Breaking Out

As an 18 year old who has battled acne since 6th grade, I’ve always wondered: why?  Why is my face so bad when others’ aren’t?  I’ve seen four different doctors, taken over a dozen different antibiotics, and even tried the ever-questionable Accutane.  Now, 7 years later, it’s still here.  So why is it that my roommate can use Dove soap and have a perfect complexion? 

Acne vulgaris (which basically just translates to the “common type”) can pop up basically anywhere from your face, neck, and chest to the shoulders and upper back.  The sebaceous glands create sebum, an oil, and most of the time the glands make an amount that is compatible with the skin.  But, while going through puberty, hormones make the glands produce more sebum.  Because of the excess of oil, the pores become clogged.  Once the pores are clogged up, bacteria can find its way inside and begin to multiply (hence the endless prescriptions of antibiotics).  The results of these bacteria traps are usually redness and swelling (so, believe, it or not, chocolate consumption is not the reason). 


Unfortunately, the traditional cure-alls don’t always work.  Even if you wash your face religiously and apply two dozen creams and ointments, you may just be that person that can’t shake acne.  However, if your acne isn’t bad enough for surgery (yes, surgery), then there isn’t much to do but wait it out until your hormones are finished transitioning.

Until that time, do not poke, push, or pop any blemishes on your face.  It only leads to more damage such as scarring which can last a lifetime.


1 thought on “Breaking Out


    You mentioned the drug Accutane. I did some research and there are some obviously serious side effects associated with this drug. This includes: birth defects if taken while pregnant, inflammatory bowel disease, suicidal behavior, flu like symptoms, severe stomach pain, etc. I know people who have taken this drug because of the severeness of their acne problems and have trusted the doctor’s knowledge because of their desperation to fix their skin. This relates to what we have discussed in class about the how much blind trust is put into the medical field. In this case, doctors make sure we are aware of the side effects and risk of the drug. They are also well aware themselves, yet they still prescribe a pill that could possibly lead someone to suicide. Doctor’s don’t force this treatment upon people, but the fact that they allow it as an option is still scary to me. This is different than a cancer treatment trial or another type of treatment that is being used to save people with their lives on the line. Doctors are giving this drug to perfectly healthy people who have an issue that is not life threatening by any means. I am curious as to why people take such a risk?

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