Saturday, August 23, 2008

Skincare History and Daily Regimen

Your skin is one of the most important organs that your body has. Not only is it the largest, but it protects what is inside and reveals the health of what is internal as well. Because of this, it is very important to take care of our skin because that is what we show the world each day.

I suffered from really bad skin from age 12 to 22. I'm going to be very honest with you guys, it is an understatement to say it was a very difficult experience. To be sure, I have always been very hygienic and took good care of my skin but as genetics and horomones took over, it just wasn't enough. After having a traumatizing experience with Retin-A nearly burn my face off in Jr. High, I was quite hesitant to go back to the dermatologist. A few more years passed of trying over-the-counter medicines and failing to improve, when a friend of mine let me sample his prescription topical medicine Benzaclin. I began to see improvement and decided that one more trip to a dermatologist wouldn't hurt.

As anyone else trying for a second round might be, I was skeptical but hopeful as well. The doctor examined my skin and told me that it was only moderate acne and many of his patients are far worse. (I was thinking, are you KIDDING me?! I thought my skin was terrible!)

He prescribed this list of meds for me:
* Ovace face wash (I use the generic called Re-10)
* Duac - a topical antibiotic + benzoyl peroxide, similar to Benzaclin (morning)
* Differin cream - a retinoid, but not as harsh on me as Retin-A (night)
* Clindamycin - oral antibiotics (2x per day)
* Tri-Sprintec birth control

The first 3 months after I started my derm regimen my skin got REALLY BAD, which was expected. The medicines need to get used to your skin and things need to re-balance. My worst skin was at 2-3 months into the new meds, even worse than anytime throughout when I regularly had acne. Then, at around 4 months, my skin started to rapidly and magically start clearing up. The actual acne goes away quickly but I had acne scars that took around 3 months to fade from when I got them. With good concealer it helped a lot but I'd say my skin started to look very much more improved with no makeup at around 6 months and only improved from there.

After sticking to this regimen for about a year and a half, I reduced the amount I took of the oral antibiotics and eventually stopped altogether this past Spring, in preparation for the wedding. (Oral antibiotics can lessen birth control's effectiveness.)


This is my current regimen:


Morning
- wash with Re-10
- apply moisurizer (I like Clean & Clear Morning Burst spf 15 facial lotion)
- apply Duac

Night
- take Yaz birth control pill
- wash with Re-10
- apply moisturizer (I like Clinique Moisture Surge Extra for night because it's light)
- apply Differin

Pretty easy, right? I don't use toner because my derm said the alcohol can dry your skin and it doesn't actually clean much. The Differin is great for warding away wrinkles and aging because it helps renew cells quicker as well as helping acne, better than anything you will find over the counter. Yaz also helps fight horomonal acne too. It's all about finding the right balance to heal you acne, not to abrasively dry it out or scrub it out, which can actually make things worse. Just find a good dermatologist and a good moisturizer, which is 75% of the battle.


Here is a before and after, no photo retouched:


Soooooo sad in Dec 2006 (2 months after I first started meds.) This was WITH makeup! :(


YESSSS fist pump for clear skin now!!!


Good luck to those of you who went through or are going through difficult skin. I just want to let you know that it's okay, there is hope, and it's not your fault. Really. I know how you feel. :)



59 comments:

  1. wow im glad to hear your story!! :) it helps cause im going through the same thing as well. ive been taking yaz but nothing too special has happened yet. haha maybe i will try to see a dermatologist as well. :_

    ReplyDelete
  2. jen
    is it ok to take a retinol treatment while your're on birth control?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I never had acne problems my whole life. Now blackheads and stretchmarks are a whole 'nother story :( Any remedies or advice for the 2 above?

    ReplyDelete
  4. i was on differin for almost 2 years but it seemed to not make any difference at all! it felt like i was only putting on a light glue on my face and in the morning my face would look exactly the same! lol i needed something extra strong, haha! but looking @ your before and after pictures makes me want to get back on it, and birth control too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Woah, it looks like you never EVER had bad skin to begin with! :O

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's so great that you've totally cleared up now! I've been suffering from severe acne for the past 3 years : ( Now, I don't have so much acne but my scars are way too noticeable. What did you use to get rid of scars?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bad skin did a huuuge number on my psyche, but going to the dermatologist right before college cleared up my problems, no pun intended. With my acne scars, I applied Mederma lightly, and it worked!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow I'm stunned. Your skin is absolutely flawless now. I've been struggling with bouts of acne but it has been dying down a bit. I hope it'll keep improving. Thanks for posting :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. anonymous 1: The retinol is topical and doesn't interact at all with the birth control. It's fine. It's just oral antibiotics that may effect things.

    anonymous 2: For blackheads, I recommend Queen Helene's mint julep mask. You can buy it at walgreens. Also, exfoliate weekly to get the dirt out of your pores. As for stretch marks... do you moisturize all over after every shower? If that isn't enough, try shea butter or mederma.

    hellolola: I'd say that the Duac helped with showing results more than Differin did. Differin is something that works over time to help your skin regenerate quicker but you aren't going to see clear "results" because it doesn't "kill" anything. I still recommend it for helping your skin to look healthier and younger overall.

    jennifer: I honestly didn't have any special tricks to fade the hyperpigmentation. I use moisturizers with spf 15 everyday. I believe this is one thing that there is no easy trick for and it takes about 3 months to fade completely. My quick fix: Lancome Photogenic concealer in Camee. It does wonders! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. i've been there..i used to have nasty zits back in college, and i had to consult a dermatologist too..she also gave me differin as one of my topical meds, but soon after I think my face got immune from it..it just didn't work on me anymore. but its a mild medication on pimples, it did take a long time for my skin to clear up then..and I didn't even wear makeup then! just imagine what I used to look like..scary :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. i'm actually experiencing bad breakouts right now. it's not severe, but still, it makes me not want to look at my face. would it get worse if i cover it up with makeup/concealer? since my acne scars and blemishes are noticeable with my complexion.

    ReplyDelete
  12. anonymous 3: It really depends on the type of makeup and concealer you are using. Make sure the makeup and moisturizers you are using are oil-free and non-comedogenic. Like I keep saying, my favorite concealer is Lancome's photogenic. It is oil-free, has spf 15, and covers well. I also used this a lot to spot cover areas without using any other foundation or powder over it. When I'd wash my face at the end of the day, I would be surprised how much it still covered. I also found that Everyday Minerals didn't break me out, but it is different for everyone. Blush is also a great way to camoflage redness or discoloration. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey Jen!
    Thanks for your entry. I'm going through a really bad skin phase. I try to be really good about my skin, and I had pretty good skin up until college. All of a sudden, I just started breaking out. And it only got worse. I went to see a derm, and she gave me meds, and it mildly helped. Then a few months later, my mom convinced me to see another derm, and I got prescribed a regimen that was close to yours. That didn't seem to help either. My derm is suggesting laser. Do you know much about laser? Side effects, results?

    ReplyDelete
  14. anonymous 4: How long have you been on treatment? I know you said it didn't seem to help, but mine got much worse before it got better. If it has only been a couple months, give it more time. If it has been more than 5 months, try alternatives.

    I was under the impression that laser treatments treated what is there but it's not a permanent fix. I'm not positive though, since I haven't tried it before. In any case, good luck and if you do laser, let me know how it turned out!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great post. Amazing difference, you really look like someone who is blessed with perfect skin, I would have never thought you had that history. Do you have dry skin or oily?

    ReplyDelete
  16. anonymous 5: I have combination skin. Normal, but with an oily t-zone. I do sometimes get dry patches in the winter too, so I have to be careful about which moisturizers I use. I use the clean & clear morning burst in summer and dove deep moisture facial lotion in winter. They are both spf 15, but morning burst is oil-free and dove isn't.

    ReplyDelete
  17. thank you for sharing this story with us! now your skin is looking totally flawless :)
    as anonymous2 said, i've never had acne problems either but my biggest problem are blackheads! i've gone to get them removed to several beauticians and followed the cleaning steps they told me, but blackheads just come back!
    i wanted to ask you jen if it's ok if i squeeze them out at home and which are the best products to deeply clean the pores.

    ReplyDelete
  18. cherrygirl: One thing I heard recently was that your pores don't actually "open" and "close." It is more like they get softened and hardened. When your pores are soft from things like a warm towel or steam, it is easier to remove dirt and oil from them. Keeping this in mind, you have to realize that the pores themselves will never shrink or go away completely... which is the same with blackheads. The idea is to clean the pores regularly to keep the blackheads at bay. Sorry to say, but eventually, they will always keep coming back!

    The good news is that you CAN clean them at home. Try picking up a blackhead remover from your local drug store. It looks like a metal stick with a loop at each end. Warm your face with a hot, moist towel (or do this right after you shower) and use the loop around the pore, back and forth, to slide out blackheads. There are tutorials on youtube. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Jen,
    I've actually been on the treatment for awhile. The first time (monocyline) I was on it for about 7 months, and it improved I would say 50%, but it came back. Then the most recent one (solodyn), I was on it for about 5 months. It didn't seem to have much of an effect. I didn't get worse, nor did I get better. The most important tropical cream he gave me was Duac, but my skin was sensitive to Duac. It got irritating and red everytime I put it on. I put very very little, and I tried it for over a month and a half. The redness didn't subside. I think that's one of the reasons my derm recommended laser.

    ReplyDelete
  20. do you know a way to get rid of red marks left by the pimples? aside from going to a dermatologist/ laser treatment, is there another way? like would putting ice on the area for a few minutes work?

    ReplyDelete
  21. wow, I would have never known you used to have bad skin!

    your skin looks amazing. hopefully mine will look like that one day lol. it's not severe enough to go to a derm though.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I also use DUAC, but I use it at night. But after you apply it in the morning, do you wear make-up after you applied DUAC?

    ReplyDelete
  23. anonymous 4: I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe you are allergic to an ingredient in it? Go ahead and try the laser. It will at least kill all of the existing bacteria on your face which will probably help a LOT. Let me know how it goes, ok?

    anonymous 6: I don't think ice helps with hyperpigmentation. A few different cosmetic companies have bleaches and lightening creams, but the best advice is to stay out of the sun because that makes the pigment darker and last longer. Just be patient and wear good sunblock and hats if you are broken out.

    Caroline: Yes, I wear makeup after Duac. I wash my face, then moisturize, then put on topic meds, and then put on makeup. Just make sure everything is soaked into your skin before you put on powders or mineral makeup. I'd avoid any face makeup that would clog pores though. :P

    ReplyDelete
  24. omg i NEVER ever knew u had bad skin...i was always so jealous of ur complexion because every picture of you.. your skin looks so flawless.

    I have bad skin too and now its recovering.. i use Erno Laszlo and Clarisonic brush ><

    So hard to get rid of the scars and the clogged pores ><

    ReplyDelete
  25. AHH i'm in love with your blog! i love this post, because my skin isn't cooperating with me right now either and i feel sooo down sometimes, but this post gives me soo much hope! thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  26. kim aka anonymous 4August 28, 2008 at 10:02 PM

    I think I will give laser a try after I'm done with my summer classes. He said it's better to stay indoors for
    a few days after the laser treatment,
    so I can't do it right now. I will let you know how it turns out :]

    ReplyDelete
  27. did the antibiotics upset your stomach? have you had any experience with doxycycline?

    ReplyDelete
  28. i seriously would have never thought u had anything wrong with ur skin. just a second ago i saw ur most recent posts' pictures and immediately i got jealous of your skin! it's wonderful to know that all of us are normal and go through this same acne stuff

    i currently and suffering from acne AGAIN (one of my more recent posts) after going through Accutane 06-07 and other meds. Hopefully I'll get my skin back cuz I know its a liberating feeling to have your skin back. maybe in 2 weeks i'll be able to have happy skin again..

    thanks for posting this :) I don't feel that horrible anymore and its nice to know that beautiful people like you have gone through these stuff and understand both sides of the spectrum.

    ReplyDelete
  29. can you show the pictures of the products you use above..? if u can find any products that help erase the marks and scar and holes from pimples or acne can you post it up..? it's prety useful for everyone, especially me, i really need one...thanks !!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. after you got clear skin.. did you KEEP using the treatments such as differin? and if so, how much longer?... also can you take birth control bills JUST for clear skin?

    ReplyDelete
  31. great post! really helpful and generous. from looking at your latest posts, i would have had no idea that you had problems with your skin. i wanted to try Yaz too, but i'm scared that i'll gain weight like crazy. did u have any experiences like that?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Do the meds help clear whiteheads and blackheads too?

    ReplyDelete
  33. u r gorgeous!!! thank u for the tutorial! i thought u was a natural flawless born beauty! .. but u had acne... but it doesnt mean ur not beautiful! but u do look better without it.. i guess its true for everyone! .. clear skin always looks better!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you so much for your post about your skin! It's nice to know that even those who seem to have flawless skin have also gone through break outs and such.

    I feel so much better with my strange allergic reaction/breakout/whatever the heck it is that suddenly appeared 2 days ago.
    It's terrible, my mom thinks I'm having some kind of allergic reaction to the facial stuff I use and told me to stop. I guess it's kind of clearing up but my face looks so gross!
    It's sad to look in the mirror every morning because it just makes me depressed and miss my smooth skin that I had just 3 days ago.
    So sad D:

    but thanks for your post, again!

    ReplyDelete
  35. wow thanks for posting! gives me hope :) you're very pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  36. hi dear. till date, are u still using Duac in the morn and differin in the night? coz i always change my skincare products every now and then. just cant seem to stick to the same regimen..

    i think my blackheads are the cause for my nasty zits and acne..do u only do the traditional blackhead remover method using the metal stick?

    do u use whitening products to remove scars other than using moisturiser with spf (as stated from other posts)? i can see that ur scars are totally removed! so happy for u..

    ReplyDelete
  37. So, I came across your aspirin mask video and thought you were crazy for even posting that since your skin is like porcelain, but after reading your post about your past acne you make me so incredibly hopeful. I'm Korean as well and would like to think my acne is clearing up but I still have scars and seeing your results makes me hopeful that I might have clear skin like you some day!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi! I just found your blog and your really pretty! I am also using Differin but the difference is that i put the med right after i wash my face and then put moisturizer..makeup etc..

    I dont know if I should try it after moisturizer bc it seems like it helped your skin. I have really oily skin too so I dont know if that makes a difference. Im getting married in 3 months and I just want to look flawless on my wedding day.

    ReplyDelete
  39. glad i'm not only one that has really bad acne. at least yours has cleared, i just hope mine does.
    x

    ReplyDelete
  40. hi jen! ur story is quite inspirational :D
    one question, does birth control pills have any side effects? i've seen women who had doubled in size after consumption.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi jen !!

    I loooove the contact lenses you are wearing here !!!
    May i know what it is ?

    ReplyDelete
  42. hey! really liked ur post :):) i had really bad acne before and it's getting better but not really haha perfect i guess. seeing your post makes me happy! we dun need to be perfect, just healthy :D

    ReplyDelete
  43. I've had the same kind of acne as you have had, Jen, the cystic kind that hurts! I'm half-Asian but my skin seems full Asian in color and texture. Something to look forward to: as you get past 30, skin becomes drier and the zits lessen dramatically. I used to be on Differin, Clindamycin, etc. but now at 36 I only use Neutrogena Acne Stress Control. My skin is almost always clear. Improvements also happened when I cut out soda pop (and most corn syrup products in general) and started drinking 4+ cups of black/green/herbal tea a day.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Jen!
    I"ve been suffering from acne since 16 years old to 21.It is really frustrating when nothing seems to help (dermatologist. cosmetologist, even witch :)
    but when I got pregnant, my skin got cleared up. Now I have 1-2 zits every month & can't com
    plain. I even get compliments on my skin.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Skin is *such* an emotional issue-- my best feature is my skin and I've gotten compliments on it my entire life. Everyone comments on my skin first for the most part. I'm aging and smoking, stress and illness are starting to show their mark. Sometimes I get really sad because I feel like the only physically beautiful thing about me is disappearing before my eyes. Reading your story and seeing your scars reminds me I'm not alone with dealing with skin "issues." You always look gorgeous, and unbelievably so without makeup! Damn, I wish I looked that good without any makeup!

    ReplyDelete
  46. hey! i am also korean and i am super sensitive to conditioner and ever time i wash my hair, my ache on my back never seems to clear up. do you know anything that can clear it up? my name is Ji Eun

    ReplyDelete
  47. I'm on the same skin care regime minus the duac! But my mother is making me stop this summer. I don't want to go back to how my skin used to be.....She thinks eating bc pills are bad for you.. any advice?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Thanks for the post! I struggle with acne too :( And my brother's is very severe. He still is taking Accutane to control it. He gets significantly less cystic acne but it's still no cure.. :(

    ReplyDelete
  49. im really encouraged by your story! i'm fighting acne right now. i started on an acne regime 2 months ago and it's slowly clearing up! thanks for sharing...

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi Jen... I can't believe your skin story, but wow... your skin look so good and clear now. Quick question, for a normal skin type, no acne, but lots of sunburn brown spots. I wonder if Differin would help? Do I have to get Differin with superscription?

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hey Jen, I've actually followed your blog for a long time now and for the past 4-5 months I've been fighting my terrible breakout problems just like you recount your experience here and I've just returned to read yours posts about it again cos it's really encouraging :) Since 5 months ago, it's gotten significantly better! I still have quite a few scars and more pigmentation than I'd like to have >< But I think it's only going to get better with the stuff from my dermatologist. I'm also thinking of getting on birth control as well. Thank you for sharing your story! :)

    ReplyDelete
  52. Jen, I think this is by far the most inspirational thing I've read online about acne. I'm currently in the same situation as you were in the past. I'm hitting my 20s this year and my acne just decided to flare up. Everyone from my mom to my relatives (who are asian) just love to criticize and say hurtful things. And having acne really makes me not want to go out anywhere at all. I've tried thousands of dollars worth of over the counter medications, facials, and high end creams....and I feel like there's nothing that could help. but seeing your before and after pictures is so motivating. I just want to thank you for posting this and sharing it with us. <3 you girl!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I like how you have before-and-after pictures with your skincare regimen. I also like that you're not afraid to show your bare face. You're one of the most relatable gurus I've come across -- always keeping it real!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi Jen! ^^ it's my first time here, and i am sooooo glad to hear your story! i am suffering everyday from really bad skin since 12 y.o (i'm 19 now T_T). I already met the doctor and he said my acne scars can only disappear with laser treatment. I'm struggling in my daily life, i'm afraid to lift up my head, i'd think those people would just see my oily face that full with acne scars.
    But after read your article, i think there are still some hopes for me (although my skin is worse than your skin on this pict). thanks for share! ^^

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi jen,
    Ive tried retin A in the past, but it was so horrific i stopped within less than a month. I'm currently using clindamyacin + benzyl peroxide (cheaper way to use benzaclin), but my skin is so loose, my pores are enlarged, and my skin is still oily. I was given differin, but im too scared to try it. Do you think it would help any of the problems i'm having?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hey Jen! So I'm actually only twelve right now (thirteen in a week! You actually posted this on my birthday ) and I've had really bad breakouts in seventh grade. However, I started tying my hair out of my face since my uncle passed away, which was only a few weeks ago. Suddenly, my acne just up and went away! I have a few spots here and there, but its mostly not very noticable. I used to use a toner, and it helped a bit, but then it stopped working after a few weeks, and my acne came back. I just gave up and washed my face with a special soap my mom gave me (the only people I know who use it are Koreans xD I'm a Korean myself.) and some of it cleared up. Now I don't do anything to my skin, but it is very clear :)

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hello Jen~

    I'm so glad to read this. My acne just decided to wage war on me ever since I moved half way around the world. I had the worst breakout a few years ago after being forced to wear layers of makeup for a formal occasion. I had use a bunch of things to clear it out to an extent. I used Differin and Duac too. It worked wonders but lost its effects after the move. Now...my skin is just plain horrid. I cringe when I look in the mirror. I've been on a strict therapy from the dermatologist for the past 3 months. Like you said, it get A LOT worse before it gets better. The tonic and medicated soap leave my face RED and its rather painful (Oddly I like that pain). New acne hasn't popped up yet these past few weeks. I can see the difference it made on the skin where there's no acne and its all soft and smooth so I'm just trying to bare with it now. And a friend of mine on the same therapy told me her face took 6 months to clear up.

    Reading your story gives me hope to be patient and stick to the therapy till it really clears up my skin. Thank you for sharing it....at one point I nearly cried.

    ReplyDelete
  58. You are truly an amazing person, inside and out Jen. I am a subscriber to your youtube channel and religiously read your blogs and i always find myself coming back to reread some of the same blogs because it gives me hope. Ive been in and out of the dark because of my challenged skin, my weight and height; although Im at an age where you'd think you can learn to walk over how simple minded people are and how the world views you, but sometimes it still hurts. Yet as i read your blogs, it brings some light into my life and it shows that there are more important things in life. And Ive mustered up the courage to finally start blogging. A HUGE thanks Jen for being such an amazing person. It would truly be an honor to meet you someday.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 

Google+