In this update, I will be sharing my 1 year experience with using Tretinoin (Retin-A Micro), 2 year experience using Dapsone (Aczone), why I stopped taking Spironolactone after 6 months of use, and a brief chat about my experience with CO2 Fraxel Laser.
If you recall, I started using Tretinoin last spring. My derm bumped up my prescription from 0.3% Adapalene.Iit was clear that its strength was not enough to controls intense breakouts. It has been just over a year since I started incorporating Retin-A Micro in my skincare routine. Here are my thoughts.
It is a powerful molecule. I said it before and I’ll say it again, 0.04% Tretinoin did more for my skin than 0.3% Adapalene. I noticed in a month existing acne healed quicker, pores looked smaller, overall skin texture is smoother, skin quality is just overall better.
Slow and steady really wins the race. When I bumped up to 0.1% Tretinoin, my skin still had to go through a bit of retinization because I did experience more sensitivity with it. I was using it every night after, but started noticing my skin would look flushed and my pores would look very exaggerated. I now cut the usage to 2-3 times a week and my skin has been in a very happy state.
It is not the end all of acne control and anti-aging. Yes, I noticed a number of benefits when I started using it and will continue using it for the rest of my life. However, after years of on and off using a vitamin A topical, even using sunscreen, chemical exfoliants, vitamin C serums… Being super consistent with my skincare for years, I can still see wrinkles coming through on my forehead, my pores were sagging a bit which is a sign of collagen degradation, I still freckle when it’s summer time. It has only been in recent times I’ve been able to control my acne, and a big reason for it is both the use of this topical prescription as well as taking care of myself on the inside. After a year and a half of experimenting, I have finally managed to connect the way I eat to my skin health. Being disciplined in my eating habits plus these topicals help keep my skin clear and overall contribute to the graceful aging process.
Dapsone 2 Years Later
I started using it day and night everyday since January 2020 when I did my 1 year of Differin update. I felt like I could have saved myself a lot of time and money if I just stuck with what was prescribed to me and not freaked out so much about short term side effects. Dapsone is one of the gentlest prescription topicals I have used for my acne and it’s an unsung hero for sure.
It helps reduce inflammation around active acne,
I have been able to use it alongside other actives with no issues (tretinoin, AHAs, BHAs, Vitamin C),
there’s no irritation if I overapply,
it doesn’t make other skincare textures not work in my routine.
Now that my skin has been staying fairly clear, I reduced the usage and only use it at night when I use my tretinoin.
6 Months of Spironolactone
Spironolactone is an oral medication to help further assist with acne control. Originally prescribed as a diuretic to help lower blood pressure. How it works for acne is it also inhibits androgen production. Those of us with hormonal acne tend to be in excess of.
I had a bad breakout when I saw my dermatologist in the summer of 2020. Fed up with breakouts, I agreed to going on Spironolactone while continuing my topical treatments tretinoin and dapsone. The first 3 months I most definitely had side-effects, the worst being dizziness and spotting for an entire month. After this time had passed, I definitely noticed its benefits. When I ate too many carby foods, I still did not have a bad breakout. Maybe a small pimple that disappeared quickly. When it was my time of the month, same thing! Little to no breakouts. It was about 98-99% clear at that point.
I took Spiro consistently for another 3 months until I ran out and decided not to get a prescription refill. Deep down, I knew it was a bandaid to my lack of discipline with what I ate. As time passws, this fact bothered me a lot more. I finally figured out my gut health and how it has been effecting my skin. The Spiro just allowed me to be lazy and undisciplined. I also didn’t like the side effects when it came to hormonal changes.
In the past, I took birth control. Part of the reason I stopped taking it is to not be reliant on oral medication. I wanted control over my body. Spiro also effected my hormones, my period being the obvious indicator. If I was younger I wouldn’t care. But now that I’m in my 30s, hormonal health is very important for me. I know a few people who had difficulties conceiving and I was afraid that iIwould have that problem. Although the rewards of taking Spiro were good, for my situation the risks outweigh it.
Frankly I don’t miss it. I’m way more disciplined with my way of eating and lifestyle than the time when I started taking it. I also feel very free not relying on oral medication for my acne.
CO2 Fraxel Laser
YES, I finally did it! I got my first CO2 Fraxel Peel session to address my old atrophic acne scars. I started 3 professional microneedling sessions last year. It definitely lifted some of the scarring, improved my pores and gave a moment of plumpness to my skin. Still,I knew I needed something more heavy duty. Even the dermatologist who performed the procedure said prior that my scars are too old and therefore difficult. I documented my healing time over on my Youtube so be sure to check it out! Long story short, it hurt lol. Now that my skin has settled from the procedure, I find my skin definitely looks smoother. Scars look more lifted, pores look more minimal, and obviously overall skin texture has been refined. I have already completed a 2nd session and will probably get a 3rd in the new year.
And that’s all, folks! As always, I hope you find content like this helpful and informative.
Weather is in the negatives, the heat is on, and my face is feeling it! Come the colder, winter months, I need to adjust my skincare routine accordingly to prevent the uncomfortable feelings of dehydration and dryness.
Fortunately, it isn’t as crazy and elaborate as some would think; Once the colder months come around, I alter my skincare routines in the following ways:
Use existing products differently
Add in more emollient products
The key points are that all steps of my skincare routines are gentle and/or leave an additional moisturizing film to my skin.
Before we continue on, please take a look at previous posts I have written which will provide more context for this one!
Skin type: Acne prone, normal to dry. Becomes easily sensitized from drying products or environment. Skincare Focus: Acne control, hydration, barrier protection. What my skincare addresses: Acne prevention and healing, hydration, barrier protection, promoting graceful aging, fade pigmentation, minimizing pore size, reducing redness and inflammation, improves texture, promotes collagen synthesis, skin thickening.
Products marked with * are PR Samples/gifts. This does not change my opinion of the product. My thoughts are honest, always *casts doe patronus*
All links are affiliate links. This means when you use the link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to search a new link.
Breakdown of my Winter Skincare Routines
Below is the full list of steps in both my morning and nighttime winter skincare routines, including the optional steps.
Morning Winter Skincare Routine
Morning Cleanse (OPTIONAL) – Water Rinse or Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser
On an as-need basis, when overnight moisturizing layers, fluff and sweat create too much build up
First Hydrator – Naruko Jing Cheng Face Renewal Miracle Essence *
More watery than the second hydrator, acts as a morning cleanse if I do not do the first step
Antioxidant – Geek & Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum
Second Hydrator – Rovectin Skin Essentials Activating Treatment Lotion *
More viscous and moisturizing than the first hydrator, will sometimes swap for something more emollient
Acne Control Active – Aczone
Moisturize – Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume
Will sometimes mix in an occlusive
Sunscreen – Krave Beauty Beet the Sun SPF50+ PA++++
Nighttime Winter Skincare Routine
Eye Makeup Removal (OPTIONAL) – Kiss Me Heroine Make Speedy Mascara Remover
On an as-need basis when I wear mascara
Double Cleanse (OPTIONAL) – Purito From Green Cleansing Oil *, Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser
Will use a cleansing oil on an as-need basis when I wear face makeup or feel like I need it, otherwise I just use my current cleanser by itself
First Hydrator– Rovectin Skin Essentials Activating Treatment Lotion *
Acne Control Actives – Retin-A Micro and Aczone
Will use an OTC Retinol every other day on my neck and chest
Second Hydrator – Jumiso Super Soothing Cica & Aloe Facial Serum *
Opt for a serum/ampoule that has more emollience than the first hydrator
On an as-need basis if skin is feeling particularly chapped
Main Winter Skincare Products
AKA products I frequently use in my morning and nighttime winter skincare routines. The products featured are my tried and trues out of the rotation of items I receive from PR, gifts, and my own purchases. Each are purposeful and contribute to my skin’s overall health.
Kiss Me Heroine Make Speedy Mascara Remover
How I use it: Apply on a cotton round and rest on eyes to break down waterproof mascara. After a few seconds, I lightly move the cotton round through my lashes to remove as much as possible. Why I use it: My eyes are quite sensitive – any oil-based cleanser I have used around my eyes for a few seconds burn them. I need to go in with something gentle, especially when I wear eye makeup. Instead of repurchasing my go-to Marcelle Gentle Makeup Remover for Sensitive Eyes, I decided to try out the Herone Make Speedy Mascara Remover that was recommended by my colleague. It easily removes waterproof and non-waterproof mascara and does not irritate my eyes. Related Content:Skincare Favourites 2020 Where to Buy: DokoDemo YesStyle
Purito From Green Cleansing Oil *
How I use it: Dispense 2 full pumps and gently massage all over my face and neck. After 30 seconds or so, I wet my hands and massage my face and neck again to emulsify the oil. I do this for another 30 seconds and then rinse. Why I use it: Sometimes, the copious layers of moisturizing products get a bit much and I sometimes feel some pilling action going on or excess build-up. Using a cleansing oil always does the trick in having a thorough cleanse. The Purito From Green Cleansing Oil in particular makes me reminisce of the original Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) where I would use a kitchen oil on my face, and take a damp cloth to remove it. The benefits of this cleansing oil is that it emulsifies and rinses off without the need of a cloth! Where to Buy:YesStyle
Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser
How I use it: Dispense 2 pumps and lightly massage all over my face and neck. Why I use it: Most of the time I use this as my stand-alone cleanser since I have not been double cleansing a lot lately. It is pH balanced around 5.5 (last time I checked), non-foaming, gentle, creamy, and it feels like it adds a bit of extra moisture to my skin. Related Content:Skincare Favourites 2020 Where to Buy: Paula’s Choice Website
Naruko Jing Cheng Face Renewal Miracle Essence *
How I use it: Apply on a cotton round and wipe face to remove a night’s buildup or fluff, and follow with another 2 nickel-sized layers. Why I use it: Due to my problematic skin, layering something as light as a hydrating toner/essence/lotion really helps reduce my skin’s chance of becoming dehydrated without feeling congested. I also find hydrators make my skin just a bit plumper, brighter, more even, softer. I like using Naruko’s Jing Cheng Face Renewal Miracle Essence as the first step or “morning cleanse”; It has a light watery consistency that wakes up my skin, it also softens and subtly brightens. Perfect first and prep step! Alternative: If my skin feels like it has too much build up in the morning from all the moisturizing layers the night before, I will rinse my face first before going in with the first Hydrator, maybe even use Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser if I feel it is necessary. Related Content:Skincare Favourites 2020 Where to Buy: Naruko Canada (not affiliate)
Geek & Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum
How I use it: Apply immediately while skin is still slightly tacky from hydrator step. Massage a full dropper all over face and neck and pat once evenly spread. Why I use it: Mainly for photoprotection, and it’s nice that it maintains my bright and even complexion. Vitamin C is the most finnicky product in my routine – L-Ascorbic Acid oxidizes in 3 months and I can’t visibly tell if it’s working. I spoke with my dermatologist about it, and she’s pro-Vitamin C. I decided to keep it in my routine as an extra boost to the graceful aging aspect. Geek & Georgous 101 C-Glow Serum is my current go-to/Holy Grail because it is affordable and checks all the boxes of what I want in a vitamin C serum – low pH, right percentage of LAA, contains Ferulic Acid and Tocopherol, is gentle. Related Content:Geek & Gorgeous Review Where to Buy: Geek & Gorgeous Website
How I use it: Apply a nickel-size amount in the palm of hands and massage all over face and neck. Follow with another 2 layers. Why I use it: Due to my problematic skin, layering something as light as a hydrating toner/essence/lotion really helps reduce my skin’s chance of becoming dehydrated without feeling congested. I also find hydrators make my skin just a bit plumper, brighter, more even, softer. Alternative: If my skin feels very dry and rough, I will use a more emollient second hydrator such as Laneige Cream Skin Refiner. Related Content: Moisturizing Skincare Recommendations Where to Buy: Wishtrend YesStyle
Retin-A Micro 0.1% Tretinoin
How I use it: Dispense 2 pumps (pea size amount) and apply it all over my face and underneath my jaw. Because my skin is acclimated to it, I also bring it underneath my eyes. Why I use it: It is the star ingredient that controls my acne. It works by normalizing my skin cell turnover so there is no buildup of dead skin, and reduces my skin’s sebum production. Tretinoin in particular is also the only FDA-approved ingredient effective at diminishing the signs of photoaged skin (pigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines). I have also noticed it help refine my skin’s texture and minimize my pores, making my skin look overall clear and healthy. It is my Holy Grail active. Blog Post:SKIN UPDATE #5: 0.04% to 0.1% Tretinoin, 6+ Months of Spironolactone, Professional Microneedling PRESCRIPTION ONLY
How I use it: After prescription topicals have set, apply 4 drops or a dropper full all over my face and neck. Why I use it: During the colder months, moisturizing layers are key! With this serum in particular, it has a ton of barrier-strengthening ingredients in a very soothing base of Centella and Aloe extract, and has a more emollient finish. A great item to comfort and add more moisture to my skin, especially when my Retin-A Micro prescription strength increased and my skin was feeling more sensitive. Blog Post: REVIEW: Jumiso Super Soothing Cica & Aloe Facial Serum Where to Buy: StyleKorean YesStyle
Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume
How I use it: Apply once Aczone has settled. Massage a full pump all over face and neck. Why I use it: After applying layers of supplemental moisturizing products, it is important to seal all of it in with a moisturized barrier. Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume is a cost-effective moisturizer with ceramides, zinc pca, sugar molecules as humectants and various emollient oils. It always leave my skin feeling comfortably moisturized without feeling congested. Calms my skin, softens it, and leave a non-greasy residue on my skin. I have repurchased this moisturizer many times and is my Holy Grail moisturizer. Alternative: If my skin is feeling particularly chapped before I apply my moisturizer, I mix a small amount of Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment to make it more occlusive. Related Content: Moisturizing Skincare Recommendations Where to Buy: Dermstore Well.ca
Krave Beauty Beet the Sun SPF50+ PA++++
How I use it: Apply once moisturizer has settled. Shake up bottle and pour a generous amount in the palm of hand. Lightly massage all over face, ears, and neck. Why I use it: Due to my nightly use of Retin-A Micro and other actives, as well as wanting to prevent and prolong, sun protection is a must. Applying a fairly high UVA/UVB sunscreen in the proper amount has made a difference in my skin’s health. It has helped to further prevent pigmentation from lasting on my skin, I rarely have irritated skin or an uneven skin tone, and in pair with my prescription topicals my skin texture seems softer. I am currently revisiting Krave Beauty’s Beet the Sun SPF50+ PA++++; I remember liking the texture and various UV filters in this sunscreen. I had my sister purchase some for me before she came back from South Korea. Related Content: Krave Beauty Matcha-Hemp Hydrating Cleanser, Kale-lalu-yAHA, Beet the Sun – Brand Review Where to Buy: Krave Beauty Website (not affiliate)
Skincare Products in Rotation
The following products are my go-to’s that I occasionally use in my skincare routine when I find necessary.
Laneige Cream Skin Refiner
How I use it: Apply a dime-nickel size amount in the palm of hands and massage all over face and neck. Follow with another 2 layers. Why I use it: I will swap out the Rovectin Skin Essentials Activating Treatment for the Laneige Cream Skin Refiner when my skin feels like it needs something richer in moisture, more emollient. It is a watery texture yet sets on the skin like you applied a cream! Where to Buy:YesStyle
Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol Mini
How I use it: Every other night I apply 2 pumps all over my neck and chest after using Retin-A Micro on my face. Why I use it: I want to start taking care of my neck and chest area more, so I decided to use an over the counter retinol for prevent and prolong benefits. I started with Paula’s Choice Clinical 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment and am slowly working my way up to tretinoin. Where to Buy:Paula’s Choice Website
Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment
How I use it: AM will mix a bit in with my moisturizer, PM I will massage a dime-size amount all over face and neck in a separate layer after moisturizer. Why I use it: I reach for Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment if my skin is feeling particularly chapped that night and is in need of more TLC. It is mainly petrolatum, a skin protectant that prevents 98% of trans-epidermal water loss, mixed with other goodie moisturizing ingredients like mineral oil and Glycerin, as well as soothing ingredients Panthenol and Bisabolol. Related Content: Moisturizing Skincare Recommendations Where to Buy: Well.ca
And that’s it, folks! As you can see, my winter skincare routines are quite similar to my summer ones, but with an emphasis on moisture! Be sure to check out my summer skincare routines to get the full picture on what the differences are:
My last skin update back in the summer 2020, I was using 0.04% Retin-A Micro for 1 month, and started taking Spironolactone. Since then, I have done 3 professional microneedling sessions for my acne scars, got prescribed the highest strength of Tretinoin, and have experienced a few side effects from Spironolactone.
For further context, please check out previous posts!
As mentioned in my previous skin update, I noticed a huge improvement in acne control since upgrading to 0.04% Tretinoin from 0.3% Adapalene. A lingering pimple on my cheek finally disappeared, if I breakout, it’s not as inflamed and disappears very quickly. I’m now at the highest strength of 0.1% Tretinoin, and I did find my skin breaking out a bit from using it daily, so I cut back to using it 4-5 days of the week and it seems to be the sweet spot for my skin needs. Overall using topical prescriptions Retin-A Micro and Aczone have really boosted the clarity of my skin and I’ve been really happy with the results!
For Spironolactone, I experienced some annoying side effects the first 3 months of taking 4 tablets of 25mg. I was very dizzy for around two weeks, to the point where I had a few close calls of fainting. The second most annoying side effect was spotting. I’m not talking one week (which did happen), I’m talking an entire month. AN ENTIRE MONTH OF SPOTTING! I really wanted to give up at this point lol. However I stuck through it for 3 months, got my blood tests done (all good), and have currently found my sweet spot dose of 2 tablets daily. I noticed when I tried to go down to 1 tablet and I carb cycled that week, I would get breakouts – albeit not as large or inflamed as they used to be! With 2 tablets I notice I rarely break out and my skin has not felt uncomfortably inflamed from active acne in a long time! Overall Spironolactone is helpful at controlling breakouts particularly when I have too much carby foods, but other than that my skin seems well controlled with my regular eating habits plus the use of Retin-A Micro and Aczone.
SCARS – Microneedling Treatments
Yes, I FINALLY got professional microneedling done! I did all 3 sessions and plan on writing up a separate post on what both the medical esthetician and I have noticed prior to the treatment.
For those of you who have read previous skin updates, I mentioned that I would be getting treatments at my dermatologist’s office. However I went with the medical esthetician who’s certified in microneedling because I know her personally, and she has been in this profession as an educator and consultant for decades. Having said that, it also didn’t cost me $1525, but I saved up expecting to pay a high amount either way!
PLAN OF ACTION
Continue taking 50mg of Spironolactone – I have been thinking of discontinuing because I know how my eating habits effect my breakouts, this has just been a bandaid for my indulgences.
Use 0.1% Tretinoin forever – Seriously, I have the peak of its strength, my acne is under control, and all I can do at this point is be patient and consistent for well aging benefits.
Still apply Aczone (5% Dapsone) day and night – I’ve noticed this year using it consistently has greatly contributed to my acne control. So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Since I have completed 3 sessions of microneedling, I was told to wait 8 months to do more if needed. In the meantime, I can do other treatments (not like I can anymore).
And that’s it for this update! It’s probably the quickest one I’ve ever done, but I guess that’s a good thing – less things to complain about and pay attention to lol. I have to say, with a shit show of a year 2020 has been, at least I’ve come to the point where I am quite content with my skin – at age 30!
Skin type: Acne prone, normal to dry. Becomes easily sensitized from drying products or environment. Skincare Focus: Acne control, hydration, barrier protection. What my skincare addresses: Acne prevention and healing, hydration, barrier protection, graceful aging, fading pigmentation, minimizing pore size, reduce redness, reduce inflammation, improve texture, promote collagen synthesis, skin thickening.
Products marked with * are PR Samples/gifts. This does not change my opinion of the product. My thoughts are honest, always *casts doe patronus*
All links are affiliate links. This means when you use the link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.
NIGHTTIME SKINCARE ROUTINE
The products below are my tried and trues out of the rotation of items I receive from PR, gifts, and my own purchases. Each are purposeful and contribute to my skin’s overall health.
1. Eye Makeup Removal
Product: Marcelle Gentle Makeup Remover for Sensitive Eyes How I use it: Apply on a cotton round and rest on eyes to break down waterproof mascara. After a few seconds, I lightly move the cotton round through my lashes to remove as much as possible. Why I use it: My eyes are quite sensitive – any oil-based cleanser I have used around my eyes for a few seconds burn them. I need to go in with something gentle, especially when I wear eye makeup. The Marcelle one has been repurchased multiple times for the simplicity, price, and how effective it is while still being gentle. Where to Buy: Well.ca
2. 1st Cleanse
Product: Hada Labo Gokujyun Oil Cleansing How I use it: Dispense a full pump and gently massage all over my face and neck. After 30 seconds or so, I wet my hands and massage my face and neck again to emulsify the oil. I do this for another 30 seconds and then rinse. Why I use it: It’s important for me to remove a day’s face, especially in the summer time. I’m sweating a bit, my sebum production is higher, I tend to reapply sunscreen more, I still like to wear makeup, and I’m outside exposing myself to environmental pollutants more frequently. It all must go! The Hada Labo oil cleanser is cost effective for the amount you get and I enjoy using it to massage my face longer to remove grit as well. Where to Buy: Yesstyle DokoDemo
3. 2nd Cleanse
Product: Bioderma Sebium Purifying Foaming Gel How I use it: Dispense half a pump and lightly massage all over my face and neck, with a focus on my T-zone. Why I use it: It is also a cost effective cleanser for the size and amount you get. It is pH balanced around 5.5 (last time I checked), low foaming and surprisingly it softens my skin despite its marketing for oily/combination skin. I also use it on my body as a shower gel and a shaving gel! Where to Buy: Dermstore Well.ca
Product: By Wishtrend Quad Active Boosting Essence * How I use it: After patting away excess water with a face towel but skin still damp, I immediately pour a nickel-size amount onto the palm of my hand and massage all over my face and neck. Depending on how skin is feeling, I may apply another layer or 2. Why I use it: Due to my problematic skin, I do not like completely drying out my face so I only remove the excess water. Layering something as light as a hydrating toner/essence/lotion really helps reduce my skin’s chance of becoming dehydrated without feeling congested. I also find hydrators make my skin just a bit plumper, brighter, more even, softer. I don’t find implementing this step prior to my prescriptions irritate my skin at all. Blog Post:REVIEW: By Wishtrend Quad Active Boosting Essence Where to Buy: Wishtrend Yesstyle
5. Retin-A Micro
Product: Valeant Retin-A Micro 0.04% Tretinoin How I use it: Dispense one pump and apply it all over my face and underneath my jaw. Because my skin is acclimated to it, I also bring it underneath my eyes. Why I use it: It is the star ingredient that controls my acne. It works by normalizing my skin cell turnover so there is no buildup of dead skin, and reduces my skin’s sebum production. Tretinoin in particular is also the only FDA-approved ingredient effective at diminishing the signs of photoaged skin (pigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines). Since I’m turning 30 this year, I’m really happy I got an upgrade to my vitamin A prescription! I have also noticed it help refine my skin’s texture and minimize my pores, making my skin look overall clear and healthy. Blog Post:SKIN UPDATE #4: Switching From Adapalene (Differin) to Tretinoin (Retin-A), Taking Spironolactone, Acne Scar Revision?
Product: Valeant Aczone Gel 5% Dapsone – (prescription only) How I use it: Once the Retin-A has settled a bit, I apply a thin layer all over face and under jaw. Why I use it: It’s very effective at reducing inflammation around any active acne lesions, it also helps to control non-inflamed lesions. It also pairs well with my Retin-A Micro, Vitamin C serum, and chemical exfoliants. After my skin acclimated to it, it always feels mild – never sensitizing my skin, doesn’t add or subtract moisture from my skin.
Product: Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume How I use it: Apply once Aczone has settled. Massage half a pump or more all over face, neck and chest. Why I use it: Another cost-effective skincare item! Skin always feels comfortably moisturized without feeling congested. Calms my skin, softens it, and leave a non-greasy residue. It is pretty much my HG moisturizer at this point! Where to Buy: Dermstore Well.ca
Sun’s out, lockdown is sort-not-really lifted here in Ontario, and I saw my dermatologist for the 2nd time. My 1st visit was back in October 2018 so I was definitely overdue for a follow-up. It was quite a productive appointment, so I thought I’d share what’s new in my pursuit to clearer skin!
2 at-home microneedling sessions with the Banisher 2.0
Eating High Fat Low Carb (Keto) and working out consistently
Visited dermatologist – prescribed 0.04% Tretinoin (Retin-A Micro) and Spironolactone
Staying consistent with Aczone for the past 4 months has really helped to control my acne. Reflecting more, this is the first topical prescription I have tried that had a minimal adjusting period. It reduces inflammation quickly, prevents painful large breakouts (my last update I had that huge AF cyst -_-). It also plays really well with other actives – Adapalene, Tretinoin, L-Ascorbic Acid, AHA, BHA. Despite my concerns and initial redness in the first couple of months using it, Dapsone has been fairly easy to use. It is also a topical that I had minimal to no side effects from *knocks on wood*.
Alongside my nightly use of 0.3% Adapalene (Differin), eating Keto and working out consistently has also contributed to my skin’s clarity. I found most of the time my skin stays pretty clear, I don’t get a painful cyst during my period, and any inflammatory breakout subsides quickly. My guess on this is that my hormones are becoming more balanced.
A major issue I have with my acne though is when I just want to indulge in something sweet and/or carby. On the off days when I do eat carbs (say once every 2 weeks), my skin is NOT having any of it. I break out no matter what and turn red. Why not just eliminate sweet/carby foods completely? Cause I’d like to enjoy foods like gelato once in a blue moon. I also do not be picky at a family gathering when someone has spent an entire morning and afternoon cooking.
At the appointment, I discussed with my dermatologist what my eating habits are, digestive history, oral medication history, and my future plans. She prescribed me Spironolactone and bumped my Vitamin A prescription to 0.04% Tretinoin (Retin-A Micro (RAM)). I have read many positive experiences about Spironolactone and I’m excited to see how it contributes to my skin’s health. For tretinoin, I asked the derm if it was “lowering” the dose. I asked this because most studies compare 0.3% Adapalene to 0.05% Tretinoin and find similar effects with acne control. She said 0.04% Tretinon is still stronger than Adapalene. It should have a better effect for acne prevention and of course, preventative aging benefits!
Here’s hoping that 5% Dapsone, 0.04% Tretinoin and Spironolactone together helps. That it will show greater improvement in my skin clarity and health, especially on my cheat days :3
The original reason for my appointment was for a consultation on Acne Scar Revision. In short, the 2 options presented to me were Microneedling (3 sessions to start) or Fraxel laser (also 3 sessions, not sure if she meant Halo – Hybrid Fractional Laser or ProFractional). However because I am still breaking out, I must wait to clear my face again (maybe a month or 2) until I can book a treatment. In the meantime, I’ll continue the at-home microneedling. Once my face is more consistently clear, I can book an appointment. I’m leaning more towards microneedling because 1) the down time is only a day 2) 3 sessions would cost me $1350, whereas Fraxel is $1000 PER SESSION, and I would need to do around 3! So given that, I’d rather pay for 6 microneedling sessions.
PLAN OF ACTION
I only just started my new prescriptions, so my plan of action is just to follow what my derm told me to do:
100mg of Spiro daily to start; Decrease the amount by 25mg once acne looks more controlled until I only take 25mg daily.
0.04% Tret twice a week; Increase the usage as tolerability goes up
5% Dapsone day and night
If in a month my skin has cleared up, I can book an appointment for an Acne Scar Revision treatment
I am definitely still continuing Keto (and working out) – I have never seen such a drastic change in my gut health and I feel a lot better and healthier. My derm is aware of my lifestyle choices so I trust she wouldn’t have prescribed Spiro otherwise.
And that’s it for this skin update! Not as complicated, but still a work in progress.
If you’ve ever been on Spiro or currently taking it, let me know how it’s been going for you in the comment section down below!