My Acne Journey

After not blogging for a year, there have been a lot of recipes and events that I really would like to write about, but one thing in particular really stands out, and that is my skin. This is not a food post, there are not cat pictures here, and this is going to be way more open, honest, and revealing that I have ever been on here.

If we start at the beginning of my acne journey we are in elementary school, fourth grade. I remember one of my friends commenting on a pimple I had say something along the lines of, “Congrats, you have your first pimple!” I know that it wasn’t malicious, but it stung enough that it stuck out in my mind for eight years. Ever since that moment I have been insecure about my skin, I wore makeup in middle school, I didn’t in high school because I was scared it would look cakey and people would talk about me behind my back. I use snapchat, but otherwise I avoided taking selfies because I did not want my skin in its acne-consumed state to be immortalized. My skin was always an issue for me, but things have started to change and I really want to share my progress.

In eighth grade I began going to a dermatologist, before that I had tried to use drug store products to clear my acne, to no avail. At the derm I was prescribed some antibiotics, which actually ended up hurting my stomach more than anything. This is was my skin looked like the summer after eighth grade. (Just a note about these photos, they are old or from an iPhone camera, not the best quality, sorry.)IMG_0003IMG_0002

After the antibiotics didn’t work, we tried BC and various topical treatments. Some of which actually progressed me forward.. Most, however, did not provide the results that I was desiring and left me with the painful (and really hard to treat) cystic acne. The time came when I was so frustrated with the state of my skin, in its non-progression, that I decided to talk to the derm about accutane, a harsh medicine that restricts oil production and can sometimes permanently clear acne. Accutane, the brand name (it isn’t sold anymore because of generic competitors) of isotretinoin, is extremely harsh stuff. It can cause disastrous birth defects if a female patient becomes pregnant while on it, as well as causing super dry skin and joint pain for most patients. Understandably both my parents and I were very cautious about going down the isotretinoin road. We ended up making the decision to talk to the derm about it, and a couple months later I was taking isotretinoin.

My skin went from having painful cystic acne like this (pardon the creepy eye):IMG_0008

To having less like this:IMG_0009

And finally to having nearly no visible cyctic acne, but still scarring, and pink hair:   IMG_0004

And finally what my skin looks like today:IMG_0005 IMG_0006

I know that my skin is still a ways off from being perfect, I may even go another month on the isotretinoin to make sure everything is gone for good. I still have scarring to deal with, but I don’t fear taking pictures because of my skin anymore. My skin has come leaps and bounds, and I am happy. I am grateful for the dermatologist and the office for being so understanding and supportive as well as being informative.

I wanted to share this journey, but in a way that I could give context about where I was coming from and why it’s been so hard and exciting to overcome. I’ll be back to food blogging one of these days, maybe.

Let’s Face the Issues

Most of you that know me in real life know that my skin is not the best. Actually, my skin is really sensitive and acne-prone. [Wait, why am I talking about this on a food blog? Just be patient please.] Because of all the ance medications that I use, my face gets super dry, which is really not cool because my skin gets  dry in the winter anyway. I have figured out some ways of combatting this dry face, though, and I would like to share my tricks with you.

  • Keep lip balm on you at all times. In your backpack, in your purse, in your pocket, on your nightstand, next to your sink, in the kitchen, in your nail polish basket, next to your computer, and have a couple of tubes of back up in the cupboard incase you lose one of these or they run out. As a horn player, this is really important, a cracked lip can make you go mad… Keep your lips moisturized. I like to use Hurraw Balm (I found it on a rafting trip a couple of years back and bought a couple of tubes, used it up, then ordered more this fall. I will  make a special post about it, but I gave one away to a tuba friend and converted him to the stuff. It’s good balm, go get some.), it’s my favorite type of bam and yeah…
  • Don’t touch your face. If it’s dry, it will get red whenever something changes in the environment, you don’t need it to get red because you didn’t have the neck muscles to hold your head up in class… And don’t scratch it, even if it itches, heaven forbid you have scratch marks on your face in school! I speak from experience here, I have rested my cheek on my hand while watching TED talks and ended up with a red blotchy spot, and I have scratched and itch on my cheek and it looked like Freyja had attacked me.
  • If it hurts, don’t do it. Don’t scrub you face too hard, don’t use a face wash that makes you cringe, don’t use scrubs that make you bleed. Obviously some prescriptions are going to cause a little discomfort, but if they hurt you, you should talk to your doctor. No pain no gain does not apply here.
  • Use a real lotion, one that is meant to mosturize not smell good. This is pretty simple, the smelly ones aren’t as effective, and when you are dry you want to fix it for a while, not two minutes.
  • Back to the first point: Lip balm can go on more than your lips. Obviously the manufactures made it for the skin on your lips, but iff your nose is chapped, it’s okay to use some there. Also, if you have really dry knuckles and one cracks, lip balm can help cover it and moisturize it until it heals. I love lip balm incase you haven’t noticed.ConfessionBear

These are just a few of the tricks that I use, the ones that probably come up multiple times a day, and I have more. These can apply to you even if you skin isn’t caused because of treatments.

I just hope you don’t get too flaky.