In December of last year, I fell into the deepest depression of my life. It was the scariest and most confusing experience because up until that point, I was a happy, outgoing and decently confident girl minus the normal insecurities most 19 year olds have. While I had never had great skin, it have never gotten too out of control or affected my social life or emotional state. After a stress induced breakout and curiousity for options led me to the doctors office and my irresponsible GP threw me on antibiotics and differin within 3 minutes of seeing me and asking maybe 5 questions, my acne spun out of control. I should never have been put on antibiotics, and she gave me no guidance as to how I should use the differin or what to expect in the early stages. My skin turned into a mine field of open sores, dry flaky skin and redness. The initial breakout left me more depressed than I could have ever imagined possible, I never wanted to leave my room, I was embarrassed for even my mom and dad to see me, I was lost, scared and felt alone.
The days when I hid in my room I often surfed these message boards because they were a place of hope for me, and a place where I didn't feel so ashamed or embarrassed of what was going on. Although almost everyone experiences some level of acne growing up, it can still be such an embarrassing and privately scarring thing. Although the initial breakout did eventually heal up and my skin did get decent with continued use of differin, while traveling abroad some issues flared up again and I began questioning if differin was a) necessary and b) if it was even really helping that much for how much it costs.
There is so much information out there, so many "cures" or new face washes that promise flawless skin faster than all the other products, and I find myself falling victim to the advertising too often. As I have been gathering information and slowly learning by trial-by-error, here are a few things I've figured out:
1) Most of the targeted acne systems are way way way too harsh and end up aggravating and causing more acne.
2) Wanting results fast is not only unrealistic but it can end up setting you back
3) If you are an emotional/compulsive/unconscious picker like me, chances are no matter what miracle treatment you are using, your skin with suffer as long as you don't address your self destructive habit.
Although I've relied on the message boards and blogs of other people on this site since December, I just recently educated myself on Dan's regimen and have started it myself. I still don't like to discuss my skin issues with many people, but this place is like a safe haven for me, it got me though some of my darkest and hopeless days. I have this gut feeling that the regimen will finally be the solution I have been looking for, but I don't have unrealistically high expectations that I will have flawless skin. Acne has been plaguing my life for too long, I am 20 years old, I've already lost too much time to insecurities and depression due to my skin, I want to make this my best year yet, my happiest, most carefree and natural year of my young adulthood. I know there are others out there who are probably searching these boards, looking for hope and comfort just like I was 8 months ago and I want you to know, things will be ok. I can't advocate for Dan's regimen yet, but I will keep this blog up to date with how my skin is reacting to it. If there is one thing I have learned for sure, hiding away and falling victim to the insecurities or depression can actually make the condition worse, stress and sadness increase cortisol levels which can cause acne. I know it is hard to keep going about your life with a smile on your face when your confidence has been ripped away, but you just have to remember to take baby steps, and know this is a phase that WILL pass, and you are your own worst critic, the people in your life who love you don't care if your skin is shit, the more open you are about it, the less of a taboo it is, the less you let it control your life and the faster your chances are of healing.