My recovery from acne

Dear Dayre,

Oonshuan posted this really great quote on IG and I'm sharing it here to remind myself to stay grateful and thankful always 😊

I came across these photos of my skin while helping YZ backup his iPhone earlier today, these photos were from about 3 years ago, when I was suffering from a skin breakout that really ruined my self-esteem and confidence for a long time 😭

I believe there were even worse breakouts than those not depicted in these photos, but I don't have those old photos anymore so this is probably only 70% of what my skin looked like at its worst.

No idea what happened to me. It was like BOOM and one day I woke up with pimples sprouting all over my cheeks and chin area, while my forehead was absolutely clear.

I couldn't figure out what was causing it. I tried to cleanse my face thoroughly and use skincare religiously, but these angry red acne only subsided for new ones to form.

I remember feeling increasingly depressed. Going out for events or meetings was stressful because I had to pile on a thick layer of makeup to hide my bad skin.

I really tried all methods I could think of. I tried washing my bedsheets and pillow cases more frequently in case it was bacteria allergies, I signed a facial package and tried going for facials regularly.

I tried different skincare products and threw out those I suspected might have caused the breakouts.. I basically tried everything I could think of and nothing helped a single bit.

Coming back home and cleansing off my makeup was the worst. I would look at my bare face staring back at me with all its angry red inflamed areas and feel like the ugliest person in the world.

I would feel so sad and helpless because I really didn't know what was causing this breakout and how to make it go away 😢 Every night, I would go to sleep praying to see a slightly healed skin in the morning.

Alas, I often woke up with hope in my heart that was dashed immediately upon giving my skin a once-over in the mirror. The acne just kept popping up, all over my chin and cheeks.. I remember having three giant pimples combine on my chin to give me a major inflamed and red acne island 😑

I was discussing these bad skin experiences with some other beauty bloggers and we agreed that bad skin is truly the worst for your self-esteem.

It's because you have absolutely no control over your skin unlike maybe your body size. If you're big-sized or plump, you can lose weight or even dress well to flatter your figure, but bad skin just doesn't listen to you 😭

Bad skin also gives the impression of poor hygiene, and like what @bunbunmakeuptips mentioned before, insensitive people somehow always feel the need to remark on your skin like they're some kind of authority. "Eh why you got so many pimples?" AS IF I WANT ONE 😒

Excerpt from my blog post during that acne-ridden period. You see, I really prayed every night for my skin to become better, which is why the quote I posted above 👆🏻 brought to mind this bleak period in my life.

It was so frustrating, so depressing and so so so stressful 😭

I remember feeling absolutely desperate one morning when I woke up and my skin condition had deteriorated even further: I immediately decided I needed to get help for my skin.

That very day, I booked an appt with a dermatologist that was recommended by Fish, and went on a long and painful course of Roaccutane for about 8-9 months or so if I remember correctly.

Apart from being expensive, Roaccutane is also harmful to unborn fetuses and can lead to birth deformities. It is a very strong medication meant for acne that cannot be treated otherwise, and during the course of prescription, I also had painful and cracked lips because it dried out my skin and lips so badly.

It may also be dangerous for people who have liver problems and thus, to go on Roaccutane, you need to take a blood test to ensure that your health is in working order.

Most derms will first prescribe a course of antibiotics coupled with some anti-acne medication, which is really effective for some people but may not work on others.

The derm recommended me to go straight on Roaccutane because I bluntly told her that I was VERY worried about the scarring and she said that Roaccutane would be the most effective and fastest way of dealing with acne, provided that you were in good condition to take it (no pregnancy plans in near future, good blood test results and all)

Like I said, I was truly desperate and decided to go straight for it.

It took me at least 3 months on Roaccutane to see my skin slowly but surely clearing up.

You can't imagine how many lip balms I owned too because my lips were so painful and dry all the time, and got worse in cold weather 😭

I can tell you that my favourite lip balms are from Shiseido and Ettusais (also a Shiseido brand) because they temporarily relieved the horrid dry cracking of my lips during the time I was on Roaccutane.

Roaccutane also causes extra skin sensitivity in some cases, and my skin is still quite sensitive now and I get rashes and red spots for no reason still 😥

During Roaccutane

My skin during the road to recovery. Lips were so dry you can see a white border all around my lips. The breakout had cleared up mostly but I still had old acne that were in the process of healing.

Much better here and even the older acne spots were fading and flattening out already.

Roaccutane really saved my skin and gave me back my self-esteem and confidence 😭 But it was a very long and arduous journey and I hope I never have to go through it again.

I have been off Roaccutane for more than 2 years now and thankfully my skin has remained in relatively good condition.

I used to have combination/normal skin, but now my skin is dry instead because of my bout on Roaccutane.

After Roaccutane

This was in April 2014, my skin really cleared up and was at its optimal right around the time I stopped Roaccutane (late 2013), because apparently the drug stays in your body for a few months and still regulates oil secretion in your oil glands.

That being said, I was very worried about another flare-up because I read that 1/3 of Roaccutane-users experience a relapse and some have to take a second course or even keep on taking Roaccutane to maintain their skin condition.

I was still very cautious about trying new skincare products at that time and only used derm-prescribed products at that point of time from #IDSclinic, which I found didn't cause any negative reaction on my skin, and helped to keep my skin in good condition too.

Only after I was certain that my skin condition had stabilized and wasn't gonna go crazy on me then did I start including different products in my skincare regime.

I don't stick solely to IDS products at the moment because it's part of my job to try new products and new brands all the time, but their C+ serum and sunscreen are two of my favourites!

This is not an ad for IDS: I'm just genuinely sharing my skin experience and IDS products were definitely part of my skin recovery and maintenance post-Roaccutane.

Right now

My bare-faced skin right now isn't perfect or anything, but i am grateful for having recovered from that upsetting bout of acne and to have fairly clear skin now!

I still have light blemishes on my skin from the acne but they are really very mild already, thankfully.

Never ever take what you have for granted because you won't miss it until it's taken away from you….

Actually I didn't intend to write so much about acne & all that 😂 I really only wanted to share a quote but it somehow led to the above story 👆🏻

But I guess 2 points I want to bring across is,

1. Be grateful for what you have now! Can't imagine how I was praying so badly for clear skin during that dark period & now I've been acne-free for three years already 😭 Thank you, universe!

2. Ladies experiencing breakouts & acne, please stay optimistic that you will be able to improve your skin!

Some favourite products for sensitive/dry skin

FANCL Facial Washing Powder: I've just rediscovered this recently thanks to the FANCL press trip I went on and I fell in love with the feeling of cleansing with this super rich foam!

It somehow leaves the skin feeling very comfortable with a layer of moisture after washing off, with no tight or dry feeling.

100% preservative/additive free too!

Down-side is it's troublesome to lather up the foam with the foaming ball and sometimes I'm too lazy for it 😂

FANCL is coming back to SG next month!

Kiehl's Calendula Toner: I was first recommended this by the BA at Kiehl's and I really like how it feels just like water on the skin. No alcohol content and it's very soothing and doesn't irritate sensitive skin.

When my skin is acting up (sometimes I get itchy patches or red raised rashes) I take a couple of cotton pads and saturate the pads in this toner and leave it on my skin for 10-15 minutes. It helps to calm my skin down instantly.

LUSH Oatifix Mask: One of my favourite masks for dry/sensitive skin because it feels amazing on the skin. This mask contains banana, almonds, honey and oatmeal, and it smells so yummy!

I find that this mask is perfect for dry skin because it's so rich and leaves my skin feeling softer and more hydrated. It also helps to gently exfoliate my skin with the almond bits when I rinse off.

On the down-side: it's messy to apply, hard to wash off. Each fresh tub can only be kept for 4 weeks too.

Back home with my cutie pie ❤️❤️❤️

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