There were two points in my life when my skin became reallly bad: my first year in college, and my first 6 months in a corporate job. By bad, I mean google-image search ‘cystic acne’ and imagine that all over your face—that bad. It came to a point that there were no more available space on my face except my eyelids. I am not exaggerating; friends and colleagues can attest this. I refused to see my friends and leave the house for months because whenever I did, all they could give me were either worried or sympathetic looks. My then boss even had to call me into his office and talk about my pimples! (When he asked what might be the reason for my skin problem, I gave him a straight answer: work. LOL.) So yes, despite my gorgeous looks today, I know how it feels like to be ugly, lol. But seriously, yes, I know what it feels like!
Thankfully, benzoyl peroxide pulled through for me. I did see a dermatologist, which helped initially, but I got impatient as she wanted to know the source of my pimples and thus, kept experimenting with products, including shampoo and toothpaste. I guess it made sense, but due to my experience in college, I knew BP worked for me so I quit her and went for my instinct.
I followed the regimen found on www.acne.org. As in I’d finish tubes and tubes of PanOxyl in a month. In about a year, my skin cleared save for the occassional breakouts. At that point, I theorized that perhaps, my skin had become bombarded by BP way too much so I slowly weaned myself off it. And true enough, I stopped having regular pimples then. (Though it actually took me about two years before I became confident enough to stop using BP.)
Here’s what worked for me then:
- Pond’s ‘white beauty’ facial wash – they have different variants: for oily skin, for a ‘rosy glow,’ for the pimple-prone, etc. All of them worked for me, though I eventually settled on the lightening one (picture below), not because I wanted to look white but because I wanted it to lighten my dark spots. Also, I found that I was more susceptible to pimples when I used cleansers that do not lather, e.g., Cetaphil. I also didn’t respond well to salicylic acid (SA) at that time.
- Benzoyl peroxide – See acne.org for the regimen. I know that the Proactive line is based on BP; PanOxyl is the cheaper alternative (I used the 5% variant; 10% was just way too strong.). I also read somewhere that you’ll respond well to either BP or SA only; not sure if that’s true.
- Pond’s ‘white beauty’ cream – This is an awesome product. Even Dr. Belo has mentioned it several times; it’s truly effective in lightening your dark spots and acne scars. (So again, I am endorsing this product not to glorify fair, mestizo skin.) Also, I know it has sunscreen protection, which is very important when you’re using BP, although until now, I’m not sure what its SPF is.
As most acne sufferers would know, what works for others may not work for yourself. In my case, it took months of trial-and-error before I settled on these three. And even later, I had to eventually switch products as I discovered a better, albeit more expensive, regimen. (I’ll discuss that in my next entry.)
Now my pimples and most of the dark spots are gone—but the scars are not. So whatever happens, no matter how bad they get, never ever pop your pimples! (Well, actually you can, but only for cases in which you can clearly see they’re ripe for the pricking. Visit this section for more details.)