Love the Skin You’re in: My Skincare Journey

As a person who has lived with pretty bad acne most of her life, I can easily relate to the frustration of pesky pimples popping up on your face and the ones that fade to dark spots, which then take months to remove. Having acne has always made me feel self conscious, constantly wondering if people were seeing me for me or for the spots on my face. I’ve also always wondered how it would affect me as it relates to love and relationships. As women, society puts a lot of pressure on us to keep up with our appearance, so that weighed on me heavily and made me feel insecure. Going through the process of finding what works for my face has been an exhausting journey, and far from easy. So, here are my tips on how to find a remedy that works for you, and my experience with dermatologists and, more recently, estheticians! 

Dermatologists: 

When I got to high school, my dad made me an appointment with a dermatologist. I was hopeful about getting rid of my acne, and the appointment went well! I was given a tretinoin cream, and probably some other stuff. The cream started working and I noticed a difference in my skin. I also felt more confident about how I looked, which translated over to my interactions with people. However, after about a year, that dermatologist moved states. 

When I got to college, my face got worse. 

I’ve been through a handful of dermatologists since finding that one. Each of them would give me the same medication - tretinoin - and barely listen to my needs or concerns, and my face stopped responding to the medicine. Frustrated, I turned to an esthetician. The esthetician I’ve gone to recently expressed to me that sometimes your body gets used to certain medications, so this February, I found a new dermatologist who put me on completely new medication. It’s been working well for me, and I’m beginning to notice a difference, though it has only been a month. I also have lots of new things that I put on my face, like sunscreen, nighttime moisturizer and a new skin cream, in addition to medication in the form of pills, that I take. I also have a face wash that I bought from their office! 

One thing that I liked about her immediately was that I told her that I had trouble taking pills and she gave me some small pills that I could swallow better. Finding a doctor that works for you 

and attends to your needs is like finding a good college. It’s a process, and one that you should not take lightly. 

Estheticians: 

As mentioned, I started going to an esthetician- Rosalind Michelle- in February because my last dermatologist had expressed that estheticians can be helpful. However, I was nervous about how my skin would react and whether it would work with- or counteract- the medicine I was already using. However, I was pleased at how smooth my skin was afterward and all of the information she gave me on how to maintain an even texture on my face! Even better, my skin didn’t react weirdly to anything she used, and I got a new pore detoxifying product that I use occasionally, since I have larger pores. She also recommended some possible treatments for dark spots, like a chemical peel, which my dermatologist had also suggested. I would recommend going to an esthetician but make sure to go over that with your dermatologist if you have one. They can give you suggestions on treatments so your esthetician’s remedies don’t counteract those of the dermatologist. Furthermore, facials can be expensive, so also keep that in mind. 

Tips for your journey: 

Once again, finding what works for you and your face takes patience, and it may take going through a lot of different dermatologists, or products. I’ve noticed that many face washes from stores don’t really work on my skin, although I’ve tried many different types and did like them. Since my acne is more severe, my skin requires stronger products that you need a prescription for. Be honest with yourself about where you stand with your skin and pay attention to how your face reacts to certain products. 

Makeup is always there. Make sure to use products that don’t clog your pores or make your skin worse. Again, this means paying attention to how your skin reacts to products. I tend to use MAC’s foundation, which doesn’t make me break out. Makeup will cover your blemishes for events or whenever you want an even look but don’t use it everyday! Let your skin breathe. 

Ironically, taking suggestions from other people is great, but everyone’s skin is different. Your friend may be using Neutrogena, maybe that isn’t what works for you! Take recommendations, but also remember that it might not be a good fit for your skin. 

Know and understand that skincare is something that you must work at daily, so there may be times when your face gets worse, like during your period or after eating greasy food. There will also be times when your skin gets much better. Try and be patient with your skin and yourself, 

and own your skin. Having acne doesn’t make anyone any less beautiful or worthy of all that life has to offer.