I have such sympathy for those who struggle with acne and are consistently trying to achieve clear skin, because I’ve been there. It can be one of the most difficult, and frustrating beauty challenges to face…especially when those who’ve never dealt with skin problems are quick to criticize. I struggled with cystic acne towards the end of high school and for a couple years while I was in college, and it honestly put me into a slight depression.
Before I move on, let me clarify that while my skin was bad, it was not nearly as severe as others have suffered. I wish I had quality pictures to share with my face completely stripped of any and all makeup- but to be honest, I did everything in my power to not be photographed- so the pictures I was able to find are not 100% accurate of my skin at the time.
I was a clean person, I took excellent care of my skin, and just could not understand why it wouldn’t clear up. I tried every product under the sun (Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, Clearasil, Cetaphil, Dove, Biore, Aveeno, ProActiv..the list goes on), I used a handful of different prescription creams and face washes from my dermatologist- (benzaclin and tazorac worked for a while, but I ended up with a crazy allergic reaction- half of my face was swollen for 2 days!), I concocted every home remedy I could find on the internet (crushed Tylenol pills mixed with lemon juice to reduce redness, tomato face masks…), I tried tanning, I tried completely avoiding the sun (definitely a buzz kill during my Summer beach vacation) I drank tons of water…but still nothing. My hormones were not going to let up. I strongly considered Accutane, but was turned off by it’s ridiculously strict rules and harsh side effects.
I wish I could tell you that I found a miracle OTC product that cleared my skin up overnight, but that was not the case, and I went through a lot of trial and error before finding a solution.
In my Junior year of college, I decided to start taking birth control pills- I had been so against birth control for the longest time, I didn’t want to take any kind of medication that would alter something natural, but I opted to try it for its promise to clear up my skin. I had exhausted every other opportunity.
I began taking Necon 1/35 – the generic contraceptive for Ortho-Novum 1/35 in the Fall of 2008.
I quickly began to see results. My skin wasn’t breaking out as badly, or frequently as it had been.
A little over a year after starting Necon 1/35 my skin had fully recovered. Today I occasionally deal with a major pimple or two, but I’ve developed a skin care routine that has helped me to maintain an overall clear complexion. A couple rules that I live by:
1) NEVER go to bed without washing your face.
3) Always moisturize!
When I opt out of tanning lotion, I prefer to use Ponds Dry Skin cream. It keeps my face super hydrated all day/night.
Taking care of your skin is a lot of work. It can be expensive, time consuming, and tedious, but it is important! If I could only secure one physical beauty attribute- it’d be a clear face. Like I said, I feel for anyone who struggles with acne.
If you currently take a birth control- check with your gynecologist that it is also beneficial for your skin. I’ve recommended Necon 1/35 to a couple of friends and they have seen incredible results as well. It truly saved my skin, and was not as difficult as committing to Accutane or other prescription medications.
I wish anyone struggling with clear skin lots of luck!
Do you have a story about your journey to clear skin? What helped you beat acne? Do you have any favorite products?