Hey Babblejuicers,

I completely forgot that June is acne awareness month. So I will be posting some acne related articles which I hope will help those of us who are struggling with it. And this one is to continue my acne story that I had begun earlier.

Here’s the link to part I. https://amandasbabblejuice.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/acne-shaming-my-struggle-with-acne/

I saw a very good dermatologist in my local city and I came to know about him through a friend of mine. It took me about three weeks to get an appointment with him since he was very popular. The days of waiting were torture, I was so desperate. When the day finally came, it was exciting. I told him everything about my skin and he politely told me not to worry about it and that it wasn’t my fault. And it felt so good to hear that. And I was prescribed pills and topical gels as well.

Isotretinoin (20mg) along with Cetaphil cleanser, benzoyl peroxide 2,5% and clindamycin gel 1% was my prescription. He gave me very specific instructions on how I should go about this and I followed everything religiously. In about three months time I saw I huge difference in my skin. I didn’t get any new cysts and the ones that were there were shrinking. In a year’s time, my skin was completely clear except for some hyper-pigmentation. But I was satisfied with the results. People told me how great my skin looked and that I looked so much better now . (Um… left-handed compliments.) Anyway, I was very pleased with the results and my self-esteem was back where it belonged.

However four years later I was still on Isotretinoin and many side effects began to show. My face was as dry as a desert and I began to become very red around my cheeks. And as months passed it just got worse and worse. My face was tomato red and it itched like crazy. When I went to see my dermatologist he said that it was because of being in the sun, but I was extremely cautious about sunlight, actually borderline obsessive. I never went out in the sun and would always protect my skin at all costs. But he just wouldn’t listen. Neither did he give me anything to relieve the redness. Let’s just say that when the treatment showed side-effects, he washed his hands off it.

After a year or so I just gave up. I decided to stop all acne medications. Within eight months it all came back with a vengeance. And my face was again covered with acne. I was shattered. And this time, my emotions were even worse than it was the first time around.

And to add to the acne, I was later diagnosed with multiple food allergies to wheat/ gluten, eggs, dairy, apples, lemon, shrimp, sesame. So my body reacted through rashes that were all over my face, back and chest. I was sick and tired of myself. I just couldn’t understand why this could happen to me. I spent so many days just crying and nothing could console me. I just can’t put it in words to describe how I got through those days. I am sure you can identify. I just wanted to hide in a cave and never come out. I just couldn’t face anyone.

And today 11 years later, I can humbly say that my skin is 80% clear with a few flare-ups here and there. Those don’t bother me anymore. I am just happy to be free of antibiotics and Isotretinoin. I still follow a skincare routine that is gentle enough for my allergic/acne -prone skin. My skin is recovering but it takes longer for the heart to recover. It’s a journey, a journey of loving yourself, warts and all.

Of course, there are times when I feel I just don’t want to leave the house. But that’s just the old me speaking.

This is the new me. My skin does not define me. I want to believe that more and more. And I hope that you will too.