How I Transformed My Skin And Finally Got Rid Of My Cystic Acne (With Pictures)

Before: On the right, After: left
Both with no makeup and no filter. What a difference!

(*Little disclaimer: I am not a doctor by any means. This is just what I found through my research and what ultimately worked for me. So please do your own research and check with your doctor first before trying any of these things.*)

If you didn’t know me before I had my cystic acne, you would never be able to tell that it was something I once struggled with. I don’t have any scars, discoloration, or deep indents left on my face. It wasn’t always like that though. It actually wasn’t until these past two years that I was finally able to smooth out my skin and get rid of all traces of my past acne. But to see how I finally ended up with smooth, acne-free skin, I think it’s important that we go back to the start, when my acne first began to make an appearance.

I started getting acne when I was in 5th grade at only 11 years old. At that time it was simply bumps all across my forehead and that’s where it remained. There was no redness to my skin but the bumps were still noticeable so I always made sure I had bangs to help cover it all up. That was 5th grade.

There was no hiding it; the acne consumed my face! I was already 19 by this time and still struggling with the scars

It wasn’t until 6th grade when I started getting the cystic acne all along my jaw. That would be the start of years and years of battling with this extreme type of acne. I actually had a teacher once tell me “You think I’m listening to you when you’re talking to me? I’m just staring at all the acne on your face. You kids need to wash your faces.” That was so crushing to hear and just overall a really harsh thing to say to a 12 year old. But you know, I wish it was as simple as that. I tried so many soaps like Clean and Clear, Proactive, apricot scrubs, even a sugar scrub. Those cleansers either did nothing for me or they just aggravated my acne more. I also tried tea bags and toothpaste on my face, all home remedies that many people swore by. I was willing to try anything, no matter how painful. I cried many times throughout these different treatments because a lot of the time they hurt so much and it was so frustrating that none of them even worked. So after trying everything we possibly could have, my mom took me to a dermatologist.

Even with makeup, there was no hiding the bumpy texture m scars left behind.

My dermatologist prescribed me about 5 medications in total. There were about 2 or 3 creams I had to put on at night, one for the day, and an oral antibiotic. At first, they worked and I was so ecstatic! I thought that this was it. That I could see the sun over the horizon, I could see the end to this long fought battle. That was of course until it stopped working.

It was all down my neck too so I was super self conscience of ever tilting my head back- that meant no looking up and no throwing my head back in laughter either.

You see the thing is that bacteria can become antibiotic resistant. They get used to that antibiotic and learn how to become stronger so that it no longer works on them. (I’m not sure if I’m getting that explanation 100% right but based on my research, that’s how I understand it.) That’s exactly what happened to me. After being on my antibiotics for 2 years, my body became resistant to it. It no longer worked and my acne came back stronger than ever. (The pictures you’re seeing above are not even the actual acne ones, those are just the scars. So imagine all those scars, plus oozing puss, redness, and lumps and bumps all along my jaw and neck. It was not a pretty sight.) At this point, my doctor thought to prescribe me with an even stronger antibiotic. I would have to take it two times a day and the side effects for that one would be: yellow teeth, blue skin, dizziness, and fainting, just to name a few. I am not even joking, those were the actual side effects. So I thought to myself, I may end up up looking ugly with all these side effects but at least I’ll be acne free right? That is a huge joke if you could not tell ๐Ÿ˜‚ So even though I was reluctant, I decided to give it a try. I literally took 3 doses of that medication before those side effects started kicking in. I started to feel dizzy while walking to school, going up and down the stairs, and getting onto the bus. It was to the point that I almost fell several times in one day and it felt like it was out of my control, like I wouldn’t be able to stop my body if it began to fall. So after that, I realized I needed to find a different solution. I just couldn’t keep getting on stronger and stronger antibiotics each time they stopped working and I didn’t like the fact that there seemed to be no end in sight when it came to taking all these medications. I knew that couldn’t be healthy, especially long-term. So I began my search for a holistic approach to solving my acne once and for all.

Now this face is as smooth and scar-free as can be. I’m happy to say too that this is without any filter whatsoever. I’m really proud of all my hard work and research finally paying off. It’s been a long road but I’ve stuck with it.

Through my research, I learned just how harmful antibiotics are to our gut and overall health. I learned how your gut’s health really impacts every other function in your body so if it’s not healthy, then you won’t be either. I also learned how you shouldn’t be on antibiotics for no more than 2 weeks. I was on them for 2 years and my doctor wanted to continue with that regime even longer! I don’t know why she would be OK with having me take them for so long. I trusted her though and did exactly as she said with no question (I was only 12 so can you really blame me?) Looking back, I really think that it was my unhealthy diet that started my acne in the first place but I think taking the antibiotics exasperated the problem even more so that it took a whole lot more work to heal myself by the time I had finished the antibiotics after those few years. So once I knew I needed to make a whole lifestyle change to heal my gut and thus cure my acne, I looked into how I could go about doing that.

I believe at that point I had leaky gut syndrome especially with all the abuse my gut had gone through with years of antibiotic use. Many sources said to heal leaky gut, you would have to remove dairy and gluten from your diet since they just caused more inflammation, so I did. After removing the inflammation causing foods, I learned that I needed to also be sure to restore my gut’s healthy microbiome with a bunch of probiotics. So I took supplements, drank kombucha and apple cider vinegar, and just about took every gut loving thing I could while at the same time avoiding anything that caused inflammation like processed foods and keeping sugar to a minimum. Doing these things helped me to finally get rid of my acne. But I was still left with the scars you see above for years later. So how did I finally get rid of those?

I’ll save you a lot of time and money of having to do your own research and I’ll fast forward you to the products that truly worked for me. I finally found the cleanser that worked for me: Cetaphil. It’s specifically designed for people with sensitive skin and my skin adores it! I’ll try different cleansers from time to time just out of curiosity and to see if there’s anything better out there, but right away I’ll just start breaking out. For some reason my skin just really loves Cetaphil so I stick with that. (I’ll link all these products below for you guys so you know just where to get them.)

Next, buying an exfoliating brush for my face (along with a massage head) really helped to smooth out the lumpy texture my skin once had. My face really responded well to a cheap $4 brush I found at Marshall’s. I noticed that every time I would massage my face, my scars would smooth out, to the point that I don’t have them anymore. I would apply a good amount of pressure to my face while I was doing this to bring some blood flow and redness to my skin (but not so much that it hurts). In the beginning, I would massage for 60 seconds everyday. But once I realized I didn’t need it as much, I just did it for less and less time. Massaging my face is what got rid of my bumpy texture for sure. It helped to soften and smooth my skin. It was a huge game changer!

Another important item was Rosehip oil. That helped to get rid of the discoloration on my face. Keep in mind though that with these things, you need to give them time. I would say it took about 3 months to notice a huge difference with the discoloration. So just keep at it. At least you know that it will work, you just need to give it some time and make sure you’re buying a quality oil (not one from the dollar store). I would drench my face in oil every night (I still do, especially to help prevent any fine lines and wrinkles.) But don’t worry if you have oily skin, because I do too and I still put oil on my face. Putting oil on your face does not cause more acne, that’s just a myth and I’m living proof of that. It was actually when I avoided any oil in my face products when I would have tiny breakouts all over. Keeping my skin dry just exasperated my acne. Your skin needs moisture so don’t be scared to give it some. Just try it and see how it works for you.

Another game changer was witch hazel. Witch hazel really helped to reduce the appearance of my pores. They used to be huge! But wiping my face with witch hazel day and night helped to tighten the look of my skin. My mom was even shocked when she saw my face without any makeup and realized just how tight my skin was looking. By using witch hazel, it’s helped my face to look pore less (as if I’m wearing foundation). I also notice that using witch hazel helps to keep breakouts at bay. It’s only when I’m not using it (or have just eaten really bad the day prior) when I’ll actually breakout. So witch hazel is a must. It’s a staple that I still use to this day.

So that is the complete guide to how I finally got rid of my cystic acne and all the scars that came along with it. It literally took me years and years to finally get the smooth, clear skin I have today (10 years to be exact)! I think what took the most time was trial and error; just having to try so many different things to get to the root cause of my problems and see what worked for me. But hopefully with me condensing what I’ve learned during all that time into one blog post, your journey to clear skin will be a lot faster than mine was. I still think you may have to tweak your regime here and there to suite your personal skin type and see what your body responds best to. But I still think you’ll get there a whole lot faster than I did๐Ÿ˜‚ I think really understanding inflammation and how your body responds to it is key.

We need to be healthy internally in order for that glow and radiance to project from our skin. I think it would be in vain to religiously stick to a skincare regime while at the same time continue to eat junk and processed foods. Your body will not be tricked. The true answer to clear skin is eating healthy. You may have to play around with foods to see what agrees with your body and what may be triggering your acne. For example, maybe you can’t do dairy (or at least not a lot of it) whereas maybe your friend can eat all the dairy in the world and still have beautiful skin. Everyone’s body is different so you’ll just have to play detective and see how your body responds to foods. What may be healthy for one person may cause irritable bowels for another. Just play around with it, see what works for you, and maybe use this guide to help you on your journey to clear skin. I honestly thought I was eating healthy at the time and you may feel that way too. But if your skin is so irritated and inflamed, there’s something going on that your body does not like and it’s trying to let you know.

I hope this article is able to help you guys save a whole lot of time. If you liked it, please give it a like down below and let me know what you thought of it. Are you currently trying to clear up your acne or is it something you once struggled with? I’d love to hear from you!

Links:

  1. Cetaphil- https://www.amazon.com/Cetaphil-Gentle-Cleanser-Types-Ounce/dp/B07GC74LL5/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=cetaphil&qid=1590380998&sr=8-5
  2. Rosehip Oil- https://www.amazon.com/Radha-Beauty-Certified-Organic-Rosehip/dp/B00LNOV8JO/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=rosehip+oil&qid=1590381118&sr=8-8
  3. Massage Brush- (the one I originally used had hard bristles for the massage head but this was the closest match I could find on Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/Face-Brush-Cleansing-Exfoliating-Exfoliation/dp/B07TFH7RKZ/ref=sr_1_257?crid=9QMP2MAQ3NE2&dchild=1&keywords=face+brushes+for+cleansing+and+exfoliating&qid=1590381527&sprefix=face+%2Caps%2C287&sr=8-257

Till next time,

Paula

How To Look Good From Head To Toe

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always looked a mess. I was overweight with cystic acne all along my jaw and down my neck, my hair was always a frizzy mess, and I sometimes suffered with b.o. I would always look up to the beautiful women who always seemed to have it together. They were poised, confident, so fashionable and cool. Everyone wanted to be their friend. I always knew though that I had it in me to be just as great. So from the age of 12 years old, I started my transformation. It has been 10 years in the making but I now can share with you all how I’ve learned to look good from head to toe. Here’s how I learned to be the most confident version of myself:

  1. We’ll start from the top and work our way down. So first thing is your hair. You’re going to want to learn how to style it. Whether you want to use hot tools or keep it au natural is up to you. Just learn how to work with your hair and style it in a way so it doesn’t look frizzy. I personally like to use hot tools for my hair. I only do it twice a week and wash my hair every 3 days. I’ll usually use a curling iron for voluminous waves but when I’m in the mood for it, I’ll use a straightener. You’ll also want to make sure to take good care of your hair too. Do deep conditioning treatments once a week, use a protectant when using hot tools, be kind to your hair, not rough. Damaged hair does not look good and there’s not much you can do when it’s severely damaged except grow it out. There’s also no way of hiding damaged hair so make sure to prevent it and take good care of it now. Also, only dye it a color that is compatible with your skin tone and that is only 3 shades lighter or darker than your natural hair color. That’ll help prevent extreme damage and will help your hair to look more natural. But of course, you don’t need to dye your hair at all. The key is healthy, smooth hair.
  2. Next we’ll move on to our face. You’re gonna want to go to YouTube for this one and start watching some makeup tutorials. I only had to watch a few to get some game changing tips that have helped my makeup to look more professional. What I’ve learned too is that your products make a BIG difference when it comes to the way you’re makeup will turn out. I never thought so. I always thought that they were basically all the same. For example, you might think you have no eyelashes, but it may just be that you’re using the wrong mascara. At least that was the case for me. I always thought I had bad lashes but after switching my mascara, now my lashes are the main thing people always compliment me on. My favorite brand is NYX for makeup. They give you professional results at drugstore prices and I’ve recently learned that if you buy them on amazon, they’re always cheaper…like 50% so! So there’s a little tip for ya ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll make a separate post where I get into all my staple products so you don’t have to waste time and money trying so many different ones and you can skip right to the good stuff. But trust me, upgrading your makeup routine is a game changer! It’ll make you look so much more put together and will make you feel so confident- it’s a must on my list!
  3. Next we’ll talk about your ears or more specifically, earrings. You don’t have to wear earrings, but I always do. I never leave the house without them. I personally am a big hoops girl (it’s just the Latina in me lol) But I feel like even if you have small little studs in, they can help you look so much more fashionable. I’ve also been getting into hair accessories. I like cheetah print head scarves or scrunchies with bows on them. It’s so simple but those little touches really help level up your outfit and tie everything together. I think dainty necklaces are another really nice touch. They’re so feminine and delicate and really spice up any outfit. Don’t be afraid to experiment with scarves or different handbags too. You can find such a great variety and for really cheap too.
  4. Since, we’re working our way down to the underarm area, let’s talk about b.o (other wise known as body odor). So it’s simple: take a shower everyday, wash your clothes weekly and don’t wear anything that has a foul smell. You’re clothes don’t have to be expensive to look good. What’s most important is that they’re clean, smell fresh, don’t have stains, and preferably wrinkle free. Please use deodorant and don’t forget it. Carry a travel one with you as a mid-day refresher. we all need it sometimes, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. And as a bonus, a body spray or perfume helps for you to have a nice feminine scent that people will smell when you walk passed. It’s a nice touch. Also, please moisturize any dry, visible parts of your body (legs, knees, elbows) and please, oh please, if you’re feet are going to be exposed, moisturize those as well. I can’t stand dry, cracked heels. I’m sorry, it’s just a pet peeve of mine. It’s so easy to fix too and does not look good at all when you walk around like that. So please, for my sake, don’t do it. And I know all this sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised by how many adults have b.o. Oh and don’t forget to brush your teeth, carry mints or gum with you as a mid-day pick me up to freshen up. And if you always have bad breath, talk to your doctor. It may be something you’re eating or an underlying issue that your doctor may be able to help you with.
  5. Next, we’ll move on to your bra. You’d be surprised at what a difference wearing the right bra can make. If you wear one that’s too small, you may have spillage in the cup area or back bulge squeezing out around the straps. If it’s too big, then it can cause a lot of weird gaping, especially around the cup area. So get sized. You can do it yourself at home. I finally, after about 10 years or so of wearing bras, have finally figured out my correct size! So now my bra outline can’t be seen through my shirt and it’s so much more comfortable to wear.
  6. Now, we’ll talk about clothes. I always feel it’s best to have a certain color scheme with your wardrobe. I tend to have more of an autumn skin tone so in my closet you’ll see a lot of peach, burnt orange, burgundy, olive green, brown, ivory, mustard yellow, blush pink, tones. Having a color scheme with your wardrobe means that you’ll easily be able to mix and match certain pieces since they all work well together. So you’ll be able to have a few pieces but make many outfits from them. Try to find clothes that flatter your figure too. Of course you don’t have to, but there will be some pieces that will look better on you than others (just like with anyone else).
  7. Next we’ll move onto your legs, or more specifically, body hair. So you’l want to make sure you’re shaving often. Everyone’s hair grows at different rates but for me, I pretty much start shaving whenever I see that stubble is starting to form. I want to be as smooth, feminine, and dainty as possible. That means no body hair (including facial, underarm, leg, thigh…you name it.)
  8. Next, we’ll talk about our feet. I think it’s important to have your feet freshly pedicured year round. That doesn’t mean you have to get it done professionally or even that your nails have to always be painted (if that’s not you’re thing). But it does mean that your nails should always be cleaned, trimmed, dead skin and callouses removed, file down anything that needs it, and overall just have smooth, clean feet. I think uncared for feet are very unattractive to just about anyone. And it can be something fun to do. I like to do mine in the night when my daughter’s already asleep. I put my show on, relax, and paint my nails my favorite color of the moment.
  9. Now we’ll touch on weight and fitness. I know that this can be a touchy subject. So this part will just be for those who already do want to lose weight. I personally have always been on the overweight side as I’ve mentioned. I’ve lost 40 pounds as a teenager. I always held on to 10-15 more even after that though. And after I had my daughter I had like 15 more that I had gained. So of the 25 that I’ve held onto after having giving birth, I’ve already lost 15 of it during these past few months and am working on losing the 10 that remains. I have simply been counting calories with the my fitness pal app and doing HIIT workouts 3x a week. But let me just tell you, losing weight is what really makes me feel the most confident of everything on this list. If you’re overweight, you can’t really hide it. No matter what you wear, people will be able to tell if you have a fit and trim body or if you don’t. You can’t hide it. So above all I think if you are overweight, then losing it will make you feel the best about yourself. And I’m not saying to do it in an unhealthy, obsessive way. There are healthy ways of doing it (in my opinion). I’ve been losing just one pound a week and although it’s painfully slow, I know that it’s working so I just need to be patient and stick with it. It’s when people start to become impatient and want to rush the process that they start going about it in an unhealthy way, with crash diets, laxative teas, and the like. And also I’ll just say, I’ve been working out for 10+ years doing everything from heavy weights, Pilates, cardio machines, etc…, and I just have to say that HIIT has been the best by far. You get quick results, you’re able to lose fat, keep your curves, and put on muscle, all while only working out 30 minutes max. So if you’re looking for a new workout routine, I would start off with trying that.

I hope that these tips were helpful for you guys and not at all offensive. I try to be honest while at the same time being sensitive to the feelings of others. This is the truth, this is how i got to be to where I am today. It’s not to hurt anyone’s feelings but to give you the answers that many have asked me. Which of these tips did you guys find the most useful? Which ones would you add? I’d love to hear from you.

Till next time,

Paula Moral