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tennisgirl

Duac / Retin-A / Aczone Log

hi everyone,

i'm a 25/f and have suffered from acne for years! i tend to get the inflamed / cystic kind on my cheeks which is the worrrrst... it's relentless & tough to conceal. i was on accutane 2x. the first time, it worked amazingly well for 7-8 years. the next time, it only kept me clear for 2 years then my inflamed acne came back. it's been increasingly worse this past year to the point where i was very seriously considering going back on accutane for a <gasp> third time. the only thing that stops me is that the last time i had a terrrrrible initial breakout that kept me holed up in my basement refusing to see people for at least 1 month. it was awful. i will probably do it again if things dont improve by december.

i have tried everything under the sun to try & get rid of my acne. proactiv actually worked for like 5 months last year but then suddenly stopped working. currently, i am using duac, retin-a, and aczone (just added this) on my face and taking an antibiotic 1x a day. i have also given up dairy and have been on yaz birth control for the past 1 1/2 months. a note about the dairy: i dont think it's making much of a difference except that i lost a few pounds. i think i will continue with the reduced dairy diet but not cut it out completely. as for the yaz, i actually think ortho tricyclen lo was better for my skin.

after expirementing with all the medications out there, i have concluded that, short of accutane, the 3 things that have helped me the most are: 1) regular chemical exfoliation to keep my pores clean and dead skin cells off 2) daily use of antibiotic/benzoyl peroxide to keep bacteria at bay 3) keeping inflammation at bay to prevent massive pimples on my face.

1) i say chemical exfoliation and not just exfoliation bc i think physical exfoliation with scrubs can sometimes make things worse. plus it doesnt always get all the gunk off your skin. that's why i now use the retin-a every day. i use it during the day but most people use it at night. i also do glycolic peels and get a facial 1x a month. my facialist does the best glycolic peels, but since it's expensive i've been experimenting with a glycolic peel i bought from makeup artists choice and use it 2-3x a week.

2) as i thought back to what tends to help the most, i realized that my forehead and chin are usually clear bc i put on globs of benzoyl peroxide at night. i was also using duac only on those areas for awhile and using the stronger retin-a on my cheeks (biggest problem area). then i realized that while proactiv was working, i had put the stuff all over my cheeks too.. and it had helped! why not use my prescription stuff on my cheeks? (duh). anyway, i just started using the duac all over my face once a day.. i do it at night, most people do it during the day. i realllly think it's helping. we shall see! i will keep you posted. in addition to the duac, i put on clean & clear's 10% benzoyl peroxide on any pimples to sort of seal in the duac & bp. not sure if it helps, but i like to think it does.

3) keeping inflammation at bay... ok this part is tough for me bc as i mentioned, when i get pimples, they like to explode into huge volcanoes. as a preventative measure, i take my antibiotic (doryx) daily. i also supplement with vitamins but i'm not sure how much they really help the acne. i also keep my sugar intake low bc that just feeds inflammation, same thing for spicy food.. the less, the better. i'm working on trying to improve my digestion bc i'm pretty sure that if i remove toxins from my body quickly then i'll improve my skin. ok. that said, when i see a pimple forming i do one of two things. if it is clearly going to turn into a whitehead, i put duac on it bc the duac tends to draw the whitehead out. if it is underground and red, i use the zeno on it and then put duac on it to help draw it to a head. since i've gotten the aczone, i alternate applications of the duac and aczone on the underground ones or use duac 1x a day on it and aczone 2x a day for spot treating. aczone has, in my experience, helped keep pimples from exploding a lot of the time but not all of the time. if it touches benzoyl peroxide it turns orange/red but the color wipes off easily with water. if used by itself, can dry clear or white on your skin. it's a great help but not a miracle cure. for the zeno, i've noticed that if it doesn't work within the first 4 uses, you should stop using it on that pimple bc it can make it worse / angrier / bigger etc. it rarely makes my pimples disappear, however, it does help them come to a head faster or reduce the inflammation. also, if i happen to pop a zit, i use the zeno right after doing so to bring down the inflammation.

ok. hope this is helpful! i will keep you posted on how i'm doing now that i'm using the retin-a / duac / aczone regularly and in combination with each other. i won't post every day but i'll check in about once a week.

good luck!

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week 1 :

last week my skin was mostly clear except for one cyst in the making.. it started out small as they all do but then grew & grew & grew. so now it is huge & on my cheek for all to see. i think my mistake was that i put aczone on it as a spot treatment instead of letting retin-a exfoliate it & duac kill all the bacteria.

anyway! today i had it injected with cortisone at the derm's office. hopefully it will work soon bc i'm seeing my bf tomorrow or friday... for now it just looks bigger & angrier but maybe that's just the extra fluid they put in there.

i've decided to use the aczone all over my cheeks 1-2x a week since it's not meant to be a spot treatment but mostly just stick to the duac and retin-a routine. my derm gave me samples of ziana to try in case i want to replace the retin-a.. not sure i will replace it just yet though. has anyone had luck w/ ziana??

i'm excited bc my new derm has agreed to me coming in whenever i have one of these monsters & said she'd try to squeeze me in that day or the day after.

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week 1 cont'd

just thought i'd write w/ a quick update... the cyst that the derm injected is now completely flat! it took a good 24 hours to really take effect & then went down even more in the 24 hours after that. love it. i'm soooo excited that in a pinch i have something that will work & work fast.

i have another small one that is forming on my chin & has yet to come to a head but i'm holding out hope that it will go away in a few days.

have a nice mother's day!

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week 2:

today is wednesday morning... which means i have 4 full days to get through until a really important event on saturday night. i've been on pins & needles the past few days trying to keep my skin relatively clear as it is now.. i know it sounds silly but i have been afraid to eat certain foods just in case it'll make me breakout!

unfortunately, i don't think it's working bc i have an underground one forming near my nose (grrr)... the good news is that the one on my chin is barely noticeable & i'm happy to report that it is on its way out. hopefully this new one will do the same & go away quickly! : )

has anyone been on yaz before? i think it's making me break out in cysts on my chin more than before i went on it. i bought the 3-pack and am only on the first one.. am considering "wasting" the last 2 and switching to ortho tri cyclen lo which i did well (or at least better than my experience on yaz) with previously.

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week 1 :

last week my skin was mostly clear except for one cyst in the making.. it started out small as they all do but then grew & grew & grew. so now it is huge & on my cheek for all to see. i think my mistake was that i put aczone on it as a spot treatment instead of letting retin-a exfoliate it & duac kill all the bacteria.

anyway! today i had it injected with cortisone at the derm's office. hopefully it will work soon bc i'm seeing my bf tomorrow or friday... for now it just looks bigger & angrier but maybe that's just the extra fluid they put in there.

i've decided to use the aczone all over my cheeks 1-2x a week since it's not meant to be a spot treatment but mostly just stick to the duac and retin-a routine. my derm gave me samples of ziana to try in case i want to replace the retin-a.. not sure i will replace it just yet though. has anyone had luck w/ ziana??

i'm excited bc my new derm has agreed to me coming in whenever i have one of these monsters & said she'd try to squeeze me in that day or the day after.

Hey Tennis!

Just wanted to respond about your inquiry on Ziana Gel. I've been on Ziana for 7 weeks now and I absolutely love it. As you probably know it's a retinoid like Retin-A, but it also has Clindamycin in it which helps fight bacteria at the same time. Seems to really be helping my skin. Worth a try in my opinion! Take care!

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week 2 cont'd:

yayyy i made it through the weekend without any major breakouts! : ) it's amazing how a day or two of clear skin can give you such confidence & put you in the best mood!

i'm have some small, not particularly noticeable ones forming on my forehead which is usually clear, but i do have to say that in general the retin-a/duac combo is really helping my skin. i've also been doing the glycolic peels 3x / week.

nygirl - thanks for the ziana advice! i am glad to hear it is working well for you. i think for now i'm going to stick to my current routine except am going to switch up the yaz for the ortho tri cyclen lo.

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week 3:

hope everyone is having a nice memorial day weekend! my skin has been in pretty good shape the past two weeks. luckily, i am cyst-free and am only dealing with some small ones (barely noticeable, just the way i like 'em) on my forehead. duac helps keep those in check.

i switched to ortho tri cyclen-lo a few days ago & maybe it's just in my head but i think between starting that and having stopped yaz for the past 7-10 days, it's helping already. i will keep you posted on how my skin seems to react to the switch.

the other thing i've noticed is that i think that trying to go dairy-free and adding a ton of supplements is not actually making that much of a difference in terms of my skin. to that end, i've stopped w/ the expensive supplements--i just take a good multivitamin now. also, i have started to add dairy back into my diet. i've kinda been eating unhealthy these past two weeks with lots of refined processed foods and sugar so tomorrow it's back to my healthy ways but i did notice that the world did not fall apart (in terms of breaking out like crazy) just because i fell off the band wagon and enjoyed some of my old favorite foods in healthy portions. : ) food probably impacts skin, but i think my skin is ok w/ milk in my diet and the occasional treat.

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week 4:

i am beyond thrilled that for the past few weeks my skin has been doing really great. i finally feel like a normal person again & instead of worrying about my skin every 5 seconds can concentrate on other things. that's not to say i'm completely clear, but it's all barely noticeable. i have one forming on my cheek that i hope stays non-inflamed but other than that doing ok.

i still think ortho try cyclen lo is helping a ton! yaz really was not good for my skin. if you have a sister or female cousin that's on birth control and also suffers from acne, check to see what works for them. my sister is on OTC-lo also and she loves that it helps keep her acne in check too.

i think the most important thing is to keep up with your topicals.. be diligent about using them every day and putting them on all over / not just spot treating.

i'm traveling this weekend so i hope my skin stays nice & clear for the trip!

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forgot to mention one other change! i decided to switch from doryx (brand name antibiotic) to generic doxycycline. now instead of paying $60 / month i only pay $15!!! it's amazing. thank goodness. it was draining my wallet. the other thing is if you're on birth control, you should ask for the 3 month packs instead of getting them each month individually. that way, you'll get a $20 discount on each pack. that said, i would not go to generic on my birth control, duac or retin-a because i am convinced these things are helping me keep my acne in check. good luck!

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week 5:

after a few close calls (little bumps that threatened to become larger but didn't), one has officially popped up & is growing bigger by the day. <sigh> i was doing so well too with my clear streak! i'm still happy overall with how my skin has been doing & grateful to have 4 weeks of peace but bummed these big ones are still around. i hope it goes away quickly. i've been treating it w/ bp & my zeno and am thinking about trying aczone on it.

i've been so happy lately being able to reintroduce foods back into my diet and not having to worry if it'll make me breakout. i'm still going to go back on accutane next january or february though as i am fed up with still having cystic acne at this age. it's just so disheartening to spend so much time each morning covering up acne scars and pimples then another 15-20 minutes on my skin each night trying to treat & prevent more breakouts. even when i'm clear i'm still this way bc i'm so afraid of when the next one will hit. then when a zit inevitably comes, i get so upset about it & dont want to see anyone. it's the inflammation that kills me w/ 'em... anyway, i just had to vent.. i know i have had great success recently but it's still frustrating when i'm soclose but still so far away from not having to deal with acne anymore. if you're reading, thanks for listening! : )

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weeks 6 & 7:

so between the zeno spot treating, duac, retin-a and glycolic peels, i've been doing pretty well! there have been some questionable spots that threaten to pop up as huge zits but luckily the zeno has been working on those and i've been able to use the retin-a to open up the pore & get the gunk out before anything blows up. i'm amazed by the results & hope they keep up. it's still a time-consuming thing, but i'm excited that i can worry about other things in my life instead of just acne all the time & not have to hide my face from embarrassment.

i am hopeful that i can get to the point where my skin is more reliable.. that if i have a big event or date or whatever that i dont have to worry what the condition of my acne will be on that day... and have confidence that more often than not chances are i'll be clear.

as far as the birth control goes, i have to say i'm still soooo thrilled that i'm now on ortho tri cyclen and that i've stopped the yaz. if your birth control isnt working for you i urge you to try another until you find one that is good for your system.

things will start getting stressful for me in the next few weeks as i prepare to move across the country so i'll let you know how my skin holds up!

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weeks 8, 9 & 10:

apologies for taking so long to update! i've been traveling & keeping myself busy these past few weeks. week 8 was pretty much clear but i've had a few pimples in weeks 9 & 10.. not anything that hasn't cleared up in a few days' time though so overall not too bad. sure, i still get upset when a zit appears but as long as it comes to a head quickly, i can deal with it. my zeno is seriously a huge help in speeding that process along so if you don't have one already i'd definitely recommend investing in one.

i'm a little concerned that once my life starts getting crazy busy again this fall (bc of school) my breakouts will increase : ( ... as of right now, i go back and forth wondering if i should get back on accutane as i had planned to do this winter. i've put it off for 2 1/2 years but will probably go for it at the 3 year mark.

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