About Me

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Acne Before and After

I’m a huge believer in transparency, but for privacy reasons I won’t be disclosing my full name at this time. I’ve always been a bit of a shy person, and the idea of having my name plastered all over the internet isn’t very appealing (to say the least haha). I hope you can understand and respect my concerns. Perhaps in the future when I feel more comfortable about sharing that information with you all, I will. But for now, we’ll use my initials — f.c.

So, Who Am I?

I’m just another person passionate about skincare after years of being plagued with skin conditions myself. However, unlike many “beauty gurus” and “experts” out there who claim they once had “terrible skin,” I actually took photos along the way to document everything for proof.

My goal in showing these pictures is to help encourage others in similar positions, and show how much progress you can make when you understand the science behind skincare.

When Did Your Skin Problems Begin?

Oh boy. A long long time ago. It all started at the age of 10 in 5th grade when I was bullied for having cheilitis (inflamed rashy lips). Kids would call me “kool-aid” and tell me to wipe the “ketchup” off my lips. Dicks.

And that was just the beginning of my skin woes. I started breaking out at the age of 14 like most teenagers, only my acne lasted a whopping 11 years. -___- I can write a whole section about the different skin problems I’ve had but the most severe were:

1. Psoriasis

psoriasis

2. Malassezia Folliculitis / Seborrheic Dermatitis.

Malassezia Folliculitis

3. And of course: Acne / PIH-PIE.

Acne before and after Acne before and after Acne before and after acne scars before and after

Look at the last photo! I’m pretty damn happy about the improvement in my acne scars. That kind of progress can be achieved completely from home. I will make a whole post about it in the future. Stay tuned, it’s gonna be awesome! As for how I got rid of the red acne marks, check out my guide about treating PIE vs PIH.

UPDATE (9/30/16): Just finished my guide about how to treat acne as well. Check it out!

Acne before and afterAcne before and afteracne before and afteracne before and after

pimples on chin

This is my skin in natural outdoor lighting. Do know however, that I am using a tinted sunscreen in this photo so some of the leftover PIE (i.e. red marks from old acne) can’t be seen.

clear skin natural light

Sometimes I look at all the skin problems I’ve had in my life and wonder how someone got so unlucky. It almost feels like the universe is testing me to see how many different skin issues I can solve. I try to think of it as a blessing though, because without them I wouldn’t have learned so much and been able to help as many people.

Disclaimer: I know my skin is NOT perfect. Have I made tremendous progress though? Absolutely. Is my skin where I want it to be? Not yet. But it continually gets better from week to week, and I have no doubt that with my knowledge and skincare routine I’ll eventually rid myself of the minor atrophic scars I have left. And if I was able to clear my skin after years of thinking it was permanently damaged — SO CAN YOU!

Why Did You Make This Website?

To help you out. It’s insane how much misinformation is spread around the web and even among experts you’re supposed to trust. This photo was taken at my FIFTH dermatologist’s office. He asked me to tie my hair back and smile. That half grin was all I could muster.

hyper pigmentation dermatologist office

As lame as this sounds, I began crying the first time I tried writing this “about me” section because of this photo. My eyes say it all and reminded me of so much. I know you can’t see them here but they’re tired, hallow, red, and swollen from all the nights I spent crying alone. Here’s an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote back then:

“Crying alone is really really hard, and all I want is to feel normal again and not be afraid to look into the mirror, and move on from this disease that has caused me so much pain and plagued too many years of my life.”

To be honest, it’s often the heartbreak that keeps me going; what keeps me writing and researching even when I don’t want to. I know someone out there feels just like I did, and my only hope is that this website reaches them one day.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say that they have tried everything. It’s kind of become a cliché phrase among skincare gurus and heartless marketers that exploit other’s insecurities for profit. But duuuuude: I DID TRY EVERYTHING. Here’s proof:

Yeah…. I guess you can say I’ve been around the block. HA! Looking at that picture is almost like a “Where’s Waldo” game with products you recognize. There are definitely a few skincare-addict favorites in there. See how many you can count!

Anyway, it occurred to me early on (after multiple failed trial and errors) that if I ever cured myself of this god forsaken condition, showing my readers exactly how many products I’ve tried would be an invaluable way of building trust — so take a good look. That’s approximately 7-8 years worth of products.

Looking back at this hurts my wallet. I don’t even want to think about how much money was spent for all this. After years of navigating through the skincare scene I’ve obviously developed a solid grasp on what works and why.

For the time being though, I won’t be doing any product reviews. My primary goal is set on educating people about skincare so they can make informed decisions themselves. However, if there’s enough popular demand than I will do in-depth product reviews too. As you can clearly tell I can do a BUTTLOAD of them.

UPDATE: it seems that you all really like the reviews so I will incorporate them as I go. Thanks for the interest!

What Skin Problems Do You Deal With Now?

None these days, which is such a lovely thing to be able to say. I’ll never take it for granted, and if you have clear skin neither should you! The only real thing I deal with now is the aftermath of bad skin. I still have some very minor atrophic scarring I’m trying to fade, but for all intents and purposes it isn’t there. I’ve asked a few family members and they agree. The only time it’s noticeable is in harsh lighting and certain angles. However, if I slack off on skincare or nutrition some problems do start creeping back in (particularly Malassezia Folliculitis and Acne).

A Final Word:

My promise to you is that i’ll never give you false information. That I write everything here from the heart, and with as much of my knowledge possible. I won’t endorse any products or companies unless I absolutely believe in them. If I think a product or claim is shit, I have no problem telling you it’s shit.

I’m here to help guide you through the limited bad skin days you have left. Together, we’ll kick their ass and help you achieve the radiant, bright, beautiful, plump skin hiding somewhere in there so you’ll have the courage to explore the world confidently.

If there are any other questions you’d like me to answer, let me know.

Warmly,

—f.c.

Share my story!

15 Comments

  1. Anon

    Hi, just wanted to say thank you for creating this site. It’s crazy how many similarities your story has to my own, and I suspect many other people’s. Looking back I realise I was duped by a lot of the misinformation present online – whether it was products with false claims or me mistakenly using those which were just not intended to treat my specific skin conditions. 2 courses of Accutane eventually solved my acne troubles, but the PIE was another story (I was shocked to hear the term wasn’t coined until like 2013, I hope now it makes things easier for people going through what we did). Several pulsed dye laser treatments were the only ‘cure’ for the PIE though, it was unusually stubborn, I suspect me damaging my skin barrier during my lowest point when dealing with acne may have had something to do with it…thinking back now it’s insane, I used to step out of the shower and within seconds of my face drying it would become dry and flake all over, little did I know at the time how much repair and healing my skin needed.

    Lord knows if some of the info available today would have been present when I was going through my troubles, maybe things would have turned out differently, could have saved a lot of time! Information, the right information presented in an understandable way for people is a great service, so thank you for that.

    Reply
    • f.c.

      Hi, stranger. Thank you for the comment. I feel it a million times over. I could have saved myself years of depression had I known what I know now. I’m going to paste a response I left elsewhere on this site because it is relevant.

      “There is no shittier feeling than being lost, not knowing where to turn, and being confused about the complexities of skin, then going to a professional that doesn’t take more than 2 seconds to look at you before sending you away. During the worst of my skin battles, those were the hardest days. I’d think to myself, ‘if no dermatologist, skincare company, or beauty guru can help me, then who can?’

      The answer was me.

      I think that happens to a lot of us in this unique position. We learn that people have ulterior motives, that the professionals can’t solve it for us, so we become more knowledgable than them in the process, driven to find a solution with more motivation than they could ever have.”

      The more people I talk to, the more I realize how common my story is. It’s absolutely astonishing. Hopefully people reading this in similar situations we were in the past find some comfort knowing they’re not alone, and will one day beat it too.

      Reply
  2. Rachel

    Can you speak about how you addressed your atrophic scarring?

    Reply
    • f. c.

      If you’re referring to the red acne marks, I wrote an article about how to get rid of them which can be found here.

      As for the atrophic scars, I’ll definitely make a whole post about this in the future after I finish a lot of the other requested articles I have lined up. :p You can always subscribe to the newsletter to be the first to find out when it’s published.

      But to very briefly answer your question in the meantime: dermarolling, a series of at home chemical peels (particularly glycolic), and hydration hydration hydration!

      However, I don’t recommend you try these things together (i.e. dermarolling and chemical peels) unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, which is something I will definitely be focusing on in that future article.

      Reply
  3. Tatiana

    I love you. You are my hero. This has been me for the past year.

    Reply
    • f. c.

      You’re too kind! Thanks for the lovely words. 🙂

      I hope things have been improving for you!

      Reply
  4. Penny

    I really enjoy your writing and all the information I get from readin your posts. The improvement in your skin are very impressive. Thank you very much for documenting your research and sharing with us.

    Reply
    • f. c.

      Thank you for the kind words. I’m very happy you enjoy it! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Patrick

    They all say the you are what you eat. Did you alter your nutrition habits to achieve good skin?

    By the way, thank you so much for this website. You’ve turn your ‘pain’ into a formidable strength to help others. This is very noble of you.

    God bless.

    Reply
    • f. c.

      Hey, Patrick! Thank a bunch for the very kind words.

      Great question. Funny you mention that, I’m in the middle of writing a big blog post on diet and acne. Hoping to have it out very soon. EDIT: Here it is!

      But yes, I did. I’ve tried all kinds of crazy diets. Veganism, primal, FODMAP-free, low-histamine, paleo, autoimmune paleo (AIP), mediterranean etc. The one that made the biggest difference for me was AIP. It was also the hardest to do because of how restrictive it is.

      My diet isn’t nearly as strict now. I pretty much eat what I want, but still keep things pretty healthy. I mainly avoid diary and wheat. But even with those I’ll indulge every couple weeks. Ice cream, pizza, and chocholate shakes are just too good to pass up sometimes. :p

      And last but not least: probiotics! Those have helped me a ton. Not just for skin, but mental wellbeing too.

      Reply
  6. Tetiana

    I am so glad I’ve found your blog! So much useful information! Thank you for all that amazing work that you are doing here! It’s really hard to find good skincare blogs with detailed reviews from a person who really understands what he/she is talking about! But now I found such blog! Best wishes! Tetiana

    Reply
    • f. c.

      Awwww thanks, Tetiana! I really appreciate your lovely words. 🙂 Hope you’re having a great holiday season!

      Reply
  7. Nadzirah Ruslan

    I found your blog today and i am so happy.

    I like the way u review on things/giving guides because they are comprehensive and solid. I feel like reading scientific review.

    Keep up the good job!

    Reply
    • f. c.

      Haha thank you for the kind words, Nadzirah! I’m very happy you enjoy it. 🙂

      Reply
  8. dip

    Hey there u r a wonderful human being helping others in their lonely battles!!! Just wanna say u a thank u😊😊😊
    my only question to u is
    will vaseline really work for my pie
    cause i wanna give it a try

    Reply

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