I have always struggled with hormonal acne. I can vividly remember having breakouts as early as 4th grade and, like many, my first acne treatment was ProActiv. After experiencing what I thought would be the cure, my breakouts got worse! What started out as the occasional breakout here and there turned into full blown cystic acne. It was most prominent on my forehead and nose, while creating a not-so cute trail along my jawline.
I’ll never forget being in middle school and being bullied for my cystic acne. It was the target of every joke. I can vividly recall one time being in math class. One of the students went up to the board and started to draw a caricature. I didn’t pay it much attention until I heard her aggressively creating dots with the marker. I looked up and, as we made eye contact, she looked me dead in my eyes and told the entire class it was me. That was one of the first moments that I became aware of how others saw me and it made me extremely insecure about my acne. My pimples would create huge pus bubbles on my face that would often pop without my knowing. I remember constantly going to the bathroom to wet paper towels with cold water and use it as a cold press to alleviate the irritation and pain. Very shortly after, I had my first visit to the dermatologist. I was prescribed a retinol cream, gel, and pills. I was determined to get my acne under control! For many years, this was the solution. I stopped taking the pills because of the immediate nausea it caused, but the gel and the cream were my saving grace. After about two years, I’d stop using them because I was convinced that I was cured of acne. I went almost 6 years with my acne under control.
Once I got to college, I started taking birth control and everyone spoke about the benefits it had on skin. That alone sold me on the pill. I would experience the occasional breakout here and there, but acne wasn’t a concern for me anymore. So it felt like I was killing two birds with one stone. For about 3 years I had very clear, healthy skin. I had occasional pimples around my menstrual cycle, but for the most part I had very consistent skin. It was so even that I didn’t require foundation with my makeup.
Towards my senior year of college, I started experiencing terrible breakouts again. I don’t know if was related to the stress of graduating and the pressure to secure a high profile job, but it all came back full force. Emotionally, it brought me back to middle school. I didn’t want to be known again as “the girl with acne”. I continued to struggle with my skin for a few years and would often consult my friends for any advice and recommendations. That’s when I learned about Kate Sommerville’s Eradikate and M-61 PowerGlow Peel. Together, they did wonders for my skin. Despite my happiness with the overall results, my skin was left very dry, sensitive, and discolored from acne scarring and the intensity of the ingredients of the products. I desperately needed something very gentle to restore my skin’s hydration.
One day, while sitting in Vic’s bathroom, he insisted on making me a face oil, known now as the Essential Face Oil. He had just made one for himself and believed that it would help me with my skin care journey. He made a sample and I was instantly obsessed. It gave me the necessary hydration that my skin needed, while also helping me protect my skin from inflammation. It’s been a skincare staple in my daily routine ever since. Although I still battle with hormonal acne and hyper-pigmentation, I’m learning to reevaluate my skin’s needs at all stages of my life and to allow myself grace while continuing to learn my skin.
Always remember, skin care is a journey.