skincare • selfcare • lifestyle


The Journey to Clear Skin: My Acne Story

I can't believe it's almost been two years since first writing about my struggle with acne. Back in October of 2015, I began to openly write about my experience with hormonal breakouts, painful cysts and red, irritated skin. You can read my first blog post here. Although posting such candid pictures of my skin was extremely difficult, I thought my story could help others struggling with the same issues. To be completely open and honest, I was mortified that I, a licensed medically trained Esthetician, was having such terrible trouble with my skin. It made me question my training, I began to question my efficacy at doing my job well...I pretty much had hit rock bottom. Although close, it was what I like to refer to as my mid-life skin care crisis.

In my first post, which was in October, I had been battling nasty breakouts for about eight months. Here is how my skin looked. This is a never seen before picture when my skin was literally at it's worse. This is still very painful to post so please be kind.

As you can see from the picture above, my face was not terrible because believe me, in my almost twenty years in esthetics I had seen much, much worse. However, this was bad skin for me since prior to this time period, I would only get a few blemishes during my menstrual cycle. My skin was always pretty damn clear even while going through puberty and well into my teen's. After doing what I could to tackle the breakouts on my own, I finally went to see my primary care physician because nothing I was trying was working. I want to stress that acne is a medical condition and those suffering should always consult with a doctor. In esthetics, I, a medically trained Esthetician cannot legally (in the State of Oregon at least) treat acne.

Although my doctor was helpful in some aspects, overall my experience was kind of a disaster. Some of the upset was not her fault, it was the horrible negative reactions I had to the antibiotics (both oral and topical) that had me doubting modern medicine. She did put me on birth control (which is very common) and prescribed topical treatments that were very strong, irritating and extremely drying. After no relief, my doctor prescribed Spironolactone, an anti-androgen medication often used in the treatment of acne in post-teenaged women seen in a study here. After about six weeks into spironolactone, I had had enough. Nothing was changing. One night researching acne treatments, I came across a few people writing about their experience with Curology (called Pocketderm at the time). After a few days of researching Curology, I decide to sign up for their service. Here is why:

Reason #1: Although my primary care doctor had been as helpful as she possibly could, what she had prescribed was not working.

Reason #2: Although I have health insurance (the mister works at a hospital), our coverage is pretty shitty. My insurance will not cover a "specialists" aka dermatologist until I have met my yearly deductible, which is about 3-4K. My doctor was more than happy to refer me to a dermatologist but I would of had to pay for the entire appointment. In some cases, there is a great need to consult with a dermatologists! However, after working in a medical spa/dermatology clinic, what my primary doctor had tried was the same thing a dermatologist would have told me to do, so why spend $500 for an appointment.

I thought long and hard and finally decided to try Curology. I used a referral link to get my first month for free. Even better, they offer a 90 day month back guarantee so I had nothing to loose. 

Once I signed up, I completed a very detailed survey and sent many pictures of my skin. I was assigned a practitioner who responded within 24 hours. She was so sweet and comforting. We had a long chat back and forth about my allergic reactions, about all the stuff (foods and meds) that I am allergic was refreshing to have a in depth conversation. We finally decided on a treatment plan that included the following medication:

I was notified within 24 hours that my prescription was ready and was shipping. It took a few days to arrive and I began slowly incorporating the prescription into my skin care routine.

When taking pictures, I tried my best to get the same light and angle so that I could show my progress with using Curology. The above photo was how my texture looked in August of 2015 and the amazing improvement in January of 2016. During this time, my skin care routines varied a little but mostly involved using soothing, calming and hydrating products. I also incorporated spearmint tea into my diet.

Here is my skin in February 2016 and as you can see, there was a huge improvement! My skin was not breakout out with painful cysts, my texture was smoother and my pores were clear. Within 6 months, my acne had finally subsided with incorporating Curology into my skin care routine. After chatting with my practitioner, my skin care concerns went from controlling painful hormonal breakouts to wanting to fade post acne scars. We decided to change my prescription to the follow:

Let's fast forward to today! I was using the prescription above for several months but after discontinuing the use of the birth control prescription, I noticed I was having more breakouts so my practitioner and I decided to go back to the older prescription because it contain more acne fighting ingredients.
About Curology:
Curology is a monthly subscription plan that includes a customized prescription of 3 different ingredients to tackle your particular skin care concerns. Once you sign up, you are paired with a medical practitioner who will evaluate your skin care concerns and come up with a customized treatment plan tailored to you. You have the ability to chat with your practitioner at any time to ask questions etc. With my practitioner, we developed a personal relationship and honestly, this was has been my favorite part of using Curology! I could leave her a message and within 24 hours she would reply. She also checks in to see how my prescription is working and if I have any questions or concerns. This level of personalized service is unique and something you simply cannot get elsewhere.

Subscription Plan Details:
The service recently made some changes and now offer two subscription plans.

Small bottle  - Monthly Shipment is $19.95 + $4.95 S&H
Larger bottle - Shipment Every 60 Days is $39.90 with free S&H

Small Bottle 14ml

Larger Bottle 27 ml

Overall Experience:
It is now July of 2017 and I can honestly say that Curology saved my skin. I consider my customized prescription to be my secret weapon! I do want to stress that I do use well formulated skin care products (seen in the picture below from Instagram) and take extremely good care of my skin. I also eat well and incorporate supplements seen here as part of a healthy lifestyle. I wholeheartedly believe that a healthy lifestyle is vital if you want to achieve beautiful looking skin.

What I have learned:
Here is a recent photo my skin and as you can see, it is far from perfect! I have scars, spots of hyper-pigmentation and I still breakout during my menstrual cycle. My skin is prone to redness and my pores are easily clogged. Although my skin is still a work in progress, I am happy with how I look and feel. What I have learned throughout this entire process is that acne happens, we are all human and we all get blemishes. Shit happens but it is how we deal with the situation that counts. I felt ashamed of how bad my skin got but there was no reason to hide. After sharing my story and struggle with acne, I have received so many messages of encouragement! People have taken the time to message me thanking me for being brave enough to share my story. I have been truly blessed and so very thankful by this outreach of kindness and support. I have also received messages from people who after reading my story, decided to begin their own Curology journey to better skin. To all of you out there, you are the reason I blog, the reason I post on Instagram and buy way too many skin care products and have turned into a human guinea pig. Your support inspires me every single day to continue to document my skin care journey with you all. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Start your Curology free trial now!

Stay Beautiful 💜

*This may contain affiliate links that help support this blog


  1. Wow, sounds really interesting and it's not even so expensive!

    1. It's not for what you get, the quality and the prescription strength ingredients

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