Friday, January 15, 2016

Acne: My Experience - Women Health 2

Let's talk about a sensitive issue today - Acne.  Acne is classified as a skin disease by the medical science. A common conception is that the hormonal changes during puberty usually triggers acne in the adolescence years for some people but it fades off as they step into the adulthood. However, that is half truth, as for some it could be a life long struggle.
I have dealt with acne on and off for almost 7 years. Most of my teenage years were relatively alright with occasional breakouts but the major struggle began after 20. As I mentioned in one of the previous posts that my acne was due to hormonal issues, however, I have also struggled with horrible breakouts due to allergic reactions. It affected my self esteem, confidence and made me very shielded because subconsciously all I could think while meeting people was 'what are they thinking about me? what kind of impression am I leaving on them? are they even taking me seriously? what if they think I have bad hygiene? or what if they think I am messy person or a novice who can't even put on simple makeup because all they can see is dry flaky bumpy skin?' These constant inner thoughts and conversations used to really stress me out and there were times when I didn't want to step out of the
 house for weeks. On top of this inner underlying battle, the unsolicited advice from friends, family, even strangers or people working at makeup or skin care counters who have never had experience with full face acne rash, used to feel so depressing and unnecessary at times. No doubt, they all meant well and shared advice out of concern but at times when you are already feeling so low, it doesn't matter how uplifting someone's words are, you just can't help but feel worse.
In addition, I have seen lists and lists of things not do and eat and touch and whatnot to cure acne. Honestly, its bullshit. I have tried it all, and it just stresses you out even more. Those lists really make you paranoid and super selective of the things you do. No doubt, a sudden significant change in your routine might make a difference but its not worth the extra stress. There is already so much to deal with in everyone's life so adding a list of 50 things not to do is unnecessary, especially when there are other ways around.
So, today I will be sharing some of my experiences, what I learned and the popular advices that used to bother me. Here are some things or advices that did not work for me:
 1. Topical Ointments: Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Sulphur, Zinc Etc.
I tried every topical over the counter treatment available. I even ordered some from overseas that were not available in Canada, but they just don't work and if they do, they just  temporarily supress the issue but doesn't cure it. So, I would say do not waste your time and money on over the counter topical treatments because they are usually targeted towards individuals with occasional breakouts. It is not that these compounds or elements do not work, its just that their concentration is not enough in over the counter options. And if you ask your doctor, you will most likely get an ointment with one of these same ingredients but specially targeted towards your personal skin type.
In addition to these individual compounds, the whole proactive brand is very prominent on the internet, and it does work for some people. Also, it is not too expensive so doesn't hurt to try, however, once again it is just a topical treatment, and a very harsh one indeed. So, I personally think that the chances of it working are slim, if you are over 20 and still have acne all over your face, because chances are that there are underlying issues so using a topical treatment is not going to help unless the actual cause is addressed. Also, people who have dry sensitive skin should be careful, because proactive products are quite harsh and can irritate the skin further.

2. Diet
I have always been a relatively healthy eater. I eat fresh fruits and vegetables everyday. I do not drink coffee, energy drinks or alochol, and restrict the carbonated drinks to usually once or maximum twice a week. I rarely eat out and when I do I make sure I do not go out of the line. The only subjectively "bad"  thing I consume is 3-4 small pieces of chocolate. So, I never understood the whole eat healthy concept to cure acne, and it used to bother me the most when it came from my mother because she was the one cooking and knew exactly what I was eating.
Also, another most popular advice is to drink water, lots and lots of water. Yes, it is definitely healthy and  probably one of the best things for the body, but does it really help get rid of the acne? I don't know, maybe but didn't work for me.
3. Don't touch your acne or it will spread
Really? I have been given this advice countless times and the reasoning people give really bothers me because yes acne has bacteria and yes it is better not to touch but no that is not the reason. The only reason that you shouldn't touch your acne is because fingers are dirty and there is a possibility of infection, also pressing it can lead to irritation and further infection, and not because you will get acne on every inch of skin you touch. So, think about it more like a regular wound than leprosy.
4. Advice from YouTube and Sephora Beauty Experts
There is a chance that a number of you won't agree with me but I personally feel that advice from youtubers and Sephora employees should be taken at the same level as your friends and not be considered equivalent to that of medical professionals. No doubt, these youtubers and people working at Sephora are experts in what they are doing, but that's the key point, their expertise is in makeup and what goes over the skin, while acne can be an internal issue so deal with it properly. Therefore, consider your advisors skin condition and do your own research before shelling out your hard earned money on expensive masks like glamglow or clarisonic like cleansing brushes.
Please note that the masks and the brushes example is for people suffering from full face of cystic acne with underlying issues, and it is very important to keep that in mind because a lot of beauty advisors have never dealt with that, so their opinion is usually based on occasional monthly breakouts.
5. Laser Treatments
Do not just do not go for laser skin treatments like photorejuvination, laser genesis or fraxel while you are still dealing with active breakouts. The front desk employees will try their best to convince you that these treatments can get rid of your acne and hyperpigmentation by reaching the deepest layers of skin, but just try to stick with blue u, glycolic peels and similar acne treatments, in case you really want to get something done. Because trust me, those laser treatments will irritate and convert the tiniest harmless acne to a full blown painful deep leaking cyst. I am seriously not exaggerating here but just sharing a horrible personal experience. I would highly suggest that if you need any advice, talk to the nurses who do the treatment instead of the managers or the information desk staff because they will try to sell you the most expensive packages for commission but chances are that the nurses would be more honest. Also, please note that I am not talking about a beauty spa but an actual laser clinic monitored by a licenced doctor.
6. Acne & Oily Skin
A common misconception is that people with acne have oily skin. No doubt, sebum plays a role in acne but that does not mean everyone who has acne has a certain skin type. And its just not the common people who believe this but also the skin care companies because a major proportion of skin care and makeup targeted towards acne prone skin is either very harsh or super matte with oil controlling properties. So, this was a major issue for me because I had acne and eczema at the same time so finding a product targeting both was very difficult.
P.S. Toothpaste probably works for some people but be careful if you have sensitive skin because it can turn a mediocre red acne to a horrible dark bluish painful cyst.
I still have more points to discuss but this post is already too long so I will share those in another post in future. Also, if you don`t agree with these, its cool but please don`t feel offended because these are just my personal experiences that I wanted to share.
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!