The Acne Experiment


The Acne Experiment ::

The Acne Experiment is a series I started in August 2014 in which I test various "acne cures" on my face (usually in 1 week - 1 month trials), then publish my review with before/after pictures. These are ALL the Acne Experiment Posts so far (FAQs are below all the links):

The Prelims
Spot Treatments
Skincare Guides
Perioral Dermatitis (not technically acne, but relevant)

>>Wanna see all the posts in chronological order? Go here.

The Acne Experiment FAQs
  1. What's your skin type?
    I used to think I had combination skin, then I thought I had oily skin, and now I'm back to combination skin. My forehead and nose tend towards oily, my cheeks are normal, and my chin is dry, apparently. It's confusing.
  3. What kind of acne do you have?
    I get all kinds (cysts, blackheads, whiteheads) in mildish severity, but it can get quite lumpy if I'm subjecting myself to a no-good treatment. My forehead is the primary danger zone. I also breakout on my nose, chin, and hairline. I rarely get acne on my cheeks. I have (self-diagnosed dermatologist diagnosed) perioral dermatitis on my chin.
  5. What kinds of products did you use before you started doing this?
    Immediately before I did the no-face-wash month, I was using Trader Joe's All-In-One Cleanser and Devita Glycolic Acid. I used Retin-A for a long time before that, and a ton of other crap before that. This blog post has details on most of the biggies from my career as an amateur acne sleuth.
  7. What are you testing RIGHT NOW?
    Here, I made a thing for you.
  9. Why are you doing this?
    I do this because I love skincare. Sure, I could go see a dermatologist, get on accutane, or laser my face off, but that wouldn't be much fun now, would it?
  11. Are you a sadist?
    Honest Answer:  I'm a student in the school of self-deprecation.

    Job Interview Answer:  I do this publicly because it keeps me honest. Posting on a blog and saying "this is the next thing I'm testing" keeps me on the hook to follow through with a proper trial. It also encourages me to not give up before I find an ideal regimen.

    Miss America Answer:  I realize many go through this same journey in private. By sharing my experience, the lessons I've learned, and the information I've gathered, I hope might help other people on their own journey, if only a little bit.
  13. Are you a doctor?
    Hell no. Nothing I write should be taken as medical advice. This is a personal blog, so my reviews and guides are based on my own experiences and what I learned on the Internet (which never lies to me). I give sources (as links) whenever possible, but ultimately, this stuff is my opinion. I whole-heartedly recommend seeing a dermatologist if you can swing it.
  15. Are you willing to change your diet?
    I'll be completely honest with you: No. I know dietary changes help a lot of people, but I love sugar and cheese too much. My mom is a big time advocate of holistic treatments, so if she couldn't convince me, no one can. NO ONE. Okay... maybe I'll be willing to dabble in dietary changes eventually when my mind maturity surpasses my cheeselove. Until that time, maybe supplements?
  17. What will cure my acne?
    Everyone's skin and acne is different. I'll never say "This regimen is what you need to cure your acne," but rather, "This is what worked for me, this is what didn't work for me, and here's why I think that happened." I am, however, an advocate for systematic testing of different treatments, methods, and products; it's the only way I've been able to tell whether my skin reacts (or doesn't react) to different ingredients.
  19. I cured my acne. These are all the things I did to cure my acne. Why don't you do what I did to cure your acne?
    See my answer for #5, then #9. Acne treatment is not a one size fits all deal. What worked for you may not work for me, but I do like reading about other people's regimens.
  21. I read one of your articles in which you didn't like something that worked really well for me. Can I leave a comment about my experience?
    But of course. Be the yang to my yin.
  23. Will you test X product and do an Acne Experiment post on it??
    I wish I could test everything. Really, I love products and I wish my skin wasn't such a winey little B. You can tell me about something you like or would like me to try, but I aint promisin nothin.
  25. Why don't you believe in purging? My face totally purged when I was using X product.
    I do believe in purging, but only for ingredients that change cell turnover rates, like AHAs/BHAs and retinoids. I was taught that purging looks like little bumps and/or whiteheads in the areas of your face you normally break out in. I put everything else into the dreaded "breakout category." Sometimes breakouts last for a week, sometimes they last for a month, and sometimes they last FOREVER. Can skin recover, nay even improve after a breakout? Of course, but I do not call it "purging." (source, source, source)
  27. Why are you denying my personal experience?
    Because I am a dream maker and a dream taker. I will steal all your dreams from you while you sleep, most likely, because it's just easier that way.
  29. Pardon?
    I cannot deny someone's personal experience because I'm not a personal experience dictator or even an omnipotent, lightening-bolt-holding god. I also realize this creates a paradox, so if you want to think of me as a personal experience denier, that's your right.
  31. Your acne isn't even that bad. Why are you so vain?
    Woo! That's a complicated question, but I'll do the best to answer it succinctly: I'm vain because I am a woman and I live in America, where women are expected to have the skin of newborn babes until we die. Also, acne legitimately sucks, regardless of severity.

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  1. Love reading your blog! You are hilarious! And I also think you are a very good WRITER...entertainment, Wisdom, intrigue, all in Acne blog...😉😉😉

  2. You are so funny. Glad I came across your blog.

  3. I love your blog ! So funny and you are a really good writer also!

  4. I work at a laser place as a "esthetic RN". I've had acne since I was a teenager, real bad. I've been on everything besides Accutane. You know what cleared my face up? Pregnancy. Yep. And Breastfeeding. Now that I'm done with both I'm getting breakouts again. Not as bad though. I would recommend looking into "Clear and Brilliant" laser treatment. It's a "mini fraxel". No downtime. Takes care of hyper pigmentation from previous breakouts. It works wonders.

  5. You are so funny lol I'm glad I found your blog :)

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  7. Why don't you talk about Acne Experiment from an inside point of view?
    How did you manage to make peace with it? which you apparently are, otherwise you would have rushed to the doc and got accutane

  8. Oh hi, I am a jerk for never responding to all these nice comments. Thank you to everyone, you warm my heart always. @Miza -- I'm not quite at the "made peace with it" phase, but I'm better. I discuss this a bit in my Retin-A review here:

  9. I found my acne is caused by not only by hormones (yay for us women) but also a sensitivity to a few chemical preservatives in products. It started by being allergy tested...something I'd recommend to any adult sufferer. I'm 38 and still get acne if I use the wrong product(s) not only on my face and body, but my hair as well.


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