We were all born with nice and baby skin. But to maintain it is another story. As we grow old, the skin’s changes depend on a lot of factors such as environment, skin care routine, diet, hormones, etc. And because there are too many factors to consider, skin ailments such as acne breakouts are difficult to deal with. The trigger factors vary among different affected people. But for some, acne can be hereditary or it runs in the family. Just like any other disease, acne can also be from your family’s heritage in which you can do nothing about.
But for me, my acne was hormonal. It started when I was going through puberty. Stress was the fuel of my hormonal imbalance. Although until now, scientists cannot explain how stress causes acne breakouts. They do know however that the cells that produce sebum have receptors for stress hormones.
The start of my adolescence was hectic and stressful. When I graduated from grade school, I moved to a boarding science school away from home. Only two from my school were qualified to attend that school – the class valedictorian and me. But only I ended up attending that school. As an 11-year old, that sudden transition of my life was too much to handle. I was not used to not having my old friends around. I was not used to being alone without a mother to solve my problems for me. Not to mention, that school is the most difficult high school to attend in my country. So naturally, to survive that school, I’ve had many sleepless nights. With each sleepless night, one pimple grows on my face. One day, they became out of control; so it freaked me out since it was my first time to have that many red bumps on my face. It continued that way until the last year of my high school.
Fast forward to 2014, I finally experienced clear skin. In fact, I was able to attend JS prom pimple-free. But unfortunately; when I was just starting to get used to a pimple-free skin, I experienced the most horrible cystic acne on my second year in college. This time, I was sure it wasn’t because of stress. I was done with puberty acne. This time, I knew I brought it upon myself.
It was summer before my second year in college. The weather was hot and for people like me who live in a tropical country, it can get too hot during summer. That is why most people experience acne breakouts in this season. In college, everybody was wearing makeup but I was hesitant to wear some because I have no idea how it works. I have a best friend who wears BB cream (or sometimes foundation) on a daily basis and she’s doing fine so I thought it would be okay for me to apply some to cover the tiny pimples on my nose. Note that I made sure the products I used were branded. As I was doing makeup for 2 weeks, I got overwhelmed since it really covers imperfections and I can finally step out of the house confidently. But after 3 weeks or so, I started to notice larger pimples appearing outside my T-zone. It was horrible since I never get pimples more than a centimeter in diameter. They looked small but 70% of the size were underneath my skin. They were really huge, red and painful. The type of acne that is sensitive even to the slightest touch. It was painful to even smile because they were all over my cheeks. I never had this type of acne and they were embarrassing so I covered them all with thick makeup. I wish I hadn’t. Within a week, the acne spread across my entire face. I panicked so I hurriedly looked for overnight remedies. I change my routine every day because I did not know what to do. On one occasion, I applied turmeric; the next day, I put tea tree oil – it varied every day and that’s what I regretted the most. My face got worse and worse until it got to that point (see picture).
Now, the damage is irreversible. I’ve just recently recovered and lost most of the big pimples but the scars they left were horrible since they were cystic. I’ve used one kit of Scarring and Active acne set and it’s amazing! Although I’m still far from having a scar-free nice skin, it definitely worked for me, unlike other products.
The picture below was at the start of my acne breakouts.