First of all Happy New years! I hope you all have had a great start to the new year. It's the perfect to start over, and be the best version of you! For me? I celebrated the new year alone at home as the rest of my family members went out to the city to see the fireworks, which I didn't really fancy. Instead I laid back on my bed with my laptop and a glass of iced coffee to keep me awake.
So first of all, this post will be my story and my ongoing battle with this horrible thing called acne. It affects many guys and girls at pretty much all ages. I'm here to be honest with you guys as much as I can and maybe help you in some way. Just a warning, this will probably be a long post.
Where it all started...
I first knew about pimples and acne from others around me having it. This was during the holidays just before my new life in high school (middle school for you Americans) and I was about 12 then. And so I started getting small bumps all over my forehead. Like your typical pimple with a proper head (maybe TMI). Alot of my friends started getting pimples which was fine, but I slowly noticed that I got more than all of my friends, and my mindset slowly became very blue on my self esteem. So this gave me a new look, a side fringe to cover all of my spots. At this point, I pretty much knew nothing about pimples, where it came from and what I could do about it to stop it from happening. After a few months, they where getting worse. They started to become larger and the horrible habit of picking on them created scarring. With the concern of my parents and others around me, I started using Proactive. The good old Proactive which is used my many acne sufferers and seen on TV lots. I did notice a small reduction on pimples and the severity of them, but after about 6-8 months of use, there were no effects.
After about 2 years or so, I noticed that pimples were no longer coming up on my forehead, instead I noticed little bumps on the sides of my jaw, like little peas. And these, now I find out that they were the under-the-surface acne. I still had no knowledge of pimples and the science to it, and my young mind thought that if I tried to squeeze them they will come to the surface, that they will go away. And boy, was I wrong. Instead I just created horrible bleeding and scars all along my jaw. And what was worse, was my school was a make-up free school, which meant that I could not cover my skin. And this was the most depressing point in my life. I didn't go to the toilets to avoid mirrors, and when I did go I wouldn't look at my reflection. And at home, everytime I would look at my face, I would think to myself 'I'm a complete monster'. I would avoid any eye contact with anyone. And what made my self esteem worse, was the fact that pretty much all of my friends where in that minority of only getting the occasional pimple, and I was the only one that was suffering from severe acne.
This continued until when I was about year 10 (16 years old), where I told myself 'This can't go on!'. And so I went to my local doctor for a remedy. At this point I was thinking 'this decision will heal my skin and get of acne forever! goodbye pimples forever!'. But again... I was wrong. I was prescribed a topical treatment, which was a 10% Benzyl Peroxide cream. I used this for a while, but there were side affects to this. With constant use, it literally burned my skin. Some days, I went to school with red, flaky skin which was super sensitive. Then I started to use less of the cream, less often and went to Benzyl Peroxide face wash. I didn't notice any difference with my skin, but I continued use until I finished the bottle.
By the last year of my high school year, I did notice my severity of acne calming and I still remember the day where I went to a wedding in the middle of the year, and I didn't have to have any acne cream on my face. I did still had spots, but they were very minor, and I didn't have this less of spots since the first time I suffered from acne. And so I thought, yes! This horrible thing is slowing down and is going away! But again I was wrong.
The first year of university came. With the stress, and the exposure of smokers in the city made my skin explode in pimples. And I'm not even joking. Pimples came from all directions and was all over my skin, and also in places I never got pimples, such as my chin, nose, in between my brows and under my nose. There was not a surface of my skin that didn't have a pimple and it was honestly painful to touch. And my self esteem went plummeting down again. I still couldn't look at people and I couldn't look up to show my face. With shopping centres around me while I go to classes, I bought more make-up and tried to cover my face with it. But this didn't cover what I wanted. Some of the scars covered, but the bumps were still visible. This continued for 1 whole year.
As second year was approaching, I just couldn't take it any more. I told my doctor I wanted to try something else. And this was my introduction to an antibiotic. In January that year I started taking Minocyline after my meals. And I did notice a slow decrease in pimples and the severity. But after 6 months, I was still getting pimples, and I was still depressed. And in November of 2013, I started taking the pill. Yes the controversial pill. Within 2 weeks of using it, I didn't notice a difference in my skin, but man was I angry. The smallest things pissed me off and I was always angry.
It is now January 2014, and it's been almost 2 months since I started the pill. I have noticed a dramatic difference, and I haven't had such smooth skin in years. I can honestly say, the decision to go on the pill has been the best decision I've ever made, and I regret not doing it earlier. As of today, I do still have very minor bumps, but for once in many years, the number of pimples is enough to be counted on one hand and I haven't been able to do this in literally years.
I think that one of the most depressing stages of my acne life was about 2 years ago. I don't see my relatives much, so whenever there is family gathering, I would be happy to see them, but instead of hearing 'Hi, how have you been?', it was 'Hi, oh gosh what's wrong with your skin? Are you washing your face? Have you been to the doctors?'. Whenever I heard this I would just ignore it and walk away, and even thinking about it as I write this makes me mad. I still hear it to this day, but I know that my skin has changed for the better, but what they see is the scars from all of my suffering. I can honestly say during the last few years of suffering from acne, I DID NOT HAVE OILY SKIN. I've heard from everywhere and from everyone, that your skin gets oily and you need to use products that are catered for oily skin, and you should wash you face twice day, and all of this crap. But I can honestly say my skin was dry, at least on the surface. My skin would get dry, flaky and all of the things that come with dry skin. I haven't heard anyone experiencing this, but I guess it's just because everyones skin is different. I used products for dry skin, and people kept telling me' ' you're doing the wrong thing, it's only going to make it worse'. And I knew they were wrong because when I deprived my skin from moisture, my skin would only get drier (my skin felt extremely tight when I was my face even just with water) and I got more pimples. And I knew that the only person that knew the most about my skin was myself. Don't trust what others say, and 'listen' to your skin.
So what was the main cause of my acne? GENETICS, thanks to my mum and dad who BOTH had sever acne while growing up, they passed that gene to me. Thanks mum and dad.
So what now?
I'm still going to continue with taking the pill, but the one thing I'm worried about now is that once I'm off it, the acne comes back in full force. I still yet to be able to go out in public without make-up, but I am now comfortable enough with just BB cream. I do have deep, dark scarring which will take months to heal, but I'm just glad that I don't have any indents in my skin, which some people can get when suffering from acne. Although I'm not fully happy with my skin, right now, I'm just happy that I've seen some sort of progress. To be honest, it makes me furious when I hear people in real life as well as online saying that they suffer acne, yet they only get enough pimples that they can count with even two hands. Whenever I think about when I really suffered with acne, I would just cry to myself, to even wish I was in there shoes. I still am quite depressed with my skin even though my skin has improved dramatically, because the scars on my face are a reminder that this war hasn't finished.
The best advice for someone suffering from acne?
-Go to your doctor as soon as you see a change in your breakouts and discuss the options you have.
-Don't listen to people around you who 1. probably don't know what your going through and 2. Don't know how your skin reacts to different conditions.
-Remember and take note of how your skin reacts to different conditions and try to change those factors that may be a factor in creating pimples. This can be anything from make-up, skincare, the environment, diet and exercise.
-Understand that sometimes, it's not the products that you use. What I mean by this, is that the product in your skincare or make-up, or whatever topical you put on your face can be the thing that's causing pimples, but it may also be the best routine you can ever have and it won't create pimples, but it won't get rid of them either. Sometimes it's just your hormones.
-Do your research. The one thing I regret not doing was research. Understanding how they come about, how to deal with them, and most importantly what type of pimple your getting and where your getting them can play a big determinant to how to deal with them.
- Don't pick! No matter what you do, don't pick! or even touch your face!
I know I will probably suffer from acne for the rest of my life. To be honest, even writing this post is nerve racking. I've been thinking about taking note of my story ever since I started this blog, but I decided to do this to record my story, and help anyone that is suffering from sever acne like I have, even if I help one person I would be forever thankful.