I've had acne ever since I could remember. Back in middle school, I started breaking out in 7th grade. It was only the beginning stages and little did I know, it would be an ongoing struggle and only be progressively worse. It has ruined my confidence. Back then, it was a few pimples here and there. I used many drugstore topical creams such as clean and clear persa gel, clear and clear acne control kit and neutrogena on the spot acne treatment. It was okay, not sure if they actually helped the acne heal faster or just went away with time. But I was so obsessed with clear and perfect skin I once had. I spent hundreds of dollars on horrible worthless products that I saw advertised on television.
As high school approached, my skin progressively got worse. I wore tons of foundation and concealer. Despite the cakey effect, I always thought an obvious cakey face beat one where my imperfect skin peaked through. The shades back then didn't even match my skin tone and was horribly applied. In addition, I was an oil slick. But knowing having a mask to cover up made me feel better inside. But on the outside, it looked bad and probably caused more breakouts. I remember feeling so insecure and jealous of the girls in my school with perfect skin. My confidence was so shaken. I remember going to the bathroom and avoiding mirrors at all cost. I would just wash my hands and not glimpse up once to look at my own reflection because all I could see was the acne. This was also the time when my doctor would recommend some products. I can't remember the names of the products, but they all did little to no help, but I still applied the creams religiously every night.
It never helped that my family always pointed out my biggest insecurity. And although my friends never said a thing about it, I always felt like they were talking to my zits rather than me. As a result, I can barely make eye contact when talking to people. I focus my attention to the floor or elsewhere.
Seeing that the creams had a minimal effect, I was desperate to find a solution. I tried many masks- queen helene mint julep masque, origin charcoal mask, my beauty diary, freeman facial peel off mask, luminizing black mask and the list just goes on. As for cleansers, the list goes on even longer. I also applied many spot treatments. I tried many tools such as the clarisonic- which initially did have a purging stage but now seems to give me a deep cleanse.
I never wanted to give up. I tried everything on the market-- even putting lemon juice on my face to reduce scarring which gave a grueling burning sensation but I withstood the pain in hopes of clear skin. I tried changing my diet and increased my water intake.
Don't get me wrong, there were periods of time when I did see improvement but those were so short lived. I embraced those days and could only try to remain optimistic. Many times, when I found a regime that would work, somehow, something would go wrong and my skin would freak out again. I also scar easily and have hyper pigmentation.
When college rolled around, I was scared due to the fact that I was dorming. My roommates and potentially everyone else in the building would have to see my obliterated skin. My self esteem was so low at that point. Every day after my shower, I would run from the community bathroom to my room and not glimpse up once. I would try to avoid washing my face until late nights when the lights were dimmed which again, probably caused more problematic skin due to long hours of foundation, concealer and sweat. At this point, my acne started being more concentrated on my cheeks and nose.
After my first year of college, I decided to go to a dermatologist. She seemed so experience and willing to help through my battle. For the first time in a long time, I found hope and confidence again. She put me on a 10% benzyl peroxide wash, minocycline pill and trentinoin cream. For the first time, I felt a tightness in my skin rather than the normal oiliness. Although, it initially did wonders and seemed to have a positive effect, I began breaking out a lot (this could have been also due to the huge stress impact due to school). When I went back to the dermatologist, I was put on a birth control- ortho tricyclen lo. During the first week, my skin freaked out. I got 6 zits that came to a whitehead but luckily, they were focused around my hairline. However, there were some concentrated on my cheeks as well. My dermatologist told me it could take up to 3 months to fully see any effects so I'm definitely going to have to see this through (especially since this is my last resort until I go on accutane). After about a week, the big cystic pimples disappeared, but did leave a mark. Currently, I don't have any active pimples, which is a huge stepping stone. I am very hopeful, but at the same time, don't want to get too attached before I am disappointed like in the past. After some research, I'm quite worried about the sugar pills and going off the pill when my hormones might cause further breakouts. However, for now, I'm really satisfied with my skin and will continue to update on my journey.
I apologize for the long post, but bear with me. It's a bit of a rant, but it feels good to let it out and reflect on this ongoing journey. As for now, I hope that you will all share your stories. Have you guys tried ortho tricyclen lo and like to share your experience? Together, we will win.