It is completely normal for everyone to breakout. No one wants to wake up with a bump on their face and have to go out feeling like everyone is staring at. While people do not realize the bump probably, it is nice to have a clear complexion and to be able to go makeup free- especially during the summer on vacation.
I know first hand how terrible acne can be. I used to have it bad in middle, high school and my first year of college. Unsure of the cause I had confidence issues. I did not want to go places sometimes, did not want to go makeup free on the beach and did not want to talk to people in class because I know they were staring at the huge bumps on my face.
I didn’t have the regular one or two white/black heads. I had the bad acne. The cystic/nodule acne where my face would have five of those and it would look swollen and puffy and hurt to move my face. My parents never had acne growing up and no one in my family did. I wondered why I was breaking out so bad when I would keep my face clean after the gym and wash it twice a day. I also have always ate really healthy and I drink a gallon of water a day so I could not figure out what was going on.
Senior year of high school I decided to go to the dermatologist. My dermatologist looked at my face and decided that I have acne from my hormones. I was prescribed the birth control pill YAZ, an antibiotic called Doxycycline and a cream to put on my face at night called Epiduo. They say it takes three months to notice a change for everything. While I wanted my acne to be a quick fix I knew it was not going to be and I had to stick with it. I think I was allergic to the Doxycycline as I would feel so sick to my stomach while taking it with or without food and I couldn’t stomach it. I was taken off of that after I called my dermatologist and she put me on Keflex instead.
I was in month 2 at this point and my skin started getting worse than it was before. My dermatologist said the antibiotic was bringing the acne from under the skin out before it went away. I was in tears at this point. I was calling myself ugly and did not want to go anywhere. I would coat my face in makeup which makes it look worse, by the way. I would shower at night and wash my face and I remember feeling bumps all over my skin while showering because my face was broken out so bad. At one point during the summer I was at the beach and I had 5 nodules on my face near my eyes and nose so my face was swollen and it was making my eye look swollen as well.
The birth control was affecting my mood at first as my body was getting used to it and I was upset and angry all the time. Which is nothing like me at all. I knew something was wrong and I would eventually get used to it. I stuck it out for three months and went back for a check up where I was taken off of Keflex after I finished the whole dose of it and my face was clearing up. I went to college and my face still broke out pretty bad into nodules freshman year. I remember I didn’t want to run into anyone walking to the bathroom because I knew they would talk to me and my face was red and had bumps all over it without makeup on. I was always so self-conscious. Over that fall break I went back to the dermatologist and she changed my cream to a retinol with Retin-A that would peel off the top layer of skin and was supposed to help with scars (I thankfully do not have any really because I wouldn’t pick my face). She told me to use a Neutrogena face wash (the orange one) with Salicylic Acid in it.
I don’t know if that is a horrible combination or what but my skin is EXTREMELY sensitive and I reacted so bad to it and the Salicylic Acid was literally BURNING my face. It was blood-red and hurting all the time and dry and peeling, which makes acne worse. I threw away the face wash and went to cetaphil which is safe for sensitive skin and dermatologist recommended.
The Retin-A cream was making my face worse I thought as I started getting tiny bumps all over my forehead. When I went home for Spring Break I went back to the dermatologist and was prescribed back my Epiduo cream. Epiduo has benzyol peroxide which gets deep into the skin and fights bumps before they form and dry them out.
Over the next year my face started clearing up like magic. I was taking the birth control pill (YAZ), using the Epiduo cream at night and sleeping with it on like moisturizer, and washing my face twice a day with cetaphil and using a cetaphil moisturizer in the morning after I wash.
I am now going to be a senior in college and my face has come a long ways. I am so happy with my skin now and I look back and still wonder why it got that bad. I, at one time, was about to go on Accutane (the strongest acne medication for the worst acne). I never wear makeup now unless I’m going out or doing something with friends or in school. I go days and weeks without it, never wear it on the beach or at the gym or running to the store. My skin is happy, healthy and glowing and though I had a battle for most of my childhood with it I am so glad I stayed strong through it all. It is all about trial-and-error. You have to find what works for your skin and what your body will accept.
I switch my pillowcase once a week so I don’t break out from dirt or oil from hair/the air. It is so nice to wake up late and go to class some days without heavy makeup and I can throw on powder or just blush and a little bit of mascara and feel good about myself.
My skin care routine now:
I visit the dermatologist once a year just for a check up to make sure things are doing good. I have been resuming YAZ birth control and my body is used to it and everything is going well. I use Epiduo Forte cream at night. I usually do every night but I don’t have to. If I feel like I may get a bump from wearing makeup too long or sweating bad at the gym I will put a dab of the cream on the spot and the bump will go away. If I feel like my face is dry I will skip a night of the cream and use moisturizer instead. I am completely acne free and my skin is glowing.
I go to the gym almost every day so I always come home and wash my face after sweating.
I wake up in the morning and wash my face with cetaphil gentle face wash then moisturize with cetaphil moisturizer.
When I have on makeup I always take if off with makeup remover before showering at night then I double wash my face in the shower with cetaphil gentle face wash and when I get out I will put on moisturizer or the Epiduo Forte cream.
Once I week (usually Friday or Saturday) I use a microdermabrasion scrub that you can get from Ulta or Amazon and I will scrub my face then wash it off to remove dead skin cells that build up. ($12.49 at Ulta)
I also use a clay mud mask every now and then.
I am very religious about my skin care routine and always make that a priority. I use wrinkle cream ($24.99 at Ulta), I wear sunscreen and I take care of my skin, body and health. It amazes me how people have clear skin and will be like, “I don’t do anything I have perfect skin I don’t ever wash it.” Though you may have clear skin, that is not good health and it is creating bacteria on your face. Always be clean and take care of your body! It will thank you for it and you will prevent yourself from bad breakouts in the future. 🙂
I wish I had pictures from the past but I deleted them because I was so embarrassed by my skin. Remember that if you have acne, still love yourself and it is okay to get professional help. You will thank yourself.