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Trials & Tribulations & Tantrums (22F)

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See latest posts & signature for running update on my current regimen/status. Stuff changes. I've been through various experimentations such as "all-natural", diet restrictions, bp, salicylic, diacneal, glycolic etc. but I have been consistent with Differin Gel since March...

ABOUT ME: I'm 22F, never had clear skin but nothing out of control until December 2005 - that's when all hell broke loose. My original regimen (Estee Lauder) seemed to be not working anymore so I tried to go "all natural" with apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil wash, emu oils etc. and spent a fortune on that crap only to realize nothing was getting better. My biggest problem is that I am a compulsive picker so I deal a lot in scars/scabs rather than zits, per say. I think my obsession is with having flat skin rather than clear skin... or at least that seems to be priority. I am obsessed with having great skin to the point where it's the first thing I notice about a person walking down the street and the last thing I worry about at night. I am depressive and self-conscious by nature and my skin has been so bad that I can't leave my house blah blah blah. I may or may not have polycystic ovarian syndrome, but as precaution I have to be on birth control to ensure regular hormones/cycles. (Also, my acne may or may not be related to hormones, but either way bc definitely does not clear me up.) And I've lost almost all confidence in the medical profession... blah blah blah

ABOUT MY SKIN:I am fair (dirty blonde, blue eyes, freckles, transparent haha) and my skin is really sensitive. Benzoyl peroxide does not fare well with me. I burn with moderate exposure to the sun. I am prone to melasma/chloasma around the "mustache and racoon eyes" areas from estrogenic bc & sun exposure. Embarassment and overheating causes moderate flushing and I "mark" easily (slaps, pinches, etc.) including long lasting redness/hyperpigmentation from zit scabs. If it's related, my brother has acute acne and has been on Accutane at least 3 times and he's still not clear. I have combo oily T-zone and I sweat easily (temperature problems!).

And I like pineapple and long walks on the beach. ;p

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I'm 22F dealing with acne since forever--some months good some months bad-- but currently experiencing worst breakout to date ongoing now for 3+ months...

I tried Dan's Regimen (gentle cleanser, lots of BP, moisturizer) for a week but I don't think I'll be able to realistically keep up with the maintenance of the regimen in the longrun (time reasons and problems with BP pilling etc.) so I'm on a quest for something a little bit more low-maintenance.

Right now my skin is recovering from dryness/flakiness/peeling caused by my BP trial period, but I admit that is probably due to using 5% BP instead of the recommended 2.5% (used PanOxyl 5% water based gel in quest to reduce white streaks/pilling that I experienced with both Neutrogena-On-The-Spot and SpectroJel BP). So yes. Where I'm at today is this:

SKIN CONDITION: (sorry no pics today)

13 or so spots including deep cystic and sub-surface mostly around jaw/chin/nose and several recovering spots (compulsive picker), dryness and annoying persistent small flakes that reappear whenever I move my face despite relentless exfoliation + moisturizing--where I previously applied BP most (jaw/chin)

SKIN REGIMEN:

*Oral*

- just started Ortho Tricyclin at behest of doc (day 4) but never had much success with BC therapy, this is primarily for anti-preggers usage

- 1g Vitamin B5 daily

*Morning*

1. Estee Lauder Sparkling Clean Oil-Controlling Gel Cleanser with synthetic soft facesponge

2. Jamieson Purifying Facial Toner (to rid of chlorine residue from tapwater)

3. Apply light layer of polysporin cream on any affected areas/spots

4. C&C Morning Glow SPF15

5. Makeup - Revlon ColorStay Active SPF15 as concealer for spots/scars

(for scabby scars I lightly spot-apply anti-bac ointment under makeup so it doesn't get too crusty)

*Night*

1. SpectroJel using very soft facial brush

2. Quickly wipe with Jamieson Purifying Facial Toner (to rid of chlorine residue from tapwater)

3. Avene Diacneal lotion all over, double application over individual spots

4. Spot-treat with polysporin cream on any freshly open or extracted spots

(5.) Avene Thermal Water if I feel dry

*Every other day in shower*

- Estee Lauder Idealist Micro-D thermal dermabrasion

(I use SpectroJel/Estee interchangeably and will likely reduce sponge/brush use once this flaking subsides)

Okay so I realize this regimen isn't exactly low-maintenance right now, but once the spots go away it'll be 100x easier to maintain (effectively the only acne treatment should be the diacneal lotion at night). I also hope to try SpectroJel dry without water in order to skip the toner step, and I'm gonna think about giving up Estee altogether in favor of simplifying my routine to using only SpectroJel if I can bear to part with Estee (nostalgic attachment as it has worked well for me in the past...) Also, heard very good reviews about Diacneal so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Just thought I would start documenting my ongoing clearskin quest, maybe it'll help me or some others eventually...

DAY ONE

Still combatting the dryness from my last regimen, but slight improvement. A couple cysts and several sub-surface spots came to head by the a.m. of which one opened during cleansing and two I extracted. High hopes.

im really curious to see how this new regimen is going to go for you, I hope it works out!! good luck! ( I have also been wanting to quit BP )

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*** NATURAL ***

Saw an aesthetician at the health food store (Noah's in Toronto) and she seemed very knowledgeable. I shall impart some of this info to you lucky folks... (she was 37 and had the skin of a 27 year old and she claims to have had bad acne in early 20s)...

1. While benzoyl peroxide might help control breakouts initially, you will be stuck using it for the rest of your acne-free life as your face likely actually produces MORE oil now.

2. Many "oil-free" products still contain oil or synthetic oil derrivates such as petroleum that clog pores.

3. Practice internal health (of course)

4. Externally just try to help the skin regulate its own oil barrier, NEVER strip of its own oils. To achieve this use natural products that aren't foreign to your body and a regimen such as gentle/oil cleanser, essential oils for anti-bac and moisturizing purposes, and clay masks to draw out impurities and exfoliate.

5. Try to see a homeopathic doctor to determine if you have any skin/food allergies and if any organs in your body need special attention (from my understanding this is determined by blood analysis).

Aside from all the new natural goodies I bought today (cleansers/toners etc.) I'm going to seek out a homeopathic doc and look into colonics. If anyone is reading this... please leave feedback on colonics or enemas as a method for clear skin (internal cleansing)...

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Saw an aesthetician at the health food store (Noah's in Toronto) and she seemed very knowledgeable. I shall impart some of this info to you lucky folks... (she was 37 and had the skin of a 27 year old and she claims to have had bad acne in early 20s)...

1. While benzoyl peroxide might help control breakouts initially, you will be stuck using it for the rest of your acne-free life as your face likely actually produces MORE oil now.

2. Many "oil-free" products still contain oil or synthetic oil derrivates such as petroleum that clog pores.

3. Practice internal health (of course)

4. Externally just try to help the skin regulate its own oil barrier, NEVER strip of its own oils. To achieve this use natural products that aren't foreign to your body and a regimen such as gentle/oil cleanser, essential oils for anti-bac and moisturizing purposes, and clay masks to draw out impurities and exfoliate.

5. Try to see a homeopathic doctor to determine if you have any skin/food allergies and if any organs in your body need special attention (from my understanding this is determined by blood analysis).

Aside from all the new natural goodies I bought today (cleansers/toners etc.) I'm going to seek out a homeopathic doc and look into colonics. If anyone is reading this... please leave feedback on colonics or enemas as a method for clear skin (internal cleansing)...

Thanks so much for this. That's so neat. I was wondering...what sort of natural cleansers/toners did she suggest? Are they the ones that you're using at the moment (the ACV and the egg white/lemon)? I've been looking for something really gentle (as everything I try seems to dry out my skin and make it red), and I'd really like to get something natural.

And have you tried jojoba oil? That's another thing I'm attempting to find, but I haven't been able to try it yet.

Good luck with your regimen. I really hope it works for you.

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Hi, Im really glad that your using natural products to clear your skin. Alot of drugstore products contain chemicals that are irritating to sensitve skin and can make peoples acne worse (and they can get away with it too). This was the case for me until I started my own natural regimen (you can check mine out here) Basically I just stopped using sulfates in cleansers, started to use oils to improve barrier function, and of course folowed the best nutrition for my body. I have been to homeopathic doctors, and I am studying nutrition and holistic health myself. I learned that I had allergies to wheat and milk, and I replaced these things with other grains (amaranth, rice, spelt, quinoa) and soy milk or soy products. Soy is especially good for you if you are a woman because it helps to balance your hormones if you are high on estrogen, and the results are firmer clearer skin, fewer cramps during menstruation, less body hair, and a possible increase in breast size. Who wouldnt want any of those things? lol. Jojoba Oil is a good oil, but it is better for the hair in my opinion, because it is a dry oil meaning it could possible dry your skin out if you have sensitve skin and is rinsed away easily. Oils that are good in improving the skin's barrier function are almond, walnut, macadamia, safflower, primrose, and a few others. Never use citrus fruit oils on the face, as they are very irritating. The lightest of these oils are safflower, and I find it very good as a cleansing oil. Cleansing oils are very good for acne prone skin because blackheads are hardened sebum (oil) under the skin and so they are only oil-soluble. Massaging the skin with oil before cleansing helps to loosen plugs and blackheads to be easily rinsed away. Apple cider vinegar diiluted 50% with water is a very good alpha hydroxy acid to use on the skin, if you can tolerate it. I noticed that you are using lemon juice and lavender, which is a little harsh to use daily but only if you have sensitve skin. If you have any questions about oils or natural skin care, please pm me!

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Thanks so much for the reply!

I'm still a sheep in the dark about this natural stuff, but I'm soaking up information daily (hopefully to my benefit!) I have found lavender somewhat drying so I'll likely try your safflower or primrose suggestions. I was just thinking today that I needed a better moisturizer--the jojoba doesn't cut it all day in dry winter. I'm still on the fence about using olive oil (extra virgin) because I'm not sure if what I've got is organic.

Question!: I've got a question (I hope you'll read this... ) do you know about applying coconut oil (extra virgin organic cold pressed) topically to the face? It's got wonderful anti-bacterial properties and even sunblocking properties but I keep reading conflicting "science" about whether it clogs pores or not. Any advice?

Also, I'm currently I'm looking into Candida cures because it's very likely from the symptoms that this might be at least exacerbating my acne. (It's really out of control right now.) For starters, I just happened to get a pap done spontaneously by the doc the other day and while the results came back clear a few days later the gyn said I had a yeast infection. I never felt any symptoms. Anyway, there's tons more symptoms that I won't get into but that's my latest body prognosis. Have had acne since forever and I've been on tons of antibiotics in my life. Wouldn't hurt to lay off yeast, glucose etc. and take the herbs/oils for it anyway to get my intestines back on track (horrible digestion despite pretty good conscious eating habits) with acidophilus, grapefruit seed extract, etc. Your story about wheat/milk allergy intrigues me... I've already given up on dairy (except yogurt) a few years ago for various reasons... oh and another question...

Question!: Did you ever do a "cleanse" or fasting program to get all the wheat/milk residue out of your system? I'm considering doing a liver/kidney cleanse or getting a colonic to kickstart this process into gear...

Question!: One last beauty question in 2 parts:

1. What would you recommend for exfoliation? I just need to get rid of the scab flakes every day so whatever I use has to be gentle enough but effective. I don't want to use a facecloth. I think the egg yolk is working for this, baking soda seems too irritating. Any other ideas?

2. Right now I hope my skin is "purging" because it's going crazy. In order to feel confident enough to leave the house I have to use cover up... what do you suggest to hide the blemishes/scars/scabs? Right now I'm using an oil-free Revlon all-day ColorStay with zinc oxide SPF (tsk tsk but I need it to last) and of course this ends up drying the bad spots so it looks nasty and crusty--arguably worse than without--by the afternoon. I have tried layering olive and jojoba oils under it but it still doesn't seem to work. Do you know of any "good oil" coverup products I could use?

Thanks again for the earlier advice~

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Saw an aesthetician at the health food store (Noah's in Toronto) and she seemed very knowledgeable. I shall impart some of this info to you lucky folks... (she was 37 and had the skin of a 27 year old and she claims to have had bad acne in early 20s)...

1. While benzoyl peroxide might help control breakouts initially, you will be stuck using it for the rest of your acne-free life as your face likely actually produces MORE oil now.

2. Many "oil-free" products still contain oil or synthetic oil derrivates such as petroleum that clog pores.

3. Practice internal health (of course)

4. Externally just try to help the skin regulate its own oil barrier, NEVER strip of its own oils. To achieve this use natural products that aren't foreign to your body and a regimen such as gentle/oil cleanser, essential oils for anti-bac and moisturizing purposes, and clay masks to draw out impurities and exfoliate.

5. Try to see a homeopathic doctor to determine if you have any skin/food allergies and if any organs in your body need special attention (from my understanding this is determined by blood analysis).

Aside from all the new natural goodies I bought today (cleansers/toners etc.) I'm going to seek out a homeopathic doc and look into colonics. If anyone is reading this... please leave feedback on colonics or enemas as a method for clear skin (internal cleansing)...

This is quite interesting! I have stopped using BP and my face looks so much better now. But I am still searching for a moisturizer. How is the extra virgin olive oil and jojoba oil working for you? It just seems that it would be greasy.

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This is quite interesting! I have stopped using BP and my face looks so much better now. But I am still searching for a moisturizer. How is the extra virgin olive oil and jojoba oil working for you? It just seems that it would be greasy.

oils are suprisingly NOT greasy. I'm definitely actually less shiny during the day/afternoon and even in the morning (never thought possible!) It feels counter-intuitive to be putting oils on your face but your skin soaks it right up. It's apparently best to apply them right after washing/toning so that it can be best absorbed but I don't think I do that and I'm still ok. I try to "massage" it in but it still soaks in just fine with not too much care. But you do have to pick the right oils as some can actually be drying (astringent effect) such as lavender, and some can probably be too heavy.

For moisture I use the pre-blend mix of jojoba, ester-c and buckthorn (crazy bright orange oil that is proof it sinks into me cuz I don't look orange...) and extra jojoba if I need it. I stopped using ev olive oil only because i couldn't tell if it is organic or not. I also stopped using the "spot treatment" lavender etc in order to simplify my routine.

To give you an idea of my skin type, consider this: I have oily skin on my t-zone so much that i used to be able to see the pores releasing oil 10mins after washing and it was like a slick in the mornings (used to use a whole blotting C&C sheet on my t-zone alone in the a.m. before washing...on a side note, I swear I could smell my oil and it smelled like peanut butter haha).

Skin seems much more happy these days. So far only a few whiteheads here and there on old spot places which I like to imagine is just my skin purging as it's less than a week and I hope my body is in detox from my internal regimen (garlic, probiotics and anti-candida). Oh, I've also started using extra virgin coconut oil massaged into my skin (face) a few mins before my showers (whenever they are) and then just rinsed off with water. We'll see how that goes in the long run... I really recommend the egg yolk mask (just apply yolk and leave on for 15mins) for great exfoliation and nutrients etc.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any more Qs as you like!

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Anti-candida diet (no yeast, sugar, refined carbs, etc.) is proving difficult being the college (read: lazy) student that I am. I don't have the energy or money to cook veggies all the time and to make sure everything I eat is 'legal' on this diet. My weaknesses are turning out to be toast, cereal, sugar/mocha for coffee and french bread sandwiches!

Anyway... hopefully I'm helping my body. If my candida theory is correct then I'm making headway with my acne and hopefully other systematic problems. To outline a few of my other "ailments" here they are:

+ very poor circulation (fingers/toes always freezing or numb)

+ very poor digestion (very irregular...)

+ always tired (even after the gym, when i wake up, etc.)

+ yeast overgrowth according to gyn (no visible symptoms)

+ headaches and anxiety/depressive tendencies

+ scleroderma

+ slight scoliosis

+ moderate acne

+ very irregular menstruation (>6months if not on pill)

I'm sure there's more but that's a rather hefty list if I do say so myself. (I'm not contagious, I swear!) So if anybody knows what might help me... do share! I've booked an appointment with a naturopath in Toronto and I'm going to ask her to definitely check my hormone levels, maybe check for food sensitivities. We'll see what else she says...

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Hey good luck with your regimen! I was wondering how much garlic do you eat?

I don't have a set amount that I eat. I just take random pills throughout day as I remember (some days I'm at class etc.) but to give you a guide, I take probably 6-10 pills of 500mg odourless garlic. They're nice and small so I take 2 at a time when I take it. The pills are actually garlic extract 5mg which the bottle says is "equivalent to 500mg of fresh garlic."

I tried eating fresh garlic cloves but I really can't stand the burn/smell. I'm sure it would be best to eat it fresh if you can stand it -- my friend does!

Not sure if the garlic is really helping my skin but it's good for you anyway... hope that helps...

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"Oil free" phrases on cosmetics are regulated to meet the standards of having only no natural oils in them. In other words, a so-called "oil-free" sunblock might perfectly well have lots of synthetic oils. (I'd rather have some good natural oil on my skin rather than leeching toxic synthetic crap personally...)

Marketing is such a sneaky profession...

Update on natural regimen Jan20:

> I feel bloated/full/not hungry all the time. Maybe because of probiotics?

> Gave in to the intense carb cravings I was having both yesterday and today and scarfed things such as a sandwich, cereal, beer, noodles and even raw sugar. No wonder my face isn't too happy with me tonight... I can already tell a difference (is this likely?) in that my new whiteheads (only very tiny, and only on previous acne battle spots) are more liquid-puss filled than hard and pearly like they have been lately...

**Appointment with Naturopath next Friday!**

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UPDATE (RANT)

Skin is going crazy. I am going crazy. Depression/obsessive compulsiveness is setting in. I have completely abandonned my eating healthy stint. I don't have the time and when I get upset and feel gross I binge eat (unfortunately no accompanying purge) and make myself feel even worse.

Horrible. People say I shouldn't worry. I try not to worry. But what can you do when you have to sit back and watch yourself fall apart? Pretty soon I won't be able to leave the house and everything else will go to shit.... uuugh.

Glimmer of hope is the naturopath appointment on Friday. FRIDAY. Until then I'm going to have to really push myself if I'm going to (a) be able to leave the house and (b) get any work done...

Major cystic/painful back in action. Maybe it was the tub of ice cream I devoured the other day, or maybe the jar of peanut butter I ate with a spoon. I don't know what to do anymore. I'm sick of taking pills and drinking swamp juice. I want to be able to eat whatever I want and have perfect skin... like every single other person I know in the world. :(

--> You want to know what I dream of? I dream of being able to feel comfortable kissing my boyfriend. I want to feel comfortable enough to have sex with the lights on... I want to feel comfortable in my skin. OK enough worrying for tonight, I've got a hot date with the sandman--in the dark!

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Update and regimen change

So I saw a naturopath on Friday at the cost of an arm and a leg and she nodded in agreement that from all my medical history + symptoms she suspects candidaor parasitesmight be at play in my digestive system. She gave me the kit for a stool analysis sample (check for bugs by culturing) but that's going to cost me more arms and legs than I got ($290 for the test!). So forget it.

Did more research and I've now concluded that the "root of all evil" (see Acne Research forum) is really my stomach acid levels. I don't have a spleen or a gallbladder so it's very probable that my digestive enzymes aren't working at par. If you haven't researched it, having poor stomach acids etc. makes your body prone to everything else (insufficient nutrients means insufficient organ function and hormone inbalance which means candida, parasites, acne, IBS, hunger, bloating, etc. you name it).

Consequently, my regimen has changed slightly in terms of internal medication (supplements, diet). I've also settled into a topical regimen that seems to be working the best as can be. Also added epsom salts.

CLEANSER

+ Organic Tea Tree Gel Cleanser (evanhealy) mixed with some epsom salts

EXFOLIATION/MASK

+ C&C Deep Clean Scrub Exfoliant (in shower only) **old version, haven't tried the new blue one

(+) Egg yolk 15mins

(+) Rose Exfoliation Clay (evanhealy)

TONER

Homemade Mix:

~1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic with mother: Bragg brand)

~1:1 filtered water

~8 drops Bergamot essential oil

~12 drops Lavender essential oil

~5 drops Tea Tree oil

~fresh lemon juice wedge

~tablespoon epsom salt

MOISTURIZER

+ Pure mix of organic Jojoba Oil, Topical Ester-C and Sea Buckthorn Oil

SPOT TREATMENT

(+) epsom salt compress (soak cotton pad "slice" and apply to pimple for 20mins)

(+) Tea Tree oil

(+) Avene Diacneal Lotion (0.1% retinaldehyde / 6% glycolic acid) only sparingly, if at all

ORAL

+ Ortho Tri-Cyclen (birth control primarily)

+ Vitamin C chewables (yum!)

+ Digestive enzymes at every main meal (lunch, dinner)

+ ProBiotic

(+) Garlic extract

(+) Omega3,6,9 or Halibut Liver Oil

DIET

+ Extra Virgin Coconut Oil in lieu of butter

+ Fresh lemon in drinking water, might have a bite or two

+ Minimal sugar, refined carbs

+ NOT a low-fat diet (eat plenty of rich foods)

OTHER

+ Just started steamroom/sauna at the gym...

--> I bought a commercial chemical product out of compulsion yesterday... Garnier's "Pure-A" day lotion (contrary to what you may think, no vitamin A, only zinc and salicylic acid). I was using this in the past and it seemed to work great. However, I only used it once and realized that I enjoyed natural products a lot better so that ended up a great waste of $... but sometimes you don't realize you have a good thing until it's gone...

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***ESTEE LAUDER***

I have officially bailed from the "natural" bandwagon.

I wanted desperately to love the natural system I was going by because of the potential health dangers associated with some chemical ingredients. However...

3 weeks back with Estee and my face is clearing up nicely with almost immediate results. Perhaps coincidental, but not likely. Looking back on things, it was probably my prolonged use of Burt's Bees and then the natural oils etc that really did my face in. Using the natural oils (tea tree cleanser, apple cider vinegar toner, emu oil moisturizer) I noticed I was getting lots of forehead bumps that I'd NEVER gotten before. Estee has cleared them up COMPLETELY. So I still battle with my chin/jaw acne but you can't win all your battles can you?

Successful Regimen

CLEANSER: EL Sparkling Clean Gel Cleanser +/ Neutrogena Deep Clean scrub

TONER: EL Sparkling Clean

TREATMENT: EL Idealist Refinisher

MOISTURIZER: DaywearPlus Lotion spf15

EXFOLIATION: (1x/week) EL Micro-D dermabrasion scrub

ORAL: multivitamin and zinc

Forehead milia and T-zone blackheads have significantly reduced. Forehead 100% clear. No active acne anywhere but my usual chin/jaw (only 2 at the moment). Old red marks/scars are fading (thanks to Idealist). My face is smooth so makeup is much easier to apply. I'm also much happier taking only 2 supplements a day (multivitamin + zinc) compared to everything I was trying before...

Just thought I would share my update...

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Interesting posts, thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm sorry the 'natural' way didn't work out for you. But hey, at least you gave it a go, so now you know what works for you and what doesn't. "All Natural" is a term that is quite over-rated in my opinion and is often used as a selling point for many, many products & services. Too many people assume that because it's 'natural' it's safe and/or more effective. In the perfect world that would be true, but it often is not. Ah well. Life goes on! Good luck to ya, I'm glad your skin is healing again. Keep us updated.

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***DIFFERIN***

Saw the dermatologist last week (2 month wait!) and finally got a prescription. Here's the new system (too simple! yay!)

MORNING: Cetaphil and Toleriane

NIGHT: Cetaphil, Differin, Toleriane

And that's it... it's been about 5 days and it's working out great for me so far. I would have thought I would need exfoliation but the differin is pretty good like that. I do get flakes around the old zit areas but it's really not bad at all. No redness as I'm extremely modest with my differin application at night (I've got sensitive skin) and I always moisturize after I wash or apply the gel. My only wonder is if I should start using an spf during the day now that the weather is getting warmer....?

I am not getting any new zits, just healing the old ones which are going down, and 2 were super easy to extract with minimal pressure... oh and a couple mini-whiteheads that don't last more than 24hrs... easy riding for now, I hope this keeps up

PRODUCT DETAILS (FYI)

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Differin - Adapalene 0.1% Topical Gel

Toleriane - La Roche-Posay Soothing Protective Skincare

MAKEUP: Revlon Infallible foundation and Maybelline EverFresh concealer

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I'm on a diet for other medical reasons that means I cannot eat sugars or any refined carbohydrates. I'm sorry to say that when I started this diet a year ago I saw no improvment in my acne. I hope it works better for you.

Anti-candida diet (no yeast, sugar, refined carbs, etc.) is proving difficult being the college (read: lazy) student that I am. I don't have the energy or money to cook veggies all the time and to make sure everything I eat is 'legal' on this diet. My weaknesses are turning out to be toast, cereal, sugar/mocha for coffee and french bread sandwiches!

Anyway... hopefully I'm helping my body. If my candida theory is correct then I'm making headway with my acne and hopefully other systematic problems. To outline a few of my other "ailments" here they are:

+ very poor circulation (fingers/toes always freezing or numb)

+ very poor digestion (very irregular...)

+ always tired (even after the gym, when i wake up, etc.)

+ yeast overgrowth according to gyn (no visible symptoms)

+ headaches and anxiety/depressive tendencies

+ scleroderma

+ slight scoliosis

+ moderate acne

+ very irregular menstruation (>6months if not on pill)

I'm sure there's more but that's a rather hefty list if I do say so myself. (I'm not contagious, I swear!) So if anybody knows what might help me... do share! I've booked an appointment with a naturopath in Toronto and I'm going to ask her to definitely check my hormone levels, maybe check for food sensitivities. We'll see what else she says...

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Fucked everything up.

Face was coming along beautifully with Differin but my nails are growing long, you see, which means one obsessive night happened and I literally tore up my face into a bloody mess with my claws and my tweezers. So now my face looks horrible, and I read something about Differing being more effective when used with AHAs alternating... so I tried Avene Diacneal lotion one night (.01% retinaldehyde and 6% glycolic) to see if things would speed along and it turns out my skin is too sensitive and I've caused widespread peeling of my face (shoulda taken a hint when it stung on application). So I've had to combat the peeling sore skin with dermabrasion which is probably exacerbating acne/peeling in the long run.

I've also fucked up my internal self by eating dairy again (ugh but cereal is just so goddamn convenient) as well as having massive food binges. I think my face got to its good point because I had been sick for 10 days where I didn't eat ANYTHING (isn't the flu wonderful?) at all and didn't smoke. So I think I'm going to try a "fast" where I only eat apples and of course no smoking.

I tried a steam as well... 20 minutes in the steamroom at the gym... I don't think it did anything but make my face red from the heat and I think it's clogged some pores in weird places on my face now.

So all in all my face is one big mess again to the point where I can't see anyone of importance. I can't go to class and when I finally load on 10lbs of makeup I have to "sneak" out to the gym (on a good day) and sneak back in to the house. I'm avoiding the world and that's fucking shit up.

I need my skin to go back to the way it was just a week ago... I can't afford to hibernate anymore.

In terms of the Differin, I'm scared it's causing more zits now (possibly what sparked my initial attack on my face a few days ago). My forehead has gotten those little flesh colored lumps (milia?) and several other small things have popped up on my cheeks again... the worst areas to have zits. I might go back to using a face sponge to clean my face with the Cetaphil, I think I need more exfoliation.

Oh I don't know. Frustrating that things were going REALLY well until a few days ago...

:(

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Well I've calmed down since whenever that last post was. My face is still angry at me, still peeling in places and now that i've popped my new cheek pimples i'm dealing with those scar areas, but for some reason knowing the infection is gone makes me more at ease. I feel gross either way, might as well know I'm on the road to recovery? I don't know.

I wish I had the motivation and will-power to go on a fast, or at least stick to healthy foods (don't have the time and energy at university with cooked unhealthy meals --lasagna tasted like soap tonight-- literally downstairs). I am smoking less (maybe 1 a day) which really does help... on the days I don't smoke I can see my face is less red.

I wish my face would recover from redmarks/scars faster... discouraging to know that 3 months from now I'll still be looking splotchy. I think the dermabrasion doesn't help at all with the redmarks (makes it worse) but at least it makes my skin smooth to the touch.

So yes, right now my face is recovering from scabs/scars of many popped inflammations, which means some will re-inflame and it'll be 2 weeks before these are sufficiently flattened to red marks. :(

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***BURT'S BEES***

Returning to Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleaser. WHY? Because looking at old pics I can see my skin was a lot better (overall complexion "glow", moisturized and non-dull). I did have breakouts, but mostly on my chin (those nasty sore ones that you can't do much about anyway-hormonal?) and nothing comparable to the widespread cheek mayhem these days. Also I've read something about Cetaphil that says the emulsifiers in it cause the skin to clog a bit (those small flesh-colored non-irritated bumps on forehead... yup).

I washed my face with the Burt's Bees last night before applying Differin and this morning my skin seemed all good (no blocked pores etc) and nicely moisturized (does wonders for the peeling/scabs). An obvious perk is that with Burt's I can skip a step at night - the moiturizer - and just cleanse and apply Differin. In the morning today I tried using the Garnier Pure A just to give me a nice base for makeup, we'll see if that lasts.

I am considering using a toner or facecloth to wash off any potential residue fromthe Burt's (tried using Cetaphil afterwards this a.m. and not so sure about that). Previously when I used it I combined with a toner before moisturizing... but I'm not convinced I need toner yet though: if I don't "tone" and strip the skin I don't need moisturizer, right? Plus the derm was adament on the evils/uselessness of toners.

Also I'm going to get some aloe to replace my neosporin gel.

Having a happy (relatively) skin day! :)

SKIN STATUS: few mini somethings on chin area that seem to be clearing, 1 cystic whopper on chin that I foolishly tampered with a bit but it seems to be clearing, many old red marks on cheeks from recent outbreak and 2 pesky flesh colored bumps on forehead.

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Love the aspirin/aloe mask I tried last night but I used coated ones (tried to scrub off the "film" from the generic brand tablets) which might not have been the best thing...

Overall I'm super happy and excited about this, turned out great and reduced the redness immediately and brought some goo to the surface the next morning.. didn't dry my face even with my differin application, think it helped the residual peeling I had... all in all a SUCCESS!

Also not sure about the aloe I'm using... Aubrey Organics 100% Pure but it seems too watery?

I plan on doing another mask tonight over my chin+cheeks to really blast them suckers.

Having an okay face day... put on C&C Morning Burst spf15 cuz it's so beautifully sunny outside :)

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Update. Something is going amuck. My jaw/around the mouth/cheek area has been very unhappy in the past few days. Cystic deep one near my mouth and a "surface cystic" (big inflamed) on my cheek area. Couldn't resist fiddling with them tonight as the hands-off approach and even the aspirin mask wasn't doing anything to reduce them.

I keep eating like a maniac though, tons of sugar. I am going to FAST tomorrow whether it kills me or not. V8 is the only item I'm going to let in my body (and water, of course). We'll see.

I feel like there must be something wrong with my current regimen. Aside from the obvious blunder of trying strange B vitamins on my face, perhaps I shouldn't be using Burt's Bees. But while I get these deep inflammed suckers this way, it keeps the rest of my face looking amazing.

Always a tradeoff. It's either smooth, dry and red or lumpy, glowy and oily.

I don't even know if Differin is doing anything.

On an emotional rant, I'm pretty sure I would have rekindled things with the ex if it weren't for my face. Not that he thinks I'm gross, necessarily, but I know I feel gross and it drains all the confidence I have from me. I backed away from a hug he started last week because that would mean he would have to look at me close up. So pathetic. I'm 22 - the prime of my courtship - if this doesn't clear up I fear I'll be alone forever. Ok slightly melodramatic, but that's pretty much the way I feel. :( And of course there's the snowball effect happening where because I feel gross I MAKE myself actually more gross by binging and smoking and drinking and avoiding the gym. When it rains it pours. Ok. Goodnight.

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good luck with your regimen!

im 23 and still suffering with acne and im a picker also. :ninja:

what about trying accutane? i was on it twice and it worked while i was on it. i want to give it a third try and see if i get permanent results.

~Amy

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You're just going through a rough patch ... you'll come out of it!

Personally .... I do not like the Burt's Bees facial products. I know they sound good enough to eat, but I don't think they are appropriate for acne-prone skin ... not even the ones that claim to be, like the tomato soap. Stick to the body and hand lotions ... and the cuticle butter, which is awesome ... and keep the stuff off your face.

Good cleansers are hard to find ... but I believe that the Cetaphil and Purpose bars are sulfate-free. Check before buying one, because product formulations are always changing ..... I know there are issues with the other Cetaphil cleansers, but I am pretty sure that the bars are OK.

As your derm says, you should not need a toner. Toners are a marketing trap. Similarly, you should not feel compelled to use moisturizer unless you really feel tight and dry. Sunscreen is a must, though.

Differin should eventually take care of the flesh-colored bumps. They are almost certainly clogged pores, not milia (milia tend to be white bumps, and are not as common). If you are not seeing progress after 3-4 weeks, you should ask for a stronger retinoid -- probably Retin A Micro gel.

Hang in there, honey ... it's hard to stay on top of all this stuff, especially when you're living in a dormitory. Just try to get a handle on one thing at a time. :)

P.S. Be careful with the aspirin masks ... salicylic acid is powerful stuff, especially when combined with a Differin regimen. It is tempting to over-treat and over-pick your face when a breakout is in full force ... try to keep telling yourself that you want to CALM your skin. Take some ibuprofen; ice the inflamed spots; and just keep using your gentle cleanser and the Differin.

Also .... if you keep getting cysts, you need to go back to the derm. Differin is not a strong enough treatment for cystic acne.

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