This person owns way too many products

Most people with acne have gone through the motions of trying everything under the sun, hoping in vain that the next thing – the next product, the next supplement, or the next drug – will be THE thing that is the answer to all of their prayers.

Hey… I am certainly no exception!

I woke up this morning, sat at my computer, and attempted to think of something to write about for today. I started browsing through the folders on my computer and voila! I came across this interesting sort of ‘acne log’ that I had written out at some point or another.

It seems to be an accurate description of the timeline and phases that my acne has gone through (since it started in grade 7) and all the various treatments I tried for it. I don’t even remember when I wrote this out or why – I suppose I was trying to understand something about my acne… gather clues as to its origins, maybe? I thought AHA! Perfect blog post! So I am sharing it with you.

It runs all the way to a month or so before I finally got down to business and took this natural, holistic stuff seriously. The latter parts of the log show me getting increasingly desperate… flitting to from treatment to treatment, desperately trying to find the magic bullet (Sound familiar?). After finally beginning to accept that topical treatments were never going to really do the trick, I switched over my hopes to thinking supplements alongside a mediocre diet might be my saviour.

That’s where the log ends… but what happened afterwards is that I finally decided on a skin care routine that I was satisfied with (the honey and aloe routine that I use to this day), and I stopped resisting how ‘hard’ changing my lifestyle was and just did it.

Deep down I knew there was no magic cure….. but I wanted there to be one.

Letting go of that and accepting a holistic approach is what got me to the clear skin I have today! 🙂

So here it is, word for word:

Grade 7 – Starting getting acne on T-Zone…. I think I just washed my face with Oil Free Acne Wash from Neutrogena which contained Salyclic acid. I assume I probably stressed about my acne a lot.

Grade 10 – 12 – On birth control shot (Depo Provera). Continued to wash my face with Oil Free Acne Wash, but due to hormones in BC, my skin was impeccable

November 2005 – Skin had gotten worse since going off BC in June 2005 (when I graduated high school), but wasn’t ridiculous. Still nothing as immaculate as it had been when I was on BC, which frustrated me. Came across Acne.org, and decided to try Daniel Kern’s method of washing the face, using over the counter benzoyl peroxide treatment, and then moisturizing. However, I never used as much as he recommended because I was lazy.

Jan 2006 – April 2006 (in Sydney, Australia). – Face was okay. BP was somewhat keeping it under control, but I was still getting acne. However, bacne flared up all over my back really badly, which I had never had before at all. I couldn’t really use product or do anything to my back since I couldn’t reach it, so it went untreated.

April 2006 – July 2007 (in South East Asia) – Bacne magically clears up as soon as I leave Sydney and never comes back. For some reason my face is quite immaculate while I’m in Asia, but gets worse as soon as I go back to Australia.

July 2006 – Fall 2007 -. Face kind of under control, although still acne prone. At least satisfied with BP’s performance and simply assume my face would be much worse without it.

September 2007 (living in Victoria)– My face flares up, particularly my chin. My forehead seems to generally be alright, but my chin looks awful. Decide to try candida diet and eating healthy which seems to get my face under control again untiilll……

August 2008 – Flare up again….but still not that bad… acne keeps on keeping on

March 2009 – Flare up again… on chin, and some zits on forehead too, which has usually been pretty clear. Decide to start on Clear for Life’s healthy eating plan (still using benzoyl peroxide, by the by).

August 2009 (Shambhala) – By May or June, my face had completely cleared. From June until August, my face was probably the best it had been since BC. Healthy eating had worked. I went camping every other week, and was shocked to not have any breakouts. Until Shambhala (a big festival near Nelson, BC) was the last straw. I was still drinking green smoothies and trying to eat healthy, but it had definitely slid a bit. Went home from Shambles with two inflamed nodules on my chin and it was downhill from there. The zits just came back, same as they were before, if not worse.

Mid September 2009 – Four years later after starting it, I decided that obviously BP wasn’t doing anything, and that maybe I’d just go without and see what happens. Instead of medication, just use a mild cleanser (Spectrojel) and moisturizer morning and night

Beginning October 2009 – For two weeks after quitting BP, I didn’t break out, and I was shocked. Second week into no medication, and my forehead broke out in little bumps everywhere, so I got scared and decided to try Sulfur as a new medication….. Acnomel. It seemed to clear me at first, and I enjoyed the even skin tone it was giving me, wasn’t as drying as BP. but it didn’t seem to work. I was still getting acne like before. Starting to get desperate.

Mid October 2009 – Decided to take the step and ask the doctor. He ordered me on birth control and gave me a (very expensive) topical called Differin. I got too scared to take the birth control after my experiences with it as a teenager, and after researching the Differin, I just couldn’t take it. I put it on my face a couple times and I started getting intense nodules immediately. Apparently there is an extreme purging period with this as well as giving you a red, dry, sensitive face, and I just couldn’t deal with it – especially on the verge of moving to Vancouver and having to look for jobs.

Mid November 2009 – After a month and a half of Acnomel not working, I decided to go back to BP, except this time one of those *harmonized* systems (ie. where the facewash, BP, moisturizer are all made by the same company)… not Proactiv though… I got desperate and ordered it, but luckily they were out and didn’t send it… this was the Cetaphil system.

Mid November 2009 – Discovered Carly’s Clear and Smooth system and their amazing reviews and promises and got excited and ordered it. They said its best to let your face detox from BP, but I couldn’t bear the idea of no medication until then, so I used Clindymicin Dalacin T solution, which also didn’t really work that well.

Dec 1/09 – Start Carley’s Clear and Smooth with excitement and hope. Discovered that doing the routine was kind of a pain in the ass, but it made my healthy skin in between the acne feel so smooth and nice!

Dec 14/09 – Following Carley’s routine to a T. Skin wasn’t overall better or worse than before (although so smooth!) However, I got a couple of monster volcano zits. I assumed this was a detox of sorts.

Dec 25/09 – As soon as I got over the volcanos, all of a sudden one day on Christmas break, I broke out all over my forehead in the worst breakout I’ve ever had in my entire life – by far.

Jan 2/10 – Begin on the Au Naturel route. After a week, I was still breaking out like I’d never seen before. I always thought I had pretty bad acne, but didn’t realize that I hardly did. This was by far the worst my face had ever looked. Luckily there weren’t any big, big ones, but a million little ones didn’t seem much better. Decided to ditch everything. Wanted to do the caveman no water, no nothing routine to let my face completely heal from years of abuse (what a concept!), but with a breakout like this, I couldn’t bear to not wear a bit of makeup. So I started by not washing my face, and dissolving my makeup with jojoba oil and leaving it on. No washing, no cleanser, no moisturizer, no medication.

Jan 17/10 – Started slowly getting my face wet, and incorporating more of the Oil Cleansing Method (steaming face) instead of just leaving the jojoba to sit there (also adding a bit of vitamin e and safflower oil to the mix). Trying to go minimalistic again though because, I was still breaking out like I had been on Carley’s, (although I haven’t gotten any big inflamed ones. Small ones are frequent but come and go quickly. If one under the surface hurts, it doesn’t seem to surface) wondered if the oil wasn’t good for me. Going back to maybe a quick splash of water in the morning, and going to wash my face with an apple cider vinegar solution in the evenings to get makeup off. Minimalize makeup as much as possible. Maybe do an oil cleanse once a week or something.

Jan 19/10 – After two days on Apple cider vinegar, my face already looks a bit better. But we’ll see. I do pray minimalistic is the answer to my face issues. I just need to be repaired from abusing it, I think. The skin on the rest of my body is so smooth and nice, and no one else in my family seems to have acne issues. I am still getting zits, but its hard to tell which ones are active and which are now just scars left from before.

Jan 26/10 – not working… breaking out like crazy all over my chin now in addition to my forehead. 🙁 Can’t deal with not knowing if what I’m putting on my face is really cleaning the makeup off. Going to start washing with Spectrojel at night. Started taking vega supplement and trying to eat healthy.

Feb 3/10 – Quit Spectrojel, because it was making my face dry. Started complete caveman regimen on forehead. Back to apple cider vinegar on lower half of face and mineral makeup.

Feb 15/10 – started taking Evening Primrose Oil. Using Vega, Umac Core, not eating really healthy, but okay I guess. 🙁

Are you or have you flitted from thing to thing in a desperate search for that one thing that will cure you?

photo by orangecounty_girl