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Vivienne Guernsey

Mildly Successful Regimen May Need Tweaking

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I am 24, I have had mild acne for 12 years. I get plenty of sleep, I excercize almost every day, I eat healthy (limited dairy vegetarian), and I have relatively low stress. I am on the OrthoEvra birth control patch (which has not seemed to help). I am the livestock manager and gardener at a teaching farm, so my skin is exposed to harsh dirt, sun, wind, and animals on a daily basis.

I have been using a regimen following the routine as outlined in the book "The Acne Cure" by Dr. Terry Dubrow. His regimen is very similar to the The Regimen on Acne.org, except it uses salicylic acid in addition to benzoyl peroxide and AHA. I have been following Dr. Dubrow's regimen for two months. I have noticed my fine lines have started to fade, my pores are much smaller, my tone is more even and my face has a decidedly healthy glow to it. My break-outs last about half as long. Unfortunately my break-outs still occur at the same rate and at the same severity, in the same spots as always. I have had only two or three totally pimple-free days since I started Dr.Dubrow's regimen. The regimen is also fairly harsh and very time consuming. I have probably spend close to $100 finding the right products for the regimen as outlined in the book. I have also done a lot of research (on this website in particular) and added a few things to the regimen. I do not take omega-3 oil as recommended because I do not eat fish or meat. In general my diet is very healthy and I maintain a very active lifestyle. Yet I still suffer from acne. Below, I have outlined the regimen and products I use. Some of the products I alternate with similar products if I am travelling or notice irritation:

Day Treatment:

Olay beauty bar cleanser

Stridex Daily Care Maximum Strength cleansing pads 2% salicylic acid (or CVS Ance Spot Treatment gel 2%)

SkinEffects Glycolic Day Cream SPF 30 (or Reviva Labs Glycolic Acid Facial Toner plus Aveeno tinted moisturizer SPF 30)

Desert Essence pure organic jojoba oil

Make-Up:

Neutrogena Sheer Minerals powder foundation SPF 15 (or L'Oreal True Match Naturale mineral powder foundation SPF 19)

Night Treatment:

Olay beauty bar cleanser

Stridex Daily Care Maximum Strength cleansing pads 2% salicylic acid (or CVS Ance Spot Treatment gel 2%)

CVS Acne Treatment gel benzoyl peroxide 2.5%

Desert Essence pure organic jojoba oil

cold compress

Emergency Treatment:

CVS witch hazel

Ibuprophen

Daily Supplements:

Chelated zinc

Calcium + D

Daily Active Energy Plus Spirulina

My Regimen:

Morning: Delicately cleanse with Olay beauty bar and warm water. Pat face dry with towel, apply Stridex or salicylic gel plus water. Leave on for a few minutes to an hour. Rinse off with warm water, pat try with towel. Lightly dab on jojoba oil and/or witch hazel on dry or sensitive spots. Apply glycolic acid face cream or toner plus sunscreen. Apply mineral make-up. Take supplements.

Night: Cleanse lightly with Olay beauty bar and warm water. Apply Stridex or salicylic acid. Leave on for a few minutes to a half hour. Rise off with warm water. Pat face dry. Mix in palm of hand a dime-size amount of benzoyl peroxide plus three or four drops jojoba oil. Spread evenly all over face, adding a little extra to existing pimples. Delicately apply an ice pack to swollen pimple areas for 10 minutes to cool-down. Pat face dry.

While I have noticed an improvement in tone and texture of my skin, my acne has improved little. I am so frustrated and find myself skipping out of social gatherings when I have flare-ups. I would appreciate any feedback you have after reviewing my regimen. Am i using too many products? Am i touching my face too often? Am i too impatient? or am I just incurable? Thanks everyone for you help and I wish you all the clearest of skin!

Truly,

Vivi

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I've been researching about diet for a long time, so I don't think I should comment on the products you use but, you say that you eat healthy, and are vegetarian and avoid dairy. In most cases, just limiting meat and dairy products aren't enough. Theres much more factors that cause acne. Like, grains, wheat, legumes, beans, starchy vegetables, things that you would not expect could be causing yor acne. I was shocked when I went on a restrictive diet and had clear skin then once I ate a potatoe, I broke out. Most people wouldn't ever think of eliminating things like green peas, or potatoes but, it's a hidden acne causer.

If you really want your acne gone, it's going to be hard work, you can't just put a cream on your face and expect to be 100% clear within a few weeks and never see acne again. You have to go to the ROOT cause of your acne, what causes acne for YOU? You are acne-prone, which cannot be changed, that's just how your skin is..there are ways to CONTROL your acne with diet. Find out what your triggers are, some people cannot even eat citrus fruit without getting cystic acne. Eveyone's body is different, and if you have acne, your body isn't working correctly to excrete waste/toxins.

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I picked up Dr. Perricone's book at the library "The Acne Prescription" and flipped through it. It touched on exactly what you mentioned- that acne is an inflammation disease that can be treated by eliminating certain foods and adding certain supplements. namely eliminating dairy and empty carbs and starches, sugars, soy while adding fish oil and other supplements. I didn't check the book out because most of the recipes had meat and fish. I think maybe I'll give it another look and consider tweaking my diet. I've always suspected that wheat, potatoes and refined sugars are problematic. I can easily drop potatoes and sugar (I have in the past), but wheat will be very hard. Though, I'm fairly certain hormones are a major culprit in my acne break-outs. Thanks for the advice!

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Update: I increased my zinc supplement. I was taking a half tablet every day because it sometimes made my stomach upset. Now I'm always sure to take it after I eat, about 15 minutes after breakfast but never immediately following a meal.I stopped taking the Spirulina supplements because it contained both aloe and gelatin. i had been taking this supplement for years! I suspected the aloe was making me break out and I also realized gelatin is an animal product. Two weeks later, my skin is clear again. I haven't had a major break-out since I last posted on Dec. 4th. I've also been drinking loads of green tea kombucha and have been eating a lot less wheat and potatoes. I'm really pleased so far.

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My dermatologist told me she is convinced that mineral makeup causes clogging of pores and therefore acne, she told me to stop using it and switch to liquid foundation. I use neutrogena healthy skin (with .05% salicylic acid) now and my skin is a lot clearer, of course I am on a whole new regimen as well so it might just be the new medications in addition to the new makeup!

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Update: I had another mild break-out towards the holiday, likely because of stress and my period. I started taking a wild yam supplement as recommended by a coworker for PMS. It has helped a lot with the chronic headache syndrome I have (10-15 days with a headache per month), especially towards my period. This month I only got three headaches on the days during my the heaviest days of my period. This is a huge success for me because I have been suffering with chronic headaches since puberty. I've also noticed I had been break-out free except for two small pimples during my heaviest days. So, progress! While i can't attribute all of this to the wild yam, I am fairly certain it is helping my body regulate my hormonal cycle.

I've also been scaling back the regimen. I apply and rinse off the salicylic acid only once now- in the morning before I apply the glycolic acid. A few days while I was trying to heal the pimples on my chin, I converted to the acne.org regimen- using generous amounts of Benzoyl peroxide only in the morning and at night in place of the salicylic and glycolic acid. While it did help heal my existing pimples much quicker, my skin was very flaky. I don't plan on using exclusively benzoyl peroxide because I feel I must incorporate the glycolic acid in my regimen to address some skin damage I have from working outdoors. I have read in various places that using two acne medications on the skin at once negates the effectiveness of both. So I only use the benzoyl peroxide mixed with jojoba oil at night.

As for the mineral makeup causing acne- I had acne even before I started wearing make up. I have only recently converted to mineral wear because I was suspicious of the parabens in the liquid foundation i had been using. I have not noticed any aggravation due to the mineral foundation.

Lastly, I kicked my coffee habit. I've replaced my daily 16oz. of brew with green tea. Experienced some caffeine withdrawl (headaches, sweating) but managed to not give in.

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