did u hv pimples in ur teenage years? i did. actually i still do. not as bad as those back then, but can be pretty annoying at times.
i didn't start getting breakouts until i was 16. before that pimples were only once in a while ocassions, nothing to fret about. my war with acne began in high school. i didn't realise it until my roomie erin told me abt it. i looked into the mirror, oh no, those volcanoes! how ignorant was i of my own face!
as i entered uni, it went from bad to worse. i tried nearly every skincare product suggested to me. some showed positive outcomes, some got my skin even worse. nouvelle visages made my skin dry. shiseido caused whole lot more breakouts. dermalogica was really expensive but didn't do much difference. a lot more brands came into the picture, be it local or imported, cheap or expensive, natural or highly chemical, you name it, i tried it.
as i watch an episode of mtv true life featuring teenagers battling acne problem, those old memories come to mind. i can totally relate to those kids. the pain, the humiliation, the self-pity. it hurts bad, not just on the skin but deep inside into your soul.
you know what hurts the most? when your own family members are disgusted by your skin. worse still, they make hurtful comments, while their faces flashing similar expression of someone seeing maggots crawling out of a rubbish bin. then come the two-cents-worth of suggestions of what you should/shouldn't do or eat or apply on your skin. i've heard it all. i've been hurt by it all.
i remember getting a number of emotional breakdowns over acne. at times i would call my dad crying my heart out over the phone. at times i would stand in front of the mirror squeezing every zit with tears rolling down my cheeks. at times i would just lock myself in my room and cried until i felt better.
i am so thankful to my dad for being so supportive throughout those times. he told me it was normal to have those horrible feelings. he said some teenagers in more developed countries even commit suicide because of acne. he knew well the problem wasn't just skin deep. he spent a lot of money for me to try different products and treatments. without his support, especially emotionally, there was a good chance of me losing my mind over this.
i worked hard and prayed hard for my skin to get better. not long after i finished uni and got a job, my prayers were answered. i tried using nivea products for oily skin and they worked like a charm. now my skin is much better. it may not be as smooth as baby's backside, but it looks great enough for me and i am very thankful.
these days i have friends and family asking me what product do i use to achieve such result. i'm always happy to share as i know how good it feels to finally have healthy skin and i wish they do too.
if i have one thing to tell a person battling acne problem (especially teenagers) is to never give up finding a product that suits you. ppl will never stop giving hurtful remarks and giving their know-it-all advices, but your skin is only yours to care.
be patient, for every new product that you try, give it at least a month to take effect. if there's no improvement after two months, get rid of that product, go try a new one.
never use different brands at the same time (i.e. brand A for facial foam, brand B for toner, brand C for moisturiser). each company got their own way of developing their skincare line, hence different chemical compounds. they may not go well together, thus may cause adverse reaction to your skin. mixing n matching also makes it difficult for you to monitor which product works and which one doesn't.
to avoid wasting money on trial and error, make sure you only buy starter pack or sampler. don't get influenced by the salesgirl who tells you that you can save more money buying the big bottle. what if the product doesn't work? it will be a bigger waste of money.
to those who have someone in your family suffering acne problem, i've got message for you too. i know it's easy to get disgusted by ugliness, we are all human. but being family, try not to show it point blank as it can be really hurtful. save all your speech on how they shouldn't eat oily food, should sleep on time, should wash their face 10 times a day.. they have heard it all. your words only going to result in more heartache. do you honestly think they haven't tried all that?
if you really need to give your two-cents-worth to prove that you are holier-than-thou, please do it tactfully. provide success stories of real ppl that they know in person, not some chick who appears on tv commercials. please do not use expressions like eeeii or eeeww when describing their skin condition or doing that i'm-so-worried-about-you expressions as if they got AIDS. it's freaking annoying.
enough of my ranting, straight from the heart of somebody who has declared victory in her war against acne. some battle scars may still be there, let those be bygones, my self-worth has boosted way beyond all that. once in a while the old enemy may come and visit, but it's ok, it's a humble reminder of my past. though i would rather chase them away forever, a little post-war aftermath shall not dampen my spirit. after all, the war has already been won!