05 June 2013

Let's get personal

This is a post that I NEVER expected to write, and probably will look back on in a few years months weeks and laugh…

Well at least parts of it…

Parts of it make me cry…like the following…this gets personal y’all…I was inspired Heidi’s blog of 10 truths.  She was very open and honest in it so even though it is the internet, I don’t want to publically share her entry with the world for her.  However she did mention she has acne-which totally shocked me because every picture I see of her she is drop dead gorgeous.  She is literally the mom of 2 kids we all want to be like.  So reading that she had acne made me feel more comfortable to write this…

I have acne.  From what I can tell from my genetics, always have, always will.  I don’t have little pimples that you can easily pop (I know you are not supposed to pop them, but seriously?) I have huge cysts that hurt…for days…or in my case right now…weeks months.

My triggers are stress and hormones.  I use gentle products, wash my pillow cases, etc.  They all lie right around my cheekbones and chin (typical hormone spot) and sometimes dead center of my forehead (stress).  I get little pimples too, but they are usually a reaction to a huge cyst.   
I have been an active Proactiv user for years.  It does a good job of regulating most of my issues, but sometimes those darn mini planets work their way through.  I was on birth control pills for almost 8 years but love myself WAY more when I’m not on it…I’ve tried about 6 different kinds of BC too, low hormone, high hormone, hormone supplements the week of placebos, everything.  Basically it made my blood pressure rise, caused horrible cramping, and major migraine headaches.  I’ve been off of it for 4 years now (with a 6 month relapse to try it again almost 2 years ago) and I much prefer everything about my body…minus the acne (which I still had on BC but it was noticeably better on it).

In 2010/2011 I went to the dermatologist for the first time in my life.  My skin was so bad I couldn’t handle it.  She recommended Accutane.  I know a handful of people who have taken it, some who loved it, some who hated it.  She told me I had to go on BC.  I told her no.  We worked out that issue and then she said handed me a big book of information (seriously, a 30 page, 8.5”x 11” paper, book) about the issues and my log-in for the online pledge saying I wouldn’t have babies on it.  I wasn’t planning on having babies at this point in my life (obviously), but I started thinking about the fact that I was 27…I wasn’t a 16 year old kid who would have 10 years before the baby makin’ process.  Also, the way it works is it “dries up” the oil in your body.  Great for you face and bacne (which I don’t have…it is only on my face), but not so great for your scalp (when I first started having hormone issues, this was the first sign-my thinning hair…that isn’t an issue anymore), your eyes (which I have dry eyes already), your intestines (which one of the guys I know blames Accutane for this) and other areas that need lubrication…if you get my drift.  For MOST people these are slight side effects that dissipate after you stop taking it.  Here was the kicker for me…the depression issue.  Being someone who is pre-disposed to depression already (thanks genetics again), I don’t really feel like I need to voluntarily put a chemical in my body that could foster it…this may be me freaking out for no reason, but I ended up crying in the doctor’s office and told her no.  She said she didn’t understand, but gave me a cream.  The cream helped get me through my crazy face for awhile, and then, when life slowed down, I went back to my normal Proactiv routine, dealing with an occasional flare ups. 

Well moving to Bahrain completely rocked my face.  Even using Proactiv, by October my face was ridiculous, tons of cysts and just gross.  I went to the spa for a massage and the lady talked me into getting something for my acne.  I told her I was allergic to Salycilic Acid and Sulfur-I can only use Benzoyl Peroxide-and she shrugged and told me it was the best stuff.  Well two weeks later my skin was worse.  I went and asked and they said it had to work itself out….well I went to the big bottles (I got a sample kit) and the treatment medicine was salycilic acid.  I stopped that immediately.  I was out of Proactiv, in a foreign country where the constant air conditioning, large amounts of dirt in the air, constantly being exposed to smoke and alcohol a lot more than I was in the states, and HORRIBLE diet had completely ruined my face.  Now I realize that I could do a lot to help my skin….but some things I could not help.  I started noticing people’s faces here (locals and others) and I noticed a lot of the same type of breakouts….especially in expats.  So some of my horrible face is my fault, some is environment. 

I called Joan before I went home at Christmas and told her my skin looked like a pubescent teenage boy and to buy me Proactiv before I even landed (please and thank you).  In the two weeks I was home my skin started clearing up.  Still not perfect, but better.  It was ok for most of January.  But then in February it started going to shit again.  March was eventful and we all know how awesome April was, but my skin was definitely not the good part.  I actually wore my hair down for most of this time to try to hide behind it. 

So in April I went to the dermatologist again.  I walked into her office and sat down in front of her desk.  I started telling my story and she stopped me and said “hang on”.  I waited for a nurse to enter and say that my insurance didn’t cover this.  I told them I didn’t care, I would pay it, and the doctor looked at me immediately and said “ok, then try Accutane. I’ll write you a prescription for it and birth control.”  I wanted to start crying again.  She didn’t touch my face, didn’t ask about my history, which she cut me off in the middle of telling, and said it was the only thing that would help my face.  So now I have all of the horrible side effects running through my mind but now I am in a position where I plan on having kids in the near(er than before) future too!  On top of all of that the blood work that I would have to do would cost 80BD each month, and the prescription itself was 30BD each month.  BC would be covered, so 5BD.  I just kept thinking no…I don’t know why I am so adamant against it…why I’m so scared of it…but I really do not want to go on it!  So anyways…I left.

A week later I got the balls to go back and ask about other options.  She prescribed two creams and an antibiotic.  She then told me to cut out red meat, processed foods, chocolate, sugar, wheat and alcohol from my diet.  I asked what was left and she said fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish.  Well I could certainly lose weight with that too….

Any side effect you could have from the antibiotic, I had, so I had to stop taking it…I very rarely take medicine.  When I take pain meds for a headache (when it gets so bad), they always work, and very quickly.  Bad thing is that I have reactions to a lot of it…cold medicine is a killer on me…and apparently antibiotics. 
However the creams are helping. 

So here is where we may laugh in a little bit and I never thought my name brand self would admit to this…I was reading up on castor oil and how it helps people with acne.  I read about the oil cleansing method.  I was quite skeptical since my skin was oily itself, why would I want to put more oil on my  face…

But. I. Love. It.  Seriously.  One week now and no cysts, my make up looks better too.  Now I do use a toner after it (I’m still mastering getting all the oil off) and I am using clindamycin (mild acne medication).  I use a drop of moisturizer…but my skin is very moisturized (which therefore cuts down on the oiliness…skin is oily-sometimes-in a reaction to dry skin…it is trying to balance the dry skin by producing too much oil).  In the shower I use a very gentle, soap free exfoliator.  Also my nails are looking awesome and my cuticles are great from reaping the benefits of my face massages each day. 

What pros and cons have you heard about the OCM? 

Now here is the other funny part…I am about to try not ‘pooing.  Shampooing that is.  I hate washing my hair every day.  I seriously do.  If I don’t sweat a lot, I will go 2-3 days without washing if I can.  My hair is uber dry and I cannot find a shampoo I like here (the normal products here, don’t work the same as back home to me-could be psychological).  So I am off to buy baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  So in my bathroom I’ll have castor oil, sunflower oil, baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  Is this a bathroom or a kitchen? 

The only thing, is that during the transition period your hair can look like crap (I’m ok with a pony tail now that my skin is having good days), but it lasts 4+ weeks….and I go home in 4 weeks (from yesterday!) and I want to look pretty for John!  Oh the decisions. 

Anyways I hope you enjoyed hearing (laughing) about my home therapies…and letting me vent about acne. 

****I wrote this last week.  Without even knowing John commented that my skin was looking better!  I had a horrible hair day with the BS and V method, but I’m getting tons of compliments today…so I’m going to try to stick it out…but it is rough y’all.  My hair is definitely adjusting.  I’ll keep you posted :)

1 comment:

  1. Try coconut oil too! Boiled potatoes (or little red potatoes) give me huge cystic zits. I am covered in psoriasis too. I don't go to the dermatologist anymore. Just started B12 shots, skin is better. Used the oil method for a while, love it. I don't do much to my face anymore. Just a bit of coconut oil. As for the BC part have you tried the ring? It's low harmone. I was the same way with pills. Made me nutty. -Lisa