Last month I was hit with a major breakout all over my neck, chin, and face. I haven’t had a major breakout in over a year but have lived with severe acne since I was about 10 years old. I’m 25 now and not sure if I’ll ever have truly clear skin.
For years I let myself be defined by my acne. I didn’t want anyone to look at me during a breakout. I didn’t want my picture taken and I really just wanted to be alone. For me, having acne was like a prison sentence with no end date because I felt trapped in my skin that didn’t look like everyone else’s.
This is one of the things I never thought I would be sharing on the internet but this current breakout threw me and made me really grateful for how much my skin has changed in the past couple of years. While I was reminiscing on my acne journey I thought it would be important to share my acne story because I know there are other people out there who share my struggle.
Have you ever had a severe acne breakout? I’m talking volcanic pimples that seem to go all the way down into your core? The kind that make your face hurt when you aren’t even touching them? Well, that was my life for many years.
I first started breaking out when I was 10. I clearly remember this time in my life because it was right around then when I needed to change friend groups because my old “friends” started to bully me over my acne. Since my birthday is in October I was always one of the oldest kids in my grade and my body started changing way before my peers. I’m pretty sure I was the first kid in my grade to get acne and at the time I felt so self conscious and confused about what was happening to my face.
Middle school was the lowest of the low for me. I was bullied constantly and desperately wanted to disappear. I call this phase of my acne a “mountain range” because I had cystic acne. My face was red and bumpy always and I had zero self esteem because of it. Middle schoolers are ruthless and it was a really hard time for me.
We didn’t have a lot of money growing up but my mom tried anything and everything to help me clear my skin. I had the nicest skincare products of anyone I knew. I remember one Saturday where my mom took me to the skincare counter at Macy’s. I cried when the skincare consult started talking about my skin because I was mortified. I left that day with a Clinque starter kit that helped me manage the redness.
High school was a series of ups and downs. I started to discover makeup which helped me cover up my acne scars and current breakouts. My skin was still covered in pimples but the makeup gave me the tiniest bit of confidence which helped carry me threw to graduation. High school bullies were endless but I was able to mostly ignore them.
In college my face was always covered in acne but it wasn’t as bad. I was always trying new things to clear my skin like avoiding dairy and eating lots of leafy greens. College is also the time in my life where I developed my go-to skincare routine.
When I was 22 and graduated from college my skin really started to clear up. I attribute a lot of that to starting a new job. I had worked in “fast food” for six years which usually made me sweaty and greasy. My post-grad job got me away from the restaurant lifestyle and I had way less day-to-day stress.
So here we are at age 25. I still have breakouts but they usually aren’t severe. That’s why my last breakout freaked me out so much. I was worried that my acne was going to be terrible again. Murad has been my go-to for acne products for years so I ordered their starter kit right away and my acne cleared up in less than a week.
Acne is hard. It’s different for everyone and can be incredibly frustrating. However, my acne journey made me a stronger person. It taught me that what’s on the inside counts way more than what’s on the outside. I believe that a lot of people have judged me during my life because of my acne and that is their loss.
My acne journey doesn’t define me. Your’s doesn’t define you either.
Do you also struggle with acne? Or know someone who has?
Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash
7 thoughts on “My Acne Journey Over the Last 15 Years”
Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you were honest about this. I have struggled with acne since I was about ten as well. It’s rough. I had horrible breakouts until I started using the ClearProof System by Mary Kay, which did an amazing job at clearing it up. Unfortunately, I recently stopped being able to afford it and since then my acne has returned like a monster. I’m still trying to figure out how to manage it on a budget. Currently I’m using the Clean & Clear Advantage kit plus Cetaphil but it’s not working super well. I’m considering ProActiv instead now. Ugh, it’s a struggle. It’s hard to find someone who can relate with the struggle because I guess a lot of people just don’t have to deal with it. And I totally get what you mean about your face hurting even when you don’t touch it! I’ve tried explaining that to people who don’t get acne and they just don’t understand lol.
Hi Courtney! I am so glad this post reached you. Acne is tough to talk about and it’s so hard to find someone who relates. I’m so sorry you have also had to experience this. The two things that have worked best for me are the Murad acne line (which is kind of pricey) or the Trader Joe’s Tea Tree face wash which is about $5 a bottle. Do you have a Trader Joe’s near you? If you do I would 100% recommend trying the face wash. I used it the whole time that my face was clear and loved it! Murad is also my go-to when I do have acne. The face wash and spot treatment are the best that I have tried. I hope that these can help you!! ❤
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Thank you for letting me know about the Murad acne line and the Trader Joe’s face wash! Tea tree oil is amazing so I’m not surprised! I haven’t heard of Murad before but I’m definitely going to look into it. We unfortunately don’t have a TJ’s near us currently but we are moving to an area with one, so I cannot wait to check it out!! I’m very excited to know about these new options. Thanks!!
I love Murad so much! You can order it on Amazon for a pretty good price. Trader Joe’s (in general) is the best. They have a few different tea tree products but I swear by the face wash. It can be a little drying but I just use a good moisturizer with it and I’m fine! I hope these products help you as much as they have helped me! ❤
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Thanks for sharing your story, Hayley! I’m so happy that you found products that truly help you. ♡
Thank you so much! I wanted to write something that would have been helpful to me when I was really struggling. ❤ I’m both happy and sad that the internet wasn’t big when I was growing up!
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