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My Acne Journey, part 1

May 2008, With dear friend Katie Velasco (now Katie Crosby).

I’ve had acne for as long as I can remember. Oops, scratch that – I’ve played piano longer (I started piano when I was 6 years old). What I mean is, it feels like I’ve had acne forever. If you see pictures of my skin looking alright now, it’s probably the Tiktok filter, or just the right light hitting at the perfect moment and I’m quickly pointing to my husband Cung saying “Hurry! Take a photo now!”

My acne journey has gotten better since the lockdown – interesting how the pandemic improved my skin quality. I think it’s a combination of not being out so much in the polluted air of Bandung and Jakarta, getting more sleep, drinking more water, eating great supplements, using aloe vera, and using all-natural skincare products.

Complicated eh? You bet. Way too many factors. That’s skincare for you, especially if you have sensitive or combination skin. It’s seriously way more complicated than relationships.

My skin is much more complicated than any relationship I’ve been in. And I’ve been in a lot.

The first outbreak of my acne journey started in junior high when I was about 14 or 15, and continued on until my mid-20s. I’ve tried everything under the sun, even – look don’t judge me here – even my own urine. I think it’s something called urine therapy. It’s far-out, I know. But I was desperate. I didn’t feel good, nor beautiful.

Drastic Actions

May 2011, in Texas. Taken by roommate Hye Young Lois Bang

When I finally got sick of my acne, I decided to try hormonal meds. The hormones were so strong the dermatologist said I have to stop eating this 1 year before I want to have kids. Well luckily, I didn’t plan to have kids soon. But I did plan to end my acne, whatever it demanded.

So I consumed the meds, and IT WORKED. However, when I was not taking it, my pimples would start to appear. That’s why I kept taking it for about 5 years until 2020.

To be honest, it was fine for those 5 years. My acne disappeared and I was happy. One day, all that hormonal build-up finally showed side effects.

In October 2020 I developed vaginal cysts.

To be continued to part 2.

Acne can be debilitating for self confidence. If you need a reminder of your beauty, read this poem.

4 thoughts on “My Acne Journey, part 1

  1. guess I didnt know you during your problem years…you have always been beautiful to me.

    My second son went through this…we tried everything that Bandung offered at the time– about 5 specialists– to little avail. He still has after effects, but he is so charming I dont think anyone who meets him even notices.
    I love your saying “My skin is much more complicated than any relationship I’ve been in.” I hope you remember to thank your skin. Can you even imagine what life would be without it?? Messy

    1. Life without skin… oh wow that’s a great idea for a fantasy premise… possibly one of those dystopian worlds.

  2. This reminds me of the “facial” days back then. My mom got irritated with my skin condition, and asked me to do a facial treatment. It was excruciating I chose not to do it again after the first attempt. Then, when I studied in Malang, I went to a doctor who told me that facial treatment (which include poking the acnes with needle) is dangerous for skin since it’ll expand our pores and leave big holes all over our face as we aged. Holy moly. Apparently, for me, to prevent getting pimples was all about getting enough sleep, water, and avoiding eggs (my acne is also an allergic reaction), that’s all.

    The problem is I love sunny side up, half boiled eggs, and all kind of food made of eggs 🤣 but I took a break from eating eggs for months and wow, it worked wonder. For now, I make a peace with my skin condition. I know after I eat eggs I’ll have one or two huge acnes and it’s totally fine for me 😂.

    1. thank you for sharing! yes i remember those painful facials also, it was like hell. Glad you have made peace with your skin condition!!!

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