Hi I’m Jennifer. I am 37 years old and I have acne. I have dealt with acne since the age of fourteen. I have never had perfectly clear skin. My acne is not severe just persistent.
It has been this way since childhood. It started in 1995 when I was in sixth grade. I had my first three pimples pop up on my face – one on my forehead, chin and cheek. I was a bit self-conscious, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
That was until my crush pointed out that they were arranged in a triangle shape and placed his fingers in the exact spots where my pimples were.
That’s how my battle began.
I wish I could tell you that I grew out of it, but I didn’t. Eventually it got worse and my whole t-zone broke out on a regular basis. I was upset and embarrassed. I tried various drugstore products, but nothing seemed to help.
My father noticed and helped by buying Proactiv. (It was new at the time and he saw it late at night on an infomercial.)
I was ecstatic! Finally, something that would solve my skin problems! I used it religiously and it helped calm thing down a bit, but wasn’t the total solution.
In 1997, my older sister got pregnant. My mom was upset since my sister was still in high school and she told me that I was going on birth control. I was fifteen at the time and hopeful that birth control was the extra boost I needed to get clear skin once and for all.
And it worked! The combination of Proactiv and Ortho-Tricyclen birth control cleared my skin about 90%. I finished up high school with pretty clear skin and things started looking up.
Things were going well until I decided to switch up my regimen and try prescriptions.
It was now the year 2000 and I was eighteen. I joined the military out of high school and had access to free healthcare. I still had occasional breakouts, so I decided to see what prescriptions had to offer in the way of combating acne. I was looking for the 100% solution!
I went to the doctor and he prescribed Retin-A. What a mistake! He forgot to mention that your skin gets worse before it gets better. My skin broke out. I was upset but thought that if I kept it up my skin would clear up. Eventually it did clear, but it was not 100% effective either.
A year later, I decided to try a new birth control due to some of the side effects from Ortho-Tricyclen. My skin erupted again. I had acne all over. I went to the doctor and he started me on a different birth control and oral antibiotic. Neither of which helped.
Things just snowballed from there. My skin got worse and, in an effort, to get clear skin I tried every prescription for acne available with the exception of Accutane. Nothing worked.
Eventually in 2006, I accepted defeat and went back to what I knew worked once: Ortho-Tricyclen and Proactiv. Things calmed down and I settled for this combination.
I never stopped searching for the 100% solution though. I tried various “acne cures.” Everything from natural remedies to the latest and greatest acne products. Most made things worse whereas others had no impact at all.
In the year 2007, I learned of a new birth control which was hailed for giving women clear skin called Yaz. I immediately went to the doctor and switched to it.
Yaz contains an ingredient that reduces the amount of testosterone in your system thereby reducing breakouts. After a couple months of use my skin was near perfect.
You think that the story would end there, but life goes on and things change, so of course I couldn’t stay on Yaz and use Proactiv forever.
Eventually in 2013, I went off of birth control to start a family and my skin reacted badly. In fact, it was worse than it had even been. I had a beard of acne. I vowed to never use birth control again.
I also lost faith in Proactiv because it wasn’t controlling my skin situation and started looking for better skincare options. I found an acne system through Paula’s Choice and it helped my skin clear. It took about a year after getting off of birth control though.
I still have occasional pimples, so I’m still on the search for my 100% solution.