My Skin Story – Part 1
Let’s chat about my own story and health journey, specifically my acne story. As many preteens and teens do, I experienced acne. I tried many different products to treat my acne, but nothing seemed to change much. It wasn’t until college, that I went to a dermatologist for the first time. After sharing with her I was not interested in taking any oral supplements, she put me on a topical antibiotic and retinal cream. This did make a difference in my skin, and for the next few years, I had pretty clean skin. I eventually stopped taking the topical antibiotic and retinol cream and my skin was doing fine…
It wasn’t until after I graduated college and returned to live and work in SE Asia (where I studied abroad two years earlier) that my acne began to flare up again… and this time it was bad. Living in an extremely humid climate, I stopped wearing makeup to try and help, but nothing was working. I didn’t have access to a dermatologist and wasn’t able to fulfill any prescriptions. When I lived there previously, my acne was manageable, but now it seemed out of control. I was at a loss.
The next summer, when I went back to the US for a visit, I went to see a dermatologist, and out of desperation, I agreed to take an oral antibiotic. This worked! My skin was clearer than it had ever been. I was thrilled about the results but terrified to stop taking the antibiotic. My dermatologist told me it should only be taken for a few months, but never stopped my prescription, so I kept refilling…for another year. I rationed what I had left until I got married in 2016. I desperately wanted clear skin on my wedding day…who wouldn’t?! After getting married and stopping the antibiotic, my acne slowly began to come back.
About 9 months after stopping the antibiotic, my acne flared up the worst it ever had. I had deep, cystic acne, and it makes my heartbreak to even think about the depth of insecurity and shame that came with this.
It feels extremely vulnerable to share these photos. I haven’t really shown them to anyone before. These were taken in June 2017, after my skin flared, and I had the most severe acne I had ever experienced. It was really hard to take these, but I’m so glad I did because it’s a good reminder to me of how far I’ve come. And in sharing these I hope I can be an encouragement to someone else going through this journey. Please know there is hope for your skin to heal too!
I eventually realized that the topical antibiotics, retinol creams, and oral antibiotics never actually got rid of my acne. They only got rid of my symptoms. I was basically just putting bandaids on a wound, but not doing anything to heal the wound. There was something deeper going on, and I wanted to get to the root cause to heal from my acne for good.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll share my holistic journey to getting to the root cause of my acne flare-ups and how I healed it.