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This thread is for differin users to share and support each other whilst going through treatment.

I am currently completing Week 8 and the experience has been both terrifying and challenging mentally and emotionally. I have had clear skin all my life until a few months ago when I broke into white comedones specifically on my left cheek. Understanding the science on how differin works (hence, the IB) and actually dealing with it week after week is completely two different things. I felt like I was experiencing fear factor every morning, breakouts were just getting worse and it was hard to believe there would be light at the end of the tunnel. And differin may or may not work depending on individuals. Below is a brief account of my
experience so far:

I apply differin at night and clindoxyl gel in the mornings.

Week 1-2: No significant changes

Week 3-4: The IB begins. At Week 4, visited my derm. He said there was some reduction in comedones and prescribed me doxy to control the breakouts. Derm says the IB normally peaks between week 6-8

Week 5-6: IB was at its peak. Felt like I was living in a nightmare everyday. When old pimples go away, new ones would pop up. I literally had at least 2 new
pimples everyday and they would take weeks to go away. On top of that I had to stop doxy as I was feeling awful from the side effects i.e. nausea and headaches. 

Week 7: Breakouts slowed down and appear to be more superficial (not the hard painful ones). Another visit to my derm and he said that 50% of my comedones are gone but he says the healing is not fast enough. He prescribed me azithromycin and did a round of extractions so that the acne will go away quicker

Week 8:  For the first time in weeks, I feel there's some hope. Much less breakout. I can actually see some clear skin compared to weeks before. Feels like all the remaining  comedones are slowly turning into pustules (small) and they do go way faster (3-5 days). But I do have one huge hard painful pimple smack right in the middle the cheek although it appears to be shrinking faster than weeks before. 

From what I read, people experience slight improvement from Week 8 onwards. There's so much PIH that the skin is just a mess when I look at it as a whole. But when you look at it in isolation, there been a reduction in active acnes and comedones (significantly)

It's been a roller coaster journey so far. It's difficult to stay positive when one day you think the skin is improving and then there's some sort of setback. For example, areas that use to be clear becomes inflammed. Mornings and nights are the worse. You start and end the day having to look at the mirror!!
But I am determined to stick to differin for another 4 weeks. Hopefully after 3 months, there would be significant improvement.

To all differin users, please feel to share your experience here. It would be good to hear from you all!!

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I am currently on Week 9 and feeling really down. The PIH is just rubbish and pimples are still popping up. I know the breakouts are much less than 4 weeks ago but this just seem endless. HELP!!! Some support needed!!!

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Completed Week 12! Down to one pimple and some whiteheads. I am happy to say that I am 98% acne free! Differin has definitely removed almost all of my closed comedones which was the whole reason I started the treatment. The PIH is bad bad bad but it is fading albeit very very slowly. I am going to discuss with my derm next week about if there's any topicals that I can apply on them. During my last visit, he suggested IPL as an option. Frankly, the last thing I want to do is another 'treatment'. Super paranoid now after the last three months of hell. 

I really can't wait to get over this last stage. The marks on my face is a constant reminder of the traumatic and depressing experience I went through. I know patience patience patience. I miss my old skin and the days I don't obsess about my skin!

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Currently on week 15 and acne is still under control. A few small pimples here and there, feels like it's clearing the     leftover closed comedones.

Scheduled for an IPL next week to
lighten the post acne red marks.  Hopefully it works. Derm seem to think I will only need 1 or 2 sessions. 

To new differin users out there, hang in there!! Give it a full 3-4 months before you decide if it works. Different ppl have different timelines. You may not be 100% acne free by the third month but the skin should improve from then onwards. The whole process is tough. It was hell everyday. You need to bite the bullet and power through. Good luck!! 
 

Edited by RubyK

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I had my first IPL this morning. Prior to IPL, my derm informed me that there was no reason to stop differin. In fact his advise is to use differin as part of my daily routine indefinitely for maintainence. I have no issues with that as long as it keeps the comedones in control. I would probably re-evaluate down the road if I should use differin every other night instead.

At the clinic today, the nurse numbed my left cheek. After an hour she cleanse my cheek, took a photo for reference and applied a cooling gel. Once I was all prepped and ready, my derm proceeded with the procedure which took less than 5 minutes. I did have a couple of spots above my cheeks and my derm said he would just avoid the area. The zapping felt like slapped rubber bands but the pain was minimal due to the numbing cream. Once it was over, the nurse placed some ice pack on my face to calm any swelling that may occur.
The good thing was I did not have any swelling. My post acne marks did look much redder than usual. After 3-4 hours, the redness were back to pre IPL. I do feel a tinge of sunburnt of the cheek but again nothing uncomfortable. 

I should expect some results in 2 weeks and will write an update then

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Quick update. It's been almost 5 months since I started using differin. For me, it almost took me this long for the skin to 'stabilise'. At 4 months,
differin was still clearing those leftovers closed comedones.  I have a little pimple that popped up today but the past couple of weeks I had no pimples. I feel I have reached the stage where I can say I am pleased with the results from differin. I hope other differin users will achieve good results too although it might take longer than 3 months.

It's been a month since I did my IPL. Generally the red marks have faded by 50%. I did my second IPL today and the derm increased the dosage. During the first IPL, he used the lowest dosage and I did see improvement. I am hoping that I will see significant improvement this round.  My derm feels I probably need a 3rd IPL cause some of my redness is quite stubborn because the inflammation is quite deep during my breakouts.
For those dealing with PIH, IPL is a good option. It may take a few IPLs to completely clear the PIH but it does speed up the whole process.

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Rant time.

I can't help feeling low today. I am going through the last stage i.e. dealing with PIH. I have like 30 red marks on one cheek. I know IPL has help to fade those marks and  it looks better than a month ago but I really want to be done with it. I want it to be OVER. I know there's been significant improvement. My tonnes of closed comedones are all gone but those red marks argggggggh makes my skin look like I still have 30 pimples on my face!!! I won't say acne is equally bad as PIH but it just stays on your face for the longest time!!!! Honestly when I started differin, I was all focus on getting rid of the acne and I did not expect to be dealing with shitloads of PIH. So naive. 

The other thing is I do feel traumatise from the breakouts caused by the differin treatment. I freak out when a pimple pops out.I try to calm myself down that this is not a breakout or a relapse. I try to rationalise all the good things that has happened from the treatment. I admit I am paranoid but hey try having new pimples breaking out every 2-3 days!!!

I am so tired from dealing with my face. I would rather obsess about something else!! The light at the end of the tunnel should be closer everyday but yet it feels so far.

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It's been 6 months since I am on differin and I haven't had any pimples for the past 6 weeks!! A couple of days ago,  started alternating differin and dermatix ultra (for my red marks) at night.

i did my 4th IPL last Monday. I am still struggling with my PIH. The IPLs has helped a lot generally but there's still red marks that are super stubborn and my derm suggested trying dermatix. I feel frustrated treatment after treatment, anticipating and hoping to get the results that I want. Typically 2 IPLs would normally get rid of all red marks for good but my skin just responds differently. My skin sucks! I am running out of patience. 

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Hi RubyK!
    I am on week8 and hope differin to start working now because I still have outbreak which causes a lot of red spots on my face. I understand how you feel since we have the same issue. New pimples come out while I am trying to get rid of the old ones. I also have vbeam laser to ease my skin. It is a little help but better than do nothing. I look forward for the next update and hope your skin be soon back to normal.

Cheers

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On 31/07/2017 at 9:40 AM, Lhong said:

Hi RubyK!
    I am on week8 and hope differin to start working now because I still have outbreak which causes a lot of red spots on my face. I understand how you feel since we have the same issue. New pimples come out while I am trying to get rid of the old ones. I also have vbeam laser to ease my skin. It is a little help but better than do nothing. I look forward for the next update and hope your skin be soon back to normal.

Cheers

Hi Lhong,

I hope you are seeing some results from the differin! It does take a while for the whole purging/ breakout to go away but trust me it does. The rate and number of pimples breaking out slows down when you hit month 3. I have been using it for 7 months now and hardly have any pimples except for that one or two occasional pimple.

i have added vitamin c serum to my routine now, prescribed by my derm for skin rejuvenation and lightening of the marks. I have done 6 IPLs which has helped reduce the redness and discolouration significantly. The derm feels the remainder marks I have are textural ie the cell need to be repaired and the IPL won't even able to help those hence the vitamin c serum.

i agree with you that it's better to do something than nothing. 

Do update your progress and I hope to hear good news from you!

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