First off, this post is on a topic that is really difficult for me to be open about but everyone deals with blemishes or problematic skin at one point in their life. I have dealt with oily, acne-prone skin since the 7th grade. At first, the new signs of puberty did not bother me so much because it was one or two spots that appeared between my eyebrows. But then it started to spread to my forehead in multiple small, skin colored bumps. I knew that I was going to get acne since it runs in my dad’s side of the family, as well as my mom’s, but I did not think it was going to get to this point. I got even more insecure as I got into high school since it was a very judgmental environment especially when you’re in the stage of just trying to fit in. Makeup became my “safety blanket.” Although makeup could have been irritating it even more, I couldn’t stand showing my natural face. I tried all types of products from various brands such as Neutrogena, Cetaphil, and even Proactive. They would consist of cleansers, exfoliators, creams, gels, etc. Nothing ever seemed to make a difference.
In my junior year of highschool, I begged my parents to see a dermatologist. My acne was spread out but mainly on the cheeks and forehead. The doctors put me on a regimen of washing my face with a gentle cleanser three times a day, clindamycin in the morning, OTC persagel (benzoyl peroxide), Retin-A gel at night, and doxycycline pills twice a day. The pills were probably the hardest part because I had to eat it 30 minutes before a meal or an hour after a meal but no dairy. There were also side effects related to this medicine but the most major one for me, personally, was the possible liver damage. My diet needed to change as well such as less sugar and salt and limited dairy. When I first started this regimen, my acne got worse but after two months I saw a positive change. My acne started clearing up but then I started seeing a plateau. Also during this time, I experienced a major pain in my chest for about two days where it hurt to swallow. I got off the medicine but kept doing the other parts of my recommended routine. It wasn’t until a year where I felt decently comfortable in showing my bare face. I stopped seeing the dermatologist halfway through my senior year and it stayed pretty clear with only a few spots showing up here and there.
As I came into college, I believed I was still going to keep a healthy diet and lifestyle but I was wrong. It was a struggle to find time and put effort in between classes, work, dance, club activities, and sleep. Convenience was my only standard which took an impact on my skin. It felt worse than before. I went back to the dermatologist and they told me to try to change my diet and even recommended Accutane. Accutane is a strong pill treatment that reduces the size of your pores so less oil is produced. Many have seen a positive difference but the side effects are endless, such as super dry skin, eyes, lips, nose bleeds, upset stomach, pancreatitis, and much more. My parents were extremely against it and convinced me not to take on the treatment.
I, instead, looked for “home” remedies which included keeping a healthy diet with less dairy, sugar, processed foods, and peanut butter. But I also found that hot green tea was highly praised so I tried it out. Although I hated the taste, I would drink it on average two to three times a day. Even after a week, I could see and feel the difference. It became my holy grail! I do not think I would ever go back to taking acne medication anymore but instead highly recommend trying out hot green tea.
My skin journey is not over as I still have to deal with acne scarring and pigmentation. I believe that not everyone’s skin is the same in the way that their acne appears. I know mine is partially genetics and partially my diet/lifestyle. I understand some individuals may experience acne completely through genetics and have to look for more intensive options or maybe just need a change in diet. But I do hope this blog helped you out in some way and gave you tips for better skin.