My Struggles With Acne


Sometime after college my skin turned on me. Once clear and smooth, even toned, yet freckled has grown bumpy, red, blemished and troubled. Why? I DON’T FREAKING KNOW WHY! Sometimes my skin makes me angry. I was hesitant to even post these photos. I didn’t want y’all to see me like this. I had thought I’d just wait until my skin returned to normal. Then I could write a puffy cotton candy post about overcoming struggles, loving who you are where you are, and how to get to beautiful baby skin in ___ weeks. Well, weeks turned into months. Months into years. So, here I am. Makeup free. Exposed. Slightly embarrassed. Feeling uncertain.

Okay. Let’s start with the absolute worst of it. 

IMG_2938 IMG_2937I think it started somewhere in 2013. I was under so much stress. I didn’t have a great job. I felt like I was drowning compared to my friends.  I had 3 jobs since graduating college. None of them were what I wanted. None of them paid well. I was stressed, so that could have been a factor. I also started taking biotin in a pretty large dosage. Then I heard that it causes major breakouts. I had been taking it for like a whole month! I’ve NEVER had cystic acne or ANY acne for that matter in my entire life. I skated through high school. In my teen years, maybe a pimple would pop up. Maybe. These two photos are the worst the acne has ever been. For some, this is a piece of cake. For me, it is a sad sad day. I tried everything short of a dermatologist. Diet changes, vitamins, fish oil, expensive products. I’m not sure what worked. It could have been a combo of things, but it’s gotten a lot better.

Here’s the “getting better, still looks like crap” phase.

IMG_2782 IMG_3585 IMG_3583Yep. That’s me. Crying. Over acne. This was after a few months of using a Neutrogena acne face wash, witch hazel, a night cream, vitamin c, and a daily moisturizer with SPF. I have stopped using ALL of these products. I’m sure they are fine, but after months of using them, I saw very little difference. I had also changed my diet. I drink a little over 64 oz  of water everyday, workout 3-4 times a week, and cut down on my salt and sugar intake. I also started regularly going to yoga for relaxation and getting 8 hours of sleep.  #NoSleep #GrindDontStop that’s not for me. I will sleep. I will be rejuvenated.  At this point, I was still experiencing consistent breakouts all over my face and neck. So I figured it’s gotta be hormonal.

Here’s the “I’m about to hit up a dermatologist; nothing is working” phase.

IMG_2958 IMG_3593 IMG_3592I was still getting a lot of redness and deep under-the-skin pimples. These hurt like hell when you touch them. This time it was happening less on my chin and more on my cheeks. I started washing all my makeup brushes after each use. I always use the speaker on my cell phone so that it doesn’t touch my face. I got real stern about not touching my face or people touching my face. People do that. Even to other grown ups. It’s not cool.  These photos were taken a few months after the previous ones.

Then there was this…IMG_3551 IMG_3466

As you can see, hopefully, it started to clear up a little. Still blotchy. I was left with scars and dark marks. So in came the dark spot correctors, and skin brighteners. This was tricky. I have freckles. My mom calls them angle kisses. I wanted to keep those, but get rid of that other stuff doing a bad job of disguising itself as freckles. I also did not want to look like Sammy Sosa.  I started using the whole Neutrogena Visibly Even line along with the Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner, and Mario Badescu caviar night cream. This seems to be working so far.

Anyway this is me. Sans make up. Sans filter. I want to show you guys close-ups of my makeup free face once it’s all clear. Right now it’s not. See me in a few months. I promise my face will be back to normal. Fingers crossed. 




Later gators

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I have a similar one, although honestly my pimples/acne is not quite as severe and more on the chin than on the cheek area. I went to the dermatologist for a myriad of other skin conditions (I get allergies to simple things like my wedding ring or sometimes hair products plus a random skin condition called pityriasis rosea and terrible poison ivy at least once a year and a case of depigmentation that ended up as a result of cortisone injections to my elbows) and ended up asking her about a problem with mild acne that I never had before. I’m almost 30 years old and up until a few years ago, hardly ever had pimples. The dermatologist has had me try probably 5-7 different prescription skin creams for my acne. Some of them work but dry out your skin, some don’t work, some cost $300 per tube, some don’t work when you use a small amount, but work when you use a lot. So what I’m saying is – go visit a dermatologist but don’t be dismayed when the first thing she or he suggests doesn’t work right away. I’ve had pretty good results with clindamycin phosphate cream (and it’s not that expensive). I’ve also noticed that regular sun exposure (no too much) helps but make sure that it’s not contraindicated with your cream, as some do not recommend sun exposure. My dr. said that this acne was probably as a result of hormone fluctuations that occur naturally was women age. Anyway, I hope this helps! Let me know how your dr. appointment goes.

  2. lucandrob says:

    I still have a little acne, I totally know how you feel. When I took hormones it was better, but now, without hormones it’s getting worse. I hope that my skin will be better after some month!

    xoxo, kat

    1. nchanel says:

      Hey Kat! I hope so too! I am going to see a Derm. I have a friend who recommended some prescription products for me. Let’s see how that works. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  3. Tammy says:

    Uff I can totally relate. A few years ago I too felt like my skin hated me. I would constantly break out near my jawline it was pretty bad. Although it may seem like forever it will eventually run its course. I’m using cerave foaming cleanser and lotion right now and I love it and my skin seems to like it too.

    1. nchanel says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting Tammy! It is clearing up a lot more. It hasn’t been nearly as bad but I think Im ready to see a Derm at this point. I will let you know how it goes. What cleanser are you using?

    2. nchanel says:

      Never mind. Cerave…. 🙂 whoopsie

  4. Tia says:

    I so feel your pain. I’ve actually suffered from acne as a teenager and now a woman in her 30’s. It’s been a serious struggle the last few years as the acne has worsened. I could go on and on about my acnes issues, but finally my dermatologist prescribed two medicines that have helped but I still have a long way to go. Best of luck with your journey.

  5. Niki says:

    Are you also changing your pillowcases regulary- this should be every couple of days as they pick up a lot of bacteria from sweat, saliva and dead skin. What is working for me is using a natural soap (I use African Black Soap) and applying a natural astringent such as apple cider vinegar (1 part ACV and 1 part water- but depending on how sensitive your skin is, you could add more water) over my face afterwards to alkaline the skin. There are many receipes for this on Youtube or you can search for one on the internet. 🙂 Oh and lots of green smoothies.

    1. nchanel says:

      Thanks for the advice homie! I love a green smoothie. I actually have a recipe I am going to post on my favorite stuff for it. ACV isn’t too harsh for you? I heard it stings. It might be all water and a drop of ACV 🙂 ‘ll try it and report back.

  6. Amanda says:

    I stumbled upon your Instagram and immediately started to follow because you are my hair twin…and apparently my skin twin too! Having acne sucks..and I had it since I was in my early teens (now 30). I took accutane and within two months I looked like a different person..the acne was virtually gone and has been since completing my prescription over a year ago. You will hear horror stories and read about really bad side effects. I was fine ..and have recommended to so several friends. This is the only thing that worked…and I would say yes yes yes..every time. Good luck! And stay fly!!

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