Before I begin this post, I first want to clarify that this isn’t a post about how I cleared my skin, what products I use in my skincare routine, or anything along those lines. I will do some posts on those topics later on. This is just my skin story. I’m writing this mostly for myself because it’s nice to see how far I’ve come, and it honestly just feels good to write about it. This will also probably be my longest post ever and I’m a pretty bad writer, so if you read the whole thing then thank you!!
Growing up I was never the girl with perfect skin, I started wearing foundation when I was 14. I had redness all around the center of my face and a little bit on my cheeks that I absolutely hated. At the time I never knew what it was, later I found out it was rosacea, but I always wondered why I had it and why no one else I went to school with seemed to have skin like mine. No one ever really made fun of me for it, at least not to my face, but I was still pretty insecure about it because it made me feel unattractive. I always thought to myself, “if my skin wasn’t red maybe I’d be cute” or “I’ll never be attractive until my skin looks better”. This kinda stuck with me my whole life because no matter what I did my skin never got better, in fact it got much worse.
It was around the age of 17 when I started getting acne. It was never anything severe, just a pimple or two here and there but my skin was never completely flawless. Of course I was still struggling with rosacea and didn’t know what it was. Still no one really made fun of me for it, probably because I wore makeup to school everyday to cover it. I was about 17 or 18 when I developed this fear of going in public without face makeup. Still to this day (I’m almost 24) I have not once stepped foot in a public place with no makeup. And no I’m not proud of it and I wish I wasn’t like this, but my skin journey has definitely scarred me. Sometimes I think I have body dysmorphia but then again with having a youtube channel people would tell me how ugly I was almost everyday, which made me almost believe it.
This post isn’t supposed to be dark or depressing, but I’m here to share my journey which has been really difficult. In addition, just how it feels to deal with a public insecurity.
Now fast forward to about 3 years ago. I was 20 years old when I started my first year at college, this was when I really started partying. My friends and I would get wasted and binge drink every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. We never missed a weekend either, this continued for about 2 years straight. Because of this, I believe it caused my hormones to get a little out of control so I started developing very mild cystic acne on my chin. The type of acne that’s huge and under the skin, that hurts like a bitch but there’s nothing you can do about it because like I said, it’s under the skin. Because of this, I then decided to start birth control. My doctor told me it would balance out my hormones and make my acne go away, which it did for about 6 months until I went off of it (I can’t remember why exactly but I did). Since my body was trying to balance out it’s hormones without the birth control my skin went absolutely crazy. I started developing more cystic acne on my chin, and around my nose. Literally the worst places to have acne, dead in the center of my face. It would be so painful to the point where my face would swell. I remember waking up in the middle of the night almost everyday to take some ibuprofen because the pain was that unbearable. Then I’d wake up in the morning only to have take more pain medication. I was unable to smile or show expression on my face because it was that painful and made my face look swollen and unproportional.
I started to get extremely depressed because I felt like I couldn’t do things that everyone else was doing. On the weekends my friends would try to convince me to go out drinking with them, and most of the time I would but I never really wanted to. I felt disgusting and embarrassed because I knew that’s what people were staring at when they looked at me. I would be getting ready for a night out and break down crying because I hated what I saw in the mirror. I hated that I had to hide behind a mask. And I hated that no one understood this pain or what I was going through. Makeup started to become a chore to me because it would take SO LONG to cover all the redness on my face and try to hide the texture, while making sure it didn’t look cakey and would stay on all day. I always wished that I could just walk out the door and save an extra 30 minutes of my time each morning like everyone else.
Eventually I was able to do a round of prednisone which cleared everything up for about six months or so, then of course the acne came back once again full force. This time it DESTROYED my chin leaving me with ugly hypertrophic scarring.
At this point I was a mess, and extra depressed because my 22nd birthday was coming up and I didn’t want to have to spend it alone inside my house. I ended up going back on birth control and my skin went back to being acne free but now I was left with scars on my face that I started to obsess over.
Now jumping forward to about a year and a half ago. This had to be one of the darkest moments in my life. I’ve been through some pretty traumatic things in my life and never thought something as little as acne would make me want to kill myself.
At this point I was out of college and living back at home. I thought my skin was horrible before, I had no idea how horrible it was really about to become. In March of 2017 I decided to go off the pill. This time I knew my acne was caused by my hormones being unbalanced, so I was ready to deal with a bad breakout. My acne started coming back again in the same spots as usual, but this time it was a little different. I remember sleeping at my friends apartment up at college and waking up in the morning with these tiny red itchy bumps all over my face. I had no idea what it was. I thought maybe it was from drinking, or falling asleep with makeup on, maybe mites or something from the floor. I had no clue! A week went by and it got even worse.
During this week I was supposed to start my new job. I was so excited because it was going to be my first job since leaving for college but of course by the time my first day came around my skin was HORRIBLE! I woke up in the morning and started getting ready for my first day at work. As I was putting on my makeup I broke down crying because I couldn’t cover it up. My face was so dry and itchy, and just burned. I felt like I hit rock bottom. I made an appointment right away with my dermatologist but I was so nervous to go in because I didn’t want people starring at me. This is what my skin looked like (shown below) the day of my appointment which was supposed to be my first day of work.
I went to my appointment excited to finally have this fixed, but of course I ended up being misdiagnosed. This happened twice. Therefore, I took it upon myself to figure out what I had. After a couple days of researching I was almost positive I had a parasite called demodex found in people who have rosacea. For those of you who don’t know what demodex is, it’s a microscopic parasite that’s found on everyone’s face but can become over populated and feed off the oil on the skin. So for someone like me who has super oily acne prone skin, it was the perfect living situation for them.
I began researching ways to kill demodex, which apparently is extremely difficult. I tried literally everything that came up as a cure, but I had horrible luck. As days went by my skin kept getting worse and worse. My face started swelling, my nose pretty much doubled in size, my skin felt like it had a layer of thick itchy leather over it (below is when it was at it’s worst, super embarrassing). As you can probably imagine this was really difficult to live with. During this time I didn’t leave my house for two months straight, not even once. I wouldn’t even let my best friend stop by to say hello because I was so depressed. I spent almost every night crying, and when I would wake up in the morning and check to see if my skin cleared up I’d cry some more because it just kept getting worse. I turned around all the mirrors in my house because it got to the point where I couldn’t even look at myself. I wouldn’t go downstairs to eat unless I made sure my family wasn’t in the room. I literally wanted to die. It sounds so dramatic to want to kill yourself over something so small like acne but I was so low at this point. I dropped out of college, I didn’t have a job, my closest friend lived over an hour away, and I just felt like I had nothing and things weren’t getting better.
In the end things did get better, they always do. After doing a ton of research I read about a product called Soolantra which must be prescribed by a doctor. I made another appointment and specifically asked for this product. About a month later everything started to clear up including my cystic acne, each week got better and better.
As I’m writing this post today I can say that I have not had a cystic pimple or anything as horrific as this in over a year. I honestly can’t believe it.
As I wrap up this post, I just wanted to say that I would obviously never want to relive this situation again but at the same time I’m happy that I did. It made me realize a few things about myself and others. You never should judge a person by their apperance (kind of obvious) but still. We are who we are on the inside, and our appearance and the skin we were born in doesn’t change that. Everyone has their own struggles, physical or not, something that may seem small to you could be huge to another person so always be kind and watch what you say around others.
My skin is not perfect and never will be, but it’s come a long way.
One year ago vs today