Acne is a pain in the butt and we all have to deal with it.
I first started getting acne when I was about 14 years old. For about two years I had pimples really only on my forehead and it wasn’t even that bad. When I was 16 I noticed that my skin and my hair were getting more oily almost to where it was unbearable. Within a month I had tiny little bumps all over my cheeks which quickly turned to pimples. I never had acne on my cheeks before and I was confused about what was going on. I did everything the internet told me: drink water, get good sleep, exercise, and use 50 different hash chemicals on my face to get rid of the acne I had. I even switched to a silk pillowcase which was more comfortable than it was helpful. I also tried going all natural with my products but my skin was stuck in a bad cycle. I spent more than a total of $1000 on skincare products to make it all go away all while seeing a dermatologist. None of it worked for me until my doctor put me on Accutane. It worked wonders but was a long and painful process. Six months after I ended Accutane I got more pimples, but luckily they weren’t as bad and only lasted for 3 days. It was still too many pimples for my liking so I went on more topical creams which actually worked.
What Worked and What Did Not:
Everyone’s skin is different so my story won’t necessarily compare to yours. From my personal experience I learned that facial cleanser is the most important. You need something that cleans your skin without damaging it. For years I always had to have either a salicylic acid or a benzoyl peroxide wash. Then I took a step back and realized that maybe I shouldn’t be using these chemicals on my face. I have sensitive skin as it is and I’m only making it more sensitive. Those chemicals are irritants which in turn can cause acne. Acne is a mix of dead skin, oil, and bacteria. By using harsh chemicals that cause your skin to be dry you are turning your face into a breeding ground for acne. I ended up switching to gentle cleansers like CeraVe and Cetaphil, and there was an improvement but it was still missing something. I talked to my dermatologist and she prescribed me a sulfur based facial cleanser. This was the biggest game changer. My skin finally had its moisture back while not being greasy. The problem is that this was a prescription so it isn’t available to everyone, but there are some that are sold on amazon. Grisi Sulfur Soap is in the form of a soap bar, but contains similar ingredients as my facial cleanser.
Sometimes if I wear makeup I feel like there a little dirt still trapped in my pores, so to get an extra clean feeling I use a toner. You must be careful when using a toner because a lot of toners have alcohol in them, which will irritate your skin causing acne. Make sure to find one with natural or gentle ingredients without alcohol. My favorite one is the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. A good moisturizer is also a must and my favorite after trying many many products is the First Aid Beauty Repair Cream. Once again everyone’s skin is different and you have to find what works for you. I still highly recommend going to the dermatologist and focusing on what skin type you have.
Going to the Dermatologist:
Going to the dermatologist is tricky and really a hit or miss. A lot of dermatologist had a step by step process that they go through with each of their patients and they don’t always focus on the patients needs until they get to know you. Not all are like this, but from my experience they hand out the same perception to everyone in the same order. To prevent this I recommend doing your research first on which topical creams and oral medications you would be interested in trying then talk to your doctor. You know yourself better than your dermatologist. I would recommend staying away from taking any antibiotics for your acne, because they may help for a month or two, but then your skin goes back to normal and you end up just damaging your stomach like I did.
The most important thing to take from this is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I really thought I was going to have acne for the rest of my life, but I finally saw results. It is going to be a long process, but it will be worth it in the end. Your skin may not look perfect after you clear your skin. For me I had tons of scars, both red spots and indentation. I ended up getting one round of Fraxel laser treatment which I will talk more about in another post. Good luck!