My battle with acne

There are days when you look in the mirror and you think to yourself, “Hey I look pretty good. My skin looks clear, practically no eye-bags and my hair looks so shiny and managable”.

Today is not that day.

Last Friday, I wake up to having my skin feeling quite rough, like sandpaper. Okay, I thought. Better be a little more gentle on my skin. Maybe that Biore wash didn’t work very well. I’d better stop using that.

Come Saturday, I had little zits around my mouth. It swelled more on Sunday.

Come Monday, I had a really huge zit next to my mouth. Words cannot express how mortified I was. I looked like someone punched me and missed my mouth and landed on my jaw instead.

I felt really unattractive looking in the mirror. That huge swell. And the little tiny yellow dots. Yuck! Smiling felt weird too.

I contemplated what I did wrong.

  • Was it the facial wash?
  • Was it the food intake I took?
  • Was it the dehydration from the fast?
  • Was it from the germs from clothes and carpets?
  • Was it hormonal changes?
  • Is it because I didn’t pray enough? God?
  • Stress? Maybe eh

I’ve always hated it when I’ve gotten zits. Ever since I was 12, I’ve been plagued with this horrible skin malaise. I’ve always envied people who’ve gotten clear skin, like my best friend Hema for one. She’s never had these kind of problems. I learnt that both her parents never had zits either.

It was the type of zits that was on and off. I even remembered having a little book journal where I jotted down the different types of skin products that I was using and noted how it reacted on my skin.

It didn’t get so bad till I went to Junior College. The zits literally popped out. It was so bad that I had a birthday card with a classmate signing in

“Dear Marina, Happy birthday! Hope your pimples heal faster”

I really felt low. Unattractive. Disgusting. I sought out ways to cure myself.

But how was I to do that? How was a teen, not working, with no money, find ways to cure my problem without having to ask my parents for the money? For the longest time, I’ve always been independent on my stance about money – never liked asking for money, even from my parents.

So at length, I decided to go to a polyclinic. It was a government subsidised clinic where one can get prescriptions and check ups by the doctors at a very subsidized price. So one day, after school I proceeded to have an appointment.

The few things bad about the polyclinic is that its VERY slow. I had to wait for hours before the nurse called my name to enter next.

I sat down on the chair and the doctor asked me a few questions. She scribbled on a piece of paper, handed it to me and said thank you. I think that took less than 5 mins.

But anyway, what she prescribed to me was Tetracycline. It was a red and yellow pill that was supposed to stabilize hormones. I took 2 pills an hour before I had any meals.

I felt so pretty 6 months after when my entire face was clear. And stopped since I wasn’t supposed to take it long term.

But my zits flare up again, I think 2 years back. Again I went to the polyclinic, this time I was referred to the National Skin Center. Same thing again, the doctor asked me a few questions after me waiting for some time. And in less than 5 mins I was on my way. (I wasn’t particularly happy with one of the doctors there, she wasn’t very thorough with the check up and seemed to just want to get itover and done with)

This time they prescribed with a stronger drug called Doxycyclene. And again in 6 months. I was clear again!

But I didn’t enjoy the cycle of having to go to the doctors and then have clear skin for a while and then going back to the doctors again. I wanted something more permanent. I wanted something more natural.

I scoured the net for some inspiration and found a few articles that was interesting. “How to cure acne in 3 days” (yeah right) there were some also which looked pretty fascinating read. But I wasn’t prepared to shell out 50 US dollars for their e-book (not a physical book mind you and then I found an acne sufferers community. It looked pretty well documented. I read the articles and then followed some of the tips like kidney flush and reducing sugar and oil and it worked pretty nicely for me.

I then proceeded to up the ante a little by going to have facials to clear my pores. I hated the part when they poked my face and squeezed the zit out (extraction, they called it) I don’t really see any physical difference though.

Then the last facial session was a little horrible. It hurt a lot. When the beautician did her extraction. I couldn’t take it any more. Worst part is the next day, some zits came out. When I used my proactive facial wash, it stung my face.

So I went to a hunt for new facial routine in Jurong Point (the shopping centre I usually go to) I went to Sasa. There was this lady who tried to cajole me to get this facial masque. She said that it was really good. I tried my best not to stare at her blacked acne.

Then I went to a Fancl counter and read that it was all natural and preservative free. It looks pretty good. I gave the fennaty trial set a try. When I went home, joy! It didn’t sting my face and the lotion felt gentle and cooling.

Pretty soon my face was almost back to as it was before 🙂

So I’ve absolutely no idea why the very sudden explosion. And I really cant point to any reasons to it. But at the moment, I’m REALLY watching what I put in my mouth. My mom tried to console me by telling me of stories of her wedding day. She said that while she was getting made over. The make over artist said that her acne was so bad … that she had to put extra layer of make up over her face. Kids commented “the bride looked like she had cooties”

She gave me a tip that might gross some people out. I’ve heard this tip before too. I honestly don’t know if its old wives tale or whatever. But she (and a few other good samaritans said that) to have a clear skin, take your underwear. Make sure its clean. While its wet with water, gently rub it over your face and say a prayer.

I cringed the first time I heard it. But I’m actually okay with it now … HAHAHAHAHAHA … shows how desperate I am right now.

I’m sorry for the very long post. But I really gotta rant. I really feel ugly

Update: Do read Evolution of face on my battle with acne in June 2006

3 thoughts on “My battle with acne”

  1. Thanks gary, I dont think I am very pretty. But I think I’m not ugly. so I think of myself as ordinary. However having skin problems really tests one’s self confidence. I didnt feel pretty then. I still dont feel so confident right now even. But I’m coping 🙂

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