Friday, October 8, 2010


I have an acne problem, and I'm freaking out.

I was the envy of every other girl in my high school (difficult--I went to an all-girls' high school) because of my distinct lack of acne. When I did have a stray hairline pimple or two, I immediately ran crying to my dermatologist. Of course, at the time I thought that I was absolutely disgusting because oh my god the offending zit was so noticeable I could just die.

Let me briefly explain the reason for my blessed, acne-free existence. I have a chronic skin condition called eczema. (If you want to get really technical, you can look at the subheadings of "atopic dermatitis", "seborrhoeic dermatitis", "discoid eczema" and "dyshidrosis".) Dyshidrosis is the especially gross one that insured I had very few friends in middle school. In any case, my skin was naturally so dry from the eczema that I had a hard time getting enough oil on my face to really contribute to acne. (You can have both acne and eczema, I was just lucky.)

Because of the eczema, I am extremely OCD about my skin. The second anything is uneven, red or itchy, it gets examined, picked at, and treated with eight different creams, lotions, oils and ointments. Which is why this acne thing is driving me bonkers.

The pregnancy hormones have helped clear up my eczema... but now I've got this acne problem. I've never really faced this before, and it is driving me to fits. I spend hours a day standing in front of the bathroom mirror, examining myself. Okay, maybe not hours. Maybe like, one hour. It's a lot of time, in any case, definitely more time than I should be spending on examining myself in the mirror.

I first noticed it creeping along my hairline. Then it appeared at my temples and crept down from my forehead to the bridge of my nose. It's trying to put the moves on my right cheek now.

I will not stand for this.

My first line of defense was washing with my pre-existing facial treatment, the Basis bar for sensitive skin. It's just a bar of moisturizing soap, really. This particular bar contains chamomile and aloe vera. Dermatologist-recommended, don'tcha know, even though my dermatologist has never mentioned it to me. It's good soap. I like it. It's good for taking off make-up, too.

Unfortunately, it was doing nothing to keep the acne off me.

In a crazy-hormone-induced fit, I fled to CVS a week and a half ago and scoured their aisles for a facial cleanser that does not contain salicylic acid (which pregnant women cannot use). The only thing I found was this Biore Steam Activated Cleanser. As far as I can tell, it does jack shit.

Really. I'd probably have better luck just using my Basis bar. This stuff seems to do absolutely nothing. I doubt that the steam from your shower actually "activates" anything and I don't feel particularly cleaner for having used it. Besides, it cost me eight dollars. My Basis bar only costs two.

Tonight, my husband made me buy this Boots Expert Anti-Blemish 2 in 1 Scrub and Mask after I sulked in the organic beauty aisle at Target for ten minutes. It has willowbark extract, which is a natural source of salicyclic acid, but you know what? I don't care. It's plant-based and it's so far down on the ingredient list that it probably won't matter, and in any case it's better than me clawing my face trying to get the zits off.

I just used it for the first time, and although it comes out creamy, it is a scrub. Apparently, it can be a mask if you want it to--I'll try that later--but the scrub is nice. I felt very clean and my skin felt even afterwards, which is more than I can say for the Biore (also, the Boots is cheaper). We'll see how this goes, but I have high hopes for Boots.

In the meantime, I'm just going to keep slathering myself in concealer. Slathering. Myself. In. Concealer.


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