Exercise in futility Sunday, November 07, 2010About 3 years ago (or maybe 2.5, but I'm not going to quibble over that .5 of year) I began to experience break outs. Being in my late 20's seemed like an odd time to be going through such a spike in such activity since I'd left puberty long behind over a decade ago. (sidebar: damn, I'm old).
But nonetheless there I was with skin like I'd never had before, even when I was a teenager I never experienced things like it. Beyond just the regular annoying breakouts was the painful, unsightly cystic acne. Seriously, those wankers hurt. They did however reduce in number when I cut milk from my diet. It had been a fairly new addition to my diet since I never particular cared for milk but then I discovered the joy of Snowville Creamery. They do have amazing milk, but I gladly gave it up if it meant I didn't feel like I had a series of large tumor-like things on my face.
They didn't clear up entirely, and were still annoyingly persistent. After waiting 8 months to meet with the only dermatologist in Athens they gave me a prescription for some face cream that would have ended up costing me almost $550 a month! $550! WTF. Seriously.
But it did clear me up just in time for my brother's wedding. I absolutely didn't spend that $550, but instead squeezed every last drop out of the samples they had given me- just in time for me to be unemployed.
You know what is coming next, right? Face breakdown. It was crap, the cystic acne came back in full force, plus the little multitude of red blots all over my face that just wouldn't go away. I felt like a face/skin failure.
I tried everything: hydrogen peroxide, unrefined honey, face masks, different face washes, sulfur masks, ClariSonic*, and on and on.
Do you know what did work for a while this summer? Pool water. Every bloody time I would spend the day in the pool my skin would clear up and be almost nice again. It got to the point that I was carrying around water bottles full of pool water and splashing it on my face at least twice a day in an effort to keep things under control.
Then in a fit of panic/upset one night I ordered the acne.org face kit. Because I'd already thrown a bunch of money at it why not throw some more. And really, the kit wasn't that expensive, like $35ish dollars? Honestly I wasn't expecting much, and the first week+ was rough. My skin dried waaaay out and was flaking like crazy, I seriously looked like I had dandruff on my face if I wasn't careful and applying enough moisturizer.
But soon, I noticed it getting so much better. SO MUCH BETTER.
Now, I will admit I stopped using the face lotion included in the kit. My skin is a delicate flower when it comes to lotions (lots of them burn the heck out of me) which is exactly what happened with the kit lotion. The face wash though seems very gentle and mild, almost like Cetaphyl.
So here is the part of the post where I admit I feel like so many of my problems could have been avoided if I hadn't stopped doing one thing that I always used to do. From the time I was 14 I had a face care routine that included putting Neutrogena On The Spot Acne Treatment all over my face, at least once a day. Guess what the active ingredient in that is: Benzoyl Peroxide.
And the active ingredient in this new face treatment: Benzoyl Peroxide.
Yes, I'm actively kicking myself over and over. Apparently my skin loves this stuff and it is the only thing that makes it sit down and shut up.
Thus the last 3 years have been somewhat an exercise in futility. I'm entirely sure that my crazy hormones played a part as did my increased milk consumption but really, I suspect so much of it could have been avoided if I hadn't stopped using the Neutrogena stuff.
I still get some breakouts, but things have improved and I'm feeling so much better about it all. I can't get over how ridiculously stressed my skin would make me- which in retrospect didn't help matters much. Logically I know my skin was never truly absolutely horrible, I had the dermatologist tell me as much but then again those cystic acne bastards really are just that: painful bastards that swell and left me feeling disfigured.
Benzoyl Peroxide + Me = true love forever.
*Seriously the Clarisonic is an awesome tool and I love it so. It was a pricey investment but so worth it.