Acne Journals: Ria B, 29

My acne journey started at 11 with a severe amount of acne on my forehead. Your worth of yourself changes in terms of how you feel and how you feel people view you. My acne suddenly started disappearing when I was around 20. I assumed that part of it had to do with the fact that I had started taking birth control, but the pill had a lot of other side effects that I wasn't a fan of, and to me, those side effects weren't worth the acne being gone by any means, so I stopped using birth control.

I know there's a lot of misconstrued narratives about acne, especially that it’s all in your control and if you have acne, it’s because you’re not clean or not trying hard enough. And those things I just knew weren't true, so I didn't view it as that. I think anybody who's had acne has had people just shove ideas down your throat. “Here's all the things you can do.” It's like, I have already tried so many things. I've done the research.

I started traveling for work every week, which put my skin through a lot. You're going to different climates, you're on planes all the time. I started getting acne on my forehead, and then eventually I started getting it on my cheeks, which freaked me out. I think the forehead acne was the known enemy from early on in my acne journey, whereas the cheek stuff was just like…I don't know what to do with this.

My traveling was going to stop when I was transitioning to business school, so I was like, okay, I finally am going to be able to build a routine. At that point, my acne was so terrible; I was so much more conscious of it than ever before and started wearing face makeup for coverage for the first time.

A Sephora salesperson told me to look into working on dietary stuff and to try an elimination diet, so I severely limited dairy. I also severely cut down my skin care routine from the whole 10-step craze down to four or five. Lastly, I was put on antibiotics for a year and a half. All of this helped. Then, my derm switched me to Spironolactone, a water-based pill, but I still wasn't clear. 

In April 2022, I started using the Cool As A Cucumber products. And so that's all I've done: just use the Cool as a Cucumber products and an SPF that they recommended. And it is like day and night. It is. My skin has never been clearer. I still get acne every now and then, and that's okay. As you can tell, I'm someone who's very much made peace with the fact that acne will not completely go away for me. I will not have glass skin and that's alright. But it's more about manageability: how much of it is present, how frequently does it present itself, how much energy I’m putting into thinking about it, those kinds of things.