There have been a lot of ups and downs in my life, but I don’t think anything that I’ve gone through was as miserable as acne. Acne is awful in general, but when it’s all over your face, the place that people stare at when they interact with you, the self consciousness is unreal.
Thankfully, I don’t suffer from acne anymore, but I would like to share my experience with those that do still suffer from it. This isn’t a guaranteed fix, but it’s what worked for me and I hope that it will work for others as well!
My Skin History
I’ve always had pretty clear skin. A pimple here and there, but nothing major or worrisome. In late August 2016, I switched birth controls from the pill to an IUD. The change in hormones gave me acne pretty much immediately. For some people, birth control can be used to heal acne and for others it can cause it. It’s really just a toss up.
The acne that the IUD caused was severe and cystic. I had big cysts all over my cheeks and forehead that just continued to worsen. Because I got the IUD the day before going away to college, I couldn’t get it removed until late December when I came home for Christmas. Even after it was removed, nothing changed. The acne was there and not going anywhere without a fight.
This is the only picture I have from that time. It did get worse than this, but this is a good preview of what it looked like.
During the four months that I was at school, my dermatologist prescribed topical acne creams – benzoyl peroxide cream and Epiduo. I was using both religiously and they absolutely destroyed my face. They were incredibly harsh and caused burning and chronic redness, which only made me more self conscious. Because these creams were SO harsh, I didn’t want to use a harsh face wash as well, so I stuck to gentle Cetaphil. This is where I went wrong.
It turns out that what I needed to do before anything was use an acne wash, so that I was actually cleaning out the acne with acne fighting chemicals, not just gently washing and then putting chemicals on top of my skin. Once I switched to an acne wash, Clearasil Ultra Daily Face Wash, I saw an immediate change in my skin.
After cutting back on the topical and using Clearasil twice a day, I had improved my skin, but I still needed something to knock it out. My dermatologist prescribed me an antibiotic, Doxycycline, for 90 days to knock out the acne bacteria that was in my body. I stopped getting new acne probably half way through the medication, it was incredible. I continued to take it through the 90 days (always finish antibiotics, even if you’re better) and was ecstatic about the improvement.
The Healing Process
After my acne went away, my focus was on healing my skin. It was still severely injured from all of the disruption that it had gone through. I also picked at and popped my active acne because I’m a monster and have no self control, so that really hindered the healing process and caused more scarring. Don’t be like me.
To speed up the healing process I treated my skin very gently. I used Cetaphil face wash in the mornings and continued to use Clearasil at night, which is still to this day my skin care routine. I would gently use toner on a cotton round at the end of the day to clean out anything that was on my skin. If you don’t already, I would highly recommend adding toner to your skin care routine. You will be shocked at what is still on your face and in your pores after washing it. I continued to use Cetaphil moisturizing lotion and started used vitamin E oil, which helps heal scarring.
Healing the Scars
My dermatologist said that any redness means there is still irritation, which means your skin is still healing. Even though I was anxious to start working on my scarring, I had to wait until the redness completely went away, which unfortunately took months.
Once it finally went away I started using a Derma Roller. These are heaven sent. I took progress pictures throughout my time using it and my esthetician said she had never seen such quick improvement with acne scars. If you don’t know what a Derma Roller is, it’s essentially a device covered in small needles (spooky, I know) that you roll all over your face. The first time I used it I was terrified. I promise it’s not bad, though.
It’s purpose is to poke small holes in the scars, which signals your skin to heal and rebuild new skin. If you do it enough, your scars will eventually disappear. You can find my detailed video on how I cleared my acne here and my video tutorial on how to use a derma roller here!
I hope that this post was able to help in some way. Acne is truly awful and if you are suffering from it, just know that it won’t last forever. Thank you so much for reading and good luck on your journey!
From Pitted Scars to Now: