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my journey, and doing the absolute most

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 this is really to document my acne journey for myself. and help me to work out my acne problems by writing it all down and putting it into the world. it's very long, and i'm very lol. maybe share your stories too so we can help each other out?

i have bumps allllll over my forehead. my cheeks are sprinkled with it. the dark brown scars of past pimples are painfully obvious. and whoever said that it's harder to see irritated zits on medium to dark skin tone is a liar. a huge liar. you can very much see when i have an irritated breakout. my t zone is oily. the rest of my face is pretty normal-ish. i get a lot of hormonal acne on my chin. other than some occasional  blackheads and the oiliness, my nose is probably the best area of my face. 

i started getting acne around 12, when i got my period. i also had some pretty severe depression around then. i didn't care about myself, my life, my grades, let alone my face. i didn't really start trying to fix it until i was 15, when my depression and life got significantly better. up until then, it was honestly like i was denying i had acne. im going to turn 19 in two months (about to go into my second year of college). ive had this skin condition for far too long. 

i have spent so much money, especially in the last year, on countless brands and products. proactiv. neutrogena. clean and clear. lush. pixi. mario badescu. tea tree oil. ACV. aloe vera. i promise you .... i've tried it all. nothing has worked. 

im desperate and determined. im so sick of looking in the mirror everyday and feeling like shit. my depression took everything away from me. my will to live, my grades, ruined some friendships, and put a strain on some family relationships. i've fixed all of that. i've gotten back almost everything my depression took away from me except for this. i just can't handle it anymore. it sucks bc (at risk of sounding more self centered /conceited than i already do) i don't think im ugly. i think i'd be really pretty if my acne would just GO AWAY. but it won't. ive made a lot of progress in learning to love myself the past couple of years, and my acne is truly holding me back. (it especially sucks that all my friends and my boyfriend of three years and all of my family members have perfectly clear skin but ok that's besides the point i digress) 

i stopped eating dairy on june 1st. i haven't seen too much progress from that (for my face at least. my body is kinda loving it tho). but i know that takes time and i honestly don't miss it thaaaat much. so i think i'll be sticking with that for a while. 

earlier this month i started taking 60 mg of zinc a day. i haven't seen any results with that either, other than i appear to be a little more oily on days that i forget to take it. 

this week, though, im taking the biggest leaps i've ever taken in terms of my acne. i started using retin-a 0.1% last night. i probably won't put it on again until next week. i know i have to start off slow to not risk serious irritation, or even burning. i'm very nervous about it. i've read some horror stories. but i've also read about amazing success stories. my cousin, who is a doctor and also suffered from hormonal acne like me, could not recommend it enough to me. so i hope it works for me like it did for her. 

also, today i started taking Loryna. i'm hoping this helps with a lot more than acne, to be honest, but the acne is definitely my main concern. i've read mixed reviews about this, too. so im just hoping im one of the lucky few. my sister and my cousin were both on yaz when they were around my age and it really cleared their skin. my sisters skin is perfect to this day. 

i really hoped i could fix my skin with essential oils, and ACV and a bunch of other natural products i've bought, but it is just getting to be too much. i need something stronger. the only reason, really, i haven't tried medications before is because of the cost. i would go on accutane in a second if i thought my parents could afford it. 

i KNOW it's hormonal. i already know i have a hormonal imbalance. it is painfully obvious with all my other symptoms. (ex: going months and months on end without my period for as long as i can remember). i haven't tried BC till now bc i didn't want it to make it worse, and also bc of financial situations. 

my routine from now on will be:
cetaphil gentle skin cleaner (on days that i am not using retin a i will be putting two drops of TTO in it as that is what i did with my last cleanser and it made me feel very very clean) 
toning with a green tea, aloe vera, and lavender oil toner 
AM moisturizer - cetaphil dermacontrol oil control moisturizer w spf 30 (ive been using this since april and i think this is going to be a staple for me for a long time) 
PM - neutrogena water-gel moisturizer (another love of mine. im on my second jar. very rare for me to do. if my skin gets very dry on the retina i will switch to the extra dry formula i love it so much) 

i am cutting down on my mask use while on the retina as i do not want to overwhelm my skin. 

i need to find a good, extremely gentle, exfoliator. especially for when my skin begins to peel from the retina. 

if anyone sees this and has any suggestions, tips, concerns, questions, inspiration, stories to share- anything, please let me know. i just recently officially joined the website in order to document/keep track of my journey and hopefully help someone make some tough acne treatment decisions, as many of the forums on this website have helped me do. 

will probably update sometime soon. thanks for reading, if you did.

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I had acne from when I was very young (14) and I got bullied for it. I tried all antibiotics back then and failed my school year because I started going crazy and isolated myself + the bullying. So when I turned 15 I went on accutane, sure enough it worked for a year but trust me everyday I felt like the same girl with acne and I was so afraid that it would return.

And ofcourse, my acne returned. I tried peelings, new antibiotics, topical creams but in the long term nothing worked. Along these years my depression, anxiety, isolation, BDD, eating disorders got worse.

Now I'm graduating next monday but I don't even want to go. I've been inside my room for months now, I don't even remember the last time I went outside.
I've been on the birth control Yasmin for 2 months now, and honestly my acne is getting worse. Even yesterday I got a bad breakout. And I don't know for how much longer I can do this. And nobody in my family understands how this can make me so suicidal let alone ruin my life.

I'm still impatiently waiting everyday till birth control does something. But my hopes are zero and I'm so tired of being tired. Everyone I know is starting their life but I'm  the only one getting pulled backwards because of my goddamn SKIN.

Btw I also took zinc, went vegan 2 years ago. So I tried the same things as you. That is how I knew my acne was hormonal, which my doctor never told me. However, I just don't know anymore, I'm out of options if birth control doesn't work (I already went on accutane).
Did you consider going on a second round of accutane? I know I did, but I've read that for hormonal acne it's bound to come back.

Tips: You can let a doctor look for what your hormonal imbalance is (I regret not doing that before going on BC), or you could get a cheaper version of birth control since you said you can't afford it. But I would definitely stick to your regime right now and consider that later on.

Anyways, sorry if this wasn't helpful but at least you know you're not the only one.

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