I have just turned 21 this month, and I have had an ongoing struggle with acne for about 9 years. To me, that is a very long time. I started getting acne when I was thirteen. At that point, it was just your regular teenage hormonal acne. It didn't bother me very much, as many people were getting it, and it just seemed normal. However, all through high school, my acne persisted. Back then, I would describe it as mild, but it still bothered me, because I so badly wanted to be like those popular girls with flawless skin. The years passed by. I turned 14, 15, 16, 17... it didn't go away. In my highschool years I tried SO many different over-the-counter products. Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, Clearasil, etc. My mum would always buy me new products and would say "here, try this."
I tried Proactiv, twice. It didn't work. I went to a naturopath who did a skin treatment on me to try to unclog my pores, but that didn't help either.
After I graduated high school, my acne got worse. I would have my good days and my bad days, but my face was never completely clear. I was never completely happy. I tried more and more over-the-counter products, and even gave Proactiv another go for the third time. Nothing was working.
I was desperate for clear skin. All I wanted was to have blemish-free skin so I wouldn't have to hide behind makeup. I hate wearing makeup, I hate the way it feels and looks on my face, I hate everything about it. But I have to wear it, I couldn't stand the thought of someone looking at my acne with no makeup on.
In an attempt to find a natural cure, I discovered the oil cleansing method. I was very optimistic and decided to try it out with castor and olive oil. Boy, I wish I hadn't. I made two mistakes here. I was so eager about starting it, that I didn't realise the importance of purchasing organic products. I rushed to the chemist and bought regular castor oil (not organic). That was my first mistake. The second, was the olive oil. Many people have claimed that olive oil broke them out and that other oils can be used instead, but I thought I wouldn't be one of those people, I thought it might work for me. Nope.
The first couple of days of using this method, I saw no changes. But on the third day, I woke up with my ENTIRE FACE covered with pimples. When I started the OCM I had acne only on my cheeks. Three days later, I had bumps and whiteheads all over my forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, and the sides of the face. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to look in the mirror. I took one look at myself, and I broke down and cried. It was horrible. I felt horrible.
I never wear makeup at home around my parents, because they know what I look like, and it doesn't bother me. But after this... I was embarrassed to even look at them, so I would put makeup on my face to cover it up. And that was when I decided I had had enough, and that I would go to the doctor and ask for a prescription medication. Once again, I cried. I was sad that it has come to this, that nothing was working, that my skin was this bad.
So the next day I went to see my doctor and she prescribed me the oral antibiotic Doxycycline, paired with a topical gel called Epiduo. I was prescribed these for four months. It was a long four months, but the results were very noticeable. My acne spots were fading away, and new ones would disappear much quicker. At the end of the four months, I had absolutely no active acne, apart from hyperpigmentation from previous blemishes. My face was smooth. It had no bumps. I was so happy.
Right after this, I saw my doctor again so I could start birth control. She prescribed me Levlen ED. And I hate it. I am back to where I started. Just a week after taking the pill, just a week after FINALLY achieving clear skin, just a week later.... my skin broke out like crazy again. I started to get blemish after blemish, mostly on my cheeks. It was just devastating. When I finished doxycycline, I felt so happy, so confident. And now... I feel like I've lost that confidence again. I honestly cannot describe what it's like to go from clear skin, to a face full of acne. All I can say is that it's heartbreaking.
I understand that there is an initial breakout period with the birth control pill, but it still upsets and bothers me. Plus, maybe my skin is reacting the way it is because this isn't the right pill for me. Or maybe it is, and I just haven't given it enough time.
While my body figures that out, I decided I need something I can use topically to keep the acne under control, so I have ordered The Regimen, which I will hopefully be starting next week. I have heard some amazing things about it, especially in youtube videos, and I hope I can achieve positive results as well.
As well as this, I am also eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking a number of supplements with skin benefits.
Acne is upsetting, it's painful, physically and emotionally. It has stripped me of my confidence, my self-love, and has made me incredibly self-conscious and paranoid. So this is my attempt to regain control of my life and of my body, to find my confidence again, and to feel beautiful.