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OK let me begin by saying this - I am a guy with acne and scars and bad skin. I am not sure how many people I can convince with my way of dealing with my acne but I'll give it a shot. My story is for every teenager suffering from acne out there. If I am able to help even a single person out there, I'll consider my story has fulfilled it's purpose. Sorry for stretching things and giving in too many details and grammatical errors.

First of all, I do not have great skin, In fact I sometimes cry when looking at the mirror and pray to God during the nights for healing me and question him, why did I get inflicted with such bad acne and scars. Getting a good skin was becoming an obsession, the sole purpose of my life. Also I was naive and made a lot of stupid mistakes with my skin.

Mistake (1) The first Blow!

My acne started in 10th grade (I am 29 now and still battling some mild acne and left over acne scars/blemishes), During those days it was not too bad, couple of zits started appearing on the cheeks, I didn't care much about them. I used to play a lot of games run around sweat all day, sleep dirty without properly cleaning my face. Pimples would come and go without leaving marks. I was happy how I looked, in fact I looked incredible, judging by my looks at that time, I was even approached for an endorsement, which I declined for some stupid reason. Maybe I was too shy.

Anyways, things kept on going fine until the number of pimples and marks started to become more and more in number. People started noticing them and asking me whether I was taking any medicines, face washes, prescriptions to heal these. Then someone at school teased me due to skin condition and group of his friends started smiling and making remarks on my condition That one moment got etched in my memory.

That moment I felt the worst, felt small and someone who has no respect and I hated that person for a whole year BTW Don't hate him anymore we are friends on FB now

I took too seriously of what other people/friends think about me and my appearance. And started to change something that was not under my control.

Teenagers get annoyed and feel bad over the most stupid things in life so please don't blame me. If it had happened now, I would've joked myself and LOLd with them. So lesson number 1 is don't be too caught up on what others think about you or any aspect of yours. Because that really does not matter. What matters is your own thinking about yourself. Everyone is caught up in fulfilling whatever purpose they have in their OWN lives. Don't let a few careless loose words about your condition cause more pain. Remind yourself, this is simply a condition with which a million people suffer and you are well abled to deal with it. Don't let anyone get you down and desperate.

Continuing my story... I started to look for ways to heal my acne, I got desperate and instead of going to the doc I went to my cousin. Well, she herself suffered from acne, so I thought atleast someone who understands my pain.

Mistake (2) Picking and Popping

She was young and told me that she's pretty good in popping this zits. That was my WTF moment and the biggest mistake. I had read that popping zits is bad, even touching or washing too often is not recommended. Now I had popped a couple of zits and didn't felt too great due to the soreness. But she convinced me that this gunk has to come out otherwise it will get worse. I agreed and my face became her playground. She popped many zits with her long nails, picking out pus or whatever it is that comes out. She continued for 15-20 mins trying to clean every zit on my face. The ill effects of this thing started showing the next day. Face was all sore and I could feel pain when washing my face, She convinced me that its a minor side effect and will be fine after few days. Any ways acne didn't get any better in fact it got worse and started occurring all over the places where my skin was good, like the forehead and nose. Now the ill effects won't happen in one night, the touching and popping of zits causes cumulative damage to the skin after some months/years maybe. It's hard to sum up 3 years of problems caused in one para. It's just that you can imagine a major havoc on the facial skin. I got blemishes, scars on my face which were never there. Acne was still present and the desperation to fix this shit grew further. People used to stare at the marks, causing a big drop in my self-esteem and confidence. I stopped attending functions. Was not able to look into eyes of other people while talking, used to look down or somewhere else, and felt so bad about it. Used to get jealous of people with beautiful skin

Talking to girls was out of question. I did not wanted them to feel grossed out while looking at me, neither was seeking anybody's sympathy. A normal treatment, a girlfriend a beautiful relationship was all I yearned for, but it became something impossible to achieve with such low self-esteem. But never lost that faint glimmer of hope and I could fix this.

Lesson 2 is never ever ever EVER touch your acne or try to pop them. Leave them alone.

Don't wash too often.

Mistake (3) Experimentation

With some hope. I went to the doc. She checked me for 5 mins and then prescribed me some Benzoyl Peroxide gel based ointment. One to wear during the day, and one for night. Some anti-blemish liquid and some face wash. Gladly, I bought both and thought the end of all my problems is in my hands for just Rs 3000/- (approx $50). A hefty amount for a guy from a middle class family, but still I was happy that my problems are coming to an end.

With dreams of a normal skin I started applying all the medicines daily without fail like the doc had advised me. After a week there was 0 improvement, I comforted myself that medicines take time. After couple of months still no improvement, In fact my skin got flaky and started to peel. Some of the side effects of benzoyl peroxide. My acne stopped but skin started to darken on my cheeks. I used to wear sunscreen as told during the day but because of the darkening I freaked out and stopped it's use. Acne was back after sometime. One thing to notice is acne never got cured, Benzoyl peroxide just supressed the acne formation.

Next, I started taking help of the internet. Reading reviews on all the AHAs/BHAs, Hydroquinone, Retin-A, Clindamycin, Onion extracts, Ayurvedic, Homeopathic treatments. Some of those reviewers were happy and some were mixed while some were not. Nonetheless, I experimented with all of these medicines. Obviously, not all of these treatments I tried together but at different stages of my life. When I was fighting the acne demons my “friends“ were out having a great time, attending farewell parties, making friends. And I was turning my house into a labratory, my face was a rat on which I experimented with all unknown chemicals, in a hope for a cure. All went in vain.

Desperation too has some limits thank God I did not try any of the oral treatments like accutane or anti-biotics. The side-effects that accutane causes were enough for me to stay clear of that drug. Not a single treatment worked. And I started to look at my old pics and longed for my old face back. All these chemicals and the regular use for long period had done a lot of damage, making the skin dark with acne scars and large pores. I had made my situation from bad to worse.

Lesson 3 – Do not turn yourself into a lab rat, I can bet, lots of dermatologists are more concerned about the money in their bank accounts than the scars on your face. Do not trust the medicines or your doc blindly. Always read reviews and avoid chemicals that can cause harm at all cost.

Hope and Hopefully a Cure -

About a week back I read an article on a girl's blog who was suffering from Acne and how she managed to cure it. I do not have the link with me, otherwise I would have pasted it here. I'll try to find it though.

Her story was similar to mine. She tried everything but her acne never got better. So she wrote a blog post about a big plant and it had started to wither away. In order to save it she bought some fertilizer urea etc. to make the plant survive. Unfortunately, nothing helped and the plant got too weak to survive. Then one day she stopped caring for the plant. Stopped the chemicals and noticed that the plant started to thrive. She started watering it, no chemicals no fancy artifical add ons, just plain water and the plant was all green again. A simple experiment gave her an idea, why don't I leave my acne alone.

It was a moment of revelation for her and a good move too. Her acne started to get better. In fact it started to feel better for her at quite an early stage of leaving the acne alone. After going through all the chemical brigade I was quite shocked at this simple approach. There was nothing to loose, literally , so I thought why not try it.

I went a little further on this lead, checking sources, reading articles about this approach. There was one mentioning not to wash your face with anything. Just use clean warm water and wipe it gently with a towel. Thats weird, all through the childhood I was told to keep the face clean, to lather away with soap to remove that oil and dirt until it's squeaky clean. But here was some guy debunking this theory and saying the oils are glands produce is our friend. It is necessary for creating a protective layer on the skin to keep the bacteria away. He mentions that Acne is an internal problem and cannot be treated from the outside. It can be supressed not cured from the outside. Also, he writes about the pH balance of our skin. That it is slightly acidic, and since all(or most of the) soaps are alkaline, we are doing more harm than good by stripping of that protective oil cover and messing with the pH balance. Stripping of this oil leads to more oil because our body simply gets a signal to produce more oil where required. This makes us feel more need to wash our face due to access oil. I was a science student and found all of this quite intriguing. Next I tried this approach too along with the no chemical one.

Washing my face without any fancy face wash or cleanser but just plain warm water. And wiping away the dead cells with a soft clean towel. (I am a guy so I don't put on any make up, so, girls need to check how to remove make up properly and safely)

I went soft while shaving too, using minimal amout of shaving cream.

I felt the difference on the third day of this regimen. My skin got smoother. I thought my face will become oily and dirty, but instead it started to feel a lot smoother and less oily, and the best part is even without a moisturiser I felt quite OK after cleaning with just water. I don't need a face wash to feel clean anymore. All that was needed was a warm water and clean towel.

The acne has stopped but the scars are still there. Although some minor ones have faded Hoping all will fade away soon. Along with that, I have added increased my water intake. It has helped in reducing stress and feel more active. I feel noone but your own body and mind knows you best. Let it take control of such situations.

This was my story and I am going strong with these methods. Hoping to get cured one day

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I can say that my story is somewhat similar. My acne didn't hit terribly until maybe a year and a half ago (age 19). I have tried so many different washes, treatments, creams, antibiotics, and have constantly washed my face when it begins to feel oily. I am at a point for the next couple months where I will not be seeing anyone I know, or talk to so I am going to try this starting tonight. I truly hope that it will work for me, and even if it does not your story was very moving, and your ability to keep a positive outlook is inspiring.

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Thanks!

I shared the same story on reddit a while back, below's the link. In case anyone wants to follow it there too.

There is one reply from someone who tried this approach and it worked a great deal for him.

[Removed]

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