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whathavewehere

My battle with acne

In this regimen I plan to stop using most topicals and eat whatever the hell I want. My last regimen consisted of religious application of BP as well as staying off sugar, red meat and dairy. It left my face itchy and stiff, and left me craving all the wonderful foods that I had been missing.

Now I've come up with an awesome new regimen in which I stop being a slave to topicals, and also eat anything I feel like. There are still rules, however. I NEVER touch my face outside the shower, even if it itches to the ends of the earth. If it's really unbearable, I resort to flexing my various facial features or swinging my head around really fast. After washing, instead of rubbing or patting my face dry with a towel, I then let it air-dry. I also get a lot of exercise and spend quality time out in the sun. Let's see how this works.

Here's the state of my face at the start of this regimen:

post-107256-1248127897_thumb.jpg

I'm sure there will be some rebound at the beginning, since after months of BP my skin has probably gotten used to it and will not respond favorably, but I hope that things will even out within the next week or so.

post-107256-1248127897_thumb.jpg

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This is always such a cool concept. Makes sense, right? Take care of yourself, and your body will take care of your skin.

I tried this once but in a matter of days panicked and quit. My reasoning behind that was that I'm still a teenager (with raging hormones, right) so leaving my skin alone to fend for itself seemed like a bad idea.

That doesn't mean, however, that I don't think it can work. I'd say if you're going for it, GO for it. Commit to it and don't back down. :)

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Yeah man, that's the plan.

I do want to make clear that I DO in fact plan on touching my face lightly when blowing my nose and taking my contacts in and out. But other than that... HANDS OFF

It already feels so good not to have all that junk on my face. The skin feels so free! Also, it's very liberating to just be able to jump right into bed at night without having to go through the pain of cleansing/applying BP/moisturizing.

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Day 1

During the night my neck itched occasionally, I'm not sure if that's a side effect of some On-The-Spot (which was part of my previous regimen) having come in contact with that area, or whether it was something else. Whatever it was, it was so bad that I gave in and scratched a little bit. I don't get acne on my neck anyways, so it shouldn't matter.

Woke up at 6ish, went on a 20 minute jog, got back home, had a breakfast with all the dairy I wanted, then got in the shower. Examining my face in the mirror, I could see no new acne pimples that had formed overnight. I was forced to touch my lower face somewhat when I shaved, but I made sure my hands were clean. I popped a head or two by accident (haha), and I hope nothing will come of it. From this point, it should be at least a week before shaving becomes a necessity again, so that should give the area time to recover.

One of the other exercises I engaged in today involved hitting the weights at around 8:30. Awesome workout today, by the end I felt like I couldn't even lift a pencil anymore. Since I'm off the no-sugar/no-dairy diet now, I of course helped myself to a protein bar afterwards. The other exercise was my every-other-day 5K run, which I did at around 3pm. Today it actually was only around 2.2 miles, since the heat was so overwhelming.

Since I had just started a new regimen, shaved, the works, I also decided to go all the way and get a haircut. After all, bangs are a big problem for acne-prone individuals. Luckily, the barber didn't touch my problem areas too much. She had no reason to, really, since my acne is mostly on the lower half of my face, concentrated on the cheeks.

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What a workout routine! I love exercise. Have to watch out for that sweat, though. Gotta make sure to get a shower immediately after I'm done.

And I think BP is pretty itchy (i.e. On the Spot). That's probably to be expected.

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Yeah man, especially in hot weather like this. When I got back from the run I was sweating buckets.

I'm going to stop by CVS tomorrow and see if I can pick up some niacin tablets. Been hearing good stuff about it, and it's supposed to help with oiliness as well. It would be nice if I could add that to my regimen.

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Oh, haha I've been hearing good things about niacin as well. I just started taking it a few days ago. =P

That'd be great if you could find a good, dependable supplement since you're doing this type of regimen. The more internal/health-related solutions for you, the better I'm sure. :D

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Day 2

Well I woke up today to a face that was looking loads better. A lot of my old acne had shrunken and/or come to heads. Even when I was using topicals, there was never a day with as much improvement was this. I guess the hands-off thing is already paying off. There is, however, one annoyingly large blemish below my right eye that had started shrinking, before On-The-Spot had aggravated it and made it worse. Now it just doesn't seem to want to go.

Anyhow, exercise today involved a 20-minute jog at 6:30, then weight lifting at 9:30, with a protein bar afterwards.

I also picked up some 500mg non-flush niacin today and took a tablet with lunch, at around noon. Glancing in the mirror in the evening, I noticed a couple new blemishes that hadn't been there yesterday. Overall, my skin feels and looks kind of out of balance - excessively oily in some areas, and a little too dry in others.

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Day 3

Late yesterday evening I became really aware of how oily my face was getting, so I used my hands to gently rub some of the excess oil off, as I was taking my evening shower.

The next morning, this touching of the face doesn't seem to have had any bad consequences. No new acne as far as I could tell. A lot of the acne that had remained red and headless for a really, really long time (think 2 weeks) had gotten smaller and turned into whiteheads. That included the fresh acne I had gotten yesterday. The whole upper half of my face is still clear, except for an almost invisible spot on the upper-right of my forehead, and the aforementioned annoying spot underneath my right eye.

Overall, my skin seems more balanced now. The upper half is no longer extremely oily (albeit still somewhat oily), and the lower half isn't all dry and peeling.

Exercise today involved a 6:00 jog, weights at 10 (no protein bar afterwards), and then a run at around 1:30 (not a full 5K today because it started raining really hard around 10 minutes in and I had to hightail it back home).

Took niacin at around noon, with lunch.

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Day 4

I feel really good about the way things are going at this point. All of my old acne seems to be trying to force its way off my face. There are now very few of those annoying, red, miles-under-the-skin buggers left. Most have formed heads. However, I haven't been popping or picking at any of them, since I think constant touching and irritation is one of the biggest contributors to worsening acne. In fact, that's why I explicitly made it part of this regimen.

On closer examination, I was able to count three(!) new spots on my face. Luckily, all of them are almost invisible and seem to be the kind that go away within a day or two.

Took niacin at lunchtime. Today was my rest day, so I refrained from any physical exercise.

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gj with it so far mate, but dont be disheartened if you do get a breakout, most if not all people do when they stop using topicals, gl with it all tho, its sure to help :)

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Thanks for the words of encouragement, sam.

Day 5

Well, since whiteheads are a sign that acne is close to the surface of the skin, last night I decided to hit my face up with Neutrogena Clear Pore cleanser just to get rid of some of that excess oil, in an attempt to perhaps liberate a few heads. After doing so, I immediately felt a slight tinge of guilt, since I had stated that I wouldn't use topicals at the start of this regimen. I guess I have a mild case of topical-o-phobia, as it seems that whenever I use them, they only cause my acne to multiply... either due to the chemicals not reacting favorably with my face, or because of the excessive touching.

But this morning when I woke up, I was glad that I had used it. A lot of the painful whiteheads were gone, and my face seemed cleaner overall. The only new blemish I could find was just above my upper lip. One of yesterday's new blemishes had disappeared, and the others seemingly hadn't grown at all. I guess the cleanser can be beneficial, but I don't want to make it a daily thing. Maybe once every four days or something. Dunno yet.

Went for a jog at around 6 am. Weights at 9, and then a 5K run at around 3. Took niacin at lunch. On the grand scheme of things, my face has remained more or less stagnant throughout the first five days of this regimen. No miraculous disappearances, but no large breakouts either.

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Day 6

I looked in the mirror today and was moderately pissed about what I saw. Smack dab in the center of my forehead, I could see what looked to be a potentially large blemish forming. My forehead had been completely acne-free for around a month, and now this happens? Of course, it's not nearly as bad as a full breakout, and definitely no reason to get discouraged.

Today my workout was kind of late in the day - weights at ~3:30 and 20 minute jog at 4:30. Niacin at lunch.

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Day 7

Well, it's been a week. Overall, there has been some serious cleanup of the acne on my cheeks, especially in the last day or two. I'm thanking the niacin for that. The front of my face has remained more or less stagnant, with a couple new blemishes overall, but that is to be expected after suddenly switching off topicals, no?

~3.4 mile run today in the scorching heat. Now I understand why XC season is usually in the fall. Weights at around 3:30 or so. No 20-minute jog today. Niacin at lunch.

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Day 8

A couple unpleasantries:

1) Yesterday late in the evening I picked at one of my pimples and then instantly felt really bad about it. I usually try to control such impulses, but this time I was unsuccessful.

2) During the night another one of my pimples popped and emitted some blood: in the morning I had to clean it off, because if there's nothing worse than walking around in public with caked blood on your face.

No exercise today, since it's my rest day. Niacin at lunch. At around 5:30 I also hit my face up with Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser.

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Hey,

Glad to here you're getting up and out early to do something most people don't do - exercise.

If you're try to stay tropical free, how about just a gentle cleanser? Purpose gentle cleanser is a definite thumbs up for me, good lathering cleanser too.

Sounds like you have a whitehead problem like I used to :/ waking up every morning to discover this lil white spot trying to evolve into uber whitehead +1 lol... In other words, Neutrogena's Healthy Skin lotion with AHA is great! The AHA has definitely prevented many whiteheads from surfacing. It may sting a little a first, so start with one pump or a spot treatment, and then up to a full two pumps. Since you exercise in the early morning, the sun shouldn't be too bad. AHA makes you skin sensitive to the sun (more likely to get a burn, but you look tan enough :D).

Otherwise, you're pretty good looking :P, just a little clean up to do and you'll have to fend off even more girls! lol

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Thanks for the support and recommendations! I think you're right about needing to use some kind of cleanser at least once a day, because a grimy face is more or less the 'classic' cause of acne...

Right now I'm using Neutrogena Clear Pore cleanser, but that has a small percentage of BP in it. Historically I've had a pretty bad reaction to BP, but that was when I used it in large quantities and left it on my face. I'll see how this goes. If my skin starts getting dry/irritated I'll check out the Purpose.

And yes, whiteheads have become more of a problem for me on the new regimen, but I'm cautious of anything that will make me more sensitive to sunlight. Aside from my early-morning jog, I do a midday run every other day, which is usually when the sun is out in force. I also have a two-week hiking trip coming up, which means I'll be outside most of the day. Although less whiteheads sounds appealing, I don't want to risk irritating my skin even further.

Thanks again!

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Day 9

Nothing on my complexion seems to have changed much. Skin this morning was a little oilier than usual. This might have been a direct response to the cleanser. Workout today consisted of weights, complemented by two protein shakes. Niacin after lunch.

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Day 10

A couple new blemishes have sprung up at the very top of my forehead, right next to the hairline. There is also a fairly large new one on my nose, however it is somewhat 'diffused' and doesn't really look like acne, more like sunburn. Finally, one old blemish to the lower-left of my jaw has gotten very red and swollen. Other than that, nothing new to report.

Weights today, 2 protein shakes. I've been doing lifting exercises with my legs as well, hence I haven't been running: don't want to overtrain. Niacin an hour or so after lunch.

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Day 11

A couple new blemishes today. I've started using cleanser regularly, because otherwise my face just gets too oily, and running water just doesn't do the trick. Cleansed once in the morning, and again in the evening, followed by a 5-minute mask. However, I'm not planning on using BP spot treatment anytime soon.

Workout today once again consisted only of weights. Niacin at around 2:30ish. Going on vacation tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to spending a lot of healthy time out of doors, which can only be a good thing.

EDIT: Here is the state my face is currently in. Normally the acne isn't that red, I just took the pictures right after a cleanse so that the blemishes would be more clearly visible.

post-107256-1249084434_thumb.png

I'll take another one in two weeks, and hopefully I will see improvement. If not, I might have to go back to using spot treatment.

post-107256-1249084434_thumb.png

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What do you use to shave with ?

And avoid using masks too often, twice a week should do :).

Make sure you don't harshly rub your face, your finger tips should be more than enough with the lather of your cleanser :), I used to think that the harder I scrubbed the more dirt would come off lol... was I really wrong. Skin = tissue paper.

Other than that, I hope for good results on your next update!

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^ I don't shave that often, so I just use disposable razors.

Day 19

Well, week one of my vacation is over, and here are the things that I feel are worth pointing out thus far...

I was able to get rid of two very prominent pimples. One on the center of my forehead, and the other on my right cheek. Yes, that same annoying one that has been with me for a month now. All I did was cover them with cleanser overnight, without washing it off. Since the cleanser has trace amounts of BP, I guess that did the trick. The pimples dried and came off. All that remains now is flat red skin which I hope will fade.

The amount of acne on my face has stayed more or less the same, or at least I think. I haven't taken any pictures and thus can't really compare closely.

One thing that seems problematic right now is stiff/dry skin. If cleansing twice a day becomes a problem, I might have to cut down to once a day. Either that, or I'll start using moisturizer (I'm not using any right now, primarily because I don't have access to any that I can be sure is oil-free).

The other problem does not deal with acne directly, but with excessive flaking of skin. Primarily in the area around the nose, in the ears, and on the scalp. Even my dandruff shampoo doesn't seem to be helping anymore. It's especially bad inside the ears. I have absolutely no idea what's causing it, but I have two hypotheses. One is that it has something to do with diet. However, I haven't really been eating all that differently lately, and on top of that, I usually eat pretty healthily, and drink plenty of water.

My second theory is that it has something to do with niacin. A side effect of niacin is stated as being "dry skin". Plus, the flaking inside the ears seems to have started more or less at the same time I started taking the niacin. It's an off chance, but there's a possibility that the niacin might be causing this dryness/irritation/flaking. I think I'll drop it for a week and see where I end up.

It's really disheartening for me, because having to deal with this kind of stuff on top of an acne problem prevents me from fully enjoying my vacation time.

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Day 21

Well I picked up some lotion today, so now I guess I can go back to twice-a-day cleansing, since I don't have to be afraid of overly dry skin anymore.

Breakouts in the last couple days have been minimal. A lot of large, annoying pimples from the last couple days have seemingly shrunk. Good.

I contemplated dropping niacin for some time, as I stated in my previous post, but decided to stick with it.

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Day 24

Alright, my vacation is now officially over and it's time to face reality again. Overall my acne seems to have stayed the same. Some previous problem areas seem to have diminished, but new blemishes have cropped up in areas where there previously were none (such as the top of the forehead). Plus the flakiness in my ears and around my nose is really starting to get to me. I feel insanely unsociable right now.

College starts in 2 weeks, so I need to implement emergency measures. Today I hit up all major blemishes on my face with On-The-Spot. I don't care how irritated my skin gets, I just need to do something, and fast. I'm also going to drop niacin and see where that lands me.

Also, I'm seriously considering going on the Regimen at this point. It's worked quite well for other people, so why shouldn't it work for me? Maybe if I used a tested-and-true combination of acne products (which the Regimen offers) rather than a motley arrangement of random junk I pick up from CVS, it would work better and not irritate my skin as much.

EDIT: Since I'm back on topicals, I changed the title of the log so that people don't get misled.

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Day 25

Well, already there's been improvement. Naturally, my face feels really irritated after going back on BP, but the payoff is that my acne has gotten noticeably less red and some has come close to vanishing completely, overnight. I guess topicals are a necessary evil, at least in my case.

Took the day off from exercise. Cleanser + On-The-Spot + lotion both morning and evening.

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