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Living with Acne :(

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Hello everyone,

So about a week ago I went to my psychiatrist for my monthly appointment. I asked him to write a letter to my dermatologist that it was okay for me to go on accutane. He wrote it, no problem, but he had some interesting advice to add: switch back to concerta (my original ADD medication that I took from 2003 to August of this year). For the past 3 months, I have been taking vyvanse in the am and adderall in the pm. According to my doctor, amphetamines (which is what vyvanse and adderall are) can cause odd things to happen to patient's skin. He has had clients who have never had acne before get terrible cystic acne all over their faces. He said that chest/back cysts are even more common.

So, I've been back on concerta for the past 4 days now, and my skin is definitely clearer. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, my skin is actually better when I wake up in the morning. My skin has probably cleared up ~40% (which for me translates to about 50 lesions), and it has only been 4 days. I'm actually crying a little as I type this because I am so happy.

I'll keep you posted on future improvements. Wish me luck :)
Skin Update:
So I think my skin might be better, on average today. While I still have probably 25 cysts, no new ones popped up today. Not fabulous, but I'll take it. I think I have a few new whiteheads, but honestly it's hard to even be sure. Could it be that bare minerals was the culprit after all? Maybe. It could also be that I haven't been eating much due to anxiety. For some reason, not consuming enough calories has helped my skin clear up in the past. Or it could just be random.

Some Reflections:
I've been pretty anxious today. I was going to go to the grocery store, but, in the process of putting make up on, I got so discouraged and grossed out by my face that I took it all of and decided to just stay in the comfortable quarters of my room. I've started taking Paxil subsequent to breaking out like crazy. It helps a bit, but I don't know if it's possible for me to be both conscious and not upset about my face. idk. I know I shouldn't isolate myself, but going out into the world makes me miserable.

I feel like in some ways having acne has made me a better person. Definitely less vain. I used to be pretty/attractive, and I knew it too. I think I'm nicer than I used to be. I used to love that I was pretty, that people were jealous of me, and so on. But now, I look back on that, and I'm embarrassed that I used to be so shallow.

I'm going to do some yoga, write my statement of purpose for graduate school, pretend that I don't feel well so I don't have to go to my friends birthday dinner, and try to cheer up a bit. Maybe I'll drink some wine before I go to bed. My skin is out of control anyways, and it is a Saturday after all.

I'm currently sitting upstairs in my bedroom, pretending to be too busy/tired to join the party going on downstairs in my house (I'm in college). In reality, the thought of going down there and showing off my acne ridden, irritated/picked face makes me incredibly anxious, and so here I am.

I have sever acne. The crazy thing is that I never used to. I turned 22 and my skin starting freaking out. It's been 8 months, and it only seems to get worse, no matter what I do! My skin's not oily and very sensitive. I mean VERY SENSITIVE, which really limits treatment options. I am going on accutane in a month, and, while I'm optimistic, I'm nervous about some of the possible side effects. But honestly, I'd rather lose all my hair and get IBS than have acne like I do now for the rest of my life. So, I'm going to do it.

Today, I want to talk about Bare Minerals. From a non-acne point of view, the stuff is absolutely great. It covers like a dream and has an iridescent but not overwhelmingly shiny/glitter finish. However, I'm starting to wonder if it's breaking me out. Here's what happened:

August: Purchased bare minerals and began everyday use
August: Began Retin A treatment, tolerated it well... at first.
Mid-October: Got terrible breakout on forehead and jaw (Every pore that could be inflamed/clogged/form a cyst was/did -- seriously 200+ zits one morning, out of nowhere. It was a nightmare. The confusing thing was that I hadn't done anything differently)
Late-October: Stopped using Retin A, no real change
Late-October: tried vegan, no preservatives, no carbs, no dye diet -- seemed to work at first, but results didn't last
Current: cut back on face washing to reduce irritation

I read about acne caused by cosmetics, and was intrigued by what I found. Specifically, that this type of acne can take months of cosmetic use to show up. I have pretty sensitive skin, and two ingredients in Bare Minerals, mica and bismuth, are known to cause irritation/acne. Bismuth can cause cystic acne, which is my main problem. So, I went to the store and bought new foundation/concealer. The products I picked were Physician's Formula powder foundation and a liquid concealer. The powder foundation is formulated for sensitive skin, it has five ingredients, is bismuth free, and contains only trace amounts of mica. The concealer is less certain to be safe, but I can't go without a concealer (ugh).

Today, I got 4 new cysts on top of my already broken out face. One cyst is in it's early stages, lurking underneath my skin, and it's about the size of a nickle. I'm really excited for that baby to erupt out on my forehead. It's going to be magical :( The second cyst is in a really weird location. It's on the very top left side of where my nose meets my eyebrow. The third and forth cysts are on the bottom of my jaw where they're hardly visible, but wow can I feel them. One of them is HUGE, and it hurts.

[b]So idk how long it would take for me to start seeing improvement if Bare Minerals was the problem. Has anyone stopped using Bare Minerals and found that their skin improved? If so, how long did it take? [/b]