My Acne Story

This entry's been stewing on my drafts for almost 3 days now, I swear scavenging high school photos is hard work! Believe it or not, digital cameras weren't so popular those days (this sentence makes me sound so old). I love reading (or watching on Youtube) about other people's acne stories. It feels super empowering to see how people overcome this problem. Having severe acne isn't really a serious threat, but I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Not only is it such an inconvenient thing to have, most of the time, your self-esteem go way down.

*This is a loooong entry, so read at your own risk :)

High school


High school is supposed to be the stage where one gets buttload of acne on the face. But surprisingly, my acne wasn't that bad then (those photos, however, is another thing.... eugh). I get the occasional spots here & there once a month, but that's it. I had no horrid breakouts or ugly acne marks. My pimples can be usually found on my forehead, but I do get three or four on my cheeks or my chin.

College (first, second year)


My acne during my first 2 years in College was pretty much the same. I do get more spots this time around (usually on my cheeks; a lot on my forehead), but I blamed it on stress & pollution (Taft Ave was a NIGHTMARE). I got bangs to cover everything up.

College (third, fourth year) until a year after graduation


So here's where it all started getting worse. When I turned 19, all hell broke lose. I honestly have no idea how it all happened. Well, there's still stress, pollution.. Then add thesis (which equals to a whole lot more stress and legit sleepless WEEKS), bad decision to dye my hair almost every 4 months, weight gain and really unhealthy diet. Just look at those photos! Yes, I looked like that. Big ass zits all over my face, cystic acne, deep acne scars, blemishes, etc. I had my own fair share of good days (or weeks if I'm lucky), but that's basically how my face looked like in those years. I dare not use any foundation for fear that I will irritate my face even further, so I go around everywhere with a bare face.

Dermatologist, Ob-gyne/Endocrinolgist visits

I've been going to the same dermatologist since I was in second year high school. My skin cleared out a bit as I was prescribed to take antibiotics & underwent some facial peelings. After college, I went to a new dermatologist (not because I didn't like my old one, I really do LOVE her but the clinic's a bit too out of the way), and was subjected to the same treatment as my old one minus the antibiotics. Creams, lotions, monthly pricks, etc. It did help with controlling my acne, but the problem is still there.

One day, I dropped by my Pediatrician to get my Cervical Cancer shot (haha I feel a lot like Ross Geller!), when she told me to visit an Endocrinologist because she felt that my situation wasn't "normal" anymore. Apparently, I was too old to have severe acne.

So I did.

I was subjected to a transrectal ultrasound (it was embarrassing!), which long story short, made my ob-gyne prescribed me to take Diane 35 (a birth control pill) for 6 months.

On pills

I didn't experience any bad side effects while taking the pills except for the fact that I gained weight. A lot of weight. More or less 10 pounds, and being 5'1", it's a huge thing for me! But nevertheless, I knew I had to persevere. I went to the US for 5 weeks, I didn't want to suffer from severe breakouts while I was there so instead of stopping at 6 months, I adjusted and took another 2 months worth of pills.

Now


I have been off the pill for around a month now (oddly enough, I've already had 2 menstrual cycles), and my skin has never been this better since early college years. Look at those photos, what a huge difference, right? I still get blackheads & whiteheads, and the occasional little zits, but I haven't had massive breakouts since then. As you can see on the photos above, I still have a lot of acne scars and blemishes on my cheek area, but no pimples on my t-zone, thus far! I'm definitely impressed and satisfied with how my skin looks now.

What changed? Dietary wise, while researching, I found out that cow's milk isn't very good for the skin, I like eating cereals in the morning so I now take it with almond milk (I like Blue Diamond and Natur-a.). I've also started to limit my dairy intake. Take note, limit, not remove it from my diet completely. I still eat chocolates, cheese and yogurt. I also switched from coffee to a caffeine free tea (one of my favorites is The Republic of Tea Get Lost). I don't think caffeine helps with my acne per se, but removing caffeine does allow me to have a better sleeping cycle. I drink a lot of water. I treat myself to a sugared drink once in a while, but I haven't touched sodas for a while now.

Makeup wise, nothing has changed, really. Except I wash my face brushes even more frequently, and I have stopped using MAC blushes!! Oh you, shimmery fiend. *shakes fist* Removing makeup is a must, I use Bioderma Sensibio. Then follow it up with my cleanser.

My skincare regime has also drastically improved. I used to use drugstore facial cleanser targeted to acne prone skin, but has now switched to a milder cleanser targeted for sensitive skin - I use Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser. I use The Body Shop Seaweed Gel cleanser at night, which is essentially the same as the Avene one but it has a nice cooling sensation - perfect for relieving my skin after a stressful day. I started using sunscreen for my face - the Belo Essentials Sun Expert SPF 40. When I don't forget it, I now use moisturizer for my face. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is great, but I've yet to repurchase it. I don't use toners, since I still find it unnecessary.

I use nose pore strips every now and then - Purederm Nose Pore Strip or Nature Republic Pore Strip. I put on face mask once a week - I found the Apivita Express Beauty Mask With Green Clay the best one yet. I'm still on the lookout for a nice, gentle face scrub. What do you recommend? :)
 
I haven't touched any of my prescribed acne creams and lotions, and have yet to visit my dermatologist again. It's also only been 2 months since I'm off pill, I am crossing my fingers so tightly that my acne won't return. I'll update you soon! :)


**Please do note that I am in no way professional. And what worked for me might not work for you. I suggest working with a dermatologist for suggestions :)

CONVERSATION

9 comments:

  1. Interesting post! I don't suffer from acne but throughout University my once clear skin started suffering from breakouts too - I put it down to a whole lot of stress, lack of sleep and subsequent bad diet. It's awesome that you are feeling better now though, I have my fingers crossed for you!
    S xx

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  2. @Seonaid: Thank you! You have SUCH flawless skin now! I'm just hoping the bad breakouts won't come back anymore! xx

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  3. Thank you for sharing your story! I really think think there is a big link between diet and acne. I too am an can sufferer and slowly it is finally beginning to get better so reading stories like yours really give me hope!

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  4. @ Maddie: I wish I knew that when I was younger! If I knew dairy is bad for my skin, I wouldn't have gorge on too much cheese! ;p Good luck! I hope you beat acne, too!! xx

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  5. This post is very interesting!! I don't have a lot of spots but I do have some. And I hate them!!
    There's a huge difference on your photos!!! :) The pills are really working :)xx

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  6. @Invoche: Thank you! I've stopped taking them now so cross fingers! xx

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  7. Hello,

    I run and maintain a blog about blogging and WordPress at http://www.TheWPHowToBlog.com. Recently, I have launched some inspirational blogs about getting 6 packs (http://www.howtheygotsixpackabs.com) and losing weight post pregnancy (http://www.howmomslostweightfast.com/)

    I am also in the process of launching a similar blog that publishes inspiring stories of people who are fighting with acne and people who have succeeded in getting rid of acne. You can see it athttp://www.howtheygotridofacne.com/

    I was searching the internet for acne related blogs, and was really impressed by your story when I read about it on your blog. Congratulations for everything you have been able to achieve!

    I was wondering if you would be interested in an email interview telling your story – we would discuss topics like your background, how you felt when you started getting acne, what you did to fight acne, the issues you faced, how you succeeded, etc. Your story would be really inspiring and motivating to many people wanting to get rid of acne, and therefore, I urge you to positively consider this interview request. 

    I would of course be happy to provide a link back to your blog or Facebook page. Please let me know if you would want to go ahead with this email interview, and I would send out the questions to you.

    Thanks in advance...

    Warm regards,
    How They Got Rid of Acne Team.

    Reach me @ info@howtheygotridofacne.com

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  8. Interesting post, I just came across with your blog (I don't know why, lol). I'm glad that your acne has reduced. I don't suffer from acne, but I have milia cyst, which I have like 3 little pearl-like zits in the area of my eyes. As I'm in my first year of college and I had few other breakouts, that were kind of annoying, because I touched my skin with my hands dirty with germs and well you get the picture, but it wasn't that bad. What I do now to clear my skin completely is drinking water like 4 to 6 bottles of water per day and has helped A LOT, and take a few breaths to be calm and not be stress out. AND, obviously having a healthy diet full of veggies, like spinach and asparagus,and reduce the amount of candy and food that has a lot of white sugar; and it has made a HUGE difference, trust me. I still use makeup(concealer, earthy-toned eye shadow and powder) for my ugly black under eye circles and that's it. Take care :) Thanks for your post, I really liked it.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your acne story. It's a hard story for a lot of people to tell, so I do appreciate your honesty.

    Just my two cents worth, I'm a personal trainer & a nutrition coach and from personal experience and the results of my clients I can vouch for the fact that changing your diet definitely affects acne. If your body doesnt detoxify through its bowels, it detoxifies through the skin. So make sure you are eating good whole foods, going to the washroom regularly, decrease food that causes inflammation (dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, etc), your gut bacteria is good (probiotics, fibre), and you decrease stress too! I know its a tall order, but if you do one thing at a time, it helps. :) Good luck!

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