Sophie Tarditi in first year applies her daily skin care routine. Tarditi said she found out that The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% helped her cure her acne. Photo courtesy of Sophie Tarditi
The struggles of acne, scars, eczema, and other skin conditions unite a large group of Pepperdine students.
Seventy-five percent of Seaver students said they had experienced acne in their lifetime and 41% said they followed them into adulthood, according to a Pepp Post survey of 64 responses.
âIt definitely isn’t helping your sanity,â said first year Abbey Kunz. “It’s not like I wake up in the morning and look at my acne and say ‘Damn it, yeah!'”
As college age students move into adulthood, many have reported finding ways to cleanse their skin and achieve healthy levels of confidence in their appearance. Some students rigorously adopt daily skin care routines, try prescribed medications, or use herbs and natural ingredients.
Sophie Tarditi, a first year, said she had been interested in skin care since the age of 13. She struggled with cystic acne, the most serious form of acne when cysts form under the skin.
âLast year my skin was really bad,â Tarditi said. “I had a bunch of acne all over the hollow of my face and my mom said, “Okay, we have to fix this somehow” so I started to do research. “
First year Olivia Borchert has suffered from severe cystic acne and has been seeing a dermatologist for about five years.
At 17, Borchert said she couldn’t take the pain anymore and started Accutane.
âIn softball practice, even if my coach just threw a ball at me and I missed it, I would cry,â said Borchert. “It was really hard for me to deal with.”
Kunz said she has atopic dermatitis, or eczema, which causes rashes. She started having acne in fifth grade and has struggled with it ever since.
âWhen I was in college, I used to cover myself with scarves and long sleeves because my neck was so bad it hurt to move,â Kunz said.
Skin care solutions and regimens
As the students put down the pencil at the end of the day, they pick up acne removal products. As they were trying to find the path to recovery, they said they were exploring different skin care options.
Tarditi has undergone laser treatments and performs a daily skin care routine: nighttime serums and weekly face masks.
âI’ve been a lot more consistent with my skin care routine and make sure my skin looks great because I also have two roommates and don’t want them to see me with a bunch of acne. “said Tarditi.
âMy skin is dry, but when I put on creams my face is super oily so I can’t really find that perfect in-between,â Tarditi said.
Kunz said she had a daily skin care routine, but felt the need to change it every month as her skin would get used to the products and stop improving.
Cosmetic dermatologist Dr Jeanette Black said this is common in college-aged patients who think there is no way to cure it, applying product after product.
âThe treatment approach is very tailored to the individual,â said Black. “The best advice I can give to anyone is to see a certified dermatologist before you waste a lot of time and money.”
Many students have said that the cost of skin care makes them reluctant to try new products, and the cost seems to keep going up. Tarditi said her regular products have helped heal her skin and range from $ 7 to $ 10.
In addition to the skin care routines, many students have reported finding the cure through Accutane.
Accutane is a prescription drug that Black says shrinks the sebaceous glands to become less prone to acne after the drug is stopped. She gives the drug in cycles that usually last up to six months. The dosage depends on several aspects, such as the patient’s weight and acne.
âAccutane is a very unique drug in that after a course of Accutane, if properly dosed and taken correctly, it can permanently change the nature of your skin,â said Black. âThere aren’t many things in medicine that can do that. “
Black said some side effects include drier skin, and if women got pregnant on Accutane, it could cause birth defects. Doctors monitor the patient’s blood and test for pregnancy every month. After completing Accutane, it takes about a month to quit your system.
Even though Borchert has stated that Accutane turned out to have cleansed his skin, it is a process that takes a lot of time and money, and it has emotional side effects.
âI wouldn’t recommend Accutane to anyone unless you’ve tried absolutely everything you can,â Borchert said.
Even though Borchert has stated that Accutane turned out to have cleansed his skin, it is a process that takes a lot of time, money, and an emotional toll.
First year Taryn Navia said she always had very dry skin and was not interested in skin care. But after doing some research, she realized that her cracked skin led to rashes.
Navia said she gets much of her skincare online from a Korean company called April skin. She said she preferred her more natural products, including a carrot cleanser and rice tonic.
âMy face is much clearer but not perfect because we are still teenagers,â said Navia. “I’m at a point where I’m like, ‘Why is it important? Everyone our age has acne problems, I don’t understand why I should feel embarrassed; it’s natural.'”
Holistic treatment is another option that students said they wanted to explore further, especially since it is more abundant in the Malibu area. About 73% of students surveyed said they had or would like to explore the more holistic path.
Infographic by Beth Gonzales
Balfour said she treats patients with different skin conditions and her approach is to heal the skin while taking into account the whole body.
She said her practice is to drink herbal teas to treat the skin from the inside out and get the liver and its hormonal secretions back on track.
âWe analyze the skin lesions in order to choose herbs,â Balfour said. âYou put them in a formula, but you never look at the skin alone. The herbal group takes into account the whole person and addresses the patterns of imbalance which are all interconnected.
Balfour said the treatment is individualized rather than a âone-size-fits-allâ prescription.
She also said that the appearance of someone’s skin reveals a lot of what’s going on internally, and the best advice is to see a specialist, regardless of the patient’s age.
âThe most important thing to know is that there is more than one path to recovery,â Balfour said.
Since starting college, Tarditi has said her âstress flaresâ were under control and she believes her motivation to take off makeup every night and have sugary snacks has helped.
Tarditi is always trying to find frugal options to resolve the remaining issues.
âI have a bunch of acne scars that are really very noticeable, and that’s something I’m still a little worried about,â Tarditi said. âI want to try and find some sort of treatment that will help get them out of the way, but I know these can definitely be permanent, so that’s something I’m going to have to live with. I could definitely go out without makeup and be perfectly fine now – that’s a big improvement. “
âSince my mom and I started taking the photo, it has improved a lot and I don’t have as many skin problems anymore,â Kunz said.
During quarantine, Borchert said her cystic acne had started to break out, so she decided to skip her second round of Accutane. She is in her fourth month now and said it cleared up faster than ever. She said her skin is now glowing.
âI wouldn’t have decided to do it if I didn’t think it would have an effect on my emotional and mental state of mind,â Borchert said. âI’m a firm believer in ‘If you look good, you feel good.’ “
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Email to Beth Gonzales: [email protected]
Abbey Kunz accutane beauty Beth Gonzales holistic Jeanette Black Life and Arts Olivia Borchert pepperdine graphic media skin care skin care routine Sophie Tarditi