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Genetics Can Be Cruel

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When I was a teenager, I had acne. Not just one or two little zits. I mean, I had acne.

I took antibiotics. I used several different types of topical creams. I used light therapy in my doctor’s office (which, by the way, smells weird). I took birth control pills, which caused me to gain 10 pounds. I took Accutane.

I hated looking in the mirror. I felt ugly. My face hurt. I just wanted to be normal.

I still have oily skin. I still take various and sundry medications/creams to try to get it under control. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel 100% beautiful and “normal.” And now, I’ve passed it on to my kids.

Two of my three kids have acne. My son’s is the worst. It’s red and angry. The problem is that he also has inherited my husband’s sensitive skin, so finding something that works on his skin without causing other irritation is proving difficult.

I took both kids to the dermatologist a few days ago. He prescribed a cream for both of them to use in the morning. My son used his and his worst spots looked SO MUCH BETTER. The problem is that EVERYWHERE the medicine touched is now bright red.

If it’s not one thing it’s another. At least if he were a girl he could wear makeup without thinking twice about it. Being a boy, that’s not really an option these days. Not yet, at least.

I hope that his skin calms down. He’s such a wonderful, bright, fun, beautiful kid, it kills me that he might be thinking that he’s “less than” because of his skin, as I have done most of my life.

Genetics can be really cruel.

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Confession – Why I Was Almost Hermit

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Recently I’ve started realizing that I shut myself off from people for awhile this year. I mean, I KNEW I was doing it while it was happening, but I guess I didn’t think about how it would affect my life. I guess I have little right to say, “why don’t people want to hang out with me?” when I pretty much hid myself for months.

Why would I do this to myself? Well, it’s not the first time it’s happened. The first time was when I was in the thick of PPD and was struggling every day. I know I lost a few friends back then. I never invited people over because I was so overwhelmed, and I think that people were getting sick of asking me over and me never reciprocating. Then again, I’ve never asked anyone so I’m just assuming that was their thought process.

My most recent spell of aloneness was because I didn’t want people to see my face.

People who’ve never dealt with acne won’t understand. Yes, I know it SOUNDS extremely petty and self-centered, when there are so many people with worse problems. I get that. I do. But when you look in the mirror and all you see are the angry, ugly spots on your face and your face PHYSICALLY hurts, you just don’t want anyone to look at you. There are a lot of tears.

I also have to admit that I shied away from publicizing my own book. Why would anyone want to buy a book from someone who looks like this? My self-esteem was so bad that I let it affect my own success. This is when I decided I HAD to see a dermatologist. I couldn’t live like this much longer.

I wasn’t going to share any photos, but when I was looking up makeup tutorials for acne, I came across a young woman who started out with a clean face and showed how to put makeup on a face with acne. She broke down about how hard it was for her to leave herself so vulnerable. When I saw her, I realized if anyone can relate to me, it’s worth it.

{I will admit that these aren’t the worst my face got. I have no photos of the worst. But this is close. And though it may not seem as bad as I’m saying, my skin, aside from the red bumps, was completely bumpy all over my forehead – you could feel it, and I was oily all day long.}

A typical day just a few months ago.

A typical day just a few months ago.

I finally went back to the dermatologist and she put me on an oral medication that had helped in the past. While I take this, I need to get blood drawn every now and then to check and make sure the meds aren’t damaging my liver.

A few weeks after I started taking medication for the acne.

A few weeks after I started taking medication for the acne.

It seemed to get worse before it got better.

With makeup

With makeup

I found that a few makeups worked pretty well… of course, then I saw this photo and realized that while the redness is better, you can tell I’m wearing makeup, and you can still see all the bumps.

Taken last week.

Taken last week.

Now that I’ve been taking it for over two months, I still wear makeup when I work or see a lot of people. You can see, however, that my skin is a lot better. Certainly not perfect, but I’m so much more comfortable in my own skin.

I wish I could say that I just learned to get over my feelings and found some kind of confidence in spite of my face, but I didn’t. I was in a dark place. I’m in a better place, thanks to medicine. I wish for all the women, girls, and even men, who have acne that they can find a doctor that will find the right treatment. I know what it’s like when you don’t want your kids to touch your face. I know what it’s like when your skin hurts. I know what it’s like not to want to see anyone, and I hate that anyone has to feel that way.

~Genevieve