Oh, no. Is that? Wait, maybe it’s just food or a make-up smudge. No, it’s definitely a zit. Crap.
As I move my face closer to the mirror and examine my new blemish, I can’t help but feel completely dejected and demoralized, “another one?” I know I’m not supposed to touch or squeeze it but I go in for the kill anyway, hoping that at the very least I can make it look a little better under some foundation. As I’m going to work on it, I can’t stop the tears from forming in my eyes; this scenario isn’t a new one for me.
I’ve struggled with my skin since the very young age of thirteen. Yup, puberty … what a great time. My acne has always been pretty centralized around my chin, with an occasional blemish above my lip or on my nose (my particular favorites were the ones at the very tip—how flattering!) I was a child, though, and at the time it never really occurred to me that it was something to be embarrassed about. Most of my friends and fellow school mates all suffered from it to some degree, some a lot worse than mine.
As time went on and my acne didn’t clear up, I became unhealthily aware of its presence. My self esteem plummeted. I’m a grown woman, damnit! I shouldn’t have to be squeezing zits and caking on make up to feel beautiful. Thus, my quest for beautiful skin began—a journey that has become a long and arduous one, leaving me at times, feeling so low that I wouldn’t be seen in public.
I’ve been to countless dermatologists and estheticians that have all offered the same results—failure. I’ve tried everything under the sun: antibiotics, facials, peels, topical creams, the Obagi skin care system (that cost me a pretty penny), special diets; you name it, I’ve tried it. For those who join me in suffering from hormonal acne, I’m sure you have all experienced something similar in your dermatological care—spending lots of money on products that raise your hopes but offer ZERO long term pay offs. The roller coaster of emotions I’ve felt has been often unbearable.
It wasn’t until recently that I tried yet another skin doctor here in my relatively new home town of San Francisco. At first they offered the same crap: Accutane (which I feel is not worth the risk), antibiotics, blah, blah, blah. What else you got doc? Then she mentioned something I had never heard of before: Spironolactone. She explained to me that it’s a drug commonly used for lowering blood pressure and eliminating excess water from the body but that it’s also used for acne. Something in its chemistry blocks the oil producing hormone that causes acne. I was immediately skeptical and when she mentioned that I had to get blood testing every three months I ran for the hills, settling on a new topical treatment called Duac.
I started to see results using this new cream, all of the little pimples and white heads that I would get were virtually non existent. However, the cystic ones remained. Cystic is the worst form of acne, if you weren’t aware. They are often very painful and large, leaving nasty scars and indentations in their wrath. They are not fun by any means.
I once again became antsy and even more insecure with my rising scar count. When I looked in the mirror that’s all I saw and was disgusted. I thought about what my Dr. said and went back to talk about the Spironolactone again. She reassured me that many people had seen results with this particular drug and that I should strongly consider it. That night I went home and did some research on the internet and was overwhelmed with the positive responses I was reading. I took my lab work in the next day and got my blood drawn. I was prescribed the drug the following day.
It’s now been three weeks and I’ve already seen a vast improvement in my skin. I almost don’t believe it; I keep maniacally looking at myself in the mirror to make sure I haven’t had a massive break out. I guess that’s part of my problem, though. I need to stay positive! Things are looking good right now and instead of just enjoying it, I’m waiting for the worst. There is no way at this point, to fully qualm my fears of future breakouts considering the struggle I’ve been through in the past. However, I can learn to take things a day at a time. Now, when I find myself stressing out, I recite these words: Breathe. Stay calm. Everything will be okay regardless of whether or not I have a Cover Girl complexion. It could be a lot worse.
My humble advice for anyone who has had similar sufferings: there IS hope. Find what works best for you and run with it. It may not be a perfect solution but nothing in life is perfect. At the end of the day, all that’s in our power is to remain positive and to keep on truckin’.