I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I’ve worked side jobs in retail cosmetics for the past few years, so I’m used to thinking of my skin in terms of commission. Clear skin was my moneymaker. Nobody asks your beauty opinion if your face's insides are visibly trying to escape through your pores.
I’m a proud ginge 4 lyfe, but paleness is zit highlighter. Following the skincare rules that I’ve recited to customers hundreds of times wasn't getting me that instant gratification I wanted, so I decided to go rogue and try Accutane.
Isotretinoin (generic Accutane) is basically a high-strength retinoid that you take orally instead of topically. Someone figured out that a scarily high dose of vitamin A chills out your sebum production while wreaking havoc on the rest of your body. People who take isotretinoin have to get pregnancy tests every month, and Accutane’s own company bailed on selling the branded version in the U.S.
It's a very serious drug with serious side effects, and should absolutely be taken responsibly. Birth defects, liver problems, digestive issues and depression are very scary possibilities.
The safest way to approach such an important decision, obviously, is through a website that sells mostly Viagra. (Disclaimer: sarcasm.)
I have three pretty questionable reasons for not going the normal dermatologist route:
- I'm moving, and I need to last four months without income or health insurance.
- I have a copper IUD, so no need to rule out birth defects.
- I just wanted to do hoodrat stuff with my face.
After I had already convinced myself that karma had rightfully scammed me out of my money, a package arrived covered in a completely unnecessary number of customs stamps. It turned out to be Roaccutane, the UK version from the same brand as Accutane, mailed from Turkey. 2 Legit 2 Quit.
I read every Accutane review I could find and made notes of possible red-flag side effects. The internet is my doctor and my whim is my prescription.
I've been taking 40mg a day for two weeks now, and my face is already almost completely zitless for the first time since puberty. My face is red and flaky, but it feels like victory. As expected, my lips are incredibly dry--too dry to wear lip color all day--but not cracked or hideous. Even my shoulders and back are clear without needing lotion.
All the evil that left my face, however, is coming out of my neck now.
I have the worst breakout where zits never seem to happen, between my jawline and my collarbone. Why do we even have oil glands in our necks? I thought they were supposed to dry out and get all turkey-wobbly even faster than the rest of our bodies.
Now I have to fight breakouts and heal angry dry skin at the same time. Despite maintaining the strength to spurt out Spartan zit armies, my neck is too sensitive for anything I’d normally use to treat acne or oily skin.
WHAT I'M USING INSTEAD
Clarins Bright Plus HP Gentle Renewing Brightening Peel: It’s not marketed for acne or dry skin, so it should be useless to me, but its irrelevance makes it the perfect middle ground for my neck.
It exfoliates chemically without burning or sucking any of the moisture out of my skin. And it has mimosa tenuiflora extracts: brunch and flowers! Cute! I haven’t bought a full bottle yet, but I’m on my fourth mini-bottle. It has earned purchase status.
Mario Badescu Special Healing Powder: I am a huge Mario Badescu fan, but I had to put away my drying lotion, drying cream, and buffering lotion because they were too harsh. This powder is the only thing that passed the neckne test; it neutralized the redness and disinfected without drying. It doesn't irritate the non-blemished areas around spots, so you can use the puff that it comes with to whoosh it on everywhere oily before your makeup.
Most importantly, it’s one of the few sulfur-based products that doesn't actually smell like sulfur. You can actually get laid while using this. There’s a promo scene from the documentary American Teen where the geek guy leans in to kiss his date, and right when he gets close to her face he whispers, “You smell like makeup.” The girl backs off a little, obviously mortified. He says, “No, it’s ok, I smell like zit cream.” Just in case you needed something else to be self-conscious about.
Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35: I know, I’m sick of BB cream too. But this one doesn't have the matte rubber mask texture as some of the other brands marketed to the younger, greasier demographic.
The extra light shade would normally be too warm for me, but the yellow helps correct for the redness on my cheeks and the blemishes on my neck.
I really hope this clears up and I don’t have to go to my derm with my tail between my legs.
What’s the riskiest thing you've tried for the sake of vanity? Will Tyra Banks be mad at me for trying to lose my neck?