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The Differin Diaries: Month Two

Welcome back to my "diary" of my experience being on Differin. The first installment explains what Differin is—essentially, a topical retinoid used to clear up acne. It's available only by prescription, so if you're interested in it, see a dermatologist. And as always, this is just my experience; everyone's skin is different, and only a doctor can work with you to see which treatment is best.

Now that I've been on Differin (and Klaron, an antibacterial lotion) for a little over two months, I'm definitely seeing an improvement in my complexion. At first, there was some peeling, but it wasn't painful or red. That's stopped, and now my forehead and nose are almost completely clear. Although I still have a tiny bit of congestion around the hairline, it's minimal, and I haven't had a horrifyingly large pimple there in at least a month.

To find out where Differin isn't doing wonders,

The only problem spot that remains is my chinny-chin-chin. It's not that Differin doesn't have an effect; it does. The blemishes sprout faster than they did pre-Differin; I'll feel one coming on in the morning, and by the time I go home after work, there it is in its pustulent glory. So I guess that's a good thing, since the zits rise and fall quickly. Additionally, when I do have a clogged pore, it clears up with just the lightest touch of pressure.

Still, it's frustrating that while the rest of my face is mostly clear and healthy-looking, the chin is like a little oil field. Part of the problem is due to hormones, I'm sure. And I could probably be more consistent with my exfoliation schedule. I'm going to remember to exfoliate the chin every other day, and maybe this will improve things. Plus, I've been using my Zeno Pro in hopes that it will help kill some of the acne bacteria. I'll give it some more time and let you know how it goes.

Join The Conversation
stopoil stopoil 8 years
Alright. Differin may work a little, but lets get real people. Accutane works the best. But it's side effects are way worst than differin. If you wanna get rid of oily skin, look into Vilantae. It isn't a spot treatment or a face wash. It is really just like accutane, but it's actually safe to take with out crazy side effects. You can keep taking Differin if you like, but I'd rather get right to the point.
calliope calliope 9 years
I'll be interested to read your next installment to see how the Differin is working out now!
allimd01 allimd01 9 years
All that and I forgot one thing. I use Neutrogena gentle exfoliating wash in the baby blue tube/bottle. It really exfoliates without irritation. I only use it a couple of times a week because the Differin exfoliates on its own.
allimd01 allimd01 9 years
I just have to add my 2 cents as a lifelong acne sufferer. I'm in my 30s and have tried everything from antibiotics to Accutane. The most important thing I have learned is that your skin changes as you age. So what worked for you at 17 may not work at 27. I am now currently using Differin along with Duac which is a combo benzoyl peroxide and antibiotic cream. It is the BEST. For people interested in Differin, there is a cream and a gel formula. Use the one that suits your skin type best. I use the gel because it penetrates more quickly and I have combination/oily skin. The cream formula is more moisturizing. Also, there are two strengths, one more gentle and the other more aggressive. I am also on birth control pills which has helped more than anything else in controlling my acne. Of note, my boyfriend also uses my Differin and Duac combo as well as his Proactive. His skin has never looked better since starting Differin. Keep in mind that the bacteria on your skin can become resistent to antibacterial solutions, even just benzoyl peroxide. You'll probably have to change products throughout your life to keep it under wraps. One more point, then I'll shut up. Although I have acne, I also have sensitive/dry skin. Those two things don't intuitively go together, but the biggest mistake I made in my 20s was attacking my skin with super drying, super aggressive products. That just made everything worse. Now I use products that are anti-inflammatory and calming, preferably with no fragrance. I like Aveeno's foaming face wash for sensitive skin and I use Alba Botanicals Aloe and Chamomile oil-free moisturizer. Thanks Bella for pointing out that Differin is anti-inflammatory. I did not realize that, but it makes sense since those types of products have calmed the dry, redness I got with previous acne treatments.
lizmarie lizmarie 9 years
Hy hy, I have been using Differin gel for over 6 years!! (since I was 15) :) and I can tell you it takes maybe 4 months.. but after that ur skin is really clear and clean (including when ur hormonal). Seriously, I wouldn't survive without it. In the begining it dries out ur skin a bit, until 2 month later u get used to the use, then with about 1 year I started using it less and less (to once a day).. then I forget some days (maybe one day yes one no) and still no spots :) Plus, in my case, it really helped against black spots (reduced about 30%) And one thing that is really important is the previous washing, so I use Avene Gel (the turqoise one in a clear bottle) as Lustrine was too harsh. PS: my dermatologist is my best friend's father ;)
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 9 years
Bella- my sister is a vegetarian and an active member of PETA so I know alllll about vegetarian alternatives lol... and yes you're right, the vegan cheese is pretty good! She has recently turned me onto tofu in a big way, so maybe I'll have to try to cut out dairy and see if she can teach me to love veggie cheese too! hehe :D
PennyCheesecake PennyCheesecake 9 years
I love love love my Differin. My only caveat is that it seemed to increase the growth of my (ahem) chin hairs...maybe it is hormonal?
jayavr jayavr 9 years
I eat lots of yoghurt. Your doctor is right, yoghurt is chock-full of good bacteria for your body. The only thing Ive really cut out is milk. So no more lattes, no more milk in coffee, ice cream, milk-shakes, etc etc. I do however eat a lot of chocolate. Ive pretty much cut out cheese as well, which has been much harder for me since I love it so much!
1love 1love 9 years
I'd never try it in fear of a reaction!
kerish kerish 9 years
Diffrin is good ..but it i sooooo over priced ....get the same benifits by using Benzac 5/10 % or Panoxyl..the gel form is better.... I have done so much research to cure my acne !! Also the same active ingredients. benzac is kind of a generic version of Diffrin except for on particular ingredient which is found in most skin brightening product ..dont remember what it is right now but it start with a T.... anyways the same stuff is in Proactive .....except u are pushed to follow a routine which u should anyways u are basically paying for the routine!! DISCLAIMER ^^^PLEASE NOTE iAM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR ...SO DO NOT CONSIDER THIS A MEDICAL ADVISE ^^^ my doctorate is in web research ...specifically for designer looking clothes at less than half the price.
belle_ belle_ 9 years
I started using Differin last week and my complexion has definitely improved alot, but my skin is super dry in some areas. I put neosporin on the dry spots, and it's working really well... Sorry about your chin, though D:
bgirl bgirl 9 years
thanks dearmisspriss, im gonna check it out! <3
luckyflip luckyflip 9 years
i used differin for a couple of years. some parts of your face get worse before they can get better. the differin forces all the bacteria and bad stuff to come out. stick with it and eventually the breakouts on your chin will calm down!
jmast jmast 9 years
I used to use Differin but it didn't do much for me. Now I just use Desert Essence Organic Australian Tea Tree Oil for large zits and their face wash. I also just got the DermaStyle laser pen from Lumiport. I sometimes use MD Forte Glycolic wash and lotion since it helps exfoliate my skin.
DearMissPriss DearMissPriss 9 years
herjoiedevivre, or anyone looking into exfoliators , one that is really great and not that well known is EpidermxII by Naturederm. It's a microderm cream that's ok to use everyday. It's a little pricey ($25ish) so I don't use it everyday...but I don't think I'd need to either. It honestly works better than my Clarisonic. It helps me a lot with clogged pores...the main reason I break out is because I'll try to extract, and then the area gets inflamed. You can get a sample from their site (it lasts few days).
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Ah, I'll do a post on exfoliators soon, but right now I've been working my way through Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion in a Jar. It's OK but way overpriced for what it does. I also like the exfoliant that Bliss makes. I used to use St. Ives scrub, but the particles are too rough on my skin. I've heard that cutting out dairy has a lot of benefits (for your complexion and otherwise.) I don't drink milk at all, but I have yogurt maybe every other day, and I love cheese. I'm a vegetarian, so I want to say that vegan cheese is amazing, but—don't hate me, it's just not my particular taste. ;)
herjoiedevivre herjoiedevivre 9 years
I use differin, benzaclin, yaz for acne and sulfa bactrim...oy. I'm in search of a good exfoliator; which one do you use bella?
ajah ajah 9 years
i have not used differin, maybe i should try it. i've tried benzaclin, which caused my face to swell up like a red beach ball. retin-a micro worked for me for a while. i find it interesting that so many people have cut out dairy in order to reduce acne. i'm not a big dairy-consumer; i never drink milk. however, my dermatologist told me that my breakouts are caused by bacteria infections under the surface...and i remembered that yogurt contains really good live active cultures that get rid of bad bacteria. so i've been eating yogurt everyday for the last couple of weeks, using pure tea tree oil on my skin, and a neutrogena at-home peel 3 times a week, and my skin is the clearest it's been in a long time. i'm still always looking for the next best thing, tho...
alillee alillee 9 years
I've been using Differin too, but it wasn't really working for me. I mean, yes, it was clearing up my skin but my face burned all the time. I guess my skin was just too sensitive for Differin. I've got a new prescription now (I don't remember the name though) so maybe it'll work!
bgirl bgirl 9 years
i am also curious about some good exfoliators...i've tried a few but i haven't been wow'd by many of them. which one do you use bella? which ones work well?
lizzard40 lizzard40 9 years
I use differin. A couple things that I don't think have been mentioned: A. My dermatologist had to send a letter of authorization to my heath insurance company because I'm over the age of 25. Apparently, differin is being used to reduce wrinkles and insurance companies want to make sure patients are really using it doe acne. B. In terms of not being able to get your eye brows waxed if you are on differin. Just stop using it around your eye brow area 2-3 days before your appointment. Put bacitracin/neosporin on it after if your skin is very red.
JDLNeil JDLNeil 9 years
I started it on August 10, and I see major improvement thus far. Of course, I'm still on the Solodyn and the Benzaclin, but supposedly the Differin is really what helps. The blackheads on my nose are gone, as are all the small pimple bumps under the skin that would not come to a head. My pores are smaller and my skin looks wayyyyyyyy better than it did. I'm on Differin .3, the stronger gel. I've been through different phases of peeling, but things look to have stabilized for now. I'm so happy.
I'm not going to lie. I was eating a piece of cheese as I wrote the comment above. I'm not strict but I definitely stopped putting milk on my cereal and coffee and it's made a difference. I met the proactive ladies (the dermatologists) at Nordstrom's once and they said that hormones are the only cause of acne so going on the pill is the best bet (which I'm not into). They were really sweet and botoxed within an inch of their lives.
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