Oh my gosh, can we talk about adult acne???
More specifically hormonal cystic acne?
What the actual hell. I have breakouts like crazy. Big zits, little blackheads, small cysts that hideout under the skin until they become angry, red whitehead volcanoes. You name it, I’ve had ’em all. A little bit of stress? Breakout. Trying to save money by switching detergent? Breakout. Period’s coming? Yeah, you guessed it. Breakout. It sucks! I usually avoid taking selfies or pictures in general, because I get self-conscious about my bumps and scars. As you can see in the picture, there are quite a few dark spots and my skin tone isn’t even. Since this is a good skin day, there aren’t any cysts, but they were always brewing under the surface. The bumps and scars lined my cheekbones, jawline, and chin. I’d even get them on my neck!
I turned 30 this year and hoped that this would be the year that my skin calmed down. No such luck. I have been to dermatologists on and off since I turned 18, but here’s the kicker. Yes, it was clear I had acne, but it was not serious enough to treat with strong medications like Accutane. The benefit would not outweigh the cost. So I dealt with it as best I could. I tried everything. The list is never-ending: Noxema, Cetaphil, Stridex, and numerous Neutrogena products. I was also prescribed Benzoyl Peroxide, Retin-A, and Clindamycin. Sometimes the acne would go away, but when my period came all hell would break loose. I tried managing my hormones with birth control. Still no luck.
I think I may have finally cracked the combination to clearing up my skin. I decided enough was enough in toward the end of April. I wasn’t going into my thirties with uncontrollable breakouts, hyperpigmentation, and painful cysts. It was time to stop complaining and figure it out.
I bought several “natural” products that I had seen on YouTube and Pinterest. My thought process was that not using harsh chemicals would calm instead of inflaming.
- My routine begins with African black soap as soon as I wake up.
- Then I rub a cotton ball drenched in Witch Hazel all over my face.
- I put on a light moisturizer and put on sunscreen.
- Go about my day!
- In the evening, I put on the Bentonite Clay Mask. (I swear by this stuff! It itches like crazy when it’s drying, but holy crap. It’s a miracle worker.)
- I wash my face with the African Black Soap again when I shower for bed, then I moisturize with the Rosehip Oil.
If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll warm up a damp washcloth in the microwave and leave that on my face for a bit. Every morning, little by little, there was a difference in my skin.
I went to a dermatologist asking about the hyperpigmentation. Although I wanted to go “natural” for my skincare routine, things like aloe vera gel and lemon juice were not really producing results. She listened sympathetically before she prescribed Hydroquinone. She cautioned me to stay out of the sun as much as possible, and to use sunscreen religiously. My scars starting fading in about three weeks.
I also visited a gynecologist. I read online that ladies on the pill can actually skip the last row of pills and get this: NOT have a period. I asked her if this was actually the case and if she thought it would help with my acne. She told me that women with IUDs typically didn’t have a menstrual cycle, and yes, it would help with the hormone fluctuation. I could achieve the same thing by being on the hormonal pills continuously. I can’t describe my disbelief and excitement. No periods and no acne? Absolute heaven.
Last two things on the list? I started drinking a crapload of water every day. I have a little alarm that says “Hey, drink up!” I drink 10 glasses of water a day. I never realized how dehydrated I was all the time. Not only did my skin get smoother, I had more energy. And last but not least? I stopped drinking alcohol. I did a sober 30 days, just to see. My skin became considerably brighter and much less puffy. Now I’m continuing on with not drinking, unless it’s special occasion. I tested out drinking one or two nights, and I had new pimples in the morning.
So, here I am after a month of a grown-up skincare routine. Ta-da. Zero acne! I get a few little bumps here and there, but this is such a marked improvement from where I used to be! I’m really amazed that one month and a half would have had such incredible results. I don’t know if it’ll work for every skin type, but it’s worth a shot! I am absolutely glowing, and I feel a lot more confident than before!
Lesson learned from this experience?
Go after what you want. Make that shit happen.