Face Value

“How long have you had acne?”

That’s not really a question anyone wants to hear, even from a doctor whose job it is to cure such things. The nature of my visit involved moles not zits.

“I’ve had breakouts off and on all my adult life.”

It’s true. It’s a cruel twist of fate. Or it’s a myth that acne is worse in the teen years. I have blemishes more frequently now than I did as a teen. Except for that one nasty bout of rash-like breakouts all along my chin when I was sixteen or seventeen. When it happened my mother said, “That’s what happens when you make out with a boy.” She was teasing. Or half-serious. I’m still not sure. But she took me to the dermatologist and I got some medication to help clear it up because I have always been vain about my face. When you grow up fat, you rely on it more.

So now, at the ripe age of 37 when my face is slowly being taken over by laugh lines and errant hairs and saggy skin and even what appears to be a small sun spot, I am being asked about a small, almost-gone pimple on my chin. Awesome.

We talked about the frequency and type and she pushed some medication on me that I am still not sure I want. I mean, the break outs are fairly infrequent and I take really good care of my skin. I wash. I moisturize. I use eye cream for christsake! Besides, I’m not that keen on taking some medication that could make me dizzy plus a host of other side effects just to zap an occasional zit. It’s not my top priority. Which is odd considering how vain I am about my face.

The real reason for the appointment, and we finally DID get to it, was to get the army of moles covering my back checked out. It’d been about 10 years since I last had them looked at and one on my left shoulder blade was suspiciously itchy. You can ask Mr. Darcy to testify to that since I am forever asking him to scratch it. It goes something like: No up a little. To the left more. Harder. Ohmygodyes that’s it! Right there! Thank you! And no, I’m not confusing mole itching with sexy time.

The doctor ended up removing the culprit and now it itches for an entirely different reason. But hopefully the lab comes out with positive results and I won’t have to go back in for another, deeper chunk of my back to be cut out like the last time. And with that visit, I have now accomplished two things on my 37 in 37 list. Only 35 left to go with a little over ten months left. Go me!

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18 thoughts on “Face Value

  1. Always good to have those suckers checked out! I had one mole (raised mole actually) sliced off last week and I’m still mending it. Test results came back and I’m all good. Always better to be safe than sorry I say.

  2. I’m not looking forward to going back to my dermatologist (after what happened last time…). But it’s going to happen. *sigh*
    Hope your results come back all clear!

  3. Ugh, I need to go to the dermatologist. I have a plethora of moles that need checking, and my face is a nightmare right now. Acne, freckling, dry skin, beginnings of wrinkles… Blah!

  4. Good for you for going. I have the same deal: more pimples now than I ever had as a teen. Grr. I can understand your reluctance to take medication for it though. I’ve found products that mostly work so I’d be hesitant too. Should get the once-over on all my moles and stray spots but I’ll have to psych myself up for that.

  5. In my mid-20s, I had a terrible, ongoing case of adult acne. I went on Accutane (not recommended for those considering childbirth – you cannot get pregnant while on the medicine). I think I was on it 9-12 months. My skin was incredibly dry and sensitive during that time, but I haven’t had any major problems since. Sure, a stray zit here and there, but nothing like a cheek full of red bumps. Here’s hoping everything comes back groovy on that pesky mole of yours!

  6. I’m really proud of you for doing your mole patrol! It’s not a fun one to do. (I actually should do mine . . . ) Isn’t it fun to age?

    As for the acne – I kind of HATE how your doc asked that question, but ok. I didn’t have a single blemish growing up, and in my mid 20’s, I got attacked by the acne fairy. Peri-oral dermatitis they call it when you’re not a teenager, and I’ve had it for years and years. It got really bad at times and they put me on accutane, which is like lethal to all known creatures. It’s been tough. I’m lucky that it’s chilled out as I’ve gotten older, maybe since my mid 30’s, and I don’t care much about it anymore. I say ditch the drugs unless it bugs you. Not that it matters, but I’ve never noticed so much as a speck of dust on your gorgeous mug.

  7. I hate to tell you this, but I’m 54, post-menopausal, and still get zits. Wrinkles, grey hair & zits. Lovely.

  8. Rock on girl. You knwo I have issues with acne, and since we do sun safety education – I am thrilled that you are putting this message out there – get checked, and get em early! xo

  9. In my early 20’s I had a severe bout with breakouts (which technically started years before that, I just didn’t have the insurance to cover the meds). It was awful. I went to the derm and I ended up going on Accutane. The process itself was annoying, and seriously only for people with severe cases, in my opinion, but it did work and I saw a huge improvement. You have to have monthly bloodwork, show proof of being on birth control, and watch for other side effects. So, like I said, I really believe it’s only for severe cases, not the occasional issue. I don’t see why a doctor would push that otherwise, or even call what you describe acne.

    And, good for you for getting checked and all things crossed that the lab results come back worry-free!

  10. Sizz, if you don’t want to take the medication, don’t do it. You have overactive sebaceous glands, is all. Fact is, it’ll probably help you keep a healthy glow for decades, with or without the pimples. Do you use an exfoliant? I recommend a Beta- (NOT Alpha-) Hydroxy Acid with about 2% BHA. Works great for me. Glad to hear your mole thing was benign. 🙂

  11. I had perfect skin in my teen years and then all hell broke loose in my 20’s and up until I birthed my first child. I tried everything and nothing worked. Ever since then, it has been infinitely better acne-wise. I am convinced it was all hormonally related.

    (glad to see the mole was fine!)

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