Wednesday 18 June 2014

30 Before 30 Update - Taking Serious Care of my Skin

When I decided to start this blog, I had envisioned it to revolve solely upon my 30 things to do before 30 list.  Well that ship has long since sailed, and after taking a long hard look at my original list, and all the subsequent tasks still left to be done, I decided that I need to get a move on it - I am well into my twenty ninth year!  The next task that I chose to get started on is an ongoing ordeal that I have been dealing with since my early teens - taking care of my skin or, more specifically, dealing with acne.  Read on for the full story.

I have had some sort of acne for the better part of my life, usually mild but it has worsened in my adult years.  Having adult acne is nature's cruel joke - just as you hope and pray to hurry into your twenties where you've been reassured will be the time that you grow out of it, it takes on a whole new level of gross.  Having acne in your adult years lends to some pretty uncomfortable social situations - try being the girl that always wears makeup to the beach and pool, or rethinking an impromptu social invitation due to a particularly bad breakout.  Not only do I deal with pimples, my face is a war zone of scars of pimples past, making me very guarded with who is able to see me sans makeup - don't even get me started on my ninja-like secret makeup application moves when first starting to date a guy!  Years of feeling self conscious have left me fed up with the entire situation and ready to make a serious move to get my skin under control.

After waiting over a month for a referral from my Doctor, I finally had an appointment with a Dermatologist last week.  I was happy that this particular doctor was open to listening to my concerns with more aggressive treatments, specifically Acutane - I'm just not comfortable with the side effects that go along with some of the more severe (albeit more effective) acne treatments.  Plus you can't drink at all on Acutane, and Mama loves her gin so it was a deal breaker.

Enter Epiduo (or Tactuo as it's called in Canada).  This topical gel boasts the power of two acne-fighting ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide and  Adapalene, supposedly very effective in clearing up even the deepest of cystic acne (notice all the little white bumps that I have all over my top photo - those little guys become irritated and develop into large, swollen, red spots from hell.)  The dermatologist went on about the additional benefits, but she had me at 'cures cystic acne' and it was everything I could do not to rip the prescription out of her hands and sprint my way to the nearest pharmacist to get it filled.

There is a catch though - the topical gel does take a minimum of 8 weeks before you start to see any results at all, and things will get much worse before they get better.  I have been applying a pea-sized amount of Tactuo every night for a week, and already I am starting to feel the beginnings what promises to be an epic break out  brewing.  My face is also quite dry from using the gel, but this is a side effect that I was expecting based on the reviews that I had read online.   No matter what the side effects, I am committed to using this gel diligently, and am hoping to report some sort of improvement within the next eight weeks.

Do you suffer from Acne?  What have you found that has helped keep adult acne at bay?  I would love to hear from you!




  1. Hi Joelle!
    The only positive thing about acne (can there really be a positive??) is that you're never alone in the battle. I battled cystic acne all throughout my teen years, and to top it off, I had an awful dermatologist.
    She believed that we should try every single topical cream and oral pill before trying Accutane. Fair enough, but we spent years and countless appointments doing that. It was unbearable.
    Finally she agreed to Accutane. No, the side effects aren't fun. Dry skin, sensitivity to sun, monthly blood tests. But my acne totally cleared up.
    Then the treatment ended, and it all came back. Instead of doing a second round of Accutane right away, as is recommended for these cases, she wanted to try all the creams and other pills again. A couple more years and giant toll to my self-esteem. I finally got fed up and got the prescription from another physician. My acne has been great every since.
    I still get the occasional breakouts and I have to be super careful of what I put on my skin. But Accutane isn't all that bad considering the results.
    Tactuo wasn't around back then, so I really hope it works for you. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your experience with it.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. That sounds like an AWFUL dermatologist - good for you for putting your foot down and seeing another doctor.

      I'm hoping that Tactuo works as well - I've seen results with topical medications in the past but always end up getting lazy with the application and then the acne comes back. I think that I have learned my lesson and will keep at it, even after I -hopefully- see results. I keep on hearing so many Acutane success stories, and even my derm sung its praises - I definitely may have to revisit it in the future.

      Glad to know I'm not alone! Thanks for the comment :)

  2. Hi Joelle!

    I have had serious cystic acne since I was in elementary school. I have battled my entire life with wearing too much makeup, crying because of the embarrassment. Finally after sitting around my fitness group of friends, literally crying because Proactive had burnt my skin and the pain was unbearable, one of my friends suggested I go see her doctor.

    He put me on Accutane. The three months I was on it were hell. Dry, cracked skin, I had eczema on the back of my hands. Honestly, it wasn't fun but when it was all said and done, for the first time in my life, I could walk out of the house without a layer of concealer, foundation, and pressed powder to cover up my skin.

    As someone who loves her drink too, I have to admit I had to cut back on the amount I drank, but my doctor said "as long as you're not getting wasted" you'll be fine. Accutane takes a huge toll on the liver so I can see why, but if you limit your intake to like, a couple on the weekend you should be fine. Also you have to do it in the winter months where your not exposed to sunlight all the time, so maybe if by October if you've not seen the results you're looking for, maybe give it a thought.

    I now use Tactuco for those here and there break outs (I get one always on the corner of my mouth a few on my four head) but as someone who suffered BIG TIME for my whole adult life, I still think Accutane is the way to go.

    Now when my boyfriend and I are running to the store, I just need blush and mascara to leave the house.

    Looking forward to seeing your progress!!


    1. Oh! And I also just wanted to say something about the side effects of Accutane.... If you read online there is a mirage of horror stories out there about all the ill effects of Accutane. I spoke to my doctor about this and he said the majority of those horror stories comes from misdiagnosing Accutane to people who don't have cystic acne. Honestly it wasn't that bad, three months of dry itchy skin and now for the first time in 20 years I have clear skin!

    2. Thats good to hear about the mis-information about the side effects, I've heard awful stories about the side effects ranging from mild depression to suicidal thoughts and it definitely played a part in my decision to seek an alternative. I think I will do as you suggest - give Tactuo a fair try and revisit Acutane in October if I don't see the results. Thank you so much for all the advice and your comment, it really means a lot!

    3. Hey Joelle! How has the Tactuco been working for you?

    4. Hey Charlene! The Tactuo has been working relatively well - I definitely don't have perfect skin, but my breakouts have reduced drastically and are definitely not as bad. So not perfect, but I am definitely happy!

  3. My adult acne is also much worse than what I dealt with in my teen years. I started using a Clarisonic last year, and it seems to help my skin. When my skin starts to get really bad (usually with the change of seasons) I will go for a series of 'mini-peels', usually opting for BHA or salicylic acid. Or I will go for a microdermabrasion facial which really helps to smooth my skin out. The plus side is, both of these facials have anti-aging benefits, as well! Bonus!

    1. Isn't adult acne the worst?? I think that I'm going to try a series of micro dermabrasion as well. I had a micro facial once and absolutely loved the results - but was just too lazy to book another appointment!

  4. Great post,love!xx
    You have an amazing blog?
    Would you mind checking out mine?
    keep in touch xoxo


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