When I was in middle school and high school, I dreamt of being an adult.  For all the obvious reasons yes, but also because when I became an adult, I would magically stop breaking out. 

Well, the joke’s on me!  I am now in my late 20s and what I considered to be teenage trouble still continues.  Let me start from the beginning though…

I started breaking out in middle school, but at that time, it was normal.  Everyone had a pepperoni face. 

[During this time, I went on birth control pills because of really horrible female problems.  I remained on BC for about 12 years.]

Then came high school.  My acne got better (probably because of the BC) but really blew up my senior year.  A couple of weeks before graduation, I remember bawling because I had huge bumps all over my face.  And to top it all off, they hurt like hell.  I paid a visit to the dermatologist, and she prescribed Benzaclin and some pills.  My mom was very cautious about any and all acne medications – especially pills, so I just used the topical stuff.  I still remember feeling ugly during graduation, but it was what it was.

Next came undergrad and my introduction to Proactiv.  I used the 3 step system morning and night, and over time, my face cleared up.  I still suffered from the occasional breakouts but nothing too horrible.  For those of you who have never heard of Proactiv, just know this – it’s expensive!  So over time, I stopped using it for this reason and reverted back to Clearasil and Neutrogena as my go to acne products.

My face had it’s moments after college – some good, some not so good.  The same went for grad school. 

[I stopped taking BC at the beginning of grad school because I really felt as though I had been on it long enough.  Even after my doctor reassured me that I would be fine taking it until I planned on conceiving, I stopped.  This is all probably better suited for another post, but it’s an important part of my acne journey, if you will.]

About eight months ago, my worst nightmare came true.  The acne was back with a vengeance.  I seriously felt like I had time travelled back to my senior year of high school.  

At this time I decided that enough was enough and made an appointment with a well-respected dermatologist in the Atlanta area.  I had a good long talk with her and told her all of the above.  From looking at my skin, she said that my acne was hormonal.  Treating it topically was not going to stop it.  She prescribed a low dose of Spironolactone, a water pill that is often used to treat adult acne.  I went home, did my research, and made the decision to give the medication a try.

Please note: I am not suggesting that everyone go and ask their dermatologist to put them on this medication.  This is what worked for me.  You have to do what is best for your skin and body. 

Knock on wood but so far so good.  My skin looks MUCH better then it did eight months ago.  I still suffer from a zit every now and then, but the occasional flare ups don’t last as long as they used to.

Wait…my story does not end here.  I have a couple of more things to share with y’all…

Enter…

Desert essence 002

Desert essence 003

…Desert Essence!  I first heard about this cleanser and blemish stick on Caitlin’s blog when she posted about Natural Beauty Products.  I was amazed at the sheer number of comments that mentioned these products.  I knew I had to try them. 

The only store I’ve found so far that sells them is Whole Foods.  The face wash sells for about $6.99 and the blemish stick for about $9.99. 

I love that the face wash leaves my face super clean without any dryness.  You don’t need too much to get the job done either!  It’s also free of parabens, animal derived ingredients, artificial fragrances, and a bunch of other nasty things.  The blemish stick is also free of all that junk.  There is no oiliness even though it’s made with nine essential oils.  It absorbs quickly into the skin too.  And the best part…together, these two products are helping my skin stay clear (along with the medication I’m still on)!  And even when a zit pops up, it doesn’t last too long.  I love it!

Unfortunately, there are two downsides to to these products.  One – the smell.  Personally, I love it.  The smell of Tea Tree oil is very natural and calming.  But after reading the comments on Caitlin’s post, I saw that a lot of people hated the smell.  To each his/her own I suppose – just don’t say I didn’t give you a heads up either way.  And two, the blemish stick runs out pretty quickly.  It’s not meant to one of those products you apply to your entire face every day.  I learned that the hard way!  I am now on my second stick and use it only on the affected areas.  Lesson learned. 

And in case you’re wondering, I am NOT getting paid by Desert Essence to promote their products.  I am blogging about them because I have used them and feel that they have helped my skin.  I even have my sister using these now.

Again, just because this regimen is working for me at the moment does not mean it is is guaranteed to work for everyone.  If you feel like you need a change or want to try something more natural, give it a go – hopefully it works for you too!

I don’t believe that my battle with acne is over yet.  I honestly don’t believe it will ever be over, but at least for now, I finally feel like I have the upper hand.  Cross your fingers for me!

Do you or have you ever suffered from acne?  What products do you use to keep your skin clean and acne free (as much as possible at least)?  Are you a fan of Desert Essence products?

By Parita

0 thoughts on “Teenage Trouble”
  1. Oooo I’ve never heard of this, but need to keep my eyes peeled. I also think tea tree oil is not so bad and just feels clean and refreshing so I think I can handle it.

    Since being preggers, my face breaks out a lot more..mostly on the cheeks — which has never been the case before. Argh!

  2. Thanks for your recommendation- sounds great. I am not just saying it ‘to be nice’ but from your pics, I never would have guessed you had acne woes. I did go through an acne phase when I was younger but I think that was more to do with my poor eating habits. Touchwood I am happy with my skin now and use minimal products/chemicals–> i think that’s what works for my skin. I hope the medication continues to work for you 🙂

  3. yes, my story is pretty similar to yours only my skin got better during college and grad school and then when i started working i got stress break outs – i went to the derm and they just gave me a topical cream that really didnt do much. Things sort of cleared up and then just recently they got bad again. I actually just reinvested in proactiv again last month. It’s helping but not curing at this point. 27 and still breaking out……… gah! will it ever end??

  4. Hey Parita! I love your post – cause I can relate too. My dermatologist prescribed Spironolactone, but for a different reason. I was blown away by how effective it was at clearing up my acne. I could finally use any type of face wash and make-up and my face stayed clear. I stopped using it when my husband and I started trying for a family because it also lowers a hormone called androgen. Sure enough, the breakouts surfaced with a vengeance (as you would say)! I am going to try out the face wash you suggested.

  5. My skin has always been a source of trouble for me…I’ve tried everything! It’s only in the last few years when I gave up most refind sugar and HFCS that I’ve noticed a difference. This just annoys me because I think of all the money I spent on my derms and medications only to find out that it was what I was eating that was causing the problem!

    Proactive never worked for me! I think I am the only one in the world whose skin got worse.

  6. I’ve always had skin issues. I can’t use super harsh products with “acne fighting” ingredients in them. I like gentler ones, like neutrogena face wipes for night time and st. ives apricot scrub in the morning.

  7. I found this blog on the Desert Essence Facebook page and found it very useful/interesting. I was put on spironolactone for adult hormonal acne two years ago and it completely cleared up my skin. But I also found that the Biore cleanser I was using was too drying. For another set of reasons I decided to switch to natural beauty products free of parabens and sulfates, and I found this same Desert Essence cleanser at Whole Foods. After a week of using it my skin looked more “alive” than it ever has, not to mention still completely clear. I’m in love with this cleanser, and I do love the smell of tea tree oil. It’s great to know the blemish stick works well, because I want to swap the paraben-loaded spot treatment that my derm prescribed for something more natural. Thanks for the recommendation!

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