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ThingsCanOnlyGetBetter 03-17-2002 05:31 PM

My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
Acne is probably one of the most upsetting things that has ever happened in my life, as I'm sure all of the people here know. I am now reaching the end of the spots, my face is pretty clear and ever since January, week on week, there has been a fundamental improvement in the condition of my skin. It has not been all in a straight line however, there has been ups and downs, even in the short space of time between January and now, but I was out in a club last night and girls were staring at me, and not because I have bad skin, but because they liked me!

I have had pretty bad acne on my face for the past 3 and a half years. I did develop mild acne on my back when I was about 14 (and its still there) but I was never bothered about it as I could just out on a jumper or t-shirt! This face acne was quite unfortunate as I am now 22, so my acne started when I was 18, just starting university, leaving home for the first time etc. Now acne can have a fundamental affect at any time in your life, but, as I'm sure many of you are aware at this time of your life, it is not good.

I was also, well I suppose I am again now, very lucky as I was quite attractive. You really don't realize the benefits and the way people treat you until that is snatched away from you. Also, through most of my life I have had a stutter, my stutter is now something I am in control of, my new friends have no idea that I ever had a stutter. I am known for over-talking if anything, but as you can imagine developing acne at 18 was pretty hard on my development.

As I stated above, you don't realize how people treat you until you change, but also how you change thanks to acne. When people start to look at you a bit funny, when you for some reason lose the ability to pull people in nightclubs. The way in which you don't want to go outside, the way in which your friends don't understand why you are not going out anymore.

I got a job doing this wedding function. I just had to serve drinks and stuff. The groom, after a few drinks thought it would be hilarious to tell me I needed Clearasil after having a few drinks. The girls behind the bar all told me that I 'could' be so good looking.

One time in my gap-year job last year I walked in on the security guard and and the receptionist talking. The security guard said:

"But he wears make-up"

she said "Oh, but it's because of his skin."

In that job I came across to everyone as shy, insecure and dull. Things I most certainly am not. But how can you explain to these people? How can you be funny and witty when you have no self confidence at all?

I've been on Differin, other weird topicals, antibiotics etc. I went to the docs last year and demanded to see a Derm. He suggested against it, saying that he would only put me on hard stuff. I demanded anyway.

Let me clarify. My acne was never totally severe, just went from mild to moderate at its worst. I went to the derm and he put me on more antibiotics and stuff. Just before I went back to the derm, my mother decided to enlighten me by telling me that my father told her that he developed acne when he was 18. When confronted about this he said he did indeed, and that it went away just after his 22nd birthday. My acne has almost completely gone now, and guess what, I was 22 last week.

The Derm then wanted to put me on accutane. Now I had a think about this, before I would have said yes, but after this info, and the fact I thought my skin was getting better (this was about last June), I said no to the accutane.

My father (and I was, and almost have back now) is blessed with this great skin, he is 50 soon, but he has almost no wrinkles and looks really young. I have had some real nasty spots in my time, big *******s, that have reoccurred. I've needled, squeezed, steamed etc, but I have not got any scars, and by jove I should have them. I would never have known my Dad had acne. Would accutane have changed my skin for ever? Who knows? I'm not saying accutane is bad, heavens no, if your acne is bad, moderate-severe, go on it right now. It will most likely help you a great deal, and change your life.

Ask your parents if they ever had acne. As I stated above my ance pattern followed my Dad's exactly. If he had told me before, at least I could have been prepared and understand what the hell was happening to me.

I don't really know why I'm writing all of this, I suppose just to share some of my experiences. This board has meant a great deal to me, and has helped through the pain I have gone through. As I stated earlier my skin is now almost back to its clear, radiant self. I don't have to look in every mirror, people are nice to me again and my looks help me to achieve things rather to hinder them.

The thing is we all say it should not matter about acne, but we all know it does. I did not want to go out and be stared at all those times, but I did it anyway, and it felt like ****. If you don't want to go out, don't go out! It's your life, do what you want. And if you do have to go, to work or whatever and people stare, **** them, **** them right in the ear.

I am now much more confident, maybe even more so than before I got acne, and I know I am a better person because of what I have gone through. You will get through this people. Good luck to you all, and thank-you.<p>[This message has been edited by ThingsCanOnlyGetBetter (edited 03-17-2002).]

GummiGurl 03-18-2002 09:59 AM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
I get so angry when i realize people miss out on their life because of ACNE. No offense, and I'm not trying to sound like a ***** here but get over yourselves people. I know its hard, I've been there too but there are people out there who don't give a crap that you have acne. I have some of the best perfect skinned friends out there and they don't care! It really makes me wonder about some of the people on this board, about how vain they really are. You are so ashamed of your pimple covered skin but what if your skin WAS perfect, would you go out with someone who had acne like yours? You say yes but think back how ashamed you are of your own acne, wouldn't you be of that person's as well? My point is that you people need to suck it up, stop whining and live life!!! And this is specifically to those people who have been suffering with this for a long while, not the new people. The longer you sit home and feel sorry for yourself, the longer your acne will stay with you, seriously. When I first started to say "**** this' to acne I was tempted to stay home many nights but i forced myself and I would have ended up missing out on a lot of great times. Life is short, be happy you don't have a terminal disease, its just acne!!!!

CalGuy 03-18-2002 10:47 AM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
I have a hard time going out too. People in the past have saw me with fine skin, but now it is hard to face them again, because they always say "what happened to your face???". Or they give me a thousand methods to try like cleaning my face twice a day or not eating junk. when in fact im a health freak when it comes to food and exercise, and my cleansing is muhc much better than theirs. If people were more educated about acne, it wouldnt be a prob. Gummi, your lucky you have such good friends, if i had friends like that, I would go out alot too.

Mr. Right 03-18-2002 11:16 AM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
Thingscanonlygetbetter, I like your post, informative and gives people hope.

/clap Gummigurl

I totally agree with you. Everyone gets like that, usually when they first develope acne, they tend to shy away from the public eye. But, there comes a time when enough is enough, when you can't stay indoors for any longer than you already have. it just shouldn't be done.

There are vain people who frequent this board. They come on and post about the one huge cyst they have on their foreheads and "How do I get rid of it ASAP?" I don't know how many times I have read those types of posts. I just hope the people who previously wrote those redundent posts find some sort of help to cling on to so they don't fret over one measly pimple. As you said Gummi, and as I have said in the past,
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Life is short, be happy you don't have a terminal disease, its just acne!!!!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

TakitEZ 03-18-2002 07:51 PM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence

Your story is frightening, because it sounds very much like my story. However, I'm still in the middle of the story. Hopefully in 2 years my acne will be gone.
I actually had acne since 16.

xfiles 03-18-2002 08:18 PM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
GummiGirl - i absolutely agree with you on living life to the fullest even though you have acne. But you have to underrstand that not everyone has mild acne or a few spots. I had horrible cystic acne for about 3 years until I finnally went to a dermatologist, and now things are getting under control. During the time I had really severe acne it was not possible to have any self esteem, or any self confidence; and that led to being anti-social, and missing out on "teen things" like dating etc. Looking back on it, I think my anti-social behavior actually aided me, by allowing me to concentrate on school work, read a lot, and just be happy with me. I think I am way better off than if I had nice skin, and went out every night and used school as a social gathering like so many people I know. Anyway, my acne is a LOT better, on lots of meds/vitamins/goign to start oldguys regimen, and I have decided to become more social, doing things I never would have done before, and just not giving a **** what other people think. But being able to really not care how people view you is a virtue that does not come easily, for me I endured a lot of pain, and ignorance to allow me this hard outer shell. Regaurding your reply on dating someone with acne, my values have completely changed, I dont give a **** what a person looks like, as long as they are intelligent, funny, kind, spontaneous, and just a good person <IMG SRC=""> Also, is it wrong to be vain??? Is it wrong to want to be beautiful? sexy? I don't think it is. Bottom line here, To thine own self be true <IMG SRC="">

Good luck guys!

Southwestdane 03-22-2002 07:47 PM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
I'd just like to respond to Gummigirl because I understand completely what you're saying but I'd like to relate my experience and you can judge me and see if I'm a whiner like you so interestingly called this guy. I had severe cystic acne on my face, neck, chest and back from the time I was 12. I was already abnormaly tall, was 6'0" at the time(topped at 6'5" thank God), have been shy since I can remember, and to top it off we had moved to another state recently. 12 years old is when you begin being involved with girls and for someone like me to have severe acne compounds insecurity. I have always had friends with clear skin, in fact I've never known anyone with acne. I never talked about(or even whined about)ANY problems I had. I thought "It's not a big deal, at least I have my arms and legs", but there comes a point in time when life doesn't mean a damn when you're a "pizzaface" or some other filthy creature who obviously has never bathed in it's life. I had to wear an undershirt to soak up the blood when I was on accutane at 15; a scab burst as a freshman in HS when doing pushups in gym and I had to ask the teacher in front of 60 kids to go to the bathroom because there was blood pouring down my neck. I wasn't diagnosed with mono because they thought I just needed counseling(which I would never consider). Even at 20 when I have a wealth of friends, attend college and have a job I still hate myself and can not imagine a girl(even a 400 pound one, sorry for the insensetivity) being mildy interested in me, and I know that I really am good looking but the self loathing that I have had since I was a 12 year old kid is so burned into my mind that I'm afraid I may never have a relationship. I have missed out on SO much. Not from whining or not sucking it up, because I have never once complained, and still won't to this day, but because I had acne; as minor as that may be. So if you want to criticize someone for going through hell go right ahead, but think about what you're saying first.

GummiGurl 03-22-2002 08:52 PM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
In reply to the above comments by Southwestdane

You totally misunderstood me, my post was not meant to be a negative one but instead something positive. I was just trying to get a point across, that it is very important to live life no matter what. I almost had a dear friend pass away recently and that gave me an even more different out look on everything, especially something as insignificant as acne. I hope you can win your battle with acne and with your pessimistic out look.

supershy22 03-22-2002 10:35 PM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
GummiGurl I would love to have my confidence back but unfortunately i still think back to many comments which people have made. I can't forget them, they don't erase that easily. Everybody is very different and you might not have had as traumatic experiences as others, and while I agree everyone should try moving on with live and live and try not to let acne control them, but it is VERY HARD! Acne makes people think they "stick out" aren't "normal" are "aliens", and it makes them withdraw from society and people (in more severe cases). I sit and wonder to myself at times, what would be different if i didnt have acne, would I feel any different, would people treat me any differently? The only difference would be I wouldn't mind looking at myself in the mirror, and wouldn't want to hide and go home after looking in the mirror at a friends house. We all fear comments and after looking at ourselves in the mirror and seeing acne, we fear others will make comments and words are more damaging than sticks and stones. it would be easy to write off acne as just acne but everyone has different experiences, everyone's personalities affect how one reacts to acne and more sensitive/shy people tend to take it worse. I'll end my rant here..

Southwestdane 03-22-2002 10:53 PM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence

I did have a friend pass away. My best and only friend at the time died in an auto accident at 12. This did not change my outlook on acne, nor it's significance on my psyche. You think I haven't gone on with life? I never even paused, I am a perfectly normal person living a perfectly normal life. That doesn't lessen the significance of dealing with severe acne one bit. The fabric of society is based on appearance and image, the basis of performance in this society is confidence and interaction. All things that are effected by acne. I never hid in my room, but I have spent most of my life feeling like a cancer on life. I have won the battle on acne, but the socio and psychological effect are a part of who I am and not something that can be turned off and on.

Unregistered 03-23-2002 02:04 AM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
WEll i am in the same boat as the rest of you. HAve had mild to moderate acne for about te last 4 years. Recently my social life has gone to shambles. I have started college and it is very hard making freinds with acne. I know oyu guys all say it doesnt mattter. BUt anytime I go out with a bad breakout or something I fell real insecure and I ack strange, quiet, trying to keep out of light, trying to always stand to a certain side of a person where my face is not broken out as bad. IT just isnt worth it for me. My skin has started to improve ans I am hoping that it will continue so at least i can have a fun summer. SOmetimes i jsut wanna jump of a cliff.

Someperson 03-23-2002 07:48 AM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
southwest, im glad that you won the war of acne. I really understand where your coming from. I act almost the same way you do too. Im still battling though. Just a question if you dont mine, how well did accutane work for you and what else have you used. I want to get over with this **** and start trying to live my life again, to feel as i did before this came. Live happily. Good luck to all.

Southwestdane 03-23-2002 02:21 PM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
Accutane worked extremely well for me. I had a lot of serious cysts and they cleared up real well. The side effects are lousy, particularly the energy draining...I felt like that anyway tho <IMG SRC="">. I would definately suggest it if you're severe. They tried sulphur drugs later that really screwed with my liver and I just got tired of derms. The topicals they gave me never worked or were in 3 different containters, in the frige ect. I just use clearasil. I like the tinted to reduce the redness. It works really well for me. I only have 2 or 3 at a time now and an occational cyst on my shoulder or neck that don't last long. It's never completely gone, but once you get to a point you're comfortable you're happy. I have some real good scarring because I wouldn't let anything stay with a head but it doesn't bother me. I hope things work out for you...and remember it'll never be perfect but if you remember where you've been it'll be just fine.

xKaShyLahx 03-30-2002 07:11 AM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
i know how all of you guys feel im in absolutely tha same boat ive have spots/pimples (mild acne) from when i was about 13 or 14 im now 17, when i was 13 i only had pimples on my forehead i still my school picture with my pimples on my 13th, it got a lil worst when i was in grade 9 when i went on holiday i think that was tha worst time of my life when i had pimples, i had went from havin a beautiful complexion which every1 loved to been bumpy, i CRIED & CRIED..i think i only started caring about my appesrance when i was 15 b4 that i neva even noticed i had a few pimple but when i did it took over my life i started wearing make up, comparing myself 2 my friends, hated going out, avoided eating fried food, went 2 tha doctors about 6 times in a yr etc..i tried everything but nothing changed by then my pimples got worst coz i kept fussin over them & i was putting tha wrong & to much things on it, i hated goin to school because i cudnt cover up my face wid my hair, or hav those fancy hair styles like my friendz did, i was scared of stoppin out all night because i thought the longer i didnt wash my face 4 the more pimples would come out ...basically it had a big affect on my now 17 & still hav pimples (juz mild) i still feel near enough feel the same way & always have my hair down to diguise my pimples even though itz not that bad itz just the blemishes from b4...i cant even remember that last time i had fried food like mc donalds or KFC..because i dont want new pimples 2 break out my mom said its not as bad as i think it is & they'll go very soon now that im nearly at tha end of adolescents...i've now started usin KETSUGO & hope that works ;o) ..thankz 4 reading about me ...feel 3 to reply xx

Unregistered 03-30-2002 07:45 AM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
i have never met any1 who ISNT vain!! just because we worry about our skin it doesnt mean we are suddenly vain. i had acne since i was 16 and i tell u something, my spots really hurt my skin! everytime i pressed my face against a pillow, my spots would hurt my face. that is probably one of the main reasons i seeked treatment.

On top of that i had kids at my old work making daily comments on my skin. And that knocked out my confidence. But it didnt stop me from going out and hitting onto guys.

Every1 is vain about there skin whether they have pimples or not. We "pizzafaces" appear to be more vain because we keep reminding ourselves that we hav spots and puss. But i dont think we r vain. Ive noticed alot of people with clear skin that r far more vain than us - believe me! All they worry about is their weight, their hair, their nails and their sex/luv life. But all IM concerned about is my acne and nothing else!

And we have a cheek to call ourselves vain???????!!!!!!!

CalGuy 03-30-2002 12:18 PM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
I know what you mean kashylah. I started getting acne when i was about 13 too. At first it was just on my forehead, so I would wear a hat, and no one knew anything about it. When I was 14 it started to go away, and I was basically clear, so I was pretty happy. By the time I was a junior in highschool (i guess the stress got to me) my face was probably at its worste. By the end of my senior year it was alright, I was clear more or less. But now im in college (19 years old) it has come back alot. I dunno why. I think maybe the stress from everyday life. Last summer I was totally clear, and since I was 18 last summer, I thought this was the end of my acne. But I came to Canada for an exchange for the year, and since november my face has gotten much worse. I dont know why. I havent changed my lifestyle, Ive been eating healthier than ever. the only thing that has changed is the cold weather here.. And the fact I only can exercise like once a week (the rest of the week its usually raining). Its just very frusterating. I didnt mind that much about it until pepole started saying things to me back a few months ago. When I was in California, at least I had a tan so unless you were right up in my face you couldnt notice it... I dunno, maybe one day ill finally be free from this!

Unregistered 03-30-2002 11:57 PM

Re: My 4 years experiences with acne - the pain, misery and new confidence
I agree with trying to stay positive, being productive, etc. It is true though that acne is stigmatizing. Period. Many people will treat you differently if you have even moderate acne, let alone severe. We live in the type of culture that promotes uniformity. Unless you live here in NYC(and even in NYC to a certain extent)you are expected not to stray from the norm too far. This is the case for clothing, the way you talk, race, class, if you have a physical or mental handicap, acne, etc. Telling someone to get over having a stigma may be said with good intentions but is far easier said than done. It's hard to get over something when many people simply won't let you.

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