My skin today in 2014.
*Disclaimer - I am not an expert in skin care. This is just my own personal experience. I thought I would share with you guys and if it helps one of you then that's really great.*
A History - My skin began to breakout when I was 11/12 in sixth class. Which thinking about it now, is 10 whole years I've spent dealing with chronic acne!! That's a long time. Especially when you consider how I've literally just cleared my skin up in the last few months.
My skin problems started off as basic teenage spots. I wasn't too bothered. To me it was just a normal thing and in a few years it would disappear. That's what being a teenager was all about right? It's in the magazines and all over the media. Deal with it for a few years and eventually you'll have perfectly clear skin. Sadly they were wrong. I'm 21 and I've only just gotten it under control.
(2009 - 2010. The blonde hair is Nov 2010, slow improvement in skin)To begin with my breakouts were restricted to my forehead, the odd spot on my nose and chin. My forehead was where I experienced the worst breakouts until around 3rd year/transition year where it started to get worse.
Come 6th year (18years old) my skin was out of control. I had cystic acne all over my chin and forehead. It was sore to touch and visually it didn't look great. The sides of my face close to my ear began to breakout and so did the area around my cheeks. Thankfully these weren't as bad as the other areas of my face but any ounce of confidence I did have slipped away.
My skin continued as it was in 6th year for the next two years until around when I turned 20 and decided enough was enough.
(2012 - 2011. Bad make up happens to good people. 2012 - cut out dairy.)Looking at my diet : Like all teenagers I didn't have the best diet but I never really made the connection between crappy food and crappy skin. 'You are what you eat'. It's actually about 70% true. I can honestly say that chocolate doesn't break my skin out. I cut chocolate out and still continued to have horrible breakouts. As I became more informed about the impact different foods can have on your skin I began to experiment and see what was or wasn't contributing to bigger breakouts.
When I was 19/20 (2012)I read about the link between dairy and acne and found that for me, dairy contributed in a big way to my breakouts. I cut out nearly all dairy (minus chocolate) and my skin cleared up in a way I never even thought was possible. My forehead was clear, the area around my eyes and cheeks were clear but my chin was still sore and cystic and just horrible looking.
I read that dehydration was a cause of acne and since last summer (2013) I tried to up the amount of water I was drinking everyday and I now get 2ltrs everyday. This didn't help with the acne but it did help with making my skin look more alive and fresh.
Making changes to my diet really did help but unfortunately it wasn't enough and my skin began to breakout again over my forehead and even more so on my chin.
Anytime I eat things such as ice cream or dairy my skin breaks out even more around my chin.
I do find that eating oranges really helps with the appearance of my skin too.
(If you're considering eliminating food groups from your diet to clear up your skin, please consult your doctor first).
(2013 - 2014. Not as clear as the others sorry. 2013 - started zineryt. 2014 - minosil. The mirror one is make up free.)Confidence Knock : I hated my skin. Absolutely hated it. The idea of people looking at my face and seeing the spots made me really uncomfortable. I avoided looking at people in the eye because I thought - well if I'm not looking at them, they won't look at me and see how horrendous my face looks. It was really all I thought about. It bothered me so much and no amount of make up would cover it up. It's worth pointing out that I used to be really bad at make up too so it was just a car wreck. I'd avoid wearing my hair up because having it down around my face meant it was blanketing my face and would make it harder for people to see. I'd sit in class with my hands covering my chin because I just really didn't want people looking at it. Looking back at old pictures it's no where near as bad as I made myself believe but the odd comment from people just made me really paranoid.
(July 2014 - photobooth selfie, hard to make out but skin is so much clearer)Medical Advice : My skin was really bringing me down so I mentioned it to my doctor (19/20) to see if there was anything she could give me. I had tried things like Clean & Clear and Clearasil over the years but found they irritated the area more than they helped it. So my doctor prescribed me a topical lotion named 'Zineryt' which I still use today. You apply it twice a day to the affected areas of your skin and let it soak in. I always apply just after i've cleaned my face as I don't want bacteria to build up on the roller. The 'Zineryt' is very strong and I saw results the next day. The spots had reduced in size and visually began to look better. 'Zineryt' really helped clear up 90% of my acne and I felt a thousand times better about my skin. But all good things must come to an end and my acne began to become resistant to the lotion and a couple months ago began to break out worse than it had in a long long time. I shared my concerns with my doctor and she prescribed me a tablet named 'Minosil' (May 2014) to begin taking twice a day along with applying the 'Zineryt'. 4 weeks after beginning the course my skin was clear. However, my stomach and shoulders began to break out. I freaked out and went to google. After some extensive internet research I found a few webpages that put my mind at ease. It was just the 'Minosil' doing it's job. You see acne is a combination of things but it's mostly down to the bacteria in your skin. The 'Minosil' was just purging my skin of all this bad bacteria which resulted in my shoulders and stomach becoming covered in spots. Thankfully that calmed down quite a bit and I'm very very happy with the appearance of my skin.
I have found my skin has become oilier since I started taking 'Minosil' which means I've had to reconsider my skin care routine and day to day make up.
Today : My skin is now 80% clear with some acne scarring around certain areas of my face. I have begun using a Clearsil acne product to reduce the visibility of the scarring and it's really working. My confidence is just on a whole other level than it's ever been. I don't feel the need to wear make up everyday or even heavy make up. I generally go to work and college make up free these days and only ever wear some if I feel like it. Since first year (13) I applied disgusting amounts of foundation to my face. Everyday. 8years later I don't feel the need to do that.
At the moment I do have some spots on my forehead and a few on my chin which are a result of me indulging in some ice cream and pizza over the last few weeks. Ice cream and cheese are the biggest breakout trigger for me.
It's just really really great. I'm also really happy that the 'Minosil' took care of it because the thoughts of going on something like 'Roaccutane' really scared me but I was kind of willing to do anything for clear skin.
(August 2014 - photobooth again. This is all i have on my fb.)Common Misconceptions (for me anyway) : People often have this opinion that people with really bad acne have inflicted it on themselves. Bad diet, not washing their faces etc etc but that couldn't be further from the truth. Over the years I always had a healthyish diet. Fast food in our house was always a treat and I would never in a million years think of sitting down to eat take out for lunch/dinner everyday. I've always been pretty on top of my skin care routine. Sleeping in make up was a total no no. It's not like I enjoyed having acne. Don't you think if there was a way to stop it, we would? I mean although it doesn't seem like it, taking medication everyday so I can have clear skin is pretty extreme. I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to.
(not the clearest but you can slightly see of them bumps on my chin - 5 days ago)
Before I end I just want to say that I can't stress enough how important diet and proper nutrition is. I didn't go into it completely in this post but before I began taking 'Minosil' I also made a conscious decision to revamp my lifestyle. I cut down on junk food. I rarely drink soda unless I need a quick energy burst or I'm on a night out because I don't drink alcohol. I eat a whole lot of fruit and veg. I workout for 30-40mins a day. I drink 2ltrs of water everyday. I'm very aware that what I put into my body is the difference between me looking, feeling and being healthy and not being healthy.
Good health comes from the inside. You really are what you eat. It's so cliche but it really is true.
I would like to think my skin could stay clear without the 'Minosil' but sadly (and thankfully) at the moment it's keeping everything under control.
So that's my rambly back story on my acne and how I cleared my skin. I do hope it was helpful to some of you guys.
xIf you're experiencing problems with your skin and it's really impacting on your day to day life do seek advice from your GP. You might think you're overreacting but they're there to help.
I tried to find pictures that best displayed what I was trying to say in this post but found it rather hard so this was the best I could do.