A few months ago, I posted a photo on Instagram where I had no makeup on and about how my acne had cleared up. This is my acne story. I want to give you a glimpse of what I have gone through the past 12 years.I want to share with you the process, meds, natural remedies, the fight and tears I encountered. I’ve found solutions and a routine that is working for me now and has been for the past almost 6 months. Since I am a nurse, I am constantly learning pathology and physiology of the human body. So, I’ve done my fair share of research, reading, and studying into the very topic of skincare and the whole process around it. Also, there are some pretty good books I will recommend at the end of the post that go in depth about beauty and skincare. This is a lengthy story. There will be two parts. The second post will be short and about my current skincare routine products I now use, and some linked education material on skin.
My acne started at about age 12 and only got worse from than on. I constantly had red pimples flare up, whiteheads, nodules, cysts. I would just wash my face with soap and a cleanser, and nothing more.Years of high school were the worst. I had to wake up an extra 15 minutes early everyday to put on makeup and cover up all my cysts and acne. High school was bad enough, but add acne on top of the crazy emotional teenage years, and your self esteem and confidence go downhill. I would see my friends and sister with beautiful, gorgeous glowing skin and not one single pimple. I would miss youth gatherings, and events, because I would be embarrassed to go out in public. People told me the acne would go away as I got older. And no that did not happen.
I got to about age 19 and finally went to see my family Dr to ask for help. She started me on a course of antibiotics and topical cream Retin A (tretinoin a form of vitamin A). I didn’t understand what the cream was for, used it sparingly and later threw it out. After a few weeks, my acne was pretty much gone. Than of course, weeks later it returned. So, I refused to do antibiotics again because of the side effects, so Doc prescribed me birth control. I was on birth control for maybe 6 months. The medication actually worked,my face cleared up, and I didn’t have any bad side effects from it. But I did decide to stop the pills because of the potential risks of blood clots, and other risks and effects I shall not name. My Dr also told me my acne was not severe enough for ACCUTANE treatment and I could save it for a last resort. I thank God I never had to go on that. The medication has some severe side effects and can be very gruesome on your body.
Throughout all my middle, high school, and college years, I of course looked into natural treatments, organic facial masks, and DIY remedies for the face. It ranged from tomato juice, lemon juice, squished kiwi, yogurt masks, fresh oats, to whatever else is was out there. I even steamed my face to open up the pores. I used a few month treatment of Proactive, and Dermalogica. I had tried just about EVERYTHING. Except educating myself about how the skin works.
My worst case of acne was in 2011. One of my cysts turned into an abscess.Nasty, huge, pus pouring abscess. My chin looked like it shifted to the right. I thought I would lose half of my jaw. I went to the ER and they just drained it, no antibiotics, and sent me home. I had no insurance at the time,so a family clinic I had been going to offered and referred me to a free treatment by an amazing head, neck and ear surgeon. The end result was this:The surgeon drained it again in his office. No anesthesia or pain meds. My nerve endings in this area were so shot and damaged that I could feel no pain. He threaded the sterile packing strip through 2 holes and tied it together it so the wound would stay open and drain.And about 2 weeks later he took the strip out, put me on a course of antibiotics, the wound healed up beautifully. Still to this very day I feel no pain in that area.
From then on, I managed my acne with whatever cleanser was advertised in magazines and whatever people recommended to me. Last year, I started some deep digging into skincare, cosmetics and acne skin. I also discovered the book The Original Beauty Bible and Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me by Paula Begoun. These two books, along with studying about skin, have changed my whole perspective on how I treat my skin now, and also my husbands skin. Since then, my face has never looked better. My red severe pimples, whiteheads, and cysts are gone. Once in a while I will get a few pimples. But nothing like what I had been battling for years. My deep crater acne scars, and dark pigmentation are there with me to stay for the rest of my life. I’ve learned to accept how I look, and not be ashamed. Most days I go without slathering on foundation to cover up tiny pimples or flareups. I feel free stepping out go the house and taking a walk outside, knowing I’m not stressing out about my face anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE makeup… Shoot, I’m an active Ulta and Sephora member. I go on makeup hauls. I mean come on… it’s MAKEUP!!! You can never have enough of it. Anyways, I hope that maybe what I have learned and discovered out there may be able to help others out as they battle through their acne journey. Second part of this story ( current skincare routine) coming soon.
(My Skin Now)