Its just a few weeks after officially using Curology for two months, and a lot has happened. About a week after my first month post, my skin went from the clearest it had ever been in about 2 years, to going completely bonkers.
Basically, I broke out (massively) all over my face, and it didn’t clear up for two weeks. After a week of it showing no signs of relenting, I messaged my derm who said that this sort of thing is very normal during the first three months of treatment. She offered some suggestions as well for special soaps that can help clear up skin infections (in case it was that).
During the first three months of starting a treatment like this, skin can show a lot of changes, like breakouts and dryness, etc, but until enough time passes, adjustments to the prescription aren’t really a helpful or a smart thing to do. The best advice is to just deal with what happens the best you can, and let the medicine do its thing until that starting period passes.
But frankly, I am no superhuman; my face looked so bad that it made me cry (and maybe more than once), and I ditched the medication for a few days while I figured out what to do about this super stubborn breakout. The breakout was bad enough that I was honestly thinking maybe the results I was aiming for were not worth a few months of this. I actually was considering perhaps phoning up a dermatologist in town, and begging them to do something, anything about my face. I thought it might even be a very strange allergic reaction. It was that bad.
But actually, ditching the script for a few days was exactly what my skin needed. After three days, the breakout was over halfway cleared up, and by the end of the week, was nothing more than a few spots here and there that could easily be concealed.
After messaging my derm some more about this (and shamefully admitting how I just about chucked the product in the bin), I reduced application to every other day, and now I wait 20 minutes after showering to let my skin “dry” before applying the prescription. This has helped tremendously in terms of managing the breakout that awaits me the second my skin dries out. Sure enough, the moment I apply it two days in a row, or skip the extra moisturizer, my skin starts going haywire again.
The funny thing is, although my skin did become drier the first month of starting Curology, that drying out seemed to have plateaued. My skin didn’t feel any more dry or dehydrated than it had at the end of the first month except for the tiniest bit. If my skin had started flaking, or exhibited more obvious signs of either dryness or dehydration, I would have easily put two and two together and realized that that was the cause of the small-scale war zone that camped on my face this past month. I think the level of dryness from the script was just my skin’s “tipping point,” where it was overly dry just enough to not be able to handle it. I’m still trying to figure it out.
For any of those out there struggling with acne, brought on by actives or just in general, try adding more hydration into your routine. As when I first began my K-beauty journey, it was a lack of moisture causing my breakouts, not excess oil. It may feel counter intuitive, but try adding some extra sheet masks or lotions into your routine for a few weeks and see what happens.
As of right this moment, since reducing application, waiting before applying, and adding even more moisture into my routine, my face is over 90% clear with just the few occasional 24-hour lifespan spots. Hopefully, what I learned over this living-skin-nightmare month can be of use to those currently struggling with acne and/or retinoid dryness.
You can use my invite link here to receive your first month of Curology free!
To find out more about actives, please visit this post. For more information about moisturization, please see my shopping for dry skin post, which includes important information about the dry skin type as well as tips, tricks, and product recommendations, and also see managing your moisturizing routine, which breaks down the types of moisturizers and their functions, plus how to use them to your skin’s advantage.