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Vanbelle

So Close (1st Post Contains Updated Regimen)

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History:

Got acne in around 9 years old, ~2001.
The Carnival Ride of Treatments...

2001-2008: ProActiv, Clearasil, Neutrogena, and derm products like Retin-A and antibiotics. I can't remember it all but I tried every product in the drugstore and my derm always had me trying some new gel or cream.

2008, I went on a 6-month course of Accutane, and lasted 5 months before I couldn't stand side effects.

2009, Had clear skin for about a year from Accutane.

2010, I joined Acne.org. I tried the regimen, and felt like I was in prison...not for me.

2010-2012, you can find a log of me trying everything I could find. Water-only, oil cleansing, a bunch of hole-in-the-wall companies. I tried masks, distilled oils, oatmeal, and a lot of "natural" "DIY" methods, at-home high-strength chemical peels. None of it proved fruitful.

2013, I consulted a dietitian who opened my mind to a better way to eat. I struggled following her diet, but I still strive to live by those principles until this day.

Later 2013, I went to a skincare clinic who put me on their regimen. They had an incredible success rate with their patients, and I learned even more about skincare. 

2014, I could never stay consistently clear and skincare was WAY too expensive. I had to leave home for school, and so I made a decision to give up and focus on other things. I've been using Acne.org's cleanser and moisturizer since. :new_smiley_19:

2015, I started introducing exfoliants again. Acne.org's 10% glycolic, Paula's BHA, and green cream. 

Now I think I'm ready to focus on my skincare again. End of 2015:

 

Skin

Highly vulnerable to small bumps and clogged pores. No cystic acne really.

Localized to my jawline and neck, back and chest.


Updated Skincare Routine 4/15/16
MORNING
~Skincare~
Deep cleanse Acne.org Cleanser + Clarisonic  for face/neck (cashmere head)
Exfoliate (manual) sponge with Acne.org cleanser on back/chest in shower
Exfoliate (chemical) Paula's BHA Liquid  -or- PC 1% BHA lotion for dry skin days
Soothe + protect Daytime antioxidant serum + Vit C
Back + chest PC BHA 2% for back/chest + PC Retinol Moisturizer

~Makeup~ *Warning, So much makeup*
Face Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer
Cheeks Lancome Blush + Too Faced Chocolate Bronzer + Becca Liquid Shimmer Perfector
Eyes Too Faced Eye Primer + Too Face Matte Palette Eye Shadow + Dior Base Eyelash Base Coat + Benefit "They're Real" Mascara Top Coat
Eyebrows Anastasia Brow Pencil + Bobbi Brown Eyebrow Color Mascara
Setting MAC Fix+ Setting Spray + Charlotte Tilbury Setting Pressed Powder + Lancome pressed powder reapplied as needed throughout the day
Lips Lancome Lip Liner + Clinique Lip Tint, or literally any of my lip colors
Chest Sephora green color corrector + Sally Hansen Airbrushed Tanner Finish 

NIGHT
Remove makeup Jojoba oil massage (to lift makeup)
Deep cleanse Acne.org Cleanser + Clarisonic  for face/neck (cashmere head)
Exfoliate (chemical) PC 2% BHA liquid exfoliant
Prevent Level 6 Green Cream retinol every night
Soothe + protect Nighttime Antioxidant serum + Vit C + HA Serum
Moisturize 2:1 Acne.org + Jojoba Oil
Back + chest PC BHA 2% for back/chest 

Edited by Vanbelle

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You sound similar to me - acne mainly around the jaw and avoiding sugar and grains helps :)

I always try to be careful with what i put on my face - avoiding too many harsh chemicals/irritants and using more natural products like rosehip oil. Ultimately though i believe acne is caused by something internal. Why else would diet have such an effect? 

Why does reducing sugar and grains (carbs really) help??? Is it that we have blood sugar issues which could then effect hormones, or is it some digestive issue wherby lowering carb intake removes the main food source of bad bacteria ?? Thats what i'm trying to figure out.

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On 12/13/2015, 2:10:48, Geekgirl13 said:

You sound similar to me - acne mainly around the jaw and avoiding sugar and grains helps :)

I always try to be careful with what i put on my face - avoiding too many harsh chemicals/irritants and using more natural products like rosehip oil. Ultimately though i believe acne is caused by something internal. Why else would diet have such an effect? 

Why does reducing sugar and grains (carbs really) help??? Is it that we have blood sugar issues which could then effect hormones, or is it some digestive issue wherby lowering carb intake removes the main food source of bad bacteria ?? Thats what i'm trying to figure out.

 

My money is on the former absolutely. Of course, if we have a good bacterial setup to help digest the carbohydrates we take in, that might soften the hormonal blow. And yet, I still do pretty well with potatoes, rice and bananas. A low carb me is not a happy me, mainly because my stomach isn't robust enough to digest an all-protein diet. :/

 

Update! Got my clarisonic Mia 3! Round 1...fight!!

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24 minutes ago, Vanbelle said:

 

My money is on the former absolutely. Of course, if we have a good bacterial setup to help digest the carbohydrates we take in, that might soften the hormonal blow. And yet, I still do pretty well with potatoes, rice and bananas. A low carb me is not a happy me, mainly because my stomach isn't robust enough to digest an all-protein diet. :/

 

Update! Got my clarisonic Mia 3! Round 1...fight!!

Can I use a clarisonic on my acne prone skin? Or it's going to irritate more?

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35 minutes ago, oyinkan98 said:

Can I use a clarisonic on my acne prone skin? Or it's going to irritate more?

 

It absolutely can irritate your acne and make matters worse. I deal with small bumps that aren't inflamed, so I don't generally have to worry about irritating my bumps. 

If you have red bumps sensitive to touch, I wouldn't mess with it.

I went into a sephora though, and saw they have come out with a "cashmere" luxury brush head, which is incredibly soft to the touch. Softer than the "sensitive" brush heads that come with it. You could start out with the cashmere and work your way up as your acne clears. 

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Update:

~Using Clarisonic! Luxe cashmere head feels amazing, and buffs the skin wonderfully without being too harsh.
2/6/2016: Still fantastic. Definitely a forever staple in my regimen.

~Switched to Dior airflash foundation, and using Cover FX primer *sometimes*. Probably not the best idea to introduce both items into the routine at once.
2/6/2016: Returned both products, as I found Bobbi Brown's tinted foundation and fell in LOVE. I'll be sticking with this foundation for a LONG time.

~Just got in the mail my Paula's Choice antioxidant toner. Antioxidants are reported to having great anti-acne results when compared against retinols. I'd be stupid not to give it a try, considering how well my skin responds to retinol.
2/6/2016: Stupid toner. Did not like. I returned and instead bought high-concentration antioxidant serum, which I have been preferring. 

~Using clinique's eye cream. Got it as a free Sephora sample.
2/6/2016: Haven't seen amazing benefits from it. Still trying to think of an eye care regimen.

2 more things I am looking into, but do not wish to introduce until these new products have settled in as a routine:

~PMD, the personal microderm at-home device. 2/6/2016: Will not be moving forward with this. I'm exfoliating enough chemically that this would completely destroy my skin.

~microneedling, to help with acne scarring. I don't have much, however I do have some. I also wonder if this could help with stretch marks. 2/6/2016: Still have yet to try this. Waiting until skin is adjusted to my exfoliants and is more clear.

Edited by Vanbelle

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It's the holidays...eating so much sugar! Need to cut back.
2/6/2016: I have cut back substantially :) the only sources of sugar I'm really getting are in fruit. Can you believe it?!

Edited by Vanbelle

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On 25/12/2015, 03:48:26, Vanbelle said:

It's the holidays...eating so much sugar! Need to cut back.

Me too! I am back to being good with my diet but i know i will be sorry about that cake i ate yesterday when i breakout in a whole lot of big, red sore pimples :(

 

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On 12/26/2015, 2:58:33, Geekgirl13 said:

Me too! I am back to being good with my diet but i know i will be sorry about that cake i ate yesterday when i breakout in a whole lot of big, red sore pimples :(

 

 

Tell me about it...It's the worst! I suppose you just have to enjoy it and know the coming breakouts are what they are. I definitely held back this holiday season and am less bloated and have less breakouts than usual, however, and I had more energy to tackle lots of different tasks. Overall I'm happy about that side effect :)

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Sugar

No matter the product, supplement or sleep regimen, sugar will always and forever give me acne. I love thee, so so much. I'm not sure if I'll ever be clear thanks to this downfall. Here's to hoping I get lucky and it stops affecting me.

Edited by Vanbelle

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Level 6 Green Cream, working like a dream. LOVE THAT STUFF. Everyone needs green cream!
2/8/2016: Just ran out! Waaaah! Paula's Choice 1% Retinol coming in the mail :). If I don't like it, I'll return and order Level 9.

My PMD came in the mail and I have yet to mess with it or test it. It's definitely a little scary, considering the results others get from it--a.k.a. the scars.
2/8/2016: Returning. I'm using too many chemical exfoliants at this point for this to be a good idea. It could very severely damage the skin barrier. 

I have started a supplement regimen. So far I have:
Updated 2/8/2016
Daily
Vitamin D3
Magnesium
Vitamin C
Vitamin K2 (M7)
Vitamin B-5
Iodine
Vitamin E
Hyperbiotic Pro-15 2x/day
D-mannose Supplement


2-3x/wk
Selenium
Zinc
Vitamin B-complex

With Food
NOW Super Enzyme
Betaine HCL

Edited by Vanbelle

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I can't find a probiotic spray on the market that seems worth my time, so I'll have to abandon that. 
2/7/2016: Still nothing on the market. Not particularly interested in messing with this anymore.

I have added a second probiotic. The probiotic I was (and still am) taking, I don't feel worked very well for me, and I wonder if the capsule formulation is to blame. I bought a probiotic that has a better design, and it really really seems to be helping.
2/7/2016: 
Hyperbiotic's female formulation worked VERY well taken 2x/day, and my digestion normalized as long as I ate to caloric maintenance (and not more!) on a daily basis. I ran out of this bottle quickly...it's ~$20 for 30 tablets. They have another formulation that isn't advertised as gender-specific, with $20 for ~60 tablets. I repurchased this product instead.
The probiotics are working fine, but I feel it's not as good (for me) than the first bottle. I don't claim to know why. I have not once read of some probiotics being better or worse if you are male or female. That aside, I noticed a greater benefit with the female one, and that's really all that matters to me at this point.
As usual, I will finish this bottle and reconsider buying the female-specific formulation for my next purchase, and provide an update.


I purchased 3 new products, and am officially broke. I won't be purchasing anything new, any time soon.

Charlotte Tilbury's Goddess Clay Mask
2/7/2016: This product was never advertised for acne, just for great skin. And it's not produced by a skincare company--just a makeup brand with a famous makeup artist as the sole formulator and inventor of the products. It smells good, I like it, I have no idea if it's doing jack sh**. All I can do is use it religiously and then observe changes once I run out.

Paula's Choice Super-Light Antioxidant serum
Paula's Choice Super Antioxidant concentrate serum
2/7/2016: I feel good that I've added these products in. Having 2 serums of antioxidants is unecessary; however, either I could use one serum morning/night and repurchase twice as often, or use 2 different serums and potentially gain more benefit from the different ingredients for essentially the same price. It's a good carrier for the Vit C and HA boosters I currently have.

I originally turned my nose at hyaluronic acid, because it molecularly cannot pass the skin barrier; however, a lot of products don't pass the skin barrier. That doesn't mean it doesn't have any benefit.
2/7/2016: Paula's Choice HA serum is formulated with both low and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, one of which can pass the skin barrier, and another that stays on top--both providing different benefits. So a double-punch HA serum? Sounds good enough. Again, these are the company's claims. All in all, I'm happy with the serum and don't feel much need for a moisturizer when I apply this after my exfoliants.

My cleanser and moisturizer are remaining from Acne.org. I have no interest in changing those things at this time.
2/7/2016: I purchased Mychelle fruit enzyme cleanser, a cleanser I know well and remember having good effects on my skin. Trying it again, however, I'm not noticing much difference. The other products in my routine are most likely doing a good enough job to dwarf the minimal benefit that this cleanser used to give. That is my best guess. Will use this entire bottle and will not repurchase.

Edited by Vanbelle

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On 1/17/2016, 12:21:03, Vanbelle said:

I can't find a probiotic spray on the market that seems worth my time, so I'll have to abandon that. 

I have added a second probiotic. The probiotic I was (and still am) taking, I don't feel worked very well for me, and I wonder if the capsule formulation is to blame. If the capsule can't survive the stomach acid, the bacteria will all die! I bought a probiotic that has a better design, and it really really seems to be helping.

I purchased 3 new products, and am officially broke. I won't be purchasing anything new, any time soon.

Charlotte Tilbury's Goddess Clay Mask
Paula's Choice Super-Light Antioxidant serum
Paula's Choice Super Antioxidant concentrate serum

Both serums offer something a little different. Waiting for them in the mail. One of them has hyaluronic acid, the other has glutathione.

I originally turned my nose at hyaluronic acid, because it molecularly cannot pass the skin barrier; however, a lot of products don't pass the skin barrier. That doesn't mean it doesn't have any benefit.

My cleanser and moisturizer are remaining from Acne.org. I have no interest in changing those things at this time.


You have to take probiotics for a while to begin seeing the initial rebalancing of our aerobic/anaerobic bacterium colonies that make up the gastrointestinal microbiota.   I guess you could also ponder that the more drastic your bacterial inbalance is the longer the initial duration to consider before stopping.  I usually wait about 6-8 weeks before I make any more decisions about futher continuation.  However that's ony when I take live cultures in capsules.  I eat a probiotic greek yogurt everyday that I mix a half a cup oats and 3 TBSPs of chlorella blue-green algae (broken cell).

Who told you hyaluronate cannot pass through the skin or that the skin is an impassable barrier?  You should slap them.

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On 1/19/2016, 2:00:42, BaxterMcDoobinson said:

You have to take probiotics for a while to begin seeing the initial rebalancing of our aerobic/anaerobic bacterium colonies that make up the gastrointestinal microbiota.   I guess you could also ponder that the more drastic your bacterial inbalance is the longer the initial duration to consider before stopping.  I usually wait about 6-8 weeks before I make any more decisions about futher continuation.  However that's ony when I take live cultures in capsules.  I eat a probiotic greek yogurt everyday that I mix a half a cup oats and 3 TBSPs of chlorella blue-green algae (broken cell).

Who told you hyaluronate cannot pass through the skin or that the skin is an impassable barrier?  You should slap them.

Lol....
 

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Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid): This week I bumped up my dose and plan to hold it at this dose so as long as new breakouts aren't emerging. No need to take more, although some people take  so much more than what I'm currently dosing.
2/6/2016
My sugar intake has dropped substantially, and so has my dairy consumption. As such, it's very hard for me to attribute this B5 to the state of my skin. Still, bumps on my neck have faded, which is fantastic...that's a VERY stubborn area for me.

Edited by Vanbelle

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Got 2 new products finally in the mail: Paula's Choice antioxidant serums, 2. Both have slightly different formulations. I follow Acne Einstein's blog from time to time, and he's written about antioxidants and their benefits alongside (or even in leu of) retinols.
2/6/2016
My friend commented that my skin was looking so much more even lately. The antioxidants + Vit C might be at play. I'll definitely keep using them! 

Edited by Vanbelle

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Ok, so I might be buying a TON from Paula...they know their stuff much more than I realized. I'm digging their Vit C and HA booster serums, even their retinol.
I thought I was doing pretty good with my Level 6 Green Cream. But Level 6 = 0.6% Retinol 2-3x/wk. But they have a 1% Retinol they say you can wear every night...! Damn!
I'm definitely going to up my retinol Level 6 to every night, then bump to either the Level 9 or Paula. Also considering switching out the spot treatment to Paula too. They just know their stuff.
2/7/2016: PC has a Valentine's sale of 20% off a product purchase. Took this opportunity to purchase their 1% retinol, and will either wait until Level 6 is used up, or will start titrating in usage of the 1%, alternating 1% and Level 6. 

Edited by Vanbelle

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Paula's Choice BHA 2% is way too drying. After one application, the skin on my neck completely flaked off and my face felt SO tight. 
Edit: spoke too soon about the 2%. But I'll be switching between 2% and 1% when/if my skin is feeling dry. 

I bumped up my green cream to every night and I'm so glad I did! My skin has adjusted and feels quite good!
Edit: will be ordering Paula's 1% retinol soon to integrate into skincare. 0.6% bumped up to 1% will be dramatic!

However, for the bumps I do have, I have a lot of PIE (post-inflammatory erythema). I purchased the Vit C booster from PC and I hope it helps, although they recommend their even MORE concentrated Vit C serum for this purpose. Yikes...more $$$. I'm starting to notice a pattern, haha.

2/6/2016
When you apply the liquid solution to the face, then continue to add products to your face and neck, that product will spread to your neck, unless you treat the neck completely separately from the face.
I've had to start doing this, because the liquid BHA is so drying for my neck, that my neck is now patchy, red and flaking terribly JUST from residual un-absorbed product spreading down with other moisturizers and serums. Gotta be careful. 
Retinol has thus far NOT been drying to my neck, which is fantastic. At least some active product can be used. 

Edited by Vanbelle

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What sorcery is this product? What sorcery is this??
When I first started using it, admittedly my neck dried out super quick and my face felt very tight. I get scared so I didn't want to continue, but I did notice my skin looking so nice. So...I've kept using it over the past week or so. I think my skin is adjusting (maybe?) but anyhow, holy SMOOTHNESS batman!

2/3/2016 Began peeling on my chin. Slowing down 2% over the next couple days, then will ramp up again. :)
2/10/2016 I ramped down, then when I re-introduced this this, I mixed a few drops BHA and a few drops jojoba oil. That has completely eliminated the tightness feeling! Neck is still ultra sensitive, so that is still difficult.
2/19/2016: Bumped up the BHA to 2x/day, REALLY digging it. No dryness. As long as you mix in oil, it's fine. I use this BHA as my first product layer morning and night.

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Edited by Vanbelle

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On 1/21/2016 at 10:21 AM, Vanbelle said:

Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid): This week I bumped up my dose and plan to hold it at this dose so as long as new breakouts aren't emerging. No need to take more, although some people take  so much more than what I'm currently dosing.

2/6/2016
My sugar intake has dropped substantially, and so has my dairy consumption. As such, it's very hard for me to attribute this B5 to the state of my skin. Still, bumps on my neck have faded, which is fantastic...that's a VERY stubborn area for me.


Please please please don't be another foolish individual who logically concluded that taking 5,000mg of pantothenic acid a day is remotely normal in any circumstances, let alone one that doesn't have it's complimentary assimilation compounds properly adjusted for compensation.  I tried explaining it before in that popular thread residing in the Diet section, but it was futile.  Even provided sourcing material and direct quotations to specific sections of the scholarly journal.

I've been using a tone correcting serum as well by Neutrogena, but it's using glycolic acid vs. hyalauronic acid and it has comparable ingredients regarding retinol and L-ascorbic acid.  Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) will really have it's most effective results when combined with a high potency source of B-Complex vitamins and our micromineral zinc especially (Zinc and B5 interact and collectively work towards one location referencing nutrient transportation).

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17 hours ago, BaxterMcDoobinson said:

Please please please don't be another foolish individual who logically concluded that taking 5,000mg of pantothenic acid a day is remotely normal in any circumstances, let alone one that doesn't have it's complimentary assimilation compounds properly adjusted for compensation.  I tried explaining it before in that popular thread residing in the Diet section, but it was futile.  Even provided sourcing material and direct quotations to specific sections of the scholarly journal.

I've been using a tone correcting serum as well by Neutrogena, but it's using glycolic acid vs. hyalauronic acid and it has comparable ingredients regarding retinol and L-ascorbic acid.  Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) will really have it's most effective results when combined with a high potency source of B-Complex vitamins and our micromineral zinc especially (Zinc and B5 interact and collectively work towards one location referencing nutrient transportation).

I would really appreciate it if you didn't comment on this log.. I'm not really seeing eye to eye with you and not interested in having a academic journal link battle. Nothing against you personally, as I'm sure you're great and you mean well in the end.

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Paula's Choice "Resist" BHA lotion for my back has been working SO well, that I no longer feel it necessary to use Acne.org's 10% AHA moisturizer. I have a huge tub of it, so I wondered what to do with it. Why not use it for my arms, legs, and more? I've replaced my normal moisturizer with this AHA, and my legs are sooooooo smooth now it's insane! My boyfriend will love this :P


Dairy
I haven't explicitly done a no-dairy diet. However, I have been consuming so much less dairy now that I use almond milk instead of creamer in my morning coffee. Last night, I used up all the dairy I had left (cream, cheese, sour cream) to make an omelette and had a last meal of sorts. I think I'll be eliminating dairy from my diet. Even after eating that meal, I could tell I felt rather bloated and lethargic and...it just wasn't good. What's more, ANY breakouts I've been seeing, usually preceded some dairy. It's hard to track those kind of things, but I will eliminate it. I feel leaner without it.

Edited by Vanbelle

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So....Vitamin C is the best thing ever? My skin looks so incredibly even. I'll definitely keep using the 15% concentrate, but I might give in and purchase a 25% concentrate. Paula's Choice got me so broke, but my skin just looks friggin awesome. I love it.

Seriously, my skin is looking so goodddddd. My jawline is still a little stubborn, but once that is gone, my skin will be fantastic. I might have to start tanning to enhance an even glow. But that's kind of the finishing touch.

Edited by Vanbelle

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Exfoliate & Hydrate

As usual, life gets hectic and keeping a consistent log is difficult. But my current routine of exfoliating, hydrating + vit C has helped so much. Moisturize moisturize moisturize. What's more, the Clarisonic has changed my skin and cleansing routine. 

I highly recommend anyone on this site to use Jojoba oil for makeup. Every night I hop in the shower, I grab the bottle of jojoba I ordered from the .org store, and take a sizable amount and massage it all over my face. Then I take the .org cleanser and clarisonic and cleanse it all off. My makeup is OFF after I do this, and it is absolutely necessary to prevent breakouts. The shower is so helpful, because I never avoid any areas of my hairline or neck to prevent dripping or messiness.

The vitamin C has helped my complexion tremendously, and I will keep using it. I think BHA + Vit C has stolen the show, when my old favorite product was my retinol. I just can't get enough of the PC skincare, it is life. If you can find a way to afford it, I don't think you'll be disappointed!

 

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I've completely run out of my oil serum that I used with my BHA liquid. After running out, my skin has been feeling even better without it. My skin feels a little dryer, however. 

I also am still trying to eat as little sugar as possible. It gets easier every day, but honestly it sucks. Food is so comforting, and what I'm gaining from it IS worth it, but I have such an emotional relationship with food. It's who I am. But I'm still going to be diligent, and hopefully get to a point where I can have treats and it be okay.

Ran out of 15% Vit-C. Purchased 25% Vit-C. More is better? In this instance, god I hope so.

Jawline and neck still broken out. I'm going to wear minimal makeup for a while and see if that helps. I always looooove experimenting and seeing what happens; and now that I'm on spring break, I don't mind.

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