Acne is something that a lot of people struggle with growing up. It can take a toll on your self-esteem, and just be annoying to deal with. Here are three young women, with three different types of acne and three different treatments they have done.
Eisha is in her early 20’s. She got acne due to hormonal imbalances and PCOD. “I had gone to a dermatologist and he prescribed topical treatments for my skin but I never took any pills.” In a natural sense, Eisha keeps her diet as clean as possible: she’s dairy free, exercises regularly and takes Evening Primrose Oil tablets as a supplement.
Her Morning routine is simple:
“And I’m done! My morning routine is simple and I use the some of the products at night too. But, my routine is longer at night because I’ve worn make up all day and I need to get it all off.”
Eisha’s Night time routine is designed to get her skin squeaky clean after a long day. “I do the double cleanse method because it’s effective for me.”
• Korean TLC Cleansing Oil
• Cera Ve Exfoliating Face Wash (with a Clarisonic)
• Salicylic Acid Wipes as the Exfoliating Toner
• Epiduo as the Retinoid (Eisha uses this only when she has a breakout)
• The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Night Mask as the Night Cream
Eisha has beautiful skin and finds that keeping her skincare routine consistent along with a healthy diet is the key to clearing out her acne.
Sophie is in her mid-20s and has dealt with acne since she was in her pre-teens. “As a pre-teen, your hormones are all over the place and I was also living in Mumbai at the time which had a lot of air pollution and humidity. So, when you factor all of that in, I understood why the breakouts were there and it wasn’t that big of a deal to me at the time.”
As she got into her teenage years, she cut out dairy as research showed that it would reduce the acne, but it did not work. Sophie then went to a dermatologist and was prescribed prescription antibiotics which she took for a few months. “I would take the antibiotics and would see some improvement in my skin. I would feel like the meds were making a difference but then when I would finish the course, it would come right back. It was just pointless. I didn’t want a temporary fix that didn’t even REALLY clear out my face.”
Then, she decided to change her lifestyle. Sophie tried to tackle her stress levels by doing yoga regularly. “I love chocolate so much and my mom kept telling me that that was what was causing my acne so I even reduced that! It was so hard, but I had to try.” She explained.
“So did the yoga actually help?” Eisha asked.
“Well I got washboard abs but no, my acne didn’t clear out.” Sophie added, “It did help me with my self-esteem though. I found myself feeling better about it because of the exercise.”
She was now in her college years and noticed that the problem was not on the surface of her skin, but rather under it. It was hormonal acne and she wanted to find a proper solution to the problem. After hearing about Accutane from friends and family, Sophie went to a recommended dermatologist in Dubai. A few blood tests and a consultation later, she was put onto Accutane for the next year. “I would go every month for a blood test and my doctor would change my dosage accordingly. My face dried out and so did my lips, so I was given a special skin care routine to keep my skin as comfortable as possible.”
While on Accutane; this was Sophie’s skincare routine:
• Zeniac Water Based Face Wash
• Zeniac Purifying Lotion
• Medical Sunscreen
• Medical Lip Balm
“The most important thing when on Accutane is to stay out of the sun as much as possible and, always put sunscreen on even if you’re not outdoors. It’s just to keep your skin hydrated and protected.” After more than a year of being on the medication, her acne had gone completely. Today, Sophie uses a light powder foundation when she wears make up and uses uses the same Zeniac Water Based Face Wash. She keeps her skincare very simple and has amazing, glowing skin.
I’m Sanaiya and I’ve entered my 20s. I had the usual breakout here and there when I was in my early teen years. It was mainly on my forehead and it went away once I cut dairy and gluten out of my diet as much as possible. But, I developed acne on my cheeks that just wouldn’t go away when I turned 17. I had friends in school that had gone on Accutane and it had worked really well on them. I thought that was the solution, but after doing my own research, I believed it was not going to work for MY body. I have sensitive skin and suffer from food allergies so my body would not cope really well with the potency of the medication. I even did blood tests to check if my hormones were imbalanced but they weren’t.
So, instead of Accutane, I went to a dermatologist to try topical treatments because I did not want to take any pills. I was given the Cetaphil Oil Balancing Face Wash and Cream along with a retinoid – Epiduo. None of it worked. It made my skin peel even though I only put the retinoid on twice a week. My skin just broke out even more; my self-esteem was close to non-existent. I used to have really long hair so I used to try to hide my cheeks by moving it to the front of my face if I ever felt like someone was staring looking at my acne in college.
I got obsessed with trying to fix my acne. I researched all day and all night about creams, serums, and juices to take…anything that would help me but nothing worked. I then went to a friend’s dermatologist with my parents. I remember feeling excited to know what the doctor was going to prescribe because after doing so much research, I felt like I would know what he would say. He wanted to put me on antibiotics for 3 months and with a possibility that it would break me out even more. THREE MONTHS OF PILLS AND A CHANCE MY ACNE WOULD JUST GET WORSE? (Ummm, no thanks.) I walked out of the office as calmly as possible. My parents followed behind me. I remember sitting in the clinic’s reception, taking the prescription from my dad’s hand and tearing it in half. I was sobbing because I couldn’t understand why no one could help me without giving me so many internal meds.
Next, I went all natural. I started exercising more which just helped me feel better emotionally and I went on Homeopathy. I was on the natural meds for six months and saw quite a bit of improvement but it still was not clearing anything out completely. So, I stopped homeopathy and went to a different dermatologist. (Feels like this journey will never end.)
This doctor was really kind and explained what was going on with my skin in medical terms. It was so refreshing to have a doctor that actually made sense and didn’t want to just throw medicines at me and just say ‘You have acne.’ She did give me antibiotics along with a new skincare routine. Unfortunately, the antibiotics did not work and I am still trying to figure out a solution other than Accutane. But, the products I’m using are working well and are helping to keep my skin calm.
Here is my Morning Skincare Routine:
Here is my Nighttime Skincare Routine (with the double cleanse method):
• The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Oil
• Teen Derma Sensitive Gel Face Wash
• Nutraderm Dry Skin Cream
• Adapalene Cream Retinol (4 times a week)
I currently take Zinc tablets as a supplement and I am seeing a slight difference in my skin. My diet is as dairy and gluten free as possible and I try to stay away from sugar and chocolate but I do have a really sweet tooth so it’s hard but I’m trying.
One thing in common that Eisha, Sophie and I discussed was that it gets even harder to deal with acne when you have friends, family or even strangers coming up to you and telling you that you have acne - in public. It makes us more self-conscious and it’s just annoying to hear because hello, WE KNOW WE HAVE IT. A solution is that if you see someone that has acne and you want to say something, do it in private. Take the person to the side and chat about it. Don’t embarrass people with acne. You don’t know what they’re going through to fix it or if they’re okay with it! You never know! So, be kind to people with acne, we’re already dealing with a lot.
*Names have been changed in this article as per request of interviewees.