*Just wanting to apologize ahead of time for the long read, but it's my journey and I want to help others with similar struggles as much as I can.*
As an esthetician in training, I wanted to make a strong effort to solve my acne issues as I would try for a client. What I neglected to do was to admit when things were out of my control and seek the help of a dermatologist. Just a recap.. I have struggled with cystic/hormonal acne since I was a young teen. I've tried (almost) everything, but hate the idea of being on oral medications long term. The issue is, when the breakouts are caused by something internal nothing topical can treat or prevent them.
For a couple of months I was using products from the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare line and was so impressed. I loved the Color Smart Cleanser, Alpha Beta Peel Pads, and Sulfur mask from the line. My scars were getting lighter, and my breakouts didn't last as long but weren't completely gone. I wanted to kick things up a notch and add the Acne Clearing Pads to my regimen every other night. For the first couple of weeks things seemed to be going great. Once I started ovulating I noticed more of the cystic breakouts starting around my jawline like with most hormonal breakouts. I thought to combat the issue I'd bump things up to every night until after my cycle, and then drop back down to every other night. Well the problem was, once one spot would go down there'd be another one that would pop up by the end of the day. I seemed to have gotten things calmed down a little bit, but received a facial from school.. big mistake!! My skin freaked out!! I honestly can't remember a time other than in high school that it looked so bad. I literally had people saying "what happened," "are you ok," "it looks so painful." Well, not only was it painful but also embarrassing. There's almost nothing worst than being a make-up artist with bad skin (at least when it comes to being in the beauty industry). You feel like people don't trust your judgement because your skin doesn't look great even with all the make-up. It got to the point where I wasn't even feeling inspired to put make-up on myself because I didn't like the finished look.
Ironically this flare up happened while my mom, who's a medical esthetician, was in town to visit me. She watched my skincare routine for a couple of days and gave me her honest opinion and recommendation. She had me stop using the products because she could see that my skin wasn't broken out from acne, it was extremely irritated and I was making it worst by using the Acne Clearing Pads. She had me stop using those and switch to a gentle cleanser and moisturizer followed by hydrocortisone. Each day I did this routine my skin became less and less inflamed/irritated. One day while I was at work she took it upon her motherly self to research estheticians and dermatologists in the area and set up an appointment for me. I actually appreciated it because all of this let me finally see things were out of my hands.
I went to my esthetician, whom coincidentally worked at the school I attend. She was already very well educated of my acne struggle and the appointment was great!! She has me using Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser and Toleriane Ultra Intense Soothing Care Moisturizer day and night. At night she also has me using the Sulfp-lo Cleansing Bar to help dry out blemishes. I also use Obagi's Benzoyl Peroxide Moisturizer to further dry out the blemishes over night. After 2 weeks of not using the Dr. Dennis Gross products and only 5 days of using the regimen my esthetician recommended, my face is experiencing almost no breakouts even during my lovely lady week. Next week she has me following up with the Physician's Assistant that she works with to be prescribed a Retin-A and possibly Spironolactone.
Sorry again for the long read!! I just want to be as open about the progress I make, just in case someone out there is on the verge of giving up. I will of course keep you updated, and until next time.. stay beautiful!!