Friday, November 02, 2012

Saving my face. It's not about vanity, DUH. It's about saving money on makeup!

When I was younger, I had terrible acne. Horrible, cystic, nasty, hellish zits all over my face, but mostly on my chin and my cheeks. The pain was awful, the ugliness was unaoidable, and the scarring was both physical and emotional.

I wound up relying on Retin-A as a solution, albeit a very minimal one. It helped with the physical scarring. But it didn't do much to prevent the cystic zits from coming up. That took a change in both diet and medicine. And when I discovered the solution, the clear up of my skin was almost immediate. Like, within a WEEK, I had clear skin. It was fucking ridiculously insanely awesome.

Anyway, fast forward about 10 years, and I made one of the dumbest decisions ever. I allowed the nurse practitioner in my gyno's office to talk me into switching birth control pills. I had started to get a little bit of adult acne, in spite of my diet (no dairy), and she thought the new pill would help clear that up for me.

The acne was no big deal, really. Just something I'd noticed over the previous year, and I was wondering what might be causing it. But I switched pills anyway. I'd been on the same one for almost 15 years...why not give a new one a shot?

6 months later, I developed a condition called melasma on my face. Dark pigmented spots that were all over my cheeks, my forehead, and nose. I went to a dermatologist for help, and they told me that there's not really anything you can do about it. It's hormonal. It's not going to respond well to any topical treatment, so I'd best just find a makeup that I liked and deal with it that way.


I was lucky, I suppose. The location of the darker patches of skin look kind of like large patches of freckles, and I'd never had freckles before, and I always thought they were cute, so I just tried to think of them that way.

10 years later, and I'm DONE pretending I have freckles. To be honest, it didn't really last longer than a month. Melasma ruined my complexion. I can't pretend to believe otherwise.

When smizing goes too far.
I've tried skin lightening creams, different kinds of facials, scrubs, lotions, and of course, makeup. No matter what, the melasma is always there, even after I spend loads of time with the makeup routine before heading out. I don't want to look like a fucking clown, so I don't spackle my face to heavily. I think the melasma is the lesser of two evils in that regard, for sure. But it bothers me when I look in the mirror. It's the first thing I see on my face, dammit, and that isn't right.

So I've started going in for something called IPL, or "intense pulse light" treatments at my dermatologist's office. It's the next step in trying to combat the damned, stupid fucking melasma. So far, it's gotten rid of my sun spots/liver spots/whatever you wanna call them spots. Those were easy, it seems. The first treatment hit them hard, and they were gone within the month following.

I just had my 2nd of 5 treatments earlier this week. It hurts a little bit as it's being done, but it doesn't last long, and after a day, the irritation is largely dissipated, if it's still there at all. My melasma seems much lighter, IMO, but it's still there. I have to be super-careful about sunscreen and being out in the direct sunlight, because it can set the process back and make it kind of useless. I'm hoping that by the time I've had the 5th treatment, I'll feel totally comfortable leaving the house without makeup on again. I haven't been able to do that with 100% confidence for 10 fucking years.

I'll put up an updated picture in another week or so, so you can see the difference between the worst my melasma has been (post-honeymoon, in the picture above), and hopefully the road to improved skin that I'm currently on. I hope it works!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was it tri-sprintec? That did the same to me and I went off it about 2 months ago. How long have you been off it?