I'm 22 and I Still Get Acne - Here's What I Do to Help Heal It

I am a 22-year-old who still gets acne. It sucks, I hate it, and it really makes my self-confidence drop.

For some reason whenever I haven’t seen a friend or family member in a really long time the first thing that they decide to comment on is my acne. I've heard everything from “oh wow, your skin looks amazing! You look great," to comments like “have you been taking good care of your skin? You're face is really breaking out.” Growing up with acne has lead to a lot of different people giving me a lot of different advice and tips on how to deal with acne. It gets tiring getting advice from people who usually don't have any idea what they're talking about. Yes, I have been taking good care of my skin. Yes, I drink lots of water. Yes, I wash my face before bed and after I wake up. And no, I do not sleep with any makeup on. Here are some things I've learned that are actually helpful that I wish I knew when I first started my struggle with acne.

I wish I could tell my younger self that facial acne should be treated differently from acne on the rest of your body. The skin of your body is thicker than the skin on your face, which means that it’s harder to get through to target the acne. So the wash that you use to wash your body with needs to be “harsher” than the wash that you use for your face. The wash you use on your body should have a higher content of acne-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid, than the one that you use on your face.

The second thing I wish I would have known is that there are two types of acne: bacterial and hormonal.

Bacterial acne more than often pops up on your forehead and your right and left temples. Bacterial acne pops up (pun intended) when you don’t wash your face enough or when you touch your the skin with unwashed hands often. Remedies for bacterial acne include washing your face and acne medications that you can buy over the counter at any drug store.

The second type of acne is hormonal acne. People who suffer from hormonal acne tend to break out around the chin area. The chin area can also break out due to high stress. The left and right outer sides of my chin are where I tend to break out the most.

When I went to my dermatologist for the first time she told me that in order to fix the acne on my chin I would need to take a sort of medication that controls hormones, a.k.a. birth control. However, what most people don’t tell you is that birth control can also mess with your blood. For many, this shouldn't be a problem, however, since my mom suffers from blood clots that means that my blood is also really susceptible to clotting. What this means is that I can’t get on estrogen-based birth control to regulate my hormones, so my acne on my chin can never totally improve. Bummer, I know.

So the two at-home remedies that I am going to share with you are things that I do to kind of keep my acne at bay. 

To help with bacterial acne, you can use Pepto Bismol in its liquid form. It sounds a little weird, but bear with me.  Dip a cotton ball in Pepto Bismol and apply it to your acne, and allow it to sit until it dries on your skin. Then rinse it off. I don’t know if the Pepto Bismol dries out the acne or what, but when I was suffering from bacterial acne this at-home remedy was a life saver.

This second at-home remedy, which I swear by, is one that would I would use if you suffer from acne on your chin, behind your ears, or any acne that does forms under your skin (known as underground pimples) or acne that takes a long time to form a “head.”

Again, a little weird, but bear with me. You’ll need is a spoon, Vick’s VapoRub, a cotton swab, and a lighter. Take the spoon and scoop a little bit of Vick’s VapoRub onto it. Then take a lighter and put the lighter under the spoon and keep it under the spoon until the Vick’s VapoRub melts and becomes really hot. Once the VapoRub is melted and steam is coming from the spoon, take the cotton swab, dip it in the liquid, and then put it directly on the acne. If you don’t feel a little sting or a “zap” on your pimple when you put the dipped cotton swab on it, then the liquid VapoRub was not hot enough. I swear by this at home-remedy. I had this one pimple, that did not have a “head” behind my ear for almost three weeks. Then I did this remedy three times in one day and it was gone by the next.

Acne doesn't define you and definitely doesn't determine your beauty, but having clear skin really does a number on your self-confidence. I hope these methods will be as helpful to you as they've been to me!