dealing with unhappy skin: Retin-A + clindamycin review

I have always had problematic skin. Nothing too horrible, but with the exception of my time with the Mirena IUD, my skin has never been 100% clear. Most of the time I will have a handful of blemishes, coupled with constantly uneven skin texture and a mottled tone from the scars. It’s annoying and kind of gross. Over the past six months, my skin has taken on all sorts of awesome changes, so I finally made my first appointment with a dermatologist. He prescribed four different meds for me, two of which are specifically for mild acne. (The other two are for a sudden onset of eczema. WTF skin, I hate you.)

I have been using this combo for just under two months now. The first day was impressive – my skin immediately felt smoother. After that, shit went crazy. Not in a bad way, but I never really knew what to expect. First, my skin “purged,” meaning that a lot of zits popped up. My skin was incredibly red and it almost looked like I had hives on parts of my face. My skin became even more sensitive to product than usual. Applying the clindamycin twice daily was excruciating. It felt like I was stabbing needles into every pore. The peeling started a few days later.

I kept my face makeup free for the first week. Day 6, I attempted to apply the foundation I had been wearing without issue (note: “without issue” meaning I had no adverse reactions on my skin… I actually kind of hated the stuff as far as coverage/look goes).  It burned like CRAZY. I put the makeup on at work, which was so stupid, because I had no face cleanser. My face has always been intolerant of regular soap, so I just wound up washing it off as best I could with plain water. My face was tender and raw the rest of the day.

The peeling came and went over the next few weeks, and I could see improvement in my acne. What does pop up is very small and only lasts a day or two. There are days when the peeling is really bad.  One day, it got to the point that I felt the need to scrub it off. I was too harsh with my tender skin and wound up having a significant open, raw area on my chin for a few days. Super great, let me tell you. At the 6-week checkup, my dermatologist told me I’d see even better results in six months, so I’ll post another update then. Maybe. If I remember. Ha.

The absolute best products I have found for keeping my tender skin happy:

Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser: This shit is amazing. I will buy this product until I die, unless they stop making it, immediately after which I will die. After I wash with this, my skin is  smooth, matte, and perfectly clean. And a little bit goes SUCH a long way. I use between a pea and dime sized amount, depending on if I have makeup to remove or not, and how lazy I am (always).

Thayer Witch Hazel Rose Water AF Toner: Nothing too exciting here. Alcohol free toner, refreshing without burning. It even moisturizes a bit.

CeraVe AM Moisturizer with SPF30: Again, this is about as boring of a product as you can buy, but it does what it is supposed to. It’s a tad bit thick and smells like sunscreen, but it gets the job done.


One thing I have not found is the best foundation for my skin. I am pale with chameleon skin; no one shade has been able to match in all light (sunlight, fluorescent, my bathroom). Is this a common thing, or am I crazy? Well, we all know I’m crazy. But does anyone else have this issue and any suggestions to deal with it? I’ve been dying to feel “put together” with my makeup on, and nothing has done the trick lately. Help!


One response to “dealing with unhappy skin: Retin-A + clindamycin review

  1. Pingback: manic monday: hot mess follow up | hot nonsense

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