. Yuck.

As to why I stopped retinoid, it was monotonous applying it day after day, so I kind of forgot about it after a while. But after reading Saeki sensi's words, I am starting to genuinely enjoy caring for skin. :boohoo:

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Day 4 evening:

Washed face with Cetaphil Daily Cleanser buffered with Gentle Cleanser, face felt less tight and dry than yesterday, but still can be gentler.

Gingerly put on a dab of Retin-A gel, I'm faithfully practicing Saeki sensei's massaging method of course. Then smudged BP gel on a fresh pustule (zit) in my cheek. Let's see if it goes down tomorrow. Could this be a sign of purging? But fret not, I'm ready! *brandishes BP gel* :banana:

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Day 5 evening:

Below is my current routine, simple enough.

AM
:

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Paula's Choice 2% BHA lotion

Sunscreen

PM
:

Cetaphil Daily Cleanser buffered with Gentle Cleanser

Retin-A gel 0.025%

Spot treat with BP gel

Daily Retin-A gel doesn't even make me feel a thing aside from some minor dryness, I guess I should be glad my skin is tough? :ninja: By the way, I no longer use a moisturizer, which just sits there, doing nothing.

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Hi,

I dont think that you can apply BP GEL Spot after Tretinoin, since BP and Tretinoin inactive each other.

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Day 6:

Peel baby peel~ :banana:

My chin is finally snowing shed skin, it's quite a lovely sight.

And a nasty papule just popped up on my forehead, interesting to note that this is a place where breakout occurs most frequently, I will leave Retin-A to obliterate it once and for all. :owned:

Aside from that, continuing application as usual.

I dont think that you can apply BP GEL Spot after Tretinoin, since BP and Tretinoin inactive each other.

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Day 2:

After removing dirt, oil and sunscreen with Cetaphil Daily Cleanser as usual, I gently dabbed a little tretinoin gel 0.025% onto dry face, this is my 2nd consecutive nightly application. No irritation at all so far. :proud:

I was just reading about Chizu Saeki sensei, a renowned beautician in Japan. She advocates a gentle massaging method that can be incorporated into daily cleansing and moisturizing routine. I'm going clean and moisturize her way starting tonight.

A. Video with detailed demonstration of her method:

The model first warms the lotion in her palm, then dab the lotion onto her forehead, nose, chin and cheeks, then gently "stretch" the lotion onto the rest of her face, after which she softly presses her palm against her face to aid absorption. The next segment shows her applying sun lotion in the same manner.

B. Picture delineating the massaging steps:

post-101257-1240006066_thumb.jpg

Seeing how gingerly the skin should be touched, it makes me ashamed to have treated mine like sandpaper. :wall:

C. Interview with Saeki Chizu sensei and her philosophy on skincare and beauty.

search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090201x1.html

She has finally published a book in English, <<Japanese Skincare Revolution>>, I would love to order a copy.

Hey!! I was looking if anyone was talking about the Japanese Skincare Revolution and found ur blog ! Thank you soo much for the video and the picture, I too feel like I'm torturing my skin after watching the vid hehe. Good luck with your new regimen, I am too trying to change my ways around food and incorporate green tea. I've also heard that drinkin ACV is great. =) see u!

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Day 40 evening:

I finally used up 20 grams of Tretinoin gel 0.025%. Considering it lasted 40 days of applying to face, neck, hands, it's not half bad. This is my routine:

AM

Wash

Sunscreen

PM

Wash

Tretinoin

Quite a simple routine. On to my progress, I had breakout on chin, so now it's red but fortunately gradually subsiding. Also a few pimples popped up on forehead and right cheek, so it's not looking good. :doubt:

My hoped for acne-absent smooth skin didn't materialize...yet. But I will upgrade to 0.05% gel and keep going since Retinoid is a long term treatment.

Hey!! I was looking if anyone was talking about the Japanese Skincare Revolution and found ur blog ! Thank you soo much for the video and the picture, I too feel like I'm torturing my skin after watching the vid hehe. Good luck with your new regimen, I am too trying to change my ways around food and incorporate green tea. I've also heard that drinkin ACV is great. =) see u!

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3.5 month:

Another 20 grams of 0.05% is gone after 2 and half months. Was I really that careful with application? :think: Anyway, the bad breakout has long gone down, it might have been the purging and aside from some dry skin around the mouth and chin, I didn't have too much of a reaction at all.

By the way, for a few days, I got too liberal-handed with application, and my face would hurt after washing, I toned the amount down, and the symptoms of redness and stinging subsided.

Below is my simple simple routine:

AM

Wash

Sunscreen

PM

Wash

Tretinoin

I've started using my last tube of 0.05% tretinoin gel, after this I will switch to the highest strength of 0.1%. Let's see how that goes. But I have a feeling my leather tough skin can eat up anything I throw at it. :boohoo:

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6.0 month:

I must be a very frugal user because it took again 2 and half months to use up 20 grams of 0.05 tretinoin gel.

Reviewing my progress so far, aside from rare outbreaks or two that subsides as quickly as it came, my complexion is quite clear. No longer does my problem spot flare up with acne regularly, what a relief. :dance:

I have found that tretinoin is not as effective against blackheads as I have hoped, nor does it eliminate scars from previous outbreak, what a shame, but I suppose I must be realistic in my expectations. Next time, I will try Tazaroc, Adapalene, Diacneal, yes, I'm going the whole way. :naughty:

In any case, I am upgrading to 0.1% tretinoin gel shortly, the highest strength, let the journey be as smooth as it had been please. :lol:

Right, here is my simple daily routine:

AM

Wash

Sunscreen

PM

Wash

Tretinoin

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11th month:

Hi, everyone, did you miss me? :ninja: Still alive & kicking apparently. Anyway, here is my status: Still using 0.1% Tretinoin gel, this stuff is *irritating*, took a long break after burning & stinging sensation, serious amount of skin flaking off started. So children, be careful with it.

I'm now using considerably less than what I am accustomed to using at lower concentrations and that only on alternate nights. Oh by the way, my tube of 0.1% Tretinoin gel is STILL not used up 5 months later. :owned:

Routine:

AM

Wash

Sunscreen

PM

Wash

Tretinoin (Extremely sparingly)

Edited by DancingCactus

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:shock:

I finally received a copy of Chizu Saeki sensei's Japanese Skin Care Revolution, just read it in one setting, woohoo! I've been practicing her massaging method, and it was pretty fun :razz: Worth every penny~~

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Today I mixed a tiny droplet of tretinoin gel with lotion, warmed the mixture in my palm, then massaged it onto face (according to Saeki sensei's method), so far so good, I am being extra careful with how much I use: Now that I finally realized that tretinoin is not to be used liberally like a moisturizer. Stinging and skin flaking off hurts and is unsightly, not looking forward to that again. ;)

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Hi everyone, allergy season has arrived, oh joy! :wall: Thanks to a cold AND allergies, frequent sneezing is forcing a break in my tretinoin usage...again. :wacko:

Getting better today though, will resume some time next week? :clap:

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15th month:

Hi everyone, finally finished using this tube of 0.1% tretinoin gel, which by the way lasted me 9 months...?! Quite slow I was in using it up. :shifty:

Anyway, I have finally gotten used to 0.1% tretinoin, no itching, burning, occasional flaking, upon the appearance of which I immediately tone down on usage, and my skin has much approved, it's smoother, and breakouts much more infrequent. In other words, this is good stuff. :clap:

Routine:

AM

Wash

Sunscreen

PM

Wash

Tretinoin (In moderation)

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28th month:

Wow, a year later. Anyway, still on 0.1% tretinoin gel, using it up at glaaaacial pace. *yawn* Found out lately it is pretty difficult to adjust to 0.1% concentration though, my skin burns after days of continual usage. After this current batch is used up, I will switch to 0.5% or 0.25% instead.

Routine:

AM

Wash

Sunscreen

PM

Wash

Tretinoin

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