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Day 4 (technically)

-A little about me.

I'm 19, and I've had mild acne for the last 4-5 years. My cheeks are now rough, patchy, and now with lots of dark scars. The scars have just compounded over the years and now it makes my skin look 2x worse than it actually is. I'm asian, and I'm actually decently tan, but they still show.

-Regimen

Four days ago I had my first chemical peel. My skin has been flaking for the last few days, but now it's more or less gone. I'm going to go back every 2 weeks for either a chemical peel or microderm. Just starting tazorac today. Also using a bp cleanser twice a day for a wash. Whenever my skin feels dry I throw on some Aloe Vera gel.

-How my face looks

At this point, red and an overall not healthy look. It really took a beating from that chemical peel. As for active pimples, I won't go into specific details but I have 3-5 active ones.

-Feelings

Dreading initial breakout of tazorac..and thinking about how long 12 weeks is.

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Does the aloe vera seem moisturizing enough to you? With Taz, you might need something more ...

I'm going to see how the aloe vera goes for about two weeks or so. The taz is starting to hit my skin. I woke up today with a slight pink shade to the areas where I applied it. So to be a little bit more gentle on my skin, I'm only using the bp cleanser in the mornings, then a gentle cleanser at night, and then apply the taz. Plus I read that applying bp and taz at the same time negate their respective effects. I haven't read anything about a cleanser with bp and taz afterwards but I'm going to play it safe and split them up.

The thing I like most about the aloe vera though is it really does feel like it's "cooling" the skin. Would you recommend anything else?

Any experienced taz users know when to put on the moisturizer? Is it after or before taz? I use the Aloe Vera whenever my skin doesn't have taz/bp/after showers. I'm a bit hesitant to use the aloe vera before taz because it forms a layer, but I'm not sure about the effectiveness after applying taz either. Any suggestions?

Also, is bp effective in combating the initial breakout? if not, is there any otc products/methods that anyone would recommend?

Always grateful for help.

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My advice would be to drop the BP cleanser from your regimen entirely, and only use a gentle cleanser AM and PM.

If you want to use BP, get a 2.5% topical (like Dan's gel) and use it in the AMs, maybe just as a spot treatment. You are correct that BP will negate the effects of the Taz, so you never want to use both at the same time.

Use Taz at night, on a clean face, then wait at least 30 minutes before you moisturize .... you need to give the Taz time to absorb and do its thing.

If your face starts to get red, dry, or irritated, take a night or two off the Taz. Some people find it very irritating.

Be sure you are wearing sunscreen daily, with SPF of at least 15 or higher.

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2 week mark

Just got back from my first microderm. It really did take a lot of flakey skin off. In general, skin is looking a bit better ever since the chem peel. My cheeks were pretty patchy with old red marks and hyperpigmentation but the chem peel definately helped. My next peel is in about 2 weeks.

I've built up to using tazorac every night. Lots of aloe vera after showers, moisturizer + sunscreen in the mornings/afternoons.

I question how knowledgeable the people at the spa are who are doing this for me..First of all, they still want me to use 10% bp cleanser, which totally destroys my skin. They say that if it's dry and peeling a lot thats a good thing, which isn't necessarily true.

ALSO, its ONLY BEEN 2 WEEEEEKS, and this lady was wondering why I was still breaking out...? huh? 2 out of 12 weeks for tazorac and she expects me to be clear? Comeon now, I SHOULD be the one insisting on instant results, but I've read up enough to know 2 weeks isn't much time. Nor did she mention ANYTHING about an initial breakout, which I think I'm going through. AAAALLLSSOO this lady wants me to STOP using moisturizers completely...what!?

No, this isn't a derm, its a spa thing.

So basically I've been doing my own modified regime. St Ives scrub in the mornings/nights, aloe vera when I'm at home, sunscreen and moisturizer, and just tazorac at night.

Hopefully in the next 10 weeks I'll be much better off..

What do you guys think?

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Sounds like you spa people are the brightest stars in the sky.

ya tell me about it..

The scrub isn't bad at all. It's St.Ives. I don't really scrub hard, just a very light massage so my skin doesn't look flakey when I go to work.

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I think your fine with your scrub as long as you have no irritation. A lot of people Jessfoliate twice a day so......

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Past 3 week mark

I definately think my jawline went through an initial breakout in the past week. They were small ones that developed a head quickly. Now it has more or less subsided, but the area is flakey and they left some more marks.

In general my skin looks pretty decent. A few small active ones and mostly red/brown marks. Still is semi-dry and flakey at times, but lots of moisturizer takes care of it. The general redness has subsided.

The initial chem peel definately helped clear my old ones significantly. I'm scheduled for another chem peel next week. Not looking forward to having my skin actually peel but definately hopeful that the old marks will go down another few notches.

Over the last few years my skin has become more prone to have red/brown marks, and the taz really helps minimize that. Lovin that.

I haven't experienced much of an initial breakout yet on anywhere else on my face. Is that unusual? If that happens I'll definately be on the depressed side for a few days...but c'est la vie..

To be honest, at the moment I'm more or less indifferent to how my face looks. My acne was always mild-moderate, and there were times when I've been clear (except for red/brown marks). So sometimes I feel like I'm just going through another one of those clear phases. I guess that's good in that I'm not getting my hopes up so if this all blows up I won't be toooo devastated..

Atleast I know the chem peels will help with the marks that have compounded over the years.

till next week

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well...4 week mark

I'm going to my second chem peel later today. Not looking forward to peeling for the next few days but hoping it'll get rid of the rest of the old marks.

I think I'm still going through an initial breakout on my lower left side, but then again that area has always been problematic, maybe even my only problematic area these last few weeks. I keep getting these little itchy ones that go away in a few days but they still leave a mark. Everywhere else experienced a slight initial breakout but not much of a problem anymore.

sigh..I'm going to go to this spa place for the peel again, and this lady is going to be like, "Why are you still breaking out?" because she has no idea what she's talking about, yet they can prescribe tazorac..really the last thing i need right now is her to seem disappointed that I broke out a little.

In general things are better than they were before I started the taz. The initial scar/mark improvement from the chem peel definately helped.

bleh..There is one sort of NEGATIVE aspect out of all this..Before I went, I honestly didn't think my face was that bad, this coming from a guy whos had to deal with acne for 4-5 some years now...I pretty much was at the point where it was embarassing at times, but it didn't stop me from flirting with girls or making friends or whatever, and they definately flirted back, and I definately can make friends. I mean, it's always been a few active ones, decent number of old marks on the cheeks, and thats about it.

I guess this whole thing is making me question whether or not I was just kidding myself...and maybe it was pretty bad back then..like I was lying to myself even..

I dunno..hopefully by the end of the summer I"ll be completely clear for real.

sorry for the rant. till next weeks update.

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Back from chem peel, a day later. Skin is a bit pinkish, not too noticeable. Hopefully it doesn't really start to peel till after I get home from work on friday. :pray:

I was actually surprised when I went back to the place where they did the peel. Both the derm and the lady at the spa said I was definately improving, which was definately uplifting. Maybe 2 active ones at the moment, but still a mess of old marks. Hopefully after I peel they'll all go down another shade or two, maybe even disappear. Definately hope the tazorac will help in that department.

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Sounds like are greatly improving for you. That's awesome, especially that the Derm and the spa lady said it's looking better.

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Thanks!

Week 5

I don't know how good these chem peels are for the skin long term, but after 2 of them, on a scale of 1-10, they are down to 4 from 7. Even if the tazorac doesn't completely clear me up, i'll be glad the chem peels did their job.

As far as blemishes, about 2-3 active minor ones. My lower chin area where I had the initial breakout isn't breaking out anymore. Thank God..at one point there was like 7 itchy ones..soo annoying.

So is tazorac really working? Blemishes have been occuring less frequently in the last few weeks, aside from the initial breakout. But I still don't think it's late enough to judge. I've gone through periods of clear skin before. The good thing about that is I'm not getting my hopes too high, but I'm definately hopeful.

I'm alot less tan than I usually am this time of year, because I've been trying to stay out of the sun for prolonged periods of time. I kind of like it though, weird..

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week 6

whoa, has it already been 6 weeks?! No0o0o my summer is half over. :snooty:

Not too much change since last week. Ocassional minor one pops up here and there. Skin looks pretty clear now, minus some greatly faded brown marks, if I do say so myself.

My biggest fear? A huuuuuge breakout that would just destroy all the progress/improvement on my cheeks. It looks pretty good now, but then you realize, one breakout, and it looks like shit AGAIN..

Hopefully the slow and general improvement keeps up.

If I can get the before tazorac treatment pics I'll post them up, with some recent ones.

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I know exactly what you mean. Most of my redmarks were barely visible a few weeks ago and the I got some new zits and it's like they never left. WTF?????

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about week 7

Had a little breakout the last few days..nothing too serious, a few minor active ones.. but definately on the disheartening side. You all know the drill..almost instant bad day, tired of dealing with it, then you wonder what you did wrong because you didn't change anything and you live a decently healthy lifestyle yada yada yada..

doesn't help that the weather is hot, dark, and humid and I didn't get the best night of sleep but I still have to go to work..c'est la vie

To be honest, if I get another say..20% improvement at the end of the 12 weeks, but I still get an ocassional breakout, I'd be fine with it.

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Remember progress in not linear. You won't just wake up one day and never have a zit again. Look at it this way, at least you are having good days maybe even a few of them at a time.

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little late week 8

1-2 minor active ones. waiting for the next chem peel, which is next week. Hopefully it keeps taking care of the marks. i think i've more or less hit a plateau in terms of improvement. I don't mind having 1-2 active at a time at all, and I'm very grateful for the improvements thus far. I've lived with it long enough to accept it and move on.

The thing that I DO mind is the marks left over..bleh.

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week 9

Went to the spa thing yesterday. Surprisingly had a microderm instead of a peel. I actually kind of enjoy the microderms. Skin turns out very smooth afterwards, and afterwards i can relax for 10 mins or so with a cooling mask on.

Status of the skin: maybe 1-2 very minor active ones. I was out in the sun for quite a while(with sunblock the whole time) and I tan nicely, plus I haven't gotten much color this summer so in general my skin looks healthier. Yea yea I know sun is bad in the long run/makes marks darker blah blah but once in a while I feel it didn't hurt me.

Question : Does tazorac do anything for left over red marks? I would assume so because it decreases the turnover time for skin cells, so wouldn't that mean it heals faster?

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week 10

lord it's hot outside..i had a very minor breakout on my left cheek. like 2-3 very minor ones. i'm inclined to blame it on the 100+ heat index weather we've been having. other than that i'm fairly clear. :pray:

i have another chem peel on the 23rd, about 2-3 days before i head back to school. should be enough time for my skin to peel, and take down the old marks another few notches.

you never realize how many old marks a few breakouts leave until they have more or less faded, and then you breakout...boggles my mind...all those past breakouts just compounding and compounding.

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week 11

minor breakout from last week is gone for the most part.

Reflection on this whole experience:

I can officially say this whole tazorac experience has been a success. For the last couple of years, I remember summer being a huge time for breakouts. But this summer has definately been different ever since I started the tazorac.

For example, last summer I'd hate going to work every day because my skin looked like absolute garbage...red, active zits, oily as hell..I'd turn down a ton of invitations to go out with friends because my skin looked like shit..But this summer, I can go the whole day without giving my skin a second thought! I can look my co-workers in the eye, and do a ton more customer service related stuff. I can go out and open up a little more.

I'm actually reaaallly surprised at how little the chem peels/microderm have affected my social life. I've only had to turn down a handful of things with my friends because my face was peeling.

After having mild/moderate acne for the last 5 years..it feels really good to just wake up, do what I have to do, and not worry as much about my skin. I still try to eat healthy/avoid things that cause breakouts and everything, but it feels like there's a goal to it, as weird as that sounds. I mean, when you do everything you can the right way, and then you breakout..it's like..why am I even trying, you know?

I think my real test is this coming school year..maybe I can even find a new girlfriend (haven't had one for a few years now). I'm HOPEFUL that I'll have opportunities to do so, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Hell, having a few more meaningful conversations with girls would be fine with me.

I'll prob update this next week, the week of my chem peel, and a few weeks into school.

Thanks alot for everyone that has replied in this, I honestly appreciate the support/advice, and good luck everyone!

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