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