my cystic acne journey

photo above is my skin today

I can literally cry just writing this post. It’s been such a journey and while having acne isn’t the end of the world, it definitely can take a toll on one’s confidence but the thing that got me through it was knowing it was temporary and it’s what my body needed to do after giving birth. I think having a positive mindset helped me not go completely crazy (although I did go a little crazy lol!)

My skin has always been the same. I never had problematic skin. My skin concerns (before baby) were discoloration, aging, loss of volume, and dehydration. All these things, I knew how to help my skin with the right ingredients but cystic acne… I had ZERO IDEA. Sure I had an occasional pimple here and there but after birth, my skin literally went crazy. I had about 2o cystic pimples develop in one day. It was painful, and I didn’t really know what to do. I even asked my favorite skincare brands that I worked with in the past to send me their best acne serums/creams and honestly nothing helped. I also kept touching my face, popping the white heads, and damaging my skin even more.

After dealing with it for over a month, I remember one day I glaced at myself in the mirror and I could barely recognizing myself. That’s when I decided to take control of this shit and find a dermatologist. I surprisingly had never had a dermatologist. I’ve have worked with dermatologists for brand events and work-related things in the past, but I had never actually made an appt. I asked my friend Alex (who knows all the best people in the industry) and she referred me to Dr. Behroozan. I checked with my insurance and I was thankfully covered (otherwise I would have had to find someone else who was under my insurance).

Since I was still breastfeeding at the time of my first appt. I got some not so great news from Dr. Behroozan. Turns out when you’re BF there are not many treatments and ingredients you can use that are safe to clear acne. The only thing he could prescribe me was Azelaic Acid (which is completely safe for BF and pregnancy too). As much as I wanted to do all the treatments and get the strongest ingredients for my skin, I knew I had to be patient until I was done BF.

What I used to clear up my acne

+ prescribed azelaic acid 15%– First two months day and night it’s all I used (must be prescribed by your doctor). This actually cleared up most of my acne and prevented new ones. I feel like I got lucky as this worked for me but I know that’s not the case for everyone. (this was also covered by insurance fyi). If you can’t get a prescription, try this one. it’s not as strong but I’ve heard good things.
+ cleanser- I used two cleansers. This one I used in the beginning when my skin was really inflamed. It was super calming and clarifying. I loved it! After my skin calmed down, I started to use this one and it’s probably the best cleanser I used in 2020. Will continue to use this even when I’m not breaking out because it’s such a great overall cleanser! It’s filled with acids to help decongest clogged pores, exfoliate and brighten skin.
+ acne treatment- I used this one by Kate Sommerville and WOW it was a holy grail of mine during this entire process. I put this on all my acne open blemishes and also put it on whenever I felt something underneath. I cannot recommend this enough. It really helped kill the white head and prevent them from getting bigger.
+Moisturizer: This tata harper clarifying moisturizer was and still is the only moisturizer I used. It’s pricy but it works well for inflamed sensitive acne-prone skin. Most importantly it did not clog up my pore or cause any new acne.
+ SPF– I used a few different ones but I really liked this one by Krave Beauty and Dermalogica SPF. Both are great for acne-prone skin!

Another important aspect to clearing up my skin was seeing an aesthetician. I saw Christine, who is at Dr. Behroozan’s office, once a month for extractions and to clear up any blackheads (black heads can turn into those cystic volcanos so you gotta clean those up before they get worse). These facials were not covered by my insurance so I did pay out of pocket but it’s was absolutely worth every penny. I’m confident it was a huge part of clearing up my skin. When you have acne-prone skin, getting extractions done by a professional is the safest way to do so otherwise you will be left with huge red scars. It’s so important to clear and clean up those pores! (she’s also offering 10% off new clients! Let her know I sent you)

Now that I’m done BF, on my last doctor visit I was able to get prescribed retinol and other medication to help kill any more bacteria that might be lingering. Dr. Behroozan really wanted to nip it in the bud to ensure my cystic acne doesn’t come back anytime soon. Plus I LOVE prescribed retinol. There’s just nothing like it over the counter. Makes my skin so glowy and youthful. I’ve been using retinol since 2018 and it’s the best anti-aging ingredient out there. If you’re new to retinol, I also love shani darden retinol as it’s gentle and effective as well! (it’s what I used for over a month before going into prescription retinol)

Through this journey, I was able to learn SO much more about skincare. Since my insurance covered my visits and treatments it was the best decision I made for my skin. I did pay out of pocket for things not covered by my insurance. This post isn’t paid or sponsored I just genuinely wanted to share my experience in case anyone else is looking for a dermatologist or aesthetician.

Now I’m not saying you have to go a professional to get your skin cleared by any means. But I really had no idea how to cure my acne and for me, nothing was working. If you’re struggling and able to see a professional I’d highly recommend Dr. Behroozan. He’s also offering 10% off to new clients for any services as well. He also just touched up my botox on my forehead, and I’m feeling brand new. Yay for mommy make-overs!