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24/F - acne/hormones/picking - treating with progesterone, retin-a, otc products

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Hey ppl, I've found myself lurking around these forums a lot lately, so I figured I'd start a log here instead of continuing to ramble about my skin on my tumblr account. Hopefully this will help me be more organized with my regimen and accurately track whatever changes (hopefully) happen.

 

I've had acne since I was 14. It gets worse and it gets better and it changes and it pops up in new, previously unblemished areas of skin. The appearance of my skin truly holds me back in life, I really can't overstate the negative impact it has on me. Not only is it terrible for my confidence, I am a compulsive skin picker, so having acne and blocked pores all over my face and body is TIME CONSUMING and painful. For the last few years I’ve spend HOURS each week picking and squeezing at my skin, and I get very obsessive about it and go overboard which just worsens the appearance of the skin. It’s this really depressing cycle of obsession with and hopelessness about my appearance and feeling like I’m vile. I don’t feel free to wear any of the things that other young women wear, I don’t feel like I have a nice enough figure to ‘get away with’ having acne, I avoid any situation or state of undress where my skin is exposed, it’s this constant background stress that sometimes gets turned on high when I’m threatened. I’m not living life to the fullest, and it’s not solely because I have acne, but I know that things would be really different if I didn’t.

I haven't tried a ton of stuff to treat my acne, at least not in a really committed way. Tried antibiotics at age 15 or 16, they did help but I stopped taking them because I knew how awful they were for my body and how damaging and useless they would be long-term. Started Retin-A at 16, it worked wonderfully for me but I quit after like a year, I don’t even remember why, probably I just didn’t want to be on any prescriptions and I was looking for a holistic treatment. I started out with acne on my face and chest. After going on birth control pills (ortho-tricyclin, generic tri-nessa) to treat my hormonal issues (irregular cycle, mood problems, hyperandrogenism) and then going off the pills because they didn’t really help me, my irregular cycle kind of resolved itself, and I experienced some other positive effects, but my androgen problem got worse over time to the tune of hair growth around my chin and ‘happy trail’ and acne on my neck, shoulders, back, and butt (yep). Progesterone cream didn’t do anything. Tried generic Retin-A last year and it didn’t do anything. Tried cod liver oil, vitamin A, and zinc, didn’t do a lot.

 

My skin issues:I have pretty dry skin and my face is also dry but then it does that thing where it’s dry and oily at the same time. The quality of my skin is very very poor from like, the last 1.5 weeks of my cycle thru the first half a week of my next cycle. Just like, dry + oily, comedones, feeling not smooth, dull look. I feel like I’m constantly squeezing out pores. Sometimes those little yellowish transparent beads, sometimes thicker, dryish white stuff.

I get blocked pores/follicles that become inflamed like, everywhere on my body. Arms, legs, torso, not just in places where there are a lot of androgen receptors.

My skin seems to take FOREVER to heal, and it’s really hard for me to leave things alone while they heal. I have very minor, superficial scarring on my face, so it’s a bit dull and not completely smooth. On my shoulders and chest though, I have terrible hyperpigmentation and some hypertrophic scarring. And things seem to heal even slower on my chest and shoulders and wherever else than on my face. I feel like if my skin healed at more of a normal rate and didn’t leave such horrible, long-lasting marks behind, it wouldn’t be such a big deal each time a new pore went to hell. But my skin just functions so /shittily/ that blemishes don’t just come and go in a matter of days or even a week or two, they’re these big ugly drawn out events that last weeks or months and then there’s so many going on at the same time that I’m just always a mess.

 

Treatments:I’m going to a doc in a few days to get a referral to a dermatologist. Hopefully she’ll be able to write me a Retin-A scrip so I don’t have to wait to be able to see the dermatologist first. But anyway, since Retin-A micro 0.04% (the ortho-neutrogena one in the pump) worked for me before, I’m going to try it again. Gonna order it from Canada because I think it’s like $400-$500 a tube in the US now for some reason??

I’ve also been using 30% glycolic acid very occasionally. I was impatient and made the mistake of trying to start with 70% - that was 5 months ago and there’s still a bit of scarring on my left shoulder and below my navel. I’m going to have to get electrolysis done there, and also on my chin, because I keep ending up with ingrown hairs that result in horrible inflammation and scarring and PIH.

If I can get good results out of the supplements and have fewer breakouts and faster skin healing, then I will be able to use the acid more often and with better results.

If things improve, I have a gel by Murad which has AHAs and hydroquinone that I plan to use on the areas with the worst hyperpigmentation.

 

Products/hygiene:I’m not big on topicals, don’t really see them as a way to fix things, I’m focusing on keeping my skin moisturized really. Just using some no-frills cleansers on my face and a moisturizing shower gel for my body with scrubby shower gloves. Avoiding petrolatum/mineral oil and silicones.. except for my foundation which has silicone lol. The moisturizer I’ve been using on my face is Fresh black tea anti-aging or something. I got a sample of it and I like it, I’ll probably buy the full size. I don’t know, knowing how systemic my acne/skin issues are, it’s not like I can attribute it to some product or ingredient.

 

Diet:I'm not a huge believer in restriction-oriented diet and have a history of disordered eating - I'm more about intuitive eating and trying to make sure my body just has what it needs. That said I did absorb some things from my paleo days - I avoid PUFAs, don't eat much dairy and only drink raw milk, don't really eat packaged crackers and cookies and things like that. I'm not gonna eat low carb or avoid fruit, I just haven't seen a rationale for it that holds up, and carbs make me feel balanced and energized. Since improving my health a few years ago by kicking my eating disorder and learning how to better manage my stress & emotional issues I no longer feel like I have a problematic relationship with sugar, the sweet tooth is dead.

 

Supplements:

-Zinc 1-2x daily (9.5mg as zinc orotate)

-Vitamin C 1-2x daily (1000mg as calcium ascorbate with citrus bioflavonoids)

-Magnesium 1-2x daily (200mg as magnesium glycinate)

-L-Lysine daily (1000mg)

-Iodine a few times a week (like 70-200mcg, depending on how many drops, as potassium iodide)

-Selenium a few times a week (200mcg as L-selenomethionine)

-Vitamin B6 daily (50mg as pyridoxine)

-Carlson's Cod Liver Oil a few times a week (1tbsp)

-Vitamin A a few times a week (15000iu as retinyl palmitate)

-Great Lakes Collagen and Gelatin powder daily (a few teaspoons - I just choose collagen or gelatin based on what I'm mixing it into)

 

With the iodine, I think I'm gonna switch to Lugol's and then work out the dosing. Need to figure out the zinc dosing too, and maybe try optizinc or zinc picolinate. I do think that the modest dose of zinc orotate helps with inflammation though, so for now I'll leave it. May also add a B complex. The lysine probably won't stay in the daily lineup after I finish the bottle, I just picked some up cuz I read it helps wound healing. If it runs out and things go downhill I'll get more. I don't know what form of vitamin C is best either... gonna stick to this for now.

Sooo all that's really new here is vitamin C, lysine, selenium, iodine, and collagen/gelatin. Collagen hasn't done much on its own, however I think that now that I've added C my body will be able to make better use of it.

Anyway the things I’m taking, it’s stuff that I’ve landed on after years of reading and skimming about hormones and skin and acne, this is what’s stuck, and for some non-reason I’ve always ignored vitamin C until now. Gonna try to stay relaxed and hydrated, I’d be thrilled to see some level of improvement, particularly with the body acne.

Status 3/15: I started taking the vitamin C, iodine, and lysine about a week ago, maybe a little less. My skin has been looking better, rather than worse, which is very unusual because normally in the week before my period, my skin looks progressively worse. I just started my period today and I haven’t noticed any new breakouts. I only started using the moisturizing shower gel recently and I would say that the appearance and feeling of my chest and shoulders is better, I’ll just keep using it. I started selenium two days ago, will take it again today. I just don't wanna risk taking too much and getting my selenium/iodine out of whack.

Edited by fisk

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3/16: I don't wanna update a lot in a short span of time because I am expecting things to kind of shift back and forth and I'm trying not to make too much out of every new thing that pops up but anyway, last night and again this morning it was so weird, I ran my fingers over my chest and for the first time in..... I don't even know how long, there aren't little scabs all over me.

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3/22: My shoulders are healing up, no new cysts. Sometimes I just don't get any new cysts for a while though, so I'll see how that goes. This week I have two new cysts, upper back :/ I'm mostly just interested to see how garbagey my skin turns once I get closer to the end of my cycle and if it will look better than it did on the last cycle. I've also decided to take a B complex....... hmm what else. I got a referral to a dermatologist so I'll be able to make an appointment to get Retin-A soon.

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Hi there! Our situations sound slightly similar. I also suffer from PF, and I can totally relate to the effect it can have on someone's self esteem. My face is clear from acne, however my chest/neck/back/shoulders have small whiteheads, which no matter what I do, do not go away. I've been to the dermatologist numerous times, and the Ketaconazole shampoo (used as a topical on skin) and cream do not seem to be working as well as they used to. I've been prescribed 150mg of Fluconazole, and I will give it a shot, but I have read that the symptoms can get worse and/or come back. Living in a place that is sunny most of the year makes it hard to wear tank tops, or bathing suits, and I don't feel comfortable with exposing my skin for everyone to see. I also suffer from Seborrheic Dermatitis which is on the milder side. I am trying to clean up my diet, and I think I will start taking Anti-fungals, probiotics, and Apple Cider Vinegar to see how that works before trying out the Candida diet. Best of luck!

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Soooooo it is May now. I finally got my Retin-A scrip. I ordered a bottle from canadadrugs, which is a legit pharmacy as far as I could tell through some research. I can't believe a tube is a thousand dollars in the US....... something's very wrong w/ the system here obviously. Anyway, I started using the Retin-A Micro Gel (0.04%) on April 29th. So far I think it's just creating a lot of comedones on my face. I'm taking them as they come and doing extractions daily, I don't know if this makes things go faster and prevents pustules/inflammation of the blockage, or if it just makes the blockages worse...... but anyway, I've been squeezing out the pores like daily, or a couple times a day, just cuz they bother me. As I understand it, the 'purging' that comes with retinoids is only supposed to last a few weeks. I'll see how my face looks at the beginning of June. By then I'll have been using Retin-A for four weeks, and I'll be mid-cycle, so if things are working, I should be looking better.

Right now the other affected areas across my body are looking better. The only other place I'm using the Retin-A are my chest and below my navel (for some scarring/hyperpigmentation from folliculitis). I'm just kind of keeping an eye on everything, feel like it needs time.

With my supplement regimen, I've been taking the C, B-complex, selenium, zinc, A, mag, B6 daily, and just kind of peppering the other things in. Haven't really been taking the iodine at all because I thought it might be giving me bad headaches. I'll experiment with it again at some point. My last cycle was a regular length (28 days, as opposed to the 34, 32, 36 that came before). And I had very minimal pms symptoms. It may be random, but it may also be that the things I'm taking are helping with hormone balance, especially progesterone production. I am feeling pretty good I guess, though I sleep late every day :/
 

On 3/30/2016 at 4:17 PM, kaley7 said:

Hi there! Our situations sound slightly similar. I also suffer from PF, and I can totally relate to the effect it can have on someone's self esteem. My face is clear from acne, however my chest/neck/back/shoulders have small whiteheads, which no matter what I do, do not go away. I've been to the dermatologist numerous times, and the Ketaconazole shampoo (used as a topical on skin) and cream do not seem to be working as well as they used to. I've been prescribed 150mg of Fluconazole, and I will give it a shot, but I have read that the symptoms can get worse and/or come back. Living in a place that is sunny most of the year makes it hard to wear tank tops, or bathing suits, and I don't feel comfortable with exposing my skin for everyone to see. I also suffer from Seborrheic Dermatitis which is on the milder side. I am trying to clean up my diet, and I think I will start taking Anti-fungals, probiotics, and Apple Cider Vinegar to see how that works before trying out the Candida diet. Best of luck!

Hey! Hmmm reading your situation, I'm surprised they would prescribe an anti-fungal to you, if your main problem is whiteheads? Personally I'll never touch anti-bacterial or the like again, but if your doc has seen good results with it then yeah it may be worth a shot. I totally feel you on the wardobe difficulties. I live in Arizona, very hot and sunny, and people always question me about covering up... so uncomfortable... also during most of the year it's not really typical for young women to cover their chests and shoulders when out at bars or wherever so I always feel like I'm out of place and hiding at night time too. Blech. But anyway, thanks for saying hi, and best of luck to you as well!

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uhhhhhh so I think stuff is getting better? I'm planning to wait maybe 6 more weeks, til august before I say 'alright it's been three months with 0.04% micro gel and it's working/not working'

But I can't tell, because my skin healing is sooooooooooooo bad. A minor lesion on my chest or shoulder or somewhere lasts for about a month. Is it just because I pick the scabs off? Have I just gotten that used to picking at my skin and thinking of it as normal that I can't comprehend my skin's failure to heal under these conditions? I don't think it's just that - I feel like poor skin healing goes along with hyperpigmentation and a tendency for pores and follicles to get blocked and inflamed. My skin is dry and uneven, I don't know, it's just bad. Something is just wrong with my skin, something's wrong with my body. I keep fantasizing about flawless smooth skin that tans well and I feel like a monster for not having that.

I have had a couple little bouts of eczema now? Which has never happened to me before. A few weeks ago I had tiny tiny little blisters on a couple of my fingers (palm side) and on my palm near my fingers. Now, again, I have the tiny blisters near the tip of my little finger. Maybe I should be more serious about my diet, I don't know.

I want to take some herb or something that will magically carry nutrients to every cell in my body, like give me good circulation and heal all my tissues. I visualize my insides as being sluggish and blocked up and dying. I'm having one of those days where I can't stand the sight of my body, I want to scratch all of my skin away because it's ruined :c it's only this bad because I'm in a slump though, in life. Things have been stagnating pretty badly for the last couple weeks and I've been bored and my living environment is unhealthy

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I finally had my appointment with the dermatologist. She basically told me that I can't do anything about the scarring, like laser treatments and peels could help but it's not worth it if I'm gonna keep breaking out anyway. I guess I kinda knew that, I mostly just wanted to know what kind of thing would be most effective. But I'll get there when I get there I suppose. For now, my skin is clearing up. I'm no longer getting super inflamed stuff that takes ages to go away. I am continuing to get some comedones and tiny shallow pustules here and there on my chest and shoulders but they can pretty much just be squeezed away. If the trend continues I'll see less and less of these. I'll probably attempt another glycolic acid peel if the skin all heals over. And also! No more butt acne!!!!!!!!! lol. Praying I don't see it again. The hyperpigmentation is annoying af but ehh it'll go away. As long as it's smooth it doesn't make me wanna die. My face seems determined to look kinda crappy. Since the retin-a started the lower part of my face, esp around the jaw, has had kind of deep comedones. Face just kinda bumpy and mildly irritated. But it's not flaky and dull anymore, so whatever.

I got a prescription for an azelaic acid cream. I'll use that on my face, and I haven't decided yet where else I'll use it. But anyway, I'm kind of excited for that, or interested at least.

Oh also my derm said that my scarring isn't really hypertrophic scarring. I just thought that's what it was cuz it's technically raised. I just had one actual keloid and she injected some steroids into that, hopefully it will flatten out.

I've been more consistent with taking my iodine and I think it makes a difference in my skin, like I think it helps with the sluggishness. So my skin is less dry, like now the skin on my shins isn't flaky and I don't even have to put lotion on it after I shower. I think maybe it makes all my skin softer, I bet it helps with acne. I'll keep taking everything that I'm taking, see if things keep improving.

Edited by fisk

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I'm getting way ahead of myself with my current skin/scar treatment plans because I'm not acne-free and I don't know if or when the improvement is going to plateau or if something will cause it to regress. But I gotta cuz even though it makes me insane it kind of keeps me sane u know?

Anyway

My face - it is sooooooooooo smooth. I don't know if it's because of the retin-a having had a couple more weeks to work and affecting my skin structure, or if it's me taking iodine consistently, or if it's because of my skincare routine becoming more gentle and moisturizing -  I'm now washing my face with an oil cleanser (if I have makeup on) followed by a very very gentle cleanser followed by a super moisturizing moisturizer that has hyaluronic acid. I'm having fewer and fewer comedones. I'm only applying the finacea gel (azaleic acid) on the lower part of my face and my nose. I've gone out makeup-free a few times lately, which is great.

Chest and shoulders - still getting some blocked pores which may become a little inflamed. But only a little. It's definitely still getting better. And on my shoulders, I'm not even using topicals! Just shows that I'm doing something right with all these supplements, yeah? I've kinda decided to not worry too much about the hyperpigmentation because it does fade on its own, and because it's not really the problem. As my acne improves, I realize, depressingly, how unhappy I'll still be with my skin even if the acne is gone, and that is because of the many, many scars on my chest and shoulders. They're small, fibrous, slightly raised and hypopigmented scars. I think they're worse on my chest but my chest is more visible to me more often, and also my shoulders have hyperpigmentation which does distract from the little white scars so I don't know. But anyway, I want to try to find some way to encourage the scar tissue to break down and grow healthy skin underneath, resurfacing over time. I think I will try skin needling with topical applications of iodine and vitamin C (not sure how I would time these).

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On 5/8/2016 at 2:08 AM, fisk said:

Hey! Hmmm reading your situation, I'm surprised they would prescribe an anti-fungal to you, if your main problem is whiteheads? Personally I'll never touch anti-bacterial or the like again, but if your doc has seen good results with it then yeah it may be worth a shot. I totally feel you on the wardobe difficulties. I live in Arizona, very hot and sunny, and people always question me about covering up... so uncomfortable... also during most of the year it's not really typical for young women to cover their chests and shoulders when out at bars or wherever so I always feel like I'm out of place and hiding at night time too. Blech. But anyway, thanks for saying hi, and best of luck to you as well!


It's because Folliculitis is a fungal infection, and it needs to be treated as such.

A few questions about the supplements you're taking as well...

Do you have an iodine deficiency? If not, supplementing with it may be causing additional inflammation and contribute to breakouts. B vitamins also shouldn't be taken on their own. B6 in particular, when taken on its own, increases glucose production from glycogen. The sudden increase in glucose availability may be enough to cause high a glycemic load which is known to cause acne. Also, what you read about L-Lysine is correct, and I would recommend you continue taking it. 

Edited by SkinDeeply

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On 7/25/2016 at 7:53 PM, SkinDeeply said:

It's because Folliculitis is a fungal infection, and it needs to be treated as such.

A few questions about the supplements you're taking as well...

Do you have an iodine deficiency? If not, supplementing with it may be causing additional inflammation and contribute to breakouts. B vitamins also shouldn't be taken on their own. B6 in particular, when taken on its own, increases glucose production from glycogen. The sudden increase in glucose availability may be enough to cause high a glycemic load which is known to cause acne. Also, what you read about L-Lysine is correct, and I would recommend you continue taking it. 


I haven't had blood tested in ages so I don't know if my numbers would indicate an iodine deficiency or not. But I do know that since I've been taking it more regularly, the condition of my skin has improved considerably. No more inflamed blockages on shoulders, back, buttocks. And my shins aren't scaly and painfully dry anymore. The trend over the last couple of months has been less inflammation, not more.

And I didn't know that about B6! I've been taking it (somewhat sporadically) for years because it's supposed to help with mood and sleep quality. I wouldn't say that the results have been mind-blowing but my experience has been pretty much consistent with that. I know it's not ideal to take it on its own though, especially such a large dose. Do you know if the P5P form has the same effect on glucose levels? Anyway, I will try to find a lower dose, or better yet switch to a liquid complex and be able to control the dose. I wonder why the standard seems to be 50mg? Seems so high... For now I will just cut it out, I haven't been taking it often lately anyway. Thanks for the tip! I'll stick with the lysine too, it will probably be especially helpful if I try out needling/dermastamp.

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You very well may have had an iodine deficiency in that case. According to Dr. Mercola, tons of people do. It just seems that for those who don't (and those who also happen to be acne-prone) the results can be disastrous when their levels crawl too high. I'm glad to hear it helped you!

Oh my god, yes. Lysine is phenom for skin integrity and lightening-fast healing--especially on what I call "The Oozers" (i.e. the cysts you try to pop, but can't really, all you can manage to do is get them to ooze plasma like, 13 hours a day). Yeah--Lysine works wonders on those. The first thing I do when I've unintentionally picked my face into a war zone is take 3,000 mg of Lysine. It gives me hope for a brighter day. :smileys_n_people_16:

Also... try dissolving them in a bit of water until you get a crumbly paste and spread it all over as a mask--it puts the 'asprin mask' to shame. 

About the B's...

They need to be working in concert together in order to best do their job, and not throw off the delicate balance in your body of vits and mins--because alone, they definitely will. We DO need B6, without a doubt, but we need the whole B family PLUS C for it to properly work without depleting other stores. In fact, L-Lysine dips into our stores of B-6 in order to do its thing, so it's actually important to keep it replenished while you're taking Lysine. Just make sure to get it in the form of a quality B-Complex supplement that also has Vitamin C added. 

I reeeally want to try the dermastamp too! I have been researching it for months. I just have some very superficial rolling scars and a few small pitted ones (left over from my too-long untreated folliculitis). What kind of scarring do you have? 

Edited by SkinDeeply

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21 hours ago, SkinDeeply said:

You very well may have had an iodine deficiency in that case. According to Dr. Mercola, tons of people do. It just seems that for those who don't (and those who also happen to be acne-prone) the results can be disastrous when their levels crawl too high. I'm glad to hear it helped you!

Oh my god, yes. Lysine is phenom for skin integrity and lightening-fast healing--especially on what I call "The Oozers" (i.e. the cysts you try to pop, but can't really, all you can manage to do is get them to ooze plasma like, 13 hours a day). Yeah--Lysine works wonders on those. The first thing I do when I've unintentionally picked my face into a war zone is take 3,000 mg of Lysine. It gives me hope for a brighter day. :smileys_n_people_16:

Also... try dissolving them in a bit of water until you get a crumbly paste and spread it all over as a mask--it puts the 'asprin mask' to shame. 

About the B's...

They need to be working in concert together in order to best do their job, and not throw off the delicate balance in your body of vits and mins--because alone, they definitely will. We DO need B6, without a doubt, but we need the whole B family PLUS C for it to properly work without depleting other stores. In fact, L-Lysine dips into our stores of B-6 in order to do its thing, so it's actually important to keep it replenished while you're taking Lysine. Just make sure to get it in the form of a quality B-Complex supplement that also has Vitamin C added. 

I reeeally want to try the dermastamp too! I have been researching it for months. I just have some very superficial rolling scars and a few small pitted ones (left over from my too-long untreated folliculitis). What kind of scarring do you have? 

isnt lysine good for cold sores? I think its the right one...

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On 7/27/2016 at 5:11 PM, SkinDeeply said:

You very well may have had an iodine deficiency in that case. According to Dr. Mercola, tons of people do. It just seems that for those who don't (and those who also happen to be acne-prone) the results can be disastrous when their levels crawl too high. I'm glad to hear it helped you!

Oh my god, yes. Lysine is phenom for skin integrity and lightening-fast healing--especially on what I call "The Oozers" (i.e. the cysts you try to pop, but can't really, all you can manage to do is get them to ooze plasma like, 13 hours a day). Yeah--Lysine works wonders on those. The first thing I do when I've unintentionally picked my face into a war zone is take 3,000 mg of Lysine. It gives me hope for a brighter day. :smileys_n_people_16:

Also... try dissolving them in a bit of water until you get a crumbly paste and spread it all over as a mask--it puts the 'asprin mask' to shame. 

About the B's...

They need to be working in concert together in order to best do their job, and not throw off the delicate balance in your body of vits and mins--because alone, they definitely will. We DO need B6, without a doubt, but we need the whole B family PLUS C for it to properly work without depleting other stores. In fact, L-Lysine dips into our stores of B-6 in order to do its thing, so it's actually important to keep it replenished while you're taking Lysine. Just make sure to get it in the form of a quality B-Complex supplement that also has Vitamin C added. 

I reeeally want to try the dermastamp too! I have been researching it for months. I just have some very superficial rolling scars and a few small pitted ones (left over from my too-long untreated folliculitis). What kind of scarring do you have? 


Soo I have decided for now to take the vitamin B complex that I have laying around, which is Throne Research Stress-B Complex, along with my morning vitamin C. It has a huge dose of pantothenic acid in it, I'm hoping that'll be good for my skin and hormones.

And omg!! The Oozers are the worst and I just had a huuuuge breakout of them all over my face! So horrible. And I can't figure out why. My skin was getting increasingly oilier, to the point where certain areas, especially my nose, were extremely shiny and slick. My forehead started breaking out, which never happens. Then I washed my face once with a new cleanser that I got, the Cerave hydrating cleanser, and went on a week-long trip, leaving behind my vitamin C powder and iodide drops. During the trip my face exploded with Oozers, these shallow oily things that don't really empty... just ooze.... and ooze...  lol ugh. There are a lot of factors going on here but I think based on the timing it might be because of the finacea? I've stopped the finacea and am back with all my usual supplements, plus the b complex. When things go back to normal I'll try that cleanser again and see if it makes me really oily/causes a breakout. And then I'll try reintroducing the finacea. Meanwhile I'm popping 1000mg lysine pills like candy! (ok like 3 or 4 a day, nothing insane) I'll try out that mask idea tonight!

I got my package from owndoc, though I only got the single needles, not the stamp. Hopefully it will come in another package? But anyway, my scars are mostly on my chest and shoulders. I do have some scarring on my face but it is extremely superficial, I might give it some attention if I manage to clear my face. The scarring on my chest and shoulders is like tons of small, round, slightly raised nubs of white scar tissue. I've heard that this type is extremely difficult to improve let alone remove completely but I'll see what I can do over time with needles and topicals.

 
20 hours ago, Jay9R said:

Have anyone applied lugol's iodine on skin? if so was your skin discolored after peeling?


Hey, I haven't tried lugol's on the skin but I just ordered a bottle and I'm going to be testing it in combination with needling on a couple scars on my forearm. I'll post whatever happens/doesn't happen in here.

For the rest of my scars, the routine is going to involve needling and alternating applications of Retin-A micro, copper peptide serum from owndoc, vitamin C (diy serum using pure l-ascorbic acid and maybe some glycerin), and mixed tocopherol drops (vitamin E). Using this as a loose guide: http://forums.owndoc.com/dermarolling-microneedling/best-skin-care-routine/

I also ordered some niacinamide powder to mix into my morning moisturizer and body lotion. I really love the idea of making super cheap, super potent skincare treatments right on my bathroom counter. What finally got me to purchase some ingredients was seeing a C + E + ferulic acid serum selling for $163. I looked at the ingredients list and decided those people are crooks, got really indignant, and did a little research on diy skincare. For vitamin C products especially, diy seems the way to go. Edited by fisk

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I needled the scars on my forearm with a single needle, I think 1.5mm? Doing regularish applications of 5% lugol's and putting a glob of cerave moisturizer under the bandage. I'm also doing vit c applications a couple times a week. I'll probably wait another couple weeks before I needle it again.

My face has been sooooooooo bad this entire month. Chest bad too. Idk what I did wrong. But it seems to be winding down. I'm glopping a bunch of that cerave stuff all over it to help it heal. But I've noticed that the best healing always seems to happen when I leave my makeup on for a long ass time, like sleep with it on and then spend most of the next day with the same makeup. Then all of the yucky bits flake off or scab up and leave healthy skin underneath. So I think I'm gonna try getting a product with a high amount of dimethicone, like a makeup primer, and experiment with that for healing.

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My face has cleared up over the course of the month. It might be that before, when I was breaking out so bad, it's because I'd started getting lazy about getting my face nice and clean before applying the Retin-A, maybe you really have to get all the oils off in order for it to penetrate. I have no idea. Also I've been eating a lot of things like donuts, fried chicken strips, french fries dipped in ice cream, etc this month. I've been applying topical vitamin C (pure ascorbic acid) and E (d-alpha tocopherol in wheat germ oil), and occasionally topical niacinamide. It's possible that one or several of these things is helping me.

I still haven't worked out my serum situation. Right now I just mix a mystery amount of ascorbic acid with tap water and a few drops of glycerine and apply that to my skin, which is difficult cuz it's so watery. And it's stained my pretty nails various shades of yellow/orange/brown, looks awful. I want to make a slightly viscous vitamin C serum. Aloe can't be used because something in it reacts with the ascorbic acid and I think it messes up the pH. So my plan is to make a 1% hyaluronic acid serum and add the vitamin C to that, 15-20%. I don't want to deal with preservatives and stuff so I'm going to make it in very very small batches and keep it in the fridge. I would love to just make a teensy batch for each use but dissolving hyaluronic acid takes a long time. Anyway, I also don't want to deal with emulsifiers and stuff so I'm not going to try to mix vitamin E into this. I'll just layer the vitamin E oil over the vitamin C serum.

I stopped taking iodine at the beginning of this month because I started having a weird pain in my throat and didn't know what it was from. That was about two weeks after starting Lugol's, which has 6.25mg of iodine per drop. I was scared that my thyroid was doing something weird so I'm not gonna take any iodine until I can get my thyroid hormones and thyroid antibodies and selenium levels tested. I really want to go back to the potassium iodide drops though, because I've had a couple little things pop up in weird places, the kind of stff that went away with the potassium iodide.

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Howdy,,,,,,,, I've figured out a way of doing the vitamin C serum that I'm going to use for the time being. I don't know of a reliable and simple way to stabilize vitamin C in a water phase-only formula, so I'm just going to create a batch for each use. ~0.5% hyaluronic acid makes a nice thin gel that isn't insanely sticky/tacky (it's still tacky but not like the 1% I made at first). Then I add vitamin C to make a solution that's roughly 20%. I add the powder to the prepared HA solution, which is cold in the fridge, before I get in the shower and then apply it to clean, slightly damp skin. pH strip tells me that this product is between 2 and 3. 5ml is more than enough to use generously on my whole body, which is great because I have skin evenness problems everywhere. I'll probably try doing this with 3ml so I can reduce waste. I leave it for like 10 minutes before applying a moisturizer, then sometimes vitamin E oil. I'm gonna try to do this 2-3x per week for at least 3 months.

I really like the texture that this gives my face, very very soft. I hope that this serum I'm making will have some real benefits! Super fresh 20% ascorbic acid should be much more potent than any vitamin C product you can buy in the store.

Hmm what else.. really want to focus on getting some anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant stuff into my skin care. C + E sort of fulfills this? I think? Still wanna see what else I can work in here.

Oh, and I made a spray that's like 10% niacinamide with some rose water and rosemary essential oil that I had lying around. I know essential oils are kinda ehh but I was bored and I already had it and some articles on the internet said that it has anti-oxidant activity so. In goes the rosemary.

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Huh it's been four months since I posted in here! I've made some changes to the stuff that I'm making and tweaked my routine.

Here's what I'm currently doing:
AM: Rinse face with water, Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, DIY moisturizing serum, DIY antioxidant face oil, makeup
PM: wash with whatever cleanser is around (been using Mario Badescu glycolic wash), DIY moisturizing serum, DIY antioxidant face oil
Other products: every 2-4 days I use my DIY vitamin C serum over face and body after showering, and on the days that I don't use that I use CeraVe SA Lotion over body after shower.

I dropped the Retin-A and the Belif moisturizer (which contains comfrey) because I had a weird liver test that is so far unexplained. If I get a normal result next time I'll add them back one at a time.

So for moisturizer I've been using my own hydrating serum and an oil that I modified with some other ingredients. The hydrating serum is a slightly viscous liquid that's approximately 10% niacinamide, 5% panthenol, 2% allantoin, and then some hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Then I use a face oil - I took Solgar liquid vitamin E, which is in a safflower oil base (high linoleic acid), and added coQ10 to it. I want to add alpha lipoic acid and ferulic acid to it as well but I haven't found a suitable solvent for those yet. So far I've only tried butylene glycol and it doesn't dissolve the ALA as well as I need it to.

Anyway, I love how simple my routine is and I'm having good results with it. It's hard to say which products are responsible, I think they're all good products with beneficial ingredients, but I would guess that the oil is doing the heaviest lifting?

Compared to four months ago, my skin is softer, I'm having fewer and fewer clogged pores, and fewer and fewer inflamed blemishes, and my tone is looking more even. Also my skin is no longer getting super gross in the last week and first week of my menstrual cycle. I'm spending less time picking at my face in the mirror, and I'm no longer having days where I hide alone or dread having to stand in the mirror to do my makeup. I'm so pleased and I hope I continue to see improvements! Will add the ALA and ferulic acid as soon as I can.

I think that what's bottlenecking my improvement is the slow skin healing. That hasn't gotten any better. When I had blood tests last month I found out that I have low hemoglobin, so basically I'm anemic. Getting more tests next week to figure out if it's an iron deficiency.

I also have a referral to  dermatologist so I'll schedule that appointment as well.

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Hi Fisk,
I was reading one of your earlier posts (last year sometime?) describing many of your various symptoms and issues, like getting clogged pores/cysts in hair follicles on random places on your body? There were several other things you described as well...have you been diagnosed with PCOS? (Your symptoms on that post just sounded classic.)

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I'm so annoyed and feeling like skin care is pointless because since I posted last my cycle messed up a couple times - since I started working in October I've been a little less regular, then in February I had a 12 day cycle, which I attributed to being extremely sick (third time on antibiotics in the span of like a month), and extremely stressed and sleep deprived from stuff that was going on with work. Broke out really bad then. Then I had a normal 28 day cycle, no breakout, yay. Then I had an 11 day cycle, hooooooooooooorrible breakout, closed comedoes, blackheads, cysts, dry flaky skin, the whole package. My face is super irritated right now so I'm not using vitamin C and using the BHA liquid sparingly. Sighh.

Here's a little silver(ish?) lining though - on my last doctor visit (another infection in my throat, yay) I finally got a referral to an ENT. I asked for an allergy test at that appointment, and found out that I'm allergic to some grasses and weeds and trees, including WHEAT and pecans (maybe all tree nuts?). It might be a false positive, but I decided to cut out wheat (my beloved sprouted bread! :( ). Well I've noticed that I haven't had any digestive issues since then, no trouble digesting super high fat meals or tons of raw cabbage. hmm.... Anyway I decided to do Whole30 this month (with no nuts or egg whites either), I'll see if anything good happens. Between all of my issues it's clear i have some kind of inflammation problem and I need to do something about it.

I went to the dermatologist too. Sooooo useless. She told me not to use oil cuz it clogs pores... lol....... Anyway she basically told me to stop picking my skin (true I need to stop) and gave me a scrip for stronger Retin-A and some sulfur stuff and also gave me this big info packet on gluten sensitivity that one of their nurses put together.

Oh, also I started doing electrolysis in March. It's hard to figure out how often I need to go, it's still a bit chaotic. I'm breaking out a lot on my chin. Worth it if it kills the hairs though.
 

On 2/15/2017 at 11:39 AM, TheBean said:

Hi Fisk,
I was reading one of your earlier posts (last year sometime?) describing many of your various symptoms and issues, like getting clogged pores/cysts in hair follicles on random places on your body? There were several other things you described as well...have you been diagnosed with PCOS? (Your symptoms on that post just sounded classic.)



Hey there. I have never been diagnosed with PCOS officially. They were investigating it when I was like 18 or 19 because of my symptoms. I had normal ovaries and testosterone in upper-normal range, and I gave in and went on BC to regulate the periods. Cystic body acne and hair growth started after going off the hormones. I've been off of those pills for nearly 4 years now and my cycle has been mostly regular in that time and my weight has been stable and within normal BMI range. So anyway, I think I am probably very similar to women who get diagnosed with PCOS, and some docs probably would give me that diagnosis. That label doesn't help me much though because at this time I'm not willing to treat with hormones or anti-androgens :( If my cycle doesn't go back to normal, or if electrolysis doesn't get rid of the hair, or if my dietary changes don't improve the body acne, I may consider those options. Edited by fisk

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Update, I've pretty much been doing all the same things I just haven't had the money or the energy to try out new products/routine. My regimen is something like

AM
wash face with Acure cleanser (facial cleansing gel or sensitive facial cleanser depending on what my skin is doing)
The Ordinary 2% salicylic acid
CeraVe AM moisturizer

PM
wash face with Acure sensitive facial cleanser
0.04% Retin-A micro

Post-shower I do acids like Alpha Skincare glycolic serum and CeraVe salicylic acid lotion on body, sometimes Drunk Elephant AHA/BHA on face. Still picking the crap out of my skin on the daily. I'm starting the vit C serum again as soon as I get my new vials which should make application easier. But that's just for anti-aging/sun protection I don't think it's gonna do anything for the acne.

My most gross skin texture and breakouts are connected to the peri-menstrual period. The hair regrowth is slower with electrolysis but I've been at it for 6 months now and the amount of hair doesn't seem different. I think new hairs are showing up too. I got an ultrasound of my ovaries and one of them is totally normal and the other one doesn't have cysts but it's a bit enlarged. My cycle has been 32 days the last three cycles, with healthy cervical mucous mid-cycle. My LH and FSH are normal. My LH to FSH ratio isn't high, if anything it's on the low side. My prolactin is normal. Estrogen and progesterone within normal range, but testosterone is a bit outside of the normal range. I'm 24 now, the problem is not resolving itself, and it's dumb to fret about topical stuff when there's a glaring hormonal problem. So I'm gonna try progesterone (dissolved in vit E and MCT oil and administered via the gums - I have the drops from Health Natura) during the luteal phase for a few months, and if it doesn't help then I'll add spiro because I'm tired.

Edited by fisk

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Update on progesterone - went to a women's wellness NP, she wasn't sure what to do for me besides spiro, but she also gave me the requested script for progesterone and some fancied up chromium supplements. A local compounding pharmacy sent me a packet of 100mg troches for under the tongue. The first cycle taking them, I had one of the worst breakouts of my life, which left me with legit scars on my cheek despite my use of hydrocolloid bandages. On the second cycle, there was no breakout. During this time I also started taking calcium d glucarate, which is supposed to help with estrogen metabolism. I menstruated 3 days after stopping the progesterone and only had 1 day of pms (why does there ALWAYS have to be crying???). So right now I'm just seeing where it goes. I'm gonna try to switch to vaginal suppositories because I feel like a lot of it is getting swallowed (wasted) with this delivery. And I don't think my teeth like it?

On to products. Figuring out what's fine and what's bad to use on my skin is difficult for reasons that I've probably already gone over in this thread - always breaking out and breaking out kind of cyclically, yadda yadda, and also because I am very disorganized and easily bored so I randomly change the regimen, also the picking. With the picking though, I really truly pick way less when there aren't so many comedones. So I wanna minimize or ideally eliminate anything that could be clogging things up. I've known about cosdna for a while but it didn't really... mean anything to me? until like yesterday and I have been looking at the ingredients lists of EVERYTHING I have ever put or thought about putting on my face. I want to replace everything in my routine with things that only have ingredients that rate 0 or 1 on the comedogenicity scale. Maybe with the exception of tocopherol, which they rate 2. I know that cosdna isn't the final word or whatever, but it definitely helps in making sense of things and making quick judgments about certain products.

So I'm planning to switch my makeup from Josie Maran to the new Clinique Even Better Glow foundation (this was a good time to run out of foundation!), CeraVe AM to Avene Mineral Ultra-Light Hydrating sunscreen, and CeraVe PM to Elta MD PM Therapy moisturizer. I have Sebamed Clear Face Gel and safflower oil (supposed to be noncomedogenic?) which I can use for moisture as needed. I'm also interested in the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizer Sorbet and some La Roche Posay stuff. I didn't repurchase my Acure cleanser when it ran out because it has a tiny bit of algae in it, which could be cloggy, and I replaced it with Obagi Nu-Derm foaming cleanser, which I'm not sure if I like because it's SLS and sorta drying. I got the cosrx good morning gel cleanser to experiment with. But anyway, the big thing is that I'm getting rid of the CeraVe stuff (which I wish I didn't have to because they are a great value and seem to do so much good for a lot of people!) and my foundation and getting an ANTI-CLOG regimen going. At my last electrolysis appointment I had the tech use aloe gel instead of the heavy Avene cream and the post-treatment breakout was much less troublesome. I'm so so so so hoping that I get some results with these product switches.

I did topical vitamin C last week and it irritated my skin (which had been looking pretty good for a few solid days) a lot and I think was responsible for a wave of comedones so I'm gonna put that aside for the foreseeable future.

Around new year I'll post an update with product lineup.

Edited by fisk

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