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My ongoing quest for perfect skin

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After about 20 days of using Carley's treatment, skin started to breakout worse than before. I guess that's how long it takes for my skin to cycle through it's treatment. I was SUPER disappointed. I wanted this to work so bad. But, it even made me have cystic type acne on my BACK! Which never happens.

I tried the system for a full 5 weeks just to be sure it wasn't a temporary thing. Couldn't stand it any longer!! I actually ended up at a derm to get cortisone injections, it was so bad. Should've got a refund to pay for my $75 worth of cortisone.


Week 2! Again, I kept track of progress on my Blackberry so ignore typos, etc.

Saturday 2/20 (Day 8) - red marks are starting to heal with new skin. Only they seem to get too dry and flake off, only to start the process all over again. Need to drink more water/add more moisture I think! But, only a few (3) small red marks remain. Hubs said he was sneakily using my stuff. He has noticed a difference in me and him. Shower is still broken so I cant use products in shower which is annoying!!! It really works best in the shower. I cant seem to get all the treatment off otherwise. PM update: face was less greasy today. Skin seems to be adjusting to the lotion I guess. Using the rejuvenation sample lotion on eyes. Feels great. I swear the fine lines are going away, but maybe thats just my imagination.

Sunday 2/21 (day 9): Scars are healing better but still pretty noticeable. Was able to take a shower today though!! Felt great. Seriously notice a difference not being able to shower. I couldnt wash my back for a few days and there are lots of little bumps. Ugh. Did mask in afternoon. No more sample left. Need to buy this!!! So good and calming! Washed face and am gonna TRY to go makeup-less while at the grocery store, etc. I think it helps with the healing process. The new skin needs to heal over fresh, clean skin. Not dry, dirty, makeup-y skin. Feeling more confident. Yesterday I even felt pretty!!! Which is a rareity for me. :/

Update: emailed them at 7:12 pm on a Sunday night to see if they had a lighter moisturizer, got a reply by 7:20!!! Wtf!! Who does that? Thats amazingly fast. They said the kind i had was the lightest and just to use less or even go without because the soap is moisturizing enough (just let it sit on the skin for a minute). Will try no lotion method tomorrow.

Monday 2/22 (Day 10) - couldnt go without lotion. Felt like i needed a little. Used a tiny bit. Seemed to do the trick. I was just using too much before. Skin was looking gooood...until I got a massage. Immediately after my massage I noticed a new bump (smaller than normal zits but bigger than a raised whitehead)! She did a whole face massage with her gross lotiony hands. I wanted to tell her to stop but also didnt want to offend. Oh well. Went to the mall after and fussed with my skin a little. The Macys lights in the fitting rooms are unforgiving. Came home and washed (with treatment in the shower). Went to dinner, had 2 drinks.

Tuesday 2/23 (day 11) - am update: well skin is a little irritated right now due to yesterday. Got a raised whitehead on my cheek this morning but the other bump is almost flat (whitehead came out easy). My skin is just a bit red/blotchy looking from where I was messing with it (i was trying to extract tiny whiteheads, bad idea). Alcohol and touching the face seem to cause problems! Must stop. Icing my face post shower to try to bring down inflammation (blotchiness). Then will follow with some ibprophen. Seems to help when i have flare ups. By no means is my face breaking out. Its just irritated because I effed with it. The scar on my chin is almost invisible and the one on my cheek is too. The one on my other cheek is still pinkish red. But other than that if the blotchiness goes away I just have 2 tiny tiny bumps. :D need to learn to not mess!! Think I learned my lesson though.

Wednesday 2/24 (day 12): skin was pretty blotchy and irritated last night after washing. Iced again and took ibprophen. Face looked better this morning. Went all day without feeling greasy. Using less lotion is the key. I use smaller than dime sized amount. Right now its Wednesday night and skin is looking a lot better than when I messed with it! The one bump is totally flat (scabbed and flaked off quickly). I do have one other small bump where i was messing but it feels like it'll go away quickly. Used my spa brush tonight. I want to incorporate exfoliation into my pm washing. No irritation noticed. Just the one bump and some red (well pink) marks still. I know time is probably the only thing that'll fade these so im trying to be patient.

Thursday 2/25 (Day 13) - not a lot to report. Still have the small bump. Its started to scab a little. My one cheek seems to be a bit irritated where the bump is. Scars are still noticable. Ordered the full size mask today so hopefully that'll help out some.

Friday 2/26 (Day 14) - skin is a lot less irritated. Little bump on cheek is scabbed but flat. I had a raised whitehead on my jawline which i extracted. I seem to get a lot of these, well more than usual. But they come out and go away so I guess its not so bad. Skin is about 96 percent clear. Just the red marks and one scab remain! The only weird thing is a big zit on my shoulder. I noticed this after my massage. Its shrinking. But red and scabby. A few little bumps on my back remain as well but are shrinking.

Saturday 2/27 (day 15) - pm update: took a shower tonight and exfoliated. Skin felt a little icky from working all day in the bakery. Little scab where bump was flaked off and only a small pinkish red mark remains! I am officially bump and scab free!!! I'd say my face is 99 percent clear (i always have little whiteheads and what not that dont ever come out). I do still have a lot of hyperpigmentation from old acne so skin tone is blotchy. Like I said, i ordered the mask and hope that will help even out skin tone. I have read good things about lemon and egg white masks but dont want to mess up a good thing! So we'll see. I may just give it time. I DO still have some bumps on my upper back. But they are still healing/drying up. No new breakouts since the massage (ugh)! Very excited about this product still and am thrilled its working. I think this is the first time in years I have not had a cystic acne breakout during my period!!! That makes me VERY happy!!! Hoping this product doesn't stop working! Its the best Ive ever used.

Will keep track of progress for one more week just to be safe.


I have been keeping track of my experience with Carley's Clear and Smooth system over the past week.

I have been using my Blackberry notes to write things down here and there, so please ignore the incomplete sentences, spelling and/or grammar!!

Saturday 2/13 (Day 1) - Package arrived in about 2 days! Woo hoo! Used products on Saturday night for the first time in the shower. Love, love, love how it felt on my skin. Soap made face squeaky clean, literally. Skin was instantly smooth and less red after the shower. It's usually red and irritated post showering. First impression, feels amazing but 3 step process seems a bit annoying (have to wash, scrub/treat, then wash again using a clean washcloth). However, it's way faster than the acne.org regimen where you have to wait 15 mins between each application. Plus I just use Viva paper towels for now. Works ok but will have to find some washcloths soon. Used the night cream I got as a sample after the shower. Skin just soaked it right up. I could feel it absorb into my skin rather than sit on it. I love how this smells too. Hubs said it smelled clean and herbal. Much better than regular BP treatments that smell like medicine and stain pillowcases. Happy so far with this product.

Sunday 2/14 (day 2) - Used treatment again in the morning. You're supposed to use it once a day only and I think I wanna do it in the AM since I get tired/lazy at night and shower in the morning too. Skin was smooth and less red after washing. A few bumps were noticably smaller. Makeup looked good after using the lotion. Though I think I need to wait a few minutes before applying makeup after I put on lotion. Throughout day skin FELT kinda greasy/buttery but didn't LOOK as oily as usual. Weird. Maybe its just how supple skin feels? May also have to do with my mineral makeup formula I just changed (matte formula vs. intensive seems LESS drying on skin, weird). Washed my face with the soap in the evening. Face looked good but noticed more black/whiteheads than usual (which is always a better sign than full blown zits) so I started to extract. Got a little worried I would cause breakouts so I forced myself to stop and applied the other free sample of the elderberry mask. Left on for about 20 mins. Liked the mask. The broccoli was a bit weird. And it didn't harden very hard like most clay masks do. But it still seemed to work good. Made my face feel very soft after I washed it off. Followed with soap and nighttime moisturizer.

Monday 2/15 (day 3) - No new breakouts (despite the fact I had some Valentines Day treats, too)!! All bumps are now flat and they seem to have started to scab (a sign of healing?!). Kind of annoying because I want to pick them but I won't!!! Hoping they will heal fast and flake off soon! One tiny raised whitehead under nose. Came out easy, not painful. Skin feels soft and supple (even with the scabbies) not greasy and bumpy. Seeing progress here already after 2 days. Will do treatment in shower. Staying positive.

Tuesday 2/16 (day 4) - Skin still looks good. Woke up with another raised whitehead. It seems like skin is purging a bit. But not purging, irritating and breaking out like facials do to my skin. Good purging. Whiteheads come out easy. Skin feels soft but still a bit buttery. May need to go back to the more drying makeup!

Wednesday 2/17 (day 5) - Nothing crazy or scary happening, which is good! Scab on forehead came off and was healed underneath. Had 2 small bumps that weren't whiteheads on jawline. May be because I didn't wash face before bed and drank some alcohol. Whoops. :/ Scars are still pretty pink. Gonna have to find a way to lighten them naturally I think. Or just wait it out. But no new acne is going to help skin tone a lot. Other than the 2 little bumps, skin is looking good. Gonna do the mask again today (will probably buy the full size mask soon) and go makeup-less while hanging outside at home to get some oxygen in these pores! Update: did the mask in the afternoon while hanging outside with my dog. I love it! It makes my skin soooo smoooooth. I do feel like due to the clay it has in it, it draws out some impurities which is good but also scary. A couple hours after the mask I felt a bump on my chin. It felt like it was gonna be one of those big cystic ones. But I washed it before bed with the soap and applied the nighttime moisturizer to help "heal" it.

Thursday 2/18 (day 6) - I am so happy yet kinda ashamed to say last night was the first night in months, maybe years that I didn't apply tinted moisturizer or makeup before bed. :D I was always worried I would look like a monster in the morning. Yeah, embarassing!! I also got washcloths yesterday (no more papertowels), lathers much better and helps with washing after doing the treatment. But, regarding the potential goiter on my face I discovered yesterday....soap trick worked!!!! How the hell can a soap dry up a pimple that's on its way to monster size? This is the first time that has happened to me by using any treatment (sulfur, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, BP, alcohol, ACV, clay, etc). I feel like when I applied other treatments the bump would get huge (despite catching it early), dry up, and then scab for a week!! And when you thought the scab was healed and picked it or it flaked off there was a huge gash/scar that was impossible to conceal!! Ugh!! But not with this. It just shrunk the bump and it was barely pink. It is nearly flat!! Yayayay! I am so happy. Only downside, my face STILL feels greasy. Its not sweaty/dirty/oily feeling though, so I am sure its the lotion. So I am gonna write them and see if they have anything a bit lighter. But, man, not having breakouts is ruling right now. Its about to be THAT time of the month of me too and I haven't gotten the usual scary breakout. *knock on wood* Hope I can avoid my monthly cysts!! I am gonna drink more water and make sure to take my hair/skin/nail vitamins. I think those 2 things always help.

Friday 2/19 (Day 7) - face is 95% clear!! 4 blemishes total (blemishes meaning little scabbies). Whitehead under lip I popped is taking forever to heal. The scab doesnt wanna heal or fall off. Other than that, no bumps. Chin is totally flat where the cyst was about to form. Woot! I need to learn to not pick scabs, or wait a bit for them to kinda start to fall off themselves at least. Because then its just a vicious cycle of red marks. I didnt get to use the treatment in the shower today (plumbing issue... gotta love old houses) and I can tell why they recommend doing it in there. Kinda messy, harder to apply and remove, and didn't feel like it got as deep in pores. Hope these few little red marks will heal more over night. Gonna put some neosporin on my lip I think. My lip never heals fast. Note to self: Don't pop lip whiteheads! I also hope I can shower tomorrow. :/ It seems to work best.

Will post another blog entry at the end of week 2!! Things are going great so far! *keeping my fingers crossed*


Ok. Well. I used Dans regimene for about a year and a half but it didnt get me all the way clear. By some miracle I was about 95 percent clear for my wedding in September (I hired a great makeup artist, too). But I was still embarassed to go swimming. And thats what really made me want to try something else. I should be able to have fun at my wedding!!! It was great but I feel like I held back a bit too much.

After the wedding I switched to using just Neutrogena's "Clear Pore Mask/Cleanser" with BP. I wanted to cut out a step from the system and avoid bleaching towels, etc. It helped a little. About the same as Dans system though. It gets clear all the way and then bam! Cyst! So I kept kinda going back and forth with that and Dans system. I tried to go "all natural" and use Dr Bronners and jojoba oil only. Did nothing. Skin still broke out. Then I got the brilliant idea to try Mario Badescu products from an old recommendation from someone. Wayyyy too harsh (most of their products had alcohol and glycolic acid)! What a waste of time! Plus the products were expensive. Their spot treatment did zap zits but it just turned it into a horrible red scab. It ended up making my skin worse and I returned to Nordstrom for a full refund (gotta love their return policy).

After that I went back to Dans because I still had some. I switched to the olay sensitive skin wash with minimal ingredients and their sensitive skin lotion. Skin was always like 80 percent clear. Like I said, it clears up then breakouts then as soon as the breakouts clear up another big cyst pops up.

I was kind of just starting to accept the fact I was going to always have to deal with having less than perfect skin. I kept checking back on acne.org to see if any magic cure was discovered, or just simply to read his blog and the message boards. I noticed this product called "Carley's Clear and Smooth" under the treatment reviews. Seeing that it had about 4.5 stars by nearly 500 users made me click on it.

I wasnt quite sure what it was at first, but read the reviews anyway. After spending 2 whole days reading the reviews and reading their website 3 times over I decided to order their product (which is soap and a treatment wash). I was a little skeptical about ordering because of previous and recent failure. I still am wary. But over the past week I have documented my experience with this product. I am not going to jinx myself with a success story yet so I will just continue to track my progress!



So, it's been just over a week since I took my Murad stuff back to Sephora, told them it was garbage and got my money back.

I took that money and ordered Dan's system. Since it takes a couple days to ship, I had to go without a normal regimen for a little bit, which I was really scared about doing. Luckily I had some cetaphil lying around. I used that along with some azelic acid I got from the derm and just some lubriderm moisturizer for a couple nights and was shocked that my skin was clearing up. Just by NOT using Murad my skin was finally healing and not getting worse.

Then, I got Dan's system in the mail (a day later than expected because UPS sucks, but I won't get into that). It arrived last Thursday, the 3rd, so this is my 5th day using it (well, technically 4th since I passed out on my friend's boat for the fourth of July and only had water to wash with...haha).

I have been using the system (complete with jojoba oil) daily. I stopped using the Azelex just because I don't know how it would affect the system. The first day or two I only used the BP at night, just to make sure it didn't cause crazy dryness. My skin seemed to be ok with it and so I bumped it up to twice a day. I do use jojoba oil BEFORE I put on my BP and that seems to work well for me. In just the few days that I've been doing the system, my skin has improved SO much. I'm just waiting for it to break out again, but I'm really hoping it won't happen. My mom was in town visiting last weekend and noticed a difference. I do have a lot of red marks (hyperpigmentation), but I'm hoping they'll fade in time. I have been using the egg white and lemon mask and I have to say it is amazing. I find that mixing the lemon with the eggs makes the lemon not sting. I immediately (ok, 5 minutes later) noticed that my red marks were a lot lighter.

I am going to try baking soda (to exfoliate/lighten marks) tonight, just for fun, before my regimen. I'm trying not to go TOO crazy because I'm afraid of breaking out. But, I think it'll be ok if I just leave on my skin for a short time.

I don't want to say that I'm successful YET, as it may be too early to know for sure, but I think that this may finally be the right system for me. *knocks on wood*

**Oh and just a side note - I stopped taking all those damn pills before I even got on the system. No mulitvitamins, no acidipholous, no fish oil pills, no zinc (caused my mom to have ulcers!!). It feels great to not have to worry or remember which pills to take and I haven't noticed any negative results from doing so. I am trying to focus on getting my vitamins from fruits and veggies instead of from a pill!


And it begins.

I'm so happy I stumbled across this website. When you suffer with acne sometimes you feel alone. I've always had family, friends and boyfriends with perfect skin and they don't seem to understand. It's embarassing to talk about but at least now I can write about it and perhaps feel a bit better.

I've been struggling with "acne" since I was about 12. I remember getting huge red zits on my face. I begged my mom to buy me some cover-up and since then I rarely, if not never, leave the house without makeup. All throughout high school I had kind of bad skin. Though, honestly, compared to some acne sufferers, it isn't and has never really been THAT bad. In my mind though, it has been. A pimple or two can make you feel like the ugliest person alive. I feel like it's very distracting and that people aren't looking at me, they are looking at my skin. I missed a lot of social events due to acne. I felt like it was so bad that I shouldn't leave the house. I really regret doing that. It wasn't that bad and people don't care as much as I think. But that's why I'm doing all I can to fight it now. There's no way I'm missing another pool party or dance due to my skin.

My skin goes through phases of being awful to being ok. About a year ago my skin was close to perfect. I had been using ProActiv and though I had my ups and downs with them, it was the only thing that REALLY seemed to work. I ended up going to get a facial and the girl doing it urged me to get off of ProActiv, telling me it was bad for my skin, that it was damaging the tissues, blah blah. I happened to be at Aveda and therefore decided to give up on BP and ProActiv and switch to more natural skin care line at Aveda that used Salicylic Acid. I used that for a few months but didn't see much improvement. It didn't get much worse, but it didn't get much better. I got fed up with that, went to Sephora and bought the most promising looking skin care line (which happened to be Philosophy). Again, tried that for a few months, didn't do much. So, I went back to Sephora and switched again. Only this time, I went for Murad.

Worst idea ever.

The Murad skin care line has caused nothing but problems. I kept thinking that I was doing something wrong. I did everything to try to figure it out. Washing more, washing less, doing a candida cleanse, taking multivitamins, stopping multivitamins, taking zinc, eating an anti-inflammatory diet, drinking tea, exfoliating, doing honey masks, aspirin masks, etc. Nothing was REALLY helping stop the acne. But, after reading reviews on Murad on acne.org - it seems as though the actual treatment was causing the problems. Who would've thought that the products I was using to fight acne was actually creating it?

The first few weeks on Murad were hell, my neck was SO red and dry/wrinkly, it was literally chemically burned. My skin got worse, but according to the system this was part of the "purging process" and urged you not to give up. I kept it up. My acne would go away for a day, then the next day come right back. Only this time, I started getting cysts. I'd get one or two every once in a BIG while before, but this was constantly. Eventually I went to get a facial and the next week my skin erupted. I had about 5 big cysts at one point. 2 of them finally went down, but 3 remained. I scheduled a derm appointment immediately. She didn't tell me to get off Murad, but made me RX for some cream. I should be picking that up today, but I am going to research it first. She injected the 3 big pimples with cortizone which has REALLY helped. I almost stole a bottle of it when she left, but I figured it best to not inject myself with things at home. :(

I created an account on acne.org to review the Murad system and try to warn others not to try it. I am also going to get back on Benzoyl Peroxide. I basically went off of it because someone told me to and because it bleached out some shirts/sheets. But, for perfect skin, it's worth it. I ordered Dan's system and hopefully it will work for me. I'm so tired of dishing out loads of dough for products that don't work.

We'll see how I do..........I'm crossing my fingers.

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