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Oh where, oh where did my clear skin go?



Hello (if anyone else chooses to read this!),

It's two AM. I've been obsessively looking up acne remedies for the past few hours. It really has become an obsession which started 9 months ago when I began to develop a chronic case of moderate cystic acne. A little background info: I'm a 21 year old college student.

I always thought I had the "blessed" skin gene since besides a case of normal pre-teen break outs, I had fairly clear skin. Unfortunately both my brothers have suffered from cystic acne and I used to wonder at it from afar thinking what that might be like and thanking my lucky stars it wasn't me. Flash forward to spring 2010 when I started to notice a few blemishes on my chin.

I think i exasperated the issue with cosmetics. I bought a tube of concealer thinking "I just want to cover it up. I don't care if it makes it worse because I want instant results." For a couple of weeks I continued with this mindset until, like the self-fulfilling prophesy it was, I had a pretty serious case of chin acne. 9 months later I think back at this moment as the sad beginning of my struggle with acne.

Summer of 2010 I piled on Bare Essentials, steamed my face every night (which I think unless you really REALLY steam it for a long time only encourages the growth of bacteria), washed with a gentle Aveno cleanser-- and ended up with a very VERY blemished chin. Cystic acne was in full blown patches. I believe the make-up made it worse. My skin was pussing it was that bad.

At the time I had a boyfriend and I couldn't imagine how he found me attractive. I would wear make-up at all times and whenever we'd spend the night together I'd wear make up to bed and then when he fell asleep, I'd get up and wash my face so that he wouldn't see my real skin. I know embarrassing. We ended up breaking up but not because of my acne but because I went abroad and we grew apart. He really did a great job at making me feel beautiful.

In September I went abroad to Senegal in West Africa for a semester (3.5 months). At this point I knew I needed to kick the make up habit and I thought this would be a good time to give up make up. I was still dating my boyfriend and didn't plan on any relationships so I thought, "why care? There is no one to impress." It was still pretty hard the first 2 months because without make up my face was noticeably inflamed and the Senegalese, very preoccupied with their own beauty, LOVE to point out your flaws (of course out of concern). My host family and friends would ask me what was wrong with my skin. What was that on my skin? I think because I was white, acne looked even worse. Sometimes I would be angry on the inside. Sometimes I would call my mom in tears and tell her how I couldn't handle having my flaws be the center of conversations.

Yet without make up, and being on a low level dose of antibiotic Doxycycline, at the end of the 3.5 months my skin around my chin had smoothed, little redness, and my cheeks were pretty clear. At this time I would say I had no bad cystic acne. I did have many red marks though from healing acne. Because I was "back home" and it was less humid, less polluted, I thought it would be ok to start using my Bare Minerals. That first week and a half was great because with the extra coverage it was like my skin was perfect again!

Alas, even though I didn't want to admit it I could feel the break outs brewing deep beneath my skin and it could only mean one thing - cystic acne. It was SO hard to stop wearing the make up now that I was back on campus, around friends, possible future boyfriends. It's been a month since I returned from senegal and now I'm left with a face that (although not as bad as before I left) is red, inflamed, cystic, out of control.

I did my research about Bare Essentials and I read that it has one ingredient, Bismuth Oxychloride, that is known to cause skin reactions, especially cystic acne. When I think back about when my skin started to get REALLY bad I was piling on the B.E. mineral foundation. When my skin healed up I wasn't wearing the make up, only taking the antibiotic and cleansing with a mild facial cleanser. I know that a part of the reason my skin is so bad is because of something in the B.E. foundation. From advice of online reviews, I have ordered Jane Iredale's Mineral foundation which doesn't include this nasty nasty ingredient. It is recommended by dermatologists and I hope it can be a temporary solution to hide some of the signs of acne until my face clears up enough that I can go make-up free again. At some point I want to just use a tinted moisturizer.

SO.... Where does this leave me?

I have been impressed with the Regimine and decided to buy the products. My skin is normally pretty sensitive but I've never stuck it through with products like Proactive more than a week because of dry skin. I want to try this for at least a couple of months to see how it works. I might switch cleansers back to what I am using (Clearasil Gentle for Normal to Oily Skin) but still use the BP.

I also want to get on the Yasmin pill because my acne tends to flare around the week before my period. I definitely think my acne is one part hormonal changes and one part make up driven.

Wish me luck and thanks for reading my journey!


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