Hi all! I am a brand new member to this site, though I have been reading it on and off for a few years now. I first got acne around age 11 or so, when I first for my period. I would probably consider it mild to moderate, very typical teenage acne. However, I had no idea how to take care of my skin at that age. I remember using Proactive and my skin being SO dry and flakey that if I wore a black shirt and brushed my sleeve against my face you could see flakes on my shirt. Yuck. I don't really remember the earlier years, other than the fact the I used all of the common OTC products that are supposed to help, ie, Neutrogena, Clearasil, Clean & Clear, etc. etc. I first went to a dermatologist around age 13 and he was a cold, older man who didn't understand the pain of a shy middle schooler dealing with acne. I remember crying after seeing him because I felt embarrassed. I used various prescription creams that did nothing but dry my skin. I wish I knew that moisturizer is your friend!
Fast forward to age 15 or so, I still had moderate acne that was scarring a bit, and I was still shy, embarrassed, and looking like an oil slick. I ended up going on low-dose birth control, as prescribed by my pediatrician. The BC was specifically for my skin. It helped but was not a huge improvement like I had hoped for. I stayed on it for about a year and a half, with decent results. For some genius reason, I decided my senior year of high school that I didn't want to be on it indefinitely, especially because I knew at some point in the future I would need the pill for actual pregnancy prevention. My skin was AWFUL when I got off of it. Worse than before. I started wearing more makeup and watching videos on how to cover acne with concealer and foundation. I cringe looking at some prom and graduation pictures because my skin looked gross.
Upon entering college, my skin was just okay. It wasn't awful but was certainly not great, either. While I was still self-conscious, I really came out of my shell in college and became a more outgoing person. I feel like I "learned" how to be funny, and humor can serve as a defense mechanism. No one is going to make fun of you if they're laughing at something you said!
Around junior year of college, I decided enough was enough. I began using tons of natural products & regimens I came across on Pinterest. I tried multiple vitamin supplements, coconut oil as moisturizer, witch hazel, baking soda, etc. I even went to a homeopathic doctor who told me to give up coffee and eat gluten-free. As a college student, I basically depended on coffee and certainly couldn't afford a gluten-free diet, but did my best.
A few months later, an old friend of mine passed away, school was as hard as ever, and some of my roommates weren't getting along. It was a really tough 6 weeks or so for me. Looking back, I guess I was depressed. My skin became AWFUL and left a lot of scarring on my face and chest. Fortunately, it began feeling better and my skin and overall health improved. I began Spironolcatone and found that my face and scalp were not the least bit greasy! I could skip washing my hair on occasion! This was huge. My skin began to improve and I felt better knowing my face and hair weren't greasy by the end of the day. I also went on tetracycline which did nothing and after about 2 months randomly gave me severe migraines where I would throw up and need to sleep for hours to feel better. No thanks. I stopped that right away.
So, here I am. I am graduating from college in May and completely ready to leave behind this "teenage" issue. My derm (who is sweet and female and young and "gets" it) finally talked me into Accutane. I was REALLY resistant and totally opposed to something so strong for acne. But, the more I looked into it, the more I felt simultaneously excited and scared for it.
I just started the pill (Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo) yesterday so I really want to document my experiences from the get-go. My initial thoughts are basically revolving around what a pain in the ass the drug is. Gentlemen, I am jealous of you. Us ladies need to jump through hoops. I can't start it until next month, barring the pregnancy test (which would be a Virgin Mary style miracle, if you catch my drift).
Wow- long post! Woops! I'm really just using this to track my own progress, symptoms, feelings etc. I don't even know if anyone will be reading this, but I would also love to help someone who is looking at his/her acne options before taking the leap!