Saturday, April 28, 2012

Skincare Saturday: In Which I Pull My Hair

I've had acne since I was 11, ranging from moderate to severe. I have tried every prescription treatment on the market in those 11 years, some more than once, and I find that each and every one stops working after a few months (or never works at all). There are times I think I have my skin figured out, as when I wrote my Juice Beauty Blemish Serum review. I'm sure you all realize where this is going: it's not working anymore. My skin is a disaster, again.
I've got an appointment with my gynecologist next week, and I plan on talking with him about hormonal options (I've been on the pill, though am not currently, and it may have helped my skin, but nothing dramatic, and I am just terrible about remembering to take it at the same time every day). I ordered a new Clarisonic brush head a couple weeks ago, thinking I should try out the new Acne option. It made my skin go crazy, like holy shit wow. I figured it was probably a "purging" phase or whatever, but for right now am taking a break from it to see if my skin will return to "normal" if I don't use it. Of course, I then have this voice that's like "you just need to push through it!", so there's no guarantee I won't give it a try again in a few days. My problem is that whenever my skin gets really bad, I have this "must try everything to fix it!" mentality, which usually just makes it worse, and then I can't figure out what part is the main culprit. So I got a bar of activated charcoal soap from my local health foods store and used it for a couple of days with my Clarisonic (because something's bound to work, right?) before deciding (this is all, like, 2 days ago, just fyi) that I should just try and steer clear of anything I haven't thoroughly vetted. The downside to this approach, of course, is that it takes my skin longer to get better, since there's not really anything making it better, just an absence of things making it worse, though right now I'm using sea salt as a toner in place of any other treatments, and my skin does seem to have calmed down a bit because of it, though who knows how long that will last. It's just so frustrating. I hate feeling like my options are going out with obvious blemishes, or going out with obvious makeup. Neither option appeals.

I'm seriously considering going on Accutane. I actually started it in high school, my senior year, but was only on it for a few weeks before I got mysteriously ill and my doctor took me off it. Since I didn't magically get better, it seems unlikely that it had anything to do with my illness (more likely caused by some rogue virus, though really, who the fuck knows), but I'm still really wary about going back on it. I've also suffered from severe depression, and there are concerns about Accutane making that worse, which would really be the last thing I need.

Basically, there are no good options. I have tried so many things to so little success that, at this point, I'm approaching "out of hope". I don't have the patience to wait for things to slowly get better, so I'll try to use too many new things at once and then when my skin gets worse, as it inevitably does, I won't know whether to keep using everything or stop it all entirely, or use some but not others, or (ad infinitum). Bottom line: This shit got old a decade ago. I should probably go in and see my dermatologist again, but I already know how the conversation will go: Here, let's try this thing you've tried before that worked for a little while/didn't work but maybe will now and we'll give it a couple months so your skin can get worse before it gets better, and then I'll see you again a few months after that once it's gotten worse again! UGH.

So that's it for this week's installment of Skincare Saturday. Here's hoping next week's has something less, um, ranty. What are your skin woes? What's worked for you? What hasn't? 
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