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Femmebrulee

FINALLY progress in my 10-year battle with severe acne + help with acne scaring

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So, for the past week or so, I've been trying a new routine and it has improved my skin like nothing has before. So far, all of my cystic acne is healed, only a few stubborn comedones along my jaw and my skin texture has improved immensely. My skin has never been soft and "glowy", but it is now.

My Skin:
I've had acne since I was 10 (I'm 20 now) and it transitioned from my t-zone to painful, deep-rooted cysts concentrated on my cheeks. I almost exclusively get acne on my cheeks since I turned 18. I've always had very problematic skin, in every way you can think of (extremely oily t-zone, huge pores, blackheads and whiteheads, highly textured skin overall). I have tried ProActive, Epiduo, Tazorac, Minocyclene, basically everything at the drugstore, and then some to no avail.  

The routine I've been using is a somewhat modified version of one I saw on a thread from several years ago.

My Current Routine:  

1. Cleanse/remove makeup with any cleanser (I alternate between a low-percentage salicylic acid one and Cetaphil if my skin is feeling dry)
2. Let skin air dry and apply 10% benzoyl peroxide PanOxyl with wet hands to everywhere but my nose (never get acne there) and around my eyes and mouth.
3. Wait 5-15 minutes. I'm still experimenting with this and how my skin reacts. The first few days, I was doing this step twice a day and leaving the PanOxyl 15 mins. This burned awfully and left my skin very dry and red, so I just washed with it normally for a couple of days and used an aloe mask and St. Ives Even and Bright Scrub (very gentle exfoliant) and the redness and dryness was cleared. While I think this would be very damaging for my skin to continue doing this twice a day, I do think the initial "blast" of BP is what helped clear me up so quickly. 
4. Use a soft, wet, cool cloth to wipe your face after rinsing off PanOxyl.
5. Every morning, I take six fiber pills (100% psyllium husk) with a whole bottle of water. It sounds like a lot, but five is recommended for adults on the bottle and, as someone who has issues in that department, this has helped regulate my...habits, lol (TMI, but I've gone from going 1-2 times a week to 4-5 times). I'm not sure how much this has contributed, but it certainly won't hurt.

Other Products I Use:
- Thayer's Witch Hazel and Aloe Toner (Alcohol Free) (swipe on with cotton pad after cleansing)
- Vitamin C Serum (no-name brand from TJMaxx for $6, use most nights)
- 12% Glycolic AHA Treatment (just added this two days ago, been using at night)
- CereVe Moisturizer (very little)
- St. Ives Even and Bright Scrub (love this stuff, very gentle, great for dry skin)
- St. Ives Green Tea Scrub (another very gentle exfoliant I use when I'm breaking out or very oily)
- Vasoline on my entire face a couple of hours before bed

The most important thing I've learned so far is to pay attention to my skin and adjust my routine accordingly. If my skin feels overly tight and dry, I'll let the PanOxyl sit for less time, use the Even and Bright Scrub and a moisturizing sheet mask. If my skin is starting to feel overly oily and congested, I'll let it sit for longer and use my St. Ives Green Tea Scrub. Again, I haven't been doing this for too long, so I will update.

Scarring

https://imgur.com/a/DcTMJ
My main issue at this point is dealing with annoying post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. The spots look like very severe acne until you rub your hand across and see that they're completely flat and it has always made my acne look so much worse than it really is. How should I go about healing this? I bought the Glycolic AHA for it, but I'm honestly not 100% on how I should be using it. 

 

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