When I was a teenager, I was constantly being reassured that my terrible acne would go away some day. I was never given a specific date or anything, but one day my face would be clear and beautiful and I wouldn’t ever have to worry about acne again.
Ha! Bunch of damn liars.
So Why Do I Still Have It?
The problem is that acne doesn’t care about age. There are so many causes and things that exacerbate it that a person’s age is really irrelevant. It has more to do with things like hormone levels, skincare and diet than anything else. That’s why, almost 20 years after hitting puberty, I still have it.
Look, sometimes I’m lazy and don’t do what I should when it comes to skincare. I’m not proud, but I’ll admit it. I generally try to wash my face twice a day and use a special face lotion, but there are times when that doesn’t exactly happen. I never wear foundation (also because of laziness), so that isn’t so much of an issue, but I’m naturally oily, so my skin has specific needs.
I’m pretty sure my hormone levels are out of whack, but I’ve never had them checked. I don’t have a primary care doctor, so to speak, and it hasn’t gotten to a point where I feel the need to pay for the tests through an online lab service, so for the time being I’m in the dark about it.
That said, the fact that my main breakout area is my jawline tells me that I probably have an imbalance, as that’s a common cause for breakouts in that area. And because my breakouts are worse during my period (because, you know, having my period isn’t bad enough…), which is a time when hormones are naturally skewed, all signs are pointing to hormonal problems.
Hormones can be affected by multiple things, including but not limited to stress, certain medications and pregnancy. Stress affects pretty much every aspect of the human body, and of course pregnancy throws a woman’s hormones to hell and back.
As for medications, birth control (which, like pregnancy, affects hormones) is known for affecting acne. In fact, some teenagers use it specifically for certain types of acne. There is a catch to it, though, because even though it helps while you’re taking the medication, when you come off of it you can pretty much bank on a breakout.
Here is where it’s pretty much all my fault. My diet is, shall we say, not great. I try to eat healthy and eat often, but because one of the medications I am on severely suppresses my appetite – and the fact that I love junk food – this is hard to do. There are days where I will realize I haven’t eaten anything substantial in over 48 hours, which is just so unhealthy. When I do eat, though, I try to make sure that whatever I’m eating is at least somewhat healthy.
How I Keep It Under Control
Although I wish it were gone completely, it is much better than it used to be and when I’m not on my period it’s barely noticeable to anyone but me. I attribute this to the skincare routine that I use (sometimes, because again, laziness). Every day I wash my face with Dial Acne Control soap, or if I don’t have that, Dial Gold. The goal here is to use soap that doesn’t have a strong fragrance. Everyone is different, though, so if you’ve found a fragrant face wash that doesn’t break you out, hang on to it!
After washing my face, I then use Clean & Clear Dual Action face lotion. It took me a long time to find one that worked because my face is just so sensitive to everything. People who probably just want to help like to ask, “Have you tried…?” without realizing that if you have acne you’ve probably tried every product on the shelf before finding one that fits in the middle of “doesn’t get rid of it, but it also doesn’t break me out, so…”
I rarely wear foundation, but I use Clinique Acne Solutions on those rare occasions I leave the house for an event other than work. Again, after years of trial and error, it’s the only foundation I’ve found that doesn’t break me out. I’m not sure that it actually helps with the existing acne, but I kind of don’t care. At this point, I just need something that will cover up the spots and not make more of them.
I always make sure to remove it before I go to bed, too. It’s important to ensure that your face is clean before going to sleep because you will produce oil overnight and if you’ve got foundation or dirt on your face, it will join forces with the oil to clog up your pores and ruin your day when you wake up to discover a thousand new pimples.
So, the takeaways here are the following:
- Acne sucks, no matter how old you are
- Someone who has acne isn’t necessarily dirty or unkempt
- Stop telling teenagers that their acne will magically go away with adulthood