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The_Snow_Queen

My FIENDISH experiment.... Wah ha ha ha ha...

Facial Skin Status: Clear, with some minor surfaced capillaries and faded post-inflammatory redness.

Back and Shoulder Skin Status: ALERT!!! Nasty blackheads and papules are present!!!

What to do about my back acne (aka "bacne")? For several months now, I have noticed my back and shoulder area have been breaking out. Now that summer is coming and I want to wear cute, off-the-shoulder tops and halters, I found myself forced to deal with this growing problem.

To successfully address my body acne, I first examined what treatments cleared up my face.

1) Paula's Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid (chemical pore exfoliant)

2) Retin-A Cream (prescription treatment that helps normalize pore function)

3) Glades Sodium Sulfacetamide 10% and Sulfur 5% Lotion (prescription disinfectant)

4) Makeup Artist's Choice 55% Lactic Acid Peel (the big guns resulting in my success against acne)

So, to treat my back acne, I first tried:

Paula's Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid

* I would have also added Retin-A Cream, but only have enough for my face at the moment.

Results after two months:

Nothing spectacular, although I did notice an improvement in my clogged pores.

And thus, Glades Sodium Sulfacetamide 10% and Sulfur 5% Lotion was added to my regimen at this point.

Results after two months:

No improvement over using salicylic acid alone, despite the fact that some of my lesions are

inflammatory.

So, rather than waste my expensive prescription, I removed the Glades from my regimen.

Alas, what to do now? I couldn't very well apply a chemical peel to this difficult to reach area. Well, last Monday, May 22, my beloved Paula's Choice order came. Inside were two of my favorite products: the 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid and the 8% Alpha Hydroxy Acid Gel, both pH correct, which I usually apply at different times and on different areas of my body. Than an idea popped into my head: What if I combined the use of a BHA and AHA? Generally, this is most definately discouraged against due to the potential for irritation. However, salicyic acid is sometimes used in prescription medications to increase the penetration of other ingredients, some of which do pose a risk for irritation as well. I decided it was worth a shot.

Now: when to apply? Although it is usually encouraged to start out slow and work your way up with any treatment, I wanted to see if I could handle applying both acid products at the same time TWICE A DAY, foolhearty though it may seem.

My experience so far:

Surprisingly, I have not yet noticed any adverse reactions; if anything, the pores on my back seem to be unclogging faster than with salicylic acid alone, and the several inflammatory lesions on my right shoulderblade appear to be healing faster than others I have experienced prior to my new treatment. No new clogs have developed that I am aware of, although I do recognize their is a potential for "purging" when using acid products.

Will my experiment fail?

I'll keep you posted...

Oh, and for those of you that are wondering what my cleansing routine is, read on:

During my daily shower:

After conditioning my hair, I use gently rub two pumps of Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser onto my shoulders and back. I avoid scrubs as they aggravate my skin.

At night when I do not shower:

I soak a cotton pad with Nivea Visage Moisturizing Toner and sweep over my shoulders and back.

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Alrighty... It's been about a week and a half since I started combining the use of AHAs and BHAs, and here's my update:

I have significantly fewer clogged pores and have not yet developed any new ones. I only have one inflammatory lesion left.

The only symptom of irritation I have noticed is a slight, barely perceptable flakiness of the skin which I spotted several days ago. This was quickly remedied with my Nivea Visage Moisturizing Toner and a little bit of my Dove lotion.

My skin as of now does not seem to be flaky.

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I was using the Paula's 2%BHA Liquid, and even though it was working fairly well my skin got dry and flakey. But apparently the Weightless BHA 2% Body Lotion is less drying and actually MORE exfoliating(lower PH), so I got that instead...I've only used it once so far cause I just recieved it, but I'd recommend you try that, so that it's not too drying plus on Makeupalley it got the highest ratings out of all her exfoliants!

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I was using the Paula's 2%BHA Liquid, and even though it was working fairly well my skin got dry and flakey. But apparently the Weightless BHA 2% Body Lotion is less drying and actually MORE exfoliating(lower PH), so I got that instead...I've only used it once so far cause I just recieved it, but I'd recommend you try that, so that it's not too drying plus on Makeupalley it got the highest ratings out of all her exfoliants!

Actually the liquid has the lower pH, but not by much (liquid- 3.2; body lotion- 3.3). My skin really didn't have a problem with flakiness; it was just a temporary side effect which has since subsided. The liquid is more likely to be irritating than the lotion because the salicylic acid is released quickly, while the lotion provides a more controlled release of salicylic acid. I actually probably would have used the body lotion over the liquid, but did not because 1) I use the liquid on my face, thus I already had a good supply of it and 2) I am using an AHA gel over the BHA, and do not wish to put a gel on top of a lotion. But I do think the body lotion is a great product and loved my samples of it that I got.

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