My struggle with acne

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Well, well, well… where do I start with this series of posts? So a little background about myself for the new readers: I’m 31 years old this year (2016), and sadly, I am still suffering from acne. When I was younger, I thought that acne is part of puberty and was not too bothered by my pimples. When I entered my teens, I was very active in school and did quite a lot of sports. As far as I can remember, I had uneven skintone due to sun exposure, large pores and blackheads on the nose and occasional pimples when Aunt Flo was visiting, but my skin was still fairly alright. Of course, I was jealous of my other girl friends who still had flawless skin (think fair skin with tiny pores!) despite them going through puberty like me.

When I graduated from high school and went to do my diploma in another school, again I was faced with new friends who somehow possessed fairy-like skins. At this stage, I was 17 years old and started to dabble with makeup. I would apply foundation, powder, blusher, mascara and lipgloss to school. I started to place more emphasis on my skincare since I now use makeup. However, without the proper knowledge on skincare, there were a lot of trials and errors and self-diagnosing. Looking back, my skin started to break out more during this stage, probably because I was not using the right products and not removing my makeup well. I had more pimples (huge ones filled with pus), blackheads and whiteheads. While I know I shouldn’t, I love to squeeze them, causing more problems at the end!

All these while, my mother still maintained “it’s ok to have pimples. It’s all part of puberty”. But my growing phase came, stuck around for a while, and left (I took it that I’m out of puberty when my height stagnated), and I was still suffering from acne. There wasn’t any sign that my acne condition was getting better. In fact, it was getting worse as I got older.

Then I went to Australia for university for 2 years. It was my first time living in a temperate country, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my skincare. I mean I was already struggling with attaining good skin when I was in Singapore, what more with the changing seasons in Australia! When I was there, I was introduced to the plethora of skincare and cosmetic brands, and I became obsessed with cosmetics (oh, vain vain me) and really experimenting a lot. Needless to say, all hell broke loose with my skin when those experiments and it was the lowest point of my life where my skin is concerned. I finally decided to seek professional help.

My regret is that I took my condition lightly and did not take steps to educate myself properly. As a result of my low self-esteem caused by my acne, I do not have many photos from my university days (arguably one of the best experiences of my life) because that was when my skin was at its worst. When you look like a sea monster with so many papules on your face, your confidence level takes a hit, you get withdrawn and taking a photo was one of the last things you want to do. After all, why document your acne-filled face? Sigh.

So if you’re young and suffering from acne, and don’t let anyone tell you “oh, you’ll grow out of this phase soon”! It is your skin and your life, and if you find that acne is hurting your self-esteem, take action and seek help before it is too late!

In my next post, I will touch on the solutions I’ve tried, in my long arduous journey for flawless skin.

A few characters in my acne journey that I thought you should ‘know’:
1) My GP: I went to him for help when I was 15, and then again when I was 20. He prescribed doxycycline (antibiotics) and Diane35 (birth control pills), and also did laser treatment for me.
2) Kin Mun clinic: I went to Dr Victor Wee when I was 23. He prescribed Retin-A, AHA and BHA, and also introduced me to light therapy.
3) Dr Valentin Low: He was my mum and my sister’s aesthetics doctor for a period of time. He did IPL treatment for me.

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