SELF-CARE: My War Against Acne

Like many girls all over the world, I am on a quest to find the perfect solution to my acne prone skin. I’ve remembered hating my face ever since I had my first pimple. Bleh, even the word “pimple” sounds disgusting.

At that time, it was very difficult for me to leave my acne alone so what I’d often do was pick at it. Obviously, it didn’t get better whether I left it alone or not. It was just very frustrating. To me, acne was my archnemesis. If acne had a face, I’d punch it everyday (but since it’s on mine, that wouldn’t work).

The first product that I’ve ever tried was the infamous ProActiv 3 Step System Kit.

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I know that the image displays 5 products, instead of 3 but I chose it because I wanted to have the refining mask included since it was a bonus. I have tried out all of these products minus the green tea moisturizer (it wasn’t out when I first bought it). Personally, it didn’t help much with my skin. In fact, when I started using it, the acne actually got worse for a bit since it was its first time reacting to the chemicals. Even so, I didn’t get much out of it. There might’ve been times when I felt like my skin was more in control but the fact that I was still in my early teenage years pulled the progress back. I did use the cleanser, toner, and lotion and conjunction as well as the refining mask at night. Out of all of the products, the refining mask seemed the most effective for me. I would actually sleep overnight with it and remove it in the morning. My new acne would dry out the day after, actually, and that really helped. I’d rather have dried out pimples than ones that were “fresh” (gross, I know) and hurt.

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For a very short time of my time, I tried aloe vera. I would not recommend this, even if it did slightly work – but it didn’t for me. It was just very inconvenient to have the aloe gel (the inner part of the plant) removed from the outer part of aloe.  Not only was it tedious to cut the aloe parts up, having the slimy substance smeared all over my face was… uncomfortable and unattractive. After the gel turned sticky. I couldn’t even move my face. Even worse, I still remembered the looks of my visiting out-of-state relatives when they saw me with it… How embarrassing was that!

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Another home remedy that I tried was rice water. That was not hard to find since I eat rice practically everyday… After my mom cooked rice, she would leave a bowl of rice water for my face wash. Rice water was supposed to brighten and whiten the skin. It might have helped heal my scars but what I needed was to prevent pimples to pop up. The rice water was refreshing, but was just not potent enough for my epidermal needs.

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The Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash with Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub was just another product that I wanted to try out. I heard a lot of positive feedback on so I decided to win it. Besides doesn’t the name sound like it could cure my face? Anyway, I liked it. Although it didn’t give me perfect skin, it did help some of my acne and blackheads disappear at times. What I liked about this product was the beads that I could exfoliate my skin with. The smell was also sweet so I liked my face after the wash, haha. Overall, I think it’s a good daily face wash. Just don’t rely on only this to clear up your face.

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Believe it or not, toothpaste was the best anti-acne solution for me. The best! Yes, using toothpaste to get rid of acne sounds very weird but I’d have to say that it was the reason why my face cleared up so much. In fact, it even helped clear up my blackheads. I think, it just takes a while for you to realize what your skin needs. Somehow, I remembered the drying effect from the Proactiv Refining Mask and searched on the Internet whether toothpaste would give off the same effect or not. And for some people, it worked so I tried it out, now knowing that I wouldn’t be the only one using it. Like the mask, I would leave it on the affected areas overnight and wash my face in the morning. Over several weeks, I noticed evident changes. If you do use toothpaste, I’d strongly recommend leaving a towel over your pillow so that you can change the towel the morning after. UPDATE [12/05/13]: Toothpaste may not be the best solution after all. After not using it for so long, it made my skin drier the day after I retried this method.

Other Important Factors to Consider:

Time: During my early years of adolescence, I felt that curing my acne was a part of Mission Impossible. It could not go away no matter what method I used at that time. It was very frustrating but growing up, I learned that it gets better. Really, it does. If you’re starting to get acne, it’s not likely that it will go away quickly anytime soon. Your body is changing so it will take a while for the changes to adjust. As I got older, I just noticed getting fewer and fewer breakouts. Usually, it’s not your fault. You just can’t help it.

Sleep: I realize that even if I sleep enough, my acne won’t get better if I sleep after midnight (which is pretty difficult as I grow older). Sleeping early always seems to be more effective than sleeping late. The fact that I’m forcing my body to sleep later than I usually do is sad but as a high school student then and a college student now, missing it is necessary. I do find it unfortunate that I have to give priority to my grades before taking care of myself sometimes. I’m still working on that but I have noticed that I get more sleep in college than in high school, so whoo!

Exercise: When I started joining cross country, I felt like I was less worked up about my facial appearance and that was simply because I didn’t have to worry about it. The more I ran, the better I felt inside and out. For me, exercise was very effective when it came to getting ride of my acne. I could just feel the toxins leaving as I sweated from all the intense work-outs. It’s probably the most effective out of the important factors to consider.

Stress: I cannot stress (ahem, no pun intended) how much stress can affect my appearance. I feel that many of breakouts happen due to the constant amount of stress that I have to face daily in a normal student life. Now, I get very anxious easily so when I do stress, I have a hard time sleeping, so the lack of sleep also contributes to my physical flaws. What I usually combat against this with is exercise (refer above if you haven’t read it yet). Sleep obviously helps as well.

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Final Words: All in all, there is not such thing as a “cure” for acne. Facial products will not cure it. It can help get ride of the acne at that time but not forever. That’s why I acknowledge that it’s a lifelong battle for me and I’m prepared for it. I’m learning what my skin needs and doesn’t need, what’s effective and what’s not, and etc… I think of it as my body’s test for me to keep my overall health in check.

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2 thoughts on “SELF-CARE: My War Against Acne

    • Jessica Nguyen says:

      Thank you! Yes, appearance plays such a huge role in how we feel about ourselves, which also affects how we act around others. So, skin care is very important for me for that reason!

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