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Hello, I just wanted to post what has worked for me in the past few months, and hopefully this information will help some people. About 2 years ago I had awful skin. Severe cystic acne and an insane amount of oil. Finally, after trying many crappy products that didn't work (all of those 5 dollar OTC products, such as Neutrogena, were terrible and did nothing but make my face red and irritated. Yes it's cheap, but you get what you pay for), and a few prescription med's that did nothing (tetracycline), I decided to take Accutane. Wow. Anybody who has terrible skin like I did, severe cystic acne and lots of oil, don't waste your time and money with ineffective crap. Go straight to Accutane. By the end of my 4 month cycle, I had literally 0 zits on my face, and NO OIL AT ALL. I still had a bunch of red marks, and my skin was blotchy, (unfortunately accutane does nothing for that) but I was very happy because for the first time in years I didn't have to worry about huge zits and oil. I know a lot has been made about the side effects people experience while on accutane, and the side effects were awful, I won't lie to you. I think the side effects were worse for me than most people though. The first week I had a headache, for an entire week, which I know is due to the accutane because I NEVER get headaches, and when I do, they only last a few hours. Also, I had very minor stomach pains the first week. As I continued with the accutane, those two things disappeared, but then the real side effects kicked in. My skin was so dry that I literally had to wash my face and apply moisturizer before I ate anything, because if I opened my mouth to take a bite, the skin on my lips would crack open and I would start bleeding. This was particularly bad at the center of my lips and the corners of my mouth. I couldn't laugh for 4 months. If I did, the skin on my lips would crack and bleed. It was very difficult to even smile. Around the end of the first month, I noticed my hair was beginning to fall out. I wasn't going bald, but there was a lot of hair in the drain when I showered each morning. The skin on the back of my hands was extremely dry also, and I couldn't make a fist without it cracking and bleeding in about 10 different places. I had to apply moisturizer to both my face and hands every hour or so. I won't lie to you. The side effects were terrible. But despite all of that, it was absolutely worth it, because I didn't have any zits/oil anymore. And all of those side effects went away about a week or two after I stopped taking the accutane. And while almost everyone experiences those side effects while on accutane, most people don't experience them to the degree that I did. My skin stayed perfect for about 18 months, then very slowly, the acne started coming back. It was so minor that I barely even noticed it at first, maybe one small zit per week, and one larger cyst every month or so. But I didn't want to let it get out of hand again, so I decided to start taking other products to try to stop it before it got worse. I started using Retin-A Micro, which has worked very well. I used Retin-A for a little while, with some success, but I have very, very sensitive skin, and it was too harsh for me to use, so I had to stop. But the Retin-A Micro is great for people with sensitive skin like me. Plus, you don't have to wait 30 minutes after washing your face to use it, like you do with regular Retin A, and you just use it once a day before you go to bed, and wash it off in the morning, so it is very convenient. I would give Retin-A Micro an A- so far. I have been using it now about 2 months. I also started using B5. At first I was hesitant, but because SO MANY people on this board are using it, and there seem to be no side effects, and it was recommended by a lot of people, I eventually gave in. Boy, am I glad I did. I started taking 3 grams a day the first week, then upped it to 4 the next, then 5 the next week, and I have been taking 6 grams per day the last month and a half or so. I didn't experience any initial breakout, perhaps because I was taking the Retin-A Micro already. I am taking the Twinlab brand, and am also taking B-Complex, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Zinc. Lots of pills, but definitely worth it. With those two things, I have been able to control my acne great, I think I have had two small zits in the last two months since I started taking these two things, and haven't had a zit at all in the last month. I would give the B5 an A so far. I then started looking for a great cleanser that I could use in the morning and before bed. Every single cleanser that I have ever used has been too harsh, makes my skin red and irritated, dry and flaky. Then I heard about Sage, again from this website. I checked out their website, and decided to buy the Corrective Grains and the Facial Shampoo (thanks in large part to jad211's posts). WHAT AN AWESOME PRODUCT!! I got the Extra Gentle strength of both, and it has made my skin softer and smoother than it has been in the last ten years, and I have only been using it for two weeks. The first three days, my skin was moderately irritated, and I had some minor peeling on the third day, and I figured it was going to be yet another cleanser that was too harsh, but after that, it has done wonders. My skin is usually very bright red immediately after I wash it, and moderately red throughout the day, but the last week and a half, it hasn't been red at all, not even when I step out of the shower. I don't know what it does for acne, because the B5 and RAM seem to be controlling that pretty well, but if your looking for a cleanser that makes your skin very soft and smooth, and helps with redness/irritation, I would definitely try Sage. It is pretty expensive, I paid 35 dollars plus 5 dollars shipping for a 4oz bottle of Corrective Grains and Facial Shampoo, but you don't have to use much at all, and I am guessing that a 4 oz bottle will probably last me 3-4 months. If you go to their website (unfortunately I can't list it, but just do a search and you will find it), they have a special this month, until May 27th. If you buy an 8oz bottle of Corrective Grains and an 8oz bottle of Facial shampoo, each product is 30 dollars, they will sell you another product of your choice for just 5 dollars. I haven't tried any of their other products, but I am probably going to buy the 8 oz bottles of each, and get the 4 oz bottle of CG and 4 oz bottle of Facial shampoo for 5 dollars more. So you can get 12 oz of both products for 65 dollars. Sounds pretty expensive, but that will probably last close to a year, so 5-6 dollars a month is a really good deal. So far, I would give this product an A++. Sorry for the long post, but hopefully this will help some people who are looking for products that really work. I have tried many other products that were all crap, but Accutane, B5, Retin-A Micro, and ESPECIALLY Sage have all worked very well for me, and I have noticed that the Accutane, RAM, and Sage have also worked well for many other people on this site as well. Also, for my scarring, I have had 4 Saline Injections done by Dr. Sire here in Los Angeles. My scarring has improved by 60 percent, I would say, and you can only see my deeper scars now, of which I only have three, on my cheeks. The rest of the scars have completely disappeared. I have two more appointments left, (your supposed to go in 5-6 times) so hopefully once I have finished with those, it will be close to 100 percent improved. It is 90 dollars per session, and you go twice a month, so it is pretty expensive, but when you consider microdermabrasion is around 100 also, and not nearly as effective, it is well worth it. For more info on this procedure, check the post titled "Finally REAL help for indents and scars." There are something like 115 posts there, and 5 or 6 people that have tried it and have posted their results. Per month, I am spending about 25 dollars for the B5 and other Vitamins (B5 costs 12 dollars per bottle, you get 200 capsules per bottle, and I am taking about 12 capsules per day, plus the other Vitamins, but since I am only taking one capsule per day of each, those will last like 6-8 months each), 20-30 dollars for the Retin-A Micro (60 dollars for a 20 gram tube, and it lasts about 2-3 months), 10 dollars for the Corrective Grains/Facial Shampoo (35 dollars for a 4 oz tube which lasts 3-4 months), and 180 dollars for the Saline Injections (2 visits at 90 per month). So for just the acne products I am spending around 60 per month, which is a pretty fair price considering how effective all of those med's are. Hopefully this will help some people, and if there is anyone else out there who is using or has used any of these products in the past, please post your results. Any questions, I would be happy to answer if I can.

Good luck,
Randy





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