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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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 :)