Like every other teenager, acne hit me the hardest when I was 13. With red cheeks, no thanks to rosacea, and pus-filled pimples, I spent my high school in hopes that it’ll pass with time. But it didn’t. Everyone claims acne to go away by itself when you’re older. Well, I was 22 and still suffered from acne. Heavy, painful acne. It’s only recently that my skin has decided to stay blemish-free most months. And I couldn’t be more thankful. However, it took me 3 years to get here.
Growing up, strangers would always find it in their best interest to advise the most effective ways to treat acne. Every time I met someone, the first thing they’d say is, “did you try this DIY or XYZ product for your acne?” And trust me, it takes a toll. I have tried possibly everything under the sky to treat it. I cleansed and scrubbed till there was no tomorrow. The only thing I achieved was sensitized skin with a broken barrier.
What did I do for my acne?
I’ve visited dermatologists, slapped on products after products. But nothing worked. I’ve gone through intensive chemical peels, and although they worked brilliantly, for the time being, my acne would resurface again. So I saw more dermatologists. That is when I got myself checked. To see if there’s an underlying issue. And there it was, PCOS interfering with my skin and my health. It took me months to get it in check. I followed a quantified diet along with exercises and medication. And it worked.
In the meantime, I started reading and learning more about skincare. And for me, less has always been more. A basic cleanse – treat – moisturise – sun protect made tremendous changes. Products containing AHA’s and BHA’s helped me tremendously to tackle texture and active acne. I was careful not to wreck my skin barrier. I moisturised well and always wore my SPF.
My skin today is relatively free of acne. I do get occasional bouts of it. There’s still redness and slight texture, but that is my skin. It has come a long way. I know better now. Stress and overworking my skin did not help me. I tend to my skin even today, but I also let it be when it’s angry.
It’s important to understand what your skin needs. If you’re someone who has acne just like I did, don’t always look for ways to treat just that. Build a strong routine, a routine that takes care of your skin barrier and at the same time works to heal your concerns. Do not over-exfoliate thinking more is more. It’ll wreak havoc on your skin which will be far more difficult to tend to. When reaching out for actives, higher is not always better. Accustom your skin, give it time to do its magic and start slow. And after you’ve done all of this, embrace your skin and its journey. Accept that there will be days, even months when your skin will be at its worst. But it gets better from there. Be patient and listen to its need. Trust me, it works.
To sum up:
- Visit a dermatologist/dermatologists
- Treat any underlying issues
- Follow a gentle yet effective skincare routine
- Introduce AHA, BHA, Retinol as per skin need
- Never skip SPF
- Change your facial towels, pillowcases every 3-4 days
- Clean your phone screen
- Avoid touching your face
- Do not over-exfoliate
- Do not subject your skin to abrasive DIY recipes
- Be consistent