Tuesday, September 03, 2013

ACNE // My story (roaccutane progress pictures)

(No makeup, no editing. My acne, September 2013)

So, here I am talking about my biggest insecurity on the internet. With pictures and everything. I'm a little nervous about hitting that publish button but I had to share this with you all after receiving an email from one of my readers. I received an email last week from a girl living in Melbourne. She suffers from a terrible form of acne (nodulocystic or cystic acne) and is struggling to cope with it and wants to see a dermatologist about it. She said to me that she feels like everyone is looking at her because of it. I decided that after replying to this girl that I would do a post dedicated to my acne story, progress and my struggles. I knew it was about time I posted bare-face pictures and told you guys the story right from the start. So here goes: 

I've always had skin problems. Eczema when I was young, and then as soon as I hit high school I would get regular pimples around my chin and cheeks during my period and when I was stressed. Mum and I both agreed this was just bad luck and the criteria that came with being a teenager. I dealt with it all the way up until grade ten and when holidays came (Christmas 2012/13), my skin sort of "magically" improved and I had little to no acne. I was pretty excited about it and started off year 11 feeling quite confident and happy - then over the course of a few weeks I developed painful, cystic pimples all over my back, chest and face. It multiplied and before I knew it I was covered in a horrible, red rash. I don't think I have ever been so unhappy. I cried all the time... coming home from school after feeling like every pair of eyes was looking at it. I would scrub the layers of make-up off my face whilst still in tears and crawl into bed and cry even harder. I was angry with God for putting me through this. What had I done to deserve such a horrible disease?

I felt so incredibly ugly. I felt like I wouldn't be good enough for anyone, ever, because of my skin. It had gotten so bad that I couldn't even put my head down on the pillow. I couldn't leave the house without makeup. I avoided sleepovers. I even felt uncomfortable being around my family without makeup on. 
I will never forget how sad I was at the start of the year. I hated my face. I hated looking in the mirror. I felt ugly and self conscious on a regular basis.

(My acne, March to June 2013 - the first few months of Roaccutane was definitely a struggle)

In April, Mum and I decided that it was time to see a doctor. I had tried everything - all of that topical treatment crap, natural remedies, etc. and none of it had done a single thing (except perhaps made things worse). He referred me to a dermatologist and at last, I felt as though I might actually have a little hope. My (awesome!) dermatologist took one look at me when I came through those doors and knew instantly what I had to go on. Roaccutane (or isotretinoin). He said Doxycycline, birth control or any other drug wouldn't work because my acne was so severe. I was terrified of taking Roaccutane because of all the scary side-effects (suicidal thoughts etc), but I knew that I couldn't deal with this horrible skin condition any longer. 

The next time I went for another dermatologist appointment, the lady assistant suggested I have a chemical peel because the results weren't appearing fast enough. I agreed to this because I wanted to see an improvement. It was the most painful experience I have ever been through. I will never forget the agony I underwent while I was in that chair and I don't think I've ever cried so hard either. It felt like she was pouring fuel all over my face, then setting fire to sections of my skin with a torch. It actually makes me cry as I'm typing this because it was so awful I can't even put it into words. I don't understand how something so excruciating could be good for my skin. She asked me if I would like to have regular chemical peels and I blatantly said no. 

I was going to wait it out by sticking to Roaccutane and a very gentle skin care routine. I am so glad I did. 

I have been on Roaccutane for five or so months now. It has been a really tough and slowly progressing journey and I know I still have a long way to go, but I have never been happier. My dermatologist is friendly, supportive and his tips and advice have helped me through all of this. My skin has improved so, so much. The cysts have disappeared and now I am just waiting for the rest of the acne to come through.
I've got my self-confidence back again. I want to get up in the morning and seize the day. Not to say I don't wake up some days feeling quite awful, but there are A LOT less of them. My acne is getting better, I'm starting to feel pretty again and by the end of the year I will have lovely, healthy skin. 

 Eating well and staying hydrated has really helped too. 

I just wanted to remind you all that every single person on this earth is fighting their own battle. Be careful with your words and if someone you know is suffering from acne, don't ever point it out. As someone who has experienced nasty words first hand, I can assure you, it is the most upsetting thing and I will never forget it. Be kind and compassionate and remember how deeply your words can affect someone. And if you have acne, I want to let you know that I am here if you ever have to talk. I have been through the worst of it and I know how you feel. It's not your fault. You are a beautiful person and you can get through this. No one should ever have to experience acne. Especially as a teenager. 


Carina said...

Maria, you are so incredibly brave for posting this but I know that it will help a LOT of people suffering the same thing, and I truly admire you for that. I never had a big problem with acne, but due to my health condition and post kidney operation medications I went through a long period in my childhood where I gained a lot of weight...the stares really do hurt and no one deserves that kind of blow to their confidence/self esteem.

We've all had our fair share of battles, but the most important thing to do is to soldier on through it all, head held high. I really believe you come out all the more stronger as a result and appreciate the positive things in life after moments of pain and suffering.

I wish you all the best with the rest of your treatment! So far it looks like it is working wonders. It will only get better :)

xx Carina

SARAH said...

you are an incredible person for putting this up! i know it will, with no doubt, help many other girls out there and inspire them to have more self belief and confidence. i don't suffer with acne an awful lot but i do have my own fair share of insecurities. so thank you for this and i truly admire you for what you have done

xo Sarah

Emily said...

i truly admire you for this post, you will inspire & give hope to so many other young women facing a struggle. i only had mild acne in high school, but even that is enough to make one feel hopelessly unappealing and unhappy. i remember when i went on antibiotics and retin-a cream, of course it brings it all out and makes everything seem so much worse. it was so painful to touch my skin, spots would burst from the slightest touch (probably the most horrible thing to deal with) and my skin was peeling all over the place so make up looked silly! i tried all those natural remedies too, of course they didn't work! it was always so disappointing. i've had a lot of friends who had acne quite severely in high school too and who i'm sure would have been so heartened to see a post like this when they were going through it. the bright side now is that they all have healthy, gorgeous skin and because they're so much more confident they're even more gorgeous and radiant than ever before. they were always perfect to me but self confidence and not being in pain really makes all the difference!

best wishes for the future and here's to healthy skin! x

Maylis L. said...

I admire your braveness Maria, i don't think i would be able to post something like that but you've done it! I hope your treatment continues to do miracles and don't worry about what people think because even though i don't know you in person i know what a beautiful person you are, so never give up! Lot of love from a big fan, Maylis <3


Jane said...

Thanks for this post, Maria! I'm actually on week 4 of my roaccutane treatment right now, I've had moderate acne since I was 11 (I'm 20 now) and I decided I'd had enough. I'm glad it's working well for you!

Rachel, Cold Knees said...

Well done on hitting that post button-it's always hard putting yourself out there on the Internet.. but you've only done good :) I wish I could've read something like this when I was 16/17.. I didn't have such severe acne but I had spots that left red marks behind so my whole face just looked like a horrible red mess! I also avoided meeting up with people/sleepovers and felt like everyone in my class at school was looking at me, as no one else had such bad skin!!
Anyway it sounds like you're on the journey back to healthy skin, so wish you well with that :) xxx

Rebecca Tan said...

You are an inspiration, an example and reading this has been so touching and so honest. This something very rare we see nowadays on blogs. I know I myself could be a lot more honest about my battles but just can't bring myself to. My sister suffered from severe acne too and she also took Roaccuntane and starting halluncinating etc. I am so so happy that's working out for and you're already feeling better. I seriously had no idea about your skin!...this has been such an eye opening read. sending you lots of love xxxx

Shop Style Conquer said...

This is such an amazing post and I am glad you found the courage to share it! I have had acne that came when I was a teenager and hasnt really gone away (even though I'm 22 now). And it is so much better now but when it flares up again (during streesful times at uni) I still get a lot of the thoughts/emotions that you have talked about! It's so great to hear that things are getting better for you! YOU are a beautiful person, and I hope things keep on improving for you!!

-Tara xx


OrigamiGirl said...

I really admire you for posting this up. It's very brave to be so honest. I am so sorry you've had to go through all that, especially the chemical peels part. That sounds terrifying. I feel very lucky that the worse thing I had to go through medically as a teenager was braces, and I thought getting measured and fitted for that was horrible. I really hope it continues to work and you continue to feel better. All the best.

Hilary said...

Wow Maria, I think that it is amazing you have posted this. As someone who has been incredibly lucky with my skin, I still find myself stressing when I get one or two pimples. When that happens, I try to remember that there are many people who suffer from acne much worse than I could ever imagine.

While I'm going to be honest, I've never known anyone to have acne as bad as this. My heart breaks to look at it, I know it must be incredibly painful both physically and emotionally. I really do hope that your skin clears as quickly as possible, because nobody should have to suffer through something like this.

Good on you Maria, I know that your courage will help other acne suffers to cope, and will also open the eyes of those with clearer skin to appreciate what they have.


Grace said...

Hi Maria, you probably know me from tumblr (I'm proudtobeapotterhead) :) I've been following your blog for a while and this post is truly heartening! I don't have really bad acne, just a few huge pimples every now and then, and they make me feel bad enough, especially when so many people around me seem to have perfect skin. Thank you so much for posting this. I wish you all the best and a very speedy 'recovery'! :D


Ruby Sterland said...

I really admire you for posting this Maria. I can totally understand how difficult it can be to talk about something you feel uncomfortable about but it's amazing! x


Rosie said...

You are incredibly brave to post this, thank you. I was on roaccutane last year, having not suffered as much as yourself but it was still quite upsetting, and it was the best thing I've ever done, I'm so glad I did. I also remember everything anyone has ever said about my ance, so the last past is very accurate. I wish you all the best xxx

Jess ♪ said...

I once had a peel too, and I kept cursing in my head because it felt like acid was eating my face!

Thank you very much for posting this! You should be incredibly proud of yourself. I think acne is a huge problem for a lot of people, including me. I hope that non-acne sufferers will read this and know how horrible it is for anyone to go through such problems and be more sensitive towards people who do suffer from bad acne. I think though that a positive outlook will help the acne vanish, and I hope you can wake up everyday feeling great. :3

justicepirate.com said...

I love that you made this post.
I have zit scars because I had a terrible outbreak from hormones raging when I was 18-20 before I got married. I get zits still, though not like yours, this is true, but I do get maybe 12 which still they hurt and are annoying, because I am nearly 30, and you'd think they would be gone by now. Anyway, I tend to edit my zit scars out (though not as much lately). I had eczema when I was 13 around my nose though and had to get medicine from a dermatologist and that was hard too. My one brother had what you have, and of course he couldn't cover it with make-up, and he had such a hard time with it. When he was about 25, he started to rub aloe leaves on his face and they all went away, which was so strange but cool, so now he just has scars but he grows a beard most of the time, so you can't even tell.

Your case is definitely more severe than mine, but I still find you to be gorgeous despite it, if not more because you were willing to be so transparent with the internet world and share your story, and that is beautiful for it is more lasting (the beauty inside you) than the outward anyway. Yet you have such outward beauty shining from the inside!

I didn't know that roaccutane and all those caused problems in people. It is so painful to have acne, and so many people I have known that have suffered from it have been able to get through. I remember crying and crying some times and trying LOADS of those things like proactive, acne complex, murad, etc. . . none of them work, though murad did the best.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing more about your progress!!!!! You go girl!! There is hope!

Mariana R. said...

Maria I totally admire you for being so brave when posting this. You are so beautiful baby, believe me, you are such an amazing person. Thank you for being who you are and helping other people that may have the same skin problems like you! Stay beautiful! <3

Semeeah said...

Hello Maria!
Your story is incredible to read about you are suffering with acne.I have also suffered with eczema myself when I was in fifth grade and I will tell you something it isn't fun having it.The reason I had it is because I moved to a different school in a different state and having stress about meeting new friends.Before moving to a new school I was perfectly fine.I also suffered with acne right about now when I hit to be a teenager.When I was younger than 13 my face was perfectly good and I loved having my face like that but now I hate seeing myself having a little acne on my face and also having it on my back too.I never forget about my childhood when I was younger and had too much fun and not to suffer with acne and eczema too.I hope you get better soon so you don't need to worry about taking anymore medicine after it is all finished and over with.Take Care!

Katie Farron said...

This post was very brave, and I admire you for it! The part about your chemical peel process made my heart hurt. :/ My younger brother went through something similar, and it was very hard to always see him so upset all the time. I understand exactly how you must have felt. As an aside, I've seen your pictures, and I think you look gorgeous, but I'm so happy you're feeling more confident. You're truly an inspiration, and I hope you just continue to feel better from here!

- Katie


Rachel Sullivan said...

I really admire your courage in posting this. I can't imagine the hit your self confidence would take having bad acne on your face. I'm glad you're seeing results and I wish you good luck!


Sarah said...

you are gorgeous and really brave for posting this! most inspiring blog entry i've seen in a really long time. xo

chloe said...

Maria! Thank you for the kind words in this post, ones of encouragement and hope. Skin conditions can be so upsetting. I remember being so ashamed of myself in high school because my skin was so bad. I wouldn't even go to parties because I felt so ugly. I'm going through a bad breakout right now (after having clear skin for 3 years!) and needed some encouragement. It takes guts to spill this on the web but I'm glad you did.

precious paperdoll said...

Thank you for posting this Maria very inspiring! It was such a brave step towards diminishing the stimgma. I wish you the best with your treatment and remind yourself that beauty isnt only skin deep and you have a beautiful mind. Much love XOs

Laura said...

You are seriously such a beautiful lady both inside and out. You are truly my hero for posting these pictures and telling your story. The blogging world isn't always easy and putting yourself out there can always feel scary! Hugs to you, doll, and I can't wait to see your confidence bloom as you continue to improve!


Hannah Gottlieb-Graham said...

This post almost had me in tears! You are a true beauty inside and out, and I am proud of you for fighting through your experience and being confident enough to tell us your story! You are gorgeous!

Xo, Hannah


Angela said...

Maria, what a brave and honest post. Thank you for sharing! I'm sure you are going to reach a bunch of people searching the internet looking for an answer and that makes me really happy to think of. I am glad this is finally working for you and I can't wait to see other updates. Thanks for posting + being such an inspiration!

The Cottage Diaries said...

I really appreciate you posting this. I struggled with acne for about a decade, until I started taking birth control pills. I felt like I was the only one, so I hope this post can be a help to others who may be going through the same thing.

Also, you are right that everyone is fighting their own battles. We really need to be careful with what we say to people, and even just how we look at them. I know on my bad days a snide look from a stranger, even if it meant nothing to them, would make me so self-conscious I would want to run and hide.

Raven Rosie said...

I can't even imagine living with something like that.. and having the courage to talk about is even more inspiring. People should be inspired by you because you are doing things you love and not letting something like this knock you down. Good for you girly. :)

fancyfrill said...

Your attitude and bravery in sharing this is so wonderful. Skin problems of varying degrees happen to most of us, yet people are rarely so open and honest about it. You are a beautiful person in every single one of those photos. So happy to hear about our successful progress. Keep up your spirit :) Briony x

fancyfrill said...

Your attitude and bravery in sharing this is so wonderful. Skin problems of varying degrees happen to most of us, yet people are rarely so open and honest about it. You are a beautiful person in every single one of those photos. So happy to hear about our successful progress. Keep up your spirit :) Briony x

Just'in said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just'in said...

Hi Maria, I'm a 27 years old french girl and I came across your website by searching on "roaccutane". I have this treatment since 5 weeks and it's really hard... I always have had some acne but just 3/4 buttons and one morning, an invasion on all my face !!! Awful... I like reading stories regularly to give me courage ! You describe exactly what we feel when we've got acne. I was an happy girl, someone who likes to go out, laugh and having pretty clothing. Now, I feel ugly and I avoid to go out. It's a great comfort to be surrounded by friends,family, colleagues and my boyfriend, without which it would be even more difficult.Thanks a lot for your website, I hope it will go better for you and for me. In a friendly way. Justine

Grace said...

Hi Maria, just to let you know this is an amazingly brave post and I am so glad you posted this. I'd love to start my own style blog but I'm always insecure about my looks-- this has helped me to realize not everyone is perfect, and having a style blog doesn't equate to being perfect all the time, and everyone has their own battles too. I love how hard you're fighting yours. All the best!!

c4cd3796-6aeb-11e3-8c1e-000bcdcb5194 said...

Well done for sharing this, I had Acne similar to you and at the age of 15 my doctor gave me roaccutane, I think I took them for 6 months and could not take part in any excercise like PE or play football and I was the school captain and represented my city which is Liverpool UK but decided that my skin was more important! I would say it was well worth it because the Acne went but did make me feel ugly for a few years afterwards which I wasn't bothered about asking as the Acne was gone, they left no marks either even though I used to squeeze them, I am now 34 and have great skin, people say I look 27 which is great and my face has became more handsome as the years have gone by. I went on to have a decent football career playing for Everton and many other clubs and don't think I could have done it with the acne I had! God bless Roaccutane and stay positive!


Nur Syahmaine said...

Hi Maria!
Your blog is so heartwarming and I'm glad that your skin is getting better. Although I came across your post much much later, I'm glad and happy to read your kind words. God bless you and may you continue to spread your positive vibes.