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cp11447 , 15 Mar 2017

Acne, picking, someone help :(

if y'all can make it through this novel i would appreciate any help possible.

Heres my story:
In high school I never really had skin issues. I loved my life so much and had everything I wanted. Around the time I had to start applying of college, I started getting about 2-3 pimples a month really unnoticeable.At the time, being really concerned with my image i went to the derm and I was put on topical which did nothing and since I am a girl I was put on birth control and I tried three different kinds and all made my skin WAY worse. Finally, my derm put me on accutane from July to February at 20 mg a day (I weighed 120). It cleared my skin right up I never had any problems, and my skin really stayed clear once I was off it. Or so I thought. In June, I started breaking out again... starting with 1 to two pimples every few weeks. Then I left for college and my skin progressively got worse. I had already been seeing a therapist to deal with body dysmorphic disorder, but that was for freaking out and picking the crap out of one or two pimples, not a full face. By late September, my skin was covered, mostly on my forehead where I never had acne before. Before all of this, I was so outgoing and loved my life. I was the life of the party and the one who brought everyones spirits up and was always down for a great time. Because of my acne, I stopped going out, stopped going to class, stopped attending sorority functions, stopped talking to friends and eventually had to drop out of college and come home in October. Before I came home, I went to a derm at my college who said she wanted to skip all the topical and it was time to do another round of accutane to kill off acne for good. I couldn't start this until october because of the pregnancy test and when I came home I accepted it, said ok my skin will clear by January and I will go back to school and be ok (I was still working with my therapist too). Well I started using Absorica, supposed to be better absorbing and fancy, and I was on 60 mg a day from the get go and I lost weight from all of the emotional trauma and only weigh 110 now so this dose is well above what I "need". I would describe my acne not as cystic, but as red under the skin bumps that form from skin colored clogs everywhere. The first few months were hell, i broke out consistently in huge pimples that popped in my skin and caused large scabs everywhere literally ear to ear, since i was out of school i didn't really care so much i just sat inside telling myself it would be clear in a few months. Well I thought this was just my skin purging, but each time i noticed I'm still forming skin colored clogs which cause a lot of my acne issues. So two and a half months go by and its time for me to go back to school..... my skin looked the WORST it ever has in my life and this was so emotionally painful and damaging that I had to put off school ANOTHER semester. Eventually I came to terms with it because I was told my skin was going to clear up. Well here I am SIX MONTHS after starting accutane, 60 mgs a day, using cetaphil recommended by my derm. and my skin looks just as bad as my worst breakout of my entire life. I have clogged pores, painful bumps, and sore scabs all over yet my face. I tried to quit picking but since my skin keeps staying bad and not improving it hs made my anxiety so bad that I can't stop myself anymore. I am losing all sorts of hope. I was depressed and have suffered so much trauma because of this, but at this point it seems like it will never work and it seems like my last lifeline due to how bad my depression is....i feel hopeless and useless because i know my life is not going to be lived to its full potential if this doesn't clear up (Im a prelaw student who goes out and has fun all the time.....but i will do none of this and stay in my room forever because I can't handle looking like this) I keep seeing all these success stories of SEVERE CYSTIC acne that is cleared by now. Especially being someone who suffers from body dysmorphic disorder and dermatillomania, my life will be put on hold until my skin clears up. I haven't left my room in six months besides going to the derm and therapy. I can hang on for one or two more months but i don't think i can handle it after that... all of my friends will be coming home and i can't keep lying and blowing them off and watch them all go out this summer while I'm depressed still having acne after 7 months on accutane. Im terrified summer will roll around and school will roll around in august and I will waist yet another good year of youth to depression and acne. I don't understand. My skin is horrible and as i type this I have about 9 open wounds from huge pimples that are all oozing and painful and i can still feel bacteria inside. Im so lost and scared. Skin picking and acne has taken a perfect life from me and made me not even want to live most days.

6 Answers
March 16, 2017

Hey girl. I need you to listen to me, ok? You can still have a happy life. This is so not the end of happiness.
I've been picking at the skin around my fingernails since forever ago. It has caused me so much embarrassment throughout my entire life, so I understand. I know your situation is different because it's on your face, and it's embarrassing in a completely different way. Plus it sounds like you're young (early 20s maybe?) and of course you want to live like a "normal" (notice the quotation marks) 20-something year old. I get it. But please don't let this embarrassment ruin any of that for you. You can still be "the life of the party", trust me. Seriously, trust me. It's about your personality, not what's on your face. And I know this sounds cliche but this is the truth- anyone that really loves you is not going to give a shit. And everyone else can take a long walk off a short pier :)
But I know it still bothers you anyway. In my opinion, the best way to do it is cold turkey. I've taken that advice from others and it seems to be working. Just.Stop.Picking. You know you're only making it worse. Please, try that and commit to it fully.
I've also been reading that calamine lotion seems to help a lot of people. Maybe give that a try also?
I know it's difficult, but try to take control of it. I hate to see someone so young suffer from depression from something like this. It's just so not worth it.
Please keep me posted. Lots of luck to you. <3

March 17, 2017

In reply to by Biter21

thank you for such kind support that is so sweet of you i really do appreciate it:) I am 19 so very young still and have plenty left to live. I don't pick at anything thats not there, thats why I'm hoping the accutane kicks in and gets rid of my acne so my anxieties don't cause me to freak out...i was doing SO well too with picking but accutane is supposed to clear you up after the first 3-4 months and I'm still breaking out lately so thats why i think bad habits are coming back but old habits die hard and I'm going to give it everything I've got. I have been making my own zinc oxide healing elixir with 100% zinc oxide because thats why calamine works so well and it has been doing amazing things in just 2 days. I know that ill make it through this and be better because of it.

I think for me its just such a big change in my life and something I have to adjust to that I may not always look how I want to look. since i never had a problem in high school and really did have an amazing blessed life i took for granted. I was known for being the girl with great skin and "the face". I did well grade wise, played two sports, and always was out on the weekends with friends and I never thought about how i looked or cared for that matter until i started getting acne so I think it was just a big wake up call and as crappy as this has all been, I know that some day ill be grateful to have had my perspectives changed for the better. Im sick of wasting my life on the way I look. I have a really fun summer planned and I can't wait to live every moment of it. Again, thanks for the support. sometimes i just send stuff out there just to get it out of my head and somewhere else, but getting a reply, that really means the world.

March 17, 2017

In reply to by cp11447

You are very welcome. And I'm happy to hear that you found something that seems to be working for you! No matter what, just stay positive and determined. It'll all be ok, one way or another. Until your skin is healed and your acne goes away, maybe try finding a new obsession to keep your mind busy. Something that will make you feel good about yourself, like learning how to crochet yourself a pretty infinity scarf that you can show off (one of my favorite things I ever learned from YouTube lol). Again, best of luck to you!!

March 17, 2017

I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through all of this! I know words from a stranger online can barely touch what you are feeling but for what it's worth my heart goes out to you and I understand the feeling of being totally unable to deal with the cycle of dermatillomania and face the world because so much of it is mental! If we didn't care we wouldn't have picked in the first place most likely! I do have a few suggestions that may help with healing though! Since I have never been on accutane I feel like I would not want to suggest too much "skin care" because Im sure you are already using what is most compatible! But I do use gentle products I swear by...Pacifica sea foam face wash and simple rich moisturizer. They may also be good for accutane skin!? In addition I would HIGHLY suggest hydrocolloid bandaids also sometimes called advanced healing depending on brand! They are amazing. What you are looking for is something that says it will protect and absorb drainage from wound and it is sticky on the entire surface without your typically pad for the wound area. You stick them on any picked areas and leave them as long as you can whether it's just over every night...I work long days Monday- Friday so that's the best I can do most of the time and i see improvement each morning! BUT if you are at home for a day or more try to leave it on 24-48 hours! You can change them out of they start to fall off or look like they are full and have absorbed all they can (ew ;)) but they idea is to keep that mark covered. You won't be able to pick plus it's healing magic. Pulling guck out an allowing skin to quickly heal underneath. Also a recent and random find of mine is First Degree multi symptom burn cream. I don't use this daily but I have found that it heals over raw know those spots where your top layer is missing and it's weepy...really fast so that you can at least apply cover up and go about your day. I do have some makeup suggestions. Neutrogena healthy skin enhancer (not full coverage) but applied with a beauty blender brings down redness and looks very skin like not like a cake face! It's also good for skin helping the skin cells turn over with retinol. For really dry and scabbing areas I will spot cover with neutrogena hydro boost foundation because it has great coverage and the consistency glide over texture well and stays put! And a few things I would say help that have nothing to do with products: journal, get fresh air and sunshine, cover your face with makeup and get out of the house if at all possible to make the day pass and give your mind and face a break from the inspections that occur when you are home! You will feel so good coming home after a full day and washing makeup off and covering with bandaids and going to bed knowing it will heal while you are least thinking about it!

March 17, 2017

In reply to by Let-it-be

Hi :) Firstly, thank you so much for answering. Like I said to the other response, typing away my anxieties helps me a lot and keeps my hands off my face but when someone takes the time to reach out and offer such supportive and loving words, it means the world and really solidifies that Im not alone. As far as face wash goes I use a really gentle organic aloe wash now and it has been awesome thank GOD its really helped soother some of the spots. I had my mom pick me up some of those bandaids and Im going to try them out tonight and until all these wounds heal..thanks so much for the suggestion:)

The part i really need to work on is leaving the house. In high school and my whole life I have just always been really into my appearance and wanting to look a certain way. This whole traumatic experience of having that change in such a short amount of time from perfect skin to having acne all over and leaving college to come home because i didnt want people to see me like that has showed me just how scared and how much my fears really took over me and my life.For the past 6 months i have been in the backseat and my anxieties, fears, and disorders have completely taken over. I have learned to prioritize my other good qualities but its still a struggle every day. Especially since I'm not in school right now, Im not forced to go anywhere so i tend to make myself stay in until my skin clears up so i can go back into the world "like nothing happened" which is what I really want to change. I want to be able to go out how I look now, and still feel the same way as when I go out to a party or concert with my makeup done and feel great about myself but I'm just not there yet. I do go to therapy and am working to accept myself like this. Acne and dermatillomania are fixable and for that I am so grateful and I think thats why my mind sometimes traps me is because its just telling me its temporary and that i can lock myself away until it finally clears. But you're so right...thank god for still learning how to do foundation because I never needed it before November so I'm practicing still lol but it does help!

Thanks for all of the support it really makes me happy that theres support and help for people struggling online because you never know how much your words can save and impact someone. So thank you, really. For taking the time to read through and type helpful advise its just really awesome.

March 18, 2017

In reply to by cp11447

You are so welcome! I hope that the bandaids really help mentally so you can leave spots alone and also speed the healing! I can relate a lot to you in the ways of not being used to worrying about your appearance and then all the sudden acne combined with dermatillomania take that security blanket right away!! But it's not a good security blanket anyway...i think I saw you say somewhere you will be better for this experience and you are SO right. You will have more depth and compassion and your life will be better for that so really it is a blessing to experience this at a young age! You are so young! I was more or less at the place you described when I was 22 and 23 and in retrospect I wish I had gone through it earlier and wouldn't trade what I learned about myself for perfect skin! Don't get me wrong I still struggle with picking at 26 but I have learned a lot of tricks to deal with anxiety better, be healthier and kinder to my face, and most importantly get the most out of each day no matter what! Wouldn't have gotten here without being "there"...the not so great place! Xo

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