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Breaking Up With Acne



Hello acne.org world, I'm Ariana! A college freshman who thought her abusive relationship with acne was over, but apparently, like any annoying ex, it has come back to make my life miserable. My acne story is pretty typical, I had no acne until I hit twelve or thirteen, and then hormones kicked in with a vengeance and I realized I had to start actually thinking about my skin and caring for it, simply showering and splashing my face with water in the morning wasn't going to cut it. I briefly used the acnefree regimen, but that didn't work very well, so, at the advice of a mary kay consultant from my church, I started using the Velocity cleanser and moisturizer. That worked somewhat, but not totally, so at around thirteen or fourteen, my Dad took me to my very first appointment with a dermatologist. He prescribed me minocycline, and gave me a benzoyl peroxide cream, which worked very well for me. I had perfect skin until I hit fifteen and started running and getting in shape--it took me forever to realize that sweat is one of my biggest breakout triggers--and around the time when I turned sixteen I made the horrifyingly detrimental mistake of changing my regimen, thinking if I tried something different I could cure my mild acne. WRONG. That began a downward spiral of acne, where I tried using so many products I won't even list them here. At the height of my acne I had pretty severe nodular acne and moderate cystic acne. I was depressed, and researching acne and how to cure it literally became an unhealthy obsession. I suffered severe acne from May 2010 until March 2011, when I finally had a breakthrough with my skin. I looked back at my acne history and realized all my problems had started when I changed my original regimen, so as soon as I could, I switched back to it. Velocity facewash, clean n clear persagel, Neutrogena alcohol free toner, velocity moisturizer, and epiduo at night, while taking minocycline. I started this regimen in January, and velocity and epiduo both take a bit to start working, so it didn't start improving until early March, but my acne didn't truly start disappearing until I discovered two huge things: 1) I was senstitive to dairy and it gives me acne 2) hydrogen peroxide is lovely. I replaced my old toner with hydrogen peroxide and started seeing drastic results. That summer I had the clearest skin I've had since I was fifteen. I started getting a little bit more acne in the winter as the stress of school caught up to me, and I'm pretty sure I was lax in using the epiduo, but I don't remember. But still, a few breakouts weren't terrible, overall my skin was pretty clear, and I was satisfied. Then I made the decision to go out of town and do a YWAM DTS (http://www.ywamdts.org/ for more info) and while God completely changed my heart on that trip, unfortunately it ravaged my face. It was a combination of stress, not having much control over my diet (aka: consuming more milk and sugar than I would have liked) and being completely stupid and switching up my regimen. AGAIN. You'd think I wouldn't be dumb enough to try that again, but yes, I did, I am ashamed to say. When I came home, I had pretty severe nodular and cystic acne, and although I had been through a lot and was learning to not be ashamed and to realize that my looks do not define me, I began the journey all over again to clear skin. I went to my dermatologist, he gave me cetaphil oil free facewash and septra, a new antibiotic, because apparently minocycline had stopped working. I used that for a month, and after not seeing a satisfactory improvement, last week I decided, I am sure as heck going back to velocity, hydrogen peroxide, epiduo, all that jazz, and staying on the septra. Well two weeks in, I think there has been improvement, plus I figured out that my coverup was breaking my out, so I switched back to my old one. Hopefully I'll be clear soon!! That is the entirety of my story, hopefully it's not too long for you guys! I'll include a picture so you can sort of get an idea of what my acne looks like. Now I barely wear any makeup, so some of the red mark are scarring, but I'm trying to work on clearing the acne first before I work on the scarring. Bye guys!


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Hey, thanks for sharing your journey!

I can totally relate, because I also did a DTS with YWAM last september, and during my outreach in Nepal I had an absolutely horrendous breakout that has taken me nearly a year since coming home to finally heal from. It was pretty traumatizing, and now I'm left with horrible scars covering nearly 80% of my face.

I also have dairy allergies, as well as egg and gluten, and it was quite near impossible to avoid those foods during my time overseas.

Just wanted to say thank you for posting your story because I literally thought I was the only YWAMer this had ever happened to.

Definitely caused me some pretty deep emotional scarring.

I hope things keep getting better and better for you and your skin :)

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My GOODNESS I am so happy to meet another YWAMer! Where did you do your lecture phase? I went to Thailand for outreach! And YES, I know exactly what you mean, my outbreaks started a bit before outreach because some weeks were so emotionally taxing, but my acne got pretty bad in Thailand, and strangely enough, got WAY worse after I got back to America. Now I'm sort of in recovery mode, trying to use the same routine and not get discouraged. But I hate the scarring and active acne. How did you find out you have those food allergies?

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I did my lecture phase in New Zealand, it was absolutely wonderful, definitely hard and very emotional at times, but like you, I definitely felt I was having breakthroughs and on my way to finding freedom, especially in the realm of my appearence and feeling good about myself, feeling worthy and loved just as I am (which has always been an issue for me).

Then outreach happened, and my heart literally felt like a punching bag. My outreach was really intense and I don't feel I had the proper support for all that I was going through.

It's actually really sad how acutely this has all affected my relationship with God, because it caused me to see God more as abusive than loving.

Since coming home I have spiraled into a season of intense doubt, not only because of my ywam experience or what happened with my face, but many other things have contributed as well, those things kind of just sent me off the edge.

It's really amazing how severely all of this can affect one's emotional/psychological/spiritual life. And it's so hard to find anyone who gets it.

ANYWAY, I'm sorry to hear things got worse for you after getting home, how is it going now? From some of your most recent blog posts/pictures, it sounds and looks as if you are really healing and doing well.

Keep working at it, your efforts will continue to pay off :)

I also hate the scarring (and active acne), it's so hard to deal with, and so hard to get rid of.

I recently underwent a laser treatment over Christmas break for the scars, it was incredibly painful and expensive, and I unfortunately see very little results. It just becomes so discouraging sometimes.

I found out I have allergies because my doctor suggested I do an allergy test, which had to be sent down to the States ( I'm from Canada) and was quite expensive, but it was so good for me to find out what foods to avoid, because once I completely cut those foods out of my diet, my skin got wayyy better.

You mentioned you have dairy issues, did you do a test as well, or figure it out on your own?

How have you been doing emotionally with all of this? (you don't have to share with me if you don't want to)

If I can be of any support, let me know.

I know how much of a burden all of this can be on one's heart.

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Oh I'm sorry your outreach didn't turn out so well! I felt a little bit the way you did sometimes during lecture phase, except my problem was thinking God viewed our relationship as a performance based one, when it is one of balance between love and obedience. Just remind yourself of the character of God, that there is no evil within Him, He is the only perfectly good and loving being that exists. One tip my DTS leader gave me when I was having a hard time with some things in my past that I had been blaming God for "doing" to me is, go back to those memories, and ask God what He thinks about them, what His perspective was. Because what people do and say often goes off track from what God had intended or desired. Okay? If you need to message me more about it, feel completely free, I love talking to other YWAMers. Yes, my skin is improving, slowly but surely, and being on the same skin care regimen I had been on when I had clear skin before really helps. I don't know WHAT I was thinking to switch regimens, it improved my skin in the beginning, then caused SO many more problems later on. I discovered I had a milk sensitivity when I cut it out experimentally for a month and noticed a big improvement in my skin, plus whenever I did it fatty milk products, like cheese pizza or ice cream or cream cheese, my breakouts would be a lot more intense. Right now I'm cleaning up my diet, I'm reading this book called "Feed Your Face" by Dr. Wu, it's an excellent book about what you should and shouldn't be eating if you have acne or other skin problems. I've been avoiding sugary foods, foods with a lot of salt, sushi because the seaweed has a lot of iodine and that breaks me out, eating more , fruits and vegetables, drinking green smoothies, stuff like that, and I think that's been helping, because on DTS I ate so much sugar and carbs and all that crap because that was just what was available to us. Emotionally, I have been doing really well. One thing God has really been teaching me is to not let my acne define me, and although sometimes that's a lot harder than others, most of the time I feel pretty confident, because I know I am so much more than a temporary skin condition. It sounds like you are having a harder time, and I really have a heart for things like this, so feel free to message me anytime you need prayer or support. And when I say I have a heart for these things, I mean God has really put a passion in my heart to minister and help bring freedom to girls that are bound by insecurity or self hatred, because that was ME. It was really a test for me to get acne right after DTS because it was literally like a repeat of the time I had bad skin around two years ago, and it just ate me up inside, and I let self loathing and insecurity just completely take over me and that was so wrong. There was a time in my life where I told myself on a regular basis that I hated myself, and you can't imagine the damage that did to my emotionally. Our words really are so powerful, and it was something I really had to repent of in DTS...I have no right to judge whether or not my body or anyone else's is worthy or beautiful, God created us all, it is His job to judge us. This time around I think I did a lot better handling the acne and not letting it get to me, yes I did have some slip ups and freak outs, but overall, God has done a work in me. Trust Him! And ask Him for revelation of your value and identity! :)

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