My obsession with my skin started very young. I started getting blackheads on my nose and breaking out on my forehead in the seventh grade. At that time, I was already self-conscious about my strong Eastern European features, so the unruly skin definitely didn’t help my self-esteem. My mom is an aesthetician, and she helped me out during this time as best she could, as I would not let her pick at my face. I started becoming obsessed with covering the pimples with foundation and wore makeup everyday well into high school. Lesson learned from that one – I bet it would’ve cleared up faster had I not caked it on so young. Consequently, my obsession with makeup also started around this time. I became really good with covering up my pimples and giving myself a healthy appearance. Makeup has always been a big step in my daily routine.
In the twelfth grade, my skin calmed down immensely to the point that I was barely wearing any foundation. I was however visiting the tanning salon regularly and was convinced that my clear skin was a result of that so it continued on for a couple years until my dad begged me to stop going. He had learned that it was banned back home in Hungary and after learning that skin cancer was in fact the real deal, I stopped going. Then came the life changing cystic acne. It started at this point, after months of bingeing on fast food in attempts to gain weight. Don’t ask – for some reason, I felt this pressure to fit in and felt extremely self-conscious because I was so thin (which now by the way, I am constantly trying to maintain because your metabolism really goes downhill after 25!!). Anyway, the cycstic acne came with a vengeance. I no longer had pimples on my forehead, but rather large, deep bumps on my temples, cheeks, jawline and upper lip. Even in between my eyebrows was pretty gnarly. I didn’t know what to do. I was in university at this point, working a lot of hours at my job, and still eating fast food. I started watching my diet, which slightly helped but the damage was done. My organs hated me for the overindulgence in McDonalds and expressed their hate on my face. I went to Sephora and spent a ton of money on skin care and expensive foundation to try and get me through this time. Nothing. I went to ProActive, which burned the sh*t out of my cheeks and chin and bleached my towels (damn you benzyl peroxide – although my blackheads cleared up – you can’t have it all I suppose). Nothing. So I decided to go see the doctor. She put my on Diane, a contraceptive intended for acne, and I was on that for about a year which cleared up my face but gave me some intense facial hair! My blonde peach fuzz was now an intense blonde beard. I stopped the pill as recommended (you cannot take it long term as it is a high dosage) and the acne came back. Back to the doctor I went.
A friend of a friend had finished an Accutane cycle and her skin looked awesome. I went to see a dermatologist near my house and without hesitation, he gave me the prescription. I questioned the strength the drug and any possible side effects and his response was “Are you healthy? Then you’ll be fine”. Oh ok. I picked up the prescription and went home and looked at it for a while, contemplating what I was about to consume. I knew I had 6 challenging months ahead of me. Within that time frame it was Halloween, my birthday, Christmas, New Years, and I couldn’t drink. I was still partying in university at this time and I had to be conscious of my diet, go to routine blood tests and take good care of my liver. I started reading forums and blogs online about the drug and my anxiety heightened. So many side effects. I remember sitting at the table, with the pills in front of me, and having a mental breakdown. I was so scared. I took the plunge and did it. If you would like to read an in-depth post of my Accutane experience, let me know in the comments below and I will put that together for you.
My skin now is relatively clear. I wish I had tried other methods before Accutane, like natural skin care remedies and laser treatments, but unfortunately I don’t have a time machine. I still have blackheads on my nose, and wear foundation regularly but I follow a strong skincare regimen and diet to keep my skin clean and healthy. I am sharing this story with you, as I know acne and other skin troubles, especially on your face, can immensely affect your self-esteem, as it did mine. It is important to know that you are not alone, and that there are so many solutions out there. The most important thing is to listen to your body and do a lot of research. A post will follow this one with my current skin care regimen. Stay tuned!
Ps. I apologize that there are no photos of me in this post. I tried to find an older photo and they are all poor quality, and super embarrassing. I also don’t have any with my acne since I wore makeup to cover it all the time. So enjoy the lovely photo of Candice Swanepoel.