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invasiveexotics

This is killing me, help me out.

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I'll try to keep this as brief as I can. Attached is a photo of what I've been dealing with.

I'm a junior in college now, 21. All of my freshman year, I was on Apri to lighten heavy periods. Then, sophomore year, I switched to Nuvaring for a while, but it made me very moody so I went off it after several months. I was then off birth control for probably 5 months, and then acne gradually began to form. I haven't had serious acne pretty much ever; I had slight issues as a kid, but those quickly subsided as soon as I started washing my face with a good anti-acne cleanser. This is pretty devastating. It started with a few small zits and has eventually expanded into what, for the past few months, has really had a horrible effect on my life/self-esteem.

post-129950-1275862031_thumb.jpg

First, I tried doxycyclin for a bit, but really didn't like the photosensitivity/stomach issues, so went off it after a couple weeks, which only made matters worse. Then, I decided to try Apri again. I stayed on it for three months, but things didn't get better, so I just went off it and went to talk to my doctor at university health services about my skin. She put me on Benzaclin (I've been using it for 11 days now) and we have another appt on June 19. Admittedly, the Benzaclin has helped somewhat, though at first it dried my skin terribly, but I guess I'm just impatient and would really love some kind of encouragement or advice, since I can't really talk to anyone in person about this.

I think the most embarassing thing is that sometimes a spot on my cheeks will begin to leak pus as I'm eating, laughing, etc. I'm extremely self conscious that this will happen and find myself frequently rushing to the bathroom just to make sure it hasn't occured. I don't really know how to handle this. It seems like my cheeks are just big pockets of pus right now, with smaller "pimples"/pustules on top. I sometimes feel like if I could just clear out those big pockets, everything else would be much easier to get rid of. Has anyone else dealt with this? I generally try to avoid picking at the occasional flaky spots caused by Benzaclin, but sometimes can't resist the urge, and almost every time I do this, my skin is "leaky" for a few minutes. It's really gross. Usually the fluid is whitish and dries sort of yellow.

This is my current routine:

Morning:

Shower - rinse gently with water only

Lush Eu Roma Water toner with added tea tree oil

Benzaclin, then wait 10-15 minutes

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer, usually with a bit of jojoba for moisture

Revlon Colorstay Combination/Oily Liquid Foundation

Physician's Formula Bronzer/Blush

BareMinerals Mineral Veil

Night:

Lush Ultrabland to cleanse/remove makeup - this was working great before the big breakout began, so I know it's not the culprit, despite it's thick oily consistency (if anything, it calms things down)

Lush Eu Roma Water toner with added tea tree oil

Dab a bit of tea tree oil on a cotton ball on face

Pat jojoba oil on face to moisturize

A couple times a week: Aubrey Organics Blue Algae Face Mask

Tried and sort of gave up on: raw honey mask, egg white mask, Lush Aquamarina cleanser, St Ives anti-blemish apricot scrub

I don't have too many new spots, generally, this is more an issue of healing what's there, I think. I don't know if I should think about an oral antibiotic next or what. I'd rather not try any more hormonal birth control, because it kills my sex drive and usually has so many other side effects (I may eventually try a Mirena IUD for that). I'd rather not do something as severe as Accutane, but I don't know. This situation is pretty desperate to me, I no longer want to go out and have fun, I hardly want to show my face outside, I don't even go to the gym anymore because it would require showing my face without makeup.

post-129950-1275862031_thumb.jpg

Edited by invasiveexotics
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Really sorry you have to go through this. What you have really seems like it must have been hormonal. I would agree with you on not using anymore hormonal birth control. I would also be very reluctant to go on accutane. It's a very harsh and last resort medication with adverse side effects. My acne troubles are quite mild and only require diligent cleaning. The type you have looks and sounds like a deeper infection, which means it isn't caused by merely clogged pores. The bacteria is breaking through the pore wall very deep. You'll definitely need some sort of oral medication to clear it. If it comes to it, accutane may be your only answer, but i'm sure your derm will have several other options before putting you on it. I know how embarrassing and awful it feels and not wanting to go out. You'll find a solution...even if it is accutane.

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I cannot believe you just quit antibiotics because of that reasons. You pretend to cure a bad acne just topically? You rather have scars than taking an antibiotic?

Come on, if you want to help yourself, stop living in fear. Antibiotics is the thing you need since you have a spread infection.

:snooty:

Edited by Corsair
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I cannot believe you just quit antibiotics because of that reasons. You pretend to cure a bad acne just topically? You rather have scars than taking an antibiotic?

Come on, if you want to help yourself, stop living in fear. Antibiotics is the thing you need since you have a spread infection.

:snooty:

I was new to the issue at the time, I didn't know much about it and my doctor didn't explain it very well. :/ I'm going back on the orals in additional to the topical now, supplemented by a gentle, minimal skincare routine, but at the time I was always cripplingly sunburnt and nauseated, and still felt like maybe it would go away some other way. I've never had acne this bad before so I didn't know what I was dealing with, and really I still don't. It came on so suddenly.

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wow, i am so so so sorry, i truly am. i can completely relate to how you feel that you need to always go check your face in the restroom, i still do that. I'm a 16 year old girl, and i've had acne for 7 years now. while i was 14 and 15, my acne was just horrible, it was similar to how yours is right now. i know exactly how you feel, it's horrifying, i'm terribly sorry.

fortunately, i have more of a handle on my acne, and i'm more than glad to share whats helping me.

i was using proactiv, and that helped me quite a bit, but not enough. so i was doing research and i stumbled upon Dan's regimen. i started using it and wow, it REALLY helps! i just recently started, so i'm sure the full effect hasn't come on yet, but i can tell it really is working! i only have one cyst left on my face, everything else is drying out! go check out his regimen, i'm sure this can help you out :) also, for scarring, AHA is great. and i would recommend taking an antibiotic as well; when my acne was "packed" onto my face, i took 500mg tetracycline with Benzaclin, and that really worked for me, i didn't continut with it because i felt sick to my stomach all the time. but i think it would be best for you to take an antibiotic like that for a month (maybe 2) until it mostly calms down, and at the same time use Dan's regimen, as i think that works just as well as Benzaclin, and i've used both.

I REALLY hope this helped you, i totally get what you're going through. :)

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Look, your acne is pretty severe. You're certainly not going to be able to deal with it using your current regimen, which is more in tune for someone who has mild acne. In fact, I doubt you'll be able to cure it using solely topicals.

I highly suggest you suck it up and put up with the side effects of serious treatments like antibiotics or Accutane; otherwise you put yourself at risk of scarring very badly.

Edited by Beautiful Day
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Look, your acne is pretty severe. You're certainly not going to be able to deal with it using your current regimen, which is more in tune for someone who has mild acne. In fact, I doubt you'll be able to cure it using solely topicals.

I highly suggest you suck it up and put up with the side effects of serious treatments like antibiotics or Accutane; otherwise you put yourself at risk of scarring very badly.

+1 on accutane honey, its better to get it started fast so you can start enjoying clear skin =-)

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Accutane, fast. Don't listen to anyone who says otherwise. Trust me, I've gone through so much shit (topicals, antibiotics) and wasted so much time before going on acctuane that I hate myself just thinking about it. If you do the same mistake and wait too long you'll get some severe scarring.

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Hey, I would definately jump on the Accutane wagon here too. Have a look at some of the Accutane galleries, you can get a real view of how Accutane clears up severe acne. Really think it would be worth you at least trying it. Keep us up to date with your progress :)

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Thanks for the replies! Accutane just frightens me because I've heard so many intense reviews of the side effects, and I've heard feedback going so starkly in either direction - some seem to wish they'd done it sooner, others wish they had never done it at all because of the long term effects. But it's something I will definitely consider. I have a follow-up appointment at uni. health services on June 29. When that happens, if I haven't seen some movement in a positive direction from my current combination of treatments, I'm going to ask about getting a referral to a derm (the only way my insurance might cover it) and see about Accutane. If antibiotics fail, I don't really want to mess with a lot of other "trying" before making that leap, because this is really horrible acne. :( I'm just hesitant to go on something so severe when the onset of this was so recent/quick (I was essentially clear until about 3-4 months ago).

Here's what I'm doing now, making a few changes as shipments from online orders arrive:

Morning:

100 mg doxycycline (just restarted this)

Lush Eu Roma Toner with couple drops of tea tree oil added to bottle

Benzaclin

Lush Vanishing Cream moisturizer

Makeup: As soon as my samples arrive, I will be trying gentler mineral makeup from Lauress and Alima. Unfortunately it's not something I'm willing to entirely give up, but I figure this will be better than the drugstore stuff full of silicones and junk, and Bare Minerals didn't agree with me so I need something much more gentle and I've heard good things about these.

Evening:

100 mg doxycycline

Lush Ultrabland makeup remover/cleanser

Lush Eu Roma toner + tea tree

Benzaclin

Lush Vanishing Cream moisturizer

Supplements:

Daily "hair, skin, nails" multivitamin 1x

Fish Oil 1200 mg 2x

Vitamin D3 5000 IU 1x

Vitamin A 10000 IU 2x

Vitamin C 1000 mg 2x

I drink a ton of water and eat pretty healthy anyway, I did even before this breakout, but now I'm trying to completely cut out dairy - not that hard since I don't usually have much of it

General lifestyle stuff... eating/exercise:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with almond butter, dark chocolate chips, raw honey

Lunch: Whole grain bread with some sort of nut butter (cashew, sesame, etc)

Snack: Celery with hummus

Dinner: Stir fry in sesame or coconut oil with veggies, seafood/meat, egg, and spices

Snack: Fruit (ie strawberries, pineapple, sometimes a banana with a bit more nut butter)

Exercise: I usually run/bike quite a bit, though the past two weeks or so I've been slacking a bit due to moving houses, not being able to find workout clothes, etc - plus I feel like I deserved a bit of a break after running a long race very recently :)

I sleep with a clean towel over my pillow every night to avoid spreading bacteria.

Any thoughts/suggestions on this routine? I'm a bit stubborn on the Lush stuff, because my choice of products from them tends to be very gentle stuff, and it's always worked well for me so I don't think it's exacerbating anything, I'm pretty sure this is hormonal.

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you should read "the acne perscription" it cleared my skin right up( its about the way you eat) and i feel healthier! you can get it from the library so you dont have to pay for it.

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you should read "the acne perscription" it cleared my skin right up( its about the way you eat) and i feel healthier! you can get it from the library so you dont have to pay for it.

To be honest I'm pretty happy with the way I eat, I feel like I eat really well (plenty of healthy fats, veggies, fruits, fish oils, not much meat, hardly any dairy, very few refined carbs, etc). From reading the description of the book it sounds like it's probably pushing a lot of the same habits. Would you say you ate a lot worse before you switched to what the book suggested, or were you already eating pretty healthy?

(Just wondering because I'm willing to try anything, but I don't really blame my diet as the culprit here, because I'm a very healthy eater)

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i was eating pretty healthy i felt, im a pescatarian. i didnt eat any junk food at all, while i did eat salt and viniger potato chips but that was it. I loved pasta and bread and at a lot of it. but now i have cut all starchs and sugars( exept for fruit) and oils out. it did help a lot for me, but my acne wasnt that bad or as bad as yours. best of luck!

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Don't waste any time just get on the Accutane as quick as you can. The longer you wait the worse and more scars you will get

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Well, good news: I started Doxycycline again, and I've been sticking with Benzaclin, and added a blend of AHA Souffle + Jojoba as a night moisturizer (since I was doing nothing to exfoliate before), and things have noticeably calmed down! The spots on my chin are gone, my forehead is just about cleared up, and my cheeks are still pretty spotty but have made a noticeable improvement. I'm not sure what's actually having the effect - I imagine the Benzaclin is probably largely responsible since I've been on that longest and it seems like a logical time for it to kick in - but I'm sure the extra antibiotic and addition of a chemical exfoliator are helping out too. I haven't had new spots popping up, so that's a good thing. I've had new whiteheads, but those seem to just be junk coming to the surface; no new deeper cysty/pustular type stuff though.

I've also started using Alima mineral makeup, which seems to be a much gentler option than Colorstay ingredient-wise. It doesn't offer coverage QUITE as intense, but in my situation that's almost better, because more coverage makes my flakiness more evident, even as it hides redness. And I figure as long as I can mask some redness I'm okay, I mean, people are going to be able to tell SOMETHING is up no matter how much makeup I slather on, so the less I can use to get reasonable coverage, the better.

Hopefully this progress will continue, though I don't want to jinx it, and then I won't have to deal with the side effects of Accutane!

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I am glad to hear that you have found some things that are working for you. I can relate to what you are going through because I was there all though high school and college, but I am here to tell you NEVER GIVE UP! I know it may sound kind of weird, but if I were you I would pay close attention to the health of your skin (elasticity, pore size, scarring, etc.) because one day your skin is going to go through its cycle and you want to make sure that the cells are not damaged beyond the point of no return. Try to look past your spots. I am glad that you are not picking. In the meantime, there are several suggestions I can make as to your daily regimen. The first is I would eliminate chemicals that may come in contact with your face throughout the day meaning washing your laundry in eco friendly detergeant, using organic makeup, etc. because chemicals tend to irritate and it may help with some of the redness. I absolutely love the makeup line called Nvey Eco. They have a pancake makeup that covers really well and doesn's dry your skin out. It looks like your lifestyle is pretty good, but I know that Accutane is something you are thinking about. If you do go down that road I would reccomend trying to build up a strong immunity since antibiotics really do a number on your digestive system. Also, not to keep adding on, but once you feel comfortable trying a new skincare line (I know it's scary) I am now using obaji cleanziderm normal/dry which is perfect for sensitive skin. Back in high school when my skin was at its worst I could only wash my face with milk, but I have come a long way with determination and pleanty of research so hopefully what I pass on to you will help. In case you are wondering my skin looked just like yours and now you cannot tell that acne was the worst part of my adolesence. Keep your head up girl. If I could do it you can, too.

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Hi!

I have been in the same case myself. Did you try a birth control pill like Diane 35? My problem was purely hormonal, it started when I was 18, starting with a usual birth control pill. Diane 35 is especially made to help with hormonal acne, to avoid too much of the male hormons in the blood (causing acne). I was completely clear within a few weeks.

When it comes to your redness on the skin: I apply "argan oil". It is extremely effective in reducing the inflammation and acne scars. It does wonder to me.

Concerning your supplements: you should probably add Zinc if you do not have it already in your multivitamins. I started with 30mg/day and went down progressively. I say that especially when I look at your diet: low in Zinc. I also take "evening primrose oil" because it contains a lot of Evitamin and help for hormonal unbalances.

Now, someting that you MUST work on is self love. You have to start loving your skin, your redness. Your skin is doing everything it can to heal, but it needs your love. Do you love yourself? Do you send love to your skin, or just hate? I advise you to watch the movie "You can heal your life" by Louise hay. It helped me SO MUCH!!! I also listen to subliminal music especially for acne (google subliminal + acne).

I have been through a lot, but I also learned a lot from this experience :-)

You will get rid of this condition, as a lot of women with hormonal problem did.

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Considering this flare-up started after you discontinued birth control, and based on its location along your jawline, it certainly does seem like your acne could be hormonal. Was there are reason you had to stop taking the BC? I don't know if this is appropriate for you, but you might research and ask your doctor about Spironolactone. It's a prescription medication (potassium-sparing diuretic) used primarily for high blood pressure, but it was found to have an effect on hormonal acne as it also blocks androgen receptors. I've been using it for over 2 weeks now and have seen a MASSIVE difference in my face (feel free to check out my thread); maybe it could help you, too? Anyway, best of luck and keep us updated on your progress!

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Please consider changing out the Lush products to products that don't have essential oils in them; those can be extremely irritating and even cause allergic reactions in some people. Some of the lesions in your first picture do have the appearance of an allergic reaction. Consider dropping the tea tree oil. Tea tree oil (while helpful for some) can cause a severe immune/allergic response in others.

You should not add in multiple products until your skin has recovered, definitely not an exfoliant while you're using Benzaclin. I'd drop the AHA product as well.

Try a simple moisturizer, cleanser, and your prescriptions and see how it goes.

Please also consider gentle icing of your skin; that's a technique that one acne clinic uses to help reduce inflammation and redness. It also helps reduce the swelling and irritation of individual lesions. Gently running an ice cube over your whole face after cleansing (not holding the cube in one spot for too long) will help the skin feel better. I'd do that after cleansing and prior to applying your products.

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I cannot believe you just quit antibiotics because of that reasons. You pretend to cure a bad acne just topically? You rather have scars than taking an antibiotic?

Come on, if you want to help yourself, stop living in fear. Antibiotics is the thing you need since you have a spread infection.

:snooty:

I was new to the issue at the time, I didn't know much about it and my doctor didn't explain it very well. :/ I'm going back on the orals in additional to the topical now, supplemented by a gentle, minimal skincare routine, but at the time I was always cripplingly sunburnt and nauseated, and still felt like maybe it would go away some other way. I've never had acne this bad before so I didn't know what I was dealing with, and really I still don't. It came on so suddenly.

Woah, Don't let someone talk you into a treatment you're not comfortable with. I do not think antibiotics are the right thing to do. It totally screwed my system and immune system up.. Probably for life.

They can put you on antibiotics, but eventually you'll have to stop. It's only a bandaid. I was on antibiotics for 2 years. I'm still suffering digestive and skin issues.

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Im so sorry you have ot go through this. I have bad acne too so i had no choice but ot go on accutane ive been on it 3 months and its gotten a whole lot better! It works so fast too.

Go see a derm and I think you should try accutane

Hope I helped :)

Goodluck :)

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I'm so sorry you're going through this, keep your head up, and ask your Derm about Bactrum it's a stronger antibiotic than doxy but they will only prescribe it to you once so you have to use it the full length of the prescription which is 3 months. It's not a serious as accutane but can help you, it clear me up in 2 weeks no joke I had persistent and moderate acne. Big pustules like 10 on each cheek and another 5-7 on my jawline. I was prescribed doxy and it didn't do anything. I never had cysts so I would you should definitely see your derm and follow the regimen he or she gives you for he length it's prescribed.

Also, I would use organic and minimal ingredient makeup (for blush I use Coastal Classics Creations I love there blush! and bronzer, there foundation is pointless it doesn't cover AT ALL but there blush and bronzer I will use forever) Here's the Link: http://www.coastalclassiccreations.com/ind...t&Itemid=97

It only has like 3 or 4 ingredients but the color is so potent so you only need a little and it last forever..

Good Luck and keep us posted!

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I have a similair acne myself, but then mostly on my chest. I also had it very severe on my face, though still with intermittent breakouts. I used the Obagi cleanzyderm(including the peroxide) on my chest and that made the worst inflammation reside somewhat. Though always for only a short period. Also used the Obagi nu-derm on my face in combination with hydrochinon and tretinoin. Used that for a year and did wonders to clean up scars and ugly patches of skin.

I'm 29 now and have struggled with severe acne since I was 15/16 or so. Strangely I never had acne on my body this bad. Not just my chest but also my back and really bad in my neck. That is really only from the last few years. Also tried antibiotics(doxycyclin, 100mg/day) and that cleared up everything first time I used it, really fast too like 3-4 days into it. Used that for 7 weeks and when that course was over after a week or so all the acne came back with a vengeance. Even on places I didn't have it before, such as my head. Then took the antibiotic again and that reduced the acne once more, though it took a longer time and didn't clear it up completely.

Going from being completely clear with so little scarring after many years of acne to seriously breaking out again was a very devastating experience. I thought about upping the dose of antibiotics or trying other ones but realized it was never going to cure acne, or address the underlying mechanisms that causes it. Might provide a temporary relief but I didn't feel like using increasingly higher doses, becoming immune and then being even worse off. As one day you might really need antibiotics and then they won't work anymore.

I also thought about maybe having some kind of infection or endocrinological issue so I had my blood checked(multiple times actually) but results never turned up with any abnormalities.

I'm now using accutane, which I probably should have done years earlier. I'm only in the second week and not noticing any serious side-effects so far, other than dry lips. I did have a really, really bad acne flare on my chest in the first week though. Very red, painful and inflamed. Seriously hope it doesn't break out on my face. Though the few whiteheads I did have on my face disappeared surprisingly fast, much faster than usual. Hopefully I'll be another success story when the course is over since after 15 years I'm really fed up with this shit.

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Thank you all for the supportive comments and stories! It's really nice to have a place to commiserate with others suffering the same problems. I read through all of everyone's posts, although there were a lot of replies in the last couple days so it'd be difficult to respond individually. I'm thankful for all of your advice and stories though, it really really helps.

My skin's been pretty static for a few days, not much change going on, but that's good I suppose, since things got significantly better as of my last post. The "swollen" look that my cheeks had has definitely gone down, and they're not quite as sensitive - I don't have to worry constantly about something spontaneously popping and leaking pus. There are definitely areas that are going to take some time to heal, but I still feel like it's promising.

My health services appointment is on June 29, and I think that regardless of my progress with the antibiotics, I'm going to get a referral for a dermatologist. I have a feeling that even if Benzaclin/Doxycycline clear me up for now, I'll definitely be left with redness/marks in that area, it's actually kind of frightening to think of what the skin underneath all that irritation will look like healed, when it was nearly perfect skin less than six months ago. So I'd like to see a dermatologist to figure out what I should be doing in the long term. Another odd thing is that the skin that's NOT affected by this breakout looks great - the area around my nose/T-zone has been practically perfect lately, no blackheads, no clogging, etc, so this makes me optimistic about my overall regimen as everything else heals.

Going back on birth control isn't really an option for me, I absolutely hate it. I've been on two different types - Apri and Nuvaring - and both messed with things I'd rather not mess with. Before I went on them, I didn't really have acne issues, and after I went off altogether after switching between the two, that's when this acne thing really blew up. I went back on Apri for 3 full months, it didn't help, so I just want to stay away from hormonal birth control altogether. I don't want to keep switching between pills to "find the right one", and I'd rather not be dependent on the pill for good skin. I might consider Spironolactone eventually, but I'd almost rather make the leap for Accutane than keep messing with my hormones. But fingers crossed that none of that will be necessary! Though I'm also already afraid to go *off* antibiotics at this point :(

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I'm suprised nobody mentioned Kristen2010's ordeal... She had sudden onset of acne as well, after being clear her whole life, and it turned out to be folleculitis/staph infection of the face. It's worth a shot, but you should ask your MD if he/she would check if you have a staph infection on your face.. You can check out Kristin's log here, and see if it relates to you at all.

Here's her log

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