Adult Acne is REAL

Warning! This post will feature unflattering pictures of me. Try not to gag.. Seriously.
I’m sitting here trying to sum up my feelings in one post on my journey, problems, and dealings with adult acne. This has been a sensitive subject for me for the past year and one that has resulted in me sobbing and asking God, “WHY?” on the floor of my bathroom way too many times for me to keep track. I am this close to deleting it and taking down these raw, makeup-less, acne pictures of me off the internet. But, because this is a sensitive subject, I want to share it with you. DEEP BREATH, ELAINE. Okay, here goes..

Left: with make up on but before my acne break-out 1/11/11Right: makeup-less during the break-out 5/19/11

I’ve never had a huge problem with acne. I had sensitive, oily skin and some pimples here and there but, overall, I had pretty clear skin. Early last year, I noticed my skin was becoming more and more susceptible to pimples. I would get 10 overnight. Treat them for a week. Watch them slowly fade. Then get 10 more over the next week. Little did I know that this would continue for another year. The problem was I was getting pimples faster than they were healing. I would get a pimple on TOP of a previous pimple. It was an absolute bumpy nightmare. No matter how much makeup I applied would disguise these hideous bumps.

I did some research a few months prior and was getting in the habit of using Paula’s Choice so I started using their severe acne line. Looking back now, it didn’t help but I kept thinking it was going to work soon, that my skin needed to get used to it. (NO. Wrong idea.) Crying hasn’t started yet. I think I was too shocked and/or unaware that this would become a recurring nightmare.

A few months pass and I realize Paula isn’t helping. Now I’m starting to panic. Nightly muffled sobs in my bathroom so Chase won’t hear me. I’m angry at God for letting this happen to me. What did I do wrong? Why do I have to go through this? Why can’t You make it go away? And then I feel guilty about my vanity, for caring so much about my looks. Rinse and repeat…

I went to several dermatologists and doctors about it. Was there something wrong with me inside? Was I sick? No. They all told me I was stressed (I was.) and prescribed me topical medications that also didn’t work… By this time, it’s been about 4-5 months and my face hadn’t changed a bit:  it didn’t get worse and it didn’t get better.

During this time, my prayers to God have been limited to pleasepleaseplease make this go away, please make my stress go away, please help me to feel pretty again. Every time I looked in the mirror without makeup on just led to another sobfest in which Chase had to coax me out of. Finally, I asked him to give me a priesthood blessing. I couldn’t do it by myself anymore. I needed divine inspiration. In this blessing, I was told that this was something I needed to go through so that I would realize my self-worth and self-confidence detached from my physical appearance and that this would all go away soon.. (and other things unrelated to my skin.) When I heard this, all I could do was cry. Soon? I’m pretty sure God and I had different senses of time. Soon to Him could be 10 years. Soon to me was 5 minutes. Okay, maybe a week. I was still comforted in knowing this wasn’t permanent, that my face would get better some.day. But, still..

I did more research online. What the best medications were, what the best skin care products were. I started researching Proactiv. I had used it before but it never made an impression on me – probably because I never really needed it. I’ve been using it for a month now and I can already tell the difference. It is working wonders on my acne and I only have 2 pimples that are in the healing stages right now compared to 27 (I counted once..) What you see below is scars. No more bumps under my makeup! It actually looks redder than it usually does because I had just gotten out of the shower.

2/21/12

So what caused my acne?

Around that time, my mom had given me new Korean skin care products that made me break out a little. I also started a new job with an hour commute one way. (I HATE L.A. TRAFFIC.) I also made a change to my birth control. Stress. These were all things I was able to piece together. I don’t know if these factors are for certain or not but I have a hunch it was a combination of multiple things that took a toll on me physically.

While doing research, I learned diet and fitness can affect your skin as well, which is why I’ve been working out and trying to eat right. I recently omitted milk from my diet. I was never a fan of milk except in my cereal, but when Chase and I lived with his parents a couple summers ago, I got in the habit of drinking milk regularly because that’s all his family drinks. I read that cow milk has hormones that could affect you – not everyone – a select few perhaps. I decided to test it and started drinking almond milk. I still eat regular ice cream, yogurt, cheese and use milk when I cook for Chase and me or guests, but I don’t eat those dairy products as often as I drink milk. I made this milk shift the same time I started using Proactiv so I can’t vouch for its effectiveness. All I know is I’m definitely not going to risk it and switch back to cow milk now.

What products am I using now?

For my skin, I use Proactiv cleanser, toner, advanced blemish treatment (stronger than their regular formula), dark spot correcter (for scars), and green tea moisturizer.

For my makeup, I use Revlon ColorStay in Sand Beige and then Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Foundation Compact in Nude after with a stipling brush over my acne scars. I usually use about a layer each. Then I spritz some NuSkin moisture mist to tackle the dryness that usually follows later in the day when I have makeup on. For some cheek color, I swipe some Bare Escentuals Glee.

I also allow myself one makeup-free day a week for my skin to breathe, as well as washing my brushes weekly.

This works for me right now but I’m sure I’ll adopt new products and/or ways later to accommodate my changing skin and body.

What should you do about your own acne?

Do your research! We’re all different. What may work for me may not work for you and vice versa. For me it was trial-and-error with skin care products so it may help to keep track of all products you’ve tried, even the ones that have failed, as well as the date range. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take pictures of your skin to see progress or lack of too. And go see a dermatologist! Keep in mind that not all products they prescribe will work. Most of all, be patient. I’m the most impatient person, says everyone who’s met me…ever. Know you are beautiful and you are not defined by your skin.

This post was inspired by this video. I was looking for makeup tips on Youtube on how to cover my acne and I loved how brave this vlogger was. You should also check out her additional tips video. My favorite tips were contouring and highlighting, doing up your eyes, and wearing lipstick.

Whew. I did it. Guess it wasn’t that bad.. Now it’s your turn.. I would love to know your tips and stories about acne.

UPDATE:  A sum of your advice and suggestions. Please do your research and consult your doctor/dermatologist before deciding on anything!!! We are all different so what may work for someone may not work for you.

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