Monday, April 20, 2009

✎ Skin Problems? Hear My History

If there's a Guinness Book record award for the most sensitive skin category, I think I will be a finalist.

I don't have a flawless skin. That's it. Ever since I was a child, I am always prone to insect bites, cuts, scars, prickly heat, name it. I think I have them all lol. It's not that I was not fully taken cared of by my Mother but because my skin is so sensitive that I can't even wash the dishes with a liquid dish washing soap. Why? Because my fingertips will surely crack. Yes, I have this fingertip eczema that worsens every time the weather changes and of course with stress. Anyway, I have battled every skin problems in my lifetime and so far the worst kind of them all is (drum roll please?)


Yep. I am an acne ridden lass. Used to be, take note. Haha. It all started when puberty kicks in. I have a very active hormones. As early as kindergarten, I already have a crush with my schoolmate lol. When I was in 6th grade, I am in love already lol. Blackheads came popping up in my face. Big pores, oily face, mestruation at 13. I have three older brothers and imagine the horror they have to tell me everytime they look at my face. So as early as 12-13, I am already conscious with my face. I self medicated it. I tried popping out one blackhead and it disappeared. Another blackhead emerges and again I pushed it out onto my nails. BUT like infatuation, it just came rushing without warning. I just woke up that I cant stop them from reappearing anymore.

Mall Dermatologists
I had my first facial treatment when I was 18 at a one stop dermatological shop in a mall. Yes it took that long. They picked my blackheads professionally. Had me lasered, masked and all those things they do in a facial shop. I was given topical creams. and after few days, VOILA. It was magic, they're gone. I was flawless.

But I was 20 and my face was starting to form red dots again. This time, my face got worst! Aside from blackheads, I have whiteheads, and tiny tiny red spots. Since I study in a very reputable school where kids are pretty flawless and zit free, I asked my mom to help me with the celebrity dermatologist. Yes you are right, I was caught up with the frenzy of the media. The lady doctor gave me oral prescriptions and some topical creams. I followed immediately my fairy godmother even though I am quite skeptical with drinking medicines. She told me to take this drug at the onset of my menstruation. She called it Oil Control tablet. Repackaged---Placed in a ziplock plastic. I obeyed like a blind patient.

Real Deal with this Celeb Derma.
Three days after, I notice a very beautiful me. Although I am not yet acne free, I feel like a woman. I feel....should I LOL. I even flirted out with a guy friend during these period. Just clean flirting girls, take note. Two weeks after, I am still in my period, bleeding profusely. I started to feel dizzy and so irritable. I went to the celebrity doctor and all she said is, "Iha, that's okay." How can she say that its okay? I am losing blood here. So I decided to go to a gynecologist. There is always a first time hah. My gyne checked ME. and asked some questions. I said, I am taking this drug and she looked at it. She said, its an oral contraceptive. I said, WHAT. Hey even though I look like that kind of girl but really, I am not sexually active! I am so into my studies. So I felt really deceived by that celebrity doctor. To cut the long story short, my gyne recommended her derma to me. She treated my irregular mestruation and I went to her derm.

Welcome Stieva-A
Alright, my second dermatologist is a sugeon. Yep. Turns out that old ladies are his expertise but I was desperate. The dermatologist is a believer of "no knife" theory. But he believes in the miracle of Tretinoin. I was desparate and took a chance. The Tretinoin stings. The pea size is a size of a 1 peso coin as said by my dermatologist. Now that's really a new thing but I obeyed. And so I developed rosacea (red face, much worst than the pic). My new dermatologists said its okay but deep inside I know that its not. Great. My college graduation is getting nearer and I have this red face. Taxi drivers think its cool and thought that I am a balikbayan but I am not and its not really cool. The redness stings like hell when I perspire and my acne---The're taking a lot of time to go out. Thank God, my derm suggested me to take a low dosage while my grad is nearing. Lesser redness but massive oiliness. Tretinoin is really painful on my part. It removed my zits for a certain point but it came attacking like a plague after few months. The drug is not acting on my skin anymore so I have to change. It was unfortunate for me to attend my brother's wedding FULL of zits in my face. The make up artists did his best to hide it and he succeeded but the embarrasment that I felt was incomparable. Imagine the faces of the people around. sigh. memories.

Welcome, Isotretinoin.
January 2008, I am 22, I decided to change derma for the third time. I am really breaking out. My derma did some facials to me and glycolic peels. I was prescribed to use clindamycin and erythromycin gel at night. He assured me that it will go away and I shouldnt worry. Its effective because it dramatically improved after few weeks. I was able to attend different parties by February and I had short stint flings lol. Boys kept coming now and then and I am confident with my clear skin. Good things must come to an end says, Nelly Furtado in her song. I started getting zits again after April of last year. The zits are small but they are overpowering my face.
We have no choice, you need to take Roaccutane, says the doctor.
What is that?, I asked.
It is a strongest of all acne treatment. It shrinks the oil glands which causes your uncontrollable pimples, he emphasized.
I gulped and decided.
Yeah. Around July 08, I decided to take the capsule. I was prescribed 20mg at the onset. By August, the zits are purging. By September. they are really big and cystic. My derm upped the dosage to 30mg. I quit my work because I cant perform well anymore. I am literally a moon crater. By October, they are starting to shrink. By November, they flatten and the scars are becoming visible. By December, the redness were gone, I can go out confidently with the use of make up. The scars are visible around my jawline.

I am in my last 8 pcs. And I am proud to say that I am acne free! At last. I can go out now and people look at me not with pity but in awe. haha. I can write more about it but I will continue nextime. This is too long already.

Watch out for my next detailed entry regarding my rollercoaster ride with Isotretinoin. :)




  1. Hello, sad to say we share the same history. I have tried everything you used (and so much more) and after 8 years of searching for remedy, it was only isotretinoin (I use a different brand though i.e., Acnotin). Too bad intake is limited to 6months only. A wash period of 6 months should follow the 6months of intake of isotretinoin. Wash period means you should stop taking this drug. Please do take note of that. As you may notice, like most drugs, isotretinoin has known side effects. The most obvious side effect in my case are cracked lips (to the point that they're bleeding even if I use the best lip balm available).

  2. wow. That's a long history of finally getting an acne free face. :P That felt like soul searching. I heard about isotretinoin but the brand that I'm familiar with is Accutane. I was planning to visit a dermatologist to purchase with his/her supervision. But... I'm too scared with the side effects especially if I end up allergic to it.( the results are the worst) But then I guess after all this the question that will remain is how to maintain the look, right? I don't know... The "treatment" quite expensive for me. :P But anyway, I ended up using VMV products instead... it's more like a lifestyle rather than once in a lifetime thing. I hope it's going to work... slowly but surely. :P

  3. @Anna thanks for visiting this blog. :) i have long battle with acne and up until this date yeah i still have occasional zits...i guess its genetics. what i do now is to properly take care of my face so it wont lead me to those cystic phase ever again lol. are your acne's persistent? and are they really worst? if they are still tolerable, dont go and take ACCUTANE. its extremely a potent drug. exhaust all other means before trying it. and check with your regimen, diet and of course your make up cosmetics as they might be the culprit of your acne's. just saying :) good luck with the VMV let me know your story about it. ^^

  4. yeah.. I'm quite hesitant with the Accutane. Another Make up Blogger have tried it and I got so interested in it because her face became flawless. On the other hand, I saw juicystar07's experience about it and she was allergic to it. She's the one who said that the effects are the worsesssttt (beyond worst even). So... sighs... My acne is quite tolerable now. I had a history of bad acne too but not a severe one. However I still have problems of acne scarring, blemishes, large pores and uneven skin tone. I really hope vmv can help my face glow and become flawless... in time. :P Like you, I have tried searching for dermatologists and treatments to solve my skin problems.

  5. @anna yup the effects are the worst as I had a lot of struggle with it but it super dried my glands and for the first time in my life, I was oil free haha. its great but it made me look older...w/o the zits. look younger = oil + zits. lol but it really depends on the person. Juicystar's experience might not be the same as I am so i cannot confirm but again if you looked at my history, I have tried everything and they all failed before I took the drug. I made the decision to take it b/c my acne's are recurring. :) for your scars, you might want to try diamond peeling? If you are on a budget, ACV is great and Egg Whites too. Dont worry with the scars if you are gorgeous! Trust me, you will still be confident even with all the little flaws. ^^

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. Now I have an idea what should I do. Stay pretty! God bless you!

  7. Hello Cecille,

    Stumbled upon your blog and this post becoz I'm googling, researching so bad.

    I am 22 years old and this is my first time to have stubborn pimples. yes, why now! =( Never thought I'd suffer from acne.

    I am currently taking Acnetrex now (10mg/day) and I am expriencing purging (worst ever!!!!). I'm on my third week. So it's still early to tell? My face is now covered with acne (well, except my nose and upper lip). =( I have like 20 pimples before (mostly only comedones) but they're so stubborn, so my derma prescribed Acnetrex (I am a patient for 8 months already, and the comedones keep coming back after 2 weeks or so = stubborn ones, so she prescribed acnetrex already). My condition now is horrible!!!! =(( Was your purging experience same as mine? Coz you said your face purged on the first 3 months? ;(

    Thanks! =)

  8. ^Hi Nina, I feel your pain :( Well the fast pace of our society, the pollution and all other factors are maybe triggering our pimples. Basically, its a stressful society and our skin cannot handle it well lol. During my third week, I was still purging -- really bad as in. all derms will tell you that your cystic pimples right now are the underlying pimples that you have so acnetrex will really take it out of your skin. i can barely remember the details of my face at that time maybe because it was so horrible, i try to forget it and keep up now with a stress free life lol. basically, isotretinoin really changed my skin from worst to (a little worst because i had post acne scarring) i am still battling with my scars as you may have noticed in my recent posts, i do fractional laser which costs a lot of money and time. so i dont know what to suggest but to wait and pray to be patient because everybody has different reaction to drugs. do the best thing you can do to prevent the scarring by maintaining a good skin care regimen. and lastly, follow what your heart says, if you feel its not working anymore, tell your derm about your concerns. Cheers :)

  9. I badly wanted to stop the little ones from popping out (little did I know that I should already be thankful that I only have that) and so I resorted to Acnetrex without any clue that purging would be this bad!!! ;( I wanna stop taking it, but it's not like any other product that caused little problems on the side because, unfortunately, it doesn't work; that it still is not too late to switch to another product --this sort of scenario. This case is really different. Horrible! =( If I stop, my face will remain as it is. It feels horrible that I just let them come out and stop suddenly. I am giving it a few more weeks because there is no looking back. It made the worst damage to my skin already. I wanna say that I now regret taking Acnetrex. I cannot go out at all!!!

    I'm giving it a chance for 2 more weeks. I hope that purging will stop already and that the marks will be gone. Because honestly, marks are really evident and very red. =( I think Acnetrex will leave you with marks. Dark marks that are not supposed to be there, but because I had purging, it'll be a remnant! Still hoping that my face will get pass the purging stage already =(

    How many months did you take Acnetrex? Should I continue just like what I read in different forums that after purging it'll get better?


  10. ^So sorry of what's happening to you. I also went into that kind of feeling like its a point of no return. In my case, I made a decision to continue it because I am already there and I trusted my derm. I do feel that you (and including me at that time) were wrongly put into a low dosage thus the purging. I think the derms in the PH are all agreeing that low dosage in longer period of time is ok and minimizes the side effects like nosebleeding, dryness, muscular pains etc but sadly for us it prolongs the purging period as well. I made a research and also agreed upon by a sg derm that the dosage depends on our body weight and 10mg-20mg a day for us is a bit low.

    If you check on my entry, I wrote that I was purging from the first month until the third month and I think, it only got better around the 5th month. Third week is still early to tell for a 10mg dose.

    You can read more of my isotret experience here, I also wrote how long I took the drug:

  11. I've suffered acne for 10 years and tried different medications to cure and prevent it but they all failed me (name it, oral contraceptives, creams, toners) until I discovered VMV facial wash for oily skin. It has scrubs and it's anti-bacterial. Just the facial wash alone, it remedied my acne.

  12. Hi! I'm currently on my 1st week with Acnetrex. I can now see the dryness and redness. I'm on 20mg/day. How long should i experience the purging and when shall this start?



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