Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Story with Acne

Kids can be so mean- that's a fact. It's hard growing up in a large city. On the playground, boys and girls would push one another off swings and laugh. They'd tell classmates that they're not pretty, or good at sports, or drawing, etc. All the other kids in class would end up laughing as well. Since grammar school, the biggest bully on my block was Acne. My struggle started when I was only 9 years old. I had breakouts all over my forehead, neck and back. Gross. What made matters worse was that the other kids didn't even make fun of me; they would just stare. My face and body was so full of acne, milia, etc it was like a deformity per se- and it's not nice to make fun of a "sick" person.

Hi~ I have skin issues. Nice to meet you! (makeup)

My mom saw an infomercial and ordered the Proactiv three-step system. I used it consistently until I was 11 and it cleared up my face drastically. It was to the point where I didn't have any more pus-filled zits, pinky redness or super-hyper-pigmentation, BUT for the first time in my life (of eleven years…), I got cystic acne. When I saw my pediatrician, he put me on minocycline. It kind of worked- my cysts were smaller, but still very obvious. When I was old enough, I was put on Accutane. Over time, I just felt like it wasn't worth my crazy hormonal changes and was slowly weened off the prescription. Around this time, I tried everything over-the-counter- Clearasil, Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, etc. My face was better, but I think it was because my body was still going through 'changes.' At 18, I tried the (IMHO) Holy Grail of acne medication: birth control, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo (it was a happy side effect for the main reason I went on the medication). It was amazing. My face was just CLEAR. And over the years, my super-hyper-pigmentation slowly sloughed away.

Christmas 2007- I started my birth control a couple months prior. (sans makeup)

At 21, when my problem (initial reason I went on birth control) was resolved, I was taken off the medication and my face went crazy. Again, I tried OTC products and none seemed to work. I figured I'd have acne ALL my life so I might as well get used to it. I was perusing around my local mall when I found myself at the Clinique counter. The SA was kind and seemed to really know what she was talking about (to some degree, her knowledge of acne was similar to my dermatologist). I went home with the acne system not thinking much of the product. Lo and behold, it's magic in a cleanser. I used it for two years religiously and it kept zits, blackheads, whiteheads and most importantly cystic acne at bay. The couple of times I forgot my acne treatment, my face broke out in crazy angry cystic acne that'd hang around and scar my face for months. I loved the outcome. It was beautiful. But over the years, I didn't want to be stuck lugging around products that couldn't pass through TSA (I travel often). So my search began again. In California, my sister introduced me to Pan-Oxyl. She swore that it helped with back acne, something I've never been able to get rid of. When home, I went to my local CVS and bought a tube. I haven't been able to use it til about a month ago, but I think it only works so-so for back acne. But on my face and neck, I saw no changes (aka, it works as well as the Clinique Acne System).

With my current skin care regimen, my face only breaks out 25% of the time (when TOM comes to visit). I'm happy with the Pan-Oxyl facial wash and I'm currently on the hunt for a Holy Grail targeted breakout corrector. I've used the spot treatment gel from Clinique, but find that it doesn't do much at all.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment!


  1. Pan-Oxyl is epic ish bro. It's really strong I didn't think you'd use it on your face LOL.

    1. It's actually not strong enough! I still get acne, milia, etc here and there. But I can live with it.

  2. Hi, Jenny! Do you use moisturizer for your skin? If not, I think this is one of the main reasons why you still experience acne breakouts in your face. Try to use a moisturizer after cleansing. Then, apply the acne treatment that suits your skin type. Use makeup sparingly. Do not forget to hydrate regularly. Eat fresh and healthy food everyday. Create an everyday healthy lifestyle. These simple steps could help you have a clear and beautiful skin. #Dorthea Sibert

    1. Dorthea,

      I moisturize my skin twice a day with Clinique's acne moisturizer and Neutrogena's sensitive skin moisturizer mixed together. I found that this was the best way to treat my acne and soothe my dry, normal skin. Also, I limit my meat intake, consume fruits and veggies in abundance and drink at least 60 oz of water daily. I break out two days prior to TOM 'til two days after (so about seven days total)- then it goes away thankfully.

      Thank you SO much for your input. Glad to know my futile efforts weren't just because my body is finicky!



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