If you’ve known me for the best part of 14 years, you will know that I’ve struggled with acne since a very young age. I touched on this in my ‘How to Get Clear Skin Fast’ blog post, but to give more of an insight on how I came to the decision to get laser treatment before I post my results, I wanted to write about my acne experience in a bit more depth.
Unlike most people I know, I got acne when I was still in primary school. I remember being incredibly confused and embarrassed because I was a very young 8-year-old girl who all of a sudden had lots of spots. Every one of my friends still had porcelain clear skin and I felt like such an outsider.
I obviously started on mild medication (due to my age), but it didn’t really do anything for me. It got the point where I was so self-conscious that I started wearing makeup in an attempt to cover these flaws. Despite being reasonably popular, I just wanted to fit in and not be any different from my friends. I remember one particular instance that had a massive affect on me and I was left thinking ‘is this what everyone thinks?’ A girl in my class rather bluntly said to me in front of all my friends ‘maybe if you stop wearing makeup your spots will go away.’ This both upset and enraged me because I just a young girl in primary 5 who wanted to get on with my day without people pointing out my evident imperfections – imperfections that I knew would be there whether I wore makeup to hide them or not. I’d love nothing more than to be one of those people who don’t care what others think about me and I wish I wasn’t phased by little remarks or comments, but in reality, I take everything to heart. Until I learn to control my anxiety (read more about my experience with anxiety here), I will probably always be affected by criticism and negative remarks.
Time went on and my acne continued through to high school. It was probably at its worst between 1st and 3nd year. Most of my friends had never had one single spot on their face and here I was having regular visits to doctors and dermatologists, trying every cream, antibiotic and home remedy under the sun to try and get rid of it. By this time, I was putting my makeup on heavier than ever and my skin was drying out and peeling because of all the creams I was using. I got into the habit of constantly re-applying my makeup during school hours and I used to obsess over looking at my skin in the bathroom mirrors to make sure my skin was as concealed as possible. Looking back, hiding under heavy makeup obviously didn’t help matters but I was wayyyy too self-conscious to leave the house bare faced.
I finally got rid of my acne when I was in 4th year after a vigorous treatment of Roaccutane. It took me years to get on this because multiple dermatologists were so hesitant to give me it due to the fact that I was younger than 16. Along with the side effects like dry lips and skin, sore back etc., I had to go for blood tests every month to make sure the tablets weren’t damaging my organs. Although my severe acne went away, I did still had acne. My dad had acne and it’s hereditary so I knew it was inevitable that Roaccutane wouldn’t take it away completely. I’ve still had spots for the past 7 years but it’s an extremely mild acne compared to what it was.
As you can imagine, nearly a decade and a half of acne has meant that I’ve accumulated some pretty bad scars. I was young, I didn’t know what I was doing and I would pick, pop and squeeze the spots to try and get them off my face. If you were to look at my skin in person, you might not even know that I have acne or acne scars. You can only see the scars in harsh, unflattering lights, but I have to look at my skin every day and it affects my self-confidence because I know they’re there. However, it makes it easier that my face is covered in freckles and I’m good at doing my makeup. I actually prefer wearing light, water-based foundations now so that you can see my real skin and freckles through it as I like looking natural! I’m also a lot more comfortable leaving the house without makeup, but still wouldn’t feel comfortable going out-out in public without it on.
I remember meeting a dermatologist when I was about 12. By that time, my acne had been present for 4 years and I was beginning to develop some bad scars. After my mum asking what would take my acne scars away in the future, he said that worst case scenario, laser treatment was my best option once I’m old enough. Since then, I’ve had it in the back of my head that if everything else fails to work, I will one day get laser treatment. I’ve literally tried everything under the sun including all different kinds of oils and ointments, light therapy, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, deep skin exfoliants and way too many serums, gels and creams. The decision to get CO2 laser resurfacing treatment was not taken lightly. I can’t emphasise enough how this was my last option to repair my acne scars. It’s the most advanced rejuvenation treatment available and literally burns off a layer of your skin. I will go into this in more detail in my laser treatment results blog post, but I just want people to be aware that although laser treatment will give you the most successful results, those results come with a small consequence in that depending on your age and the health of your skin, you will be in a lot of pain and it can take you a good while to recover. During this recovery time, you will need to be off work for a minimum of one week to decrease the risk of infection and let your skin recover without exposing it to UV rays.
I can’t write this post without saying how supportive my mum and dad have been. My full life, they’ve always put me and my brother first. My mum sat with me at every single doctor and dermatologist appointment (including the endless hours of waiting time). She even took me to a private hospital for a second opinion when we felt like we were getting nowhere with the pre-Roaccutane treatments. My parents have paid a crazy amount of money over the years on different products and skin treatments because all they want in life is for me and my brother to be happy. They’re always there to boost my confidence and give me a wee pick up when I need it most. I honestly don’t know what I would do without their constant support!
If you’re interested in laser treatment, keep your eyes peeled as I will be publishing a blog post very soon. I will show you my results, where I went for it, the price, how I felt getting it, pictures of my recovery and I will go into a lot more detail about what it is and the amazing benefits of it. Please feel free to give me a message if you have went through something similar and want a wee chat, or if you have any questions about the treatment.