PART II: My Personal Acne Journey

It’s taken me some time to finally openly discuss my acne struggles. As I mentioned before in part I, having acne-prone skin doesn’t just have its physical effects but emotional and mental impressions as well. In part II of this skincare series, I will discuss my acne problems and 3 things I do to help keep my skin clear.

As it commonly does, my acne started once I hit puberty stage around 11/12 years old. At first, I dismissed it as just another part of growing up, going through “changes” and that it would eventually go away. It started out as just small pimples on my cheeks, chin and forehead so I would just use over-the-counter facewashes and acne creams. If I was too impatient, I’d pop them with my hands which was a very bad idea because it only made it worse and left blemishes! Over time, especially during my late teens and early 20’s, I noticed that my acne became more cystic, painful, and prominent on my jawline, chest and back. Most ladies (and gentlemen) can understand that going through natural body changes can be tough enough; dealing with visible acne on your body can really take a toll on your confidence and your willingness to socialize with others and I was no exception.

During the time when my breakouts were the most intense, I would consult with my doctor and dermatologist who prescribed me everything from birth control in attempt to regulate my hormone changes to a very powerful medication called Accutane. I remember the doctor who prescribed me the Accutane describing my acne as “legions of severe nodular acne,” -I could’ve just about died!  I didn’t want to take Accutane because of the textbook-long range of side effects. I still had hope that my acne would clear as time went by. As I got older, since I wasn’t seeing any results, I decide to take matters into my own hands by learning about my own skin,  what causes my breakouts and what I can do to make it better.

One of the first steps towards treating my acne was not to. I decided to stop with the doctor’s prescribed medications, my monthly supplies of infomercial acne treatments and generic facewashes I found at the local drug store. First, I incorporated more water and changed my diet to include more natural ingredients. Cutting out artificial sugars and high fat foods really improves your overall health not just your skin and that small change alone proved to be very helpful in clearing my acne. Second, I incorporated tea tree oil in my skin regiment. Whether it’s cleansing my skin with tea tree-based soaps or mixing the natural oil with water to use as an astringent after washing my face, tea-tree oil is still a very important part of how I take care of my skin while preventing and treating breakouts. Finally, I learned how to do things that help me de-stress. Stress is a very common reason why people breakout. For a long time I had very bad acne along my jawline (as seen in the “before” picture) and not knowing that stress was the culprit behind my painful breakouts only made the situation worse. I took on spinning classes at the gym and meditation to help me de-stress from my day. Doing something every day that allows you to maintain positive energy is certainly an effective was to curve a breakout.

When I was younger I obsessed over my skin and I still do. However, time has taught me to change my attitude about my acne-prone skin. Learning and maintaining simple ways for keeping my skin healthy helps me keep my confidence even when my skin is “having a moment”. I’ve definitely learned that a single pimple or even a full-on breakout is not the end of the world and hope that I can share this lesson with others.

*In part III of “ACNE: Skincare’s Dirty Word” series, I go into more details about different treatments for acne some of which I still do till today and there will be some helpful tips when dealing with your own breakouts.