The Last Resort

June 7, 2017
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Last resorts; Defined as a final course of action, a plan used only when all else has failed. I had hopes that it wouldn’t ever come to needing a last resort, but eventually all else had failed, and needed to resort, to my last resort. Night time rolled around and I take off my makeup that I’ve been caking on since 5th grade. A mask that I need to leave the house, to feel comfortable in my own skin, funny. At first the makeup was my holy grail. I discovered it playing around in mom’s makeup bag, put a little bit of the gooey liquid foundation over the redness and bumps that started to cover my face from forehead to chin. I saw what I could look like without  acne and I became obsessed. Everyday since this day I have worn makeup. Except for the day I decided to conquer my fears, and go without. I let each splotch, blemish and scar stand naked on my face with no mask to hide them. I remember this day vividly, because of the comments I got. My first hour class, a girl asked me if I had been crying I remember saying no, and asking her why she thought this, and she replied with “well your face is so red I thought something had to be wrong.” Towards the middle of the day in one of my math classes a boy told me that my face was “disgusting looking” and asked what happened to it, and at the end of the day another boy had asked me if I had an allergic reaction to the chlorine in the pool since we had been in the swimming unit in my gym class. I responded with “yes” because I figured it’d be easier than explaining what it really was. Never again after that day did I go to school without my mask. Time had passed and my acne had gotten worse, I would spend hours researching “good acne treatments” “full coverage makeup” looking for a glimpse of hope. I tried everything from masks, to peels, numerous dermatologist visits and their typical prescriptions. I had always been jealous of other girls who had perfect spot free baby skin, and wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn’t have it too. Why did I have to spend hundreds of dollars on makeup and treatments while they got too look so beautiful spending nothing? When I got  high school my acne started to clear up a little here and there and I was actually getting compliments, which had been a lot different from the harsh things kids in elementary and middle school liked to remind me of. Instead of “your face is disgusting”  or “get proactiv, pizza face!” and “what’s wrong with your face?” I started to get “wow your face looks so good!” “your makeup looks so pretty” I was ecstatic, For a little while. Soon enough I was back to scrambling to find a treatment to clear up the horrible breakouts I had been having yet again. I remember vivdly watching a makeup tutorial on Youtube and the makeup artist saying that you have to wash your face to keep blemishes and imperfections away because “art is only as beautiful as the canvas it’s being painted on.”  I washed my canvas day and night and did all the things she said I should do to be beautiful, so why was my canvas still so ugly? I cried a lot that day feeling sorry for myself and also wondering why me? A few weeks had passed and I’d been surfing the internet yet again trying to figure out what to do. I stumbled upon a prescription drug called Isotretinoin, more commonly known as Accutane. I watched videos of people with acne and scarring much worse than my own and watching as their skin miraculously cleared up. I told my mom, we discussed it, and not long after I had an appointment with a new dermatologist to talk about getting on this treatment. At the dermatologist they inspected my skin and asked me some questions about my acne and came to the conclusion that starting the accutane journey was the right choice for me. Accutane has a bad reputation due to some of the more serious side effects and being fingered as the cause of several instances of suicide. For people in my situation though, the options came down to deal with the acne and use tons of makeup and spend hundreds more on regimens that probably wouldn't work, or deal with the potential side effects. I chose option number two. I had dealt with this acne for 6 whole years with people at my ear constantly telling me I would grow out of it, or just to ease up on the makeup or use a certain brand of face wash, I was sick of it. I saw minimal results here and there and I wanted to get rid of it. I wanted to get rid of this burden that not only affected my mental and emotional health but also affected my school attendance. Towards the end of my severe acne phase I was waking up every morning to wash my face, apply a toner, and then a lotion, and after that lay down and put an ice cube on all of the spots in hopes the swelling would go down before I apply my makeup and go to school. When I would put on my makeup and it’d look so cakey I wouldn't even want to look in the mirror, my self confidence would hit such lows. I didn’t want anyone else to see me this way so I thought I should stay home and try again tomorrow. Even today I still fear looking too closely in the mirror just because I am reminded of how scary that used to be for me. I would look in the mirror and just cry wondering how I could look this way when everyone else around me barely had to worry about such a thing.


About two months on accutane I had started to notice my skin changing, at first I thought it was too good to be true, just another clear up before my skin would break out again and I would soon be back to feeling lost and disgusting, but the big breakout never happened and I was becoming more hopeful for the future. When month 4 on Accutane came around I was pretty much spot free, feeling more and more excited day by day. At month 6 I had no active blemishes just scarring, from old spots. I had never been so confident in my life, just in time for our winter dance too, I’ll never forget how excited I was for pictures and doing my makeup. These things to me before had been so scary, examining pictures for signs of my terrible skin showing through my layers of makeup, and makeup wasn’t about being fun it was about doing whatever I could to make my complexion look clear and keep attention away from the acne. Now it was about enhancing my features and I couldn’t wait to take group pictures with my friends with my new and improved, even toned skin. I was becoming something I hadn’t ever been, confident. I had even managed to pick up my first job, and was getting compliments from customers and fellow associates about how nice my skin was, they’d never seen it before the Accutane so it was kind of my “dirty little secret” that this beautiful skin I had was pretty new to me also. While I did have to deal with chapped lips, dry skin, blurry vision, dizziness, and go to the doctor for monthly blood tests to make sure the pill wasn’t negatively affecting me, I was so mystified by the magical results none of those things had even mattered. That being said, my skin today is nowhere near perfect I still get pimples here and there, and I still wear makeup everyday and don’t go out in public without it, but I no longer cry tears of anger or feel  defeated wondering why I can’t have perfect skin, and I no longer miss school because of my skin either. Accutane was a little miracle that came into my life, and as silly as it may sound, might’ve saved it. Sometimes, the last resort might’ve been the best resort of them all.






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