Firstly I'd like to say welcome to my blog.
I decided to write this blog to keep track of breakouts, treatments, experiences as an acne sufferer so far.
I find reading blogs very helpful, as it's nice to know you are not alone in the struggle with your skin. When my acne first decided to introduce itself to my life not everybody had access to the internet, so i would have found blogs like this very helpful.
Lets get started......
I was 14 when I broke out in acne, not knowing how long the struggle would continue to take over my life (I'm now 30)
I pretty much went from having perfectly clear skin one week, then the next week my face was totally covered. I woke up one morning and noticed I had a cluster of spots on my cheek, which was odd as I never got spots, I never even wore make-up. Then the next morning I woke up with spots on the other cheek. As the week went on it has spread to my my forehead and chin. I was horrified!
Obviously the bullying started, 'Urrrr what's wrong with your face' 'spotty bitch' 'don't you wash?' were some of the most frequent comments.
Then there was the hassle I got out of going to school, with people staring and kids making comments. I actually hated myself so much. All I would do was think of the day when my skin would be clear again.
I would wake up in the morning and the first thing I would do was feel my face to see if it was smooth again, I'd think that maybe by some miracle my acne had just cured itself over night. It never did of course. Then I'd go have a shower, trying to avoid looking in the the mirror, then I'd cover my face with foundation, not that it made any difference, if anything I would look worse. I wouldn't look in the mirror until I had covered my face in foundation.
Every time I'd look at my reflection my heart would just sink. I'd meet my friends at the bus stop, put up with the nasty comments (mainly from kids from other schools) then get to school and make sure I'd avoid any mirrors, and even windows so I wouldn't have to see my reflection.
I'd rush to get home at the end of every day and wash the make up off my face. Then I'd cover my face in face mask, mainly because I didn't want my family to have to put up with looking at my hidious face whilst they were eating their dinner.
I would just hide away, I'd never answer the door, or make any plans to go out with my friends. This was back in the mid/late 1990's, so although the internet was around, we didn't have access to it in our house. I had no outlet, I just needed someone to talk to who understood what it was like to go through this and how they coped.
I would have weekly trips to my GP, who at first just gave me some cream to try, which did nothing accept burn my face. So not only was I covered in acne, my skin was also flaking and cracked, which just resulted in more nasty comments.
I was then put on very high strength antibiotics, which I had a terrible reaction to. Which meant I had to take over 2 weeks off school, this medication just zapped all the energy out of me. It was terrible.
I went to see a dermatologist who suggested I go on the contraceptive pill to help balance out my hormones, but I chose not to go down that route only being in my early teens. So I just decided to let my acne run it's course.
I can remember being at my lowest at christmas, it was the first time I had seen many of my cousin's who were all very young. I can remember one of them saying to my aunt that they didn't want to sit next to me at dinner as they didn't like my ugly face. I couldn't hate him for saying it, he was only 5 and was just saying what everyone else was thinking.
I even considered covering my face in bleach in the hope it would just burn the acne away.
The thought of spending christmas day with a room full of people just filled me with dread. So, on the christmas eve whilst going through my usual routine of washing my make-up off and applying my face mask, I took a razor blade and held it to my rist.
At this point, I had been suffering from acne for almost a year, tried everything that was available that I thought would help and had just hit a wall. I couldn't see my face ever getting better, and didn't want to go on living the horrid life of a recluse.
I pressed the blade in enough to break the skin, then I heard my nan calling me down for dinner and I just kind of snapped out of this weird haze that had filled my head. I coverred the cut on my rist with a long jumper and went for dinner.
That christmas came and went pretty fast. I think my dad had had a word with my family so they knew not to take any photos of me. I guess the only good thing about having acne during this time was that there were no camera phones! The absense of social networking was also a plus, as it meant that I could just hide away, people wouldn't be taking photos every 5 minutes and uploading them online.
To this day, there are no photos of me with acne, so I dodged a bullet there. God bless the 90's!
I'd say it was just over a year and a half before my skin started the process of clearing up. I was using a topical gel my dermatologist had prescribed for me which helped with the redness but didn't really clear up the spots.
I guess my acne just naturally ran its course.
I was left with scarring, mainly on my cheeks, my left side was worse off as that was the side I slept on so the heeling process was lessened (or so my dermatologist told me) Even now I always try to sit next to people so they don't sit on my left.
But, after going through full blown acne, a few scars were a small price to pay.
I had a good few years acne/spot free. All throughout college I hardly got any spots, I gained so much more confidence and made a lovely new group of friends.
When I was 20 I got my first 'serious' boyfriend. It was also this year that something awful happened. My acne returned! Just on my cheeks this time. I was just devastated, I was convinced my boyfriend would dump me, but he didn't! he did cheat on me though, which just convinced me that it was because of my skin. This is something that has stayed with me ever since. I am convinced that no man will ever want to be with me for long because of my skin.
After being put on the pill the acne on my cheeks seemed to clear up within a few months, but again, I was left with scarring.
I then had probably my longest period without the acne returning. I went about 5 years with clear skin, then the last few months of my universty degree I broke out in spots, just on my chin and around my mouth, upper mouth and my shoulders and upper back which had never happened before.
I was prescribed Zuac gel, which seemed to help but dried out my skin so bad, so I mainly just used it on my shoulders. It was during this time, I met the love of my life. He saw through my skin to the person underneath, I would often apologize for the state of my skin (I still do this now) and he would just tell me to stop being silly and that I was beautiful.
After about 5 months the spots gradually retreated, but I then began getting cystic acne breakouts around a week before my periods. The cystic acne was just relentless, NOTHING got rid of it. I couldn't burst them, make up wouldn't cover them and they were so painful.
But, I learned to live with just getting the occastional cystic spot once or twice a month, after all anything is better than full blown acne right??
It was during this relationship I decided to adddress the issue of my scars. I decided to give microdermabrasion a try. I payed just over £300 for 10 weekly treatments. I have to say, although it approved the appearence of my skin, the scars were pretty much the same. I personnaly wouldn't recommend this as an effective scar treatment.
4 years in to our relationship we sadly seperated. this was the worse time of my life, I couldn't eat, lost nearly 2 stone and to make things worse than they already were my cystic acne just took over my entire lower face. I also started getting these small bumps under my skin, like blackheads but they were white not black. If I squeezed them they turned to spots, if I left them they turned to spots, I just couldn't win.
I am now 30 and have had the problem with cystic acne/small bumps on my chin/mouth area for almost 2 years now. This is now taking over my life. I never thought I'd be a spotty 30 year old.
I started dating again, having to cancel many dates because of breakouts. One date I went on was just terrible. We went to a pub on the riverside, perfect date some may say, but to me it was my worst nightmare. I tried in vain to convince him to sit inside, but it was such a lovely sunny day he obviously wanted to sit outside. Most of you must agree that natural daylight is an acne sufferers worst nightmare! Anyway, we were sat there with our drinks, I could see that he was looking at me, and then just blurted out with 'did you have bad skin as a teenager?' i just wanted the ground to open and swallow me up. Funnily enough I had no massive spots that day, so it was my scars he must have seen. This then just fuled my paranoia even more. I actually have zero confidence now.
This guy soon made it clear he wasn't interested and started going out with someone much prettier than me and with clear skin, something I will never have it seems.
I am in a new relationship (we've been together just over a year) and my skin has just been such a burden on the relationship. I have cancelled so many nights out because of a bad breakout. When I try to explain to my boyfriend how I just want to hide away when my skin is bad, he tells me to stop being silly and that nobody will notice. Maybe they won't, but in my head I will always be that 14 year old girl being bullied and looking discusting.
I have now also started to get spots on my shoulders and back again.
We have just returned from a weekend away and typically I had a terrible breakout, the days leading up to the trip I smothered my face in Duac gel which made my skin flake. So I spent the whole weekend feeling like crap because of my horrible spotty flakey face. I kept apologizing to my boyfriend and promising him that one day I would have nice skin again. I didn't even bother bringing any nice clothes to wear as I just feel there is no point in even trying to look nice.
The last few months I have started to have Dermalogica prescription facials. They haven't really helped stop the breakouts, it's just nice to have my face properly cleaned and I love the extraction part, I love knowing they are getting all that crap out of my face.
I would say that have spent thousands on various products over the years. I have listed some below -
Clinique 3 Step Programme - this just dried out my skin and didn't stop any breakouts
Dermalogica Clear Start - made my skin worse!
ProActive - terrible! I was COVERED in spots after only 2 days of using this treatment
Eating a very healthy diet of fruit, veg and fish + 2/3 litres of water a day - no difference at all
Clear Complexion Tablets - no difference
Marvellon Contraceptive Pill - no difference
Dr Organic Snail Gel - Seemed to work for a week or two but my spots soon returned
Clearzine - I did notice a huge difference with my cystic acne, it pretty much cleared up after almost 2 weeks. The only side affects were that it makes you poo A LOT! and not a nice colour poo either. Sadly, the company that produced these pills changed their production method. They said that the ingrediants were the same but my cystic acne returned not long after taking the newer version.
I am currently having micro dermarollers once every 3 months on my scars, I'm yet to notice any huge difference but I have only had 2 treatements to far.
So, I have now come to realise that my acne is most likely a hormone problem. I had my bloods tested a year or so ago, as I was feeling very dizzy. I was told that I had a vit D deficency, which can also be linked to acne. After doing some of my own research many acne sufferers have vit D deficencies. So I have been taking 3 high strengh vit D tabs daily. This has helped a little with the cystic acne but not with my spots in general.
I have now decided to rid my body of any unnecessary hormones. I feel that rather pump myself with contraceptive pills I want to go back to my normal natural levels. So, I am having the coil fitted, so I will no longer need the pill and I have just ordered some 'Magnus Cactus' vitamins. After reading reviews of these vitamins they seem to have helped so many acne sufferers who have stuggled with their skin in their adult years.
I feel that all the doctors I have seen have never really tried to get to the root of the problem, rather just chuck pills and creams at me.
I just feel there is nothing I can do for my skin on the outside, it's the inside that I need to sort out.
I will keep you posted!......................