Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Insecure Me: Acne, Part 1

My Acne Story
Me at age 18 with NO makeup on.
If you did not read the first post in this series, you may want to go back and read New Series!  Insecure Me.  You'll learn more about me and why I decided to write in depth about something very uncomfortable.

I had this lovely, smooth porcelain skin speckled with soft, youthful freckles and accented by warm rosy cheeks.  Not too oily, not too dry but just slightly glowing and nearly always perfect.  That was my skin growing up.  I barely ever wore foundation in high school and there were girls who envied my perfect skin.  I was proud of it and didn't want to cover up my flawless skin with makeup.  Then I turned nineteen and my skin changed into a temperamental monster that I've been dueling with ever since.  I'm pretty sure I'm losing.

At first, I thought it was the stress of college that was making these lovely giant zits randomly pop up on my chin.  College brought changes like procrastinating work, studying, a new diet of crummy college cafeteria food, making new friends, pledging a sorority and transitioning to a relationship with Brian that was no longer long distance.  Basically, it was a lot of change at once.  Then in December of freshman year, I started on the birth control pill and the hormones threw my skin a whole new curve ball.  But after a few months, things settled down and my acne pretty much went away before the end of freshman year.  Very rarely, a pimple would pop up but they were usually few and far between and not that big or noticeable when I did get one.  And then I moved to Florida.

Once again, there was a lot of transition in my life.  Within three months, I graduated from college, got married, changed birth control pills, moved 900 miles away from home, and started a job as a first year teacher.  Any of you who are teachers know how much stress that can be on its own.  The pimples started again and just seemed to get worse as time went on.  Three years after we moved to Florida, I had finally had enough.  I counted twelve active pimples on my face at once, along with many other inactive ones that were left behind and healing.  I was tired of feeling ugly and I wanted a solution.  A friend of mine had suggested that I try Proactiv, as it had worked well for her acne so I ordered the starter kit and had it rush delivered.
Me at age 28 with NO makeup on.
The Proactiv worked to an extent.  I have never had as many pimples as I did on that worst day, but my skin was still not clear like it was in high school.  (Later, I switched to the Walmart generic brand of Proactiv and found that it cost way less and had the same effects.)  After a while, I started to level out again with my life and birth control and so did my skin.  I realized that I was now only getting one pimple a month.  One giant white headed enormous volcanic pimple on my chin that showed up on the third Wednesday of every monthly cycle and lasted until Friday morning.  It was only one pimple but now that one pimple was so big and prominent and I still felt horrible.  I didn't even want to leave the house on those days.  I talked to my OB-GYN and she said it was cyclical acne and there was nothing I could do about it.  I refused to believe that was a true answer.  So I decided maybe it was the birth control that I was on.  Seeing a new doctor, I once again, switched birth control from pills to the shot, thinking maybe if I didn't get a period, I wouldn't get pimples.  For awhile, this worked like a dream.  I was still getting acne but I would get several very small and hard to notice pimples each month.  I could handle that!  At least no one else really noticed.  I finally felt like I was getting back to my old self.  But then eventually my skin went right back to making big white headed nasty zits that could not be ignored and now there were more than just one.  So that's where I was last week when I decided something had to give.

Click here to read part 2 of this post.

8 comments:

  1. Oh My Gosh! What gave! You've left us hanging :) I never had the clear skin past puberty and my acne is cyclical as well. Proactiv worked for me for a while, but then it wouldn't work for a while. I've had messed up skin since trying the Oil Cleansing Method (I really thought that would work...) and have since gone back to the generic Wal-Mart Proactiv. It's working "ok" but my chin still looks like a mine field... Can't wait to see how this post turns out!

    Lindsey

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    1. Lindsey: It sounds like you are I have very similar problems! My chin is really the only place I still get breakouts.

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  2. I've always had zits every now and then since puberty and they've mostly been on my t-zone. For a while now, I've been getting them in other areas too, like my cheeks and lots on my forehead. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong...ok so I know I shouldn't pop them but I can't help it. They're ugly and painful and as soon as I see them I HAVE to pop them. My skin is kinda crappy these days with so many acne marks...I've started wearing foundation this past year because I realized (thanks to youtube) that not everyone has perfect skin and the majority of people use makeup to look good so I shouldn't feel bad doing the same. :) But yes, I wish I was one of the few who look good without makeup.

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    1. Zara: I completely understand! You should definitely check out acne.org. It explains the "right" way to pop a pimple so that it heals faster and has lots of other great tips that are all free!

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  3. Great post. Thank you for opening up about you insecurities. I have this problem with my chin. I have horrible break outs on my chin and no matter what I do it doesn't work. I'm going to make an appointment to see my doctor to get a referral to the dermatologist.

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    1. Danielle, I am so glad to hear that people can relate to my issues! Let me know if your doctor has any useful information!

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  4. Thanks so much for putting yourself out there and doing this series. It's easy to forget every single woman has insecurities, and it's easy to feel so alone in the struggle. Shoot, I've even read Halle Berry sometimes thinks she's ugly! Your posts are helping me deal with my own insecurities. I had a baby 4 years ago, and I lost all the pregnancy weight and then some. But mysteriously, my body did NOT get the memo that it should have gone back to normal by now. I held up my end of the bargain, but I was left hanging. I have stretch marks, saggy areas, lack of firmness, lumpiness (I could go on for pages), all of which I seriously thought would lessen when I lost the weight. Now I am stuck with the realization that this is my body, and am trying so hard to look at myself positively, but most of the time I miss my old body so much. Reading about another person struggling to come to terms with a body image issue is really a huge help.

    Ally

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    1. @Ally: It means so much to me that I can help you to deal with your insecurities by sharing mine. It is amazing to me that you were able to not only lose the baby weight, but also more. You should be really proud of how hard you worked!

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