This is the first part of my acne journey. It is a bit sad in parts but please bear with me. I don't usually write down-beat posts, but I feel the need to share my real emotions about this. I want to give you a brief background to my acne, and then I can share with you some of the things I've done to control it. Because up until very recently I thought I was the only woman in her 20s/30s with acne problems. I now know I'm not.
I skipped through my teenage years with maybe the odd pimple, the odd popping zit, but nothing too bad, nothing out of the ordinary.
Then I hit 21, and suddenly overnight I started to get cystic acne. And I mean proper, huge cysts. The type that only industrial strength antibiotics could start to calm.
I tried various things when they first popped up - different contraceptive pills, antibiotic lotions - even antidepressants for a while had a good effect.
Then came the time to throw all that in the bin, as I wanted a baby! Fortunately for me, I conceived quickly with my first, and had pretty good skin throughout pregnancy and whilst breast-feeding. Then as that came to an end, and my raging hormones supposedly started to settle down, so the little (or should I say big) blighters returned.
Back I went to the GP, and back I went on the antibiotics and antibiotic lotions.
Then the same cycle happened again; pregnancy, breast-feeding and glorious skin.
When that stopped, wham! Back came the acne, and this time with a vengeance.
By now GP's had moved on with their thinking, and I was put on longer-term, low dose antibiotics. These had some effect for a few months, but then my body would 'get used' to them, and the cysts would return, only worse.
In August 2011 whilst holidaying in Cornwall I got a big cyst on my chin. And this time, it didn't go.
Want to see a picture? Here it is:
[I honestly cannot believe I am sharing this with you. I have tears in my eyes as I type. I never thought I would be able to let anyone see this. You see, I have always hidden myself away when I get these awful things. I get so fearful of people pointing or laughing or pitying me. I feel so ugly when I get them.]
Anyway, this little bugger just would not go. And whilst the redness and some swelling did start to subside, in February 2012 it flared up again and re-filled. And I was back to square one with it.
I hid myself away for 2 weeks, not going to work, not doing the school run (because let's face it, the playground can be the most unforgiving of places, right?).
Then one day, when I couldn't face even playing with Roh because I felt so bad about myself, something snapped, thank god. I sat on the floor of the front room, Ipad in hand, and decided I was going to take back control. I didn't want antibiotics to decide my fate, my mood, how my skin looked. *I* wanted to.
So I started researching holistic, alternative therapies. In February 2012 I went for my very first acupuncture appointment. And that day I really did start to take back control.
My journey this last year has had so many ups and downs, and I've learned a lot about how I can manage my acne, both in terms of trying to stop it and how I handle it when it does come. I will write all about that in my Part 2. For now, I'm off to hide/high five myself - sharing my story and that picture with you is about as brave as I get!
Thank you for reading :)