Monday, December 13, 2010

i was a (almost) thirty year old acne victim

yep.  twenty nine (no, really.  the first time around) and STILL breaking out like a pubescent teenager.  it's horrifying, really.  because we're not talking small little blackhead like breakouts.  we're talking gargantuan, massive, cystic clusters of acne.  disgusting, bacterial acne.  the kind that you remember on THAT kid in high school.  the kind that just looking at made you want to go wash your face.  yes, my friends.  THAT kind of acne.  do you have the full disgusting picture in your head yet, or shall i get more graphic?  Just to be sure we're all on the same disgusting page, i'm going to be extremely brave (WAAAAAY outside my comfort range here, folks) and show you what i mean:

this is a good day, too.  these are immediately after my nighttime cleansing, which is really when they look their best, sadly.  i refuse to put pictures of their worst.  this is hard enough for me.

let me give you a little background on me real quick.  

i never had perfect skin.  but it wasn't horrible.  i didn't have acne, per se.  i had your typical once in awhile break out.  then, after i had my first baby (i call him bubba in my blogs), my skin got worse, then better.  when he was six months old or so, i went to work for Clinique.  working for them, i took skin physiology courses and became the counter three step leader, selling their number one skin care line.  and the line worked for me.  for a little while, anyway.  gradually, my skin got worse.  then it would get better.  i started using the Arbonne Intelligence line at some point after my second baby (blog name marti) and had AMAZING results with that.  then they discontinued it.  at some point in there, i went on birth control to help with my mood swings, skin problems, crazy cycles, and early menopause symptoms.  anyway, in the last year, i changed birth controls - from ortho tricycline oral doses to the depo-provera shot.  well, i gained weight with the depo, my skin broke out, i was miserable.  so i quit.  haven't gotten around to going back on the pill yet. BUT my skin continues to get gross.  and stay that way.  since i went off the depo at the end of august, i've not had a single clear skin day.  sometimes i can wake up mostly clear and by lunch i'm breaking out.  i've changed skin care, make up, you name it.  nothing's worked.

then in october, i went gluten-free.  skin actually got some better.  i lost almost ten pounds, all my medical problems cleared up, feeling fabulous.  but my skin.  i STILL can't get it clear.  

the other day, mom reads on Glutenista about wheat in hair products and cosmetics...

...hold on.  i have a wheat allergy.

ingredient check!!!  

nothing i use has any of the derivatives of wheat in it.  at least that i can find.  well, shoot.

a little more internet digging and i find that while MAC cosmetics has some of the most amazing color and makeup options out there and is cruelty free, that they do have products containing wheat and/or gluten.

oh, you have GOT to be kidding me!!!  i've used MAC for years.  i worked for them for a long time and i LOVE their products.  so to find out that the very powder i've loved for the last seven years may contain kernel oil was very upsetting.  no, i don't have a corn allergy.  i have a wheat allergy.  but corn contains its own gluten.  they also mention that there's the possibility of equipment contamination.  i found all this on this website, which is admittedly dated.  but then, i realized that the newest product i've been using is my concealer.  and after a few days of thinking about it, i ONLY break out in the same spots over and over and over and over.  those are the places i conceal daily.  only to break out in more clusters.  (you'd think that it wouldn't take very long to make this connection, but it did me, because i've never had sensitivity issues.)  well, best i can tell online, my concealer doesn't contain any gluten products.  (FYI - don't EVER google all the ingredients in your cosmetics.  i now don't ever want to put that stuff on my face again.  ever.)  but i've emailed MAC to find out for sure.  in the meantime, i have purchased a different brand of concealer, one whose label i checked REPEATEDLY to make sure.  i'm going to give it two weeks and see if it makes a difference.  

i have also checked the ingredient list on every product i own - from toothpaste to deodorant to soap to hand lotion.  i had no idea that i might find allergens in my shampoo.  or my concealer.  that shocks me.  and frustrates me.  because the MAC Studio Sculpt concealer is the best stuff i've ever used.  but at the same time, i'm sooooooo tired of being an acne victim.  it's not fair.  i passed puberty sixteen years ago or more.  that i should still have to deal with this is maddening.  i will be doing ingredient checks on everything from now on.  and i will be taking pictures daily of my skin to see how it's clearing up.

i should also mention that i plan to continue my regimen of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid on my face to help dry up and kill the acne.  but i also plan to NOT add anything that might irritate it.

so i will be letting you know how it goes.

what kind of weird allergy/cosmetic issues have you had?  what did you do about them?  is there something i'm missing?

let me know!  and go be gorgeous!