This is my 2nd blog post… it’s a sensitive topic for me but I’m going to try and be as honest and candid as possible.
Preparing to write this I had to put together photos I took of my skin as I went through my battle against acne. Looking at the photos made me feel quite emotional, my skin was bad but my self-esteem was worse. I consider myself an advocate for loving yourself for who you are, so I am embarrassed to admit that I sometimes feel the pressure to constantly look well put together and “pretty???. As a society, we have now generated this unrealistic expectation for women especially to look a certain way to be deemed desirable.
It all started during my second pregnancy. I had Melasma (Facial pigmentation in pregnancy), which wasn’t a big deal at the time, and I didn’t really care so much because I had bigger things to look forward to, like the excitement of meeting my new born. Four months after I had the baby there was still no improvement, I was so impatient and decided to find a quick solution.
A friend of mine had told me about a lady that sold some cream that would treat the pigmentation, of course I jumped at it with happiness, called the Lady and placed my order. I was so excited my problems were finally going to come to an end and I will have my fresh even skin tone back. When I received the product I was a bit skeptical because the packaging was suspect, it had no name and no ingredient list, but oh well nothing was going to stop me from using it.
After a month of using it I had the best results, it did exactly what I was told it would do. The dark areas on my face had lightened up and it gave me a fresh and even complexion. I decided to continue using it…surely I had just discovered the best cream in the world! A couple of weeks later, I had 2 big pimples which I treated with my usual spot removing cream expecting them to disappear in no time…I was so wrong, it just kept spreading. I had never had more than two pimples at any time on my face; I just couldn’t believe what was happening to me, my whole face was covered in red bumps… I hadACNE
Every time I looked in the mirror I laughed, surely my eyes were deceiving me, because this could never be my skin. As far as I was concerned it was all over for me! This really impacted my physical and psychological wellbeing. My self-esteem and confidence dropped. I started to become depressed and seriously unhappy. I would avoid bright lights and looking people in the face for too long, just so that they wouldn’t notice these angry red lumps that erupted on my face. Leaving the house without makeup was out of the question. Just to clarify, these spots were not the typical pimples you get every now and then, these spots were extremely painful, red and very angry.
I decided to see a dermatologist; this was the start of my long experimentation with prescriptions. The first dermatologist put me on tetracycline antibiotic pills. I faithfully took them as prescribed but experienced absolutely nothing. After seeing no improvement, he switched me to doxycycline (another antibiotic), but this also did nothing. After a few months of no results, I added benzoyl peroxide to my routine and my skin improved somewhat, but I was still breaking out daily. Back to the dermatologist I went. He prescribed Retin A and asked that I stop using the benzoyl peroxide while my skin got used to the Retin-A. He warned me that my face might get worse before it got better on the Retin-A. My face got a lot worse, drying and peeling but the Zits were still there. I was on holiday and went to see a different dermatologist who confirmed that the acne was steroid induced. This was shocking because I had never used steroids, but apparently the cream (the one I used to treat my hyperpigmentation) had steroids and my skin was reacting to it. Big news flash…I was just told to continue with the antibiotics.
During this time I had also been doing a lot of research and trying out different products, nothing had really worked so I stopped the antibiotics. My first breakthrough was when I found a product called DUAC (clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide). When I started using it, I noticed the Zits started drying out gradually. I also combined using it with these products; Peter Thomas Roth Max complexion correction pads, Peter Thomas Roth Sulphur cooling masque, Peter Thomas Roth Blemish buffing beads, Clinicians Complex Retin A serum (pictures attached). I used all these products religiously for months and eventually I got rid of all the Zits. The next thing was to get rid of the dark spots. I found the Obagi nu derm clear in my opinion the best spot removing cream.
Today I can thankfully say Acne was a thing of my past, you would never know I suffered from this because my skin is so clear and there are no obvious scars (Thank God). I learnt a lot of lessons.
- Never buy and use any creams if you do not know the active ingredients. Remember what works for Funmi might be bad for Nneka.
- Getting rid of acne requires patience, determination, a little trial and error and most importantly perseverance.
- Most acne treatments take about six weeks to see the slightest results so you have to be consistent.
- Sun Screen should be your best friend when you are treating acne.
- Obsessing and constantly being depressed will do nothing to help.
- The temptation to prick those pimples is real but you have to hold yourself. Remember you conquer your enemies with love!
- There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
It is difficult for people who have never experienced serious skin problems to understand the extent of the effect it has on your confidence and self-esteem, which is why I decided on publishing this post. I wanted to show you that this is a very common problem and that there are treatments out there that do work.
Till next time, stay beautiful….