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Vanessa's Personal Regimen

165 posts in this topic

March 31

My skin is still feeling (and looking) damaged and dehydrated. It's taut and uncomfotable, feels dry yet has a very shiny, tight appearance to it, and looking at my skin in the mirror, I can see that the surface is dried out like crazy. It's so awkward to feel like your skin is dry and oily at the same time. Bleh, my skin has always been dehydrated, but the peels exacerbated the issue.

cry.gif So I know that it's going to take quite a while to heal, because I can't remember the last time when my skin wasn't at least slightly dehydrated.

It's funny how for the longest time, I thought that dry and dehydrated were the same thing. They're really not. Dry= lack of sebum. which is not the case for me at all. Dehydrated skin however, means you are lacking moisture. And because of my years of being a misinformed teenager & treating my acne incorrectly, my skin has always been somewhat damaged and lacking moisture yet producing plenty of oil.

So that's the issue with that. Now the basically looks like it did before the neem oil disaster. I have a nice pus filled zit on my left cheek which looks more ready to explode each and every day. Gross, I know! However, I don't pop/pick my pimples anymore so I just wait for it to do its thing and it flattens out on its own. I feel like right now my acne isn't the biggest skin issue for me, it's the damage from the over-exfoliation.

Oh yeah, I ordered the Super Hydrating Gel from GoW.

eusa_dance.gif I asked a lady from the website about what she recommended for dehydrated and irritated skin, and she said for hydration, this was definitely the product to get. She also recommended this cherry healing serum for the irritation, but I didn't get that. I'm looking forward to receiving it, because my skin needs allllllllll the moisture it can get right now... I also have quite a bit of other stuff in my cart, like some hyaluronic acid serums, a hydrosol, and BHA and AHA products. I think I've decided that instead of doing full strength peels, I'm going to use weaker products every few days. I think that taking this approach might be better for me rather than doing a peel every week. I still want to try the TCA for my scars but this won't be for many months I'm assuming. I need to get my skin 100% under control first. That includes the dehydration, my acne (blackheads included!), minimizing the oil issue, and of course, fading the hyperpigmentation and evening out my complexion. I was hoping for clear skin by summer, but I have to tweak my regimen again, and I know that once I perfect my routine and really get the ball rolling, things will be smooth sailing from there!

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April 2

I'm about to run out to school, so ima try and keep this short and sweet. I got gluten'd quite a few times this weekend. :/ Very frustrating, especially when you expect it to be safe. I know when I've eaten something suspicious because my face and limbs start to tingle, I feel bloated and sometimes I get those sharp jabbing pains. Funny how it took me months to realize that it was a gluten sensitivity causing my weird symptoms and not something neurological.

I ordered $90 worth of products from Garden of Wisdom yesterday (including shipping) @_@. It's probably going to be a couple of weeks before they reach me, so in the meantime I'm still trying to "repair" my broken skin and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! It just drinks it up like a thirsty plant.

I just realized today that my skin tone has really evened out compared to when I first started this log, back in July. Yay


Still trying to get on top of this fruit and vegetable thing. I need to eat more "dark, leafy greens". Plus I'm thinking about blowing the dust of the juicer really soon, because it's such an easy way to get my daily fix of fruits and veggies all in one shot. I need to hit the grocery store...can I just say that it sucks how eating real food is so much more expensive than eating crap? I feel like between buying skin products and healthy food, I need a full time job. Gahhhh.

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April 3

Well, I got my fruits and veggies yesterday and I'm sitting here drinking some juice. I put in some kale, collard greens, celery, cucumber, and beets. Mostly celery and cucumber though, because I'm trying to start slow with the leafy stuff. Tastes pretty good, if I do say so myself.

smile.png A really nice change from the usual water that I'm always chugging.

That's really all there is to say for Yep. *walks away from computer slowly*

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April 4

I truly wonder how long it's going to take my skin to feel healthy and normal again.

cry.gif It's almost like having a permanent sunburn or something. It's been almost 3 weeks since my last peel, and you would think I just did it yesterday the way my face feels. Oh dear. I could apply moisturizer all day long, my skin is pissed off and obviously it's not ready to start co-operating with me.

I realized that I didn't actually post what I ordered from GoW! Here's what I decided to try:

Beta-Carotene Rich Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Clearly Pure HA Serum

Neem Leaf Hydrosol

AHA Tonic 2% pH 1.9

Beta Exfo Tonic 2% pH 1.9

Beta Exfo Tonic 2% pH 3.2

The AHA and BHA products are self-explanatory...trying to see if using a milder exfoliant rather than doing actual peels will work better for me. I like how the salicylic acid comes in different pH levels so I can choose what strength I want to use. c: As for the serums, I'm hoping they'll help to bring back moisture to my epidermis andkeep my skin hydrating and supple. I also planned on using them after my peels, but since I don't plan on doing any for a little while...I dunno. This is what they say about the Beta-Carotene Serum on their website..

Beta-Carotene is high in vitamins and an excellent antioxidant, making it great for nourishing and protecting the skin. Healing for damaged or irritated skin, beta-carotine helps repair the skin. Tomato extract, while also being a powerful antioxidant, is a natural astringent. It keeps overly oily skin in control, while also reducing pore size. Hyaluronic acid expertly hydrates thirsty skin, and along with beta-carotene, leaves a dewy glow to the skin.

Repairing damaged and irritated skin? Keeps oily skin in control? Reduces pore size? Sounds like something I need in my life asap. eusa_dance.gif And the other HA serum is just regular hyaluronic acid. And lastly, the neem hydrosol is pretty self-explanatory as well. Hydrasols are a way of giving extra moisture to the skin, and the neem leaf is antibacterial and used to treat acne.

Anyway, in the meantime I'm just here trying to be patient and not over-analyze my skin and certainly not apply any kind of chemicals. There's not much I can do at this point anyway. I've been using my neem leaf powder every Sunday and Wednesday and it works WAY better for me than the neem oil. That's really all I'm doing as far as "acne control". Random thought, I'm running low on moisturizer! I need to run to Sephora and purchase another one soon. I still can't believe I actually use moisturizer every day, twice a day. A year or 2 ago I would have said "No way in hell." I thought that only people with the driest of dry skin needed to use them. Well, that mentality along with my improper and excessive use of acne products totally dehydrated my skin and here I am still trying to pick up the pieces. >_>

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April 5

I just realized that I haven't actually talked about my acne lately. Same old story with the blackheads...I hate them! They make my skin look so unclean and congested. Well, it is congested but you know what I mean. If I look closely in the mirror, I can see that the majority of my pores are filled with gunk, that almost look like tiny seeds. My forehead, my nose, and my inner cheeks. So disgusting. It seems that I'm still purging tiny little bumps, even weeks after my peel, which I guess is because my face is covered in blackheads. Did I always used to have a blackhead problem....? Back when I used to squeeze at my face (I am SO glad that I kicked that habit, by the way!), those bumps would pop out and there would be these little plugs of sebum with a tiny black tip. Lovely.

So as of now, my acne really consists of blackheads, the small clogs/bumps/plugs whatever you want to call them, and this random inflamed papule on the left side of my face that kinda hurts when I touch it. x__x I know I've said this before, but my skin would look SO much better if I had no hyperpigmentation. It really messes up my complexion. Bleh, I can't wait for all my stuff to be delivered! I love the feeling of receiving packages in the mail, but I hate waiting for them. :< Especially when they're skin care products.

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April 23

Alright! So I totally abandoned this log for a few weeks, but I'm back now.

boogie.gif Lol the reason why I stopped updating is because I received my Garden of Wisdom products (!!!!!) and I wanted to try some of them out first before reporting back! Plus some other things have changed as well, so let's get started, shall we?

Anyway like I said, my products came weeks before expected. I was ECSTATIC, okay? Considering I used First Class International & I live in Canada, they were delivered super quickly. The first things I tried were the neem leaf hydrosol, the Super Hydrating Gel and Beta-Carotene HA serum, and the 3.2pH 2% BHA serum. How do I incorporate these products into my routine?

First I cleanse with my Turmeric and Neem Face Wash

Then I apply aloe vera gel and gently rub into skin (almost like a second cleanser)

Rinse off the aloe vera gel, and tone with my alcohol free witch hazel and rinse off, I repeat this two times

Then, I VERY GENTLY pat my face dry with a clean towel

Spritz the neem leaf hydrosol onto my skin, 4 times, 1 spray head on, 1 spray on my left side of my face, 1 one my right, and then again head on

Apply Beta-Carotene Serum

Apply Hydrating Gel

and finally....moisturizer!

Phew OKAY. I know that sounds like a lot of stuff to do, but......such is life. And when I apply my serums and moisturizers, I apply them very gently and carefully. I never rub, only pat onto my skin. So it can be a bit time consuming. Now, for the BHA serum. I use it every 3 days as directed, and I just put a few drops into the palm of my hand and use my fingertips to pat it on. For a salicylic acid product, it's quite mild and not uncomfortable. But that's probably because the pH is buffered. Plus I have to wait 20 minutes after putting it on (in between the hydrosol and my serums) because it takes time to neutralize and you don't want to interrupt that process.

Well, my blackheads are PURGING. So many tiny bumps on my forehead and a few on my inner cheeks. It's icky, but I'm going to stick with it because I really, really need to get rid of these things. Some of them are just being pushed out as little plugs with a tinyyyyy black tip, while others are a bit inflamed and look more like pimples. But something is definitely happening.

Oh, and I tried the Fruity Exfoliating Mask on Saturday and....I don't think I'll be using it again. I got a couple of inflamed pimples and while I'm not entirely sure it's due to the mask, I'm just going to go ahead and assume it is. Also, I don't really feel like it did much.

unsure.png All the reviews said that when they applied it, you could feel your face heating up. I didn't feel any heat? unsure.png LOL, I really don't know. But it was such a fucking pain in the ass to remove! When I tried to rinse it off, it had the consistency of mashed banana.... and it was difficult to wash off. Meh. Not too impressed with that particular product!

Now, onto my other changes. I have been getting extremely frustrated with my hormonal acne. No matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, I will always break out at the beginning of my cycle. I was taking the damn evening primrose oil supplements in an effort to balance out my hormones, but obviously that shit was not working. My periods have actually gotten even HEAVIER and MORE PAINFUL! Like my cramps went from really bad to absolutely insane. And I would still break out every month like clockwork. So I ditched those pills and bought something called Estrosmart Plus.

  • Maintains healthy estrogen to progesterone balance

  • Protects your breasts

  • Reduces and eliminates the occurrence of breast cysts

  • Detoxifies the liver of carcinogenic estrogens found in plastics, pesticides, cosmetics and more

  • Stops flooding, heavy, debilitating periods

  • Halts abnormal cell growth (fibroids, cysts, endometriosis)

  • For those with PCOS and ovarian cysts

  • Halts conversion of 2-hydroxyestrone metabolites to carcinogenic estrogens (16-hydroxyestrone)

  • Contains the equivalent cancer protecting plant nutrients as eating 1 kilo of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc...)

  • Eliminates PMS and makes periods effortless

  • Maintains healthy PAP smears

  • Eliminates hormonal acne

Yep those are taken straight from the website lol. But just take a look at the benefits. Eliminates hormonal acne? Stops debilitating periods? Yes please. And the cancer benefits are just an added plus. We have a history of estrogen-dependent cancers in our family, and I've already had a lung tumour of my own, so it's never too late to start protecting yourself.

Anyway, it's been a little over a week of taking them, 2 pills a day.They say that it can take about 2-3 cycles before you notice the benefits, so I'm going to give them some time before I decide whether they're right for me.

Well....I think that's about it! I will try to update regularly, even if it's only every few days or so. banana.gif

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April 29

Skin is still purging! My forehead seems to be taking it the worst, lots of small comedones. I'm not sure how long this will take, but I've finally learned that SLOW and STEADY wins the race, always. Over exfoliation is not a joke. My skin is still recovering, believe it or not. Instead of using the BHA tonic every 3 days, I think it's better to judge how my skin feels that particular day and determine whether it can be exfoliated or not. My epidermis is still very dried out, especially when I use the neem mask. >< Anyway, like I said, I'm just trying to take everything one day at a time. My pores are slowly being cleaned out, even without using an exfoliant every day, or even every other day.

I ordered more of the neem lead hydrosol. 1oz really doesn't last you very long when you're using it twice a day! However I think the serums and the acids will last me a good while. I also bought more neem powder.


I think as the weeks and months go by and more and more blackheads are loosened, my skin's texture and overall clarity will improve drastically. At this point in my skin care routine, it's all a matter of patience.

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May 4

My neem leaf hydrosol was delivered today.

biggrin.png If there's one thing I can say about this company, shipping is fast. And when you're a Canadian ordering products internationally, you can certainly appreciate quick shipping.

Well.....that's about it! xD Still purging, yadda yadda. My forehead has improved since my last update!

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May 9

Still chugging along with the 2% BHA Tonic. I only use it twice per week, and I think that frequency is perfect for me. Often enough to be effective, but sparingly enough to avoid irritation or over exfoliation. I can't believe that at one point I was doing THREE PEELS A WEEK. -_- Was I temporarily insane or something?

Comedonal acne is kinda a pain. You can't just dab on some BP like you would with a big, red pimple. You have to actually wait for the pores to purge and clean out themselves, or extract them (which I don't do). I've only been using the salicylic acid for a few weeks but all this sebum and other crap is being forced up and out of my skin. The most stubborn part in my inner cheeks and right between my eyebrows. I have some pretty dark looking blackheads in my cheeks, and they make my pores look HUGE! I had a couple of little plugs towards my outer cheeks wash away earlier this week when I went over my face with my witch hazel and cotton pad. So yeah, long story short, I didn't realize my skin was that congested, and this will probably be a long process... My doctor mentioned that Differin is great for comedonal acne, but I told him that for the time being, I want to stay away from retinoids and all other prescription medications. To be honest, after I saw how the Retin-A Micro tore up my sensitive skin, I'm staying away from anything related to "Vitamin A". >_>

I kinda regret ordering so many different exfoliants at once. :S Besides the BHA I'm using now, I have another 2% BHA Tonic (w/ a lower pH), a mandelic acid tonic, and the AHA Tonic. According to the GOW website, they last a year. I'm really anxious to try the mandelic acid, because it has rave reviews and I've read a lot of good things about it. But I want to stick with the salicylic for a while longer and focus on getting rid of my blackheads before I add in an alpha hydroxy acid.

I'm running out of time, gotta get to school.

dry.png So all in all, that's about it. I've run out of zinc supplements, and I'm on my last 2 alpha lipoic acid supplements, so I'm most likely going to the health store today to pick up some more. I'm thinking about increasing the dosage of ALA from 100mg to 200mg (the recommended dosage according to the bottle). Not too sure yet.

Kay, bye. Lol (:

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May 17

The purging hasn't stopped, but it seems to have slowed down a bit. There are some really deep and stubborn blackheads in my inner cheeks. But anyway, I'm still using the BHA twice a week along with my neem leaf mask on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Um.....there isn't really much else to say.

unsure.png Honestly, I'm just trying to stop obsessing over my face and take everything one day at a time. Patience, patience.

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June 4

Hmm....haven't updated in a while! Meh. I'm about 99% sure that no one keeps up with this log, so I'm not too worried though.

tongue.png I haven't posted because I'm still purging all sorts of blackheads and it's a pretty slow and tedious process. Sometimes it slows down, and then all of a sudden they start popping out again. I'm still using my neem powder mask twice a week. I think that I need to figure out a ratio of powder to water that mixes well and doesn't leave all the crumbly bits stuck to my skin. :S It's very difficult to remove and I'm worried that washing it off is creating tiny tears on the surface of my skin. I see all these small lines and I have no idea if it's the mask that's causing them, but's quite a pain splashing my face repeatedly trying to get everything off without scrubbing at my skin. Sensitive skin issues ftw.

ANYWAY, yeah everything else is pretty much the sameeee. Sometimes the blackheads that are pushed out of my skin become inflamed and turn into these small pimples, which is kinda annoying because I have to make sure to be extra gentle as to not irritate them. But mostly, they emerge as tiny plugs of sebum, which I wash away with my cotton pad and witch hazel.

Random note, I really love my neem leaf hydrosol.

biggrin.png It's feels really refreshing and calming to spritz on my face before I apply my serums and moisturizer. Definitely one of my favourite parts of my daily routine. Is that weird...?

Mkay, that's all for now, I suppose.

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June 7

Alright, finally something new to update on! I decided I'm going to stop using the neem mask. More and more of these tiny "cuts" are appearing in my skin and I honestly can't think of any other possible cause for it. It's very upsetting that 6 months of Retin-A Micro was enough to make my skin so incredibly sensitive and fragile.

unsure.png Yep I'm still bitter about it. Like c'mon , I used to scrub at my face with a washcloth until it felt "clean", used the St. Ives apricot scrub multiple times a week, and dried my face abrasively with a towel and this shit never used to happen. I guess to make up for it, I'll exfoliate every 3 days rather than every 3-4 days. I definitely have to keep up with the exfoliating now that summer is here. The hot, sticky and humid weather can be disastrous for oily, blackhead prone acneic skin. Ugh. Speaking of gross weather, I've been using less moisturizer lately just in case.

I also really want to try my other acids...the AHA tonic and my mandelic acid serum. I've got all these black marks that I need to fade away. Just trying to get this blackhead situation under control before I start with those...but I can't promise that curiosity won't get the best of me.

I really want to try a TCA peel in the wintertime, preferably during Christmas break. So that gives me roughly 6 months to focus on my acne and keep on recovering from the Retin-A/chemical peel disasters. I need to smooth out the texture on my cheeks, along with these new "cuts".

Lastly, I'm planning on ordering a vitamin C serum. Initially I was going to make my own, but fuck that shit lol. I want to get the lightening one from NuFountain, to use around my eyes. I'm sick and tired of looking like a raccoon. Whether or not I'll use it all over my face is still up for debate.

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June 17

I'm so fed up with how oily my skin is. You know your skin is oily when your glasses slide down the bridge of your nose. -_- It's absolutely DISGUSTING, and the summer heat just makes everything so much worse. I've just been having one of those weekends when it comes to my skin.

It makes me feel so miserable. Like I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to talk to anyone, I don't want anyone to make eye contact with me. Just leave me alone.

I'm so over having acne, words can't even explain how done I am with this bullshit.

Anyway, I have some weird stuff going on with a pimple on my left cheek. It started off as a red bump, very slowly came to a head, popped on its own, and now the pus is gone (I think) but it hasn't flatted out yet. Very strange because usually when I get inflamed bumps, they come to a head quickly and flatten out quickly as well, leaving a dark mark. So at the moment there is a dark, raised mark on my face. Also, it seems that another small papule has popped up RIGHT beside it. For fuck's sake. I think I'm going to make an appointment with my dermatologist so he can have a look at my skin. I don't know.

I'm still purging blackheads, can you believe it? My skin was seriously congested. Going on Retin-A was obviously a waste of my fucking time because if this is what was lurking underneath my skin after all that, it didn't do that great of a job.


I know I said I wasn't going to make the Vitamin C serum, but I changed my mind and ended up getting the ascorbic acid crystals and some bottles. I want to mix some up to use around my eyes and spritz on my face.

I think I'm going to start testing a bit of the mandelic acid on a small portion of my face and see what happens. Like my nose or something. I don't want products to just sit under my cupboard and not be used.

If I don't get this problem under control by 2013, Accutane will definitely become an option. Enough is enough.

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Hey! I really love your blog! But it sucks that you have to deal with all this acne shit. It can definitely take control of your life. I'm the same way sometimes I don't even want to go out cause of it. I feel like im not living my life like a normal person. Even if I get one pimple iI feel my world is upside Down. Its so exhausting worrying about it all the time. Btw u seem like a real cool chick!

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Hey! I really love your blog! But it sucks that you have to deal with all this acne shit. It can definitely take control of your life. I'm the same way sometimes I don't even want to go out cause of it. I feel like im not living my life like a normal person. Even if I get one pimple iI feel my world is upside Down. Its so exhausting worrying about it all the time. Btw u seem like a real cool chick!

Aww thanks so much! tongue.png I'm glad that at least someone is entertained by my constant ranting and rambling... LOL.

Yeah that's exactly how I feel: not normal. I think about my skin every hour of the day. -_- It's ridiculous. I can't believe I'm letting this skin condition run my life.

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Omg your sooo welcome! Btw i think its cool that you live in canada! I noticed that ppl with acne we over analyze our skin...if we get one we freak! I have some blackheads on the side of my face right now and I'm lowkey freaking out right now. Blackheads totally suck! Ppl can't see them but I can. :/ ugh! So frustrating I jus want perfect skin! Sorry....I'm have a fit right now. Lol

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"Over analyzing" is an understatement in my case. I am fully obsessed with my skin. I can't help it. cry.gif People around me don't understand how much time and thought I put into my skin every day. And I agree, blackheads suck...THEY ARE SO STUBBORN. I've been using salicylic acid for weeks and I still have so many of them. -_-

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July 1

Let me start off by saying HAPPY CANADA DAY!


Anyway...yeah, I haven't updated in a while. This is probably going to be a pretty long post because my skin has been acting a fool lately. No, not in terms of acne surprisingly.


I swear, I am not exaggerating. I can barely move my face. I CAN NOT MAKE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. I feel like my skin is made of concrete.

Those "scratches" I was talking about a few weeks ago, that I thought were caused by my neem leaf mask? I just fucking realized those are FINE LINES on the surface of my skin because it's DEHYDRATED. Yes, FINE LINES. I'm 18 years old, I shouldn't have fine lines are you kidding me? Shit, I regret using Retin-A Micro so badly. It totally destroyed my epidermis and I'm concerned that this damage is permanent. And then with my stupid self, I went and over exfoliated the shit out of my skin with those motherfucking chemical peels and now my skin is PISSED OFF. I already went weeks without using any kind of medication of exfoliant on my skin and there was literally no improvement whatsoever.

It's soooooo fucking frustrating because I can't afford to just stop all my acne medication cold turkey and give my skin a break for 3-6 months. I still have A LOT of blackheads and my skin is very oily. Without regular exfoliation, my skin is going to blow up. I can't slather on heavy emollient creams because they WILL clog my pores, no doubt about it. And oils? Hell no, we already know that me and oils don't go agree. I don't know what to do.

unsure.png I don't even see the point in seeing my dermatologist because I know what he's going to say:

"Give your skin a break."

Or he'll recommend some moisturizer to use that will more than likely break me out.

Well sir, I can't. Because I'm acne prone and this is my life. Don't get me wrong, I love my dermatologist and he's actually really helpful and understanding. But I don't see what possible options I have for fixing this mess. I have all the classic symptoms of dehydrated skin: tight, taut feeling, shiny, superficial lines, and very sensitive. If I didn't have acne and oily skin, I would gladly go on a water only regimen for a few months and let my skin heal. But I just can't. I can't go down that road again, my skin looked absolutely horrible.

The hilarious thing is that I've been using Benzaclin for the past few days, lol. I just got fed up with all the tiny bumps from the purging blackheads, and I prefer the Benzaclin over Benzamycin. That stuff burns my skin. -_-

I also started using my Vitamin C spray. Just ascorbic acid and distilled water. I used it two times, and that stuff STINGS LIKE HELL. I need to play around with the measurements until I find a ratio that works for me. But anyway, even though it's only been two days, I notice my skin looks brighter than usual. I naturally have a golden/warm undertone, but I did notice a little glow to my skin. And dead skin is sloughing off my face....along with some blackheads! Which is understandable because after all, it's an acid. It's weird though, because I exfoliate regularly. I read that Vitamin C is supposed to help damaged, dehydrated let's see what happens! I'm also hoping that it'll help my acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Okay so, in conclusion....I'm going to try and do a few things differently this week, because I don't know when I'll be able to see my derm.

1) Give the Benzaclin a break for a little bit

2) Exfoliate (with the GoW salicylic acid) only once a week instead of every 3 days

3) Wash face with cool/lukewarm water instead of warm water

4) Increase amount of moisturizer used

5) Spray more hydrosol onto skin before applying moisturizer

6) Use Vitamin C spray every morning

7) Maybe increase amount of serum I use?

Phew, well I think that's about it. I'll keep updating as the week progresses...

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July 2

Even after diluting the Vitamin C, it still stung quite a bit this morning. >_> I know that it's an acid and all...but I'm not exactly sure how much stinging and tingling is normal because I've never used a Vitamin C product before. I think I'm going to add a teaspoon or 2 more water just in case...

My skin is shedding A LOT. Little dead skin flakes rub off when I use my toner, and the cotton pad looks all gross after lmao. Mostly on my left cheek. Also my blackheads seem to be loosening up quite a bit.

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August 6

I have a dermatologist appointment in less than 3 hours and I'm pretty sure that it's going to be a waste of time but to be honest, I just need to vent to someone who will actually fucking understand. My skin is in such pain and discomfort right now and I'm beginning to think that the damage is irreversible. I would gladly take another lobectomy, or even a lung transplant, just to have clear, healthy, normal skin. And that is 100% the truth. I can't do this anymore. If it's not one thing, it's another. Emotionally I just can't deal with this bullshit anymore. I can't. I'm just about done.

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August 10

Wow, so I just spent who knows how long typing out a long ass post, and I pressed something and deleted like more than half of it. -_- So FUCK THAT, it's time for a super condensed version because I do not have the patience to redo that.

I had a facial done on Tuesday at a natural, organic spa called Pure + Simple. Long story short, it was amazing, I got free samples, bought two facial masks, and also received advice about my skin. The esthetician confirmed that my skin is totally stripped and dehydrated. She said that when she did my skin analysis, she noted that my face actually is not truly oily, but because of the severe dehydration and lack of adequate moisturizing, my skin is pushing excess oil to the surface of my skin in an attempt to moisturize it. This leaves an icky shine/sheen on the very surface of my skin, even though it still feels dry and taught. So I got a sample of rosehip oil which I'm supposed to use to balance out my skin.

I learned that rosehip oil is a natural occurring source of trans-retinoic acid. Retinol. Vitamin A. Tretinoin.

Yeah, sound familiar? Retin-A Micro. -_- Ummmmm after learning this, I'm not going to lie: I had a LOT of second thoughts, doubts, and paranoia. As we know, RAM totally fucked my skin. I vowed to never use a Vitamin A derived product ever again. But of course, the composition of rosehip oil and Retin-A Micro are not the same. I'm no chemist, and I'm not going to attempt to go through these differences, at least not tonight. But an important thing to note is that rosehip oil has moisturizing and healing benefits, whereas Retin-A does not. Nevertheless, I plan on USING WITH EXTREME CAUTION...not only because of that factor, but also because oils do have a tendency to break me out.

The esthetician assured me that with my extreme dehydration and sensitivity, I NEED to be using oils on my skin. She told me that when she was applying different oils during my facial, my skin happily absorbed them rather than just sitting on its surface. I plan on using the oil VERY sparingly (like a drop or two) and NO MORE OFTEN than every 2-3 days. Let's see.

I also bought two facial masks, the Calming Cucumber Mask and the Sensitive Skin Exfoliant + Face Mask. Let's start off with the cucumber mask.

First impression: it smells exactly like cucumbers. tongue.png I love it. It's a cool, gel like consistency and feels so amazing going onto my face. I let it sit there for about 40 mins or so and wash it off. It leaves my skin feeling very soft and moisturized.

I bought the Exfoliant + Face Mask yesterday and was told that the jojoba beads in it would not hurt my skin, and that it's very gentle. The salesperson/esthetician said that to use it properly, I should take a hot shower to open up my pores and soften my skin, then apply the mask. Let the mask sit on my face for however long, then gently massage it into my skin and wash off. Well, I didn't do all of that, but I still found the mask to be very moisturizing and surprisingly gentle. I am VERY scared of manual exfoliants and avoid them like the plague. Plus, I'm not supposed to be exfoliated at all right now because of my condition...but because the mask is so creamy, you barely even feel the jojoba beads as you rub it into your skin. It really provides a mild exfoliation. Oh, and this mask smells absolutely HEAVENLY! One day I'll try the steaming method to see if it works better.

I also have a sample of this very expensive collagen serum, which I've been using every day. 100mL of this serum is $139. =_=

I got my GoW hydrosols in the mail yesterday! Neem, yarrow, and clary sage. I'm already familiar with the neem, but I decided to try out the yarrow first. Here are the benefits taken from the website:

Our Yarrow hydrosol is all organic. As a natural antibacterial and antiseptic, yarrow gently helps to eliminate acne and prevent and future blemishes. May also be used on minor wounds for a healing disinfectant effect. Yarrow also helps to stop bleeding, so it may be used as a styptic for cuts from shaving. Yarrow has regenerative properties, and can help to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. When applied to varicose veins, yarrow can help address them. As an anti-inflammatory, yarrow will help to reduce swelling in the skin, and will also assist in the elimination of built up fluid in the skin. Great for any skin type, especially irritated or inflamed, oily, or acne prone skin.

Reduce appearance of scars, anti-inflammatory, irritated, inflamed, oily acne prone skin. This sounds like it was made for me, am I right? But when I sprayed this on my smells like a skunk. neutral.gif THE SMELL WAS VERY OFF-PUTTING, let's just put it that way. But it's not totally unbearable so I'll deal with it.

Ugh there's more I want to say put I'm tired and annoyed that my original post was deleted, so I'll update either tomorrow or the following day. ><

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August 11

I currently have the cucumber mask on and I don't plan on washing it off for at least an hour, so what better thing to do than come on smile.png

Well, to continue my thoughts from yesterday... I am completely focusing on calming down my skin and hydrating it. I have a crapppppload of blackheads, but that has to be treated at a later time. Simply put, I can't address both issues at once. Every time I try to do so, disaster strikes. >_> I ordered even *more* Garden of Wisdom products yesterday lmfao I'm addicted! I spoke to one of their "people" through live chat and got some recommendations to calm my skin down and speed up the healing process. I have all sorts of shallow scarring, weird looking pores, and fine lines thanks to stupid mistakes. Some days I get upset about it, but I've instead of being angry at myself and depressed, I'm just going to do everything in my power to fix it. It makes more sense to be proactive rather than sit here being sad.

You know, it's kinda frustrating when people protest that tretinoin can not make you susceptible to scarring. I feel like they're basically taking people's individual experiences with the drug (because I am NOT the only person this has happened to) and totally dismissing them. Not everyone's skin reacts the same to everything. Some people, like my mom, can use Retin-A Micro, Tazorac, Benzamycin, etc etc, all in the same day and have NO skin sensitivity, scarring, thinning, dryness, or anything. But please, don't deny the fact that there are stories of people who have used retinoids and damaged their skin. Over exfoliation, thinning/weakening of the epidermis, irritation, dryness, dehydration, flaking, improper use (using too frequently), not wearing proper SPF, inadequate moisturizing, etc etc...Those factors can result in damage to your skin. I definitely think that it was a combination of these things that led to tretinoin screwing up my face.

If I had the knowledge that I do doubt things would be different. Thank goodness for the internet. I spend SO much time researching different products and ingredients, it's ridiculous.

Anyway, back to GoW. I ended up ordering the Myrrh hydrosol gel, the Go Away Scar Gel, the Immortelle/Helichysum hydrosol and the Cherry Healing Serum.

A hard to find ingredient, Myrrh heals and boosts the reparative process of damaged or sensitive skin. Myrrh is exceptionally soothing for irritated skin. Calming and hydrating, our Natural Majik Myrrh Hydrosol Gel refines the complexion, while also smoothing out fine lines on the face. Great for any skin type, especially sensitive.

The Go Away Scar Gel is pretty self-explanatory. tongue.png

An excellent alternative to our Go-Away Scar Cream, our Go-Away Scar gel utilizes Quercetin to diminish scars and restore skin to a beautiful, smooth state. We also added Seabuckthorn Oil, a highly praised and valuble active, for its healing properties.

Immortelle/Helichysum hydrolsol

Immortelle is extremely healing for sensitive and irritated skin, and may also help to heal minor cuts and bruises. Can be used to help reduce the appearance of scars and to heal ingrown hairs on the face or body. Immortelle has great anti-inflammatory properties and will reduce swelling in the skin. An all around great healing product, our Immortelle hydrosol will help repair skin and bring it back to its former glory. Has an aroma that some may find unpleasant, but the scent dissipates quickly. Great for any skin type.

And lastly, the Cherry Healing Serum.

Originally developed to help soothe eczema, this serum has also been wonderfully restorative to those with rosacea and sensitive, irritated skin. This serum hydrates, heals inflamed, itchy skin and encourages healthy cell development. It’s safe to use on children, too.

biggrin.png I can't wait till these all come in the mail! I've been experimenting with a lot of new products lately, and my regimen is undergoing some major tweaking right now. Apparently the mandelic acid serum I have is very useful for evening out the skin tone, getting rid of pitted scars, refining pores, blackheads, etc. I just want my skin to feel better so i can start using it. D:

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I also bought another mask from Pure + Simple, it's a one time use cloth mask that was used during my facial, and it's advertised on the website as an "instant facial". It's called the Skin Restoration Mask and you can use one per week. I know that my skin looked and felt friggin' amazing after my facial, so I just knew that I had to purchase this mask. I will probably use it within the next week... I wish she told me exactly all the products and steps she did. Anyway I'm going to keep this mask on for about another 30 mins or so and then continue with my morning routine. I'll be back in a couple of days!

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August 12

Sitting here with the Skin Restoration Mask on my face, looking straight up crazy. Apparently you aren't supposed to wash it off (after you peel off the cloth, I guess there'll be product left), so ima just spritz on my hydrosol, apply my serums and then top it off with some rosehip oil. Or maybe I should just skip the serums. Interested in seeing how my skin looks/feels afterward. amused.gif

I'm thinking about adding some more supplements to my reggie. I already take Estrosmart Plus, Vitamin C, ALA, and Zinc. But, I want to add Neem, Grapeseed Extract, and maybe MSM? Hmm...going to do more research. I don't mind taking a lot of pills every day LOL I really don't.

I just want to have beautiful, clear skin.

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August 13

So last night after taking off my mask and putting on 2 tiny drops of rosehip oil, my skin really didn't feel as moisturized as the first time I used it. >< My left cheek (the side with the scarring) felt PARCHED, like a desert. I think I'm going to use my cucumber mask today and apply a tiny bit more oil. And I ran out of my tiny sample of collagen serum. >_>

My acne looks a hundred thousand million billion times better than it did last August.

I feel like I should say that because for the most part, all I do is bitch and complain about my skin, but I never mention the fact that my actual acne has improved so much. tongue.png I admit that I am a pretty pessimistic person.

My skin used to be soooo bumpy and rough. I have pictures and.... it's not cute. Whiteheads and flesh coloured pimples everywhere...dead skin, and lots of hyperpigmentation. No, my skin isn't perfect. Far from it. I have a bit of scarring (which other people claim not to even notice) and some very deep blackheads. I have oily skin and weird looking pores. Thankfully at 18 years old, I'm still young. I think that time is on my side. I'm hoping that as the years go by, my skin will only improve... I am so thankful for all the information that I've learned over the past year about skin care. For the most part, I now know what my skin likes, and what it doesn't like. I've learned that while my acne responds very well to regular exfoliation, over exfoliation is a definite no-no because FOR ME, that leads to scarring and dehydration. I know that moisturizer and sunscreen is extremely important and necessary, regardless of how dark or oily my skin is. I finally have accepted the fact that my skin hates benzoyl peroxide. I have learned not to squeeze, pick, or pop anything on my face (I totally quit that cold turkey). I know that my skin is very sensitive and that I have to be careful about the products I use.

And lastly, I am still learning how to be patient and take everything one day at a time...having acne a bit of a journey. I can't believe it's been almost a year since I starting taking my acne seriously. There's been ups and downs but I try to have faith that everything will work out in the end. I guess you can say that about life in general.

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