Tretinoin update


I’m taking a little break from all the makeup talk that’s been going on here lately to rant about my skin. January was a complete disaster for me, skin-wise. Right now, my face looks worse than it has in years, and it fucking sucks. There was a day last week when I almost cried because of how bad it was, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. Let’s rewind to the last time I shared my progress pictures, August 14th, 2015. Looking at the pictures is pretty depressing because my skin is worse now than it was in the “before” picture from that post. Back in August, my skin was pretty smooth and I wasn’t getting that many breakouts. It seemed like my skin was on track to becoming what I wanted, acne-free and smooth.

I don’t really know what changes triggered what happened in the months afterward. At one point, it seemed like my skin’s improvement plateaued, and I wasn’t seeing as much improvement as I wanted, so I went back to my dermatologist, and he prescribed me Aczone, a really expensive, and, as it turned out, really ineffective antibiotic. I applied that stuff morning and night for about three months, and experienced no improvement. In fact, the only effects I saw were more dryness (possibly due in part to the dry weather), and constant, stubborn breakouts on my cheeks.

Also around the time I went back to my dermatologist (early September) I got cocky, and decided that since it seemed like my skin was plateauing, I would try to take things into my own hands and try out new products. This is when I discovered the world of /r/asianbeauty and Korean skincare. I bought some products from a Korean brand called Cosrx, and was really happy with them. The best product I tried was the Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask, which I used as a moisturizer day and night for months. I was trying out different things, but I made sure to do it the safe way, by patch testing and never introducing more than one new product at the same time. For a while I thought it was working, but now I’m not so sure.

Throughout November, December, and January, I still had stubborn breakouts on my cheeks. Sometime in December, I noticed I was getting one or two tiny whiteheads in strange places on my face where I usually don’t break out. So, back to the dermatologist I went. Way back in May 2015, when he asked me about any previous medications I had taken for acne, I told him about my bad experience with Clindamycin. At my latest appointment, he told me he wanted me to try it again, since he’d never heard of anyone having the kind of reaction I did to Clindamycin. I was desperate enough to agree to give it another chance. Ughhhh, biggest mistake ever. Just like the last time I used it, things were fine for four or five days, and then the breakouts started, by the seventh day, I stopped taking it because my chin, temples, and forehead were erupting in patches of whiteheads. Add these breakouts to my already inflamed cheeks, and I had an entire face covered in pimples. I have a few horrifying pictures on my phone to show my doctor in case he really doesn’t believe me. The pictures below were taken yesterday, a week after I stopped using Clindamycin. For several days after I stopped, I was still getting new pimples, and I was getting seriously worried. Now, it seems to have slowed down, and hopefully my skin is on the mend.









This experience has made me question whether or not I should continue using the Korean products I purchased over the last few months, or if I should go back to basics. I decided to repurchase the products I was using back in summer and early fall when my skin looked its best, and when I was actually seeing improvement. I’m going to go back to using the Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser, and the Cerave PM Facial Lotion. I’ve been using the Derma E Hydrating Night Crème, a recommendation from my doctor, the past few nights as a place holder. It’s pretty good as far as moisturization goes, but it is fragranced and it contains dimethicone, and I’m pretty sure silicones clog my pores.

I’ve also started using a spreadsheet to keep track of each product I use daily and any effects they are having. I guess I must have done something to damage my skin’s moisture barrier in fall, then I started using too many new products, and then made things worse with Clindamycin. At my next appointment in a couple weeks, I’m also planning on asking my doctor’s opinion on acne caused by diet. At times I feel like changing my diet may be the only thing left I can do to really see improvement.

So, as much as I hate putting away all my new products, I do think going back to my trusty Cerave ones is the right move. I really hope it’s good news I share the next time I update you on my skin!

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