Alternate Title: Way Too Many Words About My Skin Care Struggles

So. I have a long and sordid history with my skin that I don’t really like to think about. But now that I’m in my 30s, it’s really just time to bite the bullet and get things in order.

In my teenage years my skin was pretty flawless. I barely wore makeup, I’m sure I broke out, but I don’t even remember if I had a “skin care ritual.” I did go to the dermatologist though, and I can’t even really remember why. Probably because everyone else was going, so I made my parents drag me — I had good parents like that. Copays for non-existent problems! Certainly! I wouldn’t even remember those appointments I’m sure, except that these days my high school dermatologist is pretty damn famous.

One day during one of my office visits we started talking about things, life and the soap opera that is high school and I mentioned that I was a cheerleader. She then launched into this long story about how she and a colleague were making a product, and they wanted to film an infomercial with an “All-American group of kids” who would use it and talk about their results. So she gave me all of this information and I was to take it to my squad and talk it over. I did, and in my memory no one was really interested. It was like — yeah, MEH — is that going to cut into our cheerleading/boy-chasing/studying time? Then probably not. So we never did it. But my dermatologist’s product?

So yeah, 15 years later I can’t decide if that was a good decision or a bad decision. I mean, on the one hand it would be a fun story. But on the other, I’m not sure I want my legacy of fame to be a role in an acne lotion commercial you know?

Anyway — THAT was a sidebar.

So. Fast forward to my 20th birthday and all of a sudden my skin is taking the most mysterious and spiteful revenge on me. I try all sorts of dramatic interventions and nothing works. (Of course I’ve tried Proactiv. Unfortunately it did not work for me AT ALL.) Years later I would look back and think of all the drinking and eating take-out I did and it would seem a little less mysterious, but finally I threw my hands up and gave in to taking Accutane at the recommendation of the dermatologist I was seeing then.

Have you heard of Accutane? (I can’t wait to see the spam comments I get on this post.) The side effects are intense. From a warning:

[Accutane]must not be taken by patients who are pregnant or who may become pregnant. There is a high risk that isotretinoin will cause loss of the pregnancy, or will cause the baby to be born too early, to die shortly after birth, or to be born with birth defects (physical problems that are present at birth).

NBD. I may just have kids with webbed-feet (you know, if they survive at all) but I’m sure it’s not doing anything TO ME while I’m taking it. OHMYGOD. I can’t even believe I took it when I look at those (very abbreviated) side effects. There were so many more! I had to sign all sorts of stuff that said I would use 3 types of birth control, had to come in for monthly pregnancy tests for a year (at my dermatologist’s office!) and agree to seek therapy if I felt the early twinges of anxiety and depression. Also, I couldn’t eat carrots.

Sounds healthy, right?

But let me tell you, for about 6 years I had the best skin of my life. I mean, I also spent two years on anti-anxiety medication that I’m now SURE was a side effect of all that, but you know — no pimples and all that! (CRIMONY)

My skin began breaking out pretty badly again about 7 years ago (in my mid-20s — hello, bitter) but at the same time I got back on The Pill and that helped tremendously. But fast forward to about 6 months ago when Garrett and I agreed we would kick The Pill in preparation for our upcoming *Make A Baby Sometime* Project and no joke, not 30 days into all that business, my awful skin came back.

You guys it is like PTSD up in here.

I have quit eating dairy, I have tried new face wash (Older Lady Naturals, obvs), I have been incredibly diligent and to no avail. I’m convinced it is totally hormonal since my skin is ok (not great, but not awful) for about 2 weeks out of the month and then REVENGE OF THE PISSED OFF CHIN ZITS (for about 2 weeks out of the month) and it is just the most awful thing. Garrett could not care any less and every time I bring it up he tells me not to worry and that it’s kind of all in my head. But emotionally it is difficult because it takes me right back to all those years ago when I felt that my skin was so awful that I would rather take medicine that could KILL A BABY than have zits.

I am no longer that person though. I don’t even take Advil when I have a headache. Mostly because I don’t get headaches because I’m super anal-retentive about everything that goes in my body. I turn to holistic solutions before I take ANY kind of medication, so obviously Baby Killing Drugs are not what I’m looking for. I’m also not looking to sound like a total douche, so if that paragraph above sounded that way — please know I’m not a total freak about everything that goes in my body. I’m just more mindful, I guess now. But I’m also at a loss. So this is where you come in. The internet always has advice, and I WOULD REALLY LIKE SOME!

Have you had experience with adult acne? Have you tried something that worked? Tell me about your skin care regimen because I am curious, even if you don’t have crazy skin? When I posed this question on Facebook I got a lot of Clarisonic/Obagi love…have you invested in either. (And I do mean Inve$$$$ted?) Is it worth it?

Talk to me girls. Let’s pretend like we work for Cosmo, only let’s come up with more helpful stuff than the same 50 recycled tips to have the BEST! SEX! EVER!

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