My Acne Journey

By: Lucille McClinn

My Acne Started In 6th Grade

My acne began in sixth grade, starting out as a small bunch of blackheads on my chin. I didn’t even know what blackheads were at that time. Now, at the age of 18, I have a multitude of acne scars, a very mild amount of black heads, and two active pimples can be found at any time. This is considered good for my acne.

I remember back to 7th grade when my acne took a sharp turn for the worse. I had whiteheads and cystic acne bumps spread around my forehead, upper lip, chin, and right cheek and jawline. From there, it only got worse, yet I ignored it.

I constantly ate greasy, sugary food that only amplified my acne. And the picking! I could not stop touching, popping, and clawing at my face, and now I’m paying dearly for it. At that point I had stopped looking in the mirror, I frantically avoided being in pictures, and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. I was seriously depressed for a child, but my parents kept telling me it would all go away in couple of months, and it was nothing to worry about.

Seeing A Dermatologist

In ninth grade my grandparents insisted I see a dermatologist and promised to pay for any appointments I needed (my family was quite poor and could never afford a dermatologist). I was elatedly grateful for the offer, but reluctant, in fear that it meant I had hit rock bottom, but my parents urged me, and I finally went.

The dermatologist seemed reassuring and optimistic about my case from the moment I met her. She examined my face and asked me about the concerns of my mother and me.

By the end of the appointment, she had given me a routine to follow: Cerave foaming wash in the morning, followed by a thin layer of clindamycin gel, 8% benzoyl peroxide at night, tretinoin cream, completed with Cerave moisturizing lotion. She grimly promised that me that my skin would get worse before it got better, but I was so eager to try the routine that I dismissed her warning. I followed the doctor’s routines for two weeks, naively hoping that my acne would be cured in a matter of time.

However, after I saw no results, I started washing less frequently. Maybe three times a week. My acne had gotten worse It was inflamed, dry, painful, and there was break out after breakout.Looking back, I know now that you do have to be consistent and stick with a routine at least for a full 60 days since the average skin cycle is 30 days.   At my next dermatologist appointment three months later, I lied to the doctor, telling her I had used the products at the correct times, which you shouldn't do. At the time, I didn't feel like I could face my acne head on. 

She said my skin had slightly improved, but not well enough. To progress the healing of my skin, she prescribed me three months of Minocycline (an antibiotic) to take along with the same skin care routine. I took the antibiotics when I was supposed to, but still didn’t wash my face every day or follow the routine exactly.

I had given up hope too early, and decided washing my face wasn’t going to solve anything. At my next appointment, she said my skin got much better and that I didn’t need to see her for a year. I didn’t believe her because I still saw a mess on my face. I never went back.

After a year, I was back where I had started. I was depressed and didn’t want to face the problem of my acne. Finally, I decided I needed to at least try, and I first choose to go on a more natural path. I started washing my face every day with baking soda, tea tree oil, and a lemon juice and honey mask.  Not the best thing to do and I tried to keep this up as long as I could, but when I saw little results after about three weeks, I stopped.

Finding Out What Works For Me

I begged my parents to get me Accutane with no luck.  I was, yet again, lost in my acne journey until I started doing loads of research on acne. How it was caused, what I needed to do, and what won’t work. I learned that what I ate was a large part of my acne. I started to watch what I ate and controlled my stress better by exercising and doing yoga. It went a long way.

My breakouts were less inflamed and my skin wasn’t as dry. I had bought the Olay Fresh Effects acne treatment kit, but after a month of using it, it wasn’t any good. But something else was brought to my attention during researching acne. In order for an acne treatment to produce results, it must be used for 3-4 months. I figured out I needed to establish a skin care routine and get on track to make myself happy.

Currently, one month and half into my routine (and multiple lifestyle changes), my skin is better than ever, but still not cured from acne. I am working on addressing my scars and decreasing the amount of breakouts. Acne is a long journey for everyone that has it, but one thing I suggest is to always stay optimistic and stick with your own routine. With years of having acne, I know my skin like the back of my hand and know what breaks it out. I am still on the journey to clear my skin, but will continue to work towards my goal of clear skin and keep myself motivated not to give up so quickly.


My Acne Journey Starting In Middle School

By Caleb

My acne journey all started with a single pimple that popped out of nowhere in the summer after graduating from elementary school. I was actually happy when I saw this pimple because it indicated that I was finally hitting puberty, which ultimately meant to me that I am in the stages of becoming a man… Oh man, what was I thinking!

My acne was not the severe or mild type in the beginning stages of my journey. I would get a pimple here and there, and it wouldn’t bother me much. My acne started to bother me when I came to realize that these pimples that I thought would go away with time, left discoloration marks.

These so-called ‘acne scars’ or ‘discoloration marks’ was what really frustrated me. At this stage of my acne journey, I was very ignorant about how to properly treat acne.

It was as a result of my frustration and ignorance about acne that caused me to do some research. At that time, the most commonly typed keywords that I would make on Google would be, “how to get rid of acne overnight”, “homemade remedies to get rid of acne fast”, and “how to get rid of acne scars fast”.

Notice how all I wanted to do at that time was to get rid of my acne as fast as possible and not actually educating myself as to how acne develops and how I can lessen the chances of it developing in the future.

The result of my research: more acne! Something that I was proud about quickly became something that frustrated me and caused me to become self-conscious. I couldn’t understand how all the diy acne remedies that I did for my face didn’t clear up my face. Looking back at this stage of my journey, I would say that my acne was caused as a result of my unhealthy eating and increasing hormonal levels (i.e. puberty).

How My Acne Started To Improve

 he next highlight of my acne journey is when I started to invest in acne products. Some of these products effectively diminished the occurrence of developing more acne, whereas others were a complete waste of money.

It was then when I sought professional help from my dermatologist and family doctor. I was prescribed with a cream containing benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin. I think this medication helped me a lot.

The only issue was, once again, my ignorance regarding how this medication was to be used. At that time, I reasoned that the more I use, the faster my pimples would dry out and disappear from my face. This decision coupled with no use of moisturizer only aggravated my acne even more. Oh man… I definitely did not think that I was a man at that point.

So, where am I now in my acne journey? I have properly educated myself about how acne develops and how to lessen the risk of developing more, knowing that inflammation on the skin and in the body factors heavily into acne. My acne has significantly subsided and the only concern I have is the discoloration. I am currently using Retin-A which is a prescription strength retinol to get rid of the discoloration. It’s slowly but surely getting rid of them! All I can do is to be patient. 


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