Okay so I have been visiting this site for several years now but have yet to participate in forums up until now. This blog is a going to give my best attempt at a detailed history of the development and pathology of my acne. I will explain all of the treatments over the past 5-6 years I’ve exhausted with little results. And, I will take you on my current journey while on generic Accutane (second round). These are factors I believe to have contributed and played a role in the deterioration of my skin.
First off, I’ll give you a clear description of the state of my skin now. A little over 6 years ago I was attending graduate school and after reaching a certain age was no longer eligible to be on my parents medical insurance. I am 29 years old now. Being that I was in school and in a full time medical residency I was unable to afford insurance. I was abruptly forced to stop taking my birth control. It was a period of extreme stress. A number of factors contributing to stress included financial stress from the deteriorating economy, intense nature of my graduate studies, dealing with several deaths in my personal life, ect. Within a month or two of stopping my birth control (depo provera) I began to develop under the skin bumps around the sides of my face. They were near the ears and along the jaw line. They were acne "like" but... very different from my any sort of outbreak I had experienced in high school. I’ll add that in high school I had suffered from moderate inflammatory acne and was treated with many topical retinoids, antibiotics, and then lastly went on a 6 months course of Accutane with success. For the next 12-13 years I considered myself cured of persistent acne. I would only experience an occasional pimple hear and there but nothing that ever lingered for weeks on end. These bumps I suffer from now just never seem to come to a head. I wouldn’t describe them as inflamed. They are firm nodules that never drain or “pop” like your typical blemish.
I had always kept and maintained a disciplined skin regimen with Proactiv as well as doing various masks 1-2 times a week depending on what my skin needed. Even after my first, successful, course of Accutane in high school I still have extremely oily skin. I also suffer from hyperhidrosis and sweat more than what is considered normal. These factors have not been cause of much concern to me because I was thankful to have clear skin. These secondary symptoms are manageable although I am positive they are all directly related to one another. Up until 5 years ago I managed to always keep my skin clear and next to flawless. But even these products that I, at one time, had sworn by (proactive) were just not getting me clear. Looking back I know the biggest contributing factor was stopping my birth control and sending my hormones levels into craziness.
Over the next few years my skin just gradually got worse. My skin began to develop these (previously described) bumps all over my face and neck. The forehead is the only place that has been slightly spared from the problem. Every single pore on my face is clogged. When extractions are done there is a long, white, string like, substance that comes out of each pore. When they form into a bump, if an extraction is possible, usually it is a hard plug that comes out. It resembles a rice grain. I quickly had a distinct texture change of the surface of skin and over the counter products did absolutely nothing to help exfoliate the dead layers away. Slowly my skin began to thicken and develop these large “plaques” mostly along the jawline and upper neck. But again these are not very painful at all and very little(if any) inflammation. I have heard your skin described as the body’s second lung. To help paint this picture my skin really feels as if it cant breath because of the congested pores. When I exercise (6-7 days a week religiously) the sweat gives my skin an even more abnormal feeling that resembles that of a plastic doll. It’s shiny and has the weirdest almost sticky feel. Frequently it itches and gets irritated from exercise and sweat. But I would not describe it as rash like. Like many others on this site have reported with non-inflamed acne when I am wearing my regular everyday makeup and/or foundaton and I am photographed you wouldn’t be able to see the massive amount of bumps lingering under the skin in a picture. But when in direct sun light my skin looks like the outside of an orange peel. Lumpy, uneven, and just plain gross. Many people have insisted that it is all in my head and that they have no idea why I believe I have skin problems. I say that to also say I want to make it clear to readers that I don’t really care to read any replies to my posts stating the same, or telling me that I don’t have skin problems. I have the most stubborn type of acne. This blog is for people who are suffering from the same type of acne as I am and for people who feel they might benefit from any information I have opted to share with them as I have pretty much tried it all...anything and everything...I have exhausted most all of the options out there.
This is my first post and will try to finish my second part later this afternoon. If you have resonated and are experiencing any of these same symptoms please feel free to reach out. I will write next on the different diagnoses and treatments I’ve tried over the past years before deciding to throw in the towel and do another round of Accutane…which I believe is going to finally work as I am already seeing results in the second week.