For a young woman or a young man, acne can wreak utter, irrevocable havoc on those delicate and crucial years of development, personal growth, and self-discovery. Especially in the beautiful cities of the world, like Los Angeles, acne treatment cannot be undervalued. I grew up in Los Angeles and struggled with severe acne from the age of 17 until I was 22. They were five incredibly difficult years that made me feel ugly and outcast, banished to self-inflicted social exile.
Researching my condition and what could be done about it, I learned that there are different types of acne vulgaris, which include:
- Comedones (whiteheads & blackheads)
- Papules (pinheads)
- Pustules (pimples)
- Nodules (large papules)
- Cystic lesions (deep large pimples)
Searching for a Cure in Los Angeles: Acne Solutions From A to Z
I was cursed with nodular acne; the cystic kind of breakouts that are so swollen they are physically painful and leave terrible scars. My mom took me to consult with different dermatologists, to try every cure under the Los Angeles sun—acne treatment galore. But, for a while, nothing worked. The experience was devastating and demoralizing and made me feel as though people saw me through that acne stigma of dirtiness. I wanted to tell every person who looked at me “I’m not unclean, I swear I wash my face!” I wanted to list off the treatments I’d tried, which comprised:
- Benzoyle peroxide: A topical treatment that kills the proprionibacterium (P. acnes bacteria). I tried everything from Clearasil to Benzamyacin. For people with mild to moderate acne, this type of treatment can work wonders, although it may dry out the skin.
- Antibiotics: An oral solution to fighting the P. acnes bacteria. This is stronger than the topical approach. I used Tetracycline, which worked until…it didn’t.
- Retin A: In Los Angeles, acne treatment that keeps you from going in the sun poses a slight problem. Topical retinoids require minimal sun exposure, but they stop a thing called hyperkeratizaton, and other disorders that involve a blockage of the sebaceous glands.
- Hormone treatments: I began taking a low dose of Ortho-Tri Cyclen, which regulates the hormones associated with acne, namely androgens and insulin. I decided against this course of treatment after one month, which wasn’t long enough to see results.
- Oral retinoids: The acne treatment that finally rescued me was Accutane, a synthetic form of vitamin A., which works to reduce oil secretion.
Los Angeles Today: Treating Pimples In the Modern World
Highly effective options like phototherapy and laser therapy—of course, both available in Los Angeles—are acne treatments that weren’t around during my struggle. Or, if they were, they were in development and too expensive. I have a couple of friends who struggle with adult acne who claim that photodynamic light therapy using Levulan has worked wonders for them, as well as laser treatment using the Spectra VRMIII specifically.
These innovative technologies are highly effective at treating acne, and do so without some of the risks of the treatments I tried. For example, birth control pills can cause nausea, mood swings, hair loss and more, while research inconclusively links Accutane to depression and suicide. I’m thankful now for my clear skin, and have my confidence and social life in tact, but I bet phototherapy or laser therapy would have worked just as well.