Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Skin Deep

Last November I got a pimple. My fight with acne has been pretty intense since I started graduate school, and the zits seemed to have doubled their efforts with my double class load.  Anyway, with two classes, I can fight the good fight with Neutrogena's Anti-Wrinkle, Anti-Blemish cream.

But then one whitehead turned into another... and another... and soon my skin was unable to heal from the first bout. By December, I was looking up how to properly extract pimples without scarring and trying to find a dermatologist - note that I wasn't looking for anyone decent - just A Single Dermo.  Fredericksburg has this strange lack of dermatologists. The receptionist said she could book me in mid-February. That's right, 2.5 months of hydra zits (where two pop up where the one used to be) before any relief.

Photo credit:

When things bother me, I do the one thing someone with a technical background does: research.  The makeup blog I like featured the Dermalogica buffer, plus plenty of nonparaben lotions and washes without sodium lauryl sulfate.  I also found a site that indicated that diet was really 80% of clear skin. Over the next week, Amazon got approximately $50 from me in products, and I started a health kick of no bread, refined sugars, alcohol, and popcorn.  From someone who likes malbec and drinks black coffee, a green smoothie is not for the squeamish.  I added ginger, apples, romaine lettuce, and water to a blender in hopes of undermining this zit factory called my face.  I got a humidifier to counteract the Sahara dryness of the heater. I took fish oil supplements because that would help my skin retain more moisture in theory.

By January, my chin was somewhere between Freddy Krueger and Two Face with the bottom half being the worst.  February was just too far away, so I made an appointment in Fairfax with a dermo I researched online. When I got to the waiting room, all of the receptionists had immaculate skin, which was a good sign.

The doctor said, "I can see your pores are clogged."  Validation!! I was sure that my skin was just doing non-skin things like freaking out on me, which in turn freaked me out.  She gave me some meds and I went home and had a peanut butter sandwich with a beer. It was the most divine combination of foodstuffs you could get. The fact that I was "living a little" lowered my stress, and I could see a few pimples riding off into the sunset, as it were.

I will say that the humidifier and some of the products I got were not wasteful, however, I laughed when the doc gave me Cetaphil products, which contain parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate.  Looking back on it, eating more veggies was a good thing, but it only counted for about 5% of skin awesomeness.  I couldn't believe I was taking skin advice from a makeup blog. She can just hide it better, right?

So what was the issue? Most likely, taking two classes with a full time job while planning a wedding. Before this dermo appointment, I hadn't strung together all of those activities in my mind. Also, using olive oil on your face is NOT a good idea, despite what any blog tells you.