74 posts in this topic

Day 7: finished with week 1!
A closed comedones on my chin erupted today and I popped it gently. I'm having weird dryness issues - my skin where I'm apply the topicals is not super dry, but the skin around my eyes has been red and flaking! As well as my lips. I'm not sure why. I guess the topicals are dying my whole face out, and everything suffers, even if the topicals aren't been applied directly on. I've been using Nivea creme to combat the dry patches around my eyes and a lot of burts bees lip balm.
ALSO I've realized that I never really brought up my diet. I've been a vegetarian for 6 years and recently went vegan a couple of months ago - for ethical reasons, not for my acne. But I was hoping my acne would get better as a result. I do not think going vegan has made it improve any, maybe it takes more time than a couple of months to see results. Also, I've been really bad at staying completely vegan over the past month with Christmas and eating nonvegan desserts and stuff, so maybe it's not a fair indication of how my skin will actually change. Of course, now that I've changed my topical regimen, I won't really be able to tell if my vegan diet is working or if it's the topicals.

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Week 2 Day 1:
Another 2 comedones on my chin inflamed today. I really think the topicals are bringing everything up to the surface. I've began gently exfoliating with a washcloth to get rid of some dry flakes. 

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Week 3 Day 2:
A couple more closed comedones on my chin have inflamed and I pushed them out. Right now, I have a lot of hyper pigmentation on my chin as well as many more comedones that need to surface. I have one more around my nose and one between my eyes. So that's good. I feel like my initial breakout has hit a lull, but maybe more is to come. My skin is still really dry.

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Week 3 Day 5:
A comedone in between my eyes inflamed as well as another 2 on my chin. Still so many more to go! Everywhere else is pretty clear except for my chin.

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Week 5, Day 1:
Another 3 or so comedones/blackheads on my chin have pushed themselves out, so that's good, as well as a couple clogged pores between my eyes. The Tazorac/Finacea routine is bringing up new clogs then inflaming them so they can be extracted. I think the bad initial breakout is over, and now everything is just more slowly coming out.

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Week 8, Day 4.

It's been a while. I broke out super badly a couple of weeks ago - 3 comedones that turned into cystic pimples on my chin. I rarely get cystic acne, and think it happened because I ate cheese the day before. The cysts have healed and right now, comedones are just popping up and purging as inflamed pimples every so often. I extract something almost every day. Everywhere is pretty clear except for my chin, that's always the problem area. However, I definitely see an improvement. The problem I have is hyperpigmentation from all the breakouts, but that usually fades pretty quickly for me, especially if I use AHA gel. Slowly but surely getting clear!

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Almost done with Week 9.
But I still see a bunch of closed comedones on my chin - no clogged pores anywhere else, really. Between my eyes is clear, as in the creases of my nose and on my upper lip. My forehead has a few tiny blackheads, as does my nose, but those are always there. 3 more weeks until I begin to see actual results, but I still feel like my chin is so clogged. I guess from before it's definitely improved, but still, I'm impatient.

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End of Week 10!

I'm almost to the 12 week mark. My skin continues to improve! My chin is clearing up nicely, I only have about 10 comedones left. In the past couple of days, 4 surfaced and I extracted them. I'm looking forward to my chin getting even more clear! I think it may take more than 12 weeks - last time I went on 0.05% Taz, it took about 6 months for everything to clear instead of 3. I think 3 months is when stuff starts looking pretty good, but then it takes more time to totally clear. So I'm hoping by June my face will look good.
I went to my derm today - she said that my skin looks good and that it should continue to improve! She says the hyperpigmentation left behind by my clogged pores breaking out should fade with time, and that she can always do glycolic peels to speed things up. Hyperpigmentation fades pretty quickly for me, so I'm not too worried. I didn't have extractions done - I find that my skin heals better if I just let the clogs surface on their own, rather than trying to force them out.

Also, I bought my derm's line of sunscreen - I'm hoping this is good for the sunny spring and summer days. I'm always concerned that something is going to break me out from the drugstore.

Edited by katie789

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End of Week 13:
Wow, I'm past the 12 week mark. My skin is doing great. I have about 5 comedones left on my chin - which is crazy - because I started with so many. It's nice to be able to count the ones that are left. I'm really hoping new ones don't pop up. So far, it looks pretty good.
I've been super lazy about using Fiancee and my AHA and BHA gels. I use each of them maybe twice a week. I mostly just use moisturizer in the morning and that's it. I'm using Tazorac every night, though.
However, I'm looking to change my routine. I was sick with the flu the other week, and was just washing my face once a day, and I noticed that my skin looked so much better - glowing and even - instead of red, irritated and flaky. I think I may be over washing. So, my plan is to use one of those AHA/BHA pads in the morning to wipe off my face but not actually wash it with water. I've been using the Stridex Maximum Strength 2% BHA pads, which I like and are alcohol free, but I'd also like to use on with an AHA as well. I thought about getting the Peter Thomas Roth ones, but they're so expensive, so I'm not sure. Also, they have alcohol in them. This way I can use the Fiancee over the AHA and BHA and not have to alternate days.

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Hi, it's been a while. 

Stridex pads did not end up working for me - I felt like they made my face get greasy very quickly and didn't do much for my skin. I went back to my PC AHA and BHA gels, which are my favorites. I've also given up on Finacea because it was just too much to add it into my routine as well.

Currently, my skin is doing pretty well. I have a few clogged pores on my chin and between my eyes, but it's pretty solid. However, my skin is pretty dry from the sun and being at the beach. Also, the skin around my eyes is super super dry, and has been ever since I stopped using Cera Ve lotion in January. So, I've decided to make my own moisturizer/serum with glycerin and hyaluronic acid, both which are very hydrating. If you want the recipe please let me know :) I'm trying to start using more natural products with fewer ingredients and chemicals.

My current routine:

AM - Cera Ve foaming wash, AHA+BHA gels, moisturizer from my derm (tomorrow will be subbed with the serum!)
PM - Cera Ve wash, moisturizer, Tazorac

I'm trying to get rid of my last few clogged pores. My skin is pretty stable right now, but not perfect. Part of it may be due to me using a sunscreen for the first half of the summer that I'm pretty sure clogged me. But who knows. A couple of ideas I have going forward about my skincare:

1. Start using a high linoleic acid content oil as the last part of my night routine. Skin that clogs and has acne is often deficient in this acid, and applying it topically can help.

2. Use African black soap again as a wash. I liked using it a year ago, and although I'm not sure how much it will really do for my clogs, it's a nice natural alternative to the Cera Ve.

3. Start using Fiancea again, it's supposed to be good for clogs.

4. Go back to my derm for her advice!

I'm trying to change one thing at a time (first the moisturizer switch) so I can really monitor what is happening and know what's working.

Edited by katie789

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Currently, my skin is not doing great. It's the worst it's been in a couple of years. I went off my birth control (Loestrin) in early June, and by the end of September, my skin was a mess. I have clogged pores (mostly around my chin and mouth) as well as some cystic pimples on my chin and between my eyes. I know it's hormonal because it's cystic and mostly on the lower part of my face.

I'm so frustrated. I'm still using Taz at night and have started using Fiancea during the day. I'm really hoping that Fiancee helps to clear it up, so I'll see. However, I'm worried that I'll have to go back on birth control again.

I saw my derm yesterday. She said that I could either do a series of expensive peels, go back on BC, or take Spironolactone. I don't want to spend a ton of money on peels (and if it's hormonal I'm not even getting to the root of the issue) and the side effects of Spiro scare me. Because I didn't have bad side effects on BC (I just hated taking a pill every day) I might go back on that. Ugh. For now, I'm seeing if Fiancee helps (my skin seems to be purging, which is a good sign) and thinking about going back on BC.

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So Finacea has helped somewhat, it seems to have eradicated some clogged pores. However, there are still so many clogs, and I keep getting cystic pimples, especially on my chin. I currently have 6 cysts on my face. I'm definitely at my wit's end - I've given my body 8 months to adjust and it has not. I'm also concerned about scarring from the cysts - I don't have any aside fro hyperpigmentation, but if it continues to get worse, it could be a concern. My skin was not great before BC, so I'm thinking I just have hormonal acne, and the only way to treat it is through BC. I have a doctor's appt tomorrow, and I'm going to get a new prescription. Hopefully it clears my skin up in a few months.

I'm wondering how effective Tazorac actually is, if my acne seems to be hormonal. Is Taz really doing anything for me or would BC be sufficient? I'm a little scared to go off of it, though.

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My doctor gave me a prescription for Loryna, the generic of Yaz. I'm a little worried because I've read bad reviews of Yaz and health warnings, but if it regulates my mood swings and acne, it might be worth the risk. Also, there's a risk with any birth control. And I wasn't perfectly happy with Loestrin - I got really bad cramps with it, and would bleed if I took my pill even 3 hours late. My skin was also never super clear - definitely improved, but I would still get bad breakouts at times. So maybe something else would be nice to try.

I took my first pill this evening. I will keep everyone updated on how my skin reacts as well as how this pill affects me otherwise :)

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I was on Loryna (Yaz generic) for a week and I hated it. I had to pee all of the time (it's a diuretic) and I would wake up multiple times at night to use the bathroom. I also starting getting pain in my leg, shoulders, and arm. My doctor said the pain might be due to dehydration. I was drinking many, many glasses of water a day and always felt thirsty . So yeah, this pill is not for me.
Instead, I got prescribed Ortho Cyclen. I'm really hoping this works - the progestin in it is low androgenic (as opposed to Loestrin, which is higher androgenic) so it should be good for acne. Loestrin already helped my skin be fairly clear (just because it stabilizes your hormones), but I did have bad periods of breakouts and my skin was never perfect. I'm hoping Ortho Cyclen is better. It also has a higher dose of estrogen (35 mcg vs. 20 in Loestrin and Yaz), so I'm wondering how this will affect me. I was looking for a higher dose, anyways, because I don't know if the 20 mcg was enough for me. I will let everyone know how this goes!

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I've been on Ortho Cyclen for 2 weeks now. So far, I haven't had any negative side effects. I feel the same as I did prior to starting it.

The rest of my routine is:

AM: Cera Ve Foaming Cleanser
Nip and Fab Glycolic Night Pads
Derma E Purifying Oil-Free Charcoal Moisturizer

PM: Same cleanser
Same moisturizer
Tazorac 0.1%

I stopped using Finacea because so many topical were drying out my skin, and I'm too lazy to put on 3 different things in the mornings haha. I stopped using the Paula's Choice gels because it was annoying to always mix them and wait for the gel to dry - swiping a pad is much easier. I love te Nip and Fab ones! They have mandelic, salicylic, and glycolic acid, as well as hyaluronic acid, so they are great for my pores and hydrating too. They are also alcohol free. I really love the Derma E moisturizer as well - it is hydrating but does not make my face shiny.
My skin has been so dry for the past few days. I'm not sure whether it's due to the birth control decreasing the sebum production in my skin, the cold weather, or the fact that I just switched from Taz cream to gel (pharmacy just gave me a different one, the switch was not intentional). Around my eyes, where I do not put the Taz is dry too though, so maybe it's the weather or my hormones.

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Finished my first pack of Ortho Cyclen. So far, so good - no negative side effects to note. My skin went through a pretty bad breakout during week 2 of this pack. It has cleared up (probably just my body adjusting to the hormones), but I'm still somewhat breaking out. Since week 2, I haven't had any more cysts, which is good - just clogged pores becoming inflamed (that were already there). I'm hoping everything is just slowly clearing up! I think it takes at least 3 months to tell if something works, so we will see. I remember the last time I went on Loestrin it took about 3-4 months for me to be clear. So I'm hoping by end of April/May my skin looks good!
I'm currently doing an Aztec mud face mask - I'm hoping this helps everything clear by pulling some stuff out of my pores. I'm planning to start doing this once a week. My skins always seems healthier when I do it.
I'm also looking for a good oil cleanser - I find that oil cleaners help to scrub off all of the dead skin flakes without being harsh - sometimes physically exfoliating scrubs can be too abrasive for me, while oil just kind of gently wipes them away. I tried my friend's Origins oil cleanser, and it was really nice, but its $30 so something cheaper would be ideal.

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I'm halfway through my second pack of Ortho Cyclen. My skin is slowly improving I think! I haven't had any cysts that randomly pop up, just comedones already in my skin purging. So I'm still getting plenty of breakouts, but they're not massive cysts and I feel better because stuff is being pushed out. I hate feeling like my skin is out of control and breaking out for no reason, like it was before. My back is also still breaking out, but I feel like it's slowly getting better too. I think I'll be able to tell better when I'm done with the 3rd pack - gah I'm so impatient.

Hyperpigmentation is a bit of a problem for me. I have pale skin so it doesn't pigment too bad, but there were a few bad breakouts over the last half year that left red marks. I'm hoping it fades with time and the Nip and Fab pads, but my acne def looks worse than it is because of this.

I've started oil cleansing with evening primrose oil in the mornings because it has a high percentage of lineolic acid, which is good for clogged skin. I then wash it off with the Cera Ve foaming cleanser. I like using oil because it removes all the dry skin flakes, and with the winter and my skincare regimen, my skin can be pretty dry. A scrub can be too harsh and irritating, so gently massaging oil into my skin is the best way to get rid of flakes. I do it in the morning b/c I like my skin to look smooth and flake free during the day :)

Also random things - the Origins cleanser actually irritates my skin because it has lemon oil in it and other essential oils.
I've also started using the Nip and Fab pads every other day - my skin starts to peel if I use them every day.

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My skin very much went downhill since my last post in March. I think a couple of things happened:
1. I stopped using Tazorac every night because I was using the gel, which was horribly drying for me. I was only using it every third night or so.
2. Extreme stress - my thesis was due in April, and I was incredibly stressed out from February through April. I think so much stress (and eating badly because of it) screwed up my hormones and caused my skin to clog.
So, I ended up with a ton of clogged pores in late April/May. I got the (correct) Tazorac prescription (0.1% cream) in May-ish and began using it again about 5 or 6 nights per week. This led to an initial breakout in May/June/July, but also allowed my comedones to clear up. I think stressed caused my skin to clog up, but the combination of Ortho Cyclen regulating my hormones and Tazorac purging my clogs caused my skin to become much better.
My current routine:

AM
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser - this one is more gentle than Cera Ve Foaming (which is already very gentle), so I like it
Nip and Fab Extreme Pads (every other day, or my skin will peel)
Derma E Purifying Moisturizer

PM
Cetaphil
Derma E Purifying Moisturizer
Tazorac 0.1% cream

I am considering changing from the Nip and Fab pads to some other BHA/AHA exfoliator. Maybe the Silk Naturals AHA toner? The Nip and Fab are just too harsh for everyday use, and I like to use something consistently every day. I may try to go back to the Paula's Choice gels which I used for years. I've also realized that BHA/AHA does not do much for my closed comedones - they are pretty much hormonally controlled. AHA/BHA makes my skin appear better overall. And I think they help with blackheads for me. I will continue to use one for these reasons, but they are certainly no miracle cure in terms of closed comedones - at my most clogged times, I was using them consistently.
I may also use Finacea if my skin does not clear up completely. I'm so curious to see how my skin continues to improve (fingers crossed) - I'm interested to see the impact Ortho Cyclen has on my skin. I feel like the stress in the spring screwed everything up in terms of my hormones and skin, but now I guess I'll see what the birth control really does for my skin now that it's over.

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My skin is very irritated right now. I began using La Roche Posay products this summer (their Double Repair Moisturizer UV as a light, everyday sunscreen and their Purifying Foaming Cleanser) and my skin slowly began to get a rash. I stopped using the products for a few days and the rash seemed to get better. To see what would happen, I began using them and again and my skin got very inflamed and itchy. So, I stopped using both about 2 weeks ago and my rash is much better. However, my face is still pretty sensitive and angry. I think the La Roche Posay issue/swimming in the ocean with very drying salt water/being in the sun this summer has led to more irritation than usual. So right now I'm simply trying to heal and soothe my skin. I'm just using the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser morning and night, the Derma E moisturizer morning and night, and Taz 0.1% cream most nights. Once my skin settles, I want to add an AHA/BHA exfoliant into my routine.

I'm on the hunt for a new, everyday sunscreen.

Edited by katie789

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Okay, so, even though my skin was irritated, I took a risk and put the Paula's Choice AHA/BHA (8% and 2%, respectively) gels on this week to see how I would react. (I mix them together and apply.) Wow. My skin looks so much better, and I've only been using them for 4 days. I don't know why I ever stopped using them - I think I just got sick of mixing them together and wanted a pad (Nip and Fab) that I could swipe on. Well, I forgot how well the PC gels worked - they are super hydrating along with being exfoliating. (The Nip and Fab pads were too harsh and drying for me.) My skin tone is becoming more even and some blackheads and breakouts are diminishing.
However - I don't notice a huge difference in closed comedones when I use them. I think they are better for smoothing and brightening my skin and making it "glow," reducing PIH, helping with blackheads and small breakouts, but my CC's are more hormonally controlled.
I'm so happy I went back to using these. And, because the gels I own are from 3 years ago (oops) I ordered replacements online (paulaschoice.com). I think the gels are still somewhat effective because I do notice a difference in my skin, but PC products are supposed to have a shelf life of 1 yr after opening (probably not true, but 3 years is a long time). Also, the gels have changed texture, which leads me to believe that they are expiring slowly.

I also ordered the PC Earth toner to have something between the AHA/BHA gels and my skin. In general you're not supposed to put a moisturizer under the gels because it makes them less effective (it is harder for them to reach your skin) so I figured a hydrating toner would decrease possible irritation without blocking the acids. Previously, I put the gels directly on my skin after cleansing, and never had issues, but I'm trying to be more gentle to my skin now (especially after the La Roche Posay incident, plus I'm using a high dose of Tazorac).

I picked up the Vanicream Gentle Cleanser from Walgreens because I've heard good things about it, and turns out the Cetaphil has SLS in it, which makes me nervous. I also got the Neutrogena Brightening Moisturizer (SPF 25) to replace the La Roche Posay one. Oh, and I've been using Derma E Rose Cleansing Oil before the Vanicream. It gets off makeup, sunscreen, and dry skin flakes very nicely. Previously, I was using pure grape seed oil for oil cleansing if needed. The Derma E one isn't significantly better than plain grape seed oil IMO, but I'm glad I'm trying it for something different.

I won't begin the PC toner for a while, b/c I want my skin to adjust to the new cleanser and SPF. I don't want to break out and not know what is causing the breakouts. I usually start one new product at a time, but I'm really not concerned with the cleanser breaking me out.

So, my routine is:
 

AM

Derma E Rose Cleansing Oil (if flakey)

Vanicream cleanser
**will add toner soon**

PC BHA/AHA gels

Derma E moisturizer

Neutrogena Naturals Brightening Moisturizer with SPF

 

PM

Derma E cleansing oil (if flakey)

Vanicream cleaner

Derma E moisturizer

Tazorac 0.1% cream

Aczone spot treat

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I used the PC gels too many days in a row and my skin got super red, irritated, and bumpy, like with an allergic reaction. I think I started using the gels almost every day without giving my skin a break, which was not the smartest. Right now I'm letting my skin heal, just putting moisturizer on after cleansing. I will try to use the gels every third day or so and slowly build up a tolerance once my skin heals.

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So, I think I have mild perioral dermatitis - a rash around my nose and mouth. I think it was caused by using a La Roche Posay sunscreen/moisturizer. But even though I stopped using it a few weeks ago, I still have the rash. I think I also made it worse by using the AHA/BHA gels instead of letting it heal. I stopped using all products except my Vanicream cleanser and Derma E moisturizer. I'm also beginning to use Fiancea and clindamycin phosphate lotion on the rash - hopefully this clears it up. I'm feeling so frustrated - I tried to take care of my skin by wearing sunscreen every day and instead it made things worse. :/

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