My Skincare Secret!

Over the past couple of years, the #1 question I've gotten has been "how is your skin so clear?" 
I smile and begin chatting about the shortened version of my very long skincare journey.
We all know that as you age, your skin will change. The texture, the amount of acne, 
wrinkles, the tone, everything. But I figured I'd share my ongoing skincare journey 
because what I've been doing has worked for my skin. And to be quite honest, I never thought 
I'd see the day of my skin being as clear as it is-- my skin used to be that bad. 

I think I was about 16/17 when I started getting huge acne cysts all over my face. Granted, since about 6th grade I was dealing with acne but the more I aged, the worse it got. Nothing I did was working and eventually my mom took me to a dermatologist to explore further options. I've been on a number of medicines to tame the acne that took over my face, prescription and topical ointments alike. Before I went to a dermatologist, my pediatrician recommended I try birth control first. To sum that experience up, I hated it and would never ever recommend birth control to anyone. I gained so much weight and the hormones made me feel crazy- not to mention, it did absolutely nothing for my acne. So I trashed the birth control pills and went to visit a dermatologist. The first dermatologist I went to put me on doxycycline. & Like all treatments, it takes time to see results- but I was a teenager who desperately wanted clear skin so at the end of that 3-6 month treatment cycle, I was over it (& i honestly hadn't noticed a change). I switched doctors and the next doctor said I should get back on doxycycline, reasoning with me that I wasn't on the course long enough. Frustrated yet determined, I went back on the same medication for another 6 months except this time, he gave me a topical treatment called clindamycin to use all over my face at night before bed. Now this worked on my acne but even with the lotion and prescription antibiotics, my acne never truly went away. It would just get smaller, make me feel like my skin was "getting there" and it would get worse all over again. So one month I marched into his office and told my doctor, "look, I want to try something else, I've been on this before and it's not cutting it." That's when he told me about Accutane

Basically, you had to take 1 Accutane pill (once or twice) a day (mine was twice a day at first and later on, once a day) and after a year, your acne would not only be gone but gone forever. I looked at him like why didn't you/anyone give this to me before?! but then he handed me a book of side effects, mentioned I had to get my blood drawn every month to keep tabs on my liver, etc., the cost, and that I had to go back on birth control. You absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, get pregnant while on the medication (or even a year/two after) (i think) because of the harmful birth defects (which is why this treatment is mostly used by teenagers or young adults not planning on having babies anytime soon). 

I had only heard bits and pieces about this medication from two of my friends that were currently doing the treatment. But I saw the results they were getting, negotiated with my doctor about the birth control (he still had prescribed it to me because without it, they won't dispense the medicine, but i just never took it, vowing to not get pregnant and he trusted me)

Fast-forward 3 months later, my acne was the worst. I knew that with the medicine my skin would be excessively dry & that my acne would get worse, better then disappear. But man did my skin look bad- the worst it has ever been :(. I tried to cover it up with makeup but because my skin was so dry, it did more harm than good. I remember crying during my AP Chem class, regretting and questioning why I decided to get on the medicine, feeling so low about myself. 2 months later (5 months total) it started to go away and I felt relieved. A year later, my skin was flawless. Every now and then when I eat terribly and it's that time of the month, I would get the occasional breakout but it would go away. 

And when I use these skincare products, the little acne I do have, is gone in 1-3 days max. This is the short version of my Accutane struggles, so if you're considering talking to your doctor about it and want info about my side effects and their severity- please feel free to e-mail me, I'd be more than happy to provide more details :). 

Now my daily skincare routine is this simple:

AM: Wash my face with Bioré Cleanser, Apply CeraVe moisturizing lotion.

PM: Wash my face with Bioré Cleanser, Apply CeraVe moisturizing lotion & Olay Regenerist Serum. Apply Mario Bidescu Drying Lotion wherever I have small/big acne bumps on my face (details on how to use: here-- this is a MUST have). Apply Aquaphor to my lips because I'm always using matte lipsticks the next morning.

Disclaimer: Please remember that everyone's skin is different, what works for me may not 
necessarily work for you but I hope this helps nonetheless. I mentioned some of the prescriptions and ointments I've tried to provide a little background but do not try to order them online without speaking to a doctor/dermatologist first. Also- just between you & I, ordering drugs off the internet should strongly be avoided anyways lol.