Retin A Micro: Month 3

I mentioned in a blog post earlier in March how my face was nearly burned off by going out into the sun (which is rare in Oregon). My face crusted up, was swollen and painful. One day, I couldn’t even go to work.

Ah … Welcome to the wonderful world of Retin A Micro (RAM).

I used this product before beginning in summer 2003. I remember thinking I was getting microdermabrasion, but the esthetician recommended this medicine because I had some active acne. I remember getting acne facials once a month and by October of that year, I had graduated to glycolic peels, a sign that my acne was improving. While using this stuff, my skin was pretty much awesome. I remember there was a short while when I didn’t have insurance and this stuff was $165 a tube and I gladly paid it. I don’t remember when I stopped using it … I am guessing early 2007 because my skin was clear.

Off and on will I have problems with acne. Normally a flare up here and there, but it quickly goes away. When I lived in Hawaii, I had damn near flawless skin. I really think my skin loves summer because I notice breakouts more so in the winter.

Flash forward to November 2011. I had the Mirena IUD put in. Within a few weeks, I started getting these angry, hard cysts on my forehead. I also began breaking out in my chest. I knew it was the IUD and despite me loving it, I had it removed two month later. I was actually clearing up, but i didnt think the Differin the doctor had prescribed was working well enough. I had the bright idea of using RAM. “Once and for all,” I thought, “that I will get rid of these zits!”

So February 1st, I started RAM and for the first week, nothing happened. Skin was smoother, but that was it. Well, around Valentine’s Day, the initial breakout began. I was in shock. I had forgotten about this period of time when every zit from the next 10 years pops up on your face in the first 2-4 months, depending on the person. I had this romanticized view of RAM and how it was this wonderful panacea for acne. I had forgotten how you must give up your face, pride and confidence for this to occur.

Oh this initial breakout period (slated to last from 7 weeks up to 5 months, but average about 3 months) has been horrible. I have had these hard, angry pimples that made it uncomfortable to sleep. I have had multiple buffet zits in between my eyes (what’s a buffet zit?: it’s where you extract it, but it keeps filling itself up, like on a buffet). It made me look like Cyclops. I have a colony of little zits just chilling on my jaw line right now. Ah, let’s not forget the hyperpigmentation spots from pimples gone by. I have had huge ones on my chin that do not pop, just inflate and deflate depending on their mood. It has been hell. Sometimes it’s just best to leave well enough alone. This is what happens when greed gets in the way. My skin was clearing, but noooooooo! I needed more clear and faster clear! Now I look 50 times worse than before. Loose lips sink ships.

I am seeing a slowing down of the big angry pimples. Mainly the ones I have are small ones beneath the skin. I started using benzoyl peroxide a few weeks ago, when I should have been using it all along to help dry them up. I also reduced the usage of RAM to every other night. It is drying the crap out of my face. Last week in Seattle I could barely move my face. I had this gargoyle-esque pose because if I moved my mouth, my face hurt! My skin was also burning … It really reminded me of when my ex-boyfriend used to call my face stuff “Michael Jackson cream,” as it really does burn, lighten and the like!!

Nathan asked me why would I use something like this that makes my skin break out and I told him that that was a light at the end of the dark, pimply, painful tunnel. I just have to get through this break out period!!

Well I am going into Month 3. I can tell somewhat of a difference. The pimples on my forehead are not as huge and angry. My jawline is what’s the worst part now. It’s looks like I have a beard of acne. Sigh. Well I will keep you posted as the month progresses!!

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