How I Have Been Dealing with Acne in My Twenties

If you have been reading here for a very long time, you may remember I wrote a "How I Fixed My Acne" post almost 3 years ago. I wrote that post when I was fresh out of college, back in January of 2016. The above photo was taken in October 2016, just before my acne came back with a vengeance at age 22. So if anyone out there is in a similar place, I thought I would share some of the ups and downs of dealing with acne again, after I thought I had beat in college. Along with some newer solutions I have found for it. Spoiler alert, the most recent fix is not a skincare product!

If you have not read my acne post from 2016, I'll sum it up by saying I had some severe acne in my teen years. The only thing that really helped clear it was a visit to the dermatologist for prescription topical medications (Epiduo and Aczone) and antibiotics (Minocycline), which worked through college. I would still get the occasional breakout, and still needed to be careful about certain skincare products, but it was pretty much kept in check for years. 
About the end of November of 2016, my acne started to come back, and quickly. I was a few months into my first full time job, and November-December was a very busy time in the office. So I attributed it to stress at work and the change in weather. It continued to get worse through the winter and by March (as pictured above), my skin was starting to look like it did at it worst in high school. At its very worst, my acne was mostly on my forehead and chin. This time around, it was worst on my cheeks and around my mouth. I also had some constant breakouts on my chest and back, similarly to my teenage years. At 23 years old and new in the working world, it was quite embarrassing. I was meeting new people in a new city, going on dates, and just did not feel confident in myself. One thing about having a blog is you can literally watch how your skin changes when you are taking outfit photos so often. So after those photos were taken, I visited a new dermatologist, and tried to figure out what else I could do. It turned out I had become resistant to the old prescriptions, so I was prescribed a new antibiotic (Arithromycin) and an additional topical medication (Clindacin). I luckily saw results quickly, and I was just about all clear again by June!

The solution I found in spring of 2017 only lasted for so long. Again, after the change in weather and stressful holiday season at work, I started to see acne come back. This time, (at age 24) it was only in one area on my face, but was persistent. As you can probably tell from the photo above, it was mostly on the right side of my face. Since it was only on that area, I kept thinking I could fix it. I was eating a little healthier, the weather was about to warm up again, I kept up making up possible reasons I thought it would go away. Then in March, it was time to go back to my dermatologist to check in with my prescriptions given a year before. I expressed my concern for the problem area, and was given another antibiotic, which did not exactly go as planned. 
I quickly started to see how lucky I had been that the first two visits for prescriptions went so smoothy. Over the next few months I was prescribed two more antibiotics and although they both worked quickly, I also experienced some negative side effects. The first one (Bactrim) was a sulfa drug, and I quickly discovered I had a sulfa allergy when I experienced consistent muscle pain. So I headed right back to the dermatologist and was prescribed yet another antibiotic (Keflex), to only to take as needed. I ended up not needing to take it very often, and I was just so happy to have my acne fully under control again. However, after a few months, I started thinking I was becoming lactose intolerant. It turned out that the new antibiotic (although I was not taking it frequently), was causing digestive issues.
However, here is my most recent solution that does not even involve my skincare routine. After all of these visits to dermatologists from ages 17 to 24, I was never once asked about my diet. My diet is currently a major improvement from what it was during high school and college, but I was still taking in quite a bit of dairy (I just really love cheese). I wish I was asked about this years ago, because I now think the main cause of my persistent acne was dairy. When I started to think I was becoming lactose intolerant, I started to eliminate dairy to see if I felt better.  After a few weeks of limiting my dairy intake and only using topical acne medications, my skin had never been clearer! Even when I thought my face was completely clear, I usually had some clogged pores. So as much as I would love to say a particular cleanser or moisturizer is what has helped my acne the most, but it was actually just a simple diet change, combined with topical prescriptions. It has been about 6 weeks since I figured this out, so maybe I'll give another update in a few months. I have not completely eliminated dairy, but I have been saying no to some things like pizza and ice cream (which is good for me, regardless) and looking to some dairy-free alternatives. So I basically wrote out all of this to say: if you feel like you have tried everything for your acne, the main cause could be lying in your diet. Or if you have recently started taking an antibiotic and do not see results yet, you may need to try a few before you figure out what works for you!

Also, here are a few of my favorite skincare and makeup products for my acne-prone skin:

Origins Zero Oil Moisturizer
Origins Zero Oil Cleanser
IT Cosmetics Micellar Water
Dr. Jart BB Cream
Hourglass Setting Powder

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I've been dealing with acne as an adult for so long now and dairy is a huge factor! I so wish I would have cut it out sooner. It makes a world of difference!