06 April 2010

Wishing so hard for so long

About a year ago I realized that I needed a change. It was just after turning in my final articles and papers that I decided, in a last effort in the battle against my skin that I would try Accutane.
Since I before I was 12 I've had acne. It started out like any teenager with a blemish here and there and a spray of tiny blackheads across my nose. Progressively it got better, then worse, then better again. I tried everything at the drugstore, Proactiv, Retin A, and a whole slew of medications from the dermatologist. Sometimes it would get better but it was always a precarious situation. I would go to sleep with a clear face and wake up with 5 or 6 cysts and even more whiteheads. Are you grossed out yet? I certainly was.
By the end of high school I thought it was over. My senior year I had a face washing ritual of Proactiv, using Clinique moisturizers, changing my pillow case every night, never letting my shirt touch my face, and CONSTANTLY running to the bathroom to dab on Neutrogena spot treatment. It was overwhelming but my skin was tame for a time.
In college it just progressively got worse. I was on Minocyline for over a year, still trying all kinds of drugstore products, fanatically changing my pillowcases and shirts, caking on more and more makeup. For four years it was a never ending fight. I cried, complained, hid behind makeup, avoided cameras on bad skin days, picked, and scratched. It was overwhelming and whenever anyone asked me to do something I never considered the activity, but what my skin situation might be. Any kind of overnight meant planning to "put on my face" before anyone else was awake, going out at night meant carrying a big enough purse for my makeup.
I have really distinct memories of moments where I would break down crying when I looked in the mirror. My 21st birthday, a weekend my boyfriend came to visit me, and my college graduation were particularly painful.
My friends always said that they "Didn't really notice." My boyfriend said, "You're beautiful no matter what." Other things that really bothered me were people telling me that my skin wasn't really that bad and that they had seen much worse. Of course they had, on kids, not someone in their 20's!
It was so much more than that. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I was in pain physically and emotionally. Even with makeup and photoshop I couldn't hide the bad spots.
My 21st birthday and a photo LK was kind enough to do extensive touching up on
Wearing gobs and gobs of makeup in the gross August humidity
In May I took my first dose of Claravis, the generic Accutane, and started the 8 month process of clearing up my face. I wrote about it here a few months ago. It was pretty horrible to say the least. Between fighting with my insurance company, scraping together money to pay for it, and the painful side effects, I just hoped it would be worth it. Every single inch of my face was on fire all day all the time. I rarely ever left my house because it got worse before it got better. It was so awful. I was a complete wreck, angry and sad all the time. The worst was the unsolicited advice for how to "fix my problem." People were constantly telling me what to do about my skin, because my skin was the worst it had ever been and I couldn't exactly hang a sign around my neck announcing that I was already doing something to fix it! The worst was when strangers offered help in front of my friends. Another horrible thing that happened pretty often was that I was asked "What's wrong with your face," or "Why are you covered in chickenpox/bugbites," by adults and children alike. Having clear skin seemed like something that would never ever happen. The frightening side effects (loss of night vision, permanent liver damage, suicide) never seemed quite as scary as having acne forever.
When I was on Claravis, this is how I looked with makeup and a bit of photo touch-up
Now that my skin is clear I love letting people take my picture, going out, and even going out without makeup on. I wished for so long to have clear skin and now I have it. Every single time someone compliments my skin I want to cry from happiness. I worry a lot that I'm going to wake up one day and it will be all broken out again and I will have to go back on Claravis, probably more than I should. Would I do it again? For sure. Would I recommend it to other people? Yes, in a heartbeat but only if it were really necessary. It was the best thing I ever did for my skin. So, thanks to those people who noticed, it really means a lot to me.
Late January 2010 just before I finished taking the meds

14 comments

  1. wow, it's made such a difference.

    your skin is beautiful and so are you

    i hope you feel amazing x

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  2. Oh, i never thought you had so many troubles with your skin. It looks amazing now. I have a close frien who also had lots of troubles with acne and i know how she felt in that time. I'm glad you feel comfortable in your own skin now :)

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  3. people can be so tactless!

    you look so truly beautiful though and more confident and happy too :)

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  4. No wonder you like having your picture taken - you look beautiful. This must have been such a traumatic experience and I think you've been terribly brave. It might sound a bit tacky, but we do value something much more when it doesn't come naturally. But what I heard most was that you have friends and a bf who love you for you are, no matter what.

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  5. congrats! you're absolutely gorgeous, you always have been, but I'm glad you're more self confident now. and your green eyes are beautiful, wow

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  6. You are gorgeous, regardless but I am so happy for you :)

    I sent your package today x

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  7. Kallie you are so amazing, I am soory to hear that you had to go through so much, I can relate to this in a similair way. It sucks when people think that there is something wrong with you. I am so happy for you that it finally cleared up and that you are happy. :)
    xoxox

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  8. Wow. Your skin looks amazing, and so do your eyes. I'm glad that you are so happy now, it definitely shows.

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  9. You have fabulous skin... that is one awesome transformation. xoxo

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  10. WOW! I never would have thought that you had had a problem with your skin in the past. Well done for being so brave about the situation.
    You look absolutely beautiful!

    Selene :)

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  11. Congrats to you on your clear skin. I'd like to thank you for talking openly about this. People really don't realize the damage they can do in misguided efforts to help...my advice on advice: you get what you pay for.

    So many people are judged by the appearance of their skin, which is a pity...true beauty comes from within.

    Best of luck to you in keeping clear. You look ravishing!

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  12. wow - what a transformation! thanks for helping me truly realise what people go through with skin like yours - it's really sad! I am glad there are things out there that work, though.

    also, you have beautiful eyes :)

    xx

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  13. Your skin looks amazing. Really beautiful xx

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  14. Kallie you are so amazing, I am soory to hear that you had to go through so much, I can relate to this in a similair way. It sucks when people think that there is something wrong with you. I am so happy for you that it finally cleared up and that you are happy. :)
    xoxox

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