After A Decade Of Bragging About Having Perfect Skin, The Acne Gods Got Me Real Good

Back in high school, when everyone’s skin was freakin’ out real bad, I would respond to my friends' complaints about their acne by telling them, “I don’t know what you’re talking about," because, “I’ve never had a pimple.” What. A. Dick.
Publish date:
October 15, 2012
shoppables, facials, acne, skin, dermatologists, pimples

For the most part, I’m pretty humble about what I consider to be my strong suits (not answering texts, forgetting to pay my rent on time, drafting very long confessional emails that are met with total silence), but, up until recently, I was a huge asshole about having great skin.

Back in high school, when everyone’s skin was freakin’ out real bad, I would respond to my friends’ complaints about their acne by telling them, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” because, “I’ve never had a pimple.” What. A. Dick.

Little did I know, the acne gods were looking down on me with a smug grin and crossed arms, shaking their head, and saying, “You just wait. Oh, you just wait.”

So, about a year ago, I experienced my first breakout. And then, a few days after that, I experienced my second one. Within the week, I had experienced my fourteenth. I figured it was just my skin freaking out over the summer city heat (although that had never happened before), but by the time fall rolled around, my skin wasn’t any better. If anything, it was just getting worse.

I never cried about suddenly having acne (except for this one really fun time, but we’ll get to that later). I didn’t suddenly become a hermit (made easier by the fact that I’m already sorta a hermit). I didn’t develop a habit of wearing masks, although, looking back, how much fun would that have been? But I did suddenly feel significantly less confident. My good skin had been my point of pride for years and then, suddenly and without explanation, it wasn’t. The acne gods got me good.

I eventually came to terms (kind of) with the fact that my skin just wasn’t going to clear up on its own. I spent a lot of time (and $$$) trying out different products, figuring out what would make my skin return to its state of glowing bliss.

Many products just made my skin break out more. Some products left my skin super oily, while others left it way too dry that my skin actually began to crack. Let me tell you: I’ve never felt prettier. Here are the products/things that, you know, didn’t do any of that.

Facials: I used to love when my friends would talk facials because it was always such a great opportunity for me to say, “Oh, I have really great skin. I don’t need facials.” Again: What. A. Dick.

Nowadays, I get facials on the monthly, but, trust when I say that it’s worth spending a few extra bones on a really great facial. You know, maybe at one of those swanky places where you clearly shouldn’t be and even the people who work there are giving you judgment eyes? I swear by the Triple Oxygen Facial at Bliss, which is $165.

A bad facial can-slash-will result in scarring or more acne. Make sure the technician is doing extractions (basically getting all the unnecessary gunk outta your face) and not just giving you a face massage. Depending on the type of acne you have, a massage will just spread the acne, making you hate your face even more.

Guess what kind of acne I had? That kind! Guess what kind of facial I first got? One where they massaged the hell out of my face! Guess what I looked like after? Horrible!

Zeno Hot Spot, $37.99: This product completely seems like a gimmick, but it’s actually not. How fun is that? Also fun? Playing with this little guy. It pretty much burns your zits away. Oh, but it doesn’t hurt! It’s just, like, sorta warm! It's also endorsed by Whitney Port, which is great because I try to exclusively buy products that Whitney Port endorses.

Solodyn: Eventually, I broke down and called a dermatologist. That is to say, I literally broke down. Lots of tears were involved in this episode. At this point, I had spent a dumb amount of money on different acne-related products and none of them were working. My dermatologist immediately prescribed Solodyn to me. I took one pill a day for three months and it made my skin look great. I didn’t notice any side effects. (Knock on wood that there were no long-term, slow-releasing ones!) But, duh, obviously talk to your doctor about going on this. I still will take a pill or five when my skin freaks out extra bad.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner, $7.49: I went to visit my mom in South Florida recently and there was not a single place I could find this stuff. I went to two Targets, three CVS, and one Walgreens. Yo, Neutrogena Sales Reps for Florida: Get on that.

I went without it for three days and my skin started going all acne. It made being in my childhood home for a weekend even more stressful. (Obviously kidding. Obviously only kind of kidding.) During the summer, I put this on my face with a cotton ball one time in the morning and twice at night.

Argan Oil for Scarring: A fun thing about acne is that, even when you get it in check, you’re left with these dark scars. Acne truly is the gift that just keeps on giving, guys. Josie Maran Argan Oil is $48 for 1.7 ounces. It’s not a cheap product, but it is a product that lasts a super-long time. You just need to put the tiniest bit over your acne scars to brighten those babies. Also, they sell a .5 ounce bottle for $14 if buying what is essentially a $50 beauty product makes you feel like an asshole. However, if buying a $50 beauty product doesn’t make you feel enough like an asshole, they also sell a 4-ounce versh for $98.

Eliminating Caffeine: I’d be lying if I told you that I’ve completely eliminated caffeine. I mean, I’m drinking coffee right this instant. That being said, whenever my skin starts to freak out extra bad (usually right before my monthly facial), I make it a priority to either eliminate or, if that’s just not going to happen, limit my caffeine intake. This is one of those tips that is in every lady mag ever, but I just assumed it was a lie, like how they also try to play that skinny jeans are flattering for every body type. It’s unfortunate, but trading in coffee for some good ol’ H20 does help out the skin.