Ahhh, the quest for clear skin. I have to admit that today’s open thread is a rather selfish one. After ditching my monthly birth control pills in favor of feeling more like myself and less like a manic zombie with zero libido, my acne once again decided to rear its ugly head. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “I’m nearly 27. Why is this still happening?” So, I figured I’d open up conversation for all those who may be trying and feeling like they, too, are failing in this pesky skin department.
You see, my acne and I have quite the toxic, albeit longstanding relationship. It all started when I was a freshmen in college. A move from Nebraska to Texas, maintaining intense, self-inflicted spells of stress and, well, a transition from my teens to my twenties all played their roles. But, if you know me, you know I’m headstrong. I like to attack issues such as these with an intense fervor and won’t stop until I find a solution. And, I did. Find a solution, that is. I popped over to the university medical center, was prescribed a low dose of Doxycycline, and on my merry way I want — pimple free, too.
That worked for a bit. But, just as I was beginning to forget my days of white-headed dread and classify myself as someone who doesn’t struggle with acne, it made its way back into my life after yet another move from Texas to Tennessee. This time, more intense than ever. I made a beeline straight for the closest, yet most reliable dermatologist I could find, and together we came to what seemed like the ideal resolution: a straightforward cocktail of birth control, retinol, and a little extra TLC for my skin after a sweaty session at the gym. This also worked wonders. But, for whatever reason, everything with my acne feels as though it always comes full circle. So, here I am again, feeling more like myself thanks to ditching the added hormones, but with one more breakout than I’d care to see living beneath the surface of my skin.
I’ve come to the realization that the more I allow myself to be vulnerable about these struggles with others — whether they be the friends closest to me, acquaintances I meet in passing, or work colleagues— the more I realize that I’m not alone in this fight. Adult acne is more common than one might think. Sometimes it’s genetics, other times it’s mere trial and error, finding what works for you and your particular situation. And, everyone’s definition of acne looks a little different than the person sitting next to them. I want to hear about your journeys and where you’ve found success. I’d love to de-stigmatize the need for a perfect complexion in lieu of getting real about what’s going on in our world. I’ll start: since ditching the birth control, I’ve found exfoliation does wonders, especially if I get ahead of the issue and start when I feel a breakout coming on. I particularly love the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel, the Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel when I need something a bit more intense, and the Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial. I also try to cut dairy as much as possible and take a Vitamin A supplement.
What’s helped keep your acne under control? Have you taken a more holistic approach, choosing to start internally before searching for external solutions? Or, perhaps you’ve tried something more intense like prescription medication? How do you battle adult acne both physically and mentally? I’m all ears.