Prescription for Bad Skin

So I may have (finally) narrowed down one of the main causes of my recurring adult acne.

After picking up my prescription at the pharmacy last night, I did something that I don’t think I’ve really done since I first started taking this new anticonvulsant about 2 years ago—I read the informational packet that comes with the meds every time I get a refill.

I was diagnosed with epilepsy after a brain surgery a few years back. Once I found a good anticonvulsant medication, it was really no big deal. I’ve worked really closely with an amazing neurologist to find the perfect combination of meds for my system.

A review of possible side effects of said medication, however, revealed that along with lightheadedness, possible stomach upset, and occasional dizziness, my pills could be causing acne too. Ugh… now what?

It wasn’t easy to settle on the right medication. In fact, I went through several options before finding something that really worked. So, as much as the pimples are bothering me, I’m not willing to sacrifice my health for clear skin, either. Looks like I’m stuck fighting to clear up my face as best I can, without switching prescriptions.

If you’re having trouble getting your own acne under control, you might want to look to your RX list for possible culprits. Among the drugs most likely to cause breakouts are:

Seizure medications

Corticosteroids and other medications traditionally used to treat asthma and other breathing problems (These can actually increase production of sebum—the main culprit of acne)

Antabuse is a prescription used to treat alcohol abuse. When mixed with liquor, it causes a wide range of unpleasant symptoms, and helps to discourage people from drinking. Unfortunately, it also causes breakouts.  

TB treatments

Anti-malarial medications (often used to treat auto immune diseases like Lupus)

So… since it doesn’t make any sense to put the health of our bodies in jeopardy over the way our face looks, it would appear that those of us on medications are just going to have to continue to find new ways to deal.


Body Wash: Patience Required


So when I spotted the first signs of body acne action a few days ago, I went out and purchased a body clearing acne wash from Neutrogena. I figured I’d start to see results in a day or two. (I have no idea where I came up with that notion—but it seemed like a reasonable enough request in my mind) So here I am, a few days later, and I haven’t seen a change in the condition of my shoulders or chest yet.


I was about to have a complete hissy fit and go out and find a new body wash, but I figured I’d check out some online reviews first, just to be safe. Turns out that pretty much everyone who’s used this product (and just about every acne body wash, really) says the same thing: it takes about one whole bottle’s worth of the stuff before you start seeing any real results.

And just in case you’re thinking the same thing I was—namely that taking multiple showers a day and using extra heaping helpings of the wash itself would speed the process along—go ahead and disregard that thought altogether. Because of the salycilic acid in acne clearing body washes, overusing them can irritate and dry out your skin; leading to more breakouts, not less.

Turns out the brand I had selected has gotten some pretty good reviews, after all. So I guess I’ll stick with it. The boyfriend bought a manly man acne body wash for himself, and started using it about the same time I did, so let’s see which one works better. Just between us, though, I’m a little jealous, because his smells way better than mine!

Stay tuned for the results, and as always, suggestions are welcome.

The Tanning Myth

Ok, readers. I figure we’ve gotten to be pals, more or less, you and I over the course of this blog. That’s why I feel completely comfortable telling you about my aunt. She’s nuts. Off her rocker… touched… a few French fries short of a happy meal… well you get the point.

Anyway, I bring this up only because I saw said crazy auntie at a family function this past weekend, and she was telling me about the fact that using a tanning bed (or laying out in the sun) was a surefire way to be rid of acne once and for all. Of course, this aunt also has skin that resembles a well worn piece of luggage, so I probably shouldn’t be too surprised that she’s spending a whole lot of time in the sun.

I tried explaining to her, in gentle tones and as few multi-syllabic words as possible, that getting a ton of unprotected sun exposure could not be good for the skin on any level. Of course, she wouldn’t listen to a word I had to say… I think she’s soaked up a few too many UV rays, if you catch my drift.

Anyway, just in case some of you are getting this same kind of kooky advice, here’s the official 411 on why tanning is NOT a cure for zits:

Sunbathing—both the old fashioned way and in a tanning bed—dries your skin, kicking your sebaceous glands into overdrive. This causes them to produce more of the oils that can lead to break outs. (It’s pretty simple logic to follow, but you try getting through to a stubborn mule of a woman that won’t admit she’s wrong) Plus there’s the fact that too much sun exposure causes your skin to try and get rid of dead cells faster than normal, which can lead to clogged pores and (say it with me) more break outs.

So there you have it… the truth behind the tanning myth. Be good to your skin—apply an oil free sunscreen of at least SPF 15 whenever you’ll be spending time outdoors.

The Battle Has Begun

Ok, so once I got over the initial shock of seeing pimples on parts of my body other than my face, I decided that it was time to stop feeling sorry for myself, and start fighting back. First and foremost, I found out that the skin on your face is a lot more delicate that the rest of you, which means that you can use a body wash with a much higher concentration of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide than you would on your face. That sounds like good news to me… the stronger the better!

I’m also going to be taking careful inventory of what I wear until my skin clears up—especially now that the weather’s getting warmer. Trapped sweat and dirt that are squished up against your chest and back make the perfect starting point for a gnarly break out, so it looks like I shall be avoiding tight tops for a while. I’ll be wearing a lot more breathable fabrics, too. Cotton is a good choice, because it’s natural and wicks moisture away from your body.

Be careful of undershirts, camisoles, bras, and panties—apparently, they can help speed along the process of a full body breakout for the same reason. Now I don’t know about you, but doing away with bras and underwear isn’t exactly an option for me. Instead, I’ll be careful to use ones made out of cotton, and wash carefully after a hot day.

Speaking of washing, it’s essential to hop into the shower right after a workout, too. Oh, and if you’re a fan of that spandex workout wear… it’s got to go. (Personally, I’m too self conscious to hit the gym in bike shorts and a tube top, but I know a lot of ladies prefer snug clothes to exercise in.) If you’re dealing with body acne, you’re better off sticking to looser tees and shorts until your skin clears up.

I started using a Neutrogena body wash… stay tuned for a review. If you guys know of something that works better, let me know!

Body Acne… UGH!

Dealing with acne on the face is bad enough, but when the rest of your body starts to break out, it’s hard not to feel completely betrayed. I mean, up until now, I’ve always been able to say, “Well, I might have some zits on my chin and forehead, but at least the rest of me has clear skin.” Well guess what? I can no longer say that, because as of a few weeks ago, I started noticing spots in places that they should NOT be!

It all started with something that looked suspiciously like a pimple on my chest. Of course, I told myself that it couldn’t possibly be. After all, I’ve never gotten acne anywhere other than my face before. So it must be a bug bite. Then I got another “bug bite” on my chest—and one on my upper arm. Call it denial, but I picked up a bottle of spider killer and liberally sprayed the area under and around my bed. Turns out these were some pretty persistent arachnids, because I woke up the next morning with a blemish on my shoulder.

Ok, time to face the music: these aren’t bites, rashes, or allergic reactions. It’s acne. The bane of my facial skin is apparently migrating. Great… what’s next?!

I have no idea what to do about this. Do I slather the same stuff I use on my face all over my body? Should I be washing more often? Longer showers? Is there something I can to keep it from spreading? Is body acne triggered by the same things that make my face break out?

I am at a loss. Here I was, thinking that my adult acne was starting to clear up a bit, and the universe decides to turn against me and send me more pimples—in new places, no less. I’ll be doing some research, but in the mean time, feel free to leave your suggestions!

Celebs with Acne

In honor of the completely amazing interview of Keira Knightly I found last week, I decided to hunt down a list of other celebrities that suffer from the occasional bout of adult acne. Now, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I do NOT rejoice at the thought of anyone else dealing with skin issues. On the contrary, I know how much acne sucks, and feel bad for all my fellow sufferers.

 But realizing that even the rich and fabulous have to deal with the reality of zits, bumps, and blemishes makes the rest of us mere mortals feel a little better about our own bad skin days. Which is exactly why I set about collecting this short collection of acne prone celebs:

 Cameron Diaz: Everyone’s favorite tomboy surfer chick is not immune to pimple drama. Pics of the adorable blonde sporting red bumps and painful looking spots on her forehead, cheeks and chin were snapped while she was voicing her role in the first Shrek film, as well as during filming of Charlie’s Angels. Lately, Ms. Diaz’s complexion seems to have cleared up considerably. She credits clean living, exercise, and lots of fresh fruit juices with helping keep her face fresh. Hmm…

 Leonardo DiCaprio: Looks like Hollywood hunks aren’t always able to duck the acne curse, either. The Titanic and Blood Diamond star has been seen with some pretty mean looking pimples on his forehead and chin.

 Britney Spears: With all the stress piled on the former mouseketeer of late, it’s no huge surprised that she’s dealing with an onset of adult acne. Not to mention that the former teen queen is also now the mother of two—and heaven knows how pregnancy and motherhood can wreak havoc on your skin! Keep your spirits up, Britt, it’s getting better already.

Alicia Silverstone: The former Clueless star and devoted animal rights activist is no stranger to the occasional breakout. I didn’t even know that Alicia had ever suffered from acne— guess there’s something to be said for good concealer, huh?

 Ok, so do you guys know of any other acne-prone celebrities?

Hooray for Keira Knightly!

I’d like to thank Keira Knightly (whom I’ve never met, by the way) for making me feel much better today. See, I woke up feeling fairly lousy… PMS is rearing its ugly head, which means that in addition to cramps, bloating, and fatigue, I have pimples to look forward to. UGH! So where does the lovely Pirates of the Caribbean star come in?

Well, I was killing a little time online when I stumbled across an interview she did a while back where she talks about the fact that she actually suffers from really bad acne herself. (WHAT???) Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to suck joy out of someone else’s misery, and I’m not feeling better about my own adult acne just because one of the most beautiful women on the planet is dealing with it too.

No, it’s Ms. Knightly’s approach to her skin issues that made me stand up and take notice. She claims that she hates having pictures of herself airbrushed, even when she’s breaking out, because it gives girls and teens a false sense of what real women look like. WOW! Why isn’t this getting more press coverage???

Here is a drop dead gorgeous woman dealing with a problem that thousands of other men, women, and teens are struggling with every day… and she’s willing to let everyone know that her skin isn’t perfect—far from it. In fact, she says that she relies heavily on her dermatologist and hours of her makeup team to achieve that flawless complexion you see on screen.

She went on to profess that her skin is just “dreadful” and that she wishes that they hadn’t done so much air brushing for promotional posters on films like Pride and Prejudice, because she’d like girls that look up to her to see that beauty isn’t perfect.

Good for you, Keira!!! You were already one of my favorite actresses before this… now, I can’t say enough about you.