As much as I think it’s important to share these things and be open about them, it’s a little hard for me to show you. I’ve struggled with acne since the age of 11, I was the first of my friends to breakout. Because of that, I always thought I’d be the first to have it clear up. I’m 23 in June this year and I still struggle with acne, just as severely as I did as a teen.
I do wash my face
In school the normal insult to throw at people with acne was the whole… you don’t wash your face! OMG, do you actually shower? Why don’t you cover it with makeup? Why are you wearing SO MUCH makeup? Going through my whole school journey with acne wasn’t easy to say the least. There was a girl, who at the time I was friends with, that obviously didn’t think I could hear her in the changing rooms. It was after P.E. and we were all changing, I went into the toilet. ‘Abbie has spots on her chest, that’s disgusting, it really freaks me out’.
Being constantly talked about and stared at for a condition I genuinely had no control over was horrific. It didn’t matter what I washed my face with, how many times I showered or how many blemish treatments I tried. My acne just wouldn’t go away.
I didn’t think it would turn into adult acne…
If you’re into Chinese medicine you may be familiar with a diagram that shows what your spots are actually related to. All of my acne has always been on my chin and jawline and a little down my neck. Well, the majority, I have also had breakouts in both teen and adult acne down my back. Acne in these areas most commonly leads to problems with your hormones. I always thought it was just my hormones settling and by the time I was 18, I’d be free of it. Was I wrong or what? When I was 19/20 years old my acne settled but I still had breakouts, it just wasn’t cystic like before. Obviously, by the time I was 21 it was back and worse than ever. Adult acne hit me hard!
Scars make it worse
Since I’ve had acne for so long I have some pretty severe scarring. Luckily I don’t have indented scars, they’re just pink and purple and look like active spots. I’m finding that adult acne has scarred me worse than it did when I was a teen, maybe my skin is a little more sensitive now. I always feel conscious that it looks so much worse than it is. My scars look like acne and the entire lower half of my face just looks like on big breakout sometimes.
Why don’t you just go on medication?
The question everyone asks. There’s a long answer to this but just to summarise it, I can’t. I’ve tried different lotions, acid treatments, dietary changes in dairy and gluten intake, cut out fats and none of those things have worked for me. I know the obvious step to take would be medication. Roaccutane or as better known in the UK, Isotretinoin is known for having many side effects. I have a long history of depression and anxiety and because of its link with depression, people with my history don’t usually get it prescribed, for good reason! I’m also not keen on the sound of a lot of the other side effects it can come with!
The other option I would have is the contraceptive pill. Because I’m overweight my only option for that is the mini-pill (POP) which is notoriously known for making acne even worse. I was on the mini-pill for 2 years and in that time, my acne was the worst it had ever been. It was actually the reason I came off of it. Although I feel like I shouldn’t have to justify it, I am losing weight slowly but surely and who knows what I’ll do when I get to a safe weight to take the normal pill. For now, my adult acne is left untreated.
Have you found anything that’s worked?
Yes, but unfortunately for me only temporarily. I used Proactiv+ and that worked wonders for the first 4 months of using it, then my acne seemed to re-appear. I have a solid skincare routine down now and my skin is the best it has been in years, once I’ve trialled it a little longer, I’ll share it with you all!
I’m not really ashamed
Although I do wish I had clear skin, I’m definitely not ashamed of the skin I have now. It happens, people have adult acne. Let’s just get over it. The spots and scars on my face definitely do not affect the person I am, my talents or my skills. Never be ashamed of the skin you’re in!