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My acne journey and updates!

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Hey! I haven't been updating at all, mostly because there hasn't been too much going on, but I made a few changes, and am making a few changes as I go on, so I wanted to let you all know! Summer is typically the best time for my skin, all the sunshine is great for my skin, and the air in Florida is pretty humid, which is good for my normal to dry skin, plus I freckle up in the summer, which I personally enjoy. I typically have three to four little pimples on my face, so I'm almost never completely clear, but its a huge step up from how it used to be. I get the occasional papule or pustule, from eating dairy or being really stressed, but that doesn't happen too often. On the big scar on my forehead from the cystic acne I had there last fall (I had two to three cysts in one area of my forehead, and they left a large, deep, discolored scar on my forehead) I actually read on this website about the needling technique on deep scars like that, and it sounded legit, and I figured I had nothing to lose, so I tried it, and my goodness has it ever worked.

How needling works is basically--the deep scars and discoloration are all a part of scar tissue in your skin, which toughens the more you leave it, and may fade eventually, but it could take years if just left alone. So needling speeds up the process by using a very thin needle to poke small holes in the scar, break up the scar tissue, and begin the re-healing process all over again. The first time I tried it it was so interesting, because like the post on here said, I could feel the scar tissue crackling and breaking up as I poked it GENTLY with the thin needle. I do it once every month, and has greatly GREATLY helped my forehead scars, making them much shallower and the hyper pigmentation is nearly gone.

Before I started needling (in january/february)


As you can see, deep forehead scarring, and lots of hyper pigmentation pretty much everywhere.


Sorry that one is sideways, but you can see that its deep and its several different scars all lumped together.

After I started needling, the size of the scar was reduced, as well as the depth.


I've been doing it every month, that picture was taken in April.


This one was in June I believe, and the rest were in late June.


So you can see that the improvement is dramatic, the scar is so much smaller, and less deep, it's been wonderful.

Alright--second development, I've had a nagging in my head for years now, to go natural. To not rely on cleansers. or products, moisturizers and benzoyl peroxide. I don't want to spend the rest of my life living in fear of a product running out--even now, Mary Kay is discontinuing the Velocity cleanser and moisturizer line which was the only thing that ever worked for me. I eat very healthfully, I take probiotics, and I'm trusting that with effort, my body will be able to heal and right itself. There's nothing inherently wrong with my body, it does want to have acne, acne is a sign that something is off, and I'm tired of using benzoyl peroxide and pills and cleansers to try to stave off the problem rather than actually fixing it. So last week I started an experiment, I am going to barely anything to my face. Barely any cleanser, no moisturizer, no makeup, just leaving it be. And today, I may even be going water only, for a long amount of time and seeing if it actually does any good before I give up on it and go back to products. I've been wanting to do something like this for a very long time, and now I have the time, and the will to stick it out and see what happens. If I break out a lot, after waiting for at least three months, then I will give up on the natural approach and go back to chemicals and products, but I sincerely hope I wont have to. So far the only breakouts I have have been caused by an experiment with the oil cleansing method gone awry.

So we'll see, and I'll be letting you guys know how it goes!

Love and kisses,



Maintenance Mode

Hey all! Sorry I haven't been updating much, but honestly, there's not much to update! Haven't really had too many problems on the skin woes front. A few breakouts here and there when I eat too many milk products or am on my period, but beyond that, things have been progressing nicely, the deep scars on my forehead are getting shallower, and wherever I don't wear makeup, i don't break out, so I'm trying to break myself of makeup entirely, but it's a slow process, but right now I don't wear makeup on my left cheek, my forehead, my nose and my it's just my right cheek that I have to conquer.

The two photos are a pretty good makeup-less portrayal of what my face looks like right now, on month four of the routine I started in December-- Mary Kay velocity cleanser and moisturizer, hydrogen peroxide as a toner in the morning, going very lightly with the epiduo at night, spot treatments of aloe, honey, and cinnamon, and sometimes an aztec clay mask. Of course I'm not perfect smooth and clear, but I'm sure as heck a lot better than I was a few months ago.

Another thing that may be helping is rooibus tea...I notice that when I drink before I go to bed, I wake with more even toned, refreshed looking skin--so maybe there is something there!

Have a good week you guys!

Ari :)


Sweet Success

Hello all! Well I am in a considerably more optimistic state of mind than I was in my last post, the crazy hormones of that time of the month have thankfully left me, my skin has calmed down a TON, and I'm delighted to share with you two new "treatments" which seem to be working quite smashingly--and they are as completely all natural, which is a huge bonus.

I have maybe one or two active pimples right now, which is a huge improvement over two weeks ago, or even last week. I've been doing a couple of things differently than I was before, and I definitely think it's helping, so I'll share it with you guys!

1) Instead of using TP or the edge of my hand towel to apply my toner to my face, I, on impulse, bought some cotton balls around a week and a half ago and started using them every morning on my face, and I really think it's made a difference. The cotton balls are a lot softer and less abrasive than what I had been using, and I make sure my touch is a lot lighter, so that it doesn't rub and irritate the skin. It also soaks up more of the toner, making it more effective.

2) I've been using a lot less epiduo...I definitely think I was using too heavy of a hand with it before, I was going through it too quickly, and I didn't see it having too much of an that I use only a very little on my face, it's been a lot calmer and controlled.

3) I've been taking a probiotic morning and night, and drinking Bolthouse Farms Green smoothies whenever I can. Good for the digestive system, and thus, for the skin.

4) I've introduced the use of pure honey as a spot treatment, and aloe for my scars and skin in general. I've used honey in the past and dismissed it as a old wives tale, it never seemed to work for me, but once I used pure, local honey, I saw a great difference in the results. It's antibacterial, brings down redness and swelling, and tastes amazing. I actually bought an aloe plant, for around three dollars at Home Depot, and every night I cut a little piece off of one of the stalks and just rub the sticky juice on my face. It really brings down swelling, I think it's been making my scarring better, and overall making my skin healthier and softer. The part that I cut off the plant just heals over, so I can get a lot of uses out of one plant, and I know for sure that it's pure aloe, and doesn't have other chemicals added to it.

5) I don't know whether I've mentioned this before, it's not a new part of my regimen, but I have learned that what I use on my hair definitely affects my skin. Right now I use Yes to Cucumbers 98% natural shampoo and conditioner, and I love it. It's chock full of good and natural ingredients, my hair loves it, and it hasn't negatively affected my skin. It's sulfate and paraben free, and it's not too expensive, you can find it at target, and it actually works.

So there it is! These things have greatly benefitted me, I hope they help you! I think the greatest hump of my acne is over with, time to relax and work on scarring :)

Have a great week guys!




Hey guys! Okay, I know it's been inexcusably long since I updated y'all on my face, mostly because it's been sort of up and down. For a while I had almost nothing to report, my skin has been clearing up pretty steadily, but now it is the week before mother nature's unwelcome gift, so my skin has been acting up more. I've been trying to eat really healthy and stick to my routine really strictly, but it really frustrates me how no matter what I seem to try, I still get mild acne, and some inflamed acne during that time of the month. I just want it to be gone, so I can focus on my pretty bad hyperpigmentation and indented scarring.

And honestly, I don't know what to believe anymore when it comes to curing acne. I hear different things from all sides. The doctors just throw antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide at me or tell me to take Accutane, which I won't touch with a ten foot pole. The blogs I read make me feel guilty for taking even a mild form of antibiotics, telling me I'm ruining my digestive health, or for using benzoyl peroxide, although epiduo is only 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. They tell me that I should be oil cleansing, which scares the crap out of me, or using manuka honey, which is at least 30 bucks a pop, or pure aloe, which in my opinion is hard to find, or that I should be taking like six different kinds of supplements, which also cost a lot of money. The latest that I hear is that I should only be washing my face with water, which doesn't cost money, but seems counterintuitive to me, and scares me.

I don't know who to believe. It's getting quite frustrating. I want to be doing my skincare naturally, but every time I try something like that it backfires, but there's always that nagging doubt that I didn't give it a good enough chance, I should have kept at it longer. But then I think, my face CANNOT handle anymore failed experiments, or it'll turn into one big scar.

Sorry I don't really have any constructive advice or updates today, just kind of spewing my acne thoughts all over the place. If you guys have any thoughts or advice, leave me a comment, I'd love to hear it.

Have a lovely weekend!

Ari :)


Hey all! I don't know about you guys, but I had a lovely three day weekend, for not only did Martin Luther King become the driving force behind the civil rights movement--He also, very deservedly, had a day set aside in his honor, on which my college campus was completely closed. I know, two weeks into the semester isn't a very long time, but trust me, I needed the break. Now....*drumroll* the skin update!!

Now last week was the week before mother nature decided to beat up my uterus, so I was breaking out a little bit more, but now it's calmed down a lot. I still don't have any cysts or nodules, I have three small zits on my forehead, one on my left cheek...maybe four on my right cheek, and one little whitehead on my chin. Honestly, this week, my scars have been bothering my more than my actual acne, I get hyperpigmentation something horrible, and it makes my skin look a lot worse than it actually is, but I'm not too keen on trying scar treatments right now in case they break me out.

One more thing that's been on my mind is: antibiotics. I am on antibiotics right now, I'm taking septra twice a day, and it causes my no end of guilt. I feel like I'm destroying my digestive system because I've been on antibiotics for so long. I read online that you could take probiotics along with antibiotics and it wouldn't nullify the effects on the antibiotics, so I'm going to start doing that, but I want to start being nicer to my poor tummy. What do you guys think about antibiotics? So many people have told me to get off them, but they really make a great improvement in my acne, and right now I'm not willing to risk massively breaking out again. I just wonder if it's done permanent damage to my body...

Ah. The things we do to clear our skin, right? It's crazy. Have a good week you guys!



Behold--The Humidity

Hello all you lovely soldiers against horrible acne (or S.A.H.A! yep. Came up with that on my own.) How has your week been? My first week of the spring semester went very well, I enjoy all my classes, believe it or not, and my new job is quite cushy and enjoyable :) All this enjoyment started, of course, after my nose decided to stop rapidly draining fluids, and my sinus' followed suit and decongested themselves, thank goodness for rest and Nyquil! The state of my face has been very encouraging, I have a few whiteheads here and there, but when I think about how awful my cystic acne was, and how I have no cysts now, well, it puts things in perspective. That regimen sure as heck works for me, and I don't know whether it's the hydrogen peroxide, or the epiduo, or the velocity, or the antibiotics, or the combination that is so magical, but hey, I'm not questioning the almighty regimen. If it works, it works, I'm just gonna leave it at that. Rapid change of subject--do you guys believe weather affects acne? Because it has been humid as all get out (yes, in the middle of winter. Yes, I do live in the south. No, it doesn't snow.) and I've been noticing that my normally pretty dry face has been getting SO oily, and while it hasn't been causing horrifying outbreaks or anything, I've been noticing a few naughty whiteheads crop up since the weather turned. I'd be willing to bet that weather does affect our skin, it affects mine anyways. And my hair. Everyone who doesn't have curly hair is like "OMYGOSH I LOVE YOUR HAIR AND WISH I COULD HAVE IT!!" and they have no idea that with great curl and great body comes great responsibility and great frizz. I was literally only outside for ten minutes, walking from my car to class, and when I got inside, my hair felt like one giant ball of frizz. *sigh* Oily skin and frizzy hair. It's safe to say that I will be glad when the humid weather packs up and leaves. More speculation--do you guys believe a positive attitude can help your acne? I've some people claim that once they stopped worrying about their acne it cleared up, or something of that nature, and a part of me is like, "yeah, that could be legit." I mean, stress does have an effect on our skin, and so looking in the mirror constantly and searching for more pimples and freaking out when you get a new one isn't going to help. And lately, I haven't been giving a crap about my acne, I could be at school and work all day and not look in a mirror once, maybe sometimes in the bathroom, but a lot of the times not, and my skin has been doing very well. At the same time, I know my skin has been doing well because I'm using a regimen that is very effective for me, and I'm a month or so into it, so it's really starting to work. So my opinion is: having a positive attitude isn't going to work miracles, nothing but a good regimen and patience will do that, but a positive attitude certainly helps, which makes me and you pleasant people to be around--and that equals more friends, regardless of acne, because believe it or not, most people don't care whether or not you have acne. At all. And if they do, they're stupid, right? Right. Alright guys, have a good rest of the week! It's Friday tomorrow, woohoo! (And the picture below has nothing to do with my acne. I just like to include a picture with each post because I think it makes it more interesting.) TTFN, Tata for now!!


The Lowdown

Hello my fellow acne fighters! Well, it's the first week of the semester, and guess what I have? A knock-down, drag out cold. BLEGH. So not only am I going to four classes and working, I'm also carrying tissues around with me and my head feels like it weighs a hundred pounds. Fun times, Fun times. Alright--what you've all been waiting for...the skin update! It's been rather a up and down, ladies and gentleman, it turns out the desert essence moisturizer was another example that I should never switch up my regimen, because it broke my out on my cheeks...but oddly enough, only on my cheeks. It greatly helped the cysts on my forehead, though, which no longer exist, so I don't know what was up with that. right now the acne status looks like: 2 small pimples on forehead, around two or three active pimples on each cheek, none on my chin, and one tiny whitehead next to my mouth. Another thing I wanted to talk about today was my views on diet and acne. Now I am an inbetweener, I'm not one of those hardcore people who are like " YOU SHOULD BE EATING ONLY RAW FOOD AND GREEN STUFF BECAUSE BREAD AND PROCESSED FOOD KILL YOUR INSIDES AND MAKE YOU A TERRIBLE PERSON FOR RUINING YOUR DIGESTIVE HEALTH--" because honestly those people, though they may be right, are pretty annoying, but I'm definitely not on the side of most dermatologists I've heard which claim diet has no effect on acne, because that is just bullcrap. Diet most certainly affects your acne! What I do personally is--don't eat dairy, avoid sugar and super salty foods, eat fruits and vegetables and whole grains as much as I can, drink as much water as I can make myself (I'm a terrible drinker) and take daily vitamins. Although, I will occasionally eat things such as: pizza (cheese picked off...sad I know), cookies, donuts, and tortilla chips and salsa (omnomnom!!)--BUT...not every day, or even close to every day. My diet is generally quite healthy, and I swim around two to three times a week to keep myself in shape. I think treating yourself with respect and taking care of yourself and your health really has a positive effect on acne. What bugs me these days is how with a lot of people, the emphasis is on being skinny, not healthy. So when a really skinny girl with a high metabolism eats a ton of junk food, somehow it's funny and adorable, when in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. there's nothing cute about putting crap in your body day in and day out just because you don't happen to gain weight. Skinny people get diabetes and high cholesterol and high blood pressure and a ton of other problems too, just because their not gaining weight doesn't mean that they are healthy....okay, rant over. *breathes out slowly* So that's my opinion on diet and acne! What do you guys think? Have a great week y'all! :)


Into The Sunshine

Hello all! Happy 2013! I can just tell it is going to be a lovely year, full of promise and all that jazz, can't you? I've been all busy, organizing my room, making resolutions, getting ready for the university semester to start up! As for a skin update... I went to the beach today with my family and my mom took some pictures of me, and it's this first time since the acne monster hit me again that I've really genuinely liked pictures of myself. My acne has settled down a LOT, and I'm really happy and excited about it smile.png I have almost no acne on my forehead, same with my left cheek, a couple on my right, like two on my jawline. And desert essence daily moisturizer with jojoba and aloe is the bomb. It brings down swelling and redness and like nobody's business. That's really all I have to report...have a good week all!


Update: Hopeful

Hello all! Tis time for another update, and I am pleased to report that things seem to be improving here in acnedom. I have no more cysts on my forehead, just like three pustules and four or five tiny tiny bumps. My cheeks are home to like...three zits, but unfortunately it looks like more because of deplorable scarring confused.gif My chin's only zits are two on the left side, which I am currently managing, and two tiny white heads by my lips. So all in all a great improvement over last week, where premenstrual hormones were wreaking havoc upon my face, but I didn't know it because my period is like a ninja, in that I never know when it is going to strike. I had to be off septra for two days because my lovely dermatologist decided not to put an automatic refill on my prescription, and were being extremely slow about calling the pharmacy to fill the prescription. blegh. But I have it now, so everything is all good! Beyond my regular regimen (see previous post) there are few products I have liked: Desert Essence daily moisturizer with aloe and jojoba oil...really takes the redness away from spots, putting isopropyl alcohol on popped zits, really dries em up fast and gets rid of infection, and Aztec secret clay! Annnddd freebie tip for the day: If you want shiny, soft, healthy hair do this mask once a week: mix greek yogurt, honey, and one egg white, and apply it to damp hair, put in a towel turban for an hour, then shower as usual rolleyes.gif Have a great week you guys!


Breaking Up With Acne

Hello world, I'm Ariana! A college freshman who thought her abusive relationship with acne was over, but apparently, like any annoying ex, it has come back to make my life miserable. My acne story is pretty typical, I had no acne until I hit twelve or thirteen, and then hormones kicked in with a vengeance and I realized I had to start actually thinking about my skin and caring for it, simply showering and splashing my face with water in the morning wasn't going to cut it. I briefly used the acnefree regimen, but that didn't work very well, so, at the advice of a mary kay consultant from my church, I started using the Velocity cleanser and moisturizer. That worked somewhat, but not totally, so at around thirteen or fourteen, my Dad took me to my very first appointment with a dermatologist. He prescribed me minocycline, and gave me a benzoyl peroxide cream, which worked very well for me. I had perfect skin until I hit fifteen and started running and getting in shape--it took me forever to realize that sweat is one of my biggest breakout triggers--and around the time when I turned sixteen I made the horrifyingly detrimental mistake of changing my regimen, thinking if I tried something different I could cure my mild acne. WRONG. That began a downward spiral of acne, where I tried using so many products I won't even list them here. At the height of my acne I had pretty severe nodular acne and moderate cystic acne. I was depressed, and researching acne and how to cure it literally became an unhealthy obsession. I suffered severe acne from May 2010 until March 2011, when I finally had a breakthrough with my skin. I looked back at my acne history and realized all my problems had started when I changed my original regimen, so as soon as I could, I switched back to it. Velocity facewash, clean n clear persagel, Neutrogena alcohol free toner, velocity moisturizer, and epiduo at night, while taking minocycline. I started this regimen in January, and velocity and epiduo both take a bit to start working, so it didn't start improving until early March, but my acne didn't truly start disappearing until I discovered two huge things: 1) I was senstitive to dairy and it gives me acne 2) hydrogen peroxide is lovely. I replaced my old toner with hydrogen peroxide and started seeing drastic results. That summer I had the clearest skin I've had since I was fifteen. I started getting a little bit more acne in the winter as the stress of school caught up to me, and I'm pretty sure I was lax in using the epiduo, but I don't remember. But still, a few breakouts weren't terrible, overall my skin was pretty clear, and I was satisfied. Then I made the decision to go out of town and do a YWAM DTS ( for more info) and while God completely changed my heart on that trip, unfortunately it ravaged my face. It was a combination of stress, not having much control over my diet (aka: consuming more milk and sugar than I would have liked) and being completely stupid and switching up my regimen. AGAIN. You'd think I wouldn't be dumb enough to try that again, but yes, I did, I am ashamed to say. When I came home, I had pretty severe nodular and cystic acne, and although I had been through a lot and was learning to not be ashamed and to realize that my looks do not define me, I began the journey all over again to clear skin. I went to my dermatologist, he gave me cetaphil oil free facewash and septra, a new antibiotic, because apparently minocycline had stopped working. I used that for a month, and after not seeing a satisfactory improvement, last week I decided, I am sure as heck going back to velocity, hydrogen peroxide, epiduo, all that jazz, and staying on the septra. Well two weeks in, I think there has been improvement, plus I figured out that my coverup was breaking my out, so I switched back to my old one. Hopefully I'll be clear soon!! That is the entirety of my story, hopefully it's not too long for you guys! I'll include a picture so you can sort of get an idea of what my acne looks like. Now I barely wear any makeup, so some of the red mark are scarring, but I'm trying to work on clearing the acne first before I work on the scarring. Bye guys!

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