Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Year of Clear Skin

I was in the shower today, my third shower of the day (aside from the usual hygienic reasons, I take showers when I'm stressed out or when I'm hungover, and today I happened to be both so I took three) and I saw a pimple on my chest. A couple of weeks ago I saw a pimple on my chin. This made me angry because I am not supposed to have pimples. It's been less than a year since I took my final three pills of Accutane, and I'm supposed to have, if not a lifetime at least a few more years of supermodel clear skin until pimples clog my pores again.

My two pimples reminded me of one of my favorite things about 2015: I got rid of my acne. It's hard to know the plight of being a pizza face unless you really have acne. The cystic acne that's painful to touch and bleeds if you wash your face too hard, that's bacteria-infested so even washing your face makes it worse. You go on birth control because it "clears up your skin" but it does shit except give you more pimples. You max out tetracycline refills and apply various topical creams morning and night, some of which need to be refrigerated and others of which make your face peel. You stop eating dairy because it's bad for your skin, then reintroduce yogurt because it has probiotics and apparently putting good bacteria in your stomach kills the bad bacteria on your face. To treat acne is to find out that all of the beauty myths out there mean jack shit because the only thing that truly works are drugs that require you to get a blood test every month and that dry your body out in places you didn't even know could get dry.

Your acne has to make you feel really ugly before you decide you need Accutane. I've never felt as ugly as I did in August of 2014. My skin was a war zone of pimples. I had breakouts on my forehead, around my chin and along my hairline. My face was shiny and if the pimples weren't black or blue, they were bleeding and scabbing. I stopped wearing makeup because it seemed to only make the situation worse and the first thing I did when I came home every day from work was wash my face. I discovered that toilet seat covers are really great oil blotters, and whenever I went to the bathroom at work, I'd leave with a folded-up toilet seat cover to dab my face with while sitting at my desk. I was embarrassed to go out with my friends because I didn't want people to see my face, and I spent inordinate amounts of money on mascara and eye makeup. My face was producing so much oil I was basically an Arab emirate.

It took about two weeks on Accutane for my acne to start clearing up. Two months later, it was 75% gone, and six months later it had completely gone away. I couldn't stop looking at myself in the mirror and petting my cheeks. Was this for real? I had never felt so pretty! People told me my skin was glowing. I didn't wear make up because I didn't need it. I had a clear complexion and I didn't want to cover it up.

I still have a clear complexion, even if my skin doesn't glow like it did my first full month off Accutane. My pimples now are mostly reminders that I'm stressed out and hormonal. They're the fair weather ones that go away and never come back.

That's all. Bye.

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