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My Acne Story: 1001 "Cures" (Pill #2)



I started getting a spot or two in middle school and then my face got significantly worse my junior year of high school. After visiting the dermatologist and going on a course of tetracycline and the topical Differen, my skin looked beautiful when I started my senior year of high school. I remember looking in the mirror on my first day of senior year and loving what I saw: clear, radiant skin. The problem, though, was that no one told me that stopping the antibiotics would wreak havoc on my skin. Needless to say, I stopped and my face absolutely exploded. It is hard for me to look at pictures from my senior prom because my face was such a mess.

So, I go back to the dermatologist and start a round of minocycline with the two topical creams Tazorac and Benaclin. This worked wonders and my skin was fairly clear when I started my first year of college and, by that following summer, my skin rarely broke out with even a single spot. I started taking Ortho-Tri-Cyclen for birth control purposes in my second year of college and I decided to stop the minocycline because I didn’t feel comfortable being on the antibiotics for so long. My skin did get worse, but nothing like what I had experienced my senior year of high school. I would get painful cysts on my chin and some rare inflammatory spots in other places. It would definitely go up and down, but I could handle it (for the most part). I continued using the topical creams and I also started researching other avenues. This is when I started trying the “1001 Cures.â€

First, I tried ProActive (which did nothing). Then, I ordered this ridiculous cream that supposedly killed mites living in your eyebrows that can cause acne (I’m not an idiot, I swear). I started a detox diet that involved eating a million apples a day for three consecutive days and then drinking a half cup of olive oil with lemon juice. Luckily, I stopped after two days of apples and I didn’t go through with the drinking of the olive oil cocktail.

Then, I started a very simple routine and just continued the topical creams given to me by my dermatologist. I dealt with my mediocre skin throughout the rest of college as I mostly just got spots on my chin. I started graduate school and my skin was pretty much the same until my final semester, which is when my skin exploded once again. I had an extremely stressful semester that involved little sleep, erratic eating habits, and constant worry. At 24, my skin looked just as bad as it looked when I was 18. This time, though, I was getting more painful cysts as well as inflamed pustules. I thought it would get better that summer when my schedule eased and, while it did, I wasn’t seeing the improvements that I wanted.

I went to a new dermatologist who automatically recommended Accutane. I was too scared for it at the time, so she put me on Bactrim (I think…) and Tazorac. This helped…but I was still getting the occassional deep, painful, scarring cyst. Six months later I saw a new dermatologist who also recommended Accutane. Once again, I turned it down. She put me on Doxycyline, Epiduo gel, and Yaz birth control.

During this time, I also tried multiple products promising to ‘cure’ my acne: BlueMD blue light, some anti-cyst liquid, Dermify, DermaCleanse, Anthony’s anti-acne regimen that involved a MILLION supplements (it’s somewhere in the message boards), and I played with my already very healthy diet by removing most gluten, dairy, and sugar. As you can imagine, my frustration level was through the roof. I felt like my skin should reflect my overall health which, according to my initial blood work, is exceptional. I’m 5’6 and 125 pounds. I train for half-marathons and I eat a vegetarian diet comprised of all-natural, unprocessed foods. Despite all of this and despite everything I tried, I still had skin worse than just about all of the 16-year-old kids that I teach.

This is when I started researching Accutane and I stumbled across studies that discussed low dose regimens and their effectiveness. I read some blogs written by people who took a low dose and I decided that it was worth a try. I understand that I could still encounter some nasty side effects but I am aware of the risks and I will take the blame for willingly ingesting the pill.

So, that’s my long acne journey. Hopefully it will be over by 2012. ïŠ

Cheers to pill number two and to me no longer throwing money away on products that are not scientifically proven to do shit!


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