During the advent of the pandemic last year, I was very much into trying new skincare products that also, unfortunately, meant exposing my skin to irritation. I will share here the five most important lessons I learned when I had the worst acne in my entire life.
There are details of my teenage years that I can no longer remember today, but one of the facts that I take pride in is I did not have teen acne. Zero! But as I get older, I observe that my skin becomes more and more rebellious. Since I am not getting any younger anymore (gasps!), I promised myself last year that I will be taking care of my skin more.
I tried all sorts of products recommended by friends or by strangers on their Youtube vlogs, like this one. My skin did not have noticeable changes from trying all these products, but I carried on because I did not have any terrible breakout until I tried Purito’s Comfy Water Sunblock SPF 50+ PA++ in November last year. The first and last time that I tried it was when I went to Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa, I applied more than enough of it because it is not a damn highlighter (hello, Gwyneth Paltrow!) After a couple of hours, I noticed that I was having small bumps on my forehead. I just shrugged it off, even re-applied it on my face a couple of times, and enjoyed that one-day trip. By the time that we are about to go home, I already knew that my skin was not having any it. The small bumps spread like wildfire on my forehead and cheeks and it became redder. I was already panicking when I got home because I knew that I was having an awful breakout. I self-medicated but it just got worse. When I had the worst acne, here are the five lessons I learned:
1. DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE
I realized that I saved even more money when I went to a board-certified dermatologist compared to when I was self-medicating. While it is true that dermatologist’s professional fees and medicines are very expensive, nonetheless I know that it is going to be worth it because my doctor is one of the nicest people that I know who happened to spend 13 years training and learning about skin. I saw way better results when I used the medicines she prescribed to me than the ones recommended by influencers and skin enthusiasts on Youtube.
My doctor said that the culprit was the sunblock and she added that my skin is sensitive and probably allergic to one of the ingredients of Purito. Also, I almost failed to recover from the shock when I learned that Purito lied about their SPF ratings! They claimed it to be SPF 50+ when it is just SPF 19!
2. LESS IS MORE
My doctor was at a loss for words when she heard the number of products that I was applying to my skin. She said that most of these are all merely nice to have and more products mean a high possibility of skin irritation. She advises me to stick to the basics and to the ingredients that are backed by Science.
3. OBEY DOCTOR’S INSTRUCTIONS AND FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENTS
My doctor was very strict with her orders: antibiotics are only for two weeks, only this much cream needs to be put on to your face, do not take more than 15 minutes when taking a bath, the toner must be used for three months only, and do not use products other than what was prescribed. No more, no less.
Being my normal self—obedient and diligent when it comes to skincare procedures—
I obeyed everything that my doctor said. Between the two of us, she is the expert, and if I want my condition to get better, there is no better way but to follow her.
Follow-up appointments are also equally important because doctors either prescribe new oral or topical medicines or tell you to stop using every after visit depending on the progress of the skin. I prayed hard for all these medicines to work because had my skin not improved, my doctor could have put me under isotretinoin that kind of scared me.
4. LISTEN TO YOUR SKIN
While it is true that board-certified dermatologists are the experts in the area of skin, it was still me who was responsible for checking and monitoring if my skin is reacting well to the prescriptions. During my 2nd check-up, I had to request my doctor to replace the AHA she gave me because it made my skin itchy.
Our skin has its own way of communicating to us if the cream or serum that we feed it is either great or bad. You have to listen to what it says.
5. TRUST THE PROCESS
It really is unfair when pimples stayed on my face for only a week but its remnants are still here after six months. 😔 I no longer have an active break out but I am still struggling with pimple marks and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after half a year. I always have to tell myself that I need to trust the process (easier said than done) because skin cell turnover also takes time. I still stick with my doctor’s topical prescription, but the battlefield is still far from being cleared. All signs of the war, which I and my skin successfully won, are still very much visible. 😔
Anyway, they say that all things worth having are always worth waiting for. I will wait. I will trust the process.
That’s all, folks. I hope that you pick a thing or two from these five lessons that I learned when I had the nastiest acne.
I know that acne is a normal part of being a human, however, if it is already affecting a person’s self-esteem, it is not a sin to do things or to ask for an expert’s help in a hope that it will get better.
Taking care of our skin, our largest organ is always self-love and self-care. You cannot love others without loving yourself first. So, go, book an online appointment with your doctor and buy that skincare product that has always been loved by your skin. Do not feel guilty about it. Look after your skin, your physical and mental health.
Love yourself first. Always yourself, first.