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Atralin/aczone Personal Log

I've used this site for many years for advice on OTC fixes for my acne, but nothing was working and I broke down and went to the dermatologist. I'm 27 and have only recently had terrible cystic acne, breaking out around my periods. I have had mild to moderate acne since I went off birth control about a year and a half ago and switched to an IUD without hormones. I thought it might resolve once my hormones sorted themselves out, but the acne has just gotten worse over time.

I've been prescribed Aczone, Atralin, and Solodyn and have been using them since August 16th (almost 2 weeks), washing with Cetaphil. I had an initial breakout about a week ago and stopped Atralin for 4 days and just applied it again last night. I will start applying it every 3 days for a week and a half, then every 2, every other, then every night. I peeled terribly about 3 days after starting the new regimen and that prompted me to take it easy on the Atralin as well.

So far, old marks have been fading and I have developed new cystic pimples, 2 of which I think may have been brewing before I started this new regimen. Blackheads appear to be coming to the surface, one of which decided to turn into a whitehead that also decided never to come to a head. I'll have to just wait that one out. Like I stated earlier, I just applied Atralin again last night after a 4-day reprieve, and all 4 cysts that I currently have have already gone down in size and redness has decreased.

The solodyn does make me very tired, so I've started taking that at night.

The aczone has helped while I haven't been using the atralin, helping some of the cystic acne calm down. It does make my skin peel a bit, so I started using my clarisonic in the mornings about 2 days ago. I think the clarisonic is helping to get rid of the dead skin which might have been irritating and creating the new pimples.

I have been taking pictures, but at this point I'm a little too embarrased to post them to be honest. I've never had acne this bad and it's done a real number on my confidence, which has always been high.

I think once it starts getting better I'll be more confident in posting the pictures. I can see it getting better in some places and worse in others. Only time will tell! I do hope that I have positive results to show the dermatologist when I go for my follow up visit in about 4 more weeks.

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Man I typed this long update and something happened and it's gone.

Shorter version! Most of the pimples on my left cheek came to a head a couple of days ago and they're now gone. Skin peeled today, it seems always about 48 hours after atralin use, an entire layer peels off only on the areas affected by acne. Any clear areas don't really peel at all.

I have one brand new pimple, of course, right smack dab in the middle of my forehead that just showed up yesterday afternoon. The good thing is that it isn't a huge mound like usual and it isn't terribly inflamed. It is a decent size, but not at all like what I usually get in that area. This is a good test to see how my regimen works on new pimples.

My face overall looks worse, only because of the hyperpigmentation. I have a lot of new hyperpigmentation from what I thought were blackheads that just went away on their own the past few days around the right side of my mouth/jaw. So my skin looks a lot worse than it is, acne wise.

So as of now I have a total of 4 old active pimples (old meaning started before or was already a blackhead that turned into a pimple when I started) and 1 new one. I have over 50 hyperpigmentation marks, about 10 of which are fairly large (almost m&m size), and the rest are smaller, a little bigger than the size of a poppy seed.

I'll post some photos either tomorrow or on the weekend of the progress, though looking at the pictures, it looks like it's much worse. I have to keep reminding myself that it's just because of the dark spots. Much better than the 20 or so large active pimples I had a couple of weeks ago and during the IB.

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A brand new cyst showed up on my chin this morning. I figured I would get a couple, I'm about to start my period and so far that's when I break out the most. But really, 2 pimples is not at all bad. And they aren't really huge mounds, so I'm thankful for that.

The one on my forehead is about the same size as it was yesterday, but is painful to the touch. My skin peeled all around my jaw area again today, but the skin underneath was not irritated.

One of the active ones is hard and feels as if it should pop, but one of the "don't pick" posts has inspired me to leave it alone, as well as the one on my forehead that I would normally try to mess with at this point.

The solodyn is making me so tired... but I know it's really helping, so I'm dedicated to continuing its use.

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Well, glad to say I only have 2 active pimples (both of which are new, forehead and one under my eye) and an additional 1 on its way out. Now I have a lot of hyperpigmentation to get rid of. I'm using Philosophy's dark skin corrector to help me out, applying every other night only directly on the spots that are darker, not on the entire face.

My skin is still peeling every day in thin sheets, still mostly where either an active pimple is or where there is hyperpigmentation.

The solodyn is still making me tired, but now it's hitting me later in the day, about 1 or 2 pm instead of all day. I'm also starting to get headaches, which I attribute to the medication since I never get headaches in general. It's kind of a throbbing all over headache, not centralized anywhere.

Tomorrow starts every other day with atralin instead of every 2 days. I think my skin is reacting well, so I am skipping from every 3 days to every other day. I'm trying to avoid another breakout, but judging on the frequency of my skin peeling and the lack of irritation, I think it's ok to increase the frequency. My skin always looks so refreshed/calmed the next morning after using atralin.

On a side note, I think that the aczone reacts terribly with makeup foundation. By the end of the day, sometimes the liquid foundation starts to dry up, which never happened before, and it'll ball up if I try to blot throughout the day. It's not so bad that you can see from a normal distance, I'm sure I'm the only one that can tell.

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So all of my old pimples are gone, have 2 new active pimples. One on the left side of my face kind of near my mouth that I got 2 days ago and the other on my right temple that showed up this morning. I don't know where the one of the left side of my face came from, but it's not huge and inflamed as they usually get. I do realize that I've been neglecting to put any product on my temples, so that might be where that one came from. I rarely get pimples on my temples, usually only when I don't wash thoroughly.

My skin peeled madly yesterday, came off in sheets again. However, I am very happy that each time my skin peels, all of my hyperpigmentation gets a shade or two lighter and smaller in area. There's still so much though. I've also noticed that my laugh lines are less pronounced, so that's nice.

Switching to every other day for the atralin seems to be going ok, so I think I'll keep on this track for 2 weeks at least before I move to every night. Using the clarisonic every morning doesn't seem to be irritating my skin at all and definitely helps with removing the dead skin from peeling.

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Just an update! Just one pimple remaining, it's one that developed about 2 days ago because I broke down and messed with what I thought was a blackhead. Oh well, lesson learned. No more picking (again).

Other than that, I only have hyperpigmentation left to battle with. My skin continues to peel about every other day and my skin has been feeling more noticeably smooth and calm. I remember that my skin used to itch in one or more places throughout the day, but I haven't had that in at least a couple of weeks.

The hyperpigmentation is getting slowly better. I'm just glad I haven't had pimple after pimple creating more dark spots. It's really a great relief.

At this point, my skin seems to have more or less stabilized and things seem to be going very well. I don't know if it's a fluke that the effects of the 3 products are already working nicely or if I'm in for something terrible in the next couple of weeks, but even looking closely in the mirror at my skin, it looks very healthy and calm.

I also forgot that I had some acne on my back and my boyfriend commented that my back looks nice. Not a single pimple there. I don't apply anything to my back, so that must be the solodyn working.

As for the effects of the solodyn, I no longer get tired or have headaches at the end of the day. I'm still doing atralin every other day, and aczone twice a day on the days without the atralin at night.

I was going to post pictures this past weekend, but I'm getting so excited about my progress, I'd rather have another week or two to show a better then/now transition. It definitely looks like picture one is better than now, but only because of the hyperpigmentation caused by the breakout after starting the products.

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