Up until the age of 18 I had perfectly smooth skin. Yes, a spot might pop up occasionally but it usually contained itself to one or two spots acne and that was it. I was incredibly lucky as my brothers suffered pretty severe acne around that time and continued to suffer into their 20’s. But me? I had a lucky escape, or so I thought. Fast forward to first year of college and my skin had an almighty break down; the affects I am still reeling from. Now I have to say my acne isn’t terrible but for me it was extremely difficult to come to terms with. More so because my skin had been so nice before. I couldn’t explain the sudden change. My eating habits were no different, and if anything I was exercising more. As I’m typing now, my face has broken out pretty much all over with my face my chin and forehead being the worse affected areas. It’s unpleasant to put it lightly.
It seemed like no matter what I did, the spots would not shift. Eating healthier, (though my diet was pretty okay in comparison to others in college), exercising more, washing by face properly did nothing. I couldn’t believe it because when my skin was good I actually used to scrub it a fair bit more than I should have and nothing ever happened. Yet maybe unknown to me that may have encouraged it later on. My acne was not down to stress, at least I don’t think so, I wasn’t ever overly stressed in college 😉 and even now post-graduation my skin remains unchanged (maybe a bit better). It’s something I still can’t resolve, can’t pinpoint what has caused it, what is causing it. That makes it more frustrating. A lot of people get bad acne that turns out to be down to not exercising/not drinking enough water/bad eating habits. For me it seems to be none of that.
The next step for me was to see if it was something hormonal at work. I got my blood tested but nothing came of it. I was perfectly fine. When I looked in the mirror though I could see that I was not fine but there was nothing I could seem to do about it. I tried first keeping it to topical treatments from the doctor and switching up cleansers. Initially (a mistake), I used facial scrubs. Take this from me, though you probably have figured this out because you’re not an idiot like myself, if you have bad skin please don’t use facial scrubs. All it does is irritate the skin and makes it the acne ten times worse. Ditto for any face masks that plaster themselves to your face. You’re scrubbing them to get them off and spreading bacteria and angering the spots. That caused me even more severe breakouts much to my horror.
Acne is difficult. Everyday I went to college I couldn’t ignore the spots, even if I couldn’t see them, I felt that everyone else saw them and thought “Her face looks really bad”. Especially with guys my spots became such a barrier I thought that not guy would look at me twice because of my acne. I know so many people have acne and most people didn’t think the way I was thinking they did but I couldn’t get pass that. The spots had (literally) gotten under my skin and it was hard to come to terms with the fact they weren’t going away overnight. I knew I’d have to go back to the doctor when I went into college one day and was so depressed about my face and acne that I turned around and went home (an hours bus journey).
So I went to the doctor and asked for anti-biotics. The first batch did little so I was prescribed another Monotrim, for 3 months. That did make a difference, my spots did not completely disappear but they lessened. I am reluctant to take something that compromises me or might harm my organs (Monotrim can be hard on the liver). So, anxious to get off them, as soon as my spots semi-cleared I didn’t go back for another prescription thinking I could handle them with cleansers.
I was wrong. The spots came back with vengeance; my forehead, sides of my face and chin broke out again. My forehead will most likely be left with slight scarring and hyper-pigmentation from breaking out so severely twice. I think that leaving the spots for so long and not going to the doctor made my risk of scarring and redness higher because I was repeatedly breaking out in the same places. That brings us up to now where I had been trying to treat it with Tea Tree Cream and a goat milk cleanser Ziaja that someone suggested I try. Simple facial mask has been surprisingly good as well. It’s doesn’t plaster itself to my skin and is quite gentle will still cleansing my face quite well. It has worked a little but again I’vereturned to the doctor to be put on anti-biotics so I will once again see how that goes. I probably stopped the first dose of anti-biotics too soon to really clear my skin completely and they came back. I honestly don’t know. I’ll keep the blog updated on my progress. I will be trying to really eat 100% ‘clean’ and exercise more frequently to see if maybe I wasn’t doing that really enough or for long enough to make a big difference.
My advice for acne would be: Go to your doctor if nothing else seems to shift them. While I completely understand people’s reluctance to be put on medication, (always talk through with your doctor about possible side effects you may be vulnerable to), for some it really is the only option. Some people are fortunate that they only need to change their lifestyle, not even dramatically, and the spots go away. For other it is not so easy but then again maybe that’s a cop-out. We’ll see. – Minseach