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Battling Acne One Pimple at a Time

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Nowhere Girl

I took pictures for the past two weeks but didn't post them on my album until tonight:

My Weekly Progress Album

It shows how bad my skin got during the past two weeks, at least the left side of my face. The right side was doing better. But the left side of my face got so bad that it made me rethink my regimen. I decided that maybe I need to use more medicated products. So instead of a gentle cleanser and 2.5% BP, I've switched to a medicated line. I've used so many medicated lines in the past with no luck. I tried ProActiv, Clean & Clear (good for teenagers but not for my 41-year-old face), Clearasil, Serious Skin Care, Murad, Rodan & Fields, etc. I've even tried the countless Neutrogena acne products. Everything I've tried that was medicated dried out my skin. But for the past week I've been using the new Neutrogena Acne Stress Control line. Of all the Neutrogena acne products I've tried, I like this one the best. It's less drying than the other lines I've tried. I think it's better suited to older skin as well as teenaged skin. I've also switched to a 10% BP gel, which I only apply as a spot treatment, and only at night. Again, I've had no luck with 10% BP in the past, but this time I'm using Persagel by Clean and Clear, (the only exception to the Clean and Clear line that I like). I had never tried Persagel before, and I bought it out of desperation. I am trying a new strategy: use 2% salicylic acid to clear my pores and prevent new pimples, and BP to spot treat and dry up the pimples I already have. I'll take new photos tomorrow for Week Seven. I'm already seeing more improvement in the one week I've been doing this new regimen than I have in six months of breaking out. So my new routine is:

AM:

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Foam Face Wash

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Treatment

Dove Essentials Face Lotion SPF 15

followed by Bare Minerals makeup

PM:

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Foam Face Wash

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Face Scrub (2-3 times a week)

Persagel (applied to blemishes only)

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Treatment

followed by Bare Minerals Rare Minerals Night Treatment

I'm going to try to force myself to stick with this regimen until I get results because, as you can see from my previous posts, I keep switching skincare products, which may be contributing to my acne. But I see a little improvement so far, at least enough so that I don't feel completely hideous when I leave the house. And the mineral makeup calms down some of the redness and, while not completely concealing it, makes me look more presentable. :pray:

Nowhere Girl

I woke up yesterday with several new pimples along my lower chin and jawline, on both sides of my face. On the plus side, the large nodules are starting to flatten out and fade, but they're still there as red spots. I feel like my face is a mess. Today I attended an opening party for an art exhibition at the place where I work, and I felt embarrassed about how my face looked as I talked to people.

I also bought a new cleansing bar today that I'm hoping will give me great results. I've been reading reviews on drugstore.com and makeupalley.com about the Aveeno Moisturizing Bar with colloidal oatmeal. Even though it says it's for dry skin, many of the reviewers said it cleared up some of their pimples because the oatmeal in it is very beneficial. Plus, Tyra Banks uses it, and has demonstrated her skincare regimen on her television show. Check out this link to see her routine: Tyra Banks Washing Her Face

So if Tyra Banks uses it, that's good enough for me (I'm such a celebrity product junkie). :pray: She could afford the best skincare lines, so it's gratifying to know she relies on inexpensive drugstore brands like most of the rest of us.

A couple of days ago I tried the Aveeno Clear Complexion Bar, with salicylic acid, but it's soy-based, and the reviews for that one weren't as positive. I used it for one night, and, perhaps not coincidentally, I woke up the next morning with all of those new little pimples along my jawline. I hope the oatmeal in the Moisturizing Bar is more healing.

I posted two new pics to my album today:

My Weekly Progress

Not quite Tyra Banks, but it's nice to know that she looks like just another fresh-faced everday woman when she's got no makeup on.

Nowhere Girl

In the shop where I work, we just got a book in that's all about how negative emotions manifest themselves physically in people by causing ailments and illnesses. The "cure", according to this book, is to say daily affirmations to develop a positive mental attitude. I admit, I looked up some of my afflictions to see what this book says about them. The first thing I looked up is acne. According to this book, acne is caused by a negative attitude about oneself, and self-hate (I thought that came after your face starts breaking out!). In order to combat this and supposedly heal your acne, you have to repeat this affirmation daily:

"I am a Divine expression of life. I love and accept myself where I am right now."

Now as skeptical as I was, I admit to repeating this affirmation a few times a day, like in the bath tub, or while lying in bed at night. And sure enough -- it didn't work. My face still looks like a disaster. I'd be better off sticking with Daily Affirmations by Stuart Smalley: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." Oh, and benzoyl peroxide helps too. :pray:

Nowhere Girl

Day 17

I'm back to using Dove beauty bar. I didn't feel like the Cetaphil was really cleansing my skin. I like a bit of lather to make me feel like I'm cleaning my face, and the Dove doesn't dry out my skin.

Here's my regimen (for this week, anyway).

AM:

Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar

Dan's BP gel

Equate Complete Moisturizer with SPF 15 for Sensitive Skin (WalMart's brand)

PM:

Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar

Dan's BP gel

Complex 15 Face Cream (the one in a tube)

Two new pimples on my forehead in the past couple of days, but usually the ones on my forehead dry up quickly with BP. It's the ones on the sides of my face that are those huge monster zits that hurt and take forever to go away. And they bug me so much that I can't stop touching my face, even though I know it makes it worse. :pray:

Nowhere Girl

It's the start of week three. Every Sunday I try to take pictures of my progress. So far it's getting worse, at least the left side of my face is. I've gotten another large nodule above the two that developed last week. The right side looks better, but I can feel a nodule that could surface, plus a bunch of comedones.

I'm still tweaking the regimen. The only constant is Dan's BP gel. As much as I love Dove, today I took out a bottle of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser that I bought several months ago and started using it again. I've read the reviews of it on acne.org, as well as on makeupalley.com and drugstore.com. Maybe a bland, gentle cleanser is the way to go, but at this point I'm not sure what to use anymore. I also used the Cetaphil moisture cream in the green tube (it doesn't specifically say it's just for the face, as I know Cetaphil makes some face creams and lotions). But the Cetaphil felt greasy, so I'm sticking with Complex 15 at night and the Equate Oil of Olay Complete knockoff for sensitive skin for daytime.

I posted two new pics today to document week three of Dan's regimen. I still have high hopes for it, despite feeling like giving up. But I know three weeks isn't enough time. I wish I could just settle on which cleanser to use. :pray:

My Weekly Progress

Nowhere Girl

Today I bought Basis's Sensitive Skin cleansing bar, thinking it might be more soothing on my skin than the Dove Beauty Bar that I've been using. The Basis bar has chamomile and aloe vera in it, so it sounds very healing. But I only used it once and promptly went back to my Dove Beauty Bar. The Basis bar left my skin feeling very tight and dry, even after applying moisturizer.

I also bought WalMart's Equate knockoff version of Olay's Complete Moisturizer with SPF15 for sensitive skin. I feel that I really need to return to using sunblock during the day, especially since I'm using Dan's BP gel. I discontinued using my extra sunblock lotion because I thought it might be comedogenic, but my complexion is very pale, so I need a moisturizer for daytime with an added SPF. I'm wondering if the Equate moisturizer isn't quite moisturizing enough, but I'll give it more time. Still using the Complex 15 at night. It might be my Holy Grail moisturizer on Dan's regimen. :pray:

Nowhere Girl

Halfway through week two and no real improvement. Not that I was expecting a miracle overnight. But my face got worse.

I posted two new photos that I took today. They show how the left side of my face got worse. You might be able to tell from the photo that two huge nodules popped up on my face that weren't there in last week's photos.

My Weekly Progress Album

Nowhere Girl

Day 9

Or, Week Two on Dan's regimen. The pimples that I had look less inflamed and are starting to fade, but yesterday I developed four more pimples. One on my forehead, which wasn't breaking out before, and three of those giant cystic nodules below the skin that take forever to go away and never come to a head so you can't squeeze them. It's weird, but two of those large nodules are in the same spot on opposite sides of my face, like symmetrical zits, in the spot on either side of my face where dimples would be if I had them. But I read once that pimples can take two or four weeks to appear after they start below the surface of the skin, so I figure these pimples began before I started Dan's regimen. Which means I could have an acne cycle that lasts several weeks before it breaks. I'll just have to be patient.

It's still a period of trial and error regarding the products I'm using. I've pretty much settled on Dove beauty bar as a cleanser. I enjoy using it, and it's dirt cheap. I follow the Dove bar with Dan's BP gel. As for moisturizer, I realized that maybe a moisture cream was too heavy for my skin, so now I'm experimenting with moisture lotions. Right now I'm using Complex 15. A dermatologist who was treating me for acne years ago recommended it. I'm using the face cream in a tube, but it's kind of runny, not really thick like an ordinary moisture cream. I think it's the perfect consistency - not too heavy, not too light. And it's the only moisturizer I've tried so far that doesn't sting when I apply it on top of the BP gel. It always seemed kind of bland to me, but if it's one of those "boring yet effective" products that dermatologists recommend, I'll force myself to stick with it for a while.

Nowhere Girl

As I predicted, I have changed the products I'm using on my face. I've opted for the Dove beauty bar, exfoliation version, instead of the castille soap. I'm a big fan of Dove, and years ago a dermatologist recommended it to me for my acne. And for the moisturizer, I've stopped using the California Baby calendula cream because it smells like insect repellant. Maybe using baby butt cream on my face wasn't the way to go. I've switched to the Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renewal cream (the one that comes in a jar, without SPF). I'm pretty sure I'll stick with the Dove, but I'm always changing moisturizers, so I'll see how my face looks and feels with this one. It has an added fragrance, which I don't like (the concept, not the actual fragrance), but I can live with it if my skin doesn't react badly to it. But I'm loving Dan's BP gel. No whitish cast on my face or flakiness like the Neutrogena On the Spot.

Day Three of Dan's regimen and already the pimples I have look less "angry"!

I've started a weekly progress album, and uploaded "Before" pictures from my first day.

My Weekly Progress Album

Nowhere Girl

I decided to start my blog at Acne.org because for the past three months or so, I've been dealing with the worst acne of my life. I think it's mostly hormonal and stress-related, as it's concentrated on my chin and jawline, although lately it's moved up to my cheeks. I work in retail, and my acne has gotten so bad that last week, a regular customer commented on it, suggesting a regimen that he claims works for him. I know he meant well, but he didn't realize what a sensitive issue it is. And this week, my face looks even worse. But breakouts are nothing new to me. I've been battling acne since I was sixteen years old, but back then it was the occasional zit or three. It wasn't until I was an adult, out of school and working, that I developed chronic adult acne. I'm 41 now, and my skin looks as bad as those "before" photos in a ProActiv Solution infomercial. I've tried everything from prescription oral and topical medications, including Accutane, as well as high-end and drugstore brand acne products. Nothing has brought relief. I've recently discovered Dan's website (thank you Dan!), and I purchased his BP gel. Now I'm trying out various mild cleansers and moisturizers to use with it. So this blog will track my progress in the battle with acne, as well as what products work and don't work for me. I'm also interested to see what other acne.org bloggers are using.

Oh, and the regimen my customer suggested? Washing the face with Dial white deodorant soap, followed by Neutrogena Acne body wash, and then Oxy Wash. Talk about harsh. But I was so desperate that I actually bought a bar of the Dial, knowing that you should never wash your face with deodorant body soap. And sure enough, it burned when I washed with it, and then my acne itched for the rest of the evening. So here's the soap I've decided to use with Dan's regimen:

Cleanser: Caswell-Massey Castille Soap (handmade 100% olive oil) - an all-natural, mild, fragrance-free soap in bar form. It's very gentle.

followed by Dan's BP cream, followed by:

Moisturizer: California Baby Calendula Diaper Rash Cream - also good for adults with sensitive skin, for use on face and body. I figured because calendula is very healing, it will help with the redness and might be anti-inflammatory.

Of course, these products are subject to change if I don't see progress. Also, I have a tendency to get impatient and switch products after using them for a short time because I get frustrated by the continued recurrence of pimples. But I know it's necessary to give any regimen time to work, so I'll try to stick with this one, unless I read about a more effective one on another acne.org blog!

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