Eventually, about a week or so back, i purchased the 3 step acne kit from La Roche Posay's Effaclar line after reading much positive reviews.
To start, I've never had sensitive skin so I wasn't too concerned with what treatments to use.
Here was my face before:
This was taken in the morning, when the redness wasn't so bad.
Unfortunately the Effaclar kit did not work for me. In just one night, my face got progressively worse. The products caused my skin to peel and my face was literally swollen. I woke up in the morning feeling very hot and itchy. It wasn't until i looked in the mirror that i saw it swelled up pretty badly and looked terrible. Not only was it uneven (and I don't expect overnight miracles), it was dry, rough and burnt. I felt like a flame was set to my face overnight.
You can't really see the extremity of it in these photos but it was really dry (scaly), and red.
The worst bit wasn't that it was painful but literally because it was so rough and scaly. It didn't absorb any of the water I put on it. I also made the mistake of slathering on a vitamin E oil - it burned and itched like crazy. I had to wash it off and put on a hydrocortisone cream for relief.
I think I may have had a reaction to the acids in the toning solution and the Effaclar duo treatment cream. The cleanser has a 2% salicylic acid and ,05% of LHA. The duo treatment actually contains Benzoyl Peroxide which I think may have caused reaction. I actually used the treatment as a spot treatment but my whole face swelled so it might actually be the toning solution as well. At this point, i'm still unsure if it was the combination of the acids that caused me to react or if it was a standalone product. Nevertheless, it wasn't a good feeling. I didn't think my skin would react so badly to an OTC product. In the past, I have used salicylic acids and benzoyl peroxide for whiteheads but never had a reaction even close to this. Even my lips were dry and rough.
I went to see my dermatologist the same day after using this kit. She said it was definitely a reaction to the products and it could be that my skin has suddenly become more sensitive or my skin doesn't work well with the combination of the two acids - salicylic and LHA. She also said it might be a development of adult acne as well, which is extremely common.
She prescribed me a Retin-A cream and Clindamycin phosphate gel with benzoyl peroxide.
I'm excited to start the Retin-A because it's a retinoid and basically the fountain of youth in a tube.
My skin today is getting better but is still a little itchy. My own solution to the reaction was to use products that did not have a fragrance or irritating ingredients in it. My current routine is relatively simple and the focus is to HEAL.
Cleansing: Shiseido Cleansing Oil (not pictured) - I started using that because it's much more gentle than a commercial cleanser. Cleansing creams work as well. I'm also using the Face Shop cleansing lotion in conjunction to the Shiseido cleansing oil.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment - I am using this on my lips at the moment to keep them hydrated and not chapped. During the day I use my Burt's Bees Pomegrante Oil lip balm.
Hadalabo Gokukyn Acid Lotion - After cleansing I use this to lock the moisture in my skin. This is the lotion version which I really like. It does make a difference and my skin likes this stuff.
Cetaphil Cream - I know this is a body cream but it works wonders as a night cream. I think this has actually done the most work in healing my skin. When I first looked at the ingredients, I was super skeptical because it is petroleum based and had a lot of weird ingredients for a cream that looked so innocent.
I chanced it and started using it. It's been a few days now and my skin texture has improved significantly. I think it's the combination of emollients that is helping to heal. My skin was severely dry and patchy.
That's it in a nutshell. I haven't started my retin-A and clindamycin yet. Once my skin properly heals, I will start that and let you guys know how it is!
I also started hearing about micellar water and decided to give it a go as well. I purchased the Bioderma one and am waiting for it to ship. I also got another drugstore brand one from Simple. I'm looking forward to trying them both and doing a comparison. Micellar water is a product that uses micelles which are oil molecules suspended in water. This technique was developed in France and many French women swear by it. They like to keep their skincare simple and effective.
What makes this different is that you can use micellar water to remove makeup because micelles actually draw dirt and grime from your skin. I plan on still using a cleanser to wash my face and then immediately using micellar water to remove anything else my cleanser didn't pick up. A good thing is that they say you can forego a moisturizer! We will see. Thoughts coming soon.
What are your thoughts on treatment of cystic acne? Have you tried Micellar Water or retinoids?