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Hello everyone,

I am a first-time poster but frequent viewer of Acne.org forums, and I decided after all this time that I want to share my story.

At 13 years old, I started my modeling career, and by 16 I was signed by an international agency; at that point my skin was nearly flawless, and it remained that way until I decided to attend college at 18. Needless to say, all hell broke loose. Absorbed by the freedom of college, I abandoned proper skincare and completely destroyed my face--I slept with makeup on only to lather more on the next morning, and this continuous cycle led to painting more makeup on my face to hide blemishes, which obviously led to more. It was a downward spiral instigated by my own negligence.

More traumatizing than the physical damage of acne was the emotional one. As a model, the expectation for perfection is overwhelming, and flaws are pointed out if not cruelly vocalized, not only by agencies, photographers, etc. but by one's peers as well. Because of my insecurity, I retreated from modeling all together, formulating excuses to not go on "go-sees."

After a few months of avoiding my skin issues, I decided to tackle them head on, although I waited until my roommate was fast asleep to shower and remove my makeup, and I waited until she left in the morning to get out of bed and cleanse my skin/apply makeup. My boyfriend of 14 months has never seen me without makeup; I wait until he is asleep, too, and wake up early to reapply makeup.

More disturbing than my acne, however, was my red hyperpigmentation. It covered my face, especially my cheeks, making it so that I would never leave without makeup and could barely stand to look in the mirror. It was ghastly to say the least.

Fast-forward to now, 15 months later. I have absolutely no acne (100% blemish free), and my red acne marks are faded to the point of barely visible; I am the only one who can really see them (my obsession with perfect skin, however, has gotten so out of hand that, even now, my boyfriend/current roommates have never seen me without makeup, despite its gradual healing--I acknowledge the absurdity of this, but it's hard to break old habits after the emotional beat-down this struggle has afflicted).

So here's my healing process (in order):

Differin: My acne became notably unmanageable by September, and in December I was prescribed differin, which I religiously put on my face every night before sleep. It, of course, did not work for several months, and I am still unsure if it ever worked.

Vitamin B5: The real saving grace, I believe, was Vitamin B5, which I began to take after differin seemed to diminish in effect. After several days of consuming them, my acne started to clear up. I still had small, clear bumps on my cheeks, though.

Chemical peels: Because my post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation was so noticeable, I dabbled in acid exfoliation, which did little for my skin at first due to the prevalence of current acne; it needed to be completely clear first.

IPL Laser: By May, I tried the laser (twice) to get rid of my red marks (to no avail). I considered it a waste of money, although the little bumps did disappear about a month after it--not completely sure if it was the laser's doing.

Retin A: I transitioned from Differen to .05 Retin A to further increase the cell turn over for my red marks. My skin has remained flawless since its application, and my red marks were slowly but surely disappearing.

Chemical peels: Back to the chemical peel, which (after the disappearance of active acne) was extremely beneficial for hyperpigmentation. I have had several 30% TCA peels with hydroquonine, and my red marks fade more and more after each one. I also use 20% glycolic acid pads daily to further the process.

My current routine:

Morning: Retin A (.05%)--unless I am going into the sun, Zinc Oxide Cream, Mederma scar fader, aloe vera 100% gel, lotion

Night: 20% glycolic acid pad, Mederma, Zinc Oxide Cream, aloe vera 100%, lotion

It's an aggressive routine, yes, but it works, and my skin has improved astronomically. Although red marks still exist, they've faded about 85-90%, and I acknowledge that time is an important factor.

So, I hope this helped; I know how emotionally traumatizing acne can be on your self-esteem and social life, and I truly empathize with all of you who are battling just as I have and currently am. If you want any specifics, I am more than willing to help, and as cliche as this sounds, it will get better.

Thanks!

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