It has taken me awhile to decide on whether I wanted to share these photos and my acne story. I decided to share them to help others. I searched for months when I was struggling with acne, looking for anyone who went through something similar. This is how birth control ruined my skin, my journey through it.
However, I mainly came across posts with individuals who had maybe half as much acne or even some who just had a few pimples. Also, many people talked about the products they used to clear up their skin and it was either way out of my budget or not good for sensitive skin. This is my story on how birth control ruined my skin and how I fought to get my skin back.
Before August 2015 I had not really struggled with acne, no more than a pimple or two, for four years. Then the summer of 2015, I was struggling with ovarian cysts and was finally put on Reclipsen Birth Control. That’s when things began to go downhill.
Typically, they say that birth control takes around three months to even out in your body. During that time they talk about mood changes, the rise or fall of acne, heaviness of periods, and more for side effects. Of course it is different with everyone but I tried to remain open-minded as I mainly was taking it for pain from ovarian cysts.
I went from having no acne to small pimples popping up over night. Over a matter of weeks my normally oily skin became dry and no amount of moisturizer would keep it hydrated. Then over night my face sort of exploded with acne, literally. Blackheads, whiteheads, and cystic acne, you name it and I seemed to have it from my forehead down to the middle part of my neck.
I do not like to wear make-up and only wear it when it tends to be necessary like interviews or dances. No amount of make-up covered the acne on my face even if I wanted it too.
Changing Birth Control
Finally, the three months passed and my doctor allowed me to switch to another birth control named Zarah, which is a generic form of Yasmin. When you change birth controls it again messes with your hormones and can cause your acne to flare before going down. I started the new birth control at the end of November and unfortunately for me, my acne got worse, a lot worse. It hurt to lay my face against the pillow, hugging my boyfriend, and walking outside on a windy day was painful. There was none on my chest or back it was all on my face and neck.
When did it get better?
I kept thinking it has to get better any day now. It took pretty much the full three months before the acne really started clearing up. Meaning no new pimples would form but it was still bad. The picture on the left at the top of the page was taken on February 13th, 2016 and on the right was taken on June 24th, 2016.
How did I stay sane?
How did I not go crazy? Well I will say that when your acne is so bad it hurts to lay your face against the pillow, it is hard to stay sane. I would go get ice cream with my boyfriend and children would point and laugh at me. This brought on the depression aspect of my journey. While you may think people are thinking thoughts about you in their mind when someone makes a comment or points out loud in front of you it just brings to reality everything you had been thinking. During this time I refused to go anyway but class and work. I did not want to be in pictures or public places. Mirrors just reminded me that I looked as awful as I thought.
So maybe that doesn’t really sound like I stayed sane, but as the weeks went by I realized to stay sane I needed to make a change. Instead of obsessing in the mirror every morning trying to decide if my face looked better or worse, I began taking pictures every morning. I would literally roll out of bed and face the window to get natural light and then take three pictures. Front, side, and side, this allowed me to compare pictures as the weeks went by. So should I try a new product I could have physical proof on whether it was working.
As for my depression, a little kitty came into my life because of a unique situation and gave me comfort on those many nights I spent in, embarrassed of my skin. On top of it all once I noticed the pimples getting smaller and going away it brought me out of the depression and got me to see that it would get better, eventually. With patience it would get better.
My journey to recovery
So after suffering through the worst acne I have ever had, the journey to recovery is still another journey in itself. The journey to recovery of my skin still continues today as you can see in the picture on the left above was taken a couple days ago and I still have some scarring.
Working at a professional internship this summer where I wear a suit every day I now needed to wear make-up, so I looked more put together. It is so much easier to cover scarring than huge pimples so I am so much happier today.
What I learned
I learned to have more confidence. To walk into a classroom with my head held high even though my face hurt and looked awful. I learned to be patient, and that depression is not to be taken lightly. I learned that it does get better but does take time. I learned that there are kind people in the world who will look past your acne and see you for your personality and kindness back.
Ultimately I learned that your skin is not everything. While I spent my entire junior year in college with horrid acne, it was one year out of my life. My boyfriend still loved me and stood by me so while it was 10 months of terrible acne, I survived.
Products I used along the way
I’ll be doing a couple posts on the products I used just because this post has gotten so long I want to talk about the products in great length. Subscribe to be informed of when those get published!