Monday, September 5, 2011

Skin Woes...Saving Face

I was fortunate to have great skin all through middle school & high school....I rarely had to deal with the breakouts associated with puberty that many teenagers deal with. If you're thinking "how lucky"....think again.  I totally would have preferred to deal with acne as a teenager when everyone else was.  But noooooo.  I get to deal with the joys of adult acne. AWESOME. It is a pretty sweet way to connect with my middle school students though- you know, sharing skin care tips! (Kidding, but it could be a sad reality. Trying to see the humor in it!)

{Yes, this is airbrushed.....thank you Dana & Photoshop!!}
I started breaking out in my 20' a college kid.  I really didn't think much of it until it didn't go away. And it got progressively worse. I was horrified and I went to the local physician and dermatologist.Throughout the past six years I have tried EVERYTHING. And I mean everything.  Proactiv, microdermabrasion, Retin-A, Differin, tanning bed, facials, Dermalogica, antibiotics, Aveeno, Cetaphil, giving up chocolate & greasy foods, tons of water, spot treatments, toothpaste, Clarisonic, etc. You name it, I've tried it.  My doctor finally told me it was hormones, not stress or bacteria, so he put me on birth control, which has helped some.  I do still have breakouts, especially when I'm close to that "time."  I also have some scarring because I'm a picker. Bad habit- I know!
So, about two years ago I started developing some really strange brown spots on my face...particularly around my upper lip.  I assumed it was sun spots, but was so embarrassed because it looked like a mustache (although it was not hair- just skin discoloration- hello, I'm a blonde!).  Fabulous....and now I have Melasma, which is associated with....guess what....birth control. Hello, lose lose! I can either have full out adult acne, or horrendous sun spots that cover my whole face and look like a beard. Ahhhh, decisions, decisions!!  I have stayed on the birth control and used a bleaching cream to help with the sun spots. I have to be VERY careful in the sun though, so I ALWAYS wear sunblock and a hat, and try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
{Here's a pic from our beach trip a couple years ago.}
 {I know this pic isn't the best quality, but I feel like you can somewhat see the dark area on my upper lip. Say hello to my Melasma.}
I wish I had some more pictures to show, but I was am pretty self conscious about the breakouts & the Melasma, so I try to avoid having my picture taken if I am not covering both of them up with some fabulous concealer! (Bare Minerals concealer brush's like a little magic wand!)
Every once in a while my face clears up and the dark spots seem to fade...& then my skin looks like this without any photo editing (but still a decent amount of makeup):
For the most part,  I still have to work with my skin A LOT & deal with all of it's 'issues' on a regular basis.  I'm a pretty low maintenance girl for the most part, but my lil face is a different story.  My skin is the most "under control" it has ever been, and here's what I've been doing:
1. Using the Mary Kay TimeWise system every morning and evening
2. Using Witch Hazel after I work out (between my morning and evening washes)
3. Using Tri-Luma cream to reduce the appearance of sunspots
4. Staying out of the sun & tanning bed
5. Wearing SPF daily, and wearing a hat if I am directly in the sun
6. Drinking lots of water & eating a healthy diet
7. Trying NOT to pick at my face....using spot treatment at the first sign of a breakout instead
8. Taking Burdock Root- herbal supplement supposed to help with acne (I think it helps!)
9. Monthly facial that includes microderm treatment and gentle peel (I have a friend who does them for a very reasonable price- she's awesome!)
10. Wearing mineral makeup (and I REALLY need to start cleaning my makeup brushes more often!)

Anyone else having the same skin struggles as me??
What are you using that works? Any advice?
Rumor has it all my "skin woes" are just going to get worse when I get I'm doing my best to "save face" and get my skin under control as much as possible before that happens.

I really can't complain, and I know it could be worse. I'm thankful it's somewhat "manageable" right now...Dealing with adult acne and Melasma have been so embarrassing for me....


Erin said...

See, I had it in high school, although it was never truly terrible. From about 18 to present, though, I get this terrible cystic acne on the corners of my mouth which, no matter what I do, does not go away. My dermatologist gave me samples of EpiDuo and I use it religiously every night and it has kept them at bay. If I ever start to slack off, though, they come right back. I actually just try to wash my face at night and have found that somehow keeps the oil at bay and the freaky acne away. I also use TimeWise from time to time, but am currently in love with my Olay Pro-X face buzzer thing (like Clairsonic). If I don't use that thing every day, I start developing smaller blemishes.

GAH! I hope it works out for you. Have you tried other birth controls (says the pharmacy student) to avoid the Melasma? =)

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Ohmygosh, I totally get the same spots above my lip and I HATE it! My face is already kind of freckly, but in the summer the spots get so much darker and in the past few years they have been showing up above my lip!
I keep seeing commercials for a product by Clinique that is supposed to fade dark spots that I am thinking about trying. It might be pointless though because summer is almost over and I don't get the spots in the winter.
I have to be very very consistent with my skin to avoid breakouts. My secret is keeping my skin moisturized. In the summer I use simple Oil of Olay moisturizer and in the winter I use Cetaphil. Every night I wash my face with sensitive skin cleanser and use an astringent. I know some people say astringent is bad, but it really works for me.
I'm glad your skin is under control now, my fingers are crossed it stays that way. Skin woes are the WORST.

brandiern said...

Hey! My mom is an Aesthetician and was wondering if you've ever tried hydroquoine 4%. Said that is what they prescribe for melasma. You use it twice a day until it's faded (usually 3weeks but up to 3 months) and then 2x per week even when gone to keep at bay. Just an FYI. Happy Labor Day! ;). Ps you look beautiful in all of your pics

Kelly Ford said...

I have HORRIBLE melasma. Fyi, its made worse by pregnancy. Awesome :-)

I am going to do a post about this later this week, i think! But i've found that a combo of chemical peels, epiquin-micro (different from tri-luma... i hated that junk! it made my face so dry it peeled constantly but didnt seem to lighten my face at all!), daily sunscreen and hats works ok. The peels are the BEST, though!

Sorry you have to deal with that! But you are practically perfect in every other way, so i doubt that anyone notices the blemishes on your face... we're all still wow'd by your rockin bod from all the hard work you do to keep it so tone! :-)

texas girl said...

I feel like I could have written this Post!! Although my clairsonic helps alot! Though doesnt make the problem completley go away... I love my philosophy products and microdermabrasion is key! Just having my first baby a year ago and now pregnant with my second I have to say my skin actuley has been fantastic! My skin issues are related to hormones too, and I feel like with out the monthly up and downs its much easier to find what works and get some consistancy also breast feeding has been great for my skin because it has really balanced out my hormones!

Danielle said...

I have a similar situation, nothing much during the school years, but as I got older it's gotten worse. Luckily for me though mine was because of birth control. I was on Depo-provera for about 2.5 years and could not figure out what was causing my weight gain and my face to break out at this age! I have switched birth control (i HAVE to be on it for other medical reasons so quitting is not an option for me) and starting using a face wash with salicylic acid in it. And when I start to see a break out (I am a bad picker too) I try to wait until it's ready, pop it, then cover it with alcohol to dry it out and use bacitracin to heal it. That usually works and my break outs have gotten more under control with that and the switching of the medication. Sometimes you just have to find the right pill... and it could take up to 2 months until you notice the changes in your skin.

Mama’s Minute said...

Thanks for sharing this BFF! You know since we have the same "skin" and all I have this problem as well! Maybe we won't have wrinkles when we grow older because we struggle with adult acne! My 5th graders think I am 18 because I have pimples...GROSS!! I love you! You are still absolutely gorgeous to me! Do not worry about anything ... Phil 4:6

*Butler, Party of 4* said...

Thank you all for the great advice & encouragement...

Although I hate to hear of others with skin woes, it's good to know I'm not alone as a 26 year old struggling with crazy skin!

I may just have to try some of y'alls tips and I'll let ya know how it goes!

Lindy said...

Hey Girlie!! I have have always struggled with acne, even though it doesn't really bother me now. I have been using PURPOSE face wash for a few years now and it is the only thing that has worked for me. I have tried Mary Kay twice and it makes me break out really bad!! I also had/have the dark spots on my upper lip-although I think they have gotten better. I have an IUD for birth control and maybe that has made a difference?!? It was at it's worse when I was pregnant with Brooks, but I did not notice it as much when pregnant with Ellie, so ??? I think that you are gorgeous no matter what, so try Purpose if you haven't already for the acne, it has been a miracle worker for me :) XOXO!!