As a teenager I had the best skin. I would always get compliments on how nice my skin was. I was around 21 years old when I started to see a change in my skin. My breakouts were becoming more and more frequent. I wasn’t used to always having pimples. During that age I was in Jr college and working full time and also going out to clubs with friends, drinking alcohol and eating fast food after the club on a weekly basis. I heard that there was a birth control pill that helped with acne. I went to the Dr. and started my journey with birth control to try and help balance my hormones. That also only worked for a period of time, then the breakouts would always return. I noticed that I was gaining weight while on the birth control. I had not experienced a problem with my weight as a kid or adolescent. So then I started really focusing on exercising to help with weight loss. My skin was still bad. I decided to finally see a dermatologist and see if I could get some help. I spent so much money on Dermatologists visits and buying all types of anti-biotics to treat it which worked for a period of time and then the acne would always reappear. I was feeling desperate as I was starting to not want to go out with friends because my skin was getting so bad. I also painted on the makeup to try and cover it up. I was also using many different types of acne products and it made my skin very red and irritated and it completely dried my skin out. I finally asked the Dermatologist if I could go on Accutane. He agreed because all the other methods were not successful. I had to agree to continue to be on birth control and had to sign documents that I understood that this drug was harmful in many ways and I agreed because I was hoping this was the cure to my cystic acne. It was an intense drug and I definitely suffered some of the side effects from taking the drug. I remember thinking at the time, it’s just the drug. I pushed through and had the most clear skin after a six month period of taking accutane. I continued to take birth control until the dermatologist said it was safe to wean off. I eventually got off birth control and was starting to see the weight come off. I was also living a healthier lifestyle with diet and exercise to help. I expressed to my dermatologist that I wanted to get rid of my acne scars and he recommended me to a Dr. that used lasers and chemical peels and other serious products to help treat the skin. He sold me some products and told me that my skin was too dark to treat with lasers. (This was during the later 90's when the technology with laser in skin care was not as advanced as it is now.) I continued to go to different medical spas that offered chemical peels and microdermabrasions to help with the scarring and color and texture of my skin. I would spend most of my paycheck on products and treatments. By this time the internet was becoming more and more popular so then I started reading things online about acne and the science behind why it occurs. There are so many factors that can play into why a person develops acne. The main culprate is C. Acnes. or Cutibacterium (formely known as P. acnes or Propionobacterium acnes). It is a slow growing bacteria. It lives on fatty acids in sebum secreted by subaceaous glands in the follicles and also can be found in the gastrointestinal tract. I was starting to understand how to control my acne with lifestyle changes from my own experience with changing my diet and exercise routines and drinking plenty of water. I was also using medical grade skin care which didn’t have any of the irritating ingredients that traditional acne products did. I was learning so much and started letting others who were struggling with acne know about my findings out. I decided to go to esthetician school and become an esthetician. I knew I wanted to get closer to Dr's and nurses and stay on the medical side of skin care. Over the years and after much trial and error especially by process of elimination, I was able to pinpoint what foods and other things (like what I was doing on the outside) was contributing to my breakouts. I developed an acne check off list. The list is basic and should be customized according to each persons’ specific concerns.
Acne Check off List
* make sure whatever products you are using are treating your skin depending on it’s current condition.
* If you use makeup, make sure that your brushes are clean and that you are not contaminating your makeup with dirty brushes.
* If you touch your face at all, make sure that your hands are clean.
* Cell phones, or any other thing that comes into contact with your face...make sure it is clean.
* Make sure to wash your face everyday and night and also make sure to change your pillow cases frequently.
* If you go to exercise and you have your makeup on, make sure to use a face wippie or just wash your face before you start your workout.
* Dedicate towels or any other tools you might use to cleanse your face, just for face cleaning.
* Never go to bed with a dirty face! If at the very least, keep face wippies on your night stand for those times where you might have to resort to using them alone and then straight to sleep. It's better to wipe off the day, then to sleep in it.
* Last, but not least...make monthly or bi-weekly appointments with your esthetician to keep that skin clear, radiant and full of life !
some causes of acne to be aware of:
*blood sugar spikes and crashes
*harsh skin care products
some ways to try and control acne:
*diet - avoid sugar, grains and high inflammation foods
*address hormone imbalances by talking to a Doctor that can set up a plan of action.
*birth control may not balance your hormones at all.
*drink lots of water to flush out toxins
Example of an acne regimen ( varies from person to person):
*exfoliate every night !
* use medical grade retinols and or hydroquinone
*acne products when needed
*see your medical esthetican regularly