The joys of adult acne
If I could change one thing about my appearance, what would it be? Without a doubt, my skin. Adult acne has become the bane of my life over the past few years and despite it being classed as 'mild' (and thankfully not cystic) it is incredibly frustrating.
I didn't always have bad skin. It wasn't until the age of 17 that I started to get quite spotty (although looking back, those forehead and chin spots were nothing compared to those which came to grace my cheeks and jawline years later). I went on the combined pill and my spots cleared up completely, bar the odd break-out here and there. Lovely.
Fast-forward to the age of about 25. At a pill check, I told the nurse about the migraines that I had been suffering with, including ones that affect my vision. Immediately, I was taken off the combined pill due to the increased risk of stroke/blood clots, and put onto the mini pill. For the first few months, I didn't notice any changes. Then the spots started to appear. I switched to the implant (a different form of progesterone) and was prescribed Duac (an antibiotic cream with benzyl peroxide). The Duac cleared my skin immediately, but unfortunately the effects were short-lived, and a couple of weeks later it no longer seemed to be working.
I buckled down on my skincare, determined that I could make things better with a good routine. Caroline Hirons became (and still is) my go-to for all things skincare (if you haven't heard of her, look her up).
However, the spots persisted. I went back to see the doctor, who was lovely, and thankfully very understanding. I came away with a prescription for Doxycycline (an antibiotic). A six month course completely cleared my skin - hooray! About 6 weeks after the course ended however, the acne came creeping back. At first, just a few spots here and there which I could absolutely cope with. But soon it was back with a vengeance. Now, I can't just go on antibiotics for the rest of my life, and the doctor probably wouldn't be keen to prescribe that. So what else could I try?
Next up was blue light therapy. I bought a mask from Amazon and started using the blue light mode for 20 minutes every evening. I think perhaps this did help my skin a little bit, although the effect was not dramatic enough for me to keep this routine up. More recently I had a series of facial treatments at a salon, including microneedling, light acid peels, blue light therapy and dermaplaning. I certainly enjoyed the experience, and my skin did clear a little. However, the effects were not long-lasting (perhaps this is something that I would need to keep up more regularly, budget permitting). A few days after my final treatment, my skin was the clearest it has been in over a year, but a few days later, yet again, the spots returned.
Back to square one. The next thing to try is Differin, an anti-acne retinoid cream. As well as getting it from your GP, you can order online through the Boots acne clinic, which is what I have done. I don't want to get my hopes up too much, but I am going to trial it for the suggested 3 months and see if I notice a difference. Fingers crossed...