Sunday, 18 September 2016

What It's Really Like To Struggle With Acne | My Experience

For a while now I've wanted to start writing lifestyle posts that are a lot more chatty and discuss topics which are either important to me, something I have an opinion on and want to share or just general things that I'd like to chat about. This blog has always been my outlet for anything going on in my brain so I figured it was about time I started these doing these types of posts! One thing that I've wanted to talk about for a long long time is acne. I've suffered with acne for a very long time now and I have a lot of experiences and thoughts to share with people out there who might suffer with acne as well, or people who might have clear skin and not really see what all the fuss is about. I'm going to split this post into sections starting from when I first got acne to everything I've done to fight it and everything in between. This might be a long post but if you're interested please read to the end as this is a topic that's very important to me and I'd love to talk and discuss it with other people!

WHEN IT STARTED
I first noticed that I was getting a lot of spots when I was around 11. I have memories of people in high school making comments about my skin, some people even making fun of me because of it which isn't a nice thing to have to deal with when you're a young teenage girl. One of the comments that seems to stick out the most to me was people telling me they could play 'dot to dot' with the spots on my face. That was crap. I was already a shy person, but the spots on my face just made me even less confident than I already was. I started using makeup pretty young and went to school every day with my face covered in foundation, powder, eyeliner and mascara and I probably haven't left the house without wearing makeup since then. When I was in high school, certain teachers would walk around handing out makeup wipes to any girls that looked like they were wearing too much makeup. Luckily I only ever got given a wipe once or twice, but I have distinct memories of me thinking that the teachers would have to send me to the headmasters office or send me home because there was no way I was taking even an inch of the makeup off my face, which coming from the goody-two-shoes teenager I was meant my skin had to have affected me pretty bad even back then when it was definitely nowhere near its worst.

MY WORST EXPERIENCE
There have been many occasions where I've had people comment on my skin. Once when I was in college I had a girl (who I wasn't particularly close friends with) feel the need to tell me she thought I looked 'plastic' and 'fake' because I'd put too much makeup on my skin to cover my spots. This was just before we went into a lesson in which I then pretended I had a headache so I could go home and cry over her comments and my disgusting face. I've had many people share their opinions on my skin with me, but the worst thing that ever happened to me occurred when I was 18 and my skin was the worst it had ever been. I was in my second year of college and extremely conscious of my skin. I had severe acne all over my chin and cheeks and no matter how much makeup I wore I could never cover it. As horrible and disgusting as my skin made me feel, I still tried my hardest to make an effort and not let it stop me doing things. So, one night my friend and I travelled down to Liverpool to go to a gig, and stay overnight in a hotel so we could also have night out and go to some bars and clubs afterwards!
It was all fine and dandy, we went to the concert, had an awesome time and went to a few clubs near our hotel before deciding to head back around 2am. We were making our way back to the hotel when these two guys approached us and started making conversation. We were surrounded by bars and clubs full of people so we didn't feel threatened or scared, they just seemed like two lads on a night out attempting to chat up two girls, which they were. One of them took the lead and basically got straight to the point and asked us if we would go back to their hotel with them. We replied with no that was not going to happen, and then things turned ugly. It seemed this guy didn't like being rejected and decided to get angry with us, or more specifically, with me. He felt the need to try and act as if he didn't really want us to go back with them and started to shout at me how ugly I was, asked me why my face was covered in spots, asked me did I never wash my face, and then worst of all, he spat in my face. 
Even re-living this memory now is making my heart race and my eyes start welling up because of how horrible that experience was. My friend shouted at the guy and pushed him away, before grabbing my arm and dragging me back to our hotel as fast as we could go. That guy proceeded to shout after us for a good five minutes after but luckily our hotel was close by and we reached it pretty quickly. I was a complete mess of tears by this point and walking through the lobby was difficult. Almost every member of staff and every person sat in the lobby came up to us to ask what was wrong, to which my friend briefly told them what happened and I think some people may have gone outside to make sure the guys weren't nearby, I'm not sure I can't quite remember that bit. My friend took me back to our room and was amazing. She spent the next hour or so talking to me and calming me down, reassuring me that the guy who did that was worth nothing and couldn't handle being turned down by girls he'd attempted to chat up so just got nasty. She was amazing but even now that night still comes back to haunt me when I'm having bad skin days and all I can think about is how awful it looks.

WHAT I DID TO FIGHT IT
In my second year of college, I had a consultation with a dermatologist and was prescribed a very intense drug called Roaccutane. I had been on every single cream, gel, and pill that the doctor could give me and nothing had worked so they decided it was time to refer me to the dermatologist to get something stronger. I was also put on the combined contraceptive pill because Roaccutane is such an intense drug that you 100% cannot get pregnant whilst taking it because of the seriousness of the things it could do to unborn babies. Every month I would have to go back to the dermatologist for a pregnancy test and also a blood test, because they also need to monitor your cholesterol levels and check that the drug isn't causing you any serious harm.
I was quite lucky when taking the drug and I didn't experience any of the serious side effects (it can cause depression and suicidal thoughts). I only experienced the common side effects like extremely dry skin, lips and eyes and things like that. I am not an expert on this so if you're someone with severe acne who is considering seeing a dermatologist to prescribe you this drug, make sure you do proper research first to make sure you're aware of all possible side effects. I took Roaccutane for around 6 or so months and by the time I left college, my skin had completely cleared up, and I mean completely! I could wear makeup every day, I could sleep in makeup, I didn't even have a proper skincare routine back then and none of this would ever give me spots. Not even a tiny one. I think I went without a single spot on my face for around 2 whole years, it was absolute bliss. I was still covered in scars but my confidence grew incredibly. Seriously, if you have clear skin and only ever get the occasional spot, don't ever take it for granted. I can't even express how happy and confident I felt in those two years and it was worth every side effect that drug gave me. 

WHERE I AM NOW
As I mentioned in my Life Update post, this January was when it all went wrong again. I was put on a new contraceptive pill and it completely destroyed me. I'm not going to go into everything that pill did to me as I'm considering doing a full post on hormonal contraceptives in the future, but it basically brought all of my acne back ten times worse than it ever was. It not only caused the acne to return all over my cheeks and forehead, but I was now dealing with these painful under the skin cysts all along my jawline. I felt like I had a disease. Needless to say I came off that pill as soon as possible but the damage was already done. I've now been dealing with severe acne again since January. This time it's actually caused me to avoid going out with friends if I'm having a particularly bad day, it's completely destroyed my confidence and it even stopped me attending university lectures because I couldn't bare to have people see my skin. Some days are better than others, and my skin has calmed down as that pill has gradually been leaving my system but it's still worse than ever. The amount of new scarring this acne has caused is unreal and I'm full of doubts that this will ever fade. I am booked in with the dermatologist so hopefully I get back on another course of Roaccutane and my skin will clear up. I can't believe I have to go back on that pill again and I can only hope that this will be the last time I have to struggle with acne. I've had so many people say to me 'they're just spots, everybody gets them', and I totally understand that, but unless you've had your face covered in massive red spots to the point where the thought of people looking at you makes you feel sick and want to cry, you don't understand what it's like. I'm hoping with Roaccutane I can manage get my skin under some sort of control and finally start to feel like myself again. 

If I am put back on Roaccutane I'm thinking of doing a little series of updates on the side effects I have and how my skin changes throughout treatment but I'm not sure so if that's something you might be interested in reading please let me know in the comments. Acne is a horrible thing to deal with so if any of you reading this struggle with it then please leave comments, message me on social media or feel free to email me if you just want a chat with someone whose experienced the same thing.
If you made it this far down the post then bloomin' well done and thank you for taking the time to read it! 
xxx

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10 comments

  1. I don't think you can really understand how badly acne can affect you unless you have actually experienced it. I've literally just finished a 6 month course of Roaccutane and that stuff is actually amazing. Although now I have the constant fear that my acne will start reappearing again at some point. Sorry to hear that your acne has come back, it really is a horrible thing because it can be so mentally draining.

    The Velvet Black | UK Personal Style / Beauty Blog

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    1. That's amazing to hear you must be feeling so good right now! Usually acne shouldn't ever come back after using Roaccutane unless it's caused by something extreme (like mine was with that hormonal pill), so hopefully yours should stay clear! Thank you, it's really crap to deal with but it's helpful to talk to other people going through the same thing! xxx

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  2. My jaw actually dropped when I read that he spat in your face, that is just awful! I'm scared to go on a birth control pill because of the side effects but I'm glad to hear your current flare up is going away. I think acne would be such a difficult thing to struggle with. I hope you get another treatment!

    www.beautyfromkatie.blogspot.com

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    1. I couldn't believe it when it happened either! It depends which one you go on, I had no side effects whatsoever on the combined pill but the when I was put onto the mini pill it completely destroyed my body! It's just about finding what works best for you but don't let the doctors push anything on you if you don't want it! Thank you <3 It really lowers your confidence but hopefully I can manage to get it sorted! xxx

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  3. I started getting acne exactly the same age as you, and even now i'm 25 I still don't have clear skin although it's a lot better than it was. My worst experience was this 'popular' boy that lived by me shouting 'pizza face' at me as I walked past and all his mates laughing at me. Made me feel sad reading this thinking of that and how cruel people can be to others. I think the pill has definitely helped my skin as well as having a set cleansing routine. I hope yours continues to get better! xx

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    1. That's awful I'm so sorry that happened to you! It shocks me how horrible people can be over something we have absolutely no control over, that doesn't even affect them! Thank you, I'm really hoping I can get it sorted, I'm glad yours is better! :) xxx

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  4. ...what a horrible horrible person that guy is, don't ever let anything like his words get to you, people like that are not worth getting worked up over.
    I'm 16 and I've always had pretty clear skin, but it's just started to flare up a bit. I get a lot of the little colourless bumps now and a quite a few pimples too. I'm trying so hard to get rid of the acne I do have, but it just doesn't budge. I just hope that it doesn't get any worse because I already feel prettys self-conscious.
    Aleeha xXx
    http://www.halesaaw.com/

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    1. I know :(, thank you!! Try out some different skincare products to see what works for you but try not to overdo it as that can make things worse! I hope it clears up for you <3 xxx

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  5. This was so inspiring to read, Samantha! I'll be 30 next year and STILL struggle with acne to this day. I started getting it around 12/13, and it's just been a constant battle ever since. Skin acne is definitely no joke, and it's amazing how much it can shatter your confidence. What made it harder was I always felt like the only one out of my friends who struggled with as severely as I did.

    It took me this long to finally go and see a dermatologist. My acne has "calmed" down a lot in my later years, but there's tons of scarring and brown spots left behind from my teenage years. I'm now spending a TON of money to get these scars reduced and the natural colour and hydration back into my face. I'm *literally* hoping it pays off...thank you for sharing your story! I hope things have been looking up for you since :-)

    ~Lor
    acozyspace.com

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    1. Thank you I'm so so glad you liked it! Acne really is a horrible thing to deal with and I can definitely relate to feeling like the only one out of my friendship group who struggled with it. I currently have a lot of scars and discolouration left over from the past 10 years of acne and I'm desperate to do something about it. I have to wait 6 months before I can do anything to my skin because of the intense acne treatment I was on so I'm very much looking forward to that! Thank you for you kind words! I hope the treatments you're going for work out for you <3 xxx

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