Getting very personal today about my experience with acne
This is a very hard post for me to write because it’s so personal. This is the reason I am so passionate about skin & beauty. Let’s talk about acne.
Here’s a little insight into my background with my skin. When I was about 19 years old I had horrible acne, mainly on my chin, but it would occasionally pop up everywhere. I had large zits, whiteheads, very clogged pores, and it HURT. I would think about my zits constantly because they were painful! Especially on my chin because when I would talk the skin would move and remind me that they’re there. I got to the point where I didn’t want to leave my house because my chin was red and inflamed ALL. THE. TIME. and let me tell you, it is a major mindf**k. I felt like everyone was staring at my zits and thinking that I was disgusting or dirty. I certainly felt that way.
This is when I began to research skincare products and treatments. I would spend every extra penny I had on skincare and facials, which was hard because I was on a very tight budget.
Everything I would research said that the acne on my chin was hormonal. OK great, what does that even mean? Is there a magic pill that makes my hormones go away? No, but there is birth control! Awesome, so now I’m insecure and spiked with new hormones… cue, crazy Lauren. I’m not one of those people that handles hormones well. I know when my body feels off and birth control made me feel even worse. So after 9 months and trying 2 pills and the Nuvaring, I stopped birth control. Oh, and it didn’t help my acne, at all. So there I was with my “hormonal acne”, insecure, and broke with the most impressive skincare collection any 19-year-old has probably ever had.
*Many years later I learned that acne on your chin can also be related to stress… Hah well, what college student doesn’t have stress? *
I would get a facial as often as I could and my esthetician was SO amazing. It was kind of like therapy hour because, 1. She saw my naked skin (and even touched it, ahh gross), and 2. We would talk about life, school, boys and I felt like she was more of my friend than my esthetician. She would give me a discount (she says it was for students but I think she just felt so bad for me because I was trying so hard).
This is probably where my tolerance for skin pain began. She would basically spend the whole hour doing extractions – that is the proper term for squeezing and cleaning out your face. Let me just tell you- Extractions HURT. Especially on your jawline or cheeks. I remember people would say how excited they were to get facials and I never understood it. I was excited to see my esthetician, but definitely not excited for the facial. Here’s the funny part, even after a facial my skin wasn’t better. Because it was red & inflamed from all the extractions! It would usually take 2-3 days for those to calm down, then I’d have better skin for 7-10 days, and more pores would re-clog and I’d be back at square 1.
Another reason I loved her was because she would explain what products she was using and what the ingredients do. I gotta say that I’m probably the most annoying patient for any spa service I because I always ask what they are doing next. What’s this product? What’s in it? What does it do? I really test people’s knowledge (and probably their patience- hah). But I’d always want to know what worked.
Ok anyways. After trying every product I could afford and getting regular facials for 2 years I came to terms with this being my life. I was going to have acne forever and always feel insecure about my face.
Then, my old roommate, who had cystic acne all over her face, went on Accutane. GASP! “But its so bad for your liver, but you have to get monthly blood tests, but people feel suicidal from it, but you can’t go in the sun”… Whatever! Good for her. She experienced many of the side effects. Her skin got super dry and sensitive and she would burn just thinking about the sun.
We have completely different skin types. She is pale and freckly with dry skin and I have oily skin that tans easily.
I went to her dermatologist and after he put me on a slew of antibiotics, and the topical creams Retin-A, and Differen he finally decided my acne was stubborn enough to put me on Accutane! I did the full treatment which is six months long. I saw him every 4 weeks to take a blood test and pregnancy test. Accutane is no joke. It is a final straw for any dermatologist to prescribe and most are reluctant to do it.
After years of struggling with acne, I conquered it! Accutane worked! I didn’t have any of the side effects, but I did take it seriously and I would do it again 100%.
I felt so empowered to actually have control over my acne. Plus the timing couldn’t have been better because I finished Accutane as I graduated college and moved back to San Diego. I was so much more confident to go on job interviews and landed my internship at the House of Blues!
I still break out and have at least 1 zit at all times, but it doesn’t bother me. It used to consume my mind, now it’s just a minor annoyance.
That’s the reason for my blog. I want to make you more comfortable in your skin whether you want to learn about products, you need help with redness, or you’re considering Botox… ask me about it- I’m happy to help! I mean, I’ve basically tried everything.
And by the way, if you ever see someone that is struggling with acne, compliment them on something like their beautiful hair, or pretty eyebrows. Because as women we are ALWAYS working to look our best and a little compliment goes a long way! Even to this day, it blows my mind when people compliment my skin- I’m learning to accept compliments.
Products I’ve tried and love for acne:
Also if there’s ever anything you guys want to know about me leave a comment below.