Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The hardest post I've ever written.

I've just sat and watched Dying for Clear Skin on BBC 3. I think it is genuinely one of the saddest things I have ever watched. You can catch it on BBC Iplayer until next week, I hope it wakes up the world to realise how much acne can effect people.

 I've suffered with acne since about the age of 12. It first came about, about the time I started secondary school, so I didn't think much of it as most kids my age were getting the odd pimple. I was taken to the doctors and prescribed several different types of topical creams, which didn't do anything but dry out my skin. 

From the start of year 7, up until the beginning of year 10 I became a recluse. Only really going over to my friends houses - not going out with my friends. The majority of the time I would go to school, come home and spend the rest of the night in my room. It wasn't the best time in my life, as bullying became an issue - usually just sly remarks probably not even about my skin but I took everything to heart.  I was never diagnosed with depression so I wouldn't have considered myself to be depressed but I was in a very lonely place. And became an expert at putting a front on - always smiling around people. Throughout these years I had been on many different medications for acne, numerous anti-biotics but still had no improvement. 

Moving up into my final two years at school, I gained a little in confidence, my dad believe this was due to GCSE Drama and to be honest he's probably right. I came out of my shell and so did my personality. I spent more time going out with my friends which gives a much needed confidence boost. By this point the acne was mainly around my chin area - very painful, sore cyst-like bumps. Some were under the skin and some with those dreaded yellow heads - that no amount of make up would cover. 

Make up did become a sort of 'mask' to hide behind. No one other than my parents would see my skin without make up, in fact last weekend was the first time in the last 10 years I've left the house without make up on for an entire day. That was purely because the nurse advised to give my skin a rest. I have no idea how I would have coped with acne had I been a boy, make up is the thing that allows me to leave the house with some confidence.

Along side the medications I was taking I had a 'sun lamp' - basically a baby sun bed but just for your face. This was the bane of my life for 5 years or so. I was encouraged to use it every day by my parents - now looking back I didn't realise how dangerous this was for my skin. The topical creams and anti-biotics I was on made my skin more susceptible to sun light making me very at risk from burning. However I used it religiously and did see a small improvement. Thinking about it now I would think twice about using it - thankfully it's shut up in my mam and dad's loft somewhere. 

My skin became a very raw subject in my house. It cause A LOT of arguments between me and my parents and caused a rift between me and mam for some time. Looking back I know they just wanted my skin to be clear, but the pressure I felt from them to take medication and use the sun lamp caused me to be extremely upset. This was probably my hardest time - the end of school and beginning of college. Most nights I would spend crying in my room for what seemed like no apparent reason but my skin made me feel like I stood out and that everyone was staring at me. Watching that programme allowed me to relate very closely to one of the boys who said he didn't like looking people in the eye. I know exactly how that feels and I even said to my hubby last week 'what if everyone looks at me' when I left the house with no make up on. I remember several times during my college years refusing to go swimming cos I couldn't bare the thought of my make up coming off in the swimming pool and people seeing the 'real' me.

My skin cleared for some time - not completely but certainly improved a lot. This was down to the contraceptive pill Dianette which unfortunately I'm not allowed any more due to the side effects of blood clotting. It's only a short term fix but for me it did the job.  

So that brings us to now. This is quite a major thing for me to write. To be honest I've never really shared exactly how my skin makes me feel - to anyone. It was never discussed in my family because it was such a (pardon the pun) sore point. The last couple of month have seen my skin take a nose dive - I've started suffering with back acne and getting spots on my chest area and around my neck/hairline. They are very itchy and uncomfortable. Last week I visited the nurse who prescribed more anti-biotics in case of infection - they didn't work. I've finally been referred to a dermatologist after 10 years of suffering.  

My point of this post was I hope people realise how much acne takes over your life. You live, sleep and breath acne and worrying about your skin. My teenage years were spent with several concealers in my bag and I still now never leave the house without my make up bag. I know there are much more important things in my life and the world. This is a huge thing for me and hopefully one day I will be able to walk out of the house, without make up, with my head held high. 

Photo taken this morning - after cleansing etc. I am in a lot of pain.

Check out Acne Treatment for advice on Acne.

Katie xx



  1. This looks very sore :( Have you ever been offered antibiotics (tetracyclines) for your skin? x

  2. You've basically just written about me in this post, I can relate to this SO much! I saw everyone tweeting about that programme last night and I know that I'll never be able to watch it because it'll just be too emotionally distressing to me, even reading this I shred a little tear! Definitely know that you're not alone and know that it CAN be beaten.. I've recently been referred to a dermatologist after suffering from the age of 11 (much like you) all the way until I was nearly 20.. 9 years is a long time to hate looking in the mirror :( after getting a blood clot for being on Diannette for 3 years the dermatologist has given me a 9 month couse of antibiotics called lymalycyline (I think, can't remember off the top of my head!) and I can see a difference and my skin is really clearing up. I know it's painful and can make you feel insecure but honestly you're still beautiful and don't let it bring you down!! I hope that your dermatologist can help you like she's helped me, I feel so much better and more confident for it.

    I wish I was brave enough to write a post like this and be able to raise awareness but I just don't think I'll ever be able to. Well done, I'm really proud of you! Chin up hun x

    1. Thank you so much for reading it! I hope that the dermatologist can help it's taken me a long, long time to get here. My skin is certainly not anywhere near it's worst but it's no where near it's best either. We will get there eventually. I hope your skin keeps clearing too! xx

  3. This was a really brave post and I love reading it! I know exactly what you are going through.

    I was on accutane for a year when I was 16 and it was by far the hardest year of my life... I would miss school, not want to go out the house and end up spending most days in bed.

    People used to bully me and my skin would also be the thing people would use to hurt me.

    Luckily accutane did clear my skin up and now I actually get compliments on my skin, but it really upsets me that people still have to go through it.

    If you really feel it's not clearing up the best thing to do is go back to the doctors and insist that you need to be on high medication and how it is affecting your daily life... that's what I did and I've never looked back.

    Good luck and I hope you manage to sort something out soon!

    1. Thank you, hopefully the dermatologist will come up with something! x

    2. Honestly all the creams and topical "solutions" just aren't worth trying if it's affecting your life this much... tell them you want to be on accutane and don't let them persuade you otherwise.

      I know it' a strong drug but it's the most effective!

    3. Just watched the programme on bbc iplayer and it took me back to a lot of bad times in my life, so sad to watch :(

      I know you're shown the really bad side effects of accutane but I did work for me and luckily I had no adverse reactions to it.

      Just do your research before you start or commit to anything. If you need any more information or have any questions about it feel free to message me, I'm more than happy to help. :)


  4. this post nearly had me in tears, you are so brave to write about this. Fortunately I don't have acne as bad as some cases but about 2 years ago I went to the doctor for my skin and was devastated to be told it was actually acne. After one or two gels which seemed to make my face flake off, I was eventually prescribed zineryt and I have to say, it's a miracle. After a month of using it I am really confident with my skin. It's still red and slightly scarred, but there's been a great improvement. I just hope everyone who suffers from this finds the right cure for them!

    1. Thank you :) I've tried zineryt it didn't do much for me, but I know other people it worked wonders for! I'm glad it helped you! :) x

  5. You are so brave for sharing this with us, and especially the photo, personally i have never has acne, my skin is quite the opposite - extremely dry - but my brother is 16 and suffers quite badly with acne. Like your parents my Mam nags him to take his medication and although I know shes trying to help I feel bad for him sometimes because I'm sure he feels embarrassed when she mentions his skin. After all, its not his fault he has it.
    I really hope you find something that works well for you and is long term.


  6. This is so sad :( you're so brave for speaking out about it and raising awareness though, i hope the dermatologist can help :) xx


  7. Well done you for sharing this with us & being so open with your feelings. Spots affect so many of us - me included. I find it amazing that in this day & age their is no cure for acne. Just remember that beauty is only skin deep & it's the person inside that really matters.
    Would love you to check out my latest outfit post :)
    Have a fab Tuesday Hun xoxo

  8. What a refreshingly honest post. I was convinced my skin would clear up as I got older but, at thirty, although it's far better, it's certainly no oil painting (think more oil slick). I can live with those on my face but find those on my chest/ back the worst as I hate feeling I have to carefully pick what I wear. I found dianette (sp?) did wonders but it took a good six months to have any affect.Rx


    1. Yeah Dianette was fab but they took it off me. Never mind I'm sure there is somethihg out there!

  9. I'm so proud of you. Even though I don't even know you, I can tell how brave you are being. It will get better, positive thinking. Stephanie x


  10. So sorry to hear how much you have suffered with this, I think it's definitely one of those things that people don't really stop and think about, in that they don't realise how it really affects people. I can completely understand how it must have knocked your confidence, as a single spot is enough to do that for many people. Fingers crossed for you that the dermatologist is able to provide you with some real help - a friend of mine had terrible acne on her chest and back, and was given a medication that cleared it up completely :)
    Mel xx


  11. Really hope the dermatologist can sort something out for you, sounds like you've had a rough time with it. I used to have really bad skin and wouldn't ever want to leave the house. Thankfully its cleared now but i still have red marks i dont think will ever go.

    following now :)

  12. Do you use twitter? Can't find a link on your blog :)

  13. I also suffer from acne, it was so painful and made me SO self conscious. It just came out of nowhere, I always had flawless skin, then one day BAM, face, neck and back COVERED in painful puss filled red lumps :( So I definitely feel your pain. I used to hate going out, and just thought it was so unfair that I went my whole teen years with clear skin, why now? I still don't know what caused it, but now, three months into taking Dianette it's finally mostly cleared up. My dermatologist tried to put me on Roaccutane before trying anything else, which I thought was a bit severe, it should be a last resort in my opinion.

    Having read your post, I now worry that when I can't take Dianette any more it will come back with a vengeance and I'll have to look into harsher methods again :(

    Really hope that your derm can come up with something for you which actually works.

  14. Well done, I too suffer with acne. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I'm 21 and I have suffered from pretty severe eczema all my life so I definitely understand what you are saying about feeling like you stand out and feeling as though people are always staring at you because of it. I have spent my whole life feeling very self conscious about my skin and myself, but as much as I don't like it I think I am slowly coming to realise most people don't actually take much notice of it, and the ones that really count would never think any less of me for it. We are all definitely our own worst enemy sometimes when it comes to things like this! Haha.

    I hope all goes/went well for you at the dermatologist! One thing I have recently started taking and that has been working really well for me is Hemp Seed Oil, while it is meant to be amazing for eczema (and is doing wonders for my skin!) it is also meant to be great for reducing other inflammatory skin conditions as well, so maybe it could be worth looking in to! It is amazing for a whole bunch of other health things as well :D

    Emma xx

  16. Hi I know this is a older post, but have only just stumbled across your blog! I can totally relate to you, I had numerous amounts of spot stuff given ti me, I even had to see a skin specialist who said if they hadn't improved they would give me.laser. To get rid of some of the spots/scars as I have very weak skin that scars easily! Luckily a antibiotic they gave me has cleared up my skin but im left with acne scarring which is equally annoying and hard to cover! I hope you find your wonder productx Terri xx

  17. My skin and my story is very similar to yours, it's shit to put it bluntly. I do commend your bravery with this post though, especially the photo. I done a similar thing about stretch marks.

    I picked your blog up from the #bbloggers chat :). @glampire_x

    Much love: http://razzledazzleandrocknroll.blogspot.co.uk/



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