The (tretinoin) Purge


*disturbingly accurate representation of my clogs coming up

Every time Curology ups my tretinoin percentage the same thing happens: I slather it on my face, absolutely sure that a .02% increase really isn’t a big deal and my skin can handle it (spoiler alert: it is, and my skin can’t); then there’s a period of peeling, redness, tears, and my routine reducing to DHC Cleansing Oil and CeraVe Healing Ointment; and then (finally) a more measured approach wherein I stop all other actives, use Curology every other night, and let my skin build up a tolerance – exactly like Curology tells you to do when they change your prescription.

Clearly I never learn my lesson.

But the other part of this – the part that I hate, hate, hate – is that every time my tretinoin increases, really deep, really painful clogs come rising to the surface and frankly I just want to get it over with as quickly as possible.

And a lot of that is due to perception because aside from a few hormonal zits around that time of the month or misadventures in skincare (goddamn Tosowoong breaks me out every. single. time.) my skin is generally very clear. Having to suffer through the tret purging casts me – emotionally – right back to a time when I hated looking in the mirror because my skin was just so awful, even though the purging is pretty minimal now when I consider it objectively.


I don’t handle purging well

Of course a few weeks from now, when I’m back to my normal routine, and all that remains of the purging process is some quickly fading PIH my opinion will be a lot different. Unfortunately there’s nothing to do but wait it out, however impatiently.



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