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Blog Entries posted by grumpybunny

  1. grumpybunny
    I've been hearing a lot about this microneedling over the last year and had considered giving it a try. But it wasn't until I heard a coworker raving about it that I thought I should actually go for it. 

    Basically, you're rolling dozens of tiny needles all over your face, causing controlled injury to the layers of skin and forcing the body to increase collagen production. This improves, apparently, fine lines, scarring, hyperpigmentation, and skin firmness. 

    There are different needle lengths and the longer they are, the longer it takes to recover and the better off you are going to a specialist. And the longer they are, the more work they do to improve your skin's appearance. 

    I wanted to start out with the smallest just to be sure I wasn't going to accidentally hurt myself or mess up my sensitive skin. So, I went with the 0.25 mm dermaroller. I got titanium because it doesn't rust and it stays sharp. This length isn't really for pitted scarring, but it's supposed to coax your skin into soaking up the products you use more effectively. Which could help in a roundabout way by kick-starting my other routines again.

    I eventually want to try the 0.5 mm at home as this is supposed to work for finer lines and shallower scarring. I do think that anything above that I would seek out the help of a professional esthetician. 

    What I'm doing:
    I've been rolling twice a week, Sundays and Wednesdays for about a month. Moderate pressure in an up and down motion across each part of my face. Followed by a side to side montion.  Once I've covered my whole face, I immediately stick the roller in alcohol to sanitize it. Then I apply a high quality vitamin c serum over the areas. Once that has soaked in I follow with a rose petal/witch hazel toner, and then a green tea/Jasmine moisturizer. You HAVE to use a vitamin c serum after rolling. And make sure you get a good serum with actual vitamin c in it. Not just a cheap one that lies to you. All of this aids in helping your skin heal more effectively and helps prevent infection.

    Do not roll over active pimples. This will just spread the bacteria all over the rest of your face. 

    With the longer needles that get down further into your skin layers you'll have some bleeding, but I haven't had any with this. 

    • my skin feels so soft afterwards and by the time I apply the moisturizer it's like my face is made of whipped butter
    • I feel like there has been an overall improvement in the tone of my skin
    • I had a brand new hyperpigmentation scar on one cheek that seems to be fading and shrinking more rapidly than it I had not been doing this. 
    • the small needles don't hurt so badly after awhile, but it's definitely a weird sensation. 
    • I really think my products are able to work better and that there have been some small, but noticeable-to-me changes. 

    • I have really sensitive skin thanks to a way too active immune system. I find it I don't take an antihistamine at least an hour before rolling my skin is hot, itchy, and agitated with hives after I roll. If I do take the antihistamine, no problem. If you have a normal immune system that doesn't panic over every little thing, you should be fine. 
    • I have noticed some peeling on my chin and my nose. This is mentioned as a possible reaction, although I had not thought it would happen with such short needles. I just upped my exfoliation game on non-rolling days and moisturized. 
    • I'm probably not going to see any real results with this size roller, but I think it's best to ease myself into this to avoid any bad reactions and possibly really setting myself back. 

    So, yeah, so far so good. Nothing major, but it's only been a few weeks and it's hardly enough time for anything to work. Looking forward to keeping at it!

    Keep an eye on the corresponding picture album for photo updates!

    After a month:

  2. grumpybunny
    So many changes since my last post, and only a few of them related to my skin. 

    About a month ago I moved from Asheville to Greensboro for a job promotion. And while it has been an amazing opportunity, it's also been hectic. I've been sick twice during that time, including during the actual move itself. I have had to make a lot of adjustments. Although I have been good about keeping up with my skincare during that time. 

    One of the set backs has been that anytime I am presented with a different water quality, my skin freaks out. This led to a couple of unfortunate cystic pimples cropping up. It has settled down now, and ultimately the water here is better, but it left behind two scars I'm trying to deal with. Of course. 

    My new bathroom also has much brighter LED lighting, so I think I can see my imperfections more clearly. And the lighting at my new job is florescent, which makes everything look terrible. But I try not to focus on that. 

    It's difficult knowing that I'm using the right products and having the progress go so slowly. I am aware that it takes time and none of this is a Mr. Clean magic eraser for my skin. But I sure wish it were. 

    I feel like there's been a lot of stagnation in my skin. It may just be time to bump up to a higher concentration of AHA and less frequent application so I can work my way back up. I'm not sure. Overall, I believe it has helped. But I still wish I could have the perfect, poreless skin we all dream of. 

    But I will keep on and hope that I can continue to make progress, one way or another. 
  3. grumpybunny
    Well, I'm coming up on a year already! Slowly but surely seeing progress and making moves towards the skin I've always wanted. 

    I have been feeling disheartened as of late as I sort of felt like I had stopped seeing and progress or change. Everything seems to be pretty stagnant and I have become more focused on procuring quality makeup and learning makeup tricks to cover up the rest of what's left. I've always known that chemicals at these levels weren't going to remove physical scars (if anything even will) so I figured I've gotten to a stopping point. 

    But this morning my coworker once again mentioned how much better my skin was looking and I decided it was time to compare again. And I can't say I'm overly disappointed. The coloring is even. The pores even seem somewhat refined. And the scars seem a little more shallow than before. 

    I realize I'll always be more critical than anyone else, (although an incredibly blunt person made me realize recently that this may not actually be true when he mentioned he still thinks I'm cute even if the scarring is bad...thanks
    ...) but I'm still determined to continue on this path and hopefully get where I'm trying to go with the way I look. 

    So here's to 7 months and continued improvement!

  4. grumpybunny
    So, in the past two weeks I've and two really defining moments for my skin. 

    One happened late last week at work. A coworker came up and asked what I was doing to my skin because it looked so much better. Needless to say this meant a ton to me. Especially as I knew it wasn't empty as it was unprompted and from someone I'm not close with. I considered this a win.

    And then there was today, also at work. I went to the bathroom and as I was washing my hands I actually LOOKED in the mirror. I always, always avoid looking at my skin the mirror when I'm not at home. The harsh florescent lights never do me any good so I just don't.    But today I did. And then I looked closer. I got right up in there. And I was PLEASED with what I saw. I was happy. I wasn't disgusted or immediately forced to look away. I even took a selfie. No filter, nothing. Because if I can like how I look in horrible lighting, this is a day I need to remember. 

    I am still on a journey. I still want to have my pitted scars dealt with, at least so I can look good whenever I manage to have a wedding (ha).  But I am so glad with the progress I've made and I am so glad I've started this journey. 

    Don't let past failure with your skin get you down. Keep trying things. Learn what your skin will and will not tolerate. Don't submit yourself to just avoiding it forever. But most of all, don't let it consume you. No one sees your faults as much as you do. Take care of yourself and love yourself and the rest will follow. 
  5. grumpybunny
    So I'm into my 4th month of using my regimen and I'll be 30 in a week. It's almost here! This is the last week of my 20's. And while I have a lot of feelings about it, at least one of them is an okay feeling. And that's about my skin. 

    By no means do I have the poreless, scarless, even-toned skin of my dreams. But I think I've come a long way from my teens where I was applying every harsh painful chemical to my face my mother could find. And my 20's where I was jumping from one magic cure to the next.

    The breakouts I was having seem to have been a purge. Maybe it helps that I cut out gluten and maybe it didn't. But I do know that I believe in AHA and Retinol. Once I'm out of my current supply I'll be moving up to stronger percentages and easing into it all over again. 

    I have experimented with some new products thanks to my ipsy subscription. Pure Botanicals Resurfacing Moisture Mask and Dr. Brandt microdermabrasion exfoliator. 

    I like them both. The Pure Botanicals is something to do really quick if you're suddenly going out and realize your skin seems a little dull. Dr. Brandt is a once a week crystal formulated physical exfoliator. It can feel a little harsh, but just rub it in for a minute and rinse and it does a great job of getting gross, dry winter skin off. It's too early to tell if it works on wrinkles like it says, but I like it. 

    I'm going to keep with this and update again in a month. Here's to my 30's!
  6. grumpybunny
    I decided to wait 2 weeks to update again so I could really get a good feel for what was going on. I feel like the biggest enemy in anything like this, whether it be skin or losing wait or any other goal, is looking too closely at the results and judging them harshly. So, I thought it would be a good idea to take a step back. 

    Let me start by saying that these have not been ideal skin conditions for anyone lately. I've been endlessly stressed and exhausted. The air is so dry and the heat isn't helping with that. And I'm off my birth control to get my period. Talk about a triple threat. 

    So what have I noticed? The skin around my nose is coming off pretty dramatically and no amount of exfoliant or moisturizer seems to be helping with that. The cyst like zits that cropped around the end of week 4/beginning of week 5 on my jaw stayed for a longer time than I would have liked. They're now hanging out as raised left overs. They'll take some time to go away, but they're not true scars. 

    But, even with the stress on top of stress mixed with terrible sleeping patterns and a couple nights of drinking alcohol (I've severely reduced this activity as well), I haven't had all hell break loose on my face. And usually is absolutely would.  By now I'd look like a new mountain range was staking claim to my face. Which is amazing! I also feel like my skin tone has really improved lately and there's been some minor change in the depth of my pitted and rolling scars. 

    I think the increased AHA was definitely a good call. After 2 more weeks I'm going to add in another day or so of the Retinol as well and see how that treats me!

    I can't quite say I'm thrilled with what I see when I look in the mirror or see pictures of myself. But I'm certainly making progress. 

  7. grumpybunny
    So one month of the AHA and Retinol usage has come to pass. I haven't missed any applications and I'm feeling good about my decisions to do this. 

    I'm still not sure what kind of results I'm seeing, nor am I confident I will ever be rid of the pitted/rolling acne scars or the occasional break out.

    But! I will definitely take softer skin, less turn around between pimple appearances, and a somewhat more even skin tone of that happens to be what I get out of it. My mother, who anyone can tell has played a critical part in my skin issues, even said that my skin looks great. So, maybe there are noticeable differences after all. 

    Oh, and as for the surprise? I am a furrower. I'm constantly raising or knitting my eyebrows together. This has resulted in deep horizontal forehead lines, as well as two deep and visibly noticeable vertical lines between my eyebrows. I'm never going to get rid of the forehead lines, that's just life, but the lines between my eyebrows have gone away. I used to be able to feel the creases where they came together and this treatment I've begun seems to have started eradicating them! Hooray for unintended consequences!

    I still have pimples showing up around my jaw line and by my ears. They subside more quickly than they used to, although the left over pigmentation still happens. I'm not sure that will ever stop happening as much as start going away more quickly. I'm hoping that will eventually taper off, but it's hard to say. 

    I have decided to up my application of AHA at this time. I'm going with AHA, Retinol, AHA, break and etc. I think my skin should react okay to this and I should be able to avoid any nasty backlash. 

    So, here's to the continuing journey! I will continue doing updates of course and look forward to what's in store for my skin!

  8. grumpybunny
    So I'm about to finish up my second week of application tomorrow (today is a rest day) and I thought I'd make note of what I've noticed. 

    For one thing, my face constantly feels soft. I no longer get that grimey feeling of dead skin sitting on top of new skin. Even when I used the Neutrogena exfoliator I would have days between using it where I would notice a huge difference. I also feel like my skin looks less dull and tired. Makeup goes on more smoothly, but I will say that it seems to want to settle into my pitted scars a bit more (even with primer on). I feel like this is a normal transition to go through as the skin thins. 

    And speaking of transitions, I'm glad I'm only using a 1% Retinol to start with. Back in the day I had a dermatologist put me on Differin without giving good advice for how to use it. Which of course resulted in angry peeling skin, sore spots, and icky breakouts. Obviously I stopped using it and never went back. Had I started out more slowly, I feel like this could have been combated. (And had I not had my mother shoving Noxema pads, harsh cleansers, and antibiotics at me as well...)

    Even with my slow approach, and a lower dose of Retinol, I have noticed some residual dry skin around my nose and mouth, but it's easily combated with moisturizer. I've also had a few very small pimples crop up around my jaw line, sides of my nose, and areas I know are damaged from repeated cysts in the same pore. They aren't turning into anything crazy so I'm not too worried and Benzoyl Peroxide seems to be sending them on their way quickly. 

    I may have to rethink my approach if it gets too out of hand, of course, but for the moment I'm letting it ride. 

    I also feel like there's a small improvement in skin tone and newer hyperpigmentation is quickly fading!

    I would love to see a noticeable change by my 30th in three months, but I realize this is a slow process prone to a lot of adjustment. In any case, I'm just happy to have finally taken the situation under my own control. 

  9. grumpybunny
    I turn 30 in a little over 3 months. 

    Thirty years old. 

    I realize in the grand scheme of things that this isn't actually old, but I do feel a sense of loss at this milestone. Growing up in my generation (the tail end of the millennials) we were all told that by thirty you pretty much have it figured out. You're married and have a house and a career. You're adulting the best you can adult.

    And you have great skin. 

    I have none of that. None! A bad job, a useless degree, I rent a tiny apartment that costs too much, and my boyfriend just got out the Air Force and is starting school 3 hours away. Plus, you know, the skin thing. 

    I might be able to deal with the rest, if it weren't for the skin.

    Growing up I heard that pimples were a thing of teenage years. And even if you had pimples into your 20's, they're gone by 30. Plus, if you cleaned your face religiously and spackled on this or that burning cream and didn't pick, you wouldn't get scars. 

    I wish I knew then what I knew now. 

    Back when this all started, 15+ years ago, acne regimens were basic. Creams and gels and cleansers and pads that burned and made your skin peel off were thought to be working harder and better. Hell, my mother tried to make me scrub my face with a vegetable scrubber. You know, the plastic bristle covered things meant to remove wax and dirt. Because pimples meant you were dirty. She made me drink huge glasses of orange flavored fiber powder everyday to the point that I had some intense physical distress. Because pimples were from carbs and chocolate. But other than my mother's crazy antics, pimples had a pretty standard set of "cures".  Pimples were pimples and skin care was pretty much the same for everyone across the board. 

    Now we know there are different kinds of acne caused by different kinds of things. We know that no one thing is the culprit for everyone and tons of people are suffering from acne well into adulthood. And we know that treatment is not handled the same in each case. 

    These days my breakouts are infrequent, although they still happen. I take a combination birth control that has helped a lot and have settled into an acne prevention regimen and attack plan that work well for me. Now is the time for me to work on these scars, even as hopeless as it seems to try. I worry about my possible future wedding day and looking at my lumpy face in pictures. I worry about aging and feeling less and less comfortable with my face because of lasting pits and marks. Call it shallow, but no one wants to focus on their flaws, it's just that my flaws are out in the open. So, it's time to really buckle down. 

    Over the years I've tried so, so many things for scars. Unfortunately I have cystic acne, large pores, and a very oily face. The cysts damaged the pores, the pores became more susceptible to getting cysts, I got more cysts to cause more damage, and here we are. 

    I started out using a physical exfoliator from Neutrogena years ago. I loved how soft it made my skin and I swear by exfoliators for acne, I just think a chemical approach make be more successful. So here's what I have going on. 

    -Wash with Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser
    -My own homemade toner
    -Garnier Vitamin C Dark Spot Remover
    -Moisturizer, right now it's Symphony Beauty Snow Cream
    -Neutrogena 30 SPF sunscreen

    -Remove makeup immediately after work 

    -Wash face with MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) cleanser
    -Homemade toner
    -Paula's Choice 8% AHA gel, 3x a week
    -Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Cream, 2x a week on AHA off nights (leaving 2 nights completely off of any extra product)
    -Nuxe Nuxellence Detox
    -Tarte Maracuja Oil

    I also take:
    -Reuteri (probiotic)
    -Garlic oil

    And I drink 50 FL oz of water a day (as a 96 lb, 4'10" woman). 

    So, there you have it. I'm posting my journey in an album as well to show any progress or failures. Eventually I would love to have more drastic work done to my scarring, but I work retail and live alone and just can't fork out the cash for repeat procedures. Wish me luck!
  10. grumpybunny
    I've just applied my last AHA treatment for this week. Just one more Retinol application tomorrow and I'm into the next week. 

    So here's the thing. Pimples. I have three active ones around my jawline and neck and two recovering on their way out. One is right by my nostril and one was right between my nose and lips. All normal places for me to breakout. 

    The two on their way out of town blossomed in my sleep after a Retinol application. They started as little things and suddenly become very painful and noticeable cyst-like things under the skin. While they started to disappear that very day after using tea tree oil, I can't help but wonder if this is a purge, a scourge, or an unrelated crop up thanks to something else. 

    I'm feeling a little discouraged, to be honest, and worry that my skin is actually looking worse. Not just because of the few pimples. But just in general. Tone and such. I'm trying to remember that AHA and Retinol are not, in fact, real-life Photoshop and it will take time to progress. And that no one critiques my skin as much or as closely as I do. 

    It's sort of like growing your hair out from a pixie cut, I think. You know the end result will be good, but the weird in between thing you have going on with the awkwardly growing hair is almost enough to make you chop it all off again and call it quits. I just have to stay strong and keep watching multiple skin for any truly bad developments. 

    I am thinking that it's time to increase my AHA applications, though. I think my skin is definitely used to it enough to move forward a bit. 

    Right now it's:
    AHA, Retinol, Rest, AHA, Retinol, Rest, AHA and so on. 

    Of course I don't want to agitate my skin too much still. Maybe AHA, Retinol, AHA, Rest, AHA, Retinol, AHA and so on. I'm not sure. I've actually been using the AHA longer than the Retinol, so I want to wait a bit longer before increasing both. I also don't want my skin to freak the heck out. Eventually, though, I would either use both everyday or up the potency. Something I definitely need to look into. 

    Anyway, my skin is still very soft and I am at least happy with that aspect. No grimey, cakey moments and my face, at least, has been immune to the horrible dry air here in the mountains. 

    Onwards and upwards!