Skin Story: Living with Acne
A personal experience on finding the right acne treatment
Edited By:Raja Sivamani , MD, MS, AP
What was your experience like having acne?
“I have had acne since age 15. It was definitely not the type of acne a typical teenager would get, but profoundly more severe. The red and inflamed bumps covered my face, chest, and even the back of my shoulders. Given my Asian ethnicity, I felt as though the pigments in my skin made it even redder. My skin especially did not heal from acne very well and I would develop hypertrophic scars from my acne. I even got cortisone shots to reduce the inflammation of my acne, which improved my symptoms, but I just had to get over the embarrassment of having my acne.”
What do you struggle with regarding your acne?
“My acne has improved a lot since I’ve gotten older and now I feel a lot more informed. I had clear skin around age 14 and then it felt like I broke out from out of nowhere. I was in a state of panic as this occurred and tried to research why this was happening to me. I looked online and learned a lot of wrong information. I started to pop my pimples myself, which just worsened my condition.
At around age 18, my scars and acne were out of control and I knew that I needed to see someone. My dermatologist prescribed me doxycycline, minocycline, and isotretinoin. The medications did help clear my skin but came with symptoms like suppressed diet and nausea. It messed with my emotions and made me feel sick all the time. The side effects became too much and I stopped seeing my dermatologist; my symptoms worsened. I then visited an esthetician who was very informative and explained the way he controlled skin was more focused on extractions. This meant extracting the debris in pores that caused acne. This was an expensive and painful procedure that involved a metal tool that dug into my skin for an hour.”
What treatments and solutions worked for you?
“In the long run, I have spent so much money trying products and having dermatologist visits. It took me about 5 years and a lot of patience to find what worked for me. Right now my skin is getting better, as I am seeing both a dermatologist and an esthetician. I see them every 4 to 6 weeks for extractions which is about how long it took for all the gunk to build up in my skin. Additionally, I am taking Doxycycline to fight my acne, and I can already see huge improvements in my skin with these methods.”
Do you have any skin care motivation or advice you'd like to share with our followers?
“I would advise that when you have a skin condition, make sure you do your research with trusted skin care sources. What you find online might help one person, but might not be the same for you and your skin needs; you may even end up worsening your own condition. I think that seeking professional advice, doing your research, or taking a visit to your dermatologist would be effective in dealing with a skin problem.”
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