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My Acne Story

Acne. Let's talk about cystic acne. The kind that gets embedded under your cheeks, under your forehead, even under your chin. It's inflamed, it's painful, and not to mention quite embarrassing.

I was about 15 year's old when the cysts started to appear...and multiply. The occasional ibuprofen would only temporarily alleviate the pain and swelling so I knew I eventually had to take other measures. It all started by dabbling with some household items: spreading toothpaste over the spots, creating a garlic paste, and using facial scrubs. This did not work.

A few month's later, the desperation began. With the help of my mom, I received my first Proactiv kit. I used it every day, twice a day for several months...until I ran out. The results? It did alleviate some of the existing acne, but it always managed to come back. The product was simply drying out my face and I needed to buy additional creams from other brands to help combat the dryness on my extremely sensitive skin. I wasn't getting the long-term results I was hoping for. I just wanted to be acne and pain free.

The desperation continued about a year later when I scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist. End result? I was prescribed tetracycline (an oral antibiotic), clindamyacin phosphate lotion (a topical antiobiotic), one additional topical treatment, and Cetaphil for cleansing. A few month's into this daily regimen of drugs and I noticed my face had cleared up almost completely and those painful bumps no longer had a home on my face. This was GREAT! My face was still slightly dry and oily, but it was still great!

Let's fast forward several refills and 2 years later. I'm 18 and attending my first year of university, and the occasional cyst starts to make its reappearance not far long into my first quarter, but this time, with a vengeance. They seemed to be coming back bigger and redder. It even got to a point where I was walking to class one day, and a homeless man walking in my direction got in my face and said:

Look at that big ol' pimple ya got there!

He was referring to the monstrous cyst on my right cheek. Surprisingly, I found the situation a bit more humorous than embarrassing. I wasn't too self-conscious about my acne, but more annoyed than anything else.

Later on in the school year I even received a comment from a 10-year-old who I tutored pointing out that I had lots of "freckles" on my face. These indeed were not freckles, but red acne marks and scars from previous cysts and skin breakage.

I decided it was time for another visit to the dermatologist because I realized my body became resistant to the medication I was ingesting and applying on my skin. Deep down I knew that stronger meds were not the answer and would not be sustainable, but when the doctor prescribed me a tub of benzoyl peroxide for spot treatment, I gave it a shot anyway.

Remember earlier when I mentioned I had extremely sensitive skin? Well...the benzoyl peroxide stung and made my skin itch and peel. I used it for a few months, but then gave up on the treatment because I knew it was not the cure. It was time for a different plan.

Stay tuned for my next post to hear more about my story and how I cured my acne for good!

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