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Today I am feeling pretty crappy. I ran out to my car earlier to get a bag I had left in there and caught a glimpse of myself in the car door window in this sunny bright weather.......I wanted to cry. I am a 33 yr old mother of 3 beautiful & healthy children, happily married to a man who thinks I am the sexiest and most beautiful woman he's ever met, have a great family & supportive friends.....why, oh why, am I letting this acne and scarring I have had for years and years get me SO down!?!? I should be counting my blessings, instead I find myself depressed and feeling helpless. I should be living my life to the fullest with all the wonderful things that surround me, yet I find myself wanting to retreat and just hide. And while I have always dealt with acne and scars, I have never, EVER let it get me down the way it has for the last 3-4 months!

I started with acne at 14 yrs old. I had pretty severe acne till 17 yrs old and then it started to let up a bit, but never went away. I have had constant acne since then - it could be 6 pimples on my face or only 1, but except for some very rare instances of having a week or so pimple free, I have had acne of some sort almost everyday since 17! And eventually acne scaring - when I was a teen I picked at my pimples and didn't even realize the damage I was doing to my skin. But my skin was so different then - youthful and tight - that even with making pitted scars they weren't horribly noticeable. Today I have scarring on nearly every part of my face (except my nose, under my eyes, jaw lines, and chin). The scarring on my forehead is light though - it's definitely there, but only noticeable unless you are right up in my face looking at it - maybe that part of my skin was tougher than others? I don't know. It really just looks like uneven skin sometimes. My problem is my cheeks, the sides of my face by your ears, and your temple area. I have tons of scars there - some rolling, some boxcars, some icepicks - some are very deep and some are shallow. And they are different in sizes - my right cheek has some deep long type scars while my left cheek has some more shallow wider type scars. Either way, you can't miss them. I can try to mask them with makeup (although sometimes I feel they are less noticeable without makeup!) but they are there and you can see them regardless of what I do! Funny thing is, you can't see them in pictures. I normally hate taking pics only because I don't like it when I have pimples - I don't want to see them in the pics - but you can't see my scars in pics unless the picture is taken extremely close up. So when something in me turned on this "I hate my face" switch last fall, I ran thru out the house trying to look at pics to see if my scars have gotten worse and that's why they are bothering me SO much right now. But it doesn't work - unless the pic is a very close up of just my face (which I never really allowed anyway) you can not see a single scar so I have NO point of reference! Is my skin starting to sag more as I get older and that's why they are more noticeable? I asked my husband if he thinks you can see them more - he says no and that my skin hasn't changed in the 8 years we've been together. My mother says no they haven't changed. My one close friend says no they haven't changed. My very bestfriend says she thinks they do look a little bit deeper and one side of my face is worse than the other, but we only see each other 2-3 times a year so I don't know if the fact that until Feb. of this year we last saw each other in August of last year has anything to do with her opinion - that and the fact that I have talked her ear off about this problem I'm having. But I feel like everyone else is just blinded by their love for me as a husband, a mother, and a friend so they don't see the imperfections. Either that or they are trying to spare me some hurt feelings. Either way, I can't help but feel like I'm not getting honest answers. I went to see a derm in December, who unfortunately doesn't do scar corrections, but he said he's heard of ppl saying their scars look worse as they get older. Is it possible that 6 months can make a difference like that in your skin??? Last summer, yes I had scars and I tried to cover them, but they did NOT bother me nearly 1/4 of the amount they now bother me!!! I still put my hair up in ponytails then - I haven't put my hair up in 4 months unless I'm at home. That derm gave me Retin-A Micro & told me to use it on my scars. I tried it and it dried my skin something terrible - probably didn't help that it was winter time, but I hated it. I also felt like it was making them MORE evident and making my pores close to my nose seem very big. I tried it for 5 weeks and had to stop. I know some people say to keep going, but I don't want to wait for 6 months to a year with horrible dry flaky skin that even the most extreme moisturizer wasn't concealing. In early Feb. I went to see another derm an hour away. He called my scars mild to moderate (his P.A. actually said they weren't very noticeable until you got up closer to me) and I thought these people were crazy! I am in the severe scarring category people! But since he did see that I still have acne (suspect horomonal acne because it affects the lower half of my face and gets worse during my cycle) he said he won't touch my face with scar correction until my acne is gone. They want me to try sprinolactone (sp?), but I can't right now because I'm still breastfeeding my 22 month old. I wanted to wait till he's 2 to wean him. That medicine should not be taken while nursing a child. He has a plan for scar correction too - a 7 visit plan that included some subcision, needling, TCA, and some lasering - not fraxel repair - more like restore. And the price is within my financial limits only because we just got our taxes back and I could put some aside for this. He told me honestly that he won't make my scars worse, but he can't give me a 100% correction prediction or even an 80% correction prediction- that everyone is different and their skin is different. He seems like my hope for even 50% correction is more realistic and within reach, but again we won't know for sure till after the procedures. Problem is I can't start them till I'm 3 or more months without any acne and if I can't take those meds till June (and praying to God they work and clear my face!!!!!) then I won't be able to start any treatments till September/October. AS my husband says, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I wanted these scars worked on like YESTERDAY and the prospect of waiting longer just adds to the stress. I know you can't expect an overnight solution and it will take time, but I still can't let the idea of eventually getting help for my face give me some comfort (as it should). I don't want to wait any longer. It's like for nearly 20 years the stress button for my acne & scarring was broken and it didn't bother me. Then one day it fixed itself and now I'm at the MAX level of awareness and it's driving me crazy! I wish I could go back to last October where it didn't affect me this way. I only have moments of feeling confident now - not days like I used to. I feel guilty all the time for caring this much about my face and the scars - I know my focus should be elsewhere - but I still can't turn off that switch now no matter how much I want to!!!!

Sorry for the length - I just had to get that all out - not having a good day. And sometimes I bottle up how I feel about this because there are only a select few in my life that I have chosen to let in on my sudden turmoil so I feel like I can't always speak my mind....

Attached is a pic of me - I'm the one on the left with the red hair. This pic ultimately frustrates me because I wish I actually could look like that when you are right up in my face and not see my scars.

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