At the peak of my obsession, my daily routine included scrubbing my face with Clean & Clear “Advantage Clear & Soothe Daily Scrub” and “Morning Energy, Shine Control Daily Facial Wash”, wiping my face with Clean & Clear “Shine Control Daily Facial Lotion” and Neutrogena “Blackhead Eliminating Cleansing Lotion”, moisturising with Neutrogena “Pink Grapefruit oil-free moisturiser”.
Basically, if a product was in the Boots acne section, I had tried it. If it had the words “Daily” or “Oil-free”, it was mine.
After all this face-washing I would quickly proceed by wiping a dash of rosemary oil over my face.
I always wore make-up so to try and prevent this being a cause and reason for my acne to appear I found various foundations claiming they helped get rid of spots while wearing it. Win win for me.
In the evening it would be worse though (yes that was only the morning...), I would again scrub my face, use face masks with ingredients such as Rosemary, Witch Hazel and Tea Tree, wipe my face with 70% alcohol wipes, use benzoyl peroxide 2.5% cream, after it dried I would wipe glycolic acid 10% over. And then tea tree oil and lavender oil and finally Clearasil “Overnight Serum” and Champneys “Purify & Balance Night Serum”.
I didn’t just stick to topical treatments. I took 3 acai berry tablets, 2 zinc tablets and 1 evening primrose oil tablet a day to fight my lumpy skin. I have to say, the acai berry tablets, bought from Holland and Barrett are great, they made me feel so energetic.
I ran up and down the stairs as much as possible. It wasn’t because I particularly liked exercise or wanted to lose weight. More that I had read sweating helps get rid of acne. I have no idea if this is true because I ended up giving up on that. Sweating was not what I enjoyed.
I had had acne since I was about 12. I am now 17. However I wouldn’t really call it “acne”, it was more just spots covering my forehead and chin that I would squeeze until blood oozed out and scabs formed all over the place, nicely covered up by foundation, so obviously no one could see anything. I also had blackheads on my greasy nose which were also quite enjoyable to squeeze out. This I have to mention. I could never find any other stories on this site with the same type of skin as me: very oily and small pimples in the T-zone, which I thought was weird because it was fairly common but maybe everyone else wasn’t so bothered.
Acne.org made me even more obsessed, most of the products I used were ideas from this site. I didn’t care though- it made me feel good that I might be so close to getting rid of them. Turns out I was right.
I must state I live in the UK, so free healthcare and all, I didn’t pay for any of the following “treatment”. So finally I went to the doctor and cried over how much I hated my skin, the doctor looking at my face trying to actually find a pimple with so much make-up covering them. I was prescribed Lymecycline 408mg for 2 months and Tetralysal 300mg although I’m 85% sure these are the same thing. I went back after my 4 month finish line (or being on antibiotics) arrived (I had dreamed of this day for so long). I complained that my spots were still there (hardly) and the doctor told me I had 3 options. I took all of them.
1st option: You can only have option 2 & 3 if you complete number 1. I agreed immediately. It was to eat loads of berries. Okay, okay, sure I’ll eat whatever diet you give me so long as my skin will become gradient and beautiful. I was told to buy large bags of frozen berries and eat about 200g a day. I did this for quite a while and still eat them (not in such large quantities). Berries have lots of antioxidants which are great from the skin and the rest of your body. Frozen mixed berries include acai berries which taste disgusting but researching I found they were practically the god of food. My mum bought quite a lot of related things for me too, such as pure acai berry juice. Number 1, check. (It was mainly to prove I was truly serious about going to the major leagues, what I was dreaming about all along...).
2nd option: Go on the pill. I agreed. When would I next get this opportunity? The doctors surgery was ages away and I too scared to deliberately book an appointment to get the pill. I was worried about weight gain but there’s a few different pills. I was prescribed Yasmin, which is great, as well as helping my skin, it’s made my hair feel so soft and shiny and doesn’t get greasy for quite a few days. I’ve also lost 8lbs while on it.
3rd option: The words I had wanted to hear for so long, “Get referred to a dermatologist”. Finally, I had made it, my skin was going to be clear, there was hope.
At the dermatology they immediately prescribed me Isotretinoin 20mg (Accutane/Roaccutane).
I took Isotretinoin twice a day for 7 months. It made me slightly more of a light weight, and had incredibly dry lips all the time. I didn’t mind too much though because picking my lips compensated for having no spots to squeeze. I also had lower back pain throughout the whole 7 months. It’s been bearable but picking up heavy things was just awful and I felt quite weak.
I have clear skin now! I didn’t care what I had to do or go through to get here, but I’ve arrived and it feels great.
I’m also trying to find something else to obsess over now, like, ahem, getting fit and ‘toned’ but I cat because I really feel I’m beautiful in my skin now.
p.s thank you for reading if you got this far!