By: Rachel Mazza
My Acne Story: 13-16
Like many others, I first remember having problems with my skin when puberty hit around the time I was 13.
I’m bi-racial, Afro-Caribbean and Caucasian. Albinism runs in my family and my skin is very sensitive to temperatures and scars very easily. The skin on my face is both dry and very oily.
Acne: It started with just a few spots on my forehead around my hairline, so that I thought it was just from the oils in my hairs irritating my skin. I remember trying just to wash face with a mild face scrub from the grocery store. At first, this seemed to take care of the problem, and it kept the acne manageable. However, whenever I would exercise or was out in the heat for extended periods of time, I noticed the acne came back full force.
Eventually, the several spots spread across the rest of my forehead. Unlike before, they were no longer small bumps but now large, painful clusters that my mother warned me not to pop or fuss with because I have very sensitive skin. My skin has always scared at the slightest bump or cut. Sometimes even bruises would leave dark, uneven discoloration. So when the acne started, I knew my skin was doomed to be scared. For years I tired everything to cover up the round, dark scars left on my forehead from the acne, but any cover up only clogged my pores more. Even if I didn’t pop or scratch at them, the acne cysts still left dark impressions that took years to fade.
When I was about 14 my mom signed me up for ProActive that would come in monthly installments. It consisted of a Renewing Cleanser, Revitalizing Toner, and Repairing lotion. It also came with an Oil Free Moisturizer mask that could be used for spot treatments. I didn’t notice any change until about a month later when my skin started to clear up (the scars were still there) but the frequency at which the acne broke out across my forehead was slowed down. This worked pretty well for about six months and then suddenly my acne returned worse than before. I continued to use the ProActive despite the fact I was seeing no results.
Devastated, I went to my family doctor and he prescribed Doxycycline 100 mg orally twice a day and Retin A cream .01% or lower strength, that I was to use at night after thoroughly washing my face. Doxycycline is an antibiotic that is used to treat just about everything from acne and bronchitis to Lyme disease and various STDs. Again, it took about a month before I saw any measurable results. Again the frequency of the acne was reduced between taking the Doxycycline and Retin A and I was still using the ProActive as well. This seemed to work to stop the break outs and since my skin had a break from constantly breaking out, the scars started to fade. The Retin A dried my skin out quite a bit and sometimes caused it to peal if I didn’t use Ponds Cold Cream as a moisturizer. Then after about six months this stopped working as well.
Retin A cream .01%
To be continued…