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perfectionista

Okay, so let me first say that I've been walking around without make up on for the last few months, something that I haven't done since I was about 12. Granted, I still have some little red marks, little break outs around the side of my mouth, and a couple of white heads on my fore head from time to time. I don't really care that much though. My skin hasn't been this good since I was about 13. It felt SO NICE to have been able to go swimming this summer - something I hadn't done in years due to the fact that I couldn't wear make up in the pool.

My skin is so soft. I'm starting to be able to wake up in the morning and see myself in the mirror and say "hey, I'm actually really beautiful."; and I mean it too, deep down. I feel like me again.

Even today at work, 2 of the regular customers (men) both told me that despite being thing, I have a pregnancy glow about me, I looked radiant.

!!! I feel happy about my skin. Truly and Deeply. I feel so free.

I don't ever wear foundation anymore - only a light brushing of mineral powder to help control the oiliness and shine. I am so relieved. This is ending isn't it? The years of horrible acne, the refusal to leave my house for days on end, the tears, the self-loathing, the isolation, the loneliness, it's all coming to an end. Finally.

Fraxel saved me. I could cry right now. I'm ME again.

On another note though: BOTOX.

So, this last august I wasn't doing so well and was fairly self-destructive. over about 10 days, $600 went directly up my nose. I have a history with substance, so I decided that I needed to empty my bank account on something other than whitedeath. You can probably already tell that I'm impulsive. So I pass by a botox clinic and remember hearing something about botox helping in oil reduction. 3 days and $500 later my face was frozen. It didn't do much for oil production, BUT it did definitely help with sweating and break outs. I became much less self conscious of my forehead, and ergo was happier in my daily life.

Granted I'm only 21 and don't really need botox... and I also had some adverse reactions to it, but knowing what I do now? I would do it again, definitely tweaking the dosage though. The 3 week long migraine (not exaggerating) and tri-weekly vomiting was terrible, but that's because I was given an amount of botox that was ludicrous. I'm 4 weeks into my injections and I'm pretty happy.

There have also been studies that have shown that people prone to depression and anxiety can benefit from botox; because, they no longer have the ability to frown or flex the facial muscles that portray worry and sadness. I gotta say, I think that it's even helped me in those categories too. My anxiety (I have diagnosed long term PTSD and BPD), has improved. I'm no longer taking anti-anxiety medications. My doctors, while displeased that I got botox or cosmetic reasons, are VERY happy that I've fallen into the group of anxiety sufferers who've had good results.

Life is wonderful!

perfectionista

Fraxel - Round 2!

Alright so it's been two days since getting my second Fraxel treatment done and let me tell you, I am one hell of a scabby monster right now. Well, it's not that bad, but it sure isn't attractive. I had seen amazing results from my first treatment, which was nearly two years ago, so I decided to go back to the clinic for a second round.

This time my Doctor was a bit more aggressive with the power setting of the laser, which I am absolutely happy with! There is much more dryness and much more of a scaly texture this time around, but I can deal with that; I know that this procedure works for me so the downtime and healing process really are all worth it, and quite frankly easy to deal with. Granted, I'm not about to leave my house for the next few days, but I'm perfectly content being house bound. I can't wait to see the results after this round, and will most likely be going in for a third treatment.

I doubt that I'll even really need a third treatment, but just because of my perfectionism I can see myself going for a third and possibly fourth. I'd love to wake up in the morning and only have to wear make up over my dark under eye circles, and if that means I have to fork up the money for fraxel then so be it. The average cost of full face treatment is about $800, some people might call that expensive but I see it as being VERY reasonable. I know I know, you're thinking that I'm either nuts, extremely well off, or just bratty for saying that, but let me break it down for you:

I spend a lot of money on my facial products, and you probably do too. This is a list of the things that are in my bathroom right now:

*Make up/cosmetic needs*

$20 make up brush cleaning solution

$20 foundation brush

$25 powder brush

$20 blush/bronzer brush

$15 gentle eye makeup remover

$50 foundation

$20 powder

$10 blush

$15 under eye concealer

*Skin Care products*

$24 exfoliating gel

$30 organic whole body soap

$10 hypo allergenic shampoo

$35 night time moisturizer

$28 day time moisturizer

and I'm SURE I've left out a couple of things. Grand Total: $312

Factor in that these items all need to be purchased at LEAST twice a year, many of then 3-5 times and you see that you can easily spend well over $1000 on hiding and treating acne every year. Now I see Fraxel as an investment really, because once I'm able to go make up free, believe me, I will be an au natural woman for life. In the long run, this "expensive" series of procedures will be saving me thousands and thousands of dollars over my life time; after all, I'm still only 20 right now.

I'll write a progress update in a couple of weeks, and possibly post some pictures.

xo

perfectionista

Alright, so it's basically been a YEAR since I last posted, and durring these last months some amazing changes have taken place:

I learned about PCOS (poly-cystic ovary syndrome) and a lot of the shame related to my acne dissapated. ALL WOMEN WITH MODERATE/SEVERE ACNE NEED TO RESEARCH IT AND CONSULT A DR.

I increased my Spironolactone up to 100mg - and still take yaz.

I haven't been able to afford another fraxel treatment but I have to say, I am def/ getting more done once the $$ starts coming in.

Once I was diagnosed with PCOS, my life seemed to make a lot more sense. I can't press how important it is to research it.

My acne is a fraction of what it used to be. around my period I get maybe 3-4 medium sized pimples, white heads are a RARITY. My skin is just getting better and better every day. I still have little pimples on my forehead, but I can cope with those, they're not red or inflamed at all, just a bit annoying. Friends have seen me w/o make up and have been blown away by the improvement, it feels really really nice.

I have gained so much confidence in the last few months, I am even coming up on my 1 year aniversary with my boyfriend - late march. People are starting to ask me if I'm a model again. prior to my acne - I was 6"0, perfect complexion and thin, I'm not as thin as I was (healthier now) but it still feels so good to have people compliment me on my looks again. I feel like I'm ME again.

Fraxel is amazing - just make sure you have a good dr, and don't get ripped off. I get a discount on it and still pay $500 per 1 1/2 treatments full face. The regular price is $800 full face - given the quality work my dr does, this is just about where the price should be.

Spironolactone - It works. If you are already taking it and have seen even slight improvement - chances are you have PCOS - find out more about it and follow the treatment to a T - you have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.

EDIT: 12:55pm

I stopped using any specific facial cleanser as well, I found that Pears Transparent soap left my skin w/o any redness, dryness and softer than anything I'd used before. When dryness does occur though I use Vichy mosturizer for acne prone skin. It's expensive, ($40?) but I only use it 2 time a week, so really, not pricy at all.

perfectionista

So I have good and bad news:

I started taking spironolactone, at a very low dose in combination with Yaz (birth control). I noticed some changes though, I'm still in the first month of using it, so my initial break out is noticeable, but my skin and hair is much less oily. I started breaking out on my back again a couple months ago, which was super strange seeing as how I thought I had rid myself of that affliction MANY months ago. Oh well, it'll go down.

So I had one fraxel treatment in january, I have to say, I notice a HUGE change on the far sides of my cheeks, very close to my ears and neck. This was the least damaged area on my face, and now basically looks like I never ever had acne there. The scars on my forehead are still a little pink and deff noticeable as well, however have MUCH improved. my cheeks, jawline and chin (the worst affected areas, are still pretty bad, but it'll get better, I'm stressed about it yeah, but I also have my chin up.

I started using benzyol peroxide 5% on my face, and it's super red right now, and drying, but it'll get better, I like using the BP on as a spot treatment though, it dries up whiteheads really quickly and I basically just put it on at night and wake up with higher self esteem. Very Very red in the face though, so I apply lots of moisturizer. It seems to help quite a lot.

I also bought a years worth of tanning points, I know that a lot of people preach about the horrible after affects of tanning beds, but I have to say, I always feel so much more confident when I have a tan. I'm ghost pale so my acne is so contrasting in colour that it appears about 10x worse than it is. Tanning also has REALLY helped me in the past with Back Breakouts.

perfectionista

Alllllright, so some things that I've noticed with my new idea of ditching concealer & foundation and only using a pressed powder:

1) My face is less red all together, my skin seems to be thanking me for using less products.

2) I'm def/ more self conscious because my red pimples are more visible.

3) I wake up in the morning and have noticed a change in hyper pigmentation, in just 2 days.

Let's expand on #2 though, I feel like I should. The powder gives me coverage, but I also have dry skin (thanks Canadian winters! $%&@) so the powder looks a little uneven on my forehead, and the pimple def/ stand out more than when I used foundation as well as powder. BUT My face doesn't get greasy as fast as it used to w/ the use of foundation. My make up stays matte longer, and I don't worry about looking shiny. At all. It's really nice not to be pounding more and more powder on to remove the shine. Another thing about the self consciousness: Today I went to school only wearing the powder and blush, thinking everyone would notice that I wasn't actually a pretty girl and that I was just a big liar w/ acne. No one said anything. In fact, one girl complimented my boots, told me I looked hot in them.

"wait... you mean, everyone ISN'T staring at my skin?"

I felt better. I feel better.

I'm clearing up in terms of the redness, and I think that by the summer and after another fraxel or two, I will be ditching all make up other than eye & lip products.

I'm getting really excited about not wearing make up at all!

I'm so tempted to put some moisturizer all over my face, but I won't. I want it to fix itself, I'll just drink more water and up my omega 3's to 2-3 each morning.

This whole "just trash the chemicals all over my face" idea has been my best so far.

perfectionista

Make up

I wear lots of make up to hide my acne, but most of all to hide the red marks, which is the real problem at this point. I read an article on one of the boards here that actually made a lot of sense. Basically the poster was saying how harsh cleansers, chemical products, and other daily treatments are to blame for the majority of acne. They said that doing nothing about the acne (care for the face like a non-acne sufferer would) was the best solution seeing as how adding more chemicals and weakening skin further will just make everything worse.

I started thinking about it, and yeah, it makes sense. A friend of mine used to have SEVERE acne problems, she would wear TONNES of make up, and basically do anything commercials would tell her to do to treat her acne. One day she decided "Let it solve itself" she washed her face only twice a day, stopped picking, and only wore powder, blush and eye make up. No foundation. Her skin drastically improved. I mean, yeah at first you could see more of her acne and scarring, but no one really cared, we love her for being her, not for her make up. In the summer time she would only wear powder, and just seemed to care less about the upkeep of her make up and skin. She stopped getting massive breakouts, sometimes she would get one or two HUGE white heads, but she just seemed so at peace with herself that her skin wouldn't detract attention away from her personality.

So over the last two days I've switched to only washing twice a day with dove soap for sensitive skin, in the morning when I shower, and in the evening. No third time before bed. I noticed a difference in these last two days. My skin seems less angry and irritated.

I have extremely sensitive, fair (very very very pale) skin naturally, so when I scratch any part of my skin it leaves a red mark. When I put on my foundation my skin usually reacts badly, it becomes blotchy and red from all the touching. Despite paying over $30 for a MAC mineralized foundation a few days ago, I decided to try only applying my MAC "fix" powder, with a little blush.

It feels so much nicer on my skin, I get heavy enough coverage that I feel comfortable to leave the house, and my make up doesn't feel heavy and caked anymore. The instant feeling of oil build-up is not apparent. I feel almost like I'm not wearing ANY make up whatsoever. I think I like this. I think I like it a lot. You can definitely see where my skin is dry though (around my hair line and on the top part of my forehead) but it still looks so much better than with the foundation. I look more natural despite the obvious heavy coverage of this powder, I look less INSECURE mainly.

I think that's why people seemed to be less drawn to my friends acne when she stopped wearing foundation, she looked more secure and confident. I remember even asking her how she had the courage to do it, she just said "you know, it's actually really libberating not wearing foundation" I understand that completely now.

I'm willing to put money on my skin seeing drastic improvement from making this TINY switch. I already feel a shift in my confidence, and I already feel liberated.

perfectionista

Alright so I've been lurking around here for a little while now and finally decided, hell, I need support too and signing up can't hurt me.

I'm 19 and live in vancouver, home to some of the worlds most beautiful and thin women. I'm a total perfectionist and have been for quite some time. I've never been into perfection in terms of school work or tidiness, but always in terms of my appearance.

I was 13 the first time that I was hospitalized for anorexia and bulimia, I was hospitalized a total of 3 times. I fell into substance abuse at 13 as well, which would later develope into a full blown life threatening addiction. I checked into rehab at 15, and then again at 16 to treat my addiction to cocaine, ecstasy, prescription medications and alcohol.

I still struggle at times with both the anorexia and the drug addiction: I have been clean from narcotics since november 2nd, 2007, the night that I was brought to the hospital in fear that I had overdosed on cocaine and alcohol. Although I'm at a healthy weight, there are times when I will eat 400 calories a day for a week straight.

The road to recovery from my eating disorder and drug addiction has been painful, bumpy, emotional and full of ups and downs.

I was 17 when I decided "no more" to all drugs and alcohol. I built up just over 13 months free from both. It was about a month into that span of sobriety that I started to break out severely. I figured it was the toxins flushing from my body. months passed and it only got worse. I had terrible acne all over my face and body. I had never struggled with acne before in my life. I tried everything that the doctors would let me, FORTUNETLY I was banned from taking accutain as my heart, kidneys and liver were already so damaged from the years of starvation, purging and drug abuse.

My skin just wouldn't heal. it got worse, and worse, and finally I fell back into anorexia because of my terribly low self esteem. I lost 65 pounds in a short span of time, my family and friends said it was almost over night, really it was over the course of 12 weeks. I was sad, alone, self-loathing, depressed and dropped out of school due to my self conciousness.

I had just turned 18 and was being threatened with hospitalization again. I broke down in tears, I had been in treatment 5 times by the age of 18, I refused to go through it again, especially at a new facility where the "treatment" is borderline torture. Think about being strapped down to a hospital bed for a few days with a feeding tube being run up your nostril, down your throat and into your stomach, not nice. Anyways I decided that I had to change my life, and I had to change my attitude, I had to fake it till I made it, because I knew that if I was hospitalized one more time, then this would be my life, in and out of treatment until I died of either overdose or malnutrition, and scary as it is to think, possibly suicide.

I started eating. I started going back to school. I decided to get a job, which I credit much of my emotional growth to, and I started to feel good again. I was happy for the first time in a long time. I had put on 20 pounds, and started to feel like myself again. I still hated my appearance in terms of my skin, but things were getting better. I started to notice a difference when I switched make-up brands. no more cheap drug store garbage, I was buying high end dior foundation and powders, which really did help with clearing.

I dabbled in drugs over the next few months, but in comparison to the amounts and methods in which I was taking in the past, this was nothing really. A few more months past, my new job had helped me make friends, and had made me feel like a steadfast of a funky neighbourhood in the city. People started to hit on me. The customers would tell me I was beautiful. Despite them only seeing me in make up, it still felt nice. People *wanted* to be around me.

I noticed more and more change in my skin the less I focused on it.

the summer passed and I was back in school this last september. The progress my skin had made in a year was outstanding. I still had bad acne, but my back and chest cleared up, and my face has recovered about %35. Things were looking up!

The winter was harsh on my face, and finally I said "enough is enough" I examined myself in the mirror and then put my chips down. I decided to get fraxel laser treatments.

My first treatment was in January, it was painful, REALLY painful. I was shaking all over my body, I have this tough girl persona so I tried my hardest not to cry. I still cried though, a lot. I hybernated for 4 days before I even dared put make up on. Now it's been just about a month since my first fraxel and I have noticed a difference.

I still have A LOT of acne scarring, I have minimal ice pick scars, but my entire face is covered in red marks.

My skin is MUCH smoother now though. I'm going to get 2 more fraxel laser treatments done. I know a lot of people think that fraxel is just a way for doctors to cash in on insecurity but I know my doctor outside of the office as well. He was brutally honest with me about price, gave me a huge discount (!!!) and was so supportive through the painful treatment. He even warned me to come in at least an hour early to let the freezing cream REALLY help with the pain. I trust him very much, and am very close friends with his daughter, so I know that he wouldn't screw me around you know?

So from where I started, 2 years ago, to where I am now:

I get 10% of the whiteheads I used to. I break out, but think much of that has to do with picking at my skin. I have completely cleared on my back, and have MINIMAL acne on my chest, little enough that I am comfortable wearing low-cut tops. My main insecurity at this point is the mass amounts of hyperpigmentation. If you were to remove the red scarring from my face, I would have beautiful skin, with minor breakouts (AKA look like a normal person)

I've come SO FAR in my journey, and intend to keep writing about my successes, set backs, and most of all my progress with fraxel.

-Perfectionista

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