Daily Archives: August 22, 2011

My Experience with Acne

Acne happens when hair follicles get blocked and sebum that usually drains to the surface of the skin is blocked and bacteria begins to grow.  Acne can be in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, nodules or cysts and usually occur at the face, back, chest and even shoulders.

My Struggle

I have struggled with acne for more than half my life – since 6th grade. Fortunately, I’ve been able to keep my acne fairly under control with my a combination of eating & sleeping habits, medication, and skin care products.

My skin still flares up from time to time, but overall, I am able to treat it and I am grateful for that.  I wanted to share costs associated with treatment/medication/make-up and some helpful tips that I’ve picked up over the years.

Disclaimer: Please note these are from my experience only and you should always consult your doctor, dermatologist or health care provider before trying new medication or products on your skin.

Costs Acne Treatment

I have had various treatments over the past 15 years; however, in this post, I will  only discuss my current costs.

The Acne Clinic

The Acne Clinic was recommended to me by a friend during my last year of my undergraduate studies.  Since then, I have been seeing my dermatologist for almost 3 years and I have been fairly happy with the results.

My dermatologist was able to help me calm my flare ups and get my skin under control.  I was only comfortable using topical lotions (no antibiotic pills), and so this was the treatment method my dermatologist used.

In my experience, it is very important to see your dermatologist more when you just start the treatment (about every 2 weeks), until your dermatologist figures out what works best with your skin.  Following that, you and your dermatologist can work out a schedule that works best for your needs.  Right now, I’ve been seeing my dermatologist every 3 -4 months, depending on my skin.

At this clinic, each visit costs $30 and includes injections for active nodules/cysts.  My dermatologist gave me sample sizes of medication to try prior to prescribing full sized medication, which I found really useful.  My medication costs approximately $180 every 3 months.

My health benefits cover 80% of the costs, but this can be expensive for anyone without extended health benefits.

Pure and Simple (P&S)

Earlier this year, my face started flaring up again and it started to get super dry (then super oily).  No matter what my dermatologist tried, it seemed to just keep getting worse.

I read about P&S through a FB’s blog review, and decided to try it.  After my first consultation and first facial with P&S, my skin started to look much better than it had in months.  P&S is really good with educating their clients, and I learned that the medication I was putting on my skin were really harsh and dehydrated my skin.

I know a lot of spas tell you a bunch of crap to get you to buy their products, so I was wary.  After 2 weeks of using (free) samples provided by P&S and following their “rules”, I saw a big difference in the skin.  My skin felt less oily, less tight and my complexion was better.  I still got a few pimples but overall, my skin looked a lot better.

I knew my problem couldn’t be fixed with one facial, so I bought a package of 5 Clear Complexion Facial ($595 + tax, ouch!).  I went once a month for my first 3 facials and could see the improvement in my complexion.  Ideally, I would like to go for 4 – 5 facials a year, if I can afford it.

P&S product line is reasonably priced and they use natural products.  I always try their products, first – they are great about giving their clients samples to try.  I bought their Algae serum ($20) and Oily skin sunscreen ($15), and have slowly been building a small collection of their products in my bathroom.

Nothing is covered under my health benefits, so this option for acne treatment can be very expensive.

Skin Care Regime and Products

I try to keep my skin routine as simple as possible.

In the evenings, I remove my make-up, then wash my face with a gentle cleanser (I like SpectroJel – $15), and then I apply my serum, moisturizer and eye cream (sometimes). In the mornings, I do the same thing but skip the eye cream and use sunscreen (SPF 15-30), instead.

Once or twice a week, I would use a mask or another one of my home-made toiletries concoctions for deep cleaning or moisturizing .

Daily Make-Up

I try not to wear heavy make-up, which clogs my pores, and would like to try more natural make-up, as well (after my shopping ban is over, of course).

On any given day, I use a bit of concealer for spot treatments and blotting powder to reduce shine at my T-zone, eye liner and blush.  I’ve been using MAC products for the past 3 years and it hasn’t broken me out.  I would estimate my make-up costs about $150, and lasts me about 6 months to 1 year.

Acne Affects Self Esteem

Acne is not just about looking “pretty”, acne has a huge impact on self esteem. Without self esteem, it’s hard to have the confidence to move forward in life, whether it be acing that test, going into an interview, asking for that promotion, meeting new people or getting control of your finances.  It’s a big deal.

When I struggled with acne, my self esteem was pretty low. I would loathe taking pictures, dressing up, and generally shied away from people, dances, parties at school and kept to myself.  I was very sensitive about my skin, and teenagers can be so cruel.

Today, my self esteem is a lot healthier.  I enjoy getting out and meeting people, dressing up, and I feel more comfortable going au naturel.  Most of all, I feel more confident.

Conclusion

I hope that in sharing my experience with acne, I was able to help some of my readers figure out what type of treatment is available and bring a bit of pf into the topic.  Always talk to your family doctor about your options, first before trying new treatments.

Update: I’ve almost used up my 5 facials from P&S, and this method is too expensive for me to maintain.  I also get “scolded” for not getting facials more often by the estheticians (i.e., one every 4 weeks max), and I feel pressured to get them more often.  I’m sure that my skin would be better if I went more often, but I can’t afford it, and will be returning to see my dermatologist.

I also started reading the book “Skin Type Solution” by Dr. Leslie Baumann (dermatologist and scientist).  Basically, it’s a book that guides you to categorize your skin type and suggests skin care regimes and products that work for your skin.

It sounds promising, and I love always educating myself about my skin. I will do a separate review and summary of the book in a another post. In the meantime, please wish me luck as I once again battle my acne.

Readers, have you struggled with acne?  Please share some of the ways you have dealt with your struggles in the comments.

Cheers,

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