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my dermatologist told me...

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i know this post is long, but please read to the end. i read through all the threads on this site recently to figure out what was wrong with my face, but NOBODY had any definite answers, only speculations and dismissals. there were a lot of them under the key word search "bumps".

to start, i started getting those small bumps all over my face (100s of them, seriously) by the second day of the regimen (with 2.5% bp, about 1/3 finger). i followed the video to a T. i stuck it out for a two weeks, though and all that happened was... they spread and became more irritating. they didn't fade, they didn't shrink, but it seemed like they were spreading to my neck after a while (where i wasn't even putting any of the bp or anything since i don't have neck acne, and no i wasn't inadvertently spreading the bp with moisurizer- no need for lotion on my neck). once they had spread halfway down my neck, i snapped and went to see my dermatologist. generally, my whole face was itching and dry and red.

well, he chewed me out. at first sight of my face when he walked into the exam room, he asked "WHAT did you do to your face?" i explained the CSR and how a lot of members here said to expect initial breakouts, redness, dryness and itching and that some had advised to just "hang in there for at least 3 months." first, he asked me what i thought the reaction could be if i disregarded the fact that i had made a proactive choice in applying a substance to my face with the understanding of possible consequences. "what would you think if you had a patch of skin that looked like this on your thigh? what would you do about it?" i told him that i would think it was an allergic reaction like hives or a rash and that i would eliminate any new products that i had recently used and think about what else i could have come into contact with recently. then i would try to treat it with cortaid or calamine lotion or something. if it didn't clear up, i would have come to see him. he just nodded and asked me why it was different with my face. do i care less about my face? did i think it was normal to get 100s and 100s of bumps, for my entire face to be red and peeling?

doh!

he told me that i was on the verge of getting a chemical burn. though i wasn't exhibiting the extreme signs of allergy to benzoyl peroxide (the crusting and swelling), i was definitely too sensitive to it to be using it all over my face. that eventually, the bp would have dried out the skin covering the bumps causing it to slough off and possibly leave large patches of raw skin that would be prone to infection, breakouts, enlarged pores, sunburn and permanent sun damage. the fluid in the bumps was my body's way of rejecting the bp that had been absorbed, by releasing its own fluid to try and dilute it. peeling skin is NOT healthy skin. redness i.e. inflammation is a sign that something is WRONG.

benzoyl peroxide does kill bacteria, but it isn't SPECIFIC. it also kills live healthy cells, which is why you should never apply it to open cuts. it only makes things worse. the process of oxidation (which is how bp kills bacteria) causes a chain reaction. first, the bp easily enters any cell then breaks up into two components, a hydroxyl radical and a hydroxide ion. the radical part steals an electron from any living substance. then the substance turns into a radical itself which then steals another electron. and this happens again and again until the whole cell, including the DNA which is especially suspectible to oxidation (may be the simple root of the whole inflammatory issue of bp causing cancer), is damaged and will most likely die. key point here: it spreads, hence my neck breaking out in the bumps despite lack of bp.

the way he explained it to me made me realize that i had been completely irrational and negligent. it is common sense, after all. why would i do anything to my skin that would make it look and feel so freakin bad?

he did say that bp use works well for some people, but that he always suggested that they "tested" the bp in a small spot for at least a week before using it on large areas because a lot of people find their skin to be intolerant of it even if they aren't "allergic". that it is best used as a controlled spot treatment. that any substance with 35% bp or higher is considered a highly hazardous chemical and is controlled by federal regulations. jikes. who would use 10% bp? answer: LOTS of people.

he prescribed a topical steroid (desonide) to speed up the healing of my bp battered skin, told me to be "extra gentle" with my face until it had healed (no towel drying, only air drying), avoid ANY sun for at least 3 weeks, and demanded that i throw out any bp i had left over and to avoid products with any bp in the future. this was on friday. today, sunday, my skin is on its way back to being normal and healthy. thank gawd.

so to wrap things up here, i'd like to say that this site says that 3% of people are allergic to bp. HOWEVER, a much higher percentage of people are TOO SENSITIVE to it. you could be doing more damage than good. of course, many people have found amazing results here with this regimen but please keep in mind before you advise anyone to begin the CSR that it may not have the same results, that everyone reacts at least slightly differently to anything. for those of you who have had positive changes, congratulations. and for those of you who are experiencing the same problems i did, think about stopping and seeing a professional. it's your face, dude. it's the first thing anyone sees.

good luck to all.

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8% BP is a large number in general, i would never put something that strong on my face, even just for spot treatment

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ooh, i forgot to mention that doc said that using bp can also potentially worsen the eventual scar formation. same logic as mentioned in original post- cell death and damage. more damaged cells, more scar tissue formed. :redface:

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Thanks for this information! We should def warn new users that if they get tons of bumps there is a good chance they are too sensitive to BP and should see a dermotologist. I think we should encourage people to test it for a week on a small spot. Although people are eager to start the Regimen, especially since its a long road, we should encourage spot testing. Not sure that even after reading your story, in my desparate state i woulda spot tested. so sad.

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Good post!! Thanks!!

Although it sounds like common sense (the part where BP isn't specific in killing bacteria), I never thought about it!

I might consider only applying BP on my active acne - and only put a dap - try my best to avoid my healthy skin area.

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I'm not entirely sure it kills your skin cells, otherwise your skin would die and fall off ;) heh

The reason it kills the bacteria, isn't because its lethal or anything, but because it oxidizes the skin, and bacteria can't live in an oxidized enviroment.

Some people are too sensetive to BP for sure, but most, can tollerate it, and see good results after a few months.

Good post though :)

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i think most if not all experience problems in the beginning, but a lot of people are better after a few weeks.

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The reason it kills the bacteria, isn't because its lethal or anything, but because it oxidizes the skin, and bacteria can't live in an oxidized enviroment.

I'd like to specify and say that p. acnes bacteria can't live in an oxidized environment. There are plenty of bacteria (including good ones that your skin needs to stay healthy) that can. The point is, BP doesn't kill everything in its path - just the things that can't withstand pure oxygen. I'd also like to express skepticism that BP "kills live healthy cells," as I have not seen any studies on this - which doesn't mean they don't exist, of course, only that I've never seen them.

It sounds to me like you had a normal allergic reaction, albeit different from the reaction most people experience when allergic to BP. It should be added to the list of symptoms on Acne.org, along with redness and swelling. As far as sensitivity - "sensitivity" implies that your skin is sensitive in general, which means that you should not be using any harsh products PERIOD. 2.5% BP is far less irritating than many of the other acne medications on the market, and when used carefully will probably not cause adverse reactions in anyone who is not outright allergic.

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The point is, BP doesn't kill everything in its path - just the things that can't withstand pure oxygen.

Right on!

Actually, benzoil peroxide is not a bactericide agent per se, but makes a good one because of the way it reacts with lipids, as it releases oxygen. Anaerobic organisms cannot survive in the presence of oxygen.

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That was a good post. I had a similar reaction at first to the Regimen. Eventually them bumps subsided leaving behind skin that was so tight and dry that it cracked when I tried to open my mouth. It wasn't just flaking and peeling, it was cracking and fissuring.....symptoms of grade 4 xerosis (clincal term for very severe dry skin)......the skin that peeled off revealed and oozing layer of pink skin, that crusted over in patches....

No I don't have a BP allergy......

I can tolerate moderate amounts of BP. My skin just couldn't handle the amount required to follow the Regimen. I followed the videos to a "T." I started out wtith a small amount and worked up.....ignoring the redness and flaking. It took about a month for my skin to heal up.....just in time to start breaking out again.....

I had less irritation and redness combining a 5%BP/1%clindamycin topical with retin-a micro, than I ever had on the Regimen.....

It works wonders for many people....I wasn't one of them.....

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One time I literally clumped 10% BP on my face [this was like the first time I'd ever put it on too] and left it there.

I was nice & red by the mornnnn.

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Yes i agree that BP isnt entirely healthy for the skin, but it does help with some people's acne.

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I have been told that I have clogged pores and mild acne.

I have lots of skin coloured bumps on my face - does this mean I have sensitive skin, or does it just mean I have clogged pores like I have thought? :confused:

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This post makes me worried that BP is causing free radicals and damage to my skin for the long term.. free radicals cause accelerating aging, right? Isn't that why everyone is selling anti-oxidants?? I can't win. :eh:

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Oxygen is toxic to ALL cells, because of the formation of free radicals, as stated above.

Human cells (and other aerobes, including aerobic bacteria) can survive in the presence of oxygen because our cells produce enzymes that prevent the formation of radicals or break down the radicals--sorry, I can't remember which. Obligate anaerobes, such as P. acnes, lack these enzymes.

However, too much oxygen can STILL kill aerobes. In essence, this is how disinfectants such as hydrogen peroxide work: they produce oxygen. In fact, they have to produce enough oxygen to overwhelm the enzymes, so that even aerobic bacteria can be killed.

So if benzyl peroxide also works by producing oxygen, then yes, it is harmful to human cells, because oxygen is toxic to ALL cells, and I think that if enough is used, it can indeed cause a lot of damage.

--

Now, I've been on Clindoxyl gel (5% bp, 1% clindamycin) for a few months now, with mixed results: It initially started clearing up, but afterwards I'm not so sure, heh. I stuck with it because... the label said to do so.

I was also thinking of starting the Regimen, but after this thread, I'm not so sure...

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While bp may not be the healthiest thing for our skin, neither is acne. Acne leaves behind scarring and damage in it's wake.

I would encourage anyone who is concerned about bp to ask their derm/doctor their opinion. Doctor's have been prescribing it for over 30 years, in typically stronger amounts than 2.5%.

I personally feel very comfortable using such a mild formulation, but I also make it a point to take a good multivitamin each day, vits. C,A,E, etc are antioxidants

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While bp may not be the healthiest thing for our skin, neither is acne. Acne leaves behind scarring and damage in it's wake.

I would encourage anyone who is concerned about bp to ask their derm/doctor their opinion. Doctor's have been prescribing it for over 30 years, in typically stronger amounts than 2.5%.

I personally feel very comfortable using such a mild formulation, but I also make it a point to take a good multivitamin each day, vits. C,A,E, etc are antioxidants

Actually you're right Brandy. Derms typically prescribe BP at 5-10% over a 2.5% and often combine BP with topical antibiotics or with topical retinoids. For some reason I could tollerate the BP in Proactiv, and I could tolerate the 5% BP in Duac gel, buit my skin just couldn't handle the Regimen. I can use small amounts of the BP gel with no issues, but I couldn't tolerate using the amount of BP that Dan suggests.....some people just have a threshold as to how much BP they can apply without it causing major damage to the epidermis....I'm not talking about long term damage from peroxidation that the BP causes....there is more oxygen in the air coming in contact with our skin then the amount of oxygen released from the BP, and the epidermis does have it's own free radical scavengers and antioxidants that protect against free radical damage....I was referencing the immediate damage that OD'ing on BP can cause.....

For the people who the Regimen does work for....a little BP is better than a face full of acne scars......

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that's interesting about the air around us actually putting more oxygen onto our skin than bp does.

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I think the contact is quite different though, as in, the air is just touching our skin as it always has, whereas BP is a chemical that we add unnaturally twice a day that releases oxygen into our skin from within our skin. Major difference. I don't care though, because I trust BP and clear skin=healthy skin IMO.

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I have been told that I have clogged pores and mild acne.

I have lots of skin coloured bumps on my face - does this mean I have sensitive skin, or does it just mean I have clogged pores like I have thought? :confused:

i got the same kinda crap...dont know what it is and dont know how to get rid of it..bp dont work, just drys my skin out and clears up red marks from me tryin to pop somethin :/

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I've been on the regimen for about 5 months now, and just started getting these red bumps (with no head) under my eyes and across my nose, in places I never have before. I'm thinking that it might be a BP allergic reaction, but how can that be possible since i've been on it so long? Any ideas?

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I've been on the regimen for about 5 months now, and just started getting these red bumps (with no head) under my eyes and across my nose, in places I never have before. I'm thinking that it might be a BP allergic reaction, but how can that be possible since i've been on it so long? Any ideas?

Same, these bumps you guys speak of are hard to notice unless i look up close to a mirror at them. I have them under my eyes and on my nose. I've been on the regimen for 2.5 - 3 months now.

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