First of all, I just have to say that while I’m sitting here uploading these photos my armpits are getting really sweaty and my stomach is hurting a little because I’ve spent half of my life obsessively trying to hide this part of myself from the world…. and all of a sudden I got all brave for like 5 minutes and decided to share my issue with tens of thousands of people…. and now I’m posting freaking pictures of the thing I hate most about myself all over the internet… sooo yeah this is tough and sensitive for me so don’t be a dick….
LOOK JUST BECAUSE I PRIDE MYSELF ON BEING UNFILTERED AND TRANSPARENT ABOUT BASICALLY EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE DOESN’T MEAN IT’S ALWAYS EASY OKAY?!
Alright, now that I’ve had my panic attack we can start talking about the one thing I hate most about myself: my face.
Specifically, the skin on my face…. and neck and chest and back.
I remember getting my first pimple in the 5th grade on the morning of the Civil War Reenactment. I remember my friends asking “What’s on your nose?!” and “Why do you have that?” and “Why didn’t you put makeup on it?” 5th graders, man. Rude little shits.
It’s been almost 15 years since that infamous breakout and I’ve been battling acne and skin ailments every single day since.
There are 3 skin types: dry, normal/combination, and oily.
Dry skin feels tight and is flakey.
Normal/combination skin may be dry on the cheeks, has a well-moisturized t-zone, and is less prone to breakouts.
Oily skin is skin that produces excessive oil leaving pores clogged and congested and is prone to PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), a condition which leaves dark spots on the skin after a breakout has healed.
Unfortunately, I fall into the Oily Skin Type category… and not the type of oily skin that looks supple and younger.
There are different levels of acne which include:
- Mild Acne
- Moderate Acne
- Acne Vulgaris
- Severe Nodulocystic Acne
- Acne Conglobata
Check out this super gross “Acne Visual Dictionary” slideshow to learn more about the levels of acne and to see some zit pics… I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing.
My skin falls under the level of Acne Vulgaris, with just a touch of Nodulocystic Acne.
Acne vulgaris is the medical name for common acne — the presence of blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of pimples on the skin. The most common spots for breakouts are the face, chest, shoulders, and back.
Nodulocystic Acne is inflamed cysts and nodules. The acne may turn deep red or purple. It often leaves scars. In some cases, a doctor may inject corticosteroids directly into nodules and cysts to reduce the size and painful inflammation.
Random Dating Advice:
When your date asks, “Tell me about yourself?” the following is an example of what you should not fucking say:
My skin has blackheads/whiteheads 100% of the time. I have anywhere between 2-10 pimples a week, one or two nodules a month, and I’ll typically get 5 or 6 cysts a year. The cysts will stay on my face for a few weeks or months, depending on the severity. I’ve even had the pleasure of having corticosteroid injections… nothing like the feeling of a giant needle stabbing into your face.
TREATMENTS & PRODUCTS I’VE TRIED
After a few of those cyst injections and multiple unfilled prescription slips of Acutane, I stopped going back to the dermatologist. So not a lot of treatments.
Products on the other hand, well let’s just say, you name it, I’ve tried it. This include face washes, makeup, toners, moisturizers, masks, etc.
(If you really want to know the name of all the products, send me a message)
If it was in a commercial, or at the mall, or a result of an online quiz, or a pyramid scheme product, or in the beauty aisle at the grocery store, I tried it.
Most of it made my skin worse. If it did help, it was either way too expensive to continue buying or would only work for a short amount of time before my skin built up an immunity to it.
MOMENT OF DESPERATION
While I’ve dealt with acne for over half of my life, about two months ago my skin suddenly erupted out of nowhere. At this point, I was washing my face with water and occasionally applying a night treatment which seemed to be working okay. Then one day I woke up and my face was on fire. A huge cyst formed at the top of my forehead, the pores under my eyes swelled full with puss, my chin was riddled with white heads, and my jaws were lined with pimples. My chest and back, which had been clear for almost a year, exploded with blemishes.
It was the worst my face had looked in a very, very long time.
As the weeks went on it only got worse. The single cyst became a chain of 3 cysts, then two more popped up within a week. My skin was as thin as tissue paper. Even a slightly rough wash cloth left my face looking like I’d just wiped it with a cheese grater. Blood pooled easily under the skin, leaving bruises under my eyes and on my cheeks. The cysts throbbed and oozed, and cracked constantly; exposing a crater of raw flesh that no amount of makeup would cover.
Not only did I look hideous, I was in pain… so much pain that I would cry in the mornings since that was when my skin was the most tender. If my son accidentally hit one of the cysts or my husband touched a raw part of my face, I was immediately in tears.
Finally, in a moment of desperation, I posted this picture on my Instagram story in the hopes my followers would be able to give me some suggestions on what the hell to do to my face. Instantly, people started reaching out, sharing their skin care tips and tricks.
2 hours later, I had Amazon Prime Now delivering my new skin care products.
MY NEW REGIMEN
Twice a Day: Morning and Night
ALL PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL GROCERY OR ON AMAZON
1. Remove Makeup with Micellar Cleansing Water and Makeup Removing Solution $102. Wash with CeraVe Facial Cleanser $133. Tone with Thayers Witch Hazel Rose Petal Facial Toner $8
4. Moisturize with Oil-Free Moisturizer $8
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay $10
Organic Tea Tree Oil $10
Covergirl Clean Matte Cream Foundation $7
NO MORE MILK!
I cut almost all dairy out of my diet (excluding cheese) and I noticed a difference in my skin within just a few days!
1 WEEK LATER
Y’ALL LOOK AT MY DAMN FACE!
Just one week on this new regimen and my cysts are almost completely gone, not a pimple in site, and almost no dark spots. The pain in my skin has subsided significantly and my skin is already starting to toughen back up.
I know my battle with acne is far from over, but this is certainly a start. Having beautiful skin takes a lot of time, dedication, and mostly a lot of trial and error. If you’re someone who is struggling with their skin, don’t give up! Give that drugstore product a chance. Make some diet changes. Spend an extra 5 minutes treating your skin. Go see a dermatologist or an aesthetician. Most importantly, try not to get discouraged. You’d be shocked to know how many people are also struggling with acne (I know I was!).
Thank you all so much for your recommendations and advice! I would not be writing this post if it weren’t for all your help and kind, encouraging words.