In high school, I had perfect skin until halfway through 12th grade. Like, picture perfect skin - hardly any pimples ever. I specifically remember thinking to myself "wow, I am so lucky to not have acne like all my friends". If I only knew then what I know now...
In 12th grade, I started to get large pimples all over. I developed a habit of picking and popping them which only made the situation worse. My acne wasn't too severe, though, probably on the more moderate side. I started a birth control pill and that seemed to help. My acne went away with the exception of a few occasional pimples.
In college, it started again during a particularly difficult senior year fall semester. I think stress brought it on combined with the fact that I went off my birth control. This time, the pimples were painful, itchy, and deep under my skin.
I went to see a dermatologist and they prescribed epiduo (topical cream) and minocycline (antibiotic). I think the antibiotics really helped to clear it up. My acne was back under control and I let my skincare routine slowly slip my mind.
About 6 months later it came back with a vengeance. It started right before I graduated which really sucked. I got the dermatologist to prescribe me some more antibiotics but only for a few months’ worth because I didn't want to make that a long-term solution. It helped for the period between graduation and starting my new job.
But then the stress of starting a new job (that I don't like), moving to a new city (where I don't know anyone), and realizing that I don't know what I'm doing with my life caused the worst breakouts I have ever had. At any one moment, I have at least 6 huge painful cysts on my face and a handful of scars from previous ones.
To make matters worse, I accidentally got the worst haircut of my life just before my job started. I went into the salon with collar-bone length hair and asked for a shoulder-length bob (or lob). Instead, I got a horrible asymmetrical cut with the front to my chin and the back of my ears. I have never felt less feminine/less "me" in my entire life. Combine that with the acne and making new friends/putting myself out there became an almost impossible task. It's been a rough six months.
I got a new doctor in my new city (who I love) and got prescribed epiduo and aczone (topicals) and yaz (birth control) as well as a strict morning/night skincare routine. My overall skin texture has improved greatly and I see a bit of improvement with the acne (maybe?) but I still have the deep, painful pimples and a lot of scarring (I'm struggling to kick the picking habit).
I'm still a work in progress and I struggle with my acne every day. But I try to remind myself a few things:
Of course, a lot of times I forget these things. I also spend way too much time looking at my face, picking my face, and trying to cover my acne with makeup.
For anyone else out there who can relate to these struggles, try to stay positive and know you're not alone. Sometimes it's hard when it seems like everyone else looks so flawless but remember that everyone struggles with self-confidence.
We will get through this together and come out stronger people on the other side!