I decided to write a blog post mainly for the purpose of telling my story to myself. If you are reading this it is because I'm sure at some point in your life you have had to (or are currently) experiencing the effects of Acne Vulgaris. Why am I addressing it under its scientific medical term you may ask? well because quite frankly I believe it doesn't get the proper attention it deserves. I figured telling my story (which is probably like many others) was the best way to help you the reader understand. And when I tell my story I am telling it so that you can feel like there really is a true sense of community support out there.
I started getting acne when I was 12 years old. And unfortunately for me I was one of the few kids in my class who got it that early. It really wasn't all that bad. But the consequences of being one of the first in my class to experience in the "delights" of puberty, were well not fun in the slightest. I still remember how in my grade 7 class my teacher decided to assign our tables by last name. Unfortunately for me (yet again) I was the only girl at my table. It was the worst way to start the year. Acne and being teased by the boys. The most humiliating taunt was when one boy would recite the TV commercial for an acne medication and the rest of them would snigger or laugh. It was awful. I really didn't think I was beautiful.
In highschool I decided I didn't want to care about boys. My acne varied from being manageable to uncontrolable (in my teenage mind). I look back at pictures of myself and I realize it wasn't as terrible as I remember it to be. In fact I have some pictures where I had completely clear skin, and others where it was a little worse than normal teenage acne. When I was a teen my family physician would give me samples of clyndoxil (basically benzoil peroxide 10%) or other creams. I tried proactive when I was 17 turning 18 for two months hoping for the best, but seeing no real results.
My acne actually got worse when I turned 18 however. I remember thinking I was finally getting over the worst of it. Little did I know it was only the beginning of my journey.
When I started college my skin got pretty bad (cystic acne mostly on my cheeks) and I started to get some scarring. my doctor then recommended I go on the pill. She first put me on the Diane-35 for a 3 months with no visible results, so I stopped for a while. Then Yasmine for 3 months, still not much, so back on the Diane-35 this time for 7 months or so. I got frustrated so I stopped. Back and forth this continued for two years. Then I finally convinced my doctor to put me on accutane when I was 20. I thought that was my miracle pill. I wanted results. Acutane did work for the 6 months I was on it. but after being off it for 6 months the acne returned. I tried to convince my doctor to give me a longer treatment than 6 months (because a sit in doctor-dermatologist recommended I should, but my regular doctor said she didn't think I needed it). My doctor put me back on the Diane-35 for a few months as well as Yasmine (on again and off again) for the next 3 years.
While I was taking these on and off I would try topical medications or treatments. I tried Proactive again for 6 months, I tried Murad for 3 months. These two just dried out my skin (Proactive) more than when I was on accutane, and tightened and dried my skin which caused more breakouts and scarring (Murad). And all the while I had people come and tell me what I should and shouldn't take, eat, try. I had (and still occasionally have) people tell me I should rub yogurt on my face, drink more water (which I always cary around a bottle of water with me FYI), make honey masks, eat more fruit (which I am the only person I know of whose mother tells her she needs to eat something other than fruits and veggies), that I need to relax more (yes true, stress is one of my acne triggers), I have gone to natural health stores (which I believe in) where they gave me cleansing Chinese traditional medications, I cut out dairy, and have limited the amount of wheat (gluten) I consume, I have had magnetic therapy treatments,... all in all I have tried most things out there.
I can tell you it has been (and sometimes still is) a frustrating road, but this blog is where I intend to share my experiences with products I have tried, methods I have experimented with, and my feelings about acne and managing it, because the reality is, there is no "cure" its like people with Diabetes or celiac's disease, we can only manage our condition, which will help us live happy lives regardless of the challenges we face (both physical and emotional) from our medical conditions.
I hope this gives you an idea of what I intend to achieve by putting my thoughts out into the world.
I intend to be positive and share my experiences and hope some of what I have learned can benefit the rest of the acne.org community