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System II or III, what is best for my skin?

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While I'm really excited to try KAVI products, and planning to purchase a regimen today, I do have a few questions because, as anyone who is dealing with acne knows, it's frustrating and wallet-draining to have to try numerous regimens, so I want to make sure that when I buy KAVI products, I am getting what is most suitable for my skin type.

 

Here is some background (sorry for all the info, but thanks in advance for your help!): Female, blonde, fair skin I would describe as slightly sensitive (I've never broken out in a rash on my face from any products I've tried, including salicylic acid scrubs, but my face/chest/back do get a little red after gentle washing), 21 years old, no medical conditions, on no medication besides Nystatin (essentially an anti-fungal, not designed to treat acne, is not absorbed into the blood, very mild and not contraindicative) I experience whiteheads and cysts/papules on the lower half of the face, along the jaw, and just under the jaw line, but never blackheads. Because of this, hyper-pigmentation, also some very mild pitted scarring on upper cheeks from teen acne. Occasional pimples on the chest and back. Uneven skin texture on face where acne not present (millia? I can't recall the term, but the numerous, tiny, colorless bumps all over the skin). Large pores.

 

I have had moderate acne since I was about fifteen. It began on my forehead and for the last six years has slowly drifted down my face through high school and college (anyone else have this experience?) where it now rests along my jaw and lower cheeks. I have virtually no acne above my lower face (if you drew a lateral line across my face, my acne would begin below my nose and the base of my ears). Around the time I turned 21, my acne became what was for me very bad; painful, inflamed, large cysts out of nowhere. I am not sure what to attribute this to, the development of adult hormonal acne or a result of a vigorous change of diet and lifestyle I began at the beginning of 2011 to be more natural and organic and to -help- my acne, which meant I dropped my old stand-by regimen for a natural skin regimen not highly targeted for acne. When I was much younger, I tried prescription peels and laser treatments I can't even remember the names of, and I tried Differin and Proactiv and I think briefly an antibiotic. This was all at least four or five years ago, and I can speak much to its efficacy because I was young and not strict with my skin regimens.

 

What depresses me is that my skin now, with my so-called "healthy" lifestyle, is -much- worse than a year and a half ago in college, during which time I slept in my make-up all the time on pillow cases I never washed. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, drank alcohol and milk/coffee/sugary drinks, indoor tanned, and washed my hair/used body products with what I now understand are harsh and potentially aggravating chemical ingredients. You couldn't pay me to do that now, I shudder thinking about what it would do to my face. These days I wash my face religiously, gently, morning and night, wear no make-up, switch pillow cases/sleep shirts nightly, avoid fabric softener, use natural shampoo, conditioner, and soaps and oils for my body (which has responded beautifully, the rest of my skin is perfect!), I eat a very healthy, pure diet of single-ingredient meals (avocadoes, steamed vegetables, organic Alaskan salmon, brown rice), take supplements recommended for acne (A, C, B-complex, Zinc, Omega 3-6-9, Garlic, Iron on my period, and a whole food multi-vitamin for a synergistic effect, all within optimum recommended intake dosages for my condition, along with Nistatin, an anti-fungal prescribed by my allergy doctor to treat potential candidiasis), and do yoga from 1-2 hours a day (I am even in the process of becoming yoga certified). I saw an allergy doctor to determine if I had severe food allergies; none were severe but I cut out eggs and wheat/barley/rye/oats (gluten) on top of my long-standing no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, no dairy, no soda/fast food/junk food diet. I also saw my OB/GYN for a hormone test to assess my testosterone levels, but they all came back normal! I wanted to cry, the only interesting result was that I was slightly potassium deficient, which can exacerbate acne, and so I began supplementing potassium for the last several weeks with no positive effect.

 

I still think my acne is hormonal by the nature of my break-outs (lower face, seems to be worse during my period, etc), perhaps a sensitivity to testosterone even if it is not elevated. I can't say my skin was perfect or even good in my early college days, maybe I just ignored it by wearing so much make-up all the time. My only genetic clues are my brother and mother. My brother's acne was much worse than mine and all over his back. He's clear now at 22 going on 23, and cleared up naturally when he was around my age. My mother however is tricky to figure out since she also had acne as a teen but spent most of her adulthood on birth control (in part to control her acne) which she says cleared her face wonderfully. I was on birth control from the time I was seventeen to nineteen, during which time my acne persisted and was pretty bad. I chalk it up to the kind I used, low estrogen to progestin ratio and high androgenicity. I am not currently on birth control though I am considering a low dose of spiro given that hormonal treatment cleared my mother's acne.

 

I am excited about KAVI products because the ingredients mirror what worked (at least, my skin was better then than it is now) for me in the past, before I ditched my skin regimen for a natural one. I was on Rodan + Fields Unblemish regimen, which has a sulfur wash, toner, and 5% BP treatment. I used this with the Neutrogena salicylic acid "stress power-scrub" between wash and toner. I used this regimen for several years between high school and college, and not even use it devotedly. Like I said, I slept in my make-up all the time and hated having to go all the way down to the dorm bathroom and wash my face at night, and my skin was *still* much better than it is now. I think sulfur and salicylic acid are good actives for me, nervous about a lack of BP, even though I was never a BP junkie I suppose. This regimen never dried me out, though I did have very, very oily skin and hair.

 

After I dropped Unblemish, I played around with a lot of products (this is just now since March or April of this year). I tried a bunch of herbal washes, as well as using carrier oils and essentials (tea tree, lavender) and I hate to say it, but those failed miserably, even though I was using them as directed and being gentle. I am allergic to ragweed, and so a lot of "natural" skin-care simply won't help because of the heavy reliance on herbs, it seems. I was spending hundreds of dollars and felt terrified because I was going in blind every time and felt uncomfortable not being on an actual regimen that was formulated to work in combination. I remembered that the Unblemish wash was 3% sulfur, and so now I am on the fifth week of a regimen of: sulfur bar to cleanse (Sul-Ray, with aloe vera and 5% sulfur), pure rosewater hydrosol to tone (just rose-water with purified water), and moisturizing with a mix of aloe vera gel, glycerin, and essential oils (lemongrass, tea tree oil) that don't irritate my skin. What HAS worked with this regimen that I have never achieved anymore is eliminating excess oil. I simply do not have oily skin anymore. It's not overly dry either, or tight. I would describe it as normal, but with acne, and still all those tiny, minute little bumps that make even my clear skin look like crap. I was optimistic that I had completely altered the balance of my skin, and thought, in time, acne would simply stop without all the excess oil. It didn't. I'm still breaking out in cysts on my lower face.

 

I'm at the end of my rope here. I have tried to be patient, I know I'm only five weeks in with this regimen I designed for myself, but I have been making significant steps forward with my general health since January, and barring my reckless early college days, I am in general very clinically healthy, slim, athletic, and have NO other conditions besides this. I just can't understand why it is getting worse and it's literally consuming my life.

 

My questions are, what would be the best KAVI regimen for me? Is it one of the systems available, or should I buy certain products for my own system. I need to control the cysts on the lower half of my face, and I want to reduce the hyper-pigmentation left behind by those cysts. I want to control the little skin bumps all over, and -maintain- my acne-free forehead/t-zone/upper face. I don't want to dry my skin out because like I said, because of what I'm using now, the skin isn't oily. I definitely don't want to break out all over my face starting something new. System II has the retinol for uneven skin tone and texture, but system III has the salicylic acid 8, and I don't know which is best for my skin.

Also, when I do get a regimen, should I use each step all over the face, chest, and back, or are there certain products I should just apply to my "bad" areas? I know that people who use a lot of BP may have an adjustment period switching to this with some initial breakouts. Right now, I have only this week been using my old Unblemish 5% BP sparingly as a spot treatment because I'm so desperate to get rid of these horrific cysts/papules.

 

Also, I have not taken any yet, but my OB/GYN agreed to prescribe me Spironolactone, beginning with the lowest dose of 25 mg, which rarely is enough to cure acne but allows for a gradual increase to a higher dose (50) with less irritating side effects. I have considered this drug for months and done much research on it. I am not an impatient person, but I feel that I have tried everything else and that I am in a very low-risk category for users of a medication like this. Will this combine poorly with a KAVI regimen? I want to start KAVI immediately, but I also know that with Spiro I'll be on the low dose for five or six weeks during which little is likely to happen anyway. My thought is that if KAVI significantly improves my skin in that time, I can ditch the Spiro, but if not, then I'll still be able to bump up a dosage after a significant trial period with KAVI without having to delay Spiro for another six weeks.

 

I'm sorry this is so long and congested, it's only that skin-care is expensive; it costs a lot of money, and a lot of time. I'm willing to invest both, and for the long haul, if I know that there is a good likelihood it will actually help me. I have a lot of faith in KAVI, the support forum is great and these regimens seem to make a lot of sense from a chemistry perspective. I've never used hyalauronic acid before, I've heard of it as a powerful and beneficial active, and I've also never used a topical retinoid (or internal, for that matter, I will never ever go on Accutane). I'm nervous about these products but also excited. I just want to be sure that I'm taking advantage of these products in the right way; like everyone else on here, I want the best possible combination to give my skin the best chance at being normal, soft, smooth, and not something that constantly ruins my quality of life. I'm sick of hiding in my house and feeling like I look dirty to people who see me in public :\

 

Thank you for reading all of this. I'm really excited at a new chance for good skin!!

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Thank you for the detailed post: additional information can sometimes help with a better set of product recommendations. KAVI anti-acne systems are often the best place to start for many, however it does appear the cleansers in these systems may be too strong for you over the long-term and, because your acne is isolated to the lower region of your face, it is not necessary to use a medicated cleanser on the unaffected upper region.

 

We would recommend you look into one of our milder pH-balancing cleansers, however. Maintaining pH is a key preventive measure against many types of reactive skin conditions, including acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and others. Most off-the-shelf cleansers are alkaline (pH > 7.0) and, for those whose skin cannot regulate its pH as efficiently as needed, regular use can lead to symptoms ranging from dryness and itchiness to full-blown breakouts. The KAVI Glycolic Cleanser 10 (pH 4.0) can be used twice daily, will help keep your skin's pH within its natural range (typically 5.0 to 6.0), and is suitable for sensitive skin.

 

For treatment, we would recommend the Organic Sulfur Suspension and Salicylic Acid 8. The former should be applied up to once per day on affected regions and the latter once per week. If your skin shows any signs of inflammation or redness after the peel is removed, consider skipping application of the Organic Sulfur Suspension on those days when you apply the salicylic acid peel. Regularly monitor your skin for dryness and reduce application frequency should you observe any adverse reactions to treatment.

 

Finally, for hydration we would recommend both Hyaluronic Acid 95 and SPF30. Hyaluronic Acid 95 may be applied up to three times per day and SPF30 as often as needed. Even though SPF30 is technically an SPF, it is also a very effective non-comedogenic moisturizer and may be used in the evenings as well. If your budget does not permit both moisturizers, go with SPF30.

 

The above regimen should hopefully give you the results you seek. Once your acne is in remission, switch to a maintenance cycle with the Organic Sulfur Suspension and Salicylic Acid 8 (e.g., once or twice per week for the former, once or twice per month for the latter), but do continue with the Glycolic Cleanser 10 and remember to always keep your skin hydrated: though you are only 21, you certainly want to ensure what you are applying to your skin today does not lead to the onset of premature aging in the future.

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Thank you so much for your detailed reply! I know there was a lot of information to digest but I'm glad I didn't just rush into one of the systems if it is going to be too severe for my skin. Between the glycolic cleanser, sulfur suspension, salicylic peel, HA moisturizer, and SPF lotion, I have only three questions then: 1) Do I not need a toner then? I see that there is a balancing act in ph level with this regimen, so I understand that a toner would be sufficiently replaced by the treatments following cleansing, but thought I should ask anyway 2) Do I use each product on the whole face, even unaffected areas, and can I use this entire regimen for chest and back as well? 3) Do each of these products come with a set of instructions on usage? I would hate to be too aggressive or too light and have my results suffer on account. Thanks so much and I'm proceeding to order! :)

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On question (1) - The Toner is mild enough, however it may make more sense if you are also dealing with blackheads and smaller whiteheads. Since you are not, it would be best to keep the regimen simple.

 

On question (2) - You can apply all non-treatment products anywhere you like, however keep the treatments (Organic Sulfur Suspension and Salicylic Acid 8) only to areas where you have a problem with acne.

 

On question (3) - Yes, they do. The Organic Sulfur Suspension's instructions allow for application up to twice per day, but in your case, we would advise you not exceed once per day since your skin is sensitive and not too oily.

 

Feel free to ask any other questions and do let us know how things work out for you.

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