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Secret to Clear Skin

Secret to Clear Skin

Miracle is an understatement. For those of you who have been following my journey for some time, know that I have gone through major struggles with my skin for over two years. Having had combination to oily skin that was acne prone, it reached a point where the acne would not subside. I needed a solution. After multiple attempts of getting rid of my acne, only one thing really worked for me.

On social media, it wasn't always obvious that I was going through problems with acne because I would cover it up with makeup. But even with makeup on, you could still see all the acne bumps. It would show when in my videos, otherwise in photos I made sure to smooth out my skin because I was too embarrassed to show you how my skin truly looked.

 My skin with makeup on when I had acne.

My skin with makeup on when I had acne.

The first thing I learned when I started to read up on how to get rid of acne is that acne is a way of your body telling you there is something wrong. This struck a cord with me and pushed me to start taking action to combat it. Here are some of the things I tried that I recommend you trying first before jumping to the method that eventually worked for me. Remember, not all acne is the same, so sometimes simple solutions may work for you.

Diet

What you eat plays a large role in how your skin looks. Check what your diet consists of and make sure its not too much oily and fatty foods. Dairy could also be a contributor to acne because it causes inflammation from the excess hormones, produces more oil on your skins surface and clogs pores. I started to change my diet by cutting out fatty foods and dairy for over a month but did not see any improvement. If I had been patient and stuck with this diet, it may have improved my skin overtime because natural methods usually take longer to clear skin, but I was not up for waiting to see change! 

Skin Care

I always thought that I had to use the strongest products on the market that would literally peel off my acne to resolve. This is definitely not the solution. When it comes to skin care, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Use a gentle face cleanser and don't over-wash your skin by cleaning it multiple times a day. Once in the morning and once before bedtime is more than enough.
  • Make sure you are washing off all your makeup before bedtime. Do not just rely on makeup wipes because it doesn't completely get rid of the makeup. I suggest using a makeup remover, cleansing your face and then applying a toner. You will notice with applying a toner that there is still some makeup residue, so this gets rids of the leftovers. 
  • If you are going to wear makeup, make sure you are cleaning the brushes you are applying your makeup with. You don't notice how much bacteria accumulates on your brushes which can clog your pores overtime. Try doing this weekly or even biweekly.

When the above solutions alone did not work

Having tried the above solutions, nothing worked for me, so I ended up seeing my family doctor about my skin problem. She prescribed an antibiotic called Doxycycline to take for a few months which is supposed to combat the acne. I took it for 4 months and did not see any drastic results. At this point I was losing hope because nothing was working and I just did not understand what was going on. My family doctor had referred me to a dermatologist but he wasn't available to see new clients for another year and I needed a solution now. I ended up doing my own research and found a dermatologist at an Appletree clinic who also had great reviews on the RateMyMd website, so I booked an appointment with him. 

This dermatologist was my saving grace! Right off the bat he could pinpoint that the acne I was experiencing was cystic acne, which is why none of the methods I tried worked. Cystic acne is more aggressive and harder to get rid of. Sometimes the only explanation for it is hereditary which in my case was true because my mom had gone through the same thing at a younger age.

The medication that saved my skin

What helped my mom get rid of her acne is the solution the dermatologist suggested for me. It is usually the last resort because of how abrasive the medication can be but if all else fails, it is the only choice. The oral medication is called isotrenin which comes in various brands such as Accutane and Epurius. My dermatologist prescribed me Epirus which is basically the Canadian version of Accutane with less side effects. A lot is accompanied with taking this medication such as signing a consent form, monthly blood tests to monitor your vitals, monthly dermatologist visits, cannot be pregnant or try to get pregnant while on this pill, and the side effects that you may experience while taking it which varies for every person. Luckily, the only side effects I experienced were redness and dryness. 

Learn more about this medication here.

The first few months on this medication your skin goes through a flare up, basically getting rid of all the bacteria in your pores by making them come out as pimples. It is a little scary but you have to stay patient. By my third month I could start seeing results that were amazing!!!! By 5th month, I had no acne at all. I was just left with scarring and it was something I was willing to embrace. I cant explain how happy I was to have gone through this despite the hardships of dryness because it was well worth it. 

 2nd month on Epirus - slowly seeing progress

2nd month on Epirus - slowly seeing progress

 5th month on Epirus - acne gone, left with scars.

5th month on Epirus - acne gone, left with scars.

 The final results - with makeup!

The final results - with makeup!

 After almost a year of being off of this prescription, here is my skin in 2018 after a facial!

After almost a year of being off of this prescription, here is my skin in 2018 after a facial!

How I combatted the side effects

As mentioned above, the side effects I experienced on Epirus were mainly dryness and redness. So I had to make sure I was using the right products to help me get through it because it could get really uncomfortable and make you want to stop taking the antibiotic. 

For dry red eyes, I used Refresh eye drops daily. The pharmacist suggested not to use visine for daily use because it could do more damage than good but Refresh drops are safe. This helped keep my eyes hydrated. Speaking of hydration, I had to make sure I kept hydrated by drinking enough water!

I would get dryness on my body, face hands and lips. For body, I used lots of body lotion to keep my skin from getting ashy. On my face I discovered jojoba oil and have been using that since. It soaks into your skin and really makes it feel hydrated. I also use an overnight mask once or twice a week to help as well. For lips, an agave lip balm which I applied constantly. Try not to use liquid lipsticks while on the medication. I had to learn the hard way how gross it can look on with chapped lips!

If you are going through what I went through, I feel your pain. I know what it feels like to go feel down because of your skin and not confident. I highly suggest trying the above methods and seeing a dermatologist. They will be sure to help you and let you know what best measures to take! Don't stress yourself about it because you will find a solution if you really want to! Best of luck and stay patient :)

Love,

Hanan XOX

To watch my skin care progress on YouTube, see links below!

 

Starting Epirus 

Month 1 on Epirus 

Month 2 on Epirus

Skin Routine on Epirus

Final Results - Clear Skin!

 

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