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My acne story.. plus helpful advice

My story begins when I was a senior in high school. The day of the prom I got my first zit. My mom helped me cover it up with her make-up and it didn’t really bother me. I started to get acne when I was a sophomore in college (I was a late bloomer) and it was always mild, but bothersome. The first topical drugs I tried were clindamyacin gel and retin-a micro. The clindamyacin simply didn’t work and the retin-a made me extremely red and my face burned whenever it met with moisture. I remember trying tetracycline but I was allergic to it and I broke out in hives.

I went through college mostly without acne drugs, and it didn’t bother me too much, but my acne got worse once I graduated from college. I tried BP and that was met with some success, and then I moved on to a few other topicals. I can’t remember their names but they were mild formulas. I tried doxycline and that was very successful, but the zits came back after I stopped taking them. Plus the pills gave me very painful stomach pains occasionally. Right now (two years after college) I’m on Differin gel, and that worked alright for a couple months but the past month I’m experiencing break outs. I have mild to moderate non-scarring acne around my mouth and nose. Red spots remain on my face for a few weeks. I rarely get zits on my forehead and cheek. I also rarely get cysts. I hate shaving because it makes the red spots appeal prominently.

I have an appointment with the derm in a couple weeks but I don’t think there is much she can do except accutane, which I’m reluctant to try. Last time I went she said that there isn’t many options left for me but accutane. I think I will try BP in the morning and differin at night.

I read a lot of stories here about acne and how it hurts people’s social lives. While I still get very self-conscious, I force myself to go out and talk to people. I lock eyes when talking, and notice that the only people who glance at my acne are people who have acne themselves! I believe that people don’t mind acne so much. You have two options when interacting with people: (1) Look inward and focus on your acne, concerned about what they think of your skin, making conversations awkward and short, or (2) Actually look outward and focus on the conversation, and communicate normally, regardless of how your face looks. I admit some days I just want to stay home and watch a movie, but then your acne wins, and you miss out on fun you could have had. Forcing myself to interact with people the past 4 years has really improved my social skills, and I made a lot of friends. Much of the time I don’t like how my face looks, but I go out anyway.

Most of us can’t control our acne, but we can control how we think about it. Maybe someone wont like us because we have acne, but that is something we cant control. We can control how we live our lives. The days I have bad break-outs, I would think about my face all day and can actually feel my mood go down. Instead, I block out all acne thoughts and think of something else. Pinch yourself every time you think about it. Your reality becomes YOU, so don’t make acne be your reality! Hopefully I’ll find a medicine that works, but if not then I will just shrug it off and live life. I don’t want to be 30 years old and look back and say “Man I could have had fun when I was 24 but I didn’t go out because I had zits on my face.� Life is too short... be strong.

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