I don’t know if I’ve ever written something so personal on the internet, but here we go…

I don’t remember a time after 15 when I was completely acne-free. I took Diane 35 for 10 years and even during this time, I had one pimple or two before my periods.

When I went off the pill at the end of 2016, a few months later, mid-2017, my acne came back and was worse than ever. It started with a few more small pimples and transformed into a pretty painful face (especially on the cheeks).

I know that it’s a common issue and that a lot of people suffer from adult acne but to be honest, it does not feel good. 😞 I don’t feel comfortable because I feel like my face is dirty all the time and that I’m not presentable.

I had thoughts of just staying at home and avoiding social events because I did not want to show my face. 🤦🏻‍♀️ I may even have missed an event or two because of this. Luckily, this did not last very long and I overcame it by repeating to myself that I’m not the only one having skin issues. Talking openly about it to my friends also helped. Their support and my boyfriend’s support was probably the number one thing that cheered me up and helped me get through.

It still sucks, but mentally it’s less of a big deal. Things to tell yourself:

  • have patience, unfortunately, this is going to take time, potentially years
  • it’s not your fault, especially if you’re doing everything you can
  • your friends and family won’t have a different opinion of you because of your skin
  • patience, again 😔

You can also track your skin progress. I didn’t want to spam my camera roll with gross photos of my acne so I use Day One app (freemium). I try to take pictures routinely every day or every other day after my skin routine in the evening. On the app, I do one photo per entry per day.

Patience is important because when you start a treatment, you need to leave it some time.

My skin routine

Before I explain what I tried to clear my acne, here’s my skin routine:

  1. I don’t wear makeup (except eyeliner)
  2. I wash my face twice a day (morning and evenings)
  3. I put on moisturizer and mix it with an oil (a few drops of argan, tea tree or tamanu)
  4. I put sunscreen in the morning, even during winter
  5. Take a picture of my skin in the evening to track progress

Once a week, I’ll do a scrubbing and once a month maybe I’ll do a face mask.
That’s it! My skin regimen for years has been like this, except for the oil and sunscreen part which I started this year.

🥛 Dairy makes me greasy

I did notice a significant difference when I drank milk vs when I didn’t. When I had a cappuccino, my skin was ultra greasy. I’m really sad about this because I just can’t get used to the taste of soy milk, almond milk, or lactose-free milk in my coffee. My milk frother also doesn’t work on those drinks… I’ve had to stop drinking beverages with milk. This may not be the case for everyone though. My sister says milk doesn’t make her skin condition worse. She’s a teenager and has mild acne.

Some people say food doesn’t influence acne, and I was one of those people before but after noticing things like milk, I definitely think food can influence acne now. Maybe it doesn’t for everybody, but if you suffer from acne, I think it’s best to notice if anything makes your skin more greasy than usual and cut it off your diet. For some people, a diet change was enough to clear their acne.

💊 Vitamin supplements

I was really hopeful about that one after reading many good things about how it helped other people. I ordered a ton of different vitamins (but made sure I didn’t go over the daily recommended dose). In short, I made my own vitamin cocktail, inspired by all those testimonials. I don’t know if it helped or not. It didn’t feel great to take a ton of different pills every day. It’s probably my fault because I chose my vitamin cocktail myself according to articles I read on the internet.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) gave me bad allergic reactions. It made my skin and body really itchy and red within the next 15-min. My skin was tingling as well, as if something was crawling under. It didn’t feel good. Zinc made me nauseous if I didn’t eat a lot before taking it. Another unidentified combination of vitamins made me feel stomach burns.

TL;DR, don’t be like me and take vitamin supplements without consulting a doctor. I would not recommend this route, or if you want to try, maybe try those multi-vitamin pills. It’s necessary to identify your type of acne first.

Over the counter & Sephora

I tried Peter Thomas Roth products because they had good ratings on Sephora. They didn’t have any effect on my acne, unfortunately. I used them for two months. My acne actually got worse, but I don’t know for sure why, so I can’t blame those products. In the past, no over the counter products actually ever helped my acne. They’re probably good cleanser and preventive solutions but not treatment.

🚫 I don’t recommend splurging money on over the counter and Sephora acne products unless you have little acne. I think when you reach the point where you’re bothered by your acne, don’t wait, don’t try home-treatment, and go see a doctor. Don’t wait months like me.

Prescription Benzaclin

After my acne became more severe, I finally decided to see a doctor. 👩🏻‍⚕️ The doctor (not a dermatologist) prescribed me Benzaclin and Spectro. Spectro is a bit weird because it doesn’t foam. I am still doing this treatment currently and it’s been 20 days. My skin still has a lot of scarring so it’s difficult to tell. I think my acne is less inflamed and less red. From the photos, I think it got better. It is definitely hormonal though, because it happens exactly around ovulation in my cycle, and continues until my period. Once this is over, no new pimples!

I guess one good news is that the doctor didn’t prescribe oral antibiotics (so the acne can’t actually be that bad?)… At first, Benzaclin made my skin really itchy and red after I applied it. I think I had a slight allergic reaction to the benzoyl peroxide because it happened in the past when I had to use benzoyl peroxide. I decided to still go with it and apply a bit less. It worked! No more allergic reactions.

I’m giving this treatment a shot, the doctor says this should be applied every evening for three months. So at the beginning of February, I’ll post another update and go see a dermatologist if the acne is not gone.

Final words

One other thing, everyone I know who took Accutane (Isotretinoin) was cured of acne. It’s very strong medication and I’m not considering it as treatment despite its miraculous effects because I’m close to that age where you can have babies and not panic if it happens haha. Accutane is extremely dangerous if you’re pregnant and you need to sign a paper saying you understand the risks of taking that medication. I don’t want to take any risk.

If you’re reading this because you have acne yourself, sorry that my post doesn’t really propose a miracle solution. The miracle solution is patience and “go see your doctor“!

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