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hi my name is eliza and i've been battling with stubborn acne for eight months now. i am going to tell you strangers my story, even though writing about all of it will dredge up a lot of feelings i don't want to feel. its gonna be long, but maybe someone out there went through the exact same experience, and this will make them feel less alone. i just joined acne.org but that doesn't mean i was not on this website every hour of every day researching my symptoms trying to find a stranger who has the same experience as me. my amazing boyfriend also told me that if i find an outlet where i can help people based on my mistakes and rough experiences, it would change the way i feel about myself and my situation. so basically i'm done feeling alone and sorry for myself. i just want to help others, or make them feel okay. also i'm gonna talk about girl stuff so if your'e a guy you probably wont relate too much, but i'm not discriminating. this may seem kind of like a life story rather than an acne one, but really, acne has been plaguing my entire life, in some form, its just my biggest phobia, and has contributed to my current ocd which is not diagnosed but i don't give a shit because i have ocd like its so bad but ill get into that later, ok so here i go

ive had acne since i was like 9 lol. it wasnt cystic or anything, just the occasional forehead pimple smack dab in between my eyebrows where id get taunted at school the following days and called "indian", referring to bindis which are a part of indian culture and theres nothing funny or ugly about them. classmates can just be horrible and mean, and that is just something i always remmeber kids saying to me. horrible, and offensive as it was to indian culture. so flashforward to middle school i got my period in 6th grade, i was 12. i didnt have it for long when i became anorexic. im not going to delve into the emotional trauma of that but that really took over my life when in was 13-15. much like my obsession with my skin now, i had an obsession with my weight back then. i realize now that i have a very obsessive personality, i just tend to become obsessed with certain things regarding my physical appearance, whether thats acne now, maybe in the future im sure itll be wrinkles or whatever. i just gravitate towards the unhealthy obsessing over the way you look end of the spectrum, and not many people in my life know this about me. only my mom really. its a hidden flaw within myself that is so unattractive, if my boyfriend knew how narcissistic i am he definitely would feel uncomfortable, but he is someone that i am so open with, even about my acne, though thats not how it started, it took me a while to tell him what was bothering me because of my fear that he would see how narcissistic i am. he probably already sensed it, hes a psych major so i wouldnt be surprised if he already thinks that about me, but i hold him to a higher standard than just any old boyfriend, he understands me, and thats why i love him, and id like to think he holds me to that standard as well, and im sure he knows we all have our evils. OK so i just rambled once again about how much i love my boyfriend- back to the story!~~~

so that anorexia really took a toll on my body, i lost my period, was under extreme stress, and i didnt notice it at the time because my obsession was with my weight, but looking at photos of that time, i had acne! this time, larger more inflamed ones that hurt. so remember this because its going to be important later on in the story (i.e my ife, lol -.-). so i started eating again as i started high school and got my period back, skin cleared up (looking at photos from when i was 14-15 my skin was PRISTINE) and i was just healthy and happy. so then in sophomore year of highschool i became obsessed with getting thicc cause that was the wave, so here i am, my obsessive personality just checks in and takes it to the extreme, this time not with starving myself, but gaining weight! isnt that funny, i guess my real problem was just trying to adapt to the ver changing standards of beauty, back when i was anorexic it was the 2012-2014 winter girl thigh gap era of beauty. then when i was 16 it was being slim thicc as we called it in nyc, LMAOO, good times, not really ,but ok so furthermore,  i was drinking a shit ton of ensure and i even took apetamin once which was supposed to help with weight gain, and i defintely gained weight, but oh man my skin was so fucking bad. but once again, i didnt notice it or care  for it much at the time because i had tunnel vision on that other thing. so looking back, i now know that ensure has whey in it and that shit is so bad for ur skin, so yea. i was also drinking a lot of milk & eating ice cream to gain weight, and that made me break out bad too. so then when i actually started caring about my acne, i was 16, this was the first time i felt the depression that acne causes someone, the heartbreak, and the worthlessness. i was also going through major chronic anxiety leading up to the breakout, so that contributed as well. so i cut out dairy from my diet, also cut out a toxic friend from my life, and my skin started clearing up, this was in a matter of a month, and during this time i actually did keep eating cheese, and eventually i ate cheese a lot more and did not break out from it, but i have not drank milk since then. (beginning of 2018). so then my skin cleared beautifully. i continued to break out just a little during that summer in 2018, not really sure why, i think i just took some photos with these wigs i bought, and i think they did something weird but yea for the most part my skin was normal and clear. then, i did something,

so i had sex with this guy that i should have had sex with. i don't want to discuss the reason but basically i guess this is karma biting my ass because of what i did with this guy. he was a stranger, i wasn't a virgin when we hooked up, but it had been a while since i had sex so after we hooked up twice, i did get paranoid because thats who i am, and so i took plan b, even though we used a condom and it didn't break (lol how stupid could a girl be right), so if you're a girl reading this who knows about hormones and such, u probably know what to expect. but ur wrong, but ur wrong only this time around, ill explain, u just have to see the story unfold. so i took plan b, at this time i didn't know plan b messes with your hormones, and now after everything i've been through, even reading about a girl who voluntarily takes plan b when there was no reason for it makes me fucking SCREAM, but yea i was that dumb bitch. so, i don't know what god was looking out for me at that time, but i swear, that plan b didn't do anything to my skin, and in the following month, my skin would begin looking its clearest for the fewest months of my life. i skipped a period when i took the plan b, and i remember getting ONE cystic pimple on my forehead a day after i took it, but thats it. its funny, too, i took it a week before my senior year of high school began, it literally could have been so bad, but for some reason, probably god, it wasn't. so from oct. 2018- march 2019, you guys, my skin was flawless. literally, i dont fucking know how to explain it, it was f l a w l e s s. and during this time, i was eating so much crap, and so much cheese, id eat hot cheetos late at night, id eat bowls full of cheese and whatever, id eat chocolates, sweets, chips, junk, i would eat anything and everything, except for milk and ice cream, i kept those two out because of what i went through in 2018. and I WOULD BE GETTING DRUNK EVERY WEEKEND GUYS. I WOULD BE DRINKING 4LOKO like it was water, and my skin did not react at all. fucking insane right? makes me want to laugh at how i walk on eggshells now and have worse skin, b ut before i didnt give a shit and my skin was great. now i realize it was probably because my hormones where great, i wasnt on birth control never did anything weird to my body, i was just really healthy, generally speaking. also the only thing i used to clean my face- rubbing alcohol. yes, u heard correctly, i would wipe my face with it in the morning, then at night. and thats it. never wore makeup on my face, because i never had to. like i really dont know guys, i wish i could explain, i was just one of those blessed bitches that was gifted clear skin, i remember thinking one day, it was like january, this was when i had clear skin for three months straight already, i forgot what it felt like to have a pimple. i thought that i was 17 almost 18 now, that i made it through puberty and dietary acne and that everything was finally coming together, and i had my skin in check and this was gonna be my skin forever. im tearing up writing this, because i really remember how free i felt during that time, how easy i had it and how i was so unsuspecting for the horrible months to come. 

here is where it gets hard for me to talk about because it is so recent (yet so not). 

so then i met my boyfriend. and i had to take plan b, again. this time, i really did have to take it. so i took it at the end of march of 2019. at this point i also did not know about how it messes up your hormones and skin, but i remember the minute after i took it, literally right after i swallowed that little pill that is adverstised as harmless, for some reason a voice told me to google search if it can cause acne. then lo and behold, i started reading the truth about that darn plan b. before all this, i had known about how hormonal birth control causes acne and hormone imbalance long term, but to this day i dont understand how i did not connect the dots that plan b IS hormonal birth control and that it will give me acne. so then after i took it i remembered it didnt do anything to me last time, so this time itll be fine again, right? so i got a big ass cystic pimple, in the same spot as last time. (just for organizational purposes i took my first plan b in sept 2018, and the second time was in march 2019, so only 6 months apart). it took forever to go away, but i figured okay, its just one zit, just like last time, and itll be fine from now on. now this is where it gets confusing and foggy. 

literally one week after i took plan b, i got the paragard copper iud inserted in april of 2019. this had been something i wanted for a while, and my boyfriend and i talked about it a lot and i was really sure of doing it because it was "non hormonal". and hey, maybe it would have worked just fine if i did not take the plan b, but because both happened so close to one another, i don't really know which has been the culprit for the acne that followed. so i had this copped iud in for six weeks before i took it out because my acne had worsened and i was just beginning to come to terms with the fact that it wasn't going away on its own, and the iud is probably doing something to my body to aggravate it further, so i wanted to start a natural healing journey. 

if u think this is already foggy and confusing, well it gets more foggy and confusing, i decided to leave this out until now because thats when i realized it in real life, only after i took out my iud. so i took antibiotics in late february, it was amoxicillin, im gonna be honest, i took antibiotics because i had just gotten my nipples pieced and wanted to make sure there'd be no infection. so stupid, i know, but HEY thats me, making mistakes in life because i literally dont know any better, only to find out later that what i did was really fucking bad for your health. 

so at this point my forehead was breaking out crazy, and i now knew that the antibiotics i took, combined with the plan b, and possibly the iud, all those things hit my body like a truck all at the same time, and this is me paying the price for it. 

i normally have heavy periods during the first two days, and after that its light. after taking the plan b, i skipped a period (of course), but then my next period was super light and short. "let your body regulate itself, eliza, give it time" id tell myself. i was now so stressed out about my acne, i cut out all dairy from my diet, all sugar, even pasta. i lost 17 pounds. and my skin wasn't getting any better. this was may of 2019. i was approaching the end of my senior year of high school, it was supposed to be a happy joy filled time. i had made it this far, and i should be celebrating. instead, i isolated myself from all my friends, without explanation. to this day, i don't think i ever told them why. i also wasn't seeing my boyfriend often, i was just embarrassed of my acne, and what he'd think. at this point our relationship was on the rocks, because i was going to see him once every week or two when my skin was clear, then spending the rest of those days chronically crying, having no appetite, and staying in bed all day. i missed so many days from school because of my skin. when i say that i cried for three- four months straight, im not kidding. i forgot what it felt like to be human, let alone happy. 

so i went to prom with a big ass cyst on my forehead, and for graduation it was actually not bad. i have god to thank for that. then in the summer, i went to romania to visit my family. my skin was so clear at this point, even though i though i would break out from traveling/ change of environment/ etc. i didnt, and i finally felt like i was almost myself again. but that was only surface, i was still obsessed with my skin and checking it every few hours so i wasnt really all there on the trip. 

when i came back from romania, i thought my skin woes were over, but it just got really bad again. at this point i was suicidal. i would cry to my family every day about wanting to die, about how these past six months have been nothing but a living hell, a nightmare i wish i could wake up from but it just isnt so. i still wasnt opening up to my boyfriend about any of this either, so our relationship was still very surfaced and i felt so alone (this is my fault). so i was at my wits end, and i made an appointment for a hormone panel. i went with my mom. the results were that i had really high DHEAS and a little bit high testosterone. i explained to my doctor that i had taken plan b and thats how all this started. she shrugged it off, saying that "its out of your system within a few days, it doesnt cause hormonal changes". even thinking about her snarky little face saying those things to me, and then saying i should go on birth control to regulate my hormones, i just want to scream at her, and every doctor that doesnt consider the dangers of synthetic hormones, and the long term damage they do to your health. 

so i looked into high DHEAS, and that its produced by your adrenals, during extreme stress, and causes excess androgens, therefore acne. so thats the reason i had high DHEAS. the testosterone was probably high due to the dheas being high, and the leftover levonorgestrel from the plan b. at this point, my periods were coming regular on the exact day, but were light and short. they did not feel like healthy periods to me. so i suspected pcos.

i really didnt want to have pcos, because that CAN mean infertility, and i even asked my doctor if such things like plan b which has highly androgenic levonorgestrel could actually cause pcos, and shes like nooooooo its geneticccccccccc blah blah. but oh my god ive done so much research and had my FIRST HAND experience to say that gynos are mediocre and they dont know shit, and same goes for dermatologists. oh my god, dont even get me started on dermatologists they were the dumbest people in the world. 

so at this point im like ok, its been six months. nothings changed, if anything its getting worse because of your stress and depression constantly causing a cascade of inflammation and acne, and its messing with your period, weight, etc. i was 98 pounds. i was severely underweight BECAUSE i cut out everything from my diet in attempt to clear up my skin. i literally had some fucking vegetables for breakfast lunch and dinner because i felt like i wouldnt eat anything anymore. i was depressed. suicidal, i cant stress it enough how bad it got. 

remember when i said to remember the anorexic part? yea ok so this is where i link the two. so when i was anorexic, i had more acne than usual. now, when i became underweight, it seemed to exacerbate my acne, and my periods too light. so after some research i have a scientific theory.

when you are underweight, your body goes into survival mode. testosterone, being the strong male hormone, rises. thats why you see anorexics get thicker body hair thats said to happen because thats your body trying to keep warm. and that is correct, because testosterone is being utilized by the body to keep you alive.

so i feel like maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for me, and its also mentioned in many studies about "lean pcos" women. 

so then my sister gets an ultrasound and she has multiple cysts on one ovary, and one 6 cm large one on the other ovary. she has always had irregular periods. seeing this, our family was saddened because she would have to go in for surgery to remove the large cyst.

also seeing this, i thought i would have an ultrasound done as well, because i might also have pcos. so i went in, got it done it hurt a lot and i came out with one small cyst on my right ovary. i know that one follicle develops each months, during ovulation, and that was the time that i had my ultrasound done, so who knows maybe it was just the follicle for that month, maybe it was a pcos related cyst due to high androgens, the doctor didnt really specify, to be honest, she just said "small cyst", but cyst and follicle are interchangeable because they are the same thing. 

i havent gone back to get it checked out again, i dont know, i just feel overhwlemed. 

that was about two months ago. 

i started trying dietary ways to reduce androgens in my body, it helped, but made my period even lighter, so i tried to wean myself off of it, and my last two periods have been heavy so thats a good sign, but my acne came back this period with a vengeance, this time painful, deep and cystic. 

i read some forums on here to try l-lysine. i also watched organic olivia where she talks about it. i gave it a try, figured that it could be something long term that would help with acne, but not disturb my periods. i took it for two weeks, honestly it didnt do anything, if anything i broke out more from it.... not sure if it was the lysine or the fact that i wasnt consistent with my anti androgen things...but yea i took 1000mg a day for two weeks straight, today is the first day i stopped taking it. i just read a few people on here had the same experience, that it broke them out. so yea we'll see.

i also had a flare up in my psoriasis just a few weeks ago, the lysine didn't do anything for it either. 

i just had my period, im on the third day, it was heavy the first day, second day it was medium, today its light. but i broke out bad on the second day of my period (yesterday), i dont know why to be honest. maybe its the lysine. maybe i need to try more anti androgens.

ive always noticed i break out on the week of ovulation, and like after my period. i dont know what thats about, ive tried researching but all people ever write about is how u break out a week before your period because of progesterone. but with me, my skin is clearest during high progesterone, so i figure that the plan b really did do long term damage to my progesterone levels being too low in ratio to estrogen/testosterone. i read something interesting on here, that a lady wrote but i forgot her name or where i saw it, but she said that synthetic progestins, which is what is in plan b, act like progesterone in the body, which is counterintuitive because you'd expect to have "more progesterone" but that just isnt the case. plan be is a LOAD of progestins, so it basically tricks your brain into stopping the production of its natural progesterone, because its flooded with those stupid, synthetic progestins. so maybe my body is lacking in that, i honestly dont know. 

also the copper iud, i think what it did to my body was it gave me worse anxiety than i already had, it depleted the zinc because of the copper in it, and it raised my "bad" estrogen. (theres good and bad estrogen im too lazy to explain and my fingers are literally dead from typing this mammoth essay).

sigh, theres just a lot i did to my body this past year, and i was just about to type "i regret it all", but really, i have had some happy days lately, and in those days, it was a stronger happy feeling, a wiser happy feeling than i ever was before all of this went down. i appreciate the good days more now. i appreciate my boyfriend, who i finally opened up to about my depression and all this. we have gotten so close, and i cant help to think it was because of all of this. it did make me into a better person, spiritually. even though i have very active ocd now, thinking that if i dont tap each foot ten times then ill breakout. im still working on calming my anxiety and ocd about my acne and karma. sometimes i feel like this is god teaching me a lesson, even though i did do this to myself, it was because i did not appreciate my health and wanted to jump into a life of sex and bad choices blindly. ive since then learned that sex is something that shouldnt be rushed into, it comes with great responsibility. i know that now.

right now, im just sitting in bed, didnt go to school, again cause of my acne, im in college now so it is harder to miss class... sigh. but im finishing up this life story for u guys, lol probably no one will ever even read this or scroll past and not care, oh well, it honestly felt good to write it all out because its been so much, u guys. so much fucking tears, heartache and sadness. its insane how acne can really hurt your mental health and then in turn your physical health. 

when im going to sleep i just think about a world where acne doesnt exist. it would be good for everyone's self esteem, wouldnt it? we wouldnt have companies sucking the money and time out of you with promises for perfect skin. we wouldnt be restricting all delicious foods because we'll break out. we wouldnt be buying expensive makeup to cover up your blemishes, and wasting hours in the morning doing so just for one class in school that day. we wouldnt be staring at ourselves in the mirror, holding an ice cube to a large painful cyst, while tears, once again, are shed because we are tired and frustrated. 

i am now tired. i dont think i am frustrated anymore. i am just tired. of all this crying. of course i want to have clear skin, maybe not soon, but i know someday in the future it will happen, because everything is temporary, even the bad stuff. for now, im just going to work on being okay with not having clear skin. 

i dont want to miss out on life just because of a skin condition. i want to really feel secure and happy, regardless of how i look.

whoever read all this, even just some of it,  thank you for listening. i am sending you clear skin vibes, but more importantly, happy vibes. 

much love, 

eliza

 

Edited by lizuca10

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Hey!

I imagine how stressful this is especially when you are in college.

 

Please don't try to find when everything went downhill because that only adds more stress to the whole situation. I spent years trying to figure out where I went wrong and how I went from clear skin to cystic acne in my early 20's.

 

I have also dealt with acne but for a longer time than you. I also have high DHEAS levels and I'm very slim. 

I have tried everything under the sun minus birth control/spiro and I'm currently on Accutane and having good results.

 

I have lean PCOS and I'm hoping to get rid of acne with only Accutane.

 

My advice is to go back to the dermatologist and treat the acne before it leaves indented scarring. Scars are a whole new beast so try to avoid those.

 

In the meantime, get yourself tested for PCOS or other hormonal imbalance.

 

Good luck :)

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