Monday, 26 November 2012

"dying for clear skin"

I saw through Twitter today that there is a programme on BBC Three tonight called Dying for Clear Skin, a documentary about a boy who suffered depression because of his acne and the medication he was taking for it, and died.

As saddening as it is, I am not shocked by this at all. I too had acne in my teens and it had a huge effect on my confidence. I probably noticed I was starting to get spots around the age of 13, which is normal, but they weren't just the occasional pimple or white head - these were what I can only describe as big purple lumps on my face that just didn't disappear.

I tried every didn't spot treatment going and ruined my delicate skin by scrubbing it daily with harsh chemical face washes. The thing with spots is that you notice them more than other people, no one ever really commented on my skin but I still knew it was bad. My sister knew it was getting me down so would tease me and call me spotty. One of my friends then said she couldn't understand why my skin was bad when I took such good care of it, this is when I knew it was a problem and had nothing to do with my skincare routine.

I started piling on make up to cover it and then it became a vicious circle - everyone said wearing make up would cause spots but I was so ashamed I couldn't not hide them. I even tried going without make up for a week at school and it made no difference to my skin at all, but I was so shy and quiet during that time. I would never tie my hair back because I didn't want to draw attention to my face and I always covered my forehead with my fringe.


Looking back at these pictures from 2008 (when I was 16) I realise my skin wasn't that bad - but to me it looked terrible. You can probably see in the top photo I have some scarring on my forehead and purpley marks around my cheeks and mouth.

The worst thing about acne is that it is painful as well, my face was often very sore. Eventually I went to the doctors and to be honest I thought she would tell me man up and get over it, but she was very sympathetic. She said she would try different treatments with me and if it didn't work she would refer me to a dermatologist because it can be treated and I shouldn't have to suffer.

The first treatment I tried was a lotion in a bottle with a sponge cap that I had to rub on my face twice a day. This was very strong and harsh on my sensitive skin - although it killed a lot of bacteria it left my face marked and scarred. When it started to make my face sore I went back to the doctor and was put on antibiotics. I tried Oxytetracycline which was very effective but I found it difficult to take as it had to be taken on an empty stomach and not with dairy. I was then put on to another different antibiotic.

The antibiotics did make a huge difference to my skin but it never cleared up completely. In the end I sort of just gave up on the idea and admitted that my skin would never be clear. Four years on I am still not completely satisfied with my skin but I don't think anyone is! The acne treatments have left me with a very uneven skin tone so I have to wear foundation and bronzer everyday to cover it up, I can't bare to go without make up for fear of what people will say. Since I have been on the contraceptive pill my skin has improved slightly and I am gaining more confidence.

I advise anyone who suffers with acne to go to their doctor and seek help with it. There are lots of different treatments available and they do make a difference!

Have you had experience with acne? Did you seek help or just put up with it?

2 comments:

  1. I watched that documentary too and it literally had me in tears! I had pretty bad acne from the ages of like 13-15 and it was just an awful experience. I ended up on Accutane and luckily it worked magic for me and I didn't experience any side effects, obviously everyone isn't so lucky...

    Like you said no one is happy with their skin, and there's no such thing as "perfect skin", the sooner people realise that the better!

    Everything you said in this post I could relate to, and I would also recommend anyone to go to the doctor or even a dermatologist like I did to get the problem sorted!

    www.SamuelJamesMorris.com

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    Replies
    1. It's really interesting to hear other people's experiences. I always thought I was getting worked up over nothing and being melodramatic but everyone seems to feel the same way.
      Thanks for the comment! x

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