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AllynRose

Retin-A Micro & Solodyn Log

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Hi there! Here is where I'll be keeping a log of my journey to get clear by graduation. (May 25, 2011 - about 3.5 months from now) Comments are extremely welcome! :dance: Here's a pretty thorough look at what I'm dealing with here.

Log Purpose:

- To keep track of how my skin reacts to my new regimen.

- Advice, suggestions and encouragement from people who've been through similar experiences. I love the sense of community here on acne.org <3

- Hopefully it'll also help someone else who, just like me, frantically searched the internet trying to figure out how Retin-A Micro would affect them.

Info:

- 17 years old

- about 135 pounds

- extremely fair and sensitive skin

Background (Short Version):

Bacterial and hormonal acne around my chin area just won't go away. Aczone and Doxycycline (100mg) twice a day each didn't improve much so I was switched to the prescriptions listed below.

Background (Long Version):

Ever since middle school my skin has alternated between being completely clear and breaking out in hormonal acne around the chin / mouth area. Around November and December of 2010, I started noticing that my problem area was always breaking out - instead of just once a month. Getting frustrated, I started to try over-the-counter products like Neutrogena's Oil-Free Cleanser with Salicylic Acid and Clean and Clear's Persa-Gel 10% BP Spot Treatment. My skin experienced no change with these products. I began picking and popping, practically trying to 'squeeze the acne out me', and ended up creating pink scars all around my chin. My dermatologist determined this acne is not hormonal, due to pustules appearing on a daily basis. She prescribed me Aczone and Doxycyclin (100mg) twice a day each. For my follow up appointment two weeks later, not much had changed. Although Aczone did keep inflammation in the pustules down, I was still getting them like crazy. The doxycycline was horrible for me. I lost my appetite completely and threw up about twice a week. By the time I went back for a follow-up I was down about 15 pounds in two weeks. My dermatologist then decided to switch me to the prescriptions listed below.

Prescriptions:

- Solodyn (65mg 1x/day)

- Aczone (5% Dapsone) Gel in the mornings

- Retin-A Micro (.04%) Gel at night

- Sodium Sulfacetamide (10%) and Sulfur (5%) Lotion for infected spots

So, I'm sort of a research junkie. When my doctor prescribed RAM, I immediately ran home to read the reviews on it... And I was terrified. 3 months of peeling, dryness and breakouts?! What?! I almost threw the tube away after learning that some people don't even get better at the end of all this. In the end though, I wound up starting the treatment, because a lot of people (despite the horror stories of IBs and peeling) say it was completely worth it.

Well... Here goes nothing. If anyone else is currently going through this or anything similar I would really appreciate any comments or advice!!!

One thing I've learned over the years is that everyone's skin is completely different, and what worked for me may or may not work for you. Don't be discouraged from using things that didn't work well with my skin, there are many people it HAS worked for - otherwise no doctor would prescribe it.

Here is a kind of crummy cell phone picture of the pustules. This was before I started picking and creating scaring, so it's a little worse now. *sigh*

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post-145205-1296932629_thumb.jpg

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Some More Info:

I'm using the Retin-A Micro every other night because of how sensitive my skin is. I think if the peeling isn't too bad by next week I'll start using it every night.

On the nights where I don't use Retin-A, I use the Aczone and moisturize with Neova Total Body Repair, which is supposed to help my scarring. On the nights where I do use Retin-A, I wait the full 30 minutes after washing to apply it and only put a thin layer (over the whole face). I don't moisturize those nights because I've heard it makes the medicine less effective.

Day #1-4

The first time I used Retin-A Micro I expected my skin to be super dry the next day, but it wasn't. It was actually super oily! I had to go out and buy those oil-absorbing sheets from Walgreens. They would come away super clear from all the oil... Ugh. Other than that, I didn't really notice a great change. My scarring was a little lighter, which was nice.

The second time I used it, my skin looked pretty great the next morning. The pustules were alot less inflamed! I made the mistake of spot-treating a huge pustule (maybe even a cyst?) above my lip with Aczone, and the area completely dried out. Two new little pustules on my chin, but since they weren't inflamed I wasn't too upset.

Day #5

Peeling ahoy! My problem area, the left and right of my chin, is peeling quite a bit. Even though I'm applying it on my whole face, the rest of it is completely fine. Any suggestions on how to get the dead skin off without irritating my overly-sensitive face? Oh man, I can't even wear my Bare Minerals.

The huge cyst-like one on my lip (which was so bad it hurt to move my lips at all) has shrunken quite a bit for the first time since it appeared on Monday - 5 whole days ago! Yay :surprised: A little pink bump has appeared right next to it though... As a matter of fact, I'm getting alot of little pink bumps that aren't really inflamed the way my pimples usually are. My pimples rarely get heads, but they do grow into prominent red pus-filled bumps most of the time. Since the RAM and Solodyn they're staying small, mostly flat and pink. I'm not sure whether it's the RAM or the antibiotic but I'm thankful for it. It seems a little early for the IB, but I seem to have alot of these little pink bumps. Has anyone else experienced this?

I'm completely terrified of the IB. There's a lucky few who didn't have it that badly, but I doubt I'll be that fortunate. I know I sound totally calm, but the truth is - this has been a really upsetting and emotional ordeal. Acne has ruined my confidence. I've even missed a couple days of work after picking at an extra large pustule or cyst and creating weeping scabs. I'm completely jealous of people with perfect skin... If only we could all be so lucky.

Edited by AllynRose

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Day #6

I seem to be going through all the stages at warp speed despite my mild usage of RAM.

Went to bed with much improved skin and only one whitehead. Woke up with five more whiteheads. No, seriously.

One above my lip on the left half of my face, and five scattered around the chin / jawline of the right half.

The peeling has completely subsided (for now) and there's no redness, but little nodules and whiteheads are popping up all over the place! I'm trying to stay positive here, but it's hard. When I saw the cluster of whiteheads on my chin I wanted to cry.

The urge to pop all of them was pretty strong. (I'm a skin-picker.) Thankfully I only touched one. The one above my lip was really prominent and obvious so I tried to squeeze it. Even though I took all the precautions (sterilizing the area and using gloves) it still wound up being a seeping blood red bump with irritated red skin around it. And then I had to go to work right after. Joy. Whenever I try and pop these pimples they always spit out a tiny bit of white pus and then just seep blood and clear liquid. Afterwards, the area doesn't even flatten much. Has anyone every dealt with anything like this? It's very annoying, and they take forever to heal. :confused:

The whole day my skin was incredibly oily, but had a weird rough-looking texture to it. All of the skin around the breakouts is extremely soft, so that gives me hope that the Retin-A is actually working.

I haven't started using the RAM every night yet for fear of redness or peeling (I desperately need the ability to wear make-up at the moment), so I assumed it'd be a while before the initial breakout. Guess not? I'm hoping it will be somewhat better by this weekend... Valentine's day and my two year anniversary are not the best days to be going through the IB. Ugh. :doubt:

Tonight I'm going to use Aczone, moisturize with the Neova and spot treat with the Sodium Sulfacetamide and Sulfur Lotion. (Which makes me peel a bit on the applied spots, presumably because it sheds the top layer of skin.) If my skin isn't red or overly peely, I'll use the RAM every night starting tomorrow.

Edited by AllynRose

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Day #7-8

I'm pretty miserable at the moment. Yesterday I woke up with even more small bumps in a cluster at the bottom right of my jaw - my "problem area" since I rarely get acne anywhere else, excluding hormonal zits. I've been trying to stick to the whole no-popping thing since I've made horrible scars before trying to "squeeze the acne out of me", but last night I failed. Here's a photo of probably the worst damage I've done after a picking frenzy:

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Yeah, I know, I know - shouldn't pick. It's amazing how I can keep making the same choice knowing the disastrous results I had last time. And yet I do. It's a compulsion really. I see a big glaring whitehead and think There's no way I can walk around like that! So I pop it. And make an infected hole that's even more embarrassing to walk around with. I NEED TO STOP PICKING! This is the before and after (picking) from last night:

post-145205-1297199438_thumb.jpg post-145205-1297199452_thumb.jpg

Ugh. Major setback. The good news is, the ones I didn't touch have shrunken and I didn't wake up with any new zits today... Just the damage from last night. The absolute worst one isn't included in the photos because I did it just this morning. It's seeping clear stuff which makes me think it's very infected. I'm using Centany on the infected spot right now. It's the size of a dime and has greenish-yellow pus all over it. I remember the last time I had one like this, it healed after about 5 days... But I've given up on looking good for my anniversary. My boyfriend doesn't care, but I still wish I could be pretty for him sometimes.

Irrelevant emotional update here. I cried alot in school today. I had to put band-aids over the seeping one and the cluster under it so everyone kept bothering me about it. I acted fine, but I spent my lunch break sobbing in the bathroom. It's scary to be breaking out so badly and not know if it's going to get worse or better by next week. I mean, this could be the initial breakout and smooth-skinned paradise could be just around the corner... OR this could be a break-out that was going to happen anyways and the initial breakout is actually going to happen in 2-3 weeks like it does for most...

The big question right now is whether or not I should move up to every day. Tonight (week 2) is the night I'm supposed to start using it every day. I'm not peeling or red, which is what usually warrants using retinoids every other day. Then again, using it every day might just cause that. I don't know. My doctor is supposed to call me tonight, but I don't know if she will.

I have a friend who went through something like this. Accutane and Differin for acne far more severe than mine. He has perfect skin now, but he won't talk about what it was like before. I completely understand why now. When I get better I won't look back on these days. I won't want to, it'll hurt too much. Let's hope the next update is on a happier note.

Best case scenario: Infection starts to heal, no new zits.

Worst case scenario: Initial breakout worsening just in time for an important weekend.

Probably somewhere in between.

post-145205-1297199274_thumb.jpg

post-145205-1297199438_thumb.jpg

post-145205-1297199452_thumb.jpg

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Neova Maximum Repair Lotion is comedogenic.

I've been slathering on layer after layer of pore-clogging lotion because of a miscommunication at my first dermatologist appointment. My doctor was dictating my regimen and the PA was writing it down on a sheet for me to take home. She said "Use moisturizer every night and Neova on open wounds." The PA wrote to use Neova as a moisturizer.

My doctor did call today. The conversation highlights are:

- stop using Neova, it's comedogenic

- continue the Retin-A Micro therapy, every night if skin will tolerate it

- moisturize using CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion

So now, I'm going to make a list of things that have and haven't worked for me.

Have Worked

- Aczone (for acne inflammation, not prevention)

- Sodium Sulfacetamide and Sulfur Lotion

- CeraVe Foaming Cleanser

- Bare Minerals make-up

- Mederma scar cream

Have Not Worked

- Cetaphil products (oddly enough these 'sensitive skin' products aggravate my acne)

- Ziana

- Doxycycline (100mg 2x/day)

- PICKING

Remains to be Seen

- Solodyn (65mg 1x/day)

- Retin-A Micro Gel (04.%)

- CeraVe Lotion

I'm also trying out some diet changes like cutting back on dairy, sugar and grease. Also 3 tablespoons of lemon juice every night, plus lemon juice in my water. I hear drinking a lot of water helps flush out toxins, so I'm doing that too.

Now off to update my regimen. Then I can give my brain a break from thinking about acne.

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Day #9-10

I'm still sort of breaking out, though not as bad as on Sunday. For the most part, it's quite a few closed-looking pores that aren't really visible (unless you look very closely under bright light) but can be felt easily. I'm not getting anymore prominent whiteheads at the moment, but today I developed three small pink pustules in that problem area (bottom right of my face). I've noticed that if I leave them alone they flatten out relatively quickly with the help of some Sodium Sulfacetamide and Sulfur Lotion (my miracle cream), which my dermatologist gave me to spot treat. Or maybe it's the Aczone applications? The pharmacy won't renew my Aczone prescription until next week so I'm using the tiny bottle I have left twice a day (morning and afternoon) only around my mouth - which is really the only place I break out. Although since I've started Retin-A I've gotten a lot of those closed pores on my forehead, which has never had any pimples. Hopefully it's just getting all the crap out.

As for peeling and whatnot, I'm definitely nowhere near close to the sunburn-style peeling that most people describe on here. I completely expected it too, because I've already ramped it up to Retin-A every night despite my sensitive skin. I am peeling though, just a tiny bit. It looks a lot like powder from my make-up, but when I go to rinse it off I realize it's actually flakes of skin. The good thing is that the flaking isn't noticeable unless you look very closely. The bad thing is that my make-up gradually becomes more unnatural-looking throughout the day because of this. It's still OILY as ever though. I'm going through about 7 of those oil-absorbing sheets a day. It really seems to pool on my cheeks and forehead, though sometimes my chin gets it too.

I have hope though. I know I'm not breaking out aimlessly like before, and that helps me cope with it a little better. I'm trying to stop reading reviews because sometimes they can be really disheartening. In spite of everything, I've noticed that my pink scars from last month are fading nicely and my skin is extremely smooth after I wash it at night, so I have no intention of stopping.

-----

Some Retin-A Tips That Have Helped Me:

This is a combination of online research, my dermatologist's advice, and my Biology teacher's advice (Retin-A user since she was 16!)

1. Wait the full 30 minutes after washing. It prevents unnecessary burning/irritation.

2. Don't apply moisturizer immediately before or after applying Retin-A at night, it diminishes the effect. It may slow your peeling, but Dr. Fulton himself said that peeling is a necessary part of the process if you want to rid yourself of acne. If you're diminishing the peeling/healing then, in my opinion, there's really no point in using it at all.

3. Moisturize a lot during other parts of the day if you can, in an attempt to keep your face from over-producing oil as a response to dryness. It can help hide the peeling a bit, but not really prevent it.

4. THIN LAYER. Especially if you're doing the no-moisturizer before or after approach.

5. Be extremely gentle with washing, moisturizing and drying. Retin-A makes your skin fragile and break-out prone so you can end up aggravating pustules.

6. Maybe it's the thinning if skin, but picking damages skin so much more while using Retin-A. Do your best not to pick. (Now I just need to heed my own advice.)

7. Patience.

-----

Picking

I still have ALOT of damage from the last picking session, and I'm still wearing band-aids to school which warrants a bunch of hard-to-answer questions.

I'm starting to wonder if picking is why that one corner alone is so messed up. I mean, maybe each squeeze is just pushing the infection down or spreading the bacteria? And even if it isn't - the damage I'm doing is so bad. Scars take so long to heal for me. I still have one from early January, when I had my first dermatologist appointment!

Today around noon I popped one of the two pustules in between classes. I knew it was a bad idea when I did it because I didn't even wash my hands or anything, I just dug in there with my nails wanting desperately to flatten it out. There's a part of me that firmly believes that as long as it's flat, it's not a pimple anymore and the problem has been dealt with. Even though I completely know this is bullshit, I still keep on picking. I do it before the logical part of me has a chance to talk myself out of it. It's such a mental illness. In case you can't already tell by the way - yes, I have OCD.

This log has been so beneficial for me. It doesn't even matter if anyone reads it. It was this log that helped me truly realize how bad my picking compulsions were, and so now I can try to stop them. I have two of those stupid silly bands on my wrist, which I snap everytime I get the urge to pick. That definitely helps a lot, along with looking at old photos of picking damage.

I'm drinking a lot of lemon water, taking vitamins and fish-oil, and eating healthier. Hopefully this will help me through the initial breakout. I wasn't eating much for a long time (much to my parents despair) and I'm starting to think I weakened my body's ability to fight back - after all acne is an infection.

I never intend to write this much, but it just flows out so easily. I've always had a thing for writing and blogging. Well, I try to keep the important stuff (progress/side-effects) up at the top though, the bottom can be skipped. Goodnight! :surprised:

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Day #11-14

Whoops, went missing for a handful of days there. Busy weekend. Don't worry, I haven't clawed my face off (yet).

People keep telling me how much better I'm doing, but that doesn't really reassure me. It actually makes me a bit nervous, because the last time I was doing better it was just the calm before the storm of the worst breakout I've ever had. Plus, I'm just entering week 3 which is notorious for being a rough one.

Something new is that the RAM kind of burns when I put it on now. I know this is expected, but I figured that sort of reaction would happen in the beginning instead of now. Increased peeling in the near future wouldn't surprise me.

The area I picked until it was a raw mess has finally healed enough for me to take of the band-aid and dust with a little (maybe more than a little) make-up. Underneath that bad area I have one hell of a large bump that shows no sign of getting a head. It's just red, obnoxious and unmoving. The kind that just chills there until you get fed up and make the mistake of trying to pop it, leaving a horrible scab while the smug little bump remains somewhere under there. So far I've been treating it with Aczone (for inflammation) after school and Persa Gel (non-prescription 10% BP) overnight. I've been so tempted to pop it though. I keep fiddling with it, which might be why it's so big. I was considering icing it, but in my experience that's just a temporary solution. Icing it will make it shrink substantially, but ten minutes after you take the ice off it seems to return to full size.

Speaking of stubborn bumps, the one I had above my lip for an entire @#%&! week and a half finally got a white head so I was able to extract it. Now it's just an annoying red dot.

I'm still doing the no picking thing but if there's a white head, I gently prick it with a needle and carefully pressure it until the white stuff comes out. I've read it's important to stop once the blood and clear liquid start coming out - because apparently that's the good stuff to fight the infection. Well, that sounded sketchy to me, but IT'S TRUE. The times I've gone against my instinct and left the clear stuff in there, the bump is a completely flat red dot the next morning... With the help of a little Persa Gel of course!

Well, the overall texture of my skin feels better for some inexplicable reason. After I'm done washing my face, it feels insanely tight - almost like it's been botoxed. Then it flakes up a bit. I still get a weird glow/shine to it during the school day so I have to use those oil sheets all the time. And it's still weirdly dry in a way that makes my make up look somewhat crusty by the end of the school day. (sigh) But there's no sunburn-like peeling the way everyone has described.

There's still a lot of barely noticeable little clogged pores scattered around, even in places I don't break out. How I loathe them. I hear this is normal though, just stuff coming to the surface.

I hope by the next time I write this obnoxious lump on the bottom of my bad side is gone. And I hope the little one on my good side doesn't turn into anything too bad. Oh, and that I don't get any new ones either. Hm... Maybe I'm asking for too much here. Lol.

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Day #15-19

Over the past week my skin's been alright. Not bad, not good. I've had a handful of pimples scattered around my face, instead of the usual clustered in one corner thing.

Flaking is obnoxious. Especially with make-up. Moisturizer makes me look greasy, so it's a lose-lose.

Switched back to my old make-up. Bare Minerals was driving me insane. It would sort of melt, so my skin would feel slimy, and then smear if I touched it. I was still breaking out as much as I had before on my cheap Covergirl make-up, so I went back to that.

Still occasionally picking. Still always regretting it.

Pictures a'coming soon. Been busy. Also trying not to obsess/think about acne too much.

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Day #20

Skin is doing horrible. Depressed. Anxious. Miserable.

4 deep cysts in one night. What the .... .

Thinking of quitting Retin-A.

Edited by AllynRose

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I'd like to thank you for your log. You've taught me a lot about Retin-A and how to use it. It has helped me so much! I've been on Retin-A for quite a while but it hasn't been working until recently and that may be partly because of the tips I picked up from you. :D

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Play_Koi, it's definitely good to know someone is benefiting from my experience/ramblings. I hope your Retin-A continues to work and completely nukes your acne, leaving you with flawless skin :)

Day #21-23

INTERESTING NEWS. Yay(?) I had a check-up earlier this week. My pediatrician was rather persistent about me going on birth control for my acne, but I said no due to my dermatologist's diagnosis of bacterial acne.

Blood work came back.

My body is producing too much of a certain male hormone, which can cause acne and lead to ovary cysts. Which hormone and how much? Questions I would LOVE to have the answer to, but unfortunately won't until the dumbass nurses at the office can figure out how to use a fax machine. This would explain why I only get acne around my mouth - except for the odd spots every once in a while. It would also explain why it's been completely immune to doxycycline, solodyn, salicyclic acid, benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin phosphate. They all target bacteria.

So now I'm confused. Trying to figure out what approach to take. After explaining the news, the doctor suggested I go on birth control to regulate my hormones ASAP. I really want the specific results and second opinion just in case, since she seemed pretty decided on BC before I even got the needle in my arm.

Dermatologist appointment Monday (day 28). I'm also currently in the process of trying to get an OB/GYN appointment to discuss my hormone production and birth control options. Hopefully one of the two doctors will have an idea of what to do. My pediatrician promised to fax them both the data, but she also promised to fax it to my house today and I have yet to receive it.

If I do wind up on BC, it won't be until the end of my period sometime around March 10. More waiting. Yay. I just want to clear up already.

Whether its the RAM or the hormones, one thing is for sure - I alternate between good and bad weeks. I'll barely get a zit one week... And the next will be a breakout-palooza.

In spite of this news I AM staying on the Solodyn, Aczone and RAM until my dermatologist instructs otherwise. Not that any of them have helped at all. Pssh.

I have not forgotten the photo. It will be a'coming. I'm lazy when it comes to iPhone syncing and whatnot.

Stay tuned for another exciting episode of Face O' Zits. (Or Mouth Area O' Zits too be more accurate).

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Maybe they're talking about androgens? I recently got on birth control and I really think it is helping the Retin-A do its job (plus the minor tweaks that made big changes that I got from your log and elsewhere on the message board). My acne is only around my mouth, chin, and jawline.

And thank you for the well wishes but I'm not holding my breath just yet! We'll see if I ever clear up. :ninja:

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How long did it take the BC to help? Because I'm super thrilled at the possibility of going on it! If it'll get rid of (or lessen) these jaw bumps I'd be the happiest woman alive.

Day #24

My how time flies. It seems like just yesterday I was starting Retin-A and panicking about initial breakouts. A little disappointing to still be breaking out, but if recent information is correct and my acne is hormonal, we've definitely been treating the symptoms instead of the cause. Oh gosh.

The results were faxed to me today. DHEA Sulfate overproduction. Shot up to 388 when it should be between 37 and 307. It's not as major as I expected, but it's enough to cause acne issues according to the pediatrician and OB/GYN. Haven't brought it up to the dermatologist yet, but I'm interested in her reaction to this since she didn't think my acne was at all hormonal - despite it's textbook indication through location. (Around the mouth = often caused by hormones.)

Dermatologist appointment >> Monday, Feb. 28 2011 @ 3:30

OB/GYN appointment >> Tuesday, March 1, 2011 @ 4:30

Oh gosh. More waiting. Acne is such a terrible affliction for someone as impatient as me. I think part of the reason I'm such an OCD skin-picker is my urge to find a quick fix rather than wait it out for better results.

I have to wait 4 days for the derm and 5 for the OB/GYN... I'm not sure which one will be prescribing my birth control. I hope they both agree on the same one, because I wouldn't know whose advice to follow if they didn't. They're both very reputable doctors. Over the phone the OB/GYN recommended Yaz. I'm not sure if I should be on that one or Yasmin. As I understand it, Yaz is a lower dose.

I also wonder if I'll be kept on the Solodyn, Aczone, and Retin-A. I think the Retin-A might be doing my skin some good because my forehead, nose and cheeks have never looked better. I always had blackheads but those are mostly gone and the skin is smooth! Around the mouth? Heh. Still sucks. Right side being a pain as usual.

I kinda suck at keeping people updated on RAM side-effects since I've been focusing on all this hormone crap. Well anyways, the RAM doesn't burn anymore (it did for a week or so) and the peeling is pretty minimal. The area that is peeling is different every day, it's not the whole face all at once. Last week my cheeks were super dry and peely, but this week they're fine and my area in between the eyebrows and to the right of my mouth is peeling a bit. Not noticeably though. It comes off with a towel and just looks like flaky make-up.

I hate acne. La la la la. I should write a song.

I've always wanted to be a doctor. Irrelevant to everything here but I thought you all should know.

Picture? Heh. *runs away* (Next time, I PROMISE!... Gosh I'm lazy.)

Edited by AllynRose

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Why is your font so small? and Good luck n keep us posted. :D

Ha. Because I write wayyy too much and I thought making it smaller would keep the posts from looking insanely long and keep them from requiring a lot of scrolling.

Does it make it hard to read? I have pretty shitty eyesight but I don't have trouble reading it. Then again I hardly read my own posts.

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I've been on bc for only a month and have noticed the difference. I want to give it the usual 3 months time to see a big change. It didn't even get worse like some people say it does. Right away it just started getting better after 2 weeks. My bc is a low-dose one. Can't wait to see if it helps ya. ;)

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Day #25-26

Not much new to say. Problem area is still breaking out and I have a couple deep and dark pink ones that just won't go away. :doh:

Still using Retin-A. Maybe it's my imagination but my forehead, cheeks and nose all seem really smooth and blackhead free. Wish I could say the same about my chin. Ugh.

I bought some Calamine lotion after reading some really good reviews about it as a spot treatment. Supposedly it dries out cyst-like pimples, which is primarily what's bugging me now. I'll try it on one and let you all know how that goes.

I'm not sure if it's caused by the androgens or the Retin-A but I swear you could ski off my face from how oily it can get. Oil-absorbing sheets are a godsend.

Holding my breath for the dermatologist appointment on Monday.

As promised, this is how I'm doing at the moment:

post-145205-1298758968_thumb.jpg

post-145205-1298758968_thumb.jpg

Edited by AllynRose

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Day #28

Acne = frustration, plain and simple. Ugh. I don't know what kind of miracle I was expecting at the derm's today, but it definitely didn't happen. I was atleast hoping she'd change up my regimen, but it's basically the same. Hormones are a likely cause, but we're still going to keep up the anti-bacterial stuff.

Appointment Highlights

+ Solodyn upped to 135mg/day

+ Acanya prescribed as a spot treatment

+ Beyaz oral contraceptive prescribed

+ Nasty pustule injected (my first cortisone injection!)

I really thought we'd start my regimen from scratch since I'm exactly the same as I was a month ago, but she thinks I need to be a little more patient... Not so easy with graduation, prom, and other senior photo-filled events on the horizon. Plus I'm starting to get sick of running to the bathroom to touch up my make-up. Such a hassle. People must think I have a bladder issue.

I can start the Beyaz on the Sunday following my next period, which is thankfully supposed to be soon. She told me to lower my expectations for it though... Apparently it takes 3 to 4 months for hormones to stabilize and such. That sort of contradicts everything I've heard about Yaz, because 3 girls I've talked to noticed a change within the first month. Maybe she just didn't want me to get my hopes up too high?... I don't know. But 4 months means I won't be clear(ish) until summer vacation. FUUUUUUUUUU.

She thinks I should keep on using Solodyn, Aczone and Retin-A Micro... So that's what I'm going to do.

The pustule that she injected was a huge mother trucker. I mean seriously, I woke up with barely anything there and by the time I was in 6th period it looked like a mountain. I wanted her to inject more, considering I have like 4 deep ones at the moment but she said they were already on their way out and an injection could dent my face. Right now that damn pustule still looks a little big, though not anywhere near as huge as after it got injected. She said to expect it to be swollen for a while, but that it should go down after a couple of hours. I hope it'll look somewhat coverable by tomorrow morning. School's been so rough. It's hard to focus when you're terrified of new pimples, thinking about complicated regimens, and constantly dabbing oil or fixing make-up. I can't begin to describe how much I envy people with clear skin.

Wrote to much again. Damn. Welp, important stuff is up at the top as per usual.

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Day #34

What the crap Retin-A, my eyelids are burning! They aren't red or flaking, just uncomfortable. Inb4 "Why did you put Retin-A on/near your eye-lids?!", I swear - I didn't!

Almost 5 weeks into this retinoid and my skin's really calmed down. I don't really have any active spots at the moment, just alot of red dots and marks down the bad side of my face. I don't know whether I should be expecting it to get worse again or not. The pattern usually is: one good week, followed by one bad. However, I'm far enough into this Retin-A deal that it should be showing improvement... right? Plus the upped antibiotic was supposed to help. I'm not really sure how that works. If the lower dose was completely useless, does the doubled dose really stand a chance? I've heard antibiotics somewhat work on hormonal acne because they treat the symptoms, though not the cause. Well, If that doesn't work I have my new secret weapon added into the mix... I just took my first Beyaz! *fireworks* *parade* Take that, androgens! I know I was repeatedly told not to expect fast results, but there's a part of me that wants to believe taking Beyaz now will lessen/possible prevent the horrible break-out I usually get during my period. A girl can hope.

I'll keep you posted.

post-145205-1299469549_thumb.jpg

No make-up, as usual.

post-145205-1299469549_thumb.jpg

Edited by AllynRose

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Your pic looks good. I'm going to see if being on bc for three months makes a difference. (in the middle of month 2 atm) GL to ya :D

Edited by Play_Koi

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Day #37

I'll sound dumb for saying this but... I'm reading all these horror stories about Yaz and I'm getting a little nervous. Today is my fourth day of the stuff, but I haven't experienced a single side effect. I threw up Tuesday morning, but I don't really think that's related. I took vitamins on an empty stomach, which always makes me nauseous. The thought that scares me most is my face exploding if I ever decide to come off it.

As for the RAM, other than my face being way oily and the tip of my nose peeling, there's nothing to report. I suppose I'm sort of breaking out - 3 pimples in one day, after a week of clearish skin. This always happens during my period. Sigh.

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Day #41

41 days, almost done with 6 weeks and I think my face is breaking out just as it did when I started. This makes me so nervous.

Now I'm reading all these horror stories of people getting worse than ever after coming off Solodyn, Yaz, Retin-A, etc. I'm so scared that I'll be dependent on these things forever.

My insurance company won't pay for more Solodyn so it looks like I'll be coming off that one soon. Even though it appears to have made no difference, I'm scared that coming off it will cause a massive outbreak.

Stress. Stress. Stress.

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have done anything to my face at all and just let it take it's course. I don't know. I hate this.

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Day #43

My dad's in the hospital, so I've been stress-picking like crazy.

My skin is extremely dry so I've been moisturizing a lot. The Retin-A is starting to burn when I put it on again.

Right now I have like 8 mini-marks from picking and 2 big ones, plus one giant pustule. The kind that doesn't get a head and just hurts a lot. I also have two little bumps. I don't know why I'm breaking out so much, maybe stress.

I've been researching diet and acne a lot lately, but it's such a disgusting mess of information. One website will swear low GI foods are the way to go, meaning whole-grain bread but another sight will say that grain is the worst possible food for acne. It doesn't seem like there's any safe food. Red meat, sugar, dairy, wheat, whole-grain, carbs, citrus-fruits are all apparently triggers... What the hell does that leave you with?! Beans and strawberries?!

I've been eating wheat (bad?), potato salad (high GI?) and Nutrigrain bars (dairy and wheat) like crazy.

I'd like to do a liver/kidney cleanse to see if that helps... But I don't really want to spend any more money on things. I'm not too sure how that works, but instead of buying some herbal pills maybe I can just do fruit and water for a couple of days. I've already lost a lot of weight recently so I don't really want to starve myself, but I can't bring myself to eat anything without feeling like I'm causing my next painful pimple.

I feel like I'm going insane.

I'm also worried because I'm still sort of spotting. Damn Yaz.

Current Vitamins / Supplements

+ multi-vitamin

+ fish oil

+ zinc

+ vitamin b complex

After picking.

post-145205-1300222971_thumb.jpg

post-145205-1300222971_thumb.jpg

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My wedding day is in 67 days ( I only know this because of the registry). I've been on beyaz for two months and started retin a again last night.

Beyaz never really make me break out more but my acne moved from one place to another. I had it on my chin and then it moved to my cheeks. I have marks left which are very noticable. Patience is not in me...I feel overwhelmed by the thought I have to have a perfect complexion the day of my wedding. Both beyaz and retin a state it will get worse before it gets better...so I will stick with this as long as I can...I have also changed my diet to all healthy foods.

The worst thinkg we can do is stress...I wish I had one of those blood tests.

I will keep you guys posted...and cethapil does nothing for me. I have to buy a facewash that is almot $50...ay caramba.

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