Like most teenagers, I've had to deal with a fair amount of acne. It also runs in the family so there was no way I was going to avoid it.
If memory serves right, the blemishes first started popping up in sixth grade. Now, I don't know if I went to middle school with a bunch of supermodels, but I was always the only person with acne. So naturally I was teased quite a bit. I was very self-conscious in middle school, starting with my recovery from sleep apnea which caused me to go from waif-like to healthy (which, to preteen girl, is fat) very fast. The acne certainly didn't help so I started going to a dermatologist and was put on a variety of different topicals to see if they'd do anything.
By eighth grade I'd tried almost everything available to cure my acne and it just didn't seem to want to go away. My dermatologist decided to put me on Accutane and see how it went. I remember being a little scared to go on it. I had to sign forms pledging my abstinence, and on the packaging for the pills there were little pictures of deformed babies. I was also not thrilled about having to get my blood drawn every month to make sure my liver was still functioning. Nevertheless, my need to have clear skin outweighed my fears.
In the spring of 2006, I was four months through Accutane and about to go on a school trip to Italy. Already not terribly responsible about taking my pills, I decided to go off Accutane so I wouldn't have to deal with it on my trip. My skin was not clear by any means, but the quality and tone of it had gotten a lot nicer. My dermatologist told me that it was most likely that my skin would continue to clear up and it did, but I don't ever remember there being a time when I looked at my face and didn't see any blemishes at all. It did die down though, and by this time I'd become a foundation/concealer master so I was mostly okay with it only being visible when I took off my make-up.
Throughout high school, it stayed pretty stagnant. There'd be worse weeks than others, but overall it was the same. I went through some microdermabrasion that helped with some scarring, and last year I did a series of salicylic peels.
This summer while I was taking a tour of the Northeast looking at colleges, I realized that I'm about to start my life and I need to clear up my skin once and for all, just for me. Not for the cute college boys or any of that, just for me. For some reason, having acne for my entire young adult life has become a strange emotional, nearly tangible thing. I feel as if getting rid of acne will get rid of some insecurities I've been harboring for a very long time once and for all. A nice cleanse before I go out there into the real world. It's mostly psychological, but acne really does feel like something that's just a part of me that I'll never ever be free of. I've never know me, this quite-nearly-adult me, without it.