I have suffered from acne for almost 30 years. My skin sits somewhere in the middle of the acne spectrum, between the more severe cases of acne – the painful, inflamed, cystic type – and the milder type which consists of a small rash coinciding with the menstrual cycle of ‘one person. My acne is the kind of acne that you can’t help but notice, but also doesn’t make you think, “Oh, yuck. “
Basically my acne is the type that makes people with fair skin want to recommend their skin care regimen to me.
I appreciate the help. I accepted it and tried everything. I have scrupulously adhered to the skincare regimes of my perfect-skinned friends, trying to replicate everything they do to achieve their flawless, glowing perfection.
I have tried washes with salicylic acid and gentle “no add on” washes. I have used every over the counter topical cream you can think of. I have used benzoyl peroxide treatments (helped lighten my skin but dried it out so much it gave me wrinkles). I let my skin “purge” because with some products supposedly “your skin will get worse before it gets better”. I drank all the water. I have removed dairy products. And gluten. And sugar. One at a time, and all three at the same time. I have only used mild, non-comedogenic moisturizers. I have used and continue to use expensive serums that contain hyaluronic acid.
I gave them all a chance. I have tried everything except Accutane.
However, apart from a few months of each of my pregnancies and a period when I was on hormonal contraception, I always had at least a few pimples on my face. Every now and then my breakouts get so bad they might get a “yes”. I have images saved on my phone that make me cringe to look at them.
Currently, my acne is under control with two prescription topical medications: Aczone and Tretinoin (Retin-A). I still experience almost constant flare-ups, although less than when I’m not using these drugs, and my pimples at least aren’t raised and inflamed. A year ago, when I changed insurance and had to ration my prescriptions because I couldn’t make it to the dermatologist, my acne came back in force.
However, I stumbled across this video on TikTok a few weeks ago and felt validated on my skin in a way I’ve never had.
#point with @ashvires # acne #medtok #askdrjason #SHEINcares
original sound – Dr Jason Chouake
As you can see from Dr Chouake’s point above, for people with acne, we put ourselves down and convince ourselves that we are doing something “wrong”. Our fresh-faced friends really want to help, and they really believe they have the answer. After all, their the skin is dewy and without imperfections. Why wouldn’t my skin respond to the same regimen that works for it? It’s all skin, isn’t it?
The point is, when these diets help a little – but only a little – it’s hard not to assume that the reason they don’t work is. Great is that we are doing something wrong. We are missing something. As Dr. Chouake says, however, this is simply not the case. “Acne is an inflammatory skin disease,” he says. “And it’s not your fault. It’s nothing you do.
This is exactly what I needed to hear, and maybe this is what you need to hear too.
Lately, when fair-skinned people coach me on how to cleanse my skin, I have the same feeling I when someone who has had an easy breastfeeding tells me what I should have done differently to maintain. my supply, or when someone with a neurotypical child tells me how to discipline my ADHD child, or when a skinny person with a naturally high metabolism tells me what to do to lose weight. If you do not take care of it personally, or if you are not a dermatologist, you just need to can not know.
Add that feeling of “doing something wrong” to the layers of guilt for being “superficial” for taking care of it in the first place. Damn the beauty standards! I love my skin, my acne and everything! I’m just supposed to accept that I have red marks of anger that interrupt the contours of my face. Or I’m meant to remind myself that there are so many worse problems that a person could have. Accessories for anyone capable of accepting their acne and honestly not being bothered by it. More power for you, for real.
Personally, however, I to hate my acne. I tell myself that there are worse problems to be had, and I know that to be objectively true, but I still hate it. It’s just such a stupid thing to deal with. Like why can’t my skin stop being a fucking asshole?
What I a m finally starting to accept is that my skin care routine is not the problem. I just have acne. My skin is fundamentally different from that of people who don’t have acne. My sister can sleep with her makeup on and not have a single pimple, and I can engage in a 20 minute twice daily skin care routine that includes various serums and prescription drugs and yet still, always have at least 10 pimples on the face.
Also, it’s totally valid for me to want to have fair skin. It is valid for me to want my skin to be fair … my skin, without a bunch of red, irritated marks disturbing its surface. I have the right to want it, damn it.
Lately I’ve been looking to take a course in Isotretinoin (formerly known as Accutane). It is a serious drug with intense, sometimes permanent side effects. It’s also the only thing I haven’t tried yet, and for most people it’s a complete acne cure – like their acne. never come back.
I’d like to know what it’s like to have fair skin. I would like to know what it is like not to be constantly struggling with red marks on my face.
So if you have stubborn acne and want to get rid of it, I want to tell you two things: 1) It’s not your fault. And 2) Go see a dermatologist.
You have acne, and it’s probably not because of what you did or didn’t do. Expensive serums from your fair-skinned friends are great but almost certainly won’t completely cleanse your skin. Your skin is fundamentally different from theirs. You need the help of an expert. And you have the right to ask for it.